Evidence Mounts That The Vote May Have Been Hacked
by Thom Hartmann / Common Dreams <
When I spoke with Jeff Fisher this morning (Saturday, November 06,
2004), the Democratic candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives
from Florida's 16th District said he was waiting for the FBI to show
up. Fisher has evidence, he says, not only that the Florida election
was hacked, but of who hacked it and how. And not just this year, he
said, but that these same people had previously hacked the Democratic
primary race in 2002 so that Jeb Bush would not have to run against
Janet Reno, who presented a real threat to Jeb, but instead against
Bill McBride, who Jeb beat.
'It was practice for a national effort,' Fisher told me.
And evidence is accumulating that the national effort happened on
November 2, 2004.
The State of Florida, for example, publishes a county-by-county record
of votes cast and people registered to vote by party affiliation. Net
denizen Kathy Dopp compiled the official state information into a
table, available at http://ustogether.org/Florida_Election.htm, and
noticed something startling.
While the heavily scrutinized touch-screen voting machines seemed to
produce results in which the registered Democrat/Republican ratios
matched the Kerry/Bush vote, and so did the optically-scanned paper
ballots in the larger counties, in Florida's smaller counties the
results from the optically scanned paper ballots - fed into a central
tabulator PC and thus vulnerable to hacking - seem to have been
In Baker County, for example, with 12,887 registered voters, 69.3% of
them Democrats and 24.3% of them Republicans, the vote was only 2,180
for Kerry and 7,738 for Bush, the opposite of what is seen everywhere
else in the country where registered Democrats largely voted for Kerry.
In Dixie County, with 4,988 registered voters, 77.5% of them Democrats
and a mere 15% registered as Republicans, only 1,959 people voted for
Kerry, but 4,433 voted for Bush.
The pattern repeats over and over again - but only in the smaller
counties where, it was probably assumed, the small voter numbers
wouldn't be much noticed. Franklin County, 77.3% registered Democrats,
went 58.5% for Bush. Holmes County, 72.7% registered Democrats, went
77.25% for Bush.
Yet in the larger counties, where such anomalies would be more obvious
to the news media, high percentages of registered Democrats equaled
high percentages of votes for Kerry.
More visual analysis of the results can be seen at
And, although elections officials didn't notice these anomalies, in
aggregate they were enough to swing Florida from Kerry to Bush. If you
simply go through the analysis of these counties and reverse the
'anomalous' numbers in those counties that appear to have been hacked,
suddenly the Florida election results resemble the Florida exit poll
results: Kerry won, and won big.
Those exit poll results have been a problem for reporters ever since
Election night, I'd been doing live election coverage for WDEV, one of
the radio stations that carries my syndicated show, and, just after
midnight, during the 12:20 a.m. Associated Press Radio News feed, I was
startled to hear the reporter detail how Karen Hughes had earlier sat
George W. Bush down to inform him that he'd lost the election. The exit
polls were clear: Kerry was winning in a landslide. 'Bush took the news
stoically,' noted the AP report.
But then the computers reported something different. In several pivotal
Conservatives see a conspiracy here: They think the exit polls were
Dick Morris, the infamous political consultant to the first Clinton
campaign who became a Republican consultant and Fox News regular, wrote
an article for The Hill ,
the publication read by every political junkie in Washington, DC, in
which he made a couple of brilliant points.
'Exit Polls are almost never wrong,' Morris wrote. 'They eliminate the
two major potential fallacies in survey research by correctly
separating actual voters from those who pretend they will cast ballots
but never do and by substituting actual observation for guesswork in
judging the relative turnout of different parts of the state.'
He added: 'So, according to ABC-TVs exit polls, for example, Kerry was
slated to carry Florida, Ohio, New Mexico, Colorado, Nevada, and Iowa,
all of which Bush carried. The only swing state the network had going
to Bush was West Virginia, which the president won by 10 points.'
Yet a few hours after the exit polls were showing a clear Kerry sweep,
as the computerized vote numbers began to come in from the various
states the election was called for Bush.
How could this happen?
On the CNBC TV show 'Topic A With Tina Brown,' several months ago,
Howard Dean had filled in for Tina Brown as guest host. His guest was
Bev Harris, the Seattle grandmother who started www.blackboxvoting.org
from her living room. Bev pointed out
that regardless of how votes were tabulated (other than hand counts,
only done in odd places like small towns in Vermont), the real
'counting' is done by computers. Be they Diebold Opti-Scan machines,
which read paper ballots filled in by pencil or ink in the voter's
hand, or the scanners that read punch cards, or the machines that
simply record a touch of the screen, in all cases the final tally is
sent to a 'central tabulator' machine.
That central tabulator computer is a Windows-based PC.
'In a voting system,' Harris explained to Dean on national television,
'you have all the different voting machines at all the different
polling places, sometimes, as in a county like mine, there's a thousand
polling places in a single county. All those machines feed into the one
machine so it can add up all the votes. So, of course, if you were
going to do something you shouldn't to a voting machine, would it be
more convenient to do it to each of the 4000 machines, or just come in
here and deal with all of them at once?'
Dean nodded in rhetorical agreement, and Harris continued. 'What
surprises people is that the central tabulator is just a PC, like what
you and I use. It's just a regular computer.'
'So,' Dean said, 'anybody who can hack into a PC can hack into a
Harris nodded affirmation, and pointed out how Diebold uses a program
called GEMS, which fills the screen of the PC and effectively turns it
into the central tabulator system. 'This is the official program that
the County Supervisor sees,' she said, pointing to a PC that was
sitting between them loaded with Diebold's software.
Bev then had Dean open the GEMS program to see the results of a test
election. They went to the screen titled 'Election Summary Report' and
waited a moment while the PC 'adds up all the votes from all the
various precincts,' and then saw that in this faux election Howard Dean
had 1000 votes, Lex Luthor had 500, and Tiger Woods had none. Dean was
'Of course, you can't tamper with this software,' Harris noted. Diebold
wrote a pretty good program.
But, it's running on a Windows PC.
So Harris had Dean close the Diebold GEMS software, go back to the
normal Windows PC desktop, click on the 'My Computer' icon, choose
'Local Disk C:,' open the folder titled GEMS, and open the sub-folder
'LocalDB' which, Harris noted, 'stands for local database, that's where
they keep the votes.' Harris then had Dean double-click on a file in
that folder titled 'Central Tabulator Votes,' which caused the PC to
open the vote count in a database program like Excel.
In the 'Sum of the Candidates' row of numbers, she found that in one
precinct Dean had received 800 votes and Lex Luthor had gotten 400.
'Let's just flip those,' Harris said, as Dean cut and pasted the
numbers from one cell into the other. 'And,' she added magnanimously,
'let's give 100 votes to Tiger.'
They closed the database, went back into the official GEMS software
'the legitimate way, you're the county supervisor and you're checking
on the progress of your election.'
As the screen displayed the official voter tabulation, Harris said,
'And you can see now that Howard Dean has only 500 votes, Lex Luthor
has 900, and Tiger Woods has 100.' Dean, the winner, was now the loser.
Harris sat up a bit straighter, smiled, and said, 'We just edited an
election, and it took us 90 seconds.'
On live national television. (You can see the clip on www.votergate.tv
Which brings us back to Morris and those pesky exit polls that had
Karen Hughes telling George W. Bush that he'd lost the election in a
Morris's conspiracy theory is that the exit polls 'were sabotage' to
cause people in the western states to not bother voting for Bush, since
the networks would call the election based on the exit polls for Kerry.
But the networks didn't do that, and had never intended to. It makes
far more sense that the exit polls were right - they weren't done on
Diebold PCs - and that the vote itself was hacked.
And not only for the presidential candidate - Jeff Fisher thinks this
hit him and pretty much every other Democratic candidate for national
office in the most-hacked swing states.
So far, the only national 'mainstream' media to come close to this
story was Keith Olbermann on his show Friday night, November 5th, when
he noted that it was curious that all the voting machine irregularities
so far uncovered seem to favor Bush. In the meantime, the Washington
Post and other media are now going through single-bullet-theory-like
contortions to explain how the exit polls had failed.
But I agree with Fox's Dick Morris on this one, at least in large part.
Wrapping up his story for The Hill, Morris wrote in his final
paragraph, 'This was no mere mistake. Exit polls cannot be as wrong
across the board as they were on election night. I suspect foul play.'
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