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For The Record  

FTR #493-494 Two Interviews with Daniel Hopsicker about Electoral Fraud

Recorded January 2 and 9, 2005
Listen to #493:
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Listen to #494
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Due to the overlapping nature of FTRs #493 and #494, the descriptions for the two programs are merged into a single, longer document. The programs set forth the crooked nature of companies that make the electronic voting machines for US elections, as well as that corruption’s effects on the American political process. One of the most disturbing points of information presented here concerns the apparent use of phony terror alerts to manipulate vote-tabulating computers in two borderline states. In Warren County, Ohio and Tallahassee, Florida, dubious “terror alerts” caused the evacuation of key election facilities and the securing of both by security personnel. Much of the discussion focuses on Sequoia Pacific and its long-standing relationship with both organized crime and the GOP. A supposed competitor of Sequoia Pacific—ES&S—actually works closely with its “opponent.” Daniel Hopsicker investigates various gambling initiatives, and how the organized crime and political elements involved in election tampering skewered the vote tallies on those proposals. Charles Kane is a “former” CIA officer who advised the Ukraine on election matters in 1996, and was involved in the highly suspicious handling of absentee ballots in Martin County, Florida in 2000. The articles by Daniel Hopsicker have been reproduced here, for the convenience of the listener.

Program Highlights Include: The criminal conviction of Lloyd Dixon, head of Sequoia’s predecessor company; Dixon’s successor—Louis Wolfson—tried to bribe Supreme Court Justice Abe Fortas; Sequoia’s involvement with a New Orleans gambling initiative; the conviction of SP’s Southeast representative Pasquale “Rocco” Ricci for bribing Jerry Fowler, Louisiana’s elections overseer; the suspicious “suicide” of the New Orleans official in charge of security for the building housing the election machines; Deborah and Richard Clark’s highly questionable involvement with both Sequoia Pacific and SP’s supposed competitor ES&S; the manner in which SP and ES&S swap machines back and forth; the extraordinary maneuvering Kathryn Ferguson used to purchase SP machines for Las Vegas; numerous examples of the strange and anomalous results achieved by some of these electronic voting machines.

1. Before presenting text that illuminates the discussion in FTRs 493 and 494, we present (in line-items 1-4) Daniel Hopsicker’s articles upon which the programs are based:

The Big Fix 2004
How to Fix a Presidential Election Pt. 1: Convicted, Felons, ‘Shadowy Financiers’ Own Companies Counting Votes

An investigation into the surprisingly-sordid history of America’s “election services industry” has revealed that executives and owners of the two largest companies, E S & S and Sequoia Pacific, have been convicted of bribery and suborning public officials in more than a dozen states.

And while a felony conviction may be enough >>Continue original article>>

2.

Election Company Has Long Criminal History

Thugs, Racketeers Counting American Votes

While Ukrainians poured into the streets of their capital Kiev to protest a presidential election they say was stolen by that country’s current regime, here in the U.S. a little-known election company called Sequoia Pacific, responsible for putting our own ‘current regime’ in powerfour years ago, was at the center of controversy last week… for the second Presidential election in a row.

While U.S. newspapers have been filled with quotes from American officials pontificating >>Continue original article>>

3.

Back In The USSR
CIA “Helpful” in Ukraine Elections

A retired CIA agent, whose illegal and unfettered access to election rolls in Martin County Florida was a major source of legal contention after the 2000 Election, traveled to the Ukraine four years earlier to teach “grass-roots politics” to people there, The MadCowMorningNews has learned.

The news came even as citizens in the Ukraine celebrate >>Continue original article>>

4.

Fraud by Computer in Florida
Election Official Thwarts Recount Using Phony Vote Totals

A “mistake” made in the office of a seriously-compromised Supervisor of Election in Pinellas County whose husband is a top executive of the country’s largest election services company has almost unnoticed spiked the best hope for a election recount in Florida that might have thrown a spotlight on the dark corners of the Florida election process concealing widespread systemic and system-wide vote fraud.

The office of Supervisor of Elections in Pinellas County, Deborah Clark, provided inflated totals on the YES side of the gambling >>Continue original article>>

5.

Rogue State: The Covert Op that Ate the World

While both of the terrorist pilots who crashed into the World Trade Center were students at Venice Florida’s Huffman Aviation, the flight school’s owner Wallace J. Hilliard, 72, of Naples, FL., was simultaneously pursuing his own diplomatic opening to Fidel Castro’s Cuba. A photograph (left) recently made available >>Continue original article>>

One of the central themes in Daniel Hopsicker’s articles on electronic vote fraud concerns the pervasiveness of organized crime in the milieu of the crooked voting machines. In addition, gambling—one of the principal sources of income for organized crime syndicates—also figures in this concatenation. It is important to note, however, that organized crime is but one of the elements in the crooked voting machine phalanx. One of the companies that has both Republican right-wing AND organized crime influences is Sequoia Pacific. A Gambino crime family operative was involved with the company’s operations in New York. ” . . . In fact, the Gambino family and Sequoia Pacific have had more than a nodding acquaintance, according to newspapers in New York reporting on the intrigue surrounding the awarding of a multi-million dollar contract for election machines in New York City during the mid-90’s, where Sequoia’s representative in the bidding gained notoriety for attempting to grease the skids a little at a marathon luncheon hosted by Salvatore Reale, a Gambino underboss who later pled guilty to racketeering. . . .”
(“Election Company Has Long Criminal History” by Daniel Hopsicker; Mad Cow Morning News; 11/24/2004; p. 3.)

6. From its inception, Sequoia has been inextricably linked with criminal activities. Begun as American Voting Machine, the company was under the control of stockholders in [North American] Rockwell, a major defense contractor. President and CEO Lloyd Dixon was convicted of bribing an official and sentenced to prison. ” . . . It [Sequoia Pacific] began its modern life as Automatic Voting Machine, spun off to shareholders of Defense contractor Rockwell in the 1960’s. The company’s founder, Lloyd A. Dixon Jr. resigned as president and CEO on Jan. 10, 1973, and later went to prison, after being indicted by a New York federal grand jury for bribing Buffalo election officials. The company was fined nearly $50,000 for bribing Texas and Arkansas officials. . .” (Idem.)

7. Things didn’t get any better after Dixon’s departure and imprisonment: ” Last week, we briefly related the sordid tale of the next owner of Sequoia Pacific, financier and corporate raider Louis Wolfson. Wolfson was convicted of bribing the only Supreme Court Justice ever forced to resign in disgrace, ‘Dishonest Abe’ Fortas. Fortas got caught palming a lifetime yearly ‘retainer’ from the wily Wolfson’s family foundation. Alas for ‘Dishonest Abe,’ as he came to be called, the law draws no distinction between ‘accepting a retainer’ and ‘taking a bribe.’ Fortas cut himself a deal. He taped phone calls, at the FBI’s behest, with Wolfson, who was pleading with the Supreme Court Justice to dummy up. In the transcripts of these phone calls the word ‘cover-up’ enters the American lexicon for the first time. Apparently, Fortas coined it at the instant of need, when he said (probably for the tape recorder), ‘No I can’t do that! That be a cover-up!'” (Ibid.; pp. 3-4.)

8. Gambling was at the epicenter of a scandal concerning the apparent bribery of Louisiana’s Commissioner of Elections Jerry Fowler. ” . . . Fowler got himself in big gambling trouble at Harrah’s casino in Atlantic City in the mid-’90’s, which helped explained his taking bribes. It was at this same time when allegations of voting irregularity became commonplace in Louisiana. Curiously, gambling was the burning issue on the ballot in state elections at the same exact time. One proposition concerned Harrah’s proposal to build a casino in downtown New Orleans. . . .” (Ibid.; p. 5.)

9. Fowler was convicted of taking bribes from Pasquale “Rocco” Ricci, the Southeastern representative of Sequoia Pacific. ” . . . We first learned of Sequoia Pacific’s penchant for greasing the palms of corrupt public officials from the well-publicized news accounts in the year 2000 about Louisiana’s Commissioner of Elections Jerry Fowler, convicted of taking as much as ten million dollars over a period of a decade from Sequoia’s Southeast Representative, a man named Pasquale ‘Rocco’ Ricci, from Marlton, New Jersey. Even after pleading guilty to suborning democracy in the state of Louisiana for more than a decade, Ricci remained something of a mystery figure, we learned to our surprise. . . .” (Ibid.; p. 4.)

10. The Ricci/Fowler liaison was brought to light when Susan Bernacker, a losing candidate tested the voting machines. When she voted for herself, the Sequoia Pacific machines registered a vote for her opponent—Nick Giambelluca. ” . . .Voting machine tests performed and videotaped by a suspicious local candidate immediately after this election demonstrated that votes Susan Bernacker cast for herself during the test were electronically recorded for her opponent. (The test was repeated several times with the same result. The astonishing video footage is in our documentary The Big Fix 2000.) . . .” (Ibid.; p. 4.)

11. It is interesting to note that the Supervisor of Elections in New Orleans—Tony Giambelluca—allegedly committed suicide behind a dumpster two weeks before the election. It is unclear whether Tony was related to Nick Giambelluca. ” . . . Tony Giambelluca, who held the keys to the warehouse where the election machines were kept, turned up an apparent suicide. He had chosen to take his life behind a garbage dumpster, which seems an odd decision. Given the choice, we figure most people would choose to end their existence in a slightly more scenic locale. . .” (Idem.)

12. Sequoia Pacific and another electronic voting company—E S & S—operated in conjunction with one another, rather than in competition. The collusion between E S & S and Sequoia will be highlighted again later on in this description. (For more about E S & S, see FTRs 470, 487.) ” . . . Study of this case revealed some interesting details about the way the ‘election services’ industry works. . . First, the scheme showed that there was collusion, rather than competition between the two major election services firms, Sequoia Pacific and E S & S. Court documents revealed the two sold voting machines back and forth to each other until they had arrived at the figure they wanted the client, the state of Louisiana, to pay. Nor was this an isolated case. The bribery conviction of Arkansas Secretary of State Bill McCuen, for example, revealed that E S & S’s predecessor company. Business Records Corp. of Dallas, arranged for contracts which led to Smurfit Packaging Corp. and its subsidiary, Sequoia Pacific Voting Equipment Inc. More collusion. . . .” (Ibid.; p. 6.)

13. Sequoia operates through dummy front companies: ” . . . Another discovery was that, like the CIA, Sequoia Pacific operates through a number of dummy front companies. For example, two Florida election execs, Glenn Boord and Ralph Escudero, pled guilty to conspiracy to compound a felony (public bribery), who had owned a paper voting-machine company called Uni-lect, which was just a front for Sequoia Pacific. Pasquale ‘Rocco’ Ricci’s company, International Voting Machines, was also really Sequoia Pacific. So, too, was Harold Webb’s Garden State Elections. (And also Herb Webb’s Elec-tec.) Webb, a New Jersey elections equipment executive who participated in the bribery and kickback scheme that resulted in the conviction of Fowler also played a key role in the infamous Martin County, Florida drama over Republican absentee ballots in the 2000 election.” (Idem.)

14. “New Jersey election services companies controlled by Webb were key suppliers to Martin County, Florida, which calls into question the version of events surrounding the tampering with absentee ballot applications testified to by Republican Party operatives in court in 2000. In counties where their name never surfaced, Sequoia supplied both computer and punch card systems, and used tabulating machines from Sequoia Pacific disguised as being from other vendors, and used the same (doctored) machines as Louisiana, supplied by the same ‘shadowy’ sources. When a reporter for the Fresno Bee interviewed Sequoia’s chief executive, the reporter told us later he had been ‘taken aback by his secretive nature.’ In truth, Sequoia’s chief executive has a lot to be secretive about. . . .” (Idem.)

15. Next, the discussion turns to the issue of the vote tampering in Martin County, Florida. (Subsequent discussion of the Florida election scams will return to the apparent role of gambling in these machinations.) A profound irony concerning electoral fraud in the U.S. concerns the difference between the reaction of the U.S. media and electorate to the American and Ukrainian elections. The exit polls in both the U.S. and Ukraine were fundamentally different from the election results. However, the U

krainian people were vocal and visible in their reaction to the apparent fraud. The American people, on the other hand, were altogether passive. It is particularly noteworthy that The Washington Post and The New York Times were vehement in their condemnation of the election results in the Ukraine, while dismissing U.S. critics of the elections as “conspiracy theorists.” (For more about this, see FTR#485.) DANIEL HOPSICKER NOTES THAT THERE IS A LINK BETWEEN UKRAINIAN ELECTIONS AND THE FRAUDULENT BALLOT TALLIES IN FLORIDA—”FORMER” CIA OFFICER CHARLES KANE. “A retired CIA agent, whose illegal and unfettered access to election rolls in Martin County Florida was a major source of legal contention after the 2000 Election, traveled to the Ukraine four years earlier to teach ‘grass-roots politics’ to people there, the MadCowMorningNews has learned. The news came even as citizens in the Ukraine celebrate their new-found freedom, while in the U.S. suspicion continued to fester that vote fraud may have cost Americans their own right to free and honest elections.”
(“Back in the U.S.S.R.: CIA ‘Helpful’ in Florida, Ukraine Elections” by Daniel Hopsicker; MadCowMorningNews; 12/8/2004; p. 1.)

16. “In a bitterly ironic twist, Charles Kane, former Director of Security at the Central Intelligence Agency, and member of the Florida Republican Executive Committee, spent four days in Kiev, the capital of the former Soviet republic, hosting training sessions for Ukrainian political parties in 1996. Institute officials chose Kane to go to the Ukraine, according to the February 20, 1996, Stuart/Port St. Lucie News, apparently straight-faced, ‘because of his experience in grass-roots campaigns.'” (Idem.)

17. Kane later participated in the Martin County (Florida) electoral shenanigans: “Four years later, Kane’s credentials as a proponent of democracy were receiving much closer scrutiny. . . . ‘Kane’s efforts were part of a sinister underground conspiracy to help Bush,’ Edward Stafman, attorney for the Martin County challengers told the Associated Press on December 7, 2000. . .” (Ibid.; pp. 1-2.)

18. ” . . . The career of the much-traveled Kane, it must be stated, resembles nothing so much as a conspiracy theorist’s wet dream. . . He was also involved, years earlier, in the investigation into the JFK assassination, dispatching a memo to the FBI regarding the whereabouts on the day of the assassination of notorious pipe-smoking Watergate burglar E. Howard Hunt.” (Ibid.; p. 2.)

19. As Daniel notes, Kane’s presence in the Ukraine and Florida (as well as his intelligence background), raises questions about his activities in Martin County. (For more about Kane, see FTR#268. An excellent web site featuring information about the apparent fixing of the 2004 election is www.campaignwatch.org. Information about Charles Kane can be found here.) Daniel relates Kane’s role in the Martin County vote snafu: “Charlie Kane’s presence in both the Ukraine and the 2000 election debacle prompted us to take a quick backward glance at the controversy which became familiar during the weeks following the infamous Florida Vote Snafu of 2000. Two heavily Republican counties in Florida had allowed party officials access which they said was to fix hundreds of flawed absentee ballot applications that had been submitted by voters but rejected by the elections office. The Martin County supervisor of elections, a Republican, let Republican Party workers take away the ballot requests on a daily basis, add missing voter identification numbers and resubmit them, a deputy elections supervisor said.” (Ibid.; p. 3.)

20. “Just days before the Nov. 7 election, Charles Kane and his buddy Thomas Hauck were laboring in front of a computer at the local Republican headquarters in Stuart, supposedly as part of their party’s sophisticated but botched statewide effort to get out the absentee vote. A printing company had failed to put the required voter identification numbers on thousands of absentee ballot request forms that were mailed to voters. So Hauck and Kane got busy in Martin County, aided by a Republican supervisor of elections who let them remove forms from her office.” (Idem.)

21. Daniel notes that Kane’s access to the printing company forms may have led to fraud in other parts of Florida, since the same forms were used all over the state. “Kane, who chaired the 2000 Bush-Cheney campaign in Martin County, supposedly read the numbers from the party’s database. Hauck, the local GOP treasurer and a 20-year veteran of local campaigns, supposedly filled in the blanks on the request forms. But the printing company’s forms were used state-wide. Had this perhaps ‘convenient’ fact been used as an excuse to allow illegal access in other places in Florida as well? The question was never answered.” (Idem.)

22. Still more about the absentee ballots and the role they may have played in both the Martin County voting results and in the results of Florida as a whole: “Moreover, while Gov. George W. Bush edged Vice President Al Gore by 56 percent to 44 percent in Martin County, the absentee votes—control of which violated the rules of chain of custody—broke nearly 2 to 1 for Bush. . . . Other tantalizing clues have emerged, like the recent statements made by Jeff Fisher, Democratic candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives from Florida’s 16th District, which, curiously, encompasses both Martin as well as Palm Beach County, where the vote count has been disputed in an analysis by UC Berkeley researchers. Fisher has evidence, he says, not only that the Florida election was hacked, but of who hacked it and how. Perhaps the proof of vote tampering, if proof is ever found, will be found by piercing through the implausible explanation offered for Charlie Kane’s illegal access to election records . . .” (Idem.)

23. In another of Daniel’s articles on voter fraud, he returns to the subject of Sequoia Pacific, its relationship to ES&S and evidence of electoral fraud in Florida. Exemplifying the shady oversight of the electoral process in Florida is Deborah Clark, appointed by Jeb Bush to the office of Supervisor of Elections in Pinellas County. And once again, we see gambling initiatives figuring in the scenario. “I’m shocked—shocked—to learn that there’s gambling going on in this establishment!” ” . . . The office of Supervisor of Elections in Pinellas County, Deborah Clark, provided inflated totals on the YES side of the gambling initiative which were then used by state officials in the official state tally of the hotly-contested gambling initiative known as Amendment 4. The initiative would allow casino slot machine gambling in South Florida, an outcome devoutly to be wished by owners of the spanking new $700 million Hard Rock Café Casino in Hollywood, Florida, a facility all dressed up but with currently nowhere to go.”
(“‘Fraud by Computer’ in Florida: Election Official Thwarts Recount Using Phony Vote Totals” by Daniel Hopsicker; MadCowMorningNews; 12/14/2004; p. 1.)

24. Daniel relates Deborah Clark’s curious behavior with regard to the gambling initiative: “Pinellas County voters defeated the gambling initiative by more than 17,000 votes. But t

he official state record says the exact opposite, the result of a ‘mistake’ by the office of Pinellas Elections Supervisor which would have gone unnoticed, said local reports, had it not been caught by outside observers. A recount of Florida’s votes on the state gambling initiative offered an opportunity to correlate what was found with what are so far just ‘theories’ of how the Presidential election in Florida might have been stolen. Deborah Clark provided an extra 34,000 votes on the YES side of the initiative, sufficient to legally preclude what would have otherwise been a mandated recount.” (Ibid.; pp. 1-2.)

25. Returning to the incestuous relationship between Sequoia Pacific and ES&S, the discussion highlights Deborah Clark’s husband Richard, after noting that a recount of votes on the gambling initiative might very well have shed light on how the vote was manipulated for the presidential race. “As a longtime top executive with ES&S, the company which counts more than half the U.S. vote, Richard Clark probably had more to lose from a recount than almost anyone alive. . . . Should rumored anomalies surface in the recount, the fortunes of any elections firms involved would no doubt suffer. A recount of the gambling initiative, known as Amendment 4, election experts said, would have offered clues as to how and why 90,000 extra YES votes for gambling were recorded in Broward County, for example. This number is almost equal to the ‘extra’ votes for President Bush cast in Broward County, which researchers say were inexplicable except through manipulated electronic vote tabulation—which were counted in the same county’s tally.” (Ibid.; pp. 2-3.)

26. More about Deborah Clark’s husband Richard and his professional involvement with ES&S and Sequoia: ” . . . More seriously, while Deborah Clark had worked as a top official in the Pinellas Supervisor of Elections Office, her husband Richard Clark’s employer Elections Systems & Software, was awarded more than $400,000 in business with the office, and was up for a lucrative contract worth as much as $15-million to sell new voting machines to Pinellas County. . .” (Ibid.; p. 3.)

27. When reading the text that follows, recall the incestuous nature of the relationship between ES&S and Sequoia discussed above. The two supposedly competing companies swap machines back and forth. ” . . . He [Clark] said he quit ES&S for about five years, having joined the firm when it acquired the company that previously employed him, Business Records Corp. [For more about Business Records Corp. and its connections to the ultra right-wing Hunt family of Texas, see FTR#470.] But Clark said he quit ES&S just before his wife was named elections supervisor because he was worried that his employment with the firm could appear as a conflict. But so far, Clark’s new company, Richard A. Clark Enterprises, works for just one company, ES&S. The selection process in Pinellas County became mired in ethical conflicts after county commissioners learned in July 2001 that ES&S had ‘very’ close ties to Deborah Clark.” (Ibid.; p. 5.)

28. ” . . . Even Clark’s deputy administrator, Karen Butler, is a sister of Sandra Mortham, Florida’s former secretary of state and a lobbyist for ES&S before the state legislature. . . .” (Idem.)

29. More about Richard Clark and his relationship with the incestuously-related ES&S and Sequoia Pacific and the latter’s relationship with organized crime, including the Louisiana scandal: ” . . . Clark had been working in Birmingham, Ala. as an independent contractor, after resigning from the company. . . Apparently, no one noticed that when Richard Clark went to Birmingham, another Birmingham election exec, Phil Foster, was being indicted on felony bribery charges. Foster, a regional sales vice president was allegedly involved in a conspiracy and money-laundering scheme that involved the sale of machine parts at inflated prices and kickbacks of nearly $600,000. Pinellas commissioners were surprised when the St. Petersberg Times reported that Foster, a key employee for front-runner Sequoia Voting Systems, had been indicted for the elections kickback scheme in Louisiana. . . .” (Ibid.; pp. 5-6.)

30. ” . . . Testimony in Federal Court in Baton Rouge revealed that, in fact, Sequoia had engineered the complex scheme, an action which provides yet another election irony. Pinellas Commission Chairman Calvin Harris told the Times he assumed the state had checked out the competing companies while their machines were being certified. Not so, said Clay Roberts, director of the state’s Division of Elections, who maintained that background checks were a job for counties. So while the state of Florida was death on voting by convicted felons, there were no safeguards in place to prevent the votes from being counted by felons. . . .” (Ibid.; p. 6.)

31. It is interesting to note Deborah Clark’s capricious views on spending for voting technology. She was against spending $2 million to retrofit Pinellas County’s machines. But she was in favor of spending $14 million on Sequoia machines in the first place. ” . . . Although she hadn’t shown much concern over spending $14 million on the machines, she said that the $2 million expense of retrofitting Pinellas County’s new touch screen voting machines to generate a receipt for voters which would verify how their ballots were cast was unnecessary. The county’s touch screen voting system, built by Sequoia Voting Systems, was safe from tampering.” (Ibid.; p. 5.)

32. Before returning to the Florida vote subterfuge, let’s once again note the presence of gambling (” . . . shocked, shocked!”) in the environment of the crooked voting machine companies. ” . . . For why this happens, there’s no better example than. . . . where else? Las Vegas. . . Back in 1993-94, many observers wondered why new Clark County elections chief Kathryn Ferguson would commit to what turned out to be tens of millions of dollars in expenditures to adopt Sequoia Pacific’s electronic voting machines. So determined was Ms. Ferguson to buy the Sequoia machines for Las Vegas that a former member of her elections department team stated Ferguson resorted to the simple exigency of having Sequoia Pacific’s representative send a list of bid specifications designed so that Sequoia’s machines were the only ones that could meet them. [Emphasis added.].” (Ibid.; p. 7.)

33. Note again the incestuous relationship between ES&S and Sequoia: “This hardly seems sporting. And it’s definitely illegal. Asked at the time, Ferguson said she had no concern that her acceptance of a job at Sequoia Pacific might appear to be a payoff for favors rendered. Today, Kathryn Ferguson is ES&S’s chief spokesman. She’s good to go.” (Idem.)

34. At times, the vote snafus in Florida were of truly comical proportions. In a 2002 primary election, Hillsborough County recorded a total of 118,699 votes for state attorney. Consider the following: ” . . . A total of 118,699 people turned out to vote countywide. But somehow, 125,891 voted in the race for state attorney.” (Idem.)

35. One town in Hillsborough county was remarkable for its performance in that same primary election: ” . . . For example, in the Aug. 31, 2002 primary, the population of an entire small town—12,498 voters—appeared at the polls in Hillsborough County and apparently decided not to vote in the race for state attorney. The town cast votes in all the other contests, but not in the race for state attorney. Had there been a town-wide secret pact?” (Ibid.; p. 3.)

36. In the 2004 election, there were two suspicious terror alerts—one in Warren County (Ohio) and one in Tallahassee (Florida). It appears altogether possible that the evacuations resulting from the alerts permitted vote tampering. ” . . . In Ohio, there was the famous ‘Warren County Lockdown’ because of ‘terror’ threats, and in Florida, a ‘bomb threat’ at the State Elections Office in Tallahassee. The State Elections Office in Tallahassee holds, of course, that state’s main tabulating computers. . .”
(“Back in the USSR”, p.4.)

37. ” . . . ‘The Republican-dominated (Warren Ohio) County threw out all the media and independent vote watchers when votes were being counted at the end of Election Day, claiming ‘homeland security’ issues.'” (Idem.)

38. The circumstances in Tallahassee are suspicious as well. Note the nature of the “threat” that necessitated the evacuation of the building housing the central tabulating computer. What happened during that evacuation? ” ‘State elections workers got off to a slow start this morning after Tallahassee police evacuated their building. Investigators called in the bomb squad after finding a suspicious package.’ The events seem strangely similar. Moreover, the explanation given in Florida lacks a certain je ne sais quoi, we discovered in an area that stores quilts and other artwork that is part of the department’s historic archive.’ The package turned out to be a bundle of documents, supposedly being blown by an air vent. . . . ‘Calling out the troops’ to protect Florida’s collection of quilts seems a dubious excuse. . . made far more suspicious by the unfortunate box’s proximity to the state’s central tabulating computer on the eve of the election. They must be some really important quilts.” (Ibid.; pp. 4-5.)

39. The last article (as of the time FTR#494 was recorded) that Daniel published on electoral fraud draws connections between Wally Hilliard (of Huffman Aviation) and Adnan Khashoggi, the Egyptian-born Saudi weapons dealer who was a principal figure in the Iran-Contra scandal. Daniel uncovered trips that Hilliard had made to Castro’s Cuba. “While both of the terrorist pilots who crashed into the World Trade Center were students at Venice Florida’s Huffman Aviation, the flight school’s owner Wallace J. Hilliard, 72, of Naples, Fl., was simultaneously pursuing his own diplomatic opening to Fidel Castro’s Cuba. A photograph recently made available to the MadCowMorningNews shows a smiling Hilliard strapping a Rolex with the must-have diamond beveled-face onto the presumably grateful wrist of one of Fidel Castro’s top aides, Guillermo Garcia Frias, known in Cuba as ‘the Commandante of the Revolution.'”
(“Rogue State: the Covert Op that Ate the World” by Daniel Hopsicker; MadCowMorningNews; 1/4/2005; p. 1.)

40. What was Hilliard doing in Havana? ” . . . Hilliard was looking to cut a deal with Castro, said Rob Tiller, who provided the photograph, to buy a 10,000 acre cattle ranch on the island for the Mormon Church in Utah, reportedly in anticipation of the resumption of normal diplomatic relations between Cuba and the United States.” (Ibid.; p. 2.)

41. Next, Daniel ties Hilliard in with Adnan Khashoggi. They appear to be involved in an effort to secure landing rights on Rum Cay in the Caribbean, apparently in connection with drug smuggling activities. ” . . . But it’s Hilliard’s involvement with Adnan Khashoggi, the Saudi billionaire and international fugitive, which is most intriguing. We learned of it from a business rival of the two men, both vying for rights to build a casino on a remote island in the Bahamas. Like a ‘bandit cab’ in the air, Hilliard’s Lear jet was flying without any apparent official sanction. Though the FAA license under which it operated has been suspended, (that of Air Florida, belonging to Pakistani Pervez Khan) the plane was making regular runs to the Bahamas. We received a photo taken in Rum Cay attesting to its presence bolstering one side in a struggle for control of the isolated island and its coveted runway, which had recently been upgraded for jets.” (Ibid.; p. 4.)

42. “Located 375 miles to the southeast of Ft. Lauderdale in the remote southeastern Bahamas, Rum Cay, we soon learned, is the very definition of ‘secluded.’ In fact, that’s its charm. The island once served as a refuge for pirates, and had been a center of gun-running during the American Civil War before growing to true prominence during Prohibition as a port used for boot-legging. What was going on at Rum Cay was that there was a new runway, which now allowed private jets like Hilliard’s Lear to land on the island. Local newspapers were running regular items with headlines like ‘Cops Seize $50 Million in Drugs.'” (Idem.)

43. “The reputed head of one group vying for control was a South African named Lesley Greyling, reportedly fronting for Khashoggi. News accounts about Mr. Greyling relied rather heavily on the ‘M’ word. . . . Mobster. But not a mobster of the ‘dese dem & dose’ variety. . . Greyling helmed a Palm Beach company, Members Service Corp., whose chairman was former Republican Governor of Florida Claude Kirk, and included noted attorney F. Lee Bailey, and Saudi arms dealer Adnan Khashoggi. Greyling was said to be also considering helping the Saudi arms merchant and Iran-Contra middleman build a casino on the Gaza Strip. Saudis and the Mob and terror flight school owner Wally Hilliard all bumping chests together in the world’s Bermuda Triangle of narcotics trafficking. It’s a Strange Brew. . . .” (Ibid.; pp. 4-5.)

44. Evidence suggests that Khashoggi may be involved with companies implicated in some of the funky vote technology. (Note that this link has not been completely “closed” as yet.) ” . . . Hilliard is in business, to cite one example, with Saudi billionaire arms dealer and international fugitive Adnan Khashoggi, whose name has now surfaced in connection with at least one, and possibly two, American election companies mired in controversy. The story which follows is of vital current interest only for what it reveals about the milieu in which the 2004 election was fixed. . . .” (Ibid.; p. 5.)

45. ” . . . Was Adnan Khashoggi a principal in a company which has been counting the votes of American servicemen overseas? Answer: highly likely. Both Election.com and Triad, the election company cited for causing most of the problems in Ohio, should receive close scrutiny for evidence of Khashoggi involvement.” (Ibid.; p. 7.)

46. Next, Daniel notes that Khashoggi has been involved with a number of enterprises named “Triad.” Whether he was in any way involved with the election machine company of the same name remains to be seen. “While there has been no suggestion of it anywhere in the media, the name ‘Triad’ was used extensively by Khashoggi at exactly the same time (the early 80’s) and in exactly the same place (Palm Beach, Florida) as the ‘Triad Governmental Systems’ involved in Ohio’s current election ‘difficulties.’ Khashoggi owned a number of companies named ‘Triad.’ Khashoggi owned ‘Triad International Marketing.’ ‘Northrop the Los Angeles-based aircraft and electronics manufacturer owes Triad International Marketing, S.A., a Liechtenstein corporation controlled by Khashoggi. $31 million in commissions on sales to the Saudi air force,’ reported the L.A. Times on August 29, 1987. Kashoggi owned ‘Triad America.’ ‘Creditors claim they are owed more than $100 million by Triad America and its subsidiaries. . . in Salt Lake City. Leonard Gumport, the court-appointed examiner, also is recommending that Triad America seek repayment of the $189.2 million loaned to companies controlled by the Khashoggis,’ reported the Salt Lake Tribune.” (Idem.)

47. “In 1982, Khashoggi owned Triad Farms in Kentucky. In The Bluegrass Conspiracy by Sally Denton, she revealed that the large drug smuggling operation called ‘The Company,’ [had] headquarters near Lexington, Kentucky, at Triad Farms, owned by Khashoggi. That’s just about the same time (1982) that TRIAD Governmental Systems was founded. From the company’s literature: ‘TRIAD Governmental Systems, Inc., is a nationally recognized corporation that is committed to providing quality, computer based systems for governmental voting units. Incorporated in 1982, TRIAD GSI was founded to provide quality support and services for Rapp Systems’ Election products, with election experience that spans a quarter of a century.” (Idem.)

48. Triad had problems as far back as 1988. “We also discovered that a strikingly similar allegation of Triad employee tampering was lodged against the company all the way back in 1988. . . According to Jackie Beville, a former employee of the Supervisor of Elections in Hillsborough County, Triad workers adjusted the software to clear up a ballot-counting problem shortly before the election, and the machinery should then have been re-certified following the work. When questioned she was told that Triad workers were just fixing problems caused by a lightning strike. Beville disputes that the weather had anything to do with the repair work. But even if it did, ‘My question is, why was it a secret? The party chairmen were not called in. The canvassing board was not notified. The Division of Elections was not notified.” (Idem.)

49. “‘Why was I forbidden to mention it? If the party chairmen and division had been notified, it may not have been a big deal. But it should have been made public. Everyone has a right to know.’ Triad manufactures punch-card voting systems, and also wrote the computer program that tallied the punch-card votes cast in 41 Ohio counties last November. The company is owned by a man named Tod Rapp, who has donated money to the Republican Party as well as the election campaign of George W. Bush. Given the broad distribution of Triad voting systems in Ohio, the allegations that have been leveled against this company strike to the heart of the assumed result of the 2004 election. And not just Triad. . . .” (Ibid.; pp. 7-8.)

Discussion

7 comments for “FTR #493-494 Two Interviews with Daniel Hopsicker about Electoral Fraud”

  1. Don’t worry ES&S: Hart-Intercivic may be getting most of the vote-theft attention this year, but you’re still a very component of the GOP’s vote-rigging scheme:

    Ohio Official: Voting Machine Lawsuit ‘Ridiculous’

    By: Associated Press | NBC4
    Published: November 05, 2012
    Updated: November 05, 2012 – 11:22 PM

    COLUMBUS, Ohio — A lawsuit filed on the eve of Election Day alleges that software in some state voting equipment could make results vulnerable to being altered after ballots have been cast.

    The federal lawsuit against Ohio’s elections chief and Omaha, Neb.-based Election Systems and Software alleges that software installed by the state could allow vote manipulation by non-election board officials.

    A “back door” in ES&S software and hardware creates “an imminent risk” that people not supervised by election boards could “alter the recording and tabulation of votes cast by Ohio voters in the General Election,” according to the lawsuit, filed Monday on behalf of Bob Fitrakis, a longtime Ohio elections activist.

    The lawsuit asks a judge to order Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted, a Republican, not to use ES&S hardware or software on Tuesday and to break state contracts with ES&S for equipment to be used this year. A hearing was scheduled for Tuesday morning.

    A Husted spokesman called the lawsuit “ridiculous,” saying the software allows faster transmission of results from county election boards to the reporting system after polls close. Spokesman Matt McClellan said it has nothing to do with voting machines, only the results that are tabulated afterward.

    “Without this tool, we’re basically going to set election night reporting back a number of years to where officials would be hand-entering results into our system,” he said.

    The equipment is in Ohio’s 25 most populous counties, said Columbus attorney Cliff Arnebeck, who filed the lawsuit.

    “The claim is frivolous, without merit, and appears to have been filed on election eve with the sole intent of undermining voter confidence,” ES&S said in an emailed statement.

    Also Monday, Husted defended an order he issued late last week that places the responsibility of explaining what kind of identification voters use on provisional ballots on the voters themselves.

    The order requires voters to check a box explaining what ID they can offer if they weren’t able to provide the last four digits of their Social Security numbers or their Ohio driver’s license numbers. Alternative ID could include a military ID or a utility bill.

    Voter advocates say putting the requirement on voters increases the likelihood that ballots could be wrongly rejected.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | November 6, 2012, 2:29 pm
  2. Sung to the tune of It’s Only A Paper Moon

    I never feel a vote is real
    When I’m away from paper
    Out of the embrace of pen
    The fix is in and we all pretend

    Mmm, mm, mm, mm
    To buy the fantasy for another term
    Mmm, mm, mm, mm
    The suits smile, the totals have a smell about them

    Say……….
    Its only a paper ballot
    Sailing into a cardboard box
    But it wouldn’t be make-believe
    If we burned down Hart InterCivic

    Yeah, the rhymes get a little rough in places. My bad.

    Posted by Dwight | November 6, 2012, 10:08 pm
  3. Posted by Pterrafractyl | November 16, 2012, 1:22 pm
  4. Great, Antonin Scalia seems to think the landmark Voting Rights Act is “a perpetuation of racial entitlement“:

    TPM
    Scalia: Voting Rights Act Is A ‘Perpetuation Of Racial Entitlement’
    Sahil Kapur February 27, 2013, 1:40 PM

    In expressing his deep skepticism Wednesday for the constitutionality of a centerpiece of the Voting Rights Act, Justice Antonin Scalia questioned the motivations of Congress for repeatedly reauthorizing it since it was initially passed in 1965.

    “I don’t think there is anything to be gained by any Senator to vote against continuation of this act,” Scalia said during oral arguments in Shelby County v. Holder. “They are going to lose votes if they do not reenact the Voting Rights Act. Even the name of it is wonderful — the Voting Rights Act. Who is going to vote against that in the future?”

    At issue was the constitutionality of Section 5 of the 1965 law, which requires state and local governments with a history of racial discrimination to pre-clear any changes to their voting laws with the Justice Department prior to enacting them.

    Congress has renewed the law four times, most recently in 2006 for a period of 25 years. The margin of victory was 99-0 in the Senate and 390-33 in the House.

    Scalia attributed the repeated renewal of Section 5 to a “perpetuation of racial entitlement.” He said, “Whenever a society adopts racial entitlements, it is very difficult to get out of them through the normal political processes.”

    If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. And if that doesn’t work, call in the Supremes:

    Think Progress
    What Happens If The Voting Rights Act Loses In The Supreme Court

    By Ian Millhiser on Feb 26, 2013 at 12:00 pm

    We do not have to guess what the states currently subject to a key provision of the Voting Rights Act will do if the Supreme Court grants their wish to have that provision declared unconstitutional — top Republicans in those states have already told us. In a brief filed last August, Republican attorneys general from six of the states covered, at least in part, by Section 5 of the Voting Right Act complained that this landmark legislation is all that stands between them and implementing a common method of disenfranchising minority voters. Two of those states, South Carolina and Texas, admit that the Voting Rights Act stopped them from implementing a voter suppression law their governors already signed.

    The Voting Rights Act, of course, protects against laws that expose minority voters to greater burdens than other voters. Section 5, the provision that the Supreme Court will consider tomorrow, requires parts of the country that have historically engaged in voter suppression to “pre-clear” any new voting laws with the Justice Department or a federal court in DC to make sure they do not impose racial burdens. Thus, voter suppression laws such as voter ID can be blocked before an election is held, preventing officials from being elected to office by an electorate that has been unlawfully culled of minority voters.

    Lest there be any doubt, voter ID laws are just one of many tactics Republican lawmakers have turned to in order to reshape the electorate into something more likely to elect their favored candidates. Cuts to early voting days did not simply lead to long lines in states like Florida, they were also a direct attack on minority voters. As one Republican consultant admitted after last November’s election, “I know that the cutting out of the Sunday before Election Day was one of [the Florida GOP’s] targets only because that’s a big day when the black churches organize themselves.” Voter purges targeted Latino voters. Republican laws restricting voter registration also cut into the minority vote, as “Hispanic and African-American voters are approximately twice as likely to register to vote through a voter registration drive as white voters.”

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | February 27, 2013, 1:45 pm
  5. Virginia just banned a type of voting machine used in ~20% of the state’s precincts that turn out to be appallingly easy to hack and had easily guessable passwords. And if they are hacked there’s no way to know. Investigators first discovered the security flaw on election day last November when machines in one county started shutting down randomly. Fortunately, experts are unable to point to any evidence of tampering on the machines. Unfortunately, we just have to hope that’s the case since there’s no way to know:

    NPR
    Vulnerable Voting Machine Raises Questions About Election Security
    April 16, 2015 5:03 AM ET

    Pam Fessler

    Computer security experts have warned for years that some voting machines are vulnerable to attack. And this week, in Virginia, the state Board of Elections decided to impose an immediate ban on touchscreen voting machines used in 20 percent of the state’s precincts, because of newly discovered security concerns.

    The problems emerged on Election Day last November in Spotsylvania County. The AVS WINVote touchscreen machines used in precinct 302 began to shut down.

    “One machine would go and crash. They’d bring it back up. Another one would crash,” said Edgardo Cortes, the state’s elections commissioner. “Starting in the early afternoon, they brought in a piece of replacement equipment that experienced the same issues when they set it up in the precinct.”

    Cortes added that elections workers had a theory about what had caused the problem.

    “There was some interference,” he said, “potentially from a wireless signal from an election officer [who] was streaming music on their phone.”

    When state auditors investigated, though, they didn’t find that particular problem. Instead, they found something more disturbing. While using their smartphones, they were able to connect to the voting machines’ wireless network, which is used to tally votes.

    Other state investigators easily guessed the system’s passwords — in one case, it was “abcde” — and were then able to change the vote counts remotely without detection.

    Jeremy Epstein is co-founder of Virginia Verified Voting and one of many computer experts who had warned about the security flaws. He’s not at all surprised by the state’s findings. He said there’s no evidence that anyone has ever tampered with Virginia’s voting machines, but if they had, there’s no way to tell.

    Epstein said the vulnerabilities could be used to create a lot of mischief, “to change the list of races, change the list of candidates, change the votes that have been recorded, change the totals recorded, things like that.”

    The state board of elections found that risk unacceptable and voted to decertify the equipment immediately. But the decision leaves officials in 30 counties and cities scrambling to find replacements, in some cases as early as June, when some hold primaries.

    The good news, is that these machines — purchased over a decade ago — are no longer made or used anywhere else in the country. But the Virginia action comes amid growing concern that much of the nation’s voting equipment is getting old and outdated and will need to be replaced soon.

    Patrick said the biggest obstacle for localities will be finding enough money to buy new equipment. And that’s the challenge now for Virginia localities that had hoped to eke out another election or two using the old machines.

    Fairfax City officials say it will cost them about $130,000 to replace the WINVote machines. And they’re upset. They never had any problems, and the city’s general registrar, Kevin Linehan, thinks setting up a new voting system too quickly poses a greater risk to voters than a hypothetical hacker.

    “My most vulnerable aspect of running an election is having properly trained officers of election. I’m looking at a very short timeline getting my officers trained in a whole new system,” he told the state board.

    Karen Alexander also isn’t sure what to do. She runs elections in Powhatan County and has a primary in June. Still, she thinks the state made the right move.

    “I would feel very uncomfortable using the WINVotes,” she said. “I wouldn’t want my voters to know what I know and feel they had to vote on these machines. The security risk is too high. “

    She said her county might borrow equipment from a neighboring county to get through the primary. Or, since only a few hundred voters are expected, they might count ballots the old fashioned way — by hand.

    That’s some great spin:

    The good news, is that these machines — purchased over a decade ago — are no longer made or used anywhere else in the country. But the Virginia action comes amid growing concern that much of the nation’s voting equipment is getting old and outdated and will need to be replaced soon.

    Good news! The machines that allowed for untraceable tampering have been in use so long they’re going to have to be replaced soon!

    Of course, that point at the end really was some pretty good news:

    She said her county might borrow equipment from a neighboring county to get through the primary. Or, since only a few hundred voters are expected, they might count ballots the old fashioned way — by hand”.

    Yes, election officials are actually considering counting by hand again. Has America finally healed from the psychological trauma of the chad-pocalypse? What’s next?

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | April 16, 2015, 5:09 pm
  6. So apparently a large number of Kentucky voters were voting for Democrats for offices like Attorney General and state Auditor, but for some reason decided to vote for the Tea Party guy that was lagging in the polls and pledge to dismantle the state’s highly popular healthcare program. Either that or something else was going on with the vote…:

    Brad Blog
    Questioning the Unverified Computer Results of Kentucky’s Governor’s Race: ‘BradCast’ 11/4/2015
    GUEST: Karoli Kuns of CrooksAndLiars.com…

    By Brad Friedman on 11/4/2015, 5:21pm PT

    It is a primal scream of a BradCast today, following what happened — once again — on Election Day yesterday. We see, again, the nightmare scenario I’ve warned about for so many years: a U.S. election where all of the pre-election polls suggest Candidate X is set to win, but Candidate Y ends up winning by a huge margin instead and nobody even bothers to verify that the computer tabulated results accurately reflect the intent of the voters. (Audio link to today’s full show is below.)

    That’s exactly what happened in Kentucky on Tuesday, where Democratic Attorney General Jack Conway was leading by a fair margin (about 3 to 5 points) in almost every pre-election poll in his race for Governor, but then ended up being announced as the loser to ‘Tea Party’ Republican candidate Matt Bevin by a landslide (almost 9 points) — according to the state’s 100% unverified computer tabulation systems.

    As detailed on today’s program with my guest Karoli Kuns of Crooks And Liars, there are a number of reasons to question the reported results. Among them, as Kunspoints out today at C&L, the Democrats running in the down ballot races — for Secretary of State, Attorney General (Conway’s current job) and even state Auditor — each reportedly received tens of thousands more votes than Conway did at the top of the ticket!

    Bev Harris, of BlackBoxVoting.org, who I spoke with earlier today, described the higher vote totals in the down ballot races as a “significant anomaly”. She tells me that, at least until more records are requested and examined, the KY-Gov’s race “has to be looked at as a questionable outcome, particularly because of the discrepancies in the down ballot races. More votes in those races and not at the top…that just doesn’t happen.”

    (Here is a link to a helpful Public Records Request toolkit [PDF] from Black Box Voting for those of you who may be interested in helping to try and obtain some transparency in this race, as we also discussed on today’s program.)

    There are many other reasons for supporters to question the reported results in the KY-Gov’s race, as I detail during the show. Of course, the reported results could also be completely accurate. But, without public, human examination of the hand-marked paper ballots (which, thankfully, now actually exist across most of the state!) and other related records, we have yet another unverified, 100% faith-based election to leave supporters wondering if they really won or lost.

    We’ve seen this before, of course. Too many times. We’ve seen malfunctioning paper ballot op-scan systems report losers as “winners” until a hand-count corrects the record. We’ve seen how easy it is for hackers to game election equipment. We’ve seen election insiders, even as recently as last week, breaking in to computerized central tabulators. And we’ve even seen high-ranking election officials in Kentucky (including County Clerks, Circuit Court Judges and School Superintendents!) convicted for decades of insider election fraud, including the manipulation of electronic voting systems.

    We’ve seen both Democrats and Republicans alike fall victim to similarly anomalous and unverified results. And, while none of it bodes well for 2016 and beyond, neither does it bode well for those immediately and directly impacted by Tuesday’s elections — such as the 400,000 Kentuckyians who stand to lose health care under a new Republican Governor who has vowed to shut down the state’s expansion of coverage under ObamaCare by the very popular if term-limited and outgoing Democratic Governor.

    “We’ve seen this before, of course. Too many times.”
    Yep. And if America’s aging electronic voting machines, many of which were never vetted or vetted using standards that are now known to be flawed, don’t get replaced soon, we’re going to see this a lot more:

    Wired

    The Dismal State of America’s Decade-Old Voting Machines

    Kim Zetter
    09.15.15 12:01 am.

    As the US presidential election season heats up, the public has focused on the candidates vying for the nation’s top office. But whether Donald Trump will secure the Republican nomination is secondary to a more serious quandary: whether the nation’s voting machines will hold up when Americans head to the polls in 2016.

    Nearly every state is using electronic touchscreen and optical-scan voting systems that are at least a decade old, according to a report by the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law (.pdf). Beyond the fact the machines are technologically antiquated, after years of wear and tear, states are reporting increasing problems with degrading touchscreens, worn-out modems for transmitting election results, and failing motherboards and memory cards.

    States using machines that are at least 15 years old include Florida, Kentucky, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Texas, Virginia, and Washington, which means they are far behind even a casual tech user in keeping pace with technological advancements.
    The average lifespan of a laptop computer is three to five years, after which most consumers and businesses replace their machines. Computer users also generally upgrade their operating systems every other year or so as Microsoft and Apple release major software overhauls—including security upgrades. But US voting machines, which are responsible for overseeing the most important election in the country, have failed to keep up.

    “No one expects a laptop to last for 10 years. How can we expect these machines, many of which were designed and engineered in the 1990s, to keep running?,” write Larry Norden and Christopher Famighetti, authors of the Brennan Center report. “[T]he majority of systems in use today are either perilously close to or past their expected lifespans.”

    What’s more, many of the machines are running an embedded version of Windows XP, an operating system MMicrosoft no longer supports or is about to stop supporting, depending upon the version of XP the system is using. That means Microsoft won produce patches for any new security holes found in the software. Almost all of the machines in California run on XP, and some even run on Windows 2000.

    In addition to this problem, a number of voting machine vendors have gone out of business, making it difficult for states to find parts to service their machines. Forty-three states use systems that are no longer manufactured. Some election officials have resorted to scouring eBay for decommissioned equipment they can cannibalize to extend the life of their machines. Georgia was in such dire straits over the lack of parts for its voting machines that it hired a consultant to build customized hardware that could run its Windows 2000-based election system software..

    One of the most serious problems with aging machines is they are prone to crashes and screen freezes, which can lead to long lines at polling stations and disenfranchised voters who leave without casting ballots.

    “We have had motherboards go down—in essence the voting machine just stops working on Election Day because the motherboard is dead,” Joe Rozell, director of elections in Oakland County, Michigan, told the Brennan Center about his aging optical-scan machines.

    In 2013, New Mexico was having similar problems with the memory cards used with optical-scan machines it purchased in 2006. “As the machines got older, they had more and more functionality issues,” Maggie Toulouse Oliver, the county clerk in Bernalillo County, New Mexico, told the authors. “In particular there was a high failure rate for memory cards. It got so bad that we had to replace one-third of machines in every election.”

    Even more important are reliability and integrity issues with malfunctioning machines that fail to record votes, or record votes improperly. Numerous voting districts have reported calibration problems over the years with electronic touchscreen voting machines seemingly ““flipping” votes—that is, recording a vote for a different candidate than the one the voter selected onscreen.

    The federal government is well aware of the problem of aging machines. In January 2014, the Presidential Commission on Election Administration issued a report (.pdf) warning of an “impending crisis … from the widespread wearing out of voting machines purchased a decade ago.” But so far, lawmakers have done n
    othing to remedy the situation.

    Money Problems

    Most of the voting machines in question today were purchased after the contentious presidential race between Al Gore and George Bush in 2000, when the Supreme Court had to settle the Florida recount dispute. Election officials had been complaining for years beforehand about dangling chads and other problems with the machines, warning that they were an impending catastrophe. No one listened until it was too late.

    In 2002, Congress passed the Help America Vote Act, which allocated about $4 billion in federal funds to help states purchase new voting equipment. The bill also established the Election Assistance Commission (EAC) to develop voting standards and oversee federal testing and certification of new voting equipment.

    Most states replaced their antiquated punchcard and lever machines with new electronic touchscreen and optical-scan voting machines by 2006. But many of the machines installed then, which are still in use today, were never properly vetted—the initial voting standards and testing processes turned out to be highly flawed—and ultimately introduced new problems in the form of insecure software code and design.

    “For better and worse, by providing a huge infusion of money to replace voting equipment in 2002, Congress fundamentally changed the voting machine market, and it did so before new voting system standards or testing programs were in place,” the authors write.

    At least 28 states are using systems that were never EAC-certified because they were purchased prior to the establishment of the EAC’s standards, according to Famighetti, a Voting Rights Researcher for the Democracy Program at the Brennan Center. But even voting machines that the EAC did certify were held to a flawed standard, one that had been written years before the iPhone was on the market, he notes.

    “Today there are tougher security standards than there were years ago when all of these machines were bought,” he says. “The systems we’re using were not tested to the security standard that we consider necessary today.”

    Earlier this year, for example, Virginia decertified 3,000 voting machines used in about 30 counties after determining that there were severe security problems with the systems, including a poorly secured Wi-Fi feature for tallying votes that would have allowed someone to alter election results without leaving a trace. The machines had been used in hundreds of Virginia elections since 2003.

    Despite apparent problems with today’s voting machines, many election officials are reluctant to complain about their machines publicly, for fear of undermining voter and candidate confidence in the machines and election results.

    Officials in nearly three dozen states told the Brennan Center they’re interested in replacing their antiquated voting machines but don’t have money to do so. Most states have used up the Help America Vote Act funds allocated to them in 2002 to purchase the flawed machines they now have. The issue with aging voting machines cuts across class lines: wealthier election districts in some states have already found the money to buy new machines, while the poorer districts around them remain stuck with failing machines.

    The Brennan Center estimates that the cost of replacing systems would run more than $1 billion. Virginia spent about $12,000 per precinct to replace its voting machines this year, and last year New Mexico replaced its aging voting equipment at a cost of $12 million across the state.

    Although Norden and Famighetti say it’s probably too late for many districts to obtain the money to replace their machines before next year’s presidential election, there is still plenty that election officials can do in terms of proper storage, preventive maintenance, pre- and post-election testing of machines and contingency planning to prepare for possible failures on election day.

    “Ultimately, if a jurisdiction needs new machines, these precautionary recommendations can only serve as a stopgap, and are certainly no guarantee that problems will be avoided,” they write. “But if extra precautions are not taken, what is already an extremely worrying situation may be far worse.”

    “Officials in nearly three dozen states told the Brennan Center they’re interested in replacing their antiquated voting machines but don’t have money to do so. Most states have used up the Help America Vote Act funds allocated to them in 2002 to purchase the flawed machines they now have. The issue with aging voting machines cuts across class lines: wealthier election districts in some states have already found the money to buy new machines, while the poorer districts around them remain stuck with failing machines.
    Classy.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | November 6, 2015, 6:09 pm
  7. With the GOP once again in the midst of some sort of meltdown and establishment Republicans panicking over the possibility that either Donald Trump or Ben Carson could become the GOP nominee while others point out that Ted Cruz has a very real chance of taking that prize, it’s worth keeping in mind that there’s still a very good chance that the next president could be a Republican no matter who the GOP nominates. All they have to do is stay relatively close enough in the polls in key swing states like Ohio to make a surprise surge seem plausible, and let the machines do the rest:

    AlterNet
    New evidence emerges of vote counting subterfuge in Ohio pot ballot initiative

    Steven Rosenfeld,
    09 Nov 2015 at 21:59 ET

    More evidence is emerging calling into question the officially reported results of Tuesday’s marijuana legalization vote in Ohio, where Issue 3 was defeated by a two-to-one margin.

    On Friday, the Columbus Free Press published a series of screenshots of live televised election returns from Dayton’s WHIO-TV provided by Ohio’s Secretary of State. The sequence showed hundreds of thousands of votes flipped within minutes from the “yes” to “no” column of Issue 3. The controversial measure would have established a state-licensed cartel of 10 licensed growers operating regulated indoor grow sites of up to 300,000 square feet each. The pro-marijuana activist community was divided on the measure.

    The screenshots, posted below, show hundreds of thousands of votes flipping from the “yes” to the “no” column in 11 minutes, even though the number of precincts reporting only increased by 6 percent. In the first screenshot, with 39 percent of precincts reporting, the pot measure is winning 65-to-35 percent.

    [see screenshot]

    In the second screenshot those percentages are reversed, even though the number of precincts reporting results has only increased by 6 percent. Look at the number of votes in each column and you will see that hundreds of thousands have been jumped from supporting to opposing the measure.

    [see screenshot]

    Late on Friday, Bob Fitrakis, Free Press editor and publisher, received another set of screenshots taken by an Oberlin College faculty member on her cell phone from another media outlet in another part of the state. (Disclosure: Fitrakis, his colleague Harvey Wasserman and I co-authored a 2006 book documenting how Ohio Republicans rigged the rules and vote count in the 2004 presidential election that returned George W. Bush to the White House.)

    The first of these newly obtained screenshots shows Issue 3 passing statewide with 84 percent approval, based on 58 percent of precincts reporting. More than 700,000 voters are supporting legalization.

    [see screenshot]

    The next screenshot, taken seven minutes later, shows a dramatic reversal. Issue 3 now only has 35 percent voter approval, based on 67 percent of precincts reporting their tallies.

    [see screenshot]

    These screenshots raise substantial questions about the accuracy of the officially reported vote count. In the second screenshot, more than 1.3 million No votes have been added to the official results, yet the number of precincts reporting has only gone up by 8 percent. That does not make sense, because in Ohio, like the rest of the country, precincts are uniformly sized, even the largest ones. These results suggest there were more voters in the latest 8 percent of precincts reporting than the previous 58 percent.

    Moreover, if the second screenshot is accurate, it would appear that almost all precincts that were first to report were filled with pro-pot voters, while almost all of the voters in this latest wave of precincts were anti-legalization voters. Such a swing of the electoral pendulum seems questionable.

    Finally, it is odd that in both of these sets of screenshots the pro-pot vote settled at 35 percent.

    While there may be a logical explanation for these anomalies, these sets of screenshots, taken at different times in different parts of the state, suggest something is not right with how the state’s top election administrator—Secretary of State Jon Husted—managed the vote count.

    Looking toward 2016, Ohio is once again considered a swing state, meaning it will have an outsized role in electing the next president. These anomalies in Tuesday’s election should merit a thorough investigation of the state’s plans, especially when it comes to transparency and accountability of the 2016 vote count.

    Are you ready for President Cruz? You should be.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | November 13, 2015, 7:09 pm

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