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Hacking Democracy - what did you think?

Friday, November 03, 2006

Did anyone see the documentary last night? Comments?

Bev Harris of Black Box Voting has been called a conspiracy theorist by people for talking endlessly about Diebold's hackable system. I agree with Liz at Blondesense -- these critics need to to just STFU after seeing HBO's Hacking Democracy.

I watched it and could barely control my anger at how easy the hack is. No wonder Diebold is hopping mad - there are rampant denials and stonewalling by the company, as well as by election officials who are defensive and obstructionist. When BBV attempts to legally access public voting information when they go through trash an election board dumpster -- and find poll tapes with tabulations from the voting machines that are not supposed to be discarded.

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The freaking removable memory cards in these machines, which should only contain voter data, has an executable program on it that can change totals to whatever someone wishes it register in advance of a vote. It's as easy as editing a spreadsheet, people. This means the outcome is predetermined regardless of what the voter eventually selects on either an e-machine, or worse, even an optical scan machine where you actually have a marked up paper-trail ballot. Even on the latter Diebold machines, the vote is verified by officials by the poll tape that is printed out and compared to the software that tabulates the totals. If they match, then that machine's results are considered verified. If the result is preordained on the memory card, it doesn't matter what a voter filled in on their ballot.

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Who's going to know that they need to reconcile that printed tape to all of those ballots to find the discrepancy?

Hacker Harri Hersti was engaged by Black Box Voting to prove this hack (his report here), and an example of the fraud is all filmed.
In Florida, Leon County supervisor of elections Ion Sancho presided over a trial "mini-election" to see if the vote could be hacked without being detected. Before votes were actually cast, computer analyst Harri Hursti "stuffed the ballot box" by entering votes on the computer's memory card. Then, after votes were cast, the results displayed when the same memory card was entered in the central tabulating program indicated that fraud was indeed possible. In other words, by accessing a memory card before an election, someone could change the results - a claim Diebold had denied was possible.
John Kerry would not be happy with the way he came off in this doco, but he deserves it. He knew about the irregularities but folded a mere 12 hours after the polls closed with all the problems going on in New Mexico and Ohio. From an interview with Bev Harris (TV Guide):
TVGuide.com: Why did John Kerry concede in 2004, when there was evidence pointing to "negative vote" tampering [in which a hacked memory card directs a tabulator to subtract votes]?

Harris: You know, that was something that I was baffled by, because he had specifically promised, and collected money, to fight for every vote and get to the bottom of any issues that arose. It was very disappointing to a lot of people.
Why should he get a second chance to screw over the American public? You're left angry over the fact that this hasn't been story #1 in the MSM since the 2004 election as the ample evidence of vote manipulation, fraud and "malfunction" of the machines all over the country surfaced. Someone should be doing time in the clink for the assassination of our democratic process.

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Familiar page in Karl's playbook: vote suppression through intimidation

It's already surfacing in Maryland (WaPo):
A recently distributed guide for Republican poll watchers in Maryland spells out how to aggressively challenge the credentials of voters and urges these volunteers to tell election judges they could face jail time if a challenge is ignored.

Democrats said yesterday they consider the handbook, obtained by The Washington Post, evidence of a Republican effort to block people from voting Tuesday.

"The tenor of the material is that they are asking folks, if not directing them, to challenge voters," said Bruce L. Marcus, an attorney for the state Democratic Party. "It's really tantamount to a suppression effort."