The accumulated weight of evidence of election fraud –
statistical, circumstantial, and anecdotal – has failed to move the
mainstream media to report or investigate this evidence, or the
Democratic party to acknowledge and protest the apparent Republican
control of our elections.
This essay is not yet another account of that evidence,
have spelled out extensively and which I firmly believe to be
Instead, I wish to deal with another indicator that our national
elections no longer represent the will of the voters, but rather are
manipulated to produce the outcome desired by the "winning" candidates
and party. This indicator is the behavior of those who manufacture,
program, and operate the paperless, unauditable machines (direct
recording electronic: "DRE"), and those who benefit from this
Perhaps this new electronic voting technology is as honest and
reliable as the private election industry and the winning candidates
tell us it is. However, they simply do not behave as if this were the
My contention might be illustrated by this parable:
Suppose that a drug-sniffing dog at an airport identifies a
suspicious piece of luggage. The customs officer then locates the
individual whose name is on the tag, and orders him to open it. Now
suppose further that this person then proceeds to do one or more of the
a) He denies that the luggage is his.
b) He calls his lawyer who presents an injunction against further
inspection of the luggage.
c) He claims that he is a diplomat, and thus not subject to
d) He offers a bribe to the inspector if he will "forget the
Might one not suspect that the traveler was trying to hide something?
The dog then gets back to work, and soon identifies another bag, and
the owner of this parcel is identified and ordered to open the luggage
for inspection. He does so willingly and without qualm, having packed
the bag himself and thus knowing that there is no contraband therein. He
is also aware that the dog has a record of 30% false positives.
Which of these two responses more closely resembles the behavior of
the DRE manufacturers (Diebold, ES&S and Sequoia), of the Republican
Congress, and of the Republican National Committee? Are the DRE
manufacturers and the Republicans acting in a manner consistent with
their claims that "e-voting" is both honest and accurate? Or are they
behaving as if they have something to hide?
Here are a few indicators. Because there are so many, I will be
brief. For details and documentation, follow the links:
First and foremost: DRE machines use secret software and produce
no separate record of the voting to allow auditing and validation of
the votes. Thus, by design, it is impossible either to prove or
disprove directly the accuracy of the vote totals of a DRE machine
or the neutrality of the software. (However, there is abundant
indirect evidence of e-voting fraud: statistical, anecdotal and
that’s another topic).
The manufacturers and programmers of DREs (all of whom have
close ties with the Republican Party) insist that their software
("source codes") must be kept secret – for no apparent and
defensible reason. (They claim to be concerned about copyright
infringement. But music, essays, fiction, drama, etc., all are
public by nature, and yet all are protected by copyright).
The e-voting manufacturers also make ATM machines and automated
gas pumps, both of which produce paper receipts. Yet they
steadfastly resist demands that their "touch screen" voting machines
produce printouts, which might then serve to validate the accuracy
of the votes.
allow "test hacks" of randomly selected machines. (Unauthorized
hacks have proven DREs to be extremely vulnerable to fraudulent
A bill by
Congressman Rush Holt (D-NJ) that would require validated
printed paper receipts of the votes and random inspection of the DRE
machines has been locked up in committee by the Congressional
Republicans. A discharge petition, which would allow a vote on the
bill, is unavailing, due to insufficient support by the Republicans.
In 2000, computer programmer Clinton Curtis was asked by a GOP
congressional candidate, Tom Feeney, to create a software program
that would alter vote counts in favor of the Republicans. Curtis
testified to this under oath,
affidavit, and took a polygraph test. Of course, Feeney, now a
congressman, denies Curtis’ allegations, but unlike Curtis, Feeney
refuses to state his denial under oath or to submit to a polygraph.
In California, Stephen Heller, a temporary employee of Diebold
Election Systems, obtained copies of memos indicating that Diebold
may have used uncertified voting systems in the 2004 primary and
suggesting that thousands of voters might be disenfranchised in
subsequent elections. Heller’s "reward" for blowing this whistle? He
was charged with three felony counts and, if convicted,
could serve more than three years in state prison.
In 2004, California Secretary of State Kevin Shelley decertified
Diebold DRE machines. In a special recall election, Republican
Arnold Schwarznegger replaced Democrat Gray Davis. Kevin Shelley was
then harassed and forced out of office and replaced by Republican
Bruce McPherson, who "conditionally"
recertified the Diebold machines. (These are two types of
machines: Optical scan with paper ballots, and "TSX" with
touch-screens and no paper record. It is the paperless TSX machines
that are especially vulnerable to undetectable manipulation and
fraud." There is a heated debate within the election reform
community as to whether Optical Scanning is an acceptable
improvement over DREs, or whether, on the other hand, only hand
counted paper ballots will do. But that's a topic for another
The Alaska "flip-flop." The Republican state government of
Alaska refused to release to the Alaska Democrats the Diebold
database files from the 2004 election on the grounds that it was "a
company secret." (These were records of a public election, mind
you). After persistent requests, the state relented albeit under
very restrictive conditions. But then, just two weeks ago,
again denied the request, claiming that it was a "security risk"
to the state of Alaska.
December 20, 2005: Rather than obey a North Carolina law
requiring that source codes be made public,
withdrew its machines from the state elections.
There is much more, which you might find
and here. But this much suffices to make my point.
What we find, then, is an industry and a political party which, on
the one hand, insists that the totals from electronic voting machines
are entirely accurate and honest, though these same machines are so
designed that they preclude any independent evidence to support these
claims. On the other hand, this same industry and party steadfastly
resist any and all attempts to introduce reliable methods of validation,
much less the most reliable system of all: hand counted paper ballots.
Persistent suspicion and charges of fraud are damaging to the
industry and the GOP. If they are as innocent as they claim to be, why
don’t they just eliminate these damaging suspicions by offering proof,
and then allowing, and even encouraging, paper records, independent
audits, and exit polls?
Despite a near-total embargo by the mainstream media of news,
analysis, investigation and commentary on ballot security and
allegations of fraud, combined with an astonishing indifference to the
issue on the part of the Democrats and their allies, public doubts about
the security and accuracy of elections and hence of the legitimacy of
the Republican control of the White House and the Congress, simply will
not go away. In fact, these concerns appear to be increasing and will
likely continue to increase, as the credibility and public approval of
the Bush regime continues to drop.
Here’s a thought experiment for those who insist, despite all
evidence to the contrary, that the past three elections were above
reproach and doubt. Put this confidence aside for a moment and just
imagine, hypothetically, that the elections of 2000, 2002, and 2004 were
all fixed, and that the coming election of 2006 will be fixed. Then ask
yourself: if this were so, how would the behavior of the industry and
the GOP be in any way different from what it is now?
Then ask, if the elections are honest and accurate, why don’t the
industry and the Republicans act like it? In short, if they are
innocent, why do they willingly persist in appearing guilty?
These questions must be asked by the democrats, loudly and
persistently, for as Karl Rove and the GOP propaganda machine knows so
well, repetition is the key to successful persuasion of the public.
Satire and ridicule are also very much in order. We must "pile it on"
until continuing silence by the GOP and by the compliant mainstream
media becomes unendurable.
And if the e-voting establishment – party and industry – are ever
forced, however reluctantly, to enact reforms consistent with their
protestations of innocence, what might they do?
Here is a list of proposals that any honest voting machine industry
and political party should be willing to endorse:
a) Publish the source codes. (The copyrights can be fully
b) Include printers with all machines. Stipulate by law that in
case of recounts, the paper receipts are to be the official ballots
c) Require independent audits – of local balloting, and of
regional compiling of election returns.
d) Allow examination and "test hacks" of machines, selected
e) Outlaw all data inputs (by direct line, wireless, or UV) to
voting machines and compilers with the exception, of course, of the
"inputs" by the voters.
f) Rigorously enforce and prosecute election fraud laws.
If the industry and the Republicans won’t agree to these assurances,
then they must present a plausible explanation as to why they
decline to do so. Absent that explanation, we citizens of this
alleged democracy under an alleged rule of law must demand that every
vote be counted and verified, and we must be supplied with proof that
this has been accomplished. Furthermore, every individual who has
engaged in election fraud must be tracked down and prosecuted to the
full extent of the law. We are entitled to no less than this.
Copyright 2006 by Ernest Partridge