Think things have gotten bad for Diebold and friends? Something tells us they're about to get a whole lot worse.
HBO has just announced that they will be debuting Hacking Democracy, the long-awaited documentary film by Simon Ardizzone, Robert Carrillo Cohen and Russell Michaels, on November 2nd --- just days before millions of Americans will head to the polls to use all-new untested, inaccurate, hackable, electronic voting systems for the first time.
The BRAD BLOG received the first press release issued by HBO on this film late yesterday; it's posted in full at the end of this item.
We've yet to see the final version of the eagerly anticipated film (though we're told a screener is headed our way) but we've spent hours of time in conversation over the last year or two with both Michaels and Cohen as the pieces --- and the evidence --- were coming together.
We're told there are some remarkably damaging revelations to be seen --- and heard --- in the film, which includes not just interviews with Elections Officials, Computer Scientists, Security Experts, and Diebold Spokesliars, but loads of on-the-scene, first-hand documentary footage of some of the most remarkable and stunning moments during the long road of discovery in the E-Voting
Revolution Scam that's been perpetrated on American democracy before, during and since the 2004 Election.
The investigative film, nearly three years in the making, is said to lay out a devasting case against E-voting in general, and Diebold in particular. The film, previously known as VoterGate, was released on the Internet in a very short, barebones "Presidential Election Special" just prior to the 2004 Election. At the time, that early, quickly compiled version --- which was jaw-dropping in and of itself --- followed the early stages of investigations into electronic voting machine fraud, vulnerabilities, and malfunction by Bev Harris and the late Andy Stephenson of BlackBoxVoting.org.
The earlier clips were released for free on the Internet in 2004 when the filmmakers felt they had already acquired so much important footage that they felt a responsibility to do something with it before the Presidential Election.
But as remarkable as the revelations of that short version were, that was then and this is now: some two years, miles of footage, and at least two or more actual demonstrated voting machine hacks later. The now-retitled film includes scores of fresh never-before-seen interviews, damning statements, and documents, and culminates in one of the most devasting moments in E-voting's short and sordid history: The Leon County Florida Hack, by computer security expert Harri Hursti, of a Diebold optical-scan voting machine in December of 2005.
The filmmakers were there for that watershed moment when the legendary Supervisor of Elections in Leon County, Ion Sancho, allowed independent computer security experts the opportunity to try and hack his paper-based Diebold optical scan voting system. The result was a flipped mock election, with no trace of the hack left behind, save for the paper ballots (which, in Florida, are now illegal to examine by hand after they have already been counted by a machine.)
Diebold said it couldn't be done. Diebold, apparently, lied.
That hack resulted in shockwaves across the national electoral landscape as it revealed the very real consequences of what had, up until then, been a largely theoretical fear about the vulnerability of electronic voting machines to malicious tampering.
An election had now been flipped for the first time on an actual voting system, this one a paper-based Diebold model. The touch-screen systems, we would later learn, are even more vulnerable.
The Leon County Hack will be seen, as it occured, for the first time when HBO premiers the film just days before this November's general election, when millions of Americans will be using those same new, hackable, optical-scan and touch-screen voting systems made by Diebold, Sequoia, ES&S, Hart InterCivic, and others for the first time.
It's about to get much worse, indeed. We hope to have more on Hacking America in the coming days.
UPDATE 10/15/06: Details now available on HBO's site here...
HBO's complete first press release on the film, including a schedule of air-dates, follows in full...