Will the major media finally cover the electronic election fraud issue?
By Bob Fitrakis
and Harvey Wasserman
Online Journal Guest Writers
May 16, 2006, 00:45
That the presidential elections of 2000 and 2004 were stolen
has become an article of faith for millions of mainstream Americans. But there
has been barely a whiff of coverage in the major media about any problems with
the electronic voting machines that made those thefts possible -- until now.
A recent OpEdNews/Zogby
People's poll of Pennsylvania residents, found that �39 percent said that
the 2004 election was stolen. 54 percent said it was legitimate. But let�s look
at the demographics on this question. Of the people who watch Fox news as their
primary source of TV news, one half of one percent believe it was stolen and 99
percent believe it was legitimate. Among people who watched ANY other news
source but FOX, more felt the election was stolen than legitimate. The numbers
Here, from that poll, are the stations listed as first
choice by respondents and the percentage of respondents who thought the
election was stolen: CNN, 70 percent; MSNBC, 65 percent; CBS, 64 percent; ABC,
56 percent; Other, 56 percent; NBC, 49 percent; FOX 0.5 percent.
With 99 percent of Fox viewers believing that the election
was �legitimate,� only the constant propaganda of Rupert Murdoch�s
disinformation campaign stands in the way of a majority of Americans coming to
grips with the reality of two consecutive stolen elections.
That the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Washington
Post finally ran coverage of problems with electronic voting machines this week
is itself big news. It says the scandals surrounding computer fraud and
financial illegalities at Diebold and other electronic voting machine companies
have become simply too big and blatant for even the bought, docile mainstream
media (MSM) to ignore.
The gaping holes in the security of electronic voting
machines are pretty old news. Bev Harris's blackboxvoting.org has been issuing
definitive research since Florida 2000. Freepress.org warned of the impending
electronic theft of Ohio 2004 with Diebold machines eight months before it
After that election, Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) issued a
report confirming that security flaws could allow a single hacker with a wi-fi
to shift the vote counts at entire precincts just by driving by. Then the
Government Accountability Office reported that security flaws were vast and
unacceptable throughout the national network of electronic machines.
Despite overwhelming evidence that George W. Bush has
occupied the White House due to the fraudulent manipulations of the GOP
Secretaries of State in Florida and Ohio, none of this has seeped into
"journals of record" like the Times and Post.
Until this week. The Times was sparked out of its stupor on
May 11, after officials in California and Pennsylvania warned that Diebold
touch-screen machines, slated to be used in upcoming primaries, were hopelessly
compromised. Michael Shamos, a professor of computer science at Pittsburgh's
high-tech Carnegie-Mellon University, called it "the most severe security
flaw ever discovered in a voting system."
Douglas W. Jones, a computer science professor at the
University of Iowa, says "this is a barn door being wide open, while
people were arguing over the lock on the front door."
The Times refers to the uproar as "the latest concern
about touch-screen machines" while having completely ignored dozens of
complaints in Ohio 2004 that voters who selected John Kerry's name saw George
W. Bush's light up, or saw the light on Kerry's repeatedly go out before they
could complete the voting process.
The Wall Street Journal ran the following kicker: "Some
former backers of technology seek return to paper ballots, citing glitches,
The WSJ could have ran that story last year after the
bipartisan commission on federal election reform co-chaired by President Jimmy
Carter and former Secretary of State James Baker noted in no uncertain terms
that: "Software can be modified maliciously before being installed into
individual voting machines. There is no reason to trust insiders in the
election industry any more than in other industries."
Indeed. There's every reason because of the unprecedented
power and money involved in U.S. politics to trust them less than anybody else.
In its March 2006 primary, it took a week to tally Chicago's
votes because of technical problems in Sequoia Voting Systems equipment. In
Maryland, electronic voting scandals prompted a unanimous vote by the State
House of Delegate demanding that touch-screen machines be scrapped. The
Maryland Senate effectively killed that bill, which is certain to come back.
Citizen lawsuits are being filed in Arizona, California, New
York and New Mexico by the nonprofit Voter Action organization.
The new concerns about Diebold's equipment were discovered
by Harri Hursti, a Finnish computer expert who was working at the request of
Black Box Voting. The new report forced Diebold to warn of a "theoretical
security vulnerability" that "could potentially allow unauthorized
software to be loaded onto the system."
In other words, one of the prime manufacturers of the
machines on which America casts its votes has admitted those machines can be
But as the Times has finally reported, the company, in one
of the new century's most truly laughable letters, has claimed that "the
probability for exploiting this vulnerability to install unauthorized software
that could affect an election is considered low."
A company spokesman has admitted the flaw was actually built
into the system to allow election officials to upgrade their software. But
Diebold is apparently confident that those officials would never, ever cheat.
"For there to be a problem here, you're basically assuming a premise where
you have some evil and nefarious election officials who would sneak in and introduce
a piece of software," says Diebold's David Bear. "I don't believe
these evil elections people exist."
The Times has thus far chosen not to report on the
staggering history that frames such statements. As freepress.org reported in
2003, Diebold CEO Walden O'Dell promised in a GOP fundraising letter to
"deliver Ohio's electoral votes to George W. Bush." The election
chief in Florida 2000 was Katherine Harris. In Ohio 2004 it was J. Kenneth
Blackwell. Both controlled access to their state's electronic voting machines,
and are widely believed to have exploited their now obvious flaws. Both served
simultaneously as Secretary of State and as state co-chair of the Bush-Cheney
campaign. As of today, the electronic access cards for Ohio's electronic voting
machines have been ordered into Blackwell's personal office, despite the fact
that he is the GOP nominee for governor in the upcoming November election.
Recently passed House Bill 3 in Ohio does not mandate
post-election audits of electronic voting machines, nor does the Help American
Vote Act (HAVA) of 2002. The rush to electronic voting machines was fueled by
the passing of the HAVA Act, which authorized more than $3 billion in federal
funds to purchase new voting equipment. HAVA's principal architect was Rep. Bob
Ney (R-OH), whose financial ties to Diebold, through disgraced lobbyist Jack
Abramoff, have yet to be fully exposed.
Blackwell personally negotiated a no-bid contract for
Diebold touch-screen Direct Recording Electronic machines (DREs) while holding
stock in the company. Under HB3 Blackwell will decide whether the machines will
be audited or not in an election where he is running for governor.
"We're prepared for those types of problems," said
Deborah Hench, the registrar of voters in San Joaquin County, California,
according to The Times. "There are always activists that are
anti-electronic voting, and they're constantly trying to put pressure on us to
change our system."
Aviel Rubin, a professor of computer science at Johns
Hopkins University, did the first in-depth analysis of the security flaws in
the source code for Diebold touch-screen machines in 2003. After studying the
latest problem, The Times reported Rubin said: "I almost had a heart
attack. The implications of this are pretty astounding."
More coverage from the mainstream corporate media may
surface as the machines malfunction in the 22 primary elections scheduled in
May and June. The next major e-vote meltdown should occur during the May 16
primaries in Kentucky, Oregon and Pennsylvania.
There's still time to move to hand-counted paper ballots for
the November 2006 election. And if current trends continue, some of the
mainstream media may actually start reporting on the issue.
Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman are co-authors of "How
the GOP Stole America's 2004 Election and Is Rigging 2008".
They are co-editors, with Steve Rosenfeld, of "What Happened in
Ohio?" soon to be published by The New Press.
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