Posted by Andreas from dtm2-t9-2.mcbone.net (184.108.40.206) on Tuesday, July 15, 2003 at 5:45PM :
Sludge Report #154 – Bigger Than Watergate!
Tuesday, 8 July 2003, 6:13 pm
Column: C.D. Sludge
In This Edition: Bigger Than Watergate! -
How To Rig An Election In The
United States - Fantasy vs Reality - How We Discovered The Backdoor -
Evidence Of Motive - Evidence Of Opportunity - Evidence Of Method - Evidence
Of Prior Conduct - Consistent Unexplained Circumstantial Evidence
IMPORTANT NOTE: Publication of this story marks a watershed in American
political history. It is offered freely for publication in full or part on
any and all internet forums, blogs and noticeboards. All other media are
also encouraged to utilise material. Readers are encouraged to forward this
to friends and acquaintances in the United States and elsewhere.
*** NEW *** FOLLOW UP STORY
Bald-Faced Lies About Black Box Voting Machines
The Truth About the Rob-Georgia File
See Also Companion Article For Detail And Screenshots Of An Election Hack…
Inside A U.S. Election Vote Counting Program
Sludge Report #154
Bigger Than Watergate!
The story you are about to read is in this writer's view the biggest
political scandal in American history, if not global history. And it is
being broken today here in New Zealand.
This story cuts to the bone the machinery of democracy in America today.
Democracy is the only protection we have against despotic and arbitrary
government, and this story is deeply disturbing.
Imagine if you will that you are a political interest group that wishes to
control forevermore the levers of power. Imagine further that you know you
are likely to implement a highly unpopular political agenda, and you do not
wish to be removed by a ballot driven backlash.
One way to accomplish this outcome would be to adopt the Mugabe (Zimbabwe)
or Hun Sen (Cambodia) approach. You agree to hold elections, but
simultaneously arrest, imprison and beat your opponents and their
supporters. You stuff ballot boxes, disenfranchise voters who are unlikely
to vote for you, distort electoral boundaries and provide insufficient
polling stations in areas full of opposition supporters.
However as so many despots have discovered, eventually such techniques
always fail – often violently. Hence, if you are a truly ambitious political
dynasty you have to be a bit more subtle about your methods.
Imagine then if it were possible to somehow subvert the voting process
itself in such a way that you could steal elections without anybody knowing.
Imagine for example if you could:
- secure control of the companies that make the voting machines and vote
- centralise vote counting systems, and politicise their supervision;
- legislate for the adoption of such systems throughout your domain, and
provide large amounts of money for the purchase of these systems;
- establish systems of vote counting that effectively prevent anybody on the
ground in the election – at a booth or precinct level - from seeing what is
happening at a micro-level;
- get all the major media to sign up to a single exit-polling system that
you also control – removing the risk of exit-polling showing up your
And imagine further that you;
- install a backdoor, or numerous backdoors, in the vote counting systems
you have built that enable you to manipulate the tabulation of results in
real time as they are coming in.
Such a system would enable you to intervene in precisely the minimum number
of races necessary to ensure that you won a majority on election night. On
the basis of polling you could pick your marginal seats and thus keep your
tweaking to a bare minimum.
Such a system would enable you to minimise the risks of discovery of your
Such a system would enable you to target and remove individual political
opponents who were too successful, too popular or too inquisitive.
And most importantly of all, such a system would enable you to accomplish
all the above without the public being in the least aware of what you were
doing. When confronted with the awfulness of your programme they would be
forced to concede that at least it is the result of a democratic process.
How To Rig An Election In The United States
So how would such a system actually work?
Well one way to run such a corrupt electoral system might look like this.
- Each voting precinct (or booth) could be fitted with electronic voting
systems, optical scanning systems, punch card voting systems or the more
modern touchscreen electronic voting machines;
- At the close of play each day the booth/precinct supervisor could be under
instructions to compile an electronic record of the votes cast in their
- They might print out a report that contains only the details of the total
votes count for that precinct/booth, and then file via modem the full
electronic record of votes through to the County supervisor;
- The County Supervisor could be equipped with a special piece of software
and a bank of modems that enables all these results to be received and
tabulated in the internals of the computer;
- The County Supervisors themselves could be assured that their system was
bullet proof, certified and contained tamper-protection mechanisms par
- The Country Supervisor could be given a range of tools for looking at the
data within this software, but nothing to enable them to directly manipulate
- But unbeknownst to the County Supervisor the software could actually
create three separate records of the voting data;
- Meanwhile - also unbeknownst to the County Supervisor - these three tables
of voting data could be in fact completely insecure and accessible simply
through a common database programme, say Microsoft Access;
- Having the three tables would enable you to keep the real data in place –
so the system could pass spot tests on individual precincts and booth
results (should a precinct supervisor be particularly astute) -while
simultaneously enabling you to manipulate the bottom line result;
- Finally you might also enhance the election hacker's powers by including
within the software a utility to enable them to cover their tracks by
changing the date and time stamps on files and remove evidence of your
Fantasy Becomes Reality
The above description of a corrupt voting system is not the result of an
overactive imagination. Rather it is the result of a extensive research by
computer programmers and journalists working around the globe. Principally
it is the work of investigative Journalist Bev Harris, author of the soon to
be published book " Black Box Voting: Ballot Tampering In The 21st Century "
And most important of all it is the result of research focussed on
investigating the actual software distributed by one of the largest voting
systems companies operating in the recent U.S. Elections.
CAVEAT: It is important to note that the research into this subject has not
established that the files we have been working on were in fact in situ in
County Election Supervisors offices at the last election – nor have we proof
that the back door we have discovered - which might enable the rigging of
elections - was actually used in any recent election. However it is the
considered opinion of all those involved in this investigation that it is
not up to us as journalists or programmers to prove that elections were
rigged, rather it is a responsibility of the electoral system itself to
prove its integrity.
What you read here amounts to revelation of evidence of motive, opportunity,
method, prior conduct , and a variety of items of, consistent unexplained
circumstantial evidence . Significantly we do not believe we have sufficient
resources to complete this investigation to its conclusion and are therefore
making available our findings to the media, community organisations,
political parties, computer scientists and geeks in the anticipation that
they will pick up the torch and take extend this inquiry into every county
in the United States.
How We Discovered The Backdoor
The story of how this story emerged is a great tale in itself, most of which
has already been told in this report by Bev Harris.
SYSTEM INTEGRITY FLAW DISCOVERED AT DIEBOLD ELECTION SYSTEMS
The short version of the story is relatively simple.
In the course of investigating the issue of the integrity of new electronic
voting machines Bev Harris learned that people around the world had been
downloading from an open FTP site belonging to Diebold Election Systems one
of the leading manufactures of voting systems.
This website contained several gigabytes of files including manuals, source
codes and installation versions of numerous parts of the Diebold voting
system, and of its vote counting programme GEMS.
Realising we had stumbled across what might be the equivalent of the
Pentagon Papers for elections, the full contents of this website have been
secured around the world at several locations. The original website was
itself taken down on January 29th 2003.
We can now reveal for the first time the location of a complete online copy
of the original data set. As we anticipate attempts to prevent the
distribution of this information we encourage supporters of democracy to
make copies of these files and to make them available on websites and file
As many of the files are zip password protected you may need some assistance
in opening them, we have found that the utility available at the following
URL works well:
Finally some of the zip files are partially damaged, but these too can be
read by using the utility at:
At this stage in this inquiry we do not believe that we have come even
remotely close to investigating all aspects of this data. I.E. There is no
reason to believe that the security flaws discovered so far are the only
Therefore we expect many more discoveries to be made. We want the assistance
of the online computing community in this enterprise and we encourage you to
file your findings at the forum HERE
Finally, for obvious reasons it is important that this information is
distributed as widely as possible as quickly as possible. We encourage all
web bloggers, web publishers and web media to re-publish and link to this
article and to its companion article by Bev Harris which contains detailed
descriptions of how to use the GEMS software to rig an election.:
To conclude this overview article I will make a few more comments on the
evidence we have thus far that the U.S. election system has been
compromised. As stated earlier we do not at this stage have proof that it
has in fact been been compromised through this method, just a great deal of
circumstantial evidence that it could have been.
If this was Watergate, we are effectively at the point of discovering
evidence of a break-in and have received the call from deep-throat telling
us that should dig much deeper.
Proof will follow in time we expect, but only if the work we have begun is
completed and this inquiry is taken into every corner of the U.S. electoral
Evidence Of Motive
This is probably the easiest part of this puzzle to get your head around.
The motivation of the Republican Party in general and the current
administration in particular to gain ever greater amounts of power - by
whatever means possible and damn the consequences - is evidenced most
recently in the Supreme Court's partisan appointment of George Bush Jr. as
President, the attempt to recall California Governor Gray Davis, and the Ken
Starr investigation and attempted impeachment of President Clinton.
Evidence Of Opportunity ,
Republican connected control over the major election systems companies in
the United States has been thoroughly researched.
Bob Urosevich, CEO of Diebold Election Systems is also the founder of ES&S,
a competing voting machine company. Together these two companies are
responsible for tallying around 80% of votes cast in the United States. Also
significant, from what we can determine about the architecture of the
software, is that its basic structure was specifically a creation of Mr
Urosevich's company I-Mark.
For more background on Diebold Systems connections to the Republican Party
Diebold - The Face Of Modern Ballot Tampering
Meanwhile Presidential wannabee and Republican Party United States Senator
Chuck Hagel has been directly connected to ES&S via his campaign finance
director, Michael McCarthy, who has admitted that Senator Hagel still owns a
beneficial interest in the ES&S parent company, the McCarthy Group.
Senate Ethics Director Resigns; Senator Hagel Admits Owning Voting Machine
Evidence Of Method
The evidence of method has been detailed in a companion article by Bev
Harris, author of the soon to be published block-buster Black Box Voting.
Inside A U.S. Election Vote Counting Program
In this article – which contains screenshots from the software and detailed
instructions on how one might rig an election - Bev Harris explains security
The GEMS election file contains more than one "set of books." They are
hidden from the person running the GEMS program, but you can see them if you
go into Microsoft Access.
You might look at it like this: Suppose you have votes on paper ballots, and
you pile all the paper ballots in room one. Then, you make a copy of all the
ballots and put the stack of copies in room 2.
You then leave the door open to room 2, so that people can come in and out,
replacing some of the votes in the stack with their own.
You could have some sort of security device that would tell you if any of
the copies of votes in room 2 have been changed, but you opt not to.
Now, suppose you want to count the votes. Should you count them from room 1
(original votes)? Or should you count them from room 2, where they may or
may not be the same as room 1? What Diebold chose to do in the files we
examined was to count the votes from "room2."
Evidence Of Prior Conduct
It is a recorded fact that every system of balloting established in America
has been gamed and rigged. I.E. America's political practitioners have a
very long history of ballot rigging and vote tampering. This is nothing new
and evidence of the sort we have uncovered has been long predicted by
computer scientists such as Dr Rebecca Mercuri.
In more recent history investigative Journalist Greg Palast has documented
in detail Katherine Harris's use of electronic data matching technologies to
disenfranchise thousands of Florida voters in advance of the 2000
We highly recommend readers purchase a copy of "The Best Democracy Money Can
Buy" by Greg Palast to read much more about this.
A compendium of links on Palast's investigations can be found via a Google
"greg palast florida katherine harris"
Consistent Unexplained Circumstantial Evidence
During the 2002 Mid-term there were numerous reports of unusual happenings
in counties throughout the United States.
Among the phenomena reported were voting numbers suddenly fluctuating in the
middle of the counting process, something you might expect to see if the
backdoor identified above were used clumsily.
An organisation called Votewatch was set up during the 2002 elections to
record unusual happenings and its archives can be viewed here.
It will suffice here to cite a couple of specific examples – these are
excerpts from the soon to be published " Black Box Voting: Ballot Tampering
In The 21st Century". These examples of actual events are consistent with
the existence and use of an electronic vote counting hack described above.
November 1990, Seattle, Washington - Worse than the butterfly ballot, some
Democratic candidates watched votes alight, then flutter away. Democrat Al
Williams saw 90 votes wander off his tally between election night and the
following day, though no new counting had been done. At the same time, his
opponent, Republican Tom Tangen, gained 32 votes. At one point several
hundred ballots added to returns didn’t result in any increase in the number
of votes. But elsewhere, the number of votes added exceeded the number of
additional ballots counted. A Republican candidate achieved an amazing surge
in his absentee percentage for no apparent reason. And no one seemed to
notice (until a determined Democratic candidate started demanding an answer)
that the machines simply forgot to count 14,000 votes.
November 1996, Bergen County, New Jersey - Democrats told Bergen County
Clerk Kathleen Donovan to come up with a better explanation for mysterious
swings in vote totals. Donovan blamed voting computers for conflicting
tallies that rose and fell by 8,000 or 9,000 votes. The swings perplexed
candidates of both parties. For example, the Republican incumbent, Anthony
Cassano, had won by about 7,000 votes as of the day after the election but
his lead evaporated later. One candidate actually lost 1,600 votes during
the counting. “How could something like that possibly happen?” asked Michael
Guarino, Cassano’s Democratic challenger. “Something is screwed up here.”
November 1999, Onondaga County, New York - Computers gave the election to
the wrong candidate, then gave it back. Bob Faulkner, a political newcomer,
went to bed on Election Night confident he had helped complete a Republican
sweep of three open council seats. But after Onondaga County Board of
Elections staffers rechecked the totals, Faulkner had lost to Democratic
incumbent Elaine Lytel.
April 2002, Johnson County, Kansas - Johnson County’s new Diebold touch
screen machines, proclaimed a success on election night, did not work as
well as originally believed. Incorrect vote totals were discovered in six
races, three of them contested, leaving county election officials scrambling
to make sure the unofficial results were accurate. Johnson County Election
Commissioner Connie Schmidt checked the machines and found that the
computers had under- and over-reported hundreds of votes. “The machines
performed terrifically,” said Bob Urosevich, CEO of Diebold Election
Systems. “The anomaly showed up on the reporting part.”
The problem, however, was so perplexing that Schmidt asked the Board of
Canvassers to order a hand re-count to make sure the results were accurate.
Unfortunately, the touch screen machines did away with the ballots, so the
only way to do a hand recount is to have the machine print its internal data
page by page. Diebold tried to re-create the error in hopes of correcting
it. “I wish I had an answer,” Urosevich said. In some cases, vote totals
November 2002, Comal County, Texas - A Texas-sized lack of curiosity about
discrepancies: The uncanny coincidence of three winning Republican
candidates in a row tallying up exactly 18,181 votes each was called weird,
but apparently no one thought it was weird enough to audit. Conversion to
alphabet: 18181 18181 18181 ahaha ahaha ahaha
November 2002, Baldwin County, Alabama - No one at the voting machine
company can explain the mystery votes that changed after polling places had
closed, flipping the election from the Democratic winner to a Republican in
the Alabama governor’s race. “Something happened. I don’t have enough
intelligence to say exactly what,” said Mark Kelley of ES&S. Baldwin County
results showed that Democrat Don Siegelman earned enough votes to win the
state of Alabama. All the observers went home. The next morning, however,
6,300 of Siegelman’s votes inexplicably had disappeared, and the election
was handed to Republican Bob Riley. A recount was requested, but denied.
November 2002, New York - Voting machine tallies impounded in New York:
Software programming errors hampered and confused the vote tally on election
night and most of the next day, causing elections officials to pull the plug
on the vote-reporting Web site. Commissioners ordered that the voting
machine tallies be impounded, and they were guarded overnight by a Monroe
County deputy sheriff.
November 2002, Georgia - Election officials lost their memory: Fulton County
election officials said that memory cards from 67 electronic voting machines
had been misplaced, so ballots cast on those machines were left out of
previously announced vote totals. No hand count can shine any light on this;
the entire state of Georgia went to touch-screen machines with no physical
record of the vote. Fifty-six cards, containing 2,180 ballots, were located,
but 11 memory cards still were missing two days after the election: Bibb
County and Glynn County each had one card missing after the initial vote
count. When DeKalb County election officials went home early Wednesday
morning, they were missing 10 cards.
**** ENDS ****
Anti©opyright Sludge 2003
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