Sunday, July 09, 2006

20 Amazing Facts About Voting in the U.S. Today

Interesting facts about the results of our shift to paperless electronic voting machines in America. Have we become a banana republic--possibly headed for more disputed elections on a par with what is going on in Mexico right now?

We are fortunate to have in our midst a true political analyst who sends us further insight into the challenge of our voting system. The original message is printed below for your objective consideration. BCC is being sent out to original list. ~dl

There is a tendency to say "Yes, but ..." to much of this "evidence."

For example, "Yes, Jeb Bush is the president's brother and governor of Florida and a Republican, but elections in Florida (as in most places) are administered by county government elected and appointed officials who are in many counties Democrats."

The Dems, at least in Florida, are not all squeaky clean either. A year or two before the 2000 fiasco in Florida a court threw out the results of the last election for mayor in one of the Dade County cities because the vote count had been tampered with.

OTOH, I never hear a mention of Shoup voting machines based in Philadelphia in these roundups. Their push button and flashing light "Shouptronic" macines are used here in Berks Co., PA. Several years ago, the head of the Shoup company entered a guilty plea when charged with rigging an election conducted on his company's machines.

My position is that, so long as we value a secret ballot, we must use paper ballots and hand counting open to public view. I would prefer to abandon the secret ballot and have votes announced in public and recorded on paper in view of the voter and public. Any machine system, even the old electromechanical ones with levers, can be tampered with.

I have examined some of the "evidence" of tampering in Ohio and found it less than convincing. In one county cited in a "study" proving the 2004 count was fraudulent they pointed to Bush getting something over 70% of the votes as "proof." But I looked up the full 2004 results for that county and found that Bush trailed the average Republican candidate (state legislature, county commissioner, etc.) by about three points. I looked at the three prior elections in that county and GOP votes in contested races ranged from about 60-90%. In every election I reviewed, several offices failed to attract any Democrat candidate at all. Conculsion - that is just a very heavily GOP county, just as you could find wards in Cleveland where no Democrat ever gets less than 70% of the vote and many offices are not even contested by the GOP.

I once made a fair case that Wisconsin was stolen for the Dems in a recent election. Unfortunately, this sort of thing cuts both ways. The important point is to avoid making this a partisan issue and stress the fact that we are moving toward a system of black box voting which will destroy what little public confidence is left in the electoral system. To keep harping on the themes of "Gore won" or "Kerry won" is to assure that most of the half of the electorate that is Republican (not all of whom are Bush fans) will see the whole business as a Democratic plot and not pay attention to the larger issue.


20 Amazing Facts About Voting in the USA

1. 80% of all votes in America are counted by only two companies: Diebold
and ES&S.

2. There is no federal agency with regulatory authority or oversight of the
U.S. voting machine industry.

3. The vice-president of Diebold and the president of ES&S are brothers.

4. The chairman and CEO of Diebold is a major Bush campaign organizer and
donor who wrote in 2003 that he was "committed to helping Ohio deliver its
electoral votes to the president next year."

5. Republican Senator Chuck Hagel used to be chairman of ES&S. He became
Senator based on votes counted by ES&S machines.

6. Republican Senator Chuck Hagel, long-connected with the Bush family, was
recently caught lying about his ownership of ES&S by the Senate Ethics

7. Senator Chuck Hagel was on a short list of George W. Bush's
vice-presidential candidates.

8. ES&S is the largest voting machine manufacturer in the U.S. and counts
almost 60% of all U.S. votes.

9. Diebold's new touch screen voting machines have no paper trail of any
votes. In other words, there is no way to verify that the data coming out of
the machine is the same as what was legitimately put in by voters.

10. Diebold also makes ATMs, checkout scanners, and ticket machines, all of
which log each transaction and can generate a paper trail.

11. Diebold is based in Ohio.

12. Diebold employed 5 convicted felons as consultants and developers to
help write the central compiler computer code that counted 50% of the votes
in 30 states.,2645,61640,00.html

13. Jeff Dean was Senior Vice-President of Global Election Systems when it
was bought by Diebold. Even though he had been convicted of 23 counts of
felony theft in the first degree, Jeff Dean was retained as a consultant by
Diebold and was largely responsible for programming the optical scanning
software now used in most of the United States.

14. Diebold consultant Jeff Dean was convicted of planting back doors in his
software and using a "high degree of sophistication" to evade detection over
a period of 2 years.

15. None of the international election observers were allowed in the polls
in Ohio.

16. California banned the use of Diebold machines because the security was
so bad. Despite Diebold's claims that the audit logs could not be hacked, a
chimpanzee was able to do it! (See the movie here:,2645,63298,00.html

17. 30% of all U.S. votes are carried out on unverifiable touch screen
voting machines with no paper trail.

18. All -- not some -- but all the voting machine errors detected and
reported in Florida went in favor of Bush or Republican candidates.,2645,65757,00.html

19. The governor of the state of Florida, Jeb Bush, is the President's

20. Serious voting anomalies in Florida -- again always favoring Bush --
have been mathematically demonstrated and experts are recommending further

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