Nearly a year after senior Judiciary Committee Democrat John Conyers of Michigan asked the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to investigate malfunctioning voting machines during the November 2, 2004 presidential election, the nonpartisan agency’s report reveals serious flaws with electronic voting. The House Judiciary Committee received “more than 57,000 complaints” following Bush’s re-election, according to CNN.

The GAO report found that, “some of [the] concerns about electronic voting machines have been realized and have caused problems with recent elections, resulting in the loss and miscount of votes.”

The United States is the only major democracy that allows private partisan corporations to secretly count and tabulate the votes with proprietary non-transparent software. Among the GAO’s key findings are:

1. “Some electronic voting systems did not encrypt cast ballots or system audit logs, thus making it possible to alter them without detection”
2. “It is easy to alter a file defining how a ballot appears, making it possible for someone to vote for one candidate and actually be recorded as voting for an entirely different candidate”
3. “Falsifying election results without leaving any evidence of such an action by using altered memory cards”
4. “Access to the voting network was easily compromised because not all digital recording electronic voting systems (DREs) had supervisory functions password-protected, so access to one machine provided access to the whole network”
5. “Supervisory across to the voting network was also compromised by repeated use of the same user IDs combined with easily guessed passwords”
6. “The locks protecting access to the system were easily picked and keys were simple to copy”
7. “One DRE model was shown to have been networked in such a rudimentary fashion that a power failure on one machine would cause the entire network to fail”
8. “GAO identified further problems with the security protocols and background screening practices for vendor personnel”

While the GAO documented the overall vulnerability of the system, numerous voting irregularities all favoring Bush in Ohio, the key swing state, further document the actual problems plaguing the broken election system. A brief list of examples follows:
  • The exit polls showed Kerry winning in Ohio, until a last minute unexplained and statistically unlikely shift of voters occurred as if somebody threw a computer switch
  • A few weeks prior to the election, an unauthorized former ES&S voting machine company employee, was caught on the ballot-making machine in Auglaize County
  • Election officials in Mahoning County concede that at least 18 machines visibly transferred votes for Kerry to Bush
  • A voting machine in Mahoning County recorded a negative 25 million votes for Kerry
  • In Gahanna Ward 1B, a so-called “electronic transfer glitch” gave Bush nearly 4000 extra votes when only 638 people voted at that polling place
  • In Franklin County, dozens of voters swore under oath that their vote for Kerry faded away on the DRE without a paper trail
  • In Miami County, at 1:43am after Election Day, with the county central tabulator reporting 100% of the vote – 19,000 more votes came in, 13,000 for Bush at the same percentage as prior to the additional votes
  • Diebold voting machine company CEO Wally O’Dell, a major fundraiser for Bush, promised to deliver Ohio’s electoral votes to the President. His Opti-scan machines cost Kerry thousands of votes
  • In Cleveland, unexplained an implausible vote totals turned up for obscure third party candidates in traditional Democratic African-American wards
  • During the Ohio recount, technicians from Triad voting machine company showed up unannounced at the Hocking County Board of Elections and removed the computer hard drive prior to recount.

  • The system was not only vulnerable in general; Bush and Rove stole the election in reality. They not only stole the vote in Ohio, they stole it in New Mexico and in ten of the eleven swing states.

    Rep. Conyers stated in a letter to Daily Kos, “But by and large, when it comes to a voting machine, the average voter is getting a lemon – the Ford Pinto of voting technology. We must demand better.”

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