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Dems Pocket $52 Million, CNN Ignores Evidence, and Officials Stonewall...What Vote Fraud?

Thursday 25 November 2004

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We saw Ukrainian presidential election coverage on CNN last night. It was surreal They were saying that in the Ukraine elections aren’t transparent. ’Scuse me?

This, after CNN said they weren’t interested in filming 59 orange-tagged records from Volusia, Florida showing that our elections have not been at all transparent, and are missing one-third of the key documents entirely. Psst. Don’t look here. Look there.

The screen shots of the NETWORKED (!) Volusia County GEMS server alone, along with the logs showing attempts to access it remotely, should have hit the national press.

According to a statement by the Supervisor of Elections on November 17, 2004, the GEMS computer is not networked, and is "stand alone." The furnished computer logs show evidence of at least two attempts to remotely access the GEMS central tabulator, which is claimed to be secure. A computer screen shot printout on November 17, 2004 (found in the trash) shows that the GEMS computer at that time had two networked hard drives.

I showed the logs to CNN cameramen yesterday, along with 59 orange-tagged poll tapes that were missing signatures, zero tapes, sometimes missing results altogether! No interest in getting a shot of that smoking gun at all.

We intereviewed poll workers. On camera. Showed them the poll tapes we were given by Volusia County. To a person, they said, with great concern, "That is NOT what we submitted to the county."

One remembered the results on his poll tape. What he remembered, before ever seeing the results tape or hearing what was on our copy, was not the same. His memory for a precinct with a tad over 400 voters had 60 more votes for Kerry. Of course, that’s not legally binding, since he hadn’t written it down.

And don’t forget that in Volusia, poll workers were told to bring their memory cards and poll tapes off to ’drop offs’ or ’depots’, and it was there that the modem-ing occurred. We have no information whatsoever on who was in those depots, or what they were doing, or what equipment was there.

Meahwhile a completely irresponsible Kerry Campaign holds on to a $52 million litigation war chest accumulated from citizen donations for that purpose.

If they were the slightest bit interested in either voting system integrity or actually winning, they would have litigated the Black Box Voting records requests to apply some real muscle into prompt disclosure of audit materials, at least in Ohio and Florida. Failure to comply with sunshine laws is against the law, yet a citizens group like Black Box Voting cannot claim legal urgency, forcing immediate compliance, in the same way that a campaign can. There is no question that if the campaign had enforced the sunshine laws, analyzing the audit data, two things would have happened:

1) records would have been produced
2) auditing would have been enabled, and we all know that would have produced hard evidence of irregularities.

You have to wonder. The purpose of our audits is to get some real answers, so we don’t have to wonder any more.

We are a consumer protection group, not a political schmoozing group. We are getting support from many elections officials who are just as concerned as we are. Many officials are very accomodating and their audit diagnostics check out.

Election officials only have to survive 10 days, or, in some places, 20 days. That’s all they have to stall. After that, wrong results cannot result in candidates being removed from office unless there is evidence that the candidate himself was involved in the fraud. Of course, there will be insulation of the candidate, as this stuff is performed by operatives, not candidates.

Public records laws are already sufficient, in most cases, but need litigation and injunctions to back them up when public officials don’t comply. Stay tuned for actions shortly that will help put an end to stonewalling.

Remember, some of the records we requested were already public on election night — such as the interim summary results reports and the poll tapes. There is no reason whatsoever to withhold these.

Proving fraud after it is too late to put the wrongs right is just not an option. It is a simple matter to put this right, but it involves getting the audit diagnostics in a timely manner (by the way, it is not just "Bev," but a nationally recognized nonprofit 501c(3) group).

Now, if the head of the League of Women Voters came in and asked for records, are you saying it’s just fine not to give them over until it’s too late?

Note also, that the lawsuit filed yesterday targets the supervisor of elections position. Think carefully about the implications of this. Patricia Northey was a candidate who had pledged to clean things up, beginning with housecleaning a few employees who have been habitually obstructive. She was favored to win. The candidate who in fact became the new supervisor of elections was hand-picked by the current regime.

It isn’t okay to wait until it’s too late to put the right candidates in, the ones people actually voted for. That includes local as well as national races. And yes, it is now too late.

The Dems did nothing to help themselves, let me clarify. As a nonpartisan nonprofit 501c(3), we cannot get involved in campaigns, recounts and the like. However, by sending the records request to every county in the nation, and publishing the exact documents needed on the web site by midnight Nov. 2, this put ALL parties on notice what was needed in order to properly audit.

We made ourselves available for consultation on exactly what records to request and how to use them for auditing.

Other political parties have used information from our public records request to set up their own recounts and audits. Citizens groups have also done so on a local basis.

Therefore, the road map for the Kerry campaign was right there. Though we could not accept, and they certainly did not offer, assistence on securing our own request, they certainly should have filed an identical request themselves, litigated and muscled counties into compliance in Ohio and Florida, and it would have been easy for them to get teams of computer people to examine the logs and teams of auditors to match up the records. This all could have been done in a matter of three most, 5 days, with the muscle they had.

Instead, they rebuffed our attempts to provide expertise, advice, or evidence, and they made no effort whatsoever to do any auditing at all, nor even to obtain the records needed for simple, quick, diagnostics.

More recently, we have had overtures, but I admit I’ve been pretty rude and completely without patience with them. Too late, and far too little emphasis on what really needs to be done.

The Kerry attorney in Volusia, by the way, came by but asked not a single question, never asked to look at any evidence, and told one of the producers of Votergate that he thought Black Box Voting was just here to "stir up trouble."

We were very open about the problems we anticipated with this — the Election Protection effort, which was admirable, was focused solely on watching the casting of the vote, rather than the counting of the vote. When concerned people with access to decisionmakers tried to bring this huge ommission to the attention of people who could take corrective action, they said they were not interested and, in some cases, refused to even take the phone to talk with Black Box Voting.

After the election, everyone came to us asking what we can do. Many people expected Black Box Voting, an organization held together only by the grit of volunteers and the efforts of three full time investigators and a board of directors, with a shoestring budget, to overturn the national election. Not only was this the expectation unrealistic (though our nonpartisan charter would prohibit us from seeking a recount anyway), but the clock had already been run out.

There’s a loophole that we’ll need to get corrected in elections law, because it is blocking reasonable efforts to audit, confirm, or litigate elections in the U.S. In most states, you can’t request a recount or contest an election based on statistics. Even in Florida, where statistical evidence is permitted, the use of statistics is iffy in a court challenge. As soon as one expert sets it up, another can be counted upon to knock it down.

Recently, for example, attorney Lowell Finley came to Florida to pursue the option of contesting the Florida election. According to Florida law, contesting the Kerry election in Florida would require evidence that over 380,000 votes would be in doubt. Statistical evidence cited 260,000 votes in question — but that study, the Berkeley study, is now being refuted by the Irvine study, and likelihood of prevailing in court on back-and-forth statistics is unlikely.

Even if that statistical information had been sufficient to prove 260,000 votes at risk, this would need to be supplemented by another 120,000 votes from other counties in the study. This kind of information could have been available, had counties complied with the Nov. 2 public records request filed by Black Box Voting. Unfortunately, most counties did not comply in a timely manner, and many refused to provide the information at all.

The audit data we obtained in Volusia County is another matter. Here, we have established plenty of evidence sufficient to take an election into contest. Volusia County, by itself, may have put some 30,000 presidential votes in question.

To get evidence comparable to what we have in Volusia County, basic audit diagnostics must be provided by the county in a timely manner. (To view the audit diagnostics we sent to every county in the country on Nov. 2, just after the polls closed, go to and scroll down to an article titled "Are we insane? Voting without auditing?")

Now, here’s the problem: All of the largest Florida counties stalled the records request past the filing deadlines. Some did it skillfully, by being out of the office, saying they didn’t receive it, saying people were out of town...some did it clumsily, telling us to go jump in the lake.

The bottom line is: Most votes in Florida, and nearly all votes in Ohio, could not be audited because the secretary of state (Ohio) or the key county officials (Florida) would not part with the basic public information needed to launch a proper audit. While we will get the records, we will not get them in a timely manner.

This needs to be changed. Black Box Voting is in the process of setting up voting machine citizen audit protocols, and we plan to launch a major national citizen education effort to show people how to do both diagnostic audits and fraud audits using the public records tools available to all of us.

National elections cannot be compromised very easily without problematic local officials. A true cleanup is going to have to take place county by county, and we will need all of you to do it.

I know we have been slow to put some of our volunteers to work on real auditing. That is because, if you don’t know exactly what you’re doing, you’ll get your butt kicked.

A citizen audit group is now working on Holmes County, Florida, and of course Volusia is in full swing (I’m about to do another post on the lawsuit filed yesterday requesting that the Volusia County election be set aside).

This is a problem that can be solved, but we need more teeth in legislation to require counties to produce audit materials immediately after elections, so that citizens groups can have at least 7 days to analyze the information and follow up on discrepancies and ommissions. Right now, elections officials can stonewall and there are no consequences, if they do it skillfully.

(For those who do it unskillfully, stay tuned. We aren’t done with ’em.)

For those of you waiting on Ohio, it is certainly frustrating. Kenneth Blackwell is certainly the 2004 equivalent of Katherine Harris. He has set a state policy of obstructiveness, making it almost impossible to get the kind of information needed to prove the counting was correct.

Doing the auditing correctly, especially in coordination with local citizens groups, can produce fireworks. Volusia County now has its hands full.

We have consistently been ahead of the curve on this. We identified the problems with voting machine reliability and nontransparency way back in 2002; we have stressed since 2003 that the problems are not just touch screens, but with all computerized systems, including optical scans and punch cards, and we have focused on auditing as the solution since mid-2003.

While everyone else was focusing on getting a "paper trail" (without making any efforts to ensure that something meaningful was done to USE the paper to audit), we were focusing on auditing ommissions, both with the machines and with election procedures. While 40,000 people charged off to watch votes being cast, we published guidelines to create human audit logs for the central tabulator, the machine that COUNTS the votes.

In short, the time to set things up to contest this election on a national basis was a few weeks BEFORE the election. No one in a decisionmaking capacity bothered to do that, though we had been publicly calling for this, even going to Washington D.C. in September to meet with people and hold a press conference, in September.

Now, after the fact, people are realizing the mistakes.

1. Focusing on touch-screens and computer solutions, instead of focusing on basic auditing and bookkeeping

2. Focusing on touch screen machines instead of the central tabulator and the optical scans and punch card computers as well.

3. Failing to put any procedures in place to audit elections properly on a county by county basis

And now, failing to use the legal muscle of the party to enforce production of audit documents, and failure to do any auditing at all.

The result is that the American People are left with uncertainty on a nationwide basis.

Stay tuned for an upcoming national conference which will be put on by Black Box Voting, called "Help America Audit," in which we will teach citizens groups, political parties, candidates, and private citizens how to conduct citizen audits of elections on a county by county basis, the only method available to us, really.

Stay tuned, also, for an action we’ll be taking soon to beef up compliance with the public records requests needed for election auditing.

Bev Harris
Executive Director
Black Box Voting

by Bev Harris,
in posts on Democratic Underground

Forum posts

  • Oh....MY....GAWD! I just found this on the Kerry Edwards site.....
    you can now contribute to their recount fund!

    "Contributing to the Kerry-Edwards 2004 General Election Legal and Accounting Compliance Fund (GELAC) provides important support for our campaign. The Federal Election Commission has just granted our request to raise funds now to cover recount expenses. Your contribution to Kerry-Edwards 2004 GELAC will provide the resources to make sure we are prepared to win the post election day battles."

    WHAT THE FUCK!!!! They had $52 million- They DID NOTHING TO HELP the recount-


  • But the Ukrainians are in the streets — we are not!! why not?

    • Not only are they marching in the streets but all the cable channels have been covering this "possibly fraudulent election" for 3 days nonstop, and W, has the nerve to say we can’t accept the Ukrainian results because of irregularities .... are we in the Twilight Zone here??? Doesn’t W. resemble Baghdad Bob??

    • No you’re in denial. You had just as many lawyers and poll watchers out there as the republicans had to make sure that the elections would be fair. You guys still can’t get over the fact that your candidate lost. And your party will continue to lose exactly because of your kind of shenanigans. Between belittling the ordinary American’s religion, education, and mentality and your hysteria, you’ve got people switching over to the republicans. You are your own worst enemy.

  • Why.

    Democracy - nil!
    Civilian rights - some!
    Barbaric racists deathrows - yes.
    International court - nil!
    WMD - yes!
    Civilized - God no!

    It is so easy to divert attention.

  • CNN and the rest of the U.S. mainstream media should be ashamed of themselves!!!

    Have you found a mainstream newsclip about votergate which is exposes half-truths, mis-truths or leaves out the truth entirely?

    Go to:

    and expose it here.

    Help disassemble "manufactured consent".

  • Dear Bev Harris:
    Efforts such as yours are the hope of our country. Thank you.
    This story (election frauds) will eventually reach enough people to rouse a massive refusal to be governed by deceit. You and will be credited.
    Rod Gorney, MD

  • - ?Whoever said that if we don’t learn from history, we are doomed to repeat it was wrong. Not only is no event exactly like any other, but looking at history too closely may lead us into doing nothing, especially if what we did before failed.

    That may well be where we are at, if we think that the US presidential election of 2004 is just a repeat of 2000. It’s not. Things are very different this time around. In 2000 we didn’t know that the Republican candidate was a congenital liar and that most of the pronouncements he had made while campaigning were false. Now we do. In 2000 we suspected that electoral fraud had been committed, that citizens had been unfairly disenfranchised, and that the processing of the ballots had been haphazard, if not riddled with fraud. In 2004 we know it. In 2000 we thought the courts could be relied on to insure a fair electoral process. In 2004 we know that they can’t—at least not if they are asked the wrong questions.

    There’s another significant difference between 2000 and 2004. In 2000, because the term of office of the executive had definitely run out, any uncertainty about who would succeed him risked leaving the office empty. Since that situation was to be avoided at all costs, any harm suffered by individuals that was not life-threatening had to be considered of less importance. In 2004, of course, that condition does not pertain. The current occupant of the office can and will continue, even if his right to do so is unsettled. His continuation in office is not likely to cause much greater harm to the nation than he already has.

    While this fundamental difference between 2000 and 2004 would make it unlikely that an appeal to the Supreme Court on the same grounds would have the same result, the appeals for judicial intervention in 2000 would not have had the desired results in any event, because the relief being asked for was wrong. It wasn’t just that the proposal to do a ?recount? of votes in just a few counties wasn’t comprehensive enough; it was that recounting the votes wouldn’t have done any good. What was needed in 2000, and is needed now, is the manual processing of all ballots in order to validate that the identification of votes is not flawed and has not been subverted by tampering with the tabulating machines. Simply recounting what’s left over after a large number of ballots have been discarded as ?spoiled? isn’t enough. Besides, I think we can assume that machines counting is not a problem. The problem lies in deciding what’s to be counted as a vote, what’s to be thrown out and, most importantly, to whom what’s to be counted is assigned.

    And that’s a big problem. One that was virtually ignored in 2000 and seems to be over-looked again in 2004. For, the widespread assumption that the votes being counted are assigned to the presidential candidates is actually false. While the votes counted for every other office are assigned to the person who will assume that office, if he/she gets the most votes, the ballots in the presidential contest are actually cast for a slate of electors. Whether we approve of this process or not, and despite the fact that their term of office and their duties are strictly limited, the electors are Constitutional officers and, having been selected (by whatever process the states determine), are entitled to carry out that office as the Constitution specifies. Which would seem to suggest, would it not, that if their selection is fraudulent, it would be subject to legal challenge and any slate of electors defrauded in the process would have standing to assert their claim in a court of law.

    I guess one question I would ask is after a ballot has been cast, who’s the vote been stolen from when it is illegally discarded or assigned to someone else? Certainly the opportunity to cast a ballot was denied to lots of citizens in both 2000 and 2004 and they can rightfully claim that their civil rights were violated by strategies that kept them from the polls. But, once the ballot has been cast, doesn’t it belong to the designated candidate? And aren’t the designated candidates in the presidential race the electors in the several states? And if that’s so, what standing do the presidential candidates have? What claim do they have to an office for which no ballot has yet been cast?

    What we often tend to overlook about the courts is that, when they are functioning properly, they only answer the questions they are asked. So, if you ask the wrong question, the answer may well be worthless. Think of it like asking if you should jump in the river to get across. A court is going to tell you either yes or no. It is not going to tell you to use the bridge. So, if the presidential candidates go into court and ask to be given the votes that were supposed to go to their electors, I’d expect the court to say, I can’t do that. Is it going to go on to say that the candidates have no right to even ask for those votes? I would be suprised, if it did. Which is why I’m suggesting that we’d better start paying attention and realize that this time ?it’s the electors, stupid?!

    And it will be the electors until we amend the Constitution.-??-