w/ Brad & Desi
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NATIONWIDE STUDY FINDS ALMOST NO VOTER FRAUD
Just 10 cases of in-person impersonation in all 50 states since 2000...
VIDEO: 'Rise of the Tea Bags'
Brad interviews American patriots...
'Democracy's Gold Standard'
Hand-marked, hand-counted ballots...
GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...
|MORE BRAD BLOG 'SPECIAL COVERAGE' PAGES...|
It's been an exhausting day, as a few folks in the world are finally beginning to open their eyes, and realize that not counting ballots, and trusting instead, in error-prone, hackable machines for "faith-based results" doesn't make a lot of sense. Particularly in an election for which nobody --- and I mean nobody --- has come up with a legitimate explanation for the surprising results. Oh, there's been plenty of speculation, but no actual facts. So why it's so difficult for folks to realize that the biggest unknown here --- what the ballots actually said on them --- has gone wholly unexamined in 80% of NH, continues to elude me.
That point eludes Tribune Media Services columnist Bob Koehler too. So I hope you read his eye-opening take on that for Thursday's corporate mainstream papers.
As promised, in my long, and much-updated original piece from last night, first expressing concerns and asking questions about the NH results, folks today have been looking at the precinct numbers to compare the difference between those which "counted" ballots on Diebold op-scan systems (for about 80% of NH's voters), versus those that still hand-count ballots in the Granite State (about 20% of the votes).
Ben Moseley of The Contrarian, most succinctly covers what other folks have found as well today. Namely, a 7 point overall bump for Clinton over Obama where the machines were used instead of hand-counts...
Moseley responsibly notes, however, that there could well be other reasons for Clinton's popularity in areas where Diebold's machines are used, in lieu of actually counting ballots. For example, hand-counting in NH is generally done in the more rural areas and smaller precincts. Perhaps Obama is more popular, or Clinton less, in such areas for any number of reasons.
The comparisons are only anecdotally useful for that reason. However, had the hand-counted results matched up similarly to those in Diebold areas, it might well have been a sign that there was little to worry about. (Even if I personally think not counting ballots is always something to worry about. But that's just me, one of those whacky pro-Democracy fellers, I guess.)
Moseley a blogger and political science student from American University, writes about Clinton's Diebold bump: "Does this show election fraud? Right now I'm not sure, but the possibility definitely remains and must not be taken off the table."
Then, in two updates, he offers a coupla more eye-brow raisers...
Does the Secretary of State of New Hampshire have any idea that a key executive in the private firm that programs and "counts" 80% of the state's ballots on hackable, error-prone Diebold voting machines is a convicted narcotics trafficker?
In 1990, Ken Hajjar, the Director of Sales and Marketing for LHS Associates, and childhood friend of company owner John Silvestro, was arrested and pled guilty to charges of "Sale/CND" (Sale of Controlled Narcotics/Drugs) which earned him a 12 month sentence, according to documents received via a public records request and posted this evening at BlackBoxVoting.org.
LHS Associates, as BBV's Bev Harris points out, programs "every single voting machine in New Hampshire, Connecticut, almost all of Massachusetts, Vermont, and Maine."
Hajjar himself is also the the guy who showed up in BRAD BLOG comments, at one point last summer, to let us know we are "totally full of shit" and "deluded...paranoid...looney idealogues" to boot. Well, maybe. But at least we don't have a secret felony conviction, even while owning almost complete control over every vote cast and "counted" in New England.
The newly-revealed felon's impolitic rant here earned him the boot from the Secretary of State of Connecticut, where he is now barred from working, as guest blogger Dori Smith pointed out in another BRAD BLOG story last November, detailing the horrors that are LHS Associates, Silvestro and Hajjar.
When Smith asked Hajjar about his admission that he and his company regularly replace voting machine memory cards (the keys to the kingdom!) at will, in the middle of elections, he told her, "I mean, I don't pay attention to every little law."
Go check out Harris' new article tonight, which includes more details and the arrest record --- along with the note that "until recently, LHS employees were listed on the company Web site. Now the pages identifying who programs New England voting machines have been taken down."
Now ya know why.
Even if you still don't know who actually won the New Hampshire Primary.
(What say we actually count the ballots and put the questions to rest? Just sayin'...)
For good measure, we'll also post again below the rare video footage of Silvestro, along with the first-hand BBV footage of the infamous and stunning Leon County, FL hack of a Diebold optical-scan machine --- the very same ones used across NH on Tuesday --- and the one originally seen in HBO's Emmy-nominated Hacking Democracy...
Syndicated Tribune Media Services columnist Bob Koehler bumps up our serious concerns about last night's wholly untransparent, and still-uncounted (by anything but a hackable Diebold computer, and a company with an executive criminal past, to say the least) New Hampshire Primary election results, from "blogger conspiracy theory" to mainstream media concern.
Here are the first few grafs of his column, set to run in tomorrow's editions of subscribing mainstream media papers...
As the breathless sports coverage of the presidential primaries bursts around me this morning, I’m doing my best to resist surrendering to the contrived drama about “comeback kids” and the flying shrapnel of numbers and hold onto my troubled skepticism about the electoral process, or at least most of it.
First of all, before we get too enthusiastic about feminist solidarity or wax knowingly about New Hampshire Democrats’ traditional soft-heartedness toward the Clinton family, let’s ponder yet again the possibility of tainted results, which is such an unfun prospect most of the media can’t bear to remember that all the problems we’ve had with electronic voting machines — and Diebold machines in particular, which dominate New Hampshire polling places — remain unsolved.
Did the Hillary campaign really defy the pollsters? She had been trailing Barack Obama by 13 percentage points, 42 to 29, in a recent Zogby poll, as election watchdog Brad Friedman pointed out. And the weekend’s “rapturous packed rallies for Mr. Obama,” as the New York Times put it, “suggested Mrs. Clinton was in dire shape.”
So when she emerged from the Tuesday primary with an 8,000-vote and 3-percentage-point victory over Obama, perhaps — considering the notorious unreliability, not to mention hackability, of Diebold machines — the media might have hoisted a few red flags in the coverage, rather than immediately chalk the results up to Clinton’s tears and voter unpredictability. (Oh, if only more reporters considered red flags patriotic.)
The fact is, whatever actually happened in New Hampshire voting booths on Tuesday, our elections are horrifically insecure. For instance, Bev Harris, of the highly respected voting watchdog organization Black Box Voting, recently wrote that the Diebold 1.94w optical scan machines used in some 55 percent of New Hampshire precincts (representing more than 80 percent of the state’s voters) are “the exact same make, model and version hacked in the Black Box Voting project in Leon County (Florida)” a few years ago. They haven’t been upgraded; the security problems haven’t been fixed.
National, or at least media, denial about this situation doesn’t say much for the strength of our democracy.
The rest of the column is just as good, in which he discusses the MSM's "inability to incorporate news of ongoing voting-machine insecurity into actual election coverage."
[UPDATED several times at end of article, and still developing with new updates...]
I'm not sure why Obama would have conceded so soon, given the virtually inexplicable turn of events in New Hampshire tonight.
What's going on here? Before proceeding, I recommend you read the third section of the post I just ran an hour or so ago, concerning the way the ballots are counted in New Hampshire, largely on Diebold optical-scan voting systems, wholly controlled and programmed by a very very bad company named LHS Associates.
Those Diebold op-scan machines are the exact same ones that were hacked in the HBO documentary, Hacking Democracy. See the previous report, as I recommend, which also includes a video of that hack, and footage of the guy who runs LHS Associates.
That said, the the pre-election pollster's numbers (NOTE: that's not Exit Polls, but Pre-Election Polls!) were dead-on, for the most part, on the Republican side, as well as on the Democratic side. Except in the do-or-die (for Hillary) Clinton v. Obama race. I'm watching MSNBC right now, and they all seem to agree that the results, for the moment, defy explanation.
Here's a screenshot of a round up of all of the latest polls from RealClearPolitics.com tonight, and more, to get an idea of the serious concerns here...
Friday was another very bad for Diebold (DBD), poor dears, though arguably a very good day in kind for those who love America and democracy and stuff.
Their stock price plunged another full 6.13% to close at $26.81 --- another low for the once-great, now-disgraced company. Their value hasn't been this low since April of 2001, just after George W. Bush was inaugurated. Go figure.
Worth of the Diebold company has now plummeted a whopping 47.43% since August 7th of last year, when a number of Diebold insiders all cashed in a bunch of stock on the same day at $53.04, near the year's high.
We imagine Sunday's New York Times Magazine cover story ain't gonna help 'em much either on Monday.
Previous coverage of Diebold's most recent dumpster dive, reasons for the bad company karma, details on recent fraud lawsuits, and current SEC and DoJ investigations of 'em, can be found here and here.
At least someone's bringing some accountability of some sort this year....
Looks like our old friends at Diebold have left us with an end-of-year gift, as their share prices continued tumbling today to close the year at $28.98/share. Just a smidgeon above their
5-year 7-year low set earlier in the day. (DBD stock hasn't been this worthless since April of 2001.)
But, as we reported in our recent summary of the years-long undoing of one of America's worst voting machine companies (we know, it's a close contest), there has yet to be any accountability, for the company insiders who, with stunningly fortuitous coincidental timing, just happened to sell off thousands of shares at $53.04 last August.
Those lucky executives moved at just the right time, right near the year's peak of $54.50, last August, and just prior to the precipitous 43% plunge over the rest of the year. We --- and we alone, unfortunately --- reported on that apparent insider trading just after the sell-off in late Summer.
Whether the recently announced DoJ investigation of Diebold has anything to do with that chicanery, we can't tell ya. And we're still waiting for any of the thousands of Election Officials, who've been screwed by the once-beloved America-hating company, to file suit themselves. But at least the shareholders, if no one else so far, are beginning to bring some accountability.
Happy New Years, Diebold! We'll see ya on the other side. And that's one thing upon which, you can finally count correctly, for a change...
The death spiral for the 131 year-old company, once respectfully known as Diebold, continues, as its stock price falls to a 5-year low today, near year's end (currently $29.23/share and still sinking, from a 52-week high of $54.50/share), along with the additional news that the U.S. Department of Justice has now joined the SEC in an investigation concerning the company's "Enron-like" bookkeeping tricks...
Diebold announced in early October that it has been engaged in an ongoing discussion with the SEC’s Office of the Chief Accountant regarding its former use of the "bill and hold" method of recognizing revenue.
Under bill and hold, ownership of a product contractually passes to a customer and revenue is recognized by the supplier prior to delivery of the product to the customer.
Diebold said it’s in continuing talks with the Office of the Chief Accountant so that it can determine what the company termed “the most appropriate revenue recognition method” to replace its bill and hold practice.
The BRAD BLOG, of course, originally reported on the SEC's investigation into Diebold's book-keeping chicanery back in May of 2006, just a few months after our first exclusive report, based on information from a company insider we dubbed DIEB-THROAT, preceded a 20% stock-price plunge just days afterward.
At the time, back in late September 2005, the stock price plunged to a 52-week low of about $44.37/share (which we're sure they'd kill for now --- not that we wish to give them any ideas) and DIEB-THROAT told us in response to the related news: "the last time this kind of deception occurred it was called Enron."
Then came a class action securities fraud suit against the company in December 2005, as first broken by The BRAD BLOG natch, before the parallel SEC investigation first became public.
Since then, following one independent study after another after another after another, finding their electronic voting systems to be virus-prone, hackable, unreliable and inaccurate, the company finally dumped it's controversial CEO who had infamously promised in a Republican fundraising letter that he was "committed to helping Ohio deliver its electoral votes to" George W. Bush in 2004, before attempting again to fool the American public by renaming its election division "Premiere Elections Solutions" (same pig, fresh lipstick), just after stock prices plummeted again in August of this year to $47.60 as The BRAD BLOG noticed what appeared to us, and at least one financial analyst, to be possible insider trading among a number of company officials.
Prices have continued to fall ever since --- a lucky coincidence, no doubt, for those executives who just happened to unload a bunch of stock near the year's high at $53.05 - to today's 5-year low of $29.20.
Additional bad news arrived last Friday for Diebold when a new study by the state of Ohio found their systems to be easily hackable (again), with better news coming last Tuesday as the state of Colorado's own certification tests, surprisingly, gave their their machines a pass while decertifying many others. Yesterday, however, the reason for the inexplicable get-out-of-jail card they received in CO may have become a bit clearer: As it turns out, the Republican Secretary of State who oversaw the new certification testing, Mike Coffman, is running for Congress, and his campaign shares the same consultants as Diebold/Premier in the state. Go figure.
Diebold/Premiere's spokeshole, Chris Riggall told the Rocky Mountain News in response yesterday, that the company just had no idea about the extraordinary conflict of interest. But with the mission already accomplished, he announced to the paper: "Effective tonight that relationship is terminated."
With their stock-price still spiraling this morning, Diebold is quoted by Crain's Cleveland Business today as saying the company "anticipates [the DoJ] review will be completed in the first quarter of 2008" ... Though rest assured, The BRAD BLOG's review of the company won't be completed by then. Not by a long shot.
Merry Christmas, Diebold!
Guest Blogged by John Gideon of VotersUnite.org
Two shipping tubes sent from the California Secretary of State's office in Sacramento to the San Diego County Election Office arrived without their contents. The tubes left the SOS Office with more than 174 memory chips, or Erasable Programmable Read Only Memory (EPROM), containing firmware for the county's Diebold/Premier central-count optical scan voting machines. UPDATE: Precinct-based op-scan chips confirmed by the SoS to be missing as well! See update info at end of article.
The tubes arrived in San Diego but they were empty. The chips are now considered to be either lost or stolen.
WIRED's Kim Zetter reports today...
In San Diego County, one of the empty tubes arrived with no lid on the end of it to close the tube; the second tube had a lid, but it was loosely taped shut.
According to Zetter, the new firmware was being sent to San Diego following software and security modifications made following the state's recent "Top-to-Bottom Review" of e-voting systems. The packages were sent from the Secretary of State's office after being packaged by Diebold/Premier employees with SoS personnel standing witness. The Secretary of State's office confirms that Diebold/Premier regularly uses Fed-Ex as their preferred shipper.
New chips will now be sent and the state says the February primary will not be delayed by the issue. The California Highway Patrol and Sacramento Police are now investigating.
But the story gets worse, in this LATE UPDATE (FROM BRAD):
Guest Blogged by Michael Bryan, Esq.
Judge Michael Miller, in a carefully reasoned and balanced opinion, today ordered the release of the final Diebold GEMS tabulator database files from the
contested 2006 Regional Transport Authority (RTA) election 2006 primary and general elections . The judge denied, without prejudice, full public access to every MDB and GBF database file for the 2006 elections in the possession of Pima County until and unless the plaintiffs can address remaining security concerns which might arise from that larger release.
[CORRECTION: Several correspondents point out correctly that the databases for the 2006 Primary and General elections have been released, but not those of the RTA election, which was a mid-year election. Sources near the case speculate that perhaps the judge believed that the RTA election may have been tampered with and did not want further controversy around the results of that election.]
[UPDATE: For a detailed analysis of the judge's ruling see my post on BlogForArizona.com.]
The BRAD BLOG has been following this case closely because unsecured tabulation systems like GEMS are widely used in American elections and completely open to insider manipulation. For background and detailed commentary about the case see my 12/8/07 wrap-up post on the trial.
The immediate goal of the Democratic party --- to be able to look closer at the final election databases for the 2006 election --- is fully satisfied by the ruling. But the broader goal of being able to look at a time series of backups for discrepancies or discontinuities that could indicate manipulation, as Arizona Election Integrity advocates have feared, is stymied for the moment...
Colorado's Republican Secretary of State, Mike Coffman, has announced that a number of Colorado's e-voting machines have failed state certification testings, and will not be allowed for use in the 2008 election cycle. The announcements came at a news conference in Denver which completely just minutes ago.
Describing the state's testing of four major voting machine companies previously certified in the state, Coffman explained to reporters at the presser that there were "over 3000 tests on each vendor['s systems], and over 40,000 pages documenting the tests."
"This has been an extensive process," he said, after detailing several remarkable findings from each of the systems testing. For example, test results showed that paper-based optical-scan systems made by Hart InterCivic "could not accurately count ballots." While Direct Recording Electronic (DRE, usually touch-screen) systems made by ES&S, the world's largest supplier of voting systems, could be disabled by "denial of service" attacks at the polling place with a device as simple as a magnet.
"If you were to put a magnet in close proximity or inside the port," Coffman said at the press conference today, "that would, in fact, disable that particular voting machines and it would have to be literally reprogrammed...to bring in back into circulation for that election."
While virtually all of the systems tested were found to have major vulnerabilities, a number of them were "conditionally certified" for use as long as new security mitigation requirements are met. Notably, both op-scan systems and DREs made by Diebold (now known as Premier) were given conditional certification for use, despite Diebold systems having been banned in several states previously, including California, Ohio and Florida, due to a long list of critical vulnerabilities.
A summary of the decertified and conditionally certified systems follow (links to more information on each, at the end of this article):
Coffman's announcement comes today, months after the state had hoped to have the results available, due to sluggish participation by the voting machine companies, many of whom delayed supplying required information, such as voting system source code, as requested by the Secretary of State's office.
All of Colorado's electronic voting systems were decertified just prior to the November 2006 election when a state judge ruled, in a lawsuit brought by state voters, that testing and certification procedures for e-voting systems in the Centennial State were inadequate, largely non-existent, and in violation of state law. As the judge's decertification order came just prior to that years' elections, the systems were allowed for use, but decertified immediately thereafter. The state was forced to begin the certification process from scratch thereafter...
Try not to laugh. But here's Diebold's response to the new study from the state of Ohio showing their crappy, untested, inaccurate, unsecure voting machines --- and those made by their equally duplicitous friends at ES&S and Hart Intercivic --- to be extremely vulnerable to tampering with the use of household items as simple as a magnet or a personal digital assistant.
As if to continue pushing their bad luck with yet another dare, the Diebold statement says, "It is important to note that there has not been a single documented case of a successful attack against an electronic voting system, in Ohio or anywhere in the United States."
Okay, guys. This is getting exhausted (and just plain sad), but be careful what you wish for.
"Even as we continue to strengthen the security features of our voting systems," Diebold/Premier writes, "that reality should not be lost in the discussion."
"Continue" to "strengthen"? (Supply own joke here)
Yet, the company who is so proud of their work that they changed their name from Diebold to Premier for no other reason beyond the fact that the horrible, corrupt and fraudulent work of their voting division has disgraced the parent company, says "Premier has performed a host of modifications and enhancements to its software to further strengthen system security. Our new suite of products is expected to soon complete the yearlong federal certification process, and will be available for installation in 2008."
Goody. We'll buy a new supply of magnets right away.
Finally, and without evidence, they add: "We should also not lose sight of the very real improvements in voting accuracy that have been achieved with the deployment of modern touch screen systems."
Really? Where's the evidence for that? Unfortunately, Diebold is not alone in making that specious claim...
The results of new, unprecedented testing of e-voting machines in the state of Ohio are in, and the findings mirror the landmark results of a similar test carried out earlier this year in California.
"Ohio's electronic voting systems have 'critical security failures' which could impact the integrity of elections in the Buckeye State," says Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner in a statement which accompanied the release of the report today on the SoS' website. Brunner, a Democrat, was joined in her press conference (video now here), called today to discuss the results of the testing, by Ohio's Republican House Speaker, Jon Husted.
Brunner is calling for a ban on all Direct Recording Electronic (DRE, usually touch-screen) voting systems in the state, along with a ban on precinct-based optical-scan paper based systems, charging that the central counting of ballots at the county would eliminate "points of entry creating unnecessary voting system risk."
The State's bi-partisan "Evaluation & Validation of Election-Related Equipment, Standards & Testing" (EVEREST) report finds, as did California's study, as did virtually every other independent test of such systems, that violating the security and manipulating the "federal approved" electronic voting systems, is a breeze.
"To put it in every-day terms," Brunner said, "the tools needed to compromise an accurate vote count could be as simple as tampering with the paper audit trail connector or using a magnet and a personal digital assistant."
"The results underscore the need for a fundamental change in the structure of Ohio’s election system to ensure ballot and voting system security while still making voting convenient and accessible to all Ohio voters," said Brunner, who has come under fire from Election Integrity advocates for failing to act quickly enough concerning the voting systems to be used in next year's crucial election, as well as for failing to seek accountability for the exceedingly well-documented and now-infamous charges of election fraud and voter suppression in the 2004 Presidential election under her predecessor J. Kenneth Blackwell.
While the effort is long overdue in Ohio, actions being taken by Brunner, in light of the test results, are less stringent than those taken by California Secretary of State Debra Bowen after tests in her state. Brunner's recommendations, some of them quite puzzling, are likely to come under some fire in the bargain, from Election Integrity advocates in Ohio and elsewhere...
The final day of testimony over the Pima County Democratic Party's public records request featured the remainder of the county's witnesses for the defense, a surprise call on an adverse witness, and pugnacious closing arguments. The matter now rests with Judge Michael Miller, who says he will decide the case within the next two weeks.
To get up to speed with details on what this trial is about, please see my introductory post. If you haven't been following along, you may want to take a look at my summaries of the first day, the second day, and the third day of trial.
In brief, the Pima County (Tucson) Democratic Party is demanding Pima County release the Diebold GEMS tabulator databases containing voting data from the 2006 election, and those from all future elections, arguing that they are public records. The GEMS software is highly insecure, allowing anyone with access to the computer it runs on to manipulate the outcome of elections at will and likely cover their tracks. Elections are thus highly succeptable to manipulation by elections insiders, and there is no way to detect or deter them without access to the databases for forensic analysis. Pima County's position is that we should trust them to take care of that risk through internal checks and balances, and that releasing the databases simply creates more security risks by outsiders seeking to hack an election.
The county's expert witnesses were Merle "the Man from Diebold" King, and Dr. John Moffatt, a consultant for Pima County's IT strategy. Summaries of and commentaries on their testimony is available on BlogForArizona.com, along with an detailed chronicle of the entire trial.
Both experts sought to convince the judge of the many security threats posed by release of the GEMS databases, and in my view, failed to sustain that position under the cross examination of the Democrats' attorney Bill Risner. Risner poked holes in all the threat scenarios the experts presented, showing them to be impracticable, absurd, or simply undefined.
Here's Risner's closing argument:
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