"Ever since the presidential election of 2000 put the words 'hanging chad' into the lexicon, states are going high-tech." The switch to computerized systems is to elminate the problems with older voting methods such as punch card ballots. "Punch cards, remember, can...be rigged, by selectively die-cutting so that some chads dislodge more easily than others."
The new computerized voting machines are supposed to eliminate voter fraud, but do they? "Computer programmers say software bugs, hackers or electrical failures could cause more than 50,000 touch-screen machines used in precincts nationwide to delete or alter votes."
"Only a few companies dominate the market for computer voting machines. Alarmingly, under U.S. federal law, no background checks are required on these companies or their employees. Felons and foreigners can, and do, own computer voting machine companies. Voting machine companies demand that clients sign 'proprietary' contracts to protect their trade secrets, which prohibits a thorough inspection of voting machines by outsiders. And, unbelievably, it appears that most election officials don't require paper ballots to back up or audit electronic election results. Lawsuits to allow complete access to inspect voting machines, or to require paper ballots so that recounts are possible...have failed."
"The touch-screen voting machines [being] used in [most] counties are all manufactured, programmed, and maintained by either Diebold, ES&S, or Sequoia."
"Voter advocate Bev Harris [has] alleged...that managers of a subsidiary of Diebold, one of the country's largest voting equipment vendors, included a cocaine trafficker, a man who conducted fraudulent stock transactions and a programmer jailed for falsifying computer records. The programmer, Jeffrey Dean, wrote and maintained proprietary code used to count hundreds of thousands of votes as senior vice president of Global Election Systems, or GES. Diebold purchased GES in January 2002. According to a public court document released before GES hired him, Dean served time in a Washington state correctional facility for stealing money and tampering with computer files in a scheme that 'involved a high degree of sophistication and planning.'" "Jeffrey Dean had access to our votes, but what he is not allowed to have is access to handling any checks. That is because his criminal sentence for twenty-three counts of felony Theft in the First Degree forbids him to handle any checks, now that he has been released from prison. While in prison, Jeffrey Dean met and became friends with John Elder, who did five years for cocaine trafficking. [Elder,] on Diebold's payroll,...manage[ed] a division and overs[aw] the printing of both ballots and punch cards for several states."
"Diebold, located in North Canton, Ohio, does its primary business in ATM and ticket-vending machines. Critics of Diebold point out that virtually every other machine the company makes provides a paper trail to verify the machine's calculations. Oddly, only the voting machines lack this essential function." "The term "black box voting" was coined to describe machines that, like those made by Diebold, use closed source software, do not print paper ballots, and do not use any reliable digital authentication techniques."
"Johns Hopkins researchers at the Information Security Institute issued a report declaring that Diebold's electronic voting software contained 'stunning flaws.'" "'We found all kinds of problems in the code,' [Professor Avi Rubin] said. 'A computer scientist can look at program and immediately tell you if it was written by professional programmers who know how to do software engineering or if it was just put together by a bunch of hacks. And, upon looking at the source code for Diebold, it was pretty clear that this was a real amateur job.'" "The researchers concluded that vote totals could be altered at the voting machines and by remote access. Diebold vigorously refuted the Johns Hopkins report, claiming the researchers came to 'a multitude of false conclusions.'"...
"One memo from Lana Hires of Global Election Systems, now Diebold, reads: 'I need some answers! Our department is being audited by the County. I have been waiting for someone to give me an explanation as to why Precinct 216 gave Al Gore a minus 16,022 [votes] when it was uploaded.'
Omaha-based "ES&S counts approximately 60 percent of all votes cast in the United States." ES&S "and its Republican roots may be even stronger than Diebold's. The firm, which is privately held, began as a company called Data Mark, which was founded in the early 1980s by Bob and Todd Urosevich." "Bob Urosevich was the programmer and CEO at AIS." "In 1984, brothers William and Robert Ahmanson bought a 68 percent stake in Data Mark, and changed the company's name to American Information Services (AIS). Then, in 1987, McCarthy & Co, an Omaha investment group, acquired a minority share in AIS. In 1992, investment banker Chuck Hagel, president of McCarthy & Co, became chairman of AIS." 
Bob Urosevich became head of Diebold Election Systems with his brother Todd a top executive at ES&S. "Bob created Diebold's original electronic voting machine software. Thus, the brothers Urosevich, originally funded by the far-right, figure in the counting of approximately 80 percent of electronic voting in the United States."
AIS' "[Chuck] Hagel, who had been touted as a possible Senate candidate in 1993, was again on the list of likely GOP contenders heading into the 1996 contest. In January of 1995, while still chairman of ES&S, Hagel told the Omaha World-Herald that he would likely make a decision by mid-March of 1995. On March 15, according to a letter provided by Hagel's Senate staff, he resigned from the AIS board, noting that he intended to announce his candidacy. A few days later, he did just that. A little less than eight months after steppind down as director of AIS, Hagel surprised national pundits and defied early polls by defeating Benjamin Nelson, the state's popular former governor. It was Hagel's first try for public office. Nebraska elections officials told The Hill that machines made by AIS probably tallied 85 percent of the votes cast in the 1996 vote, although Nelson never drew attention to the connection. Hagel won again in 2002, by a far healthier margin. That vote is still angrily disputed by Hagel's Democratic opponent, Charlie Matulka, who did try to make Hagel's ties to ES&S an issue in the race and who asked that state elections officials conduct a hand recount of the vote. That request was rebuffed, because Hagel's margin of victory was so large. As might be expected, Hagel has been generously supported by his investment partners at McCarthy & Co."
"In a disclosure form filed in 1996, covering the previous year, Hagel, then a Senate candidate, did not report that he was still chairman of AIS for the first 10 weeks of the year, as he was required to do. Hagel's ties to ES&S go beyond his financial stake. He served as its chairman when it was named AIS from the early '90s until March of 1995. He also was an investor in AIS Investors Inc. until the beginning of 1995, [Michael R. McCarthy, chairman of the McCarthy Group Inc. and Hagel's campaign treasurer,] said."
"ES&S was the ONLY company whose machines counted Hagel's votes when he ran for election in 1996 and 2002."
"Wherever Diebold and ES&S go, irregularities and historic Republican upsets follow. Alastair Thompson, writing for Scoop of New Zealand, explored whether or not the 2002 U.S. mid-term elections were 'fixed by electronic voting machines supplied by Republican-affiliated companies.' The Scoop investigation concluded that: 'The state where the biggest upset occurred, Georgia, is also the state that ran its election with the most electronic voting machines.' Those machines were supplied by Diebold. Following the 2003 California election, an audit of the company revealed that Diebold Election Systems voting machines installed uncertified software in all 17 counties using its equipment. [In 2002,] questions were raised in Texas when three Republican candidates in Comal County each received exactly the same number of votes — 18,181 — on ES&S machines."
"In 2000, Hagel was on the short list, along with Dick Cheney, for the vice president position on the George W. Bush ticket. According to The Ecologist magazine, Hagel co-authored and pushed through 'the most significant act of Congressional subversion,' the Byrd-Hagel Resolution, which in and of itself derailed ratification on the Kyoto Protocol." As a result, "the world's biggest producer of greenhouse gases, the United States,...pulled out of the Kyoto agreement on reducing carbon dioxide emissions."
"As far as we know, some guy from Russia could be controlling the outcome of computerized elections in the United States. In fact, Vikant Corp., a Chicago-area company owned by Alex Kantarovick, formerly of Minsk, Belorussia (also known as White Russia, formerly U.S.S.R.), supplies the all-important 'control cards' to Election Systems & Software (ES&S),...writes reporter Christopher Bollyn. According to ES&S, they have 'handled more than 40,000 of the world's most important events and elections. ES&S systems have counted approximately 60% of the U.S. national vote for the past four presidential elections. In the U.S. 2000 general election, ES&S systems counted over 100 million ballots.' Getting back to Kantarovich, he would not disclose where the control cards are made, except they aren't made in America, writes Bollyn. Nor would he discuss his previous employment. Bollyn says he got some not-too-thinly-veiled threats from Kantarovich. Kantarovich sounds more like the Russian mafia, than a legitimate businessman. But the really big deal is this....all of ES&S's touch screen machines contain modems, 'allowing them to communicate—and be communicated with—while they are in operation,' reports Bollyn. 'Even computers not connected to modems or an electronic network can still be manipulated offsite, not during the election, but certainly before or after,' says voting systems expert Dr. Rebecca Mercuri....
"ES&S supplied the touch screens for Miami-Dade and Broward counties where the worst machine failures occurred. But the debacle was nothing new for ES&S. Associated Press (AP) reporter Jessica Fargen wrote in June 2000, 'Venezuela's president and the head of the nation's election board accused ES&S of trying to destabilize the country's electoral process. In the United States, four states have reported problems with equipment supplied by the company.'...
"Sequoia is another voting systems company [with] 'Mob ties, bribery, felony convictions, and threats of coercion...visible in the public record of the election services company,' according to investigative journalist and filmmaker Daniel Hopsicker, and reported in Spotlight.com. Hopsicker says that Pasquale 'Rocco' Ricci, a 65-year-old senior executive with Sequoia, and the firm's Louisiana representative, recently pled guilty to passing out as much as $10 million dollars in bribes over the course of almost an entire decade." According to American Law Education Rights & Taxation (ALERT), Ricci is the president of Sequoia International, which also manufactures casino slot machines....
"In May 2002 Sequoia was bought by De La Rue, based in England. By their own estimate, De La Rue is 'the world's largest commercial security printer and papermaker, involved in the production of over 150 national currencies and a wide range of security documents such as travelers checks and vouchers. Employing almost 7,000 people across 31 countries, (De La Rue) is also a leading provider of cash handling equipment and software solutions to banks and retailers worldwide.' And they develop technology for [printer ink,] secure passports, identity cards, and driver's licenses."...
Another firm, "the Shoup Voting Solutions of Quakertown, Pennsylvania, has a reputation for rigging elections, wrote the late co-author of VoteScam, Jim Collier. According to Collier, in 1979, Ransom Shoup II, the president of the firm, was convicted of conspiracy and obstruction of justice stemming from an FBI investigation of a vote-fixing scam involving the old-fashioned lever machines in Philadelphia....
"The numerous instances of U.S. voting systems error and fraud are documented in a 1988 report for the U.S. Commerce Department entitled, "Accuracy, Integrity, and Security in Computerized Vote-Tallying" by Roy G. Saltman, a computer consultant for the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s Computer Systems Laboratory. Many other experts and observers have been warning and complaining about these problems for decades."
"Former CIA Station Chief John Stockwell writes that one of the favorite tactics of the CIA during the Reagan-Bush administration in the 1980s was to control countries by manipulating the election process. Documents illustrate that the Reagan and Bush administration supported computer manipulation in both Noriega's rise to power in Panama and in Marcos' attempt to retain power in the Philippines." So the United States isn't against altering the outcome of global elections?
"A group of distinguished international election experts...observ[ing] the Nov. 2  U.S. election [didn't receive] responses from some local electoral officials in Ohio and Florida to their requests to observe polling sites on election day. The observers...point[ed] out that non-partisan domestic and international observation is practiced worldwide as a way of creating transparency and boosting voter confidence. The election observers are part of a non-partisan, non-governmental delegation sponsored by the human rights group Global Exchange."
"There were thousands of reported incidents and problems with electronic voting systems on Election Day . In Florida alone there were more than 4,369 incidents of voting problems reported to Voteprotect.org. For example, in Carteret County, N.C., thousands of votes were lost, while in Sarpy County, Neb., a single voting machine recorded 10,000 extra votes. In Carteret County, the Associated Press reported, 'a voting machine used to store electronic ballots ran out of storage space' and 4,438 votes 'disappeared.' Because the electronic voting machines used in Carteret County do not count or create a paper ballot, the disappeared votes were irretrievably lost....
"Dr. Steven F. Freeman from the University of Pennsylvania's Center for Organizational Dynamics analyzed the exit polling data for his Nov. 10  paper The Unexplained Exit Poll Discrepancy. 'Exit polls showed [Kerry] ahead in nearly every battleground state, in many cases by sizable margins,' Freeman wrote. 'But then in key state after key state, counts were showing very different numbers than the polls predicted; and the differentials were all in the same direction.'"
"According to Beverly Harris, author of Black Box Voting: Ballot Tampering in the 21st Century, a manipulation technique she found in Diebold Elections Systems' AccuVote central vote tabulator is able to read totals from an untraceable bogus vote set within its software. 'By entering a 2-digit code in a hidden location, a second set of votes is created; and this set of votes can be changed in a matter of seconds, so that it no longer matches the correct votes,' said the voting activist. She also showed Democrat Howard Dean how to fraudulently alter the GEMS system on CNBC-TV."
"Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, said [18 Nov 2004] that they have uncovered statistical irregularities associated with electronic voting machines in three Florida counties that may have given President George W. Bush 130,000 or more excess votes. The study, "The Effect of Electronic Voting Machines on Change in Support for Bush in the 2004 Florida Elections," was conducted by doctoral students and faculty from the university's sociology department and led by sociology professor Michael Hout. According to the study, counties with electronic voting machines were significantly more likely to show increases in support for Bush between 2000 and 2004 compared to counties with paper ballots or optical scan equipment. This change cannot be explained by differences between counties in income, number of voters, change in voter turnout, or size of the Hispanic/Latino population, said Hout. In Broward County, for example, Bush appears to have received approximately 72,000 excess votes, Hout said, adding that the research team is 99.9% sure that these effects are not attributable to chance. The other two counties that experienced unexplained statistical discrepancies in the vote are Miami-Dade and Palm Beach. The three counties revealed the most significant irregularities and were the most heavily Democratic counties in the state. In an effort to explain what might account for the statistical irregularities related to counties that used touch-screen e-voting systems instead of optical scanning systems, Hout said there could be embedded software glitches or other potential hardware problems as were reported on election day in the press."
"On November 21, 2004, Dr. Steven F. Freeman, faculty member of the University of Pennsylvania, authorized the Yurica Report to post the latest draft of his research paper, 'The Unexplained Exit Poll Discrepancy.' Dr. Freeman's paper focuses on the three major battleground states of Ohio, Pennsylvania and Florida. Freeman conducts an analysis of Kerry’s votes: The likelihood of Kerry receiving only 47.1% in Florida, given that the exit polls indicated 49.7% is less than three in one thousand. Although Kerry did carry Pennsylvania, the likelihood of his receiving only 50.8% given that the exit polls indicated 54.1% is less than two in one thousand. Similarly the likelihood of Kerry receiving only 48.5% in Ohio, given the exit polls indicated 52.1% is less than one in one thousand (.0008). Freeman says, 'The likelihood of any two of these statistical anomalies occurring together is on the order of one-in-a-million. The odds against all three occurring together are 250 million to one. As much as we can say in social science that something is impossible, it is impossible that the discrepancies between predicted and actual vote counts in the three critical battleground states could have been due to chance or random error.' [Twenty-nine] precincts in Cuyahoga County, Ohio, reported votes cast IN EXCESS of the number of registered voters - at least 93,136 extra votes total. And the numbers are right there on the official Cuyahoga County Board of Elections website."
Irregularities with voting systems should not be considered a chance event. The few corporations managing voting across the United States and the world have employed convicted criminals to create faulty equipment with which people use to vote. The outcomes of future elections depend on these company's integrity which has already been proven questionable.
Will our votes be counted or will computers pretend to record them without providing a true record of the actual numbers all the while skewing the results to allow once again the Republican voting systems companies to decide who leads our nation?
For more information, visit my CIA Tradecraft > Links > Voting