We Save Democracy

Does Your Vote Count? Computer Voting Machines VS Hand Count

For nearly two hundred years citizens of the United States have either been able to watch their election ballots being counted, or at least poll watchers from the various competing parties have been allowed to watch the ballots as they are being counted. However, now, according to Citizens for a Fair Vote Count (CFVC), in most counties in at least 49 states citizens no longer have the right to watch their ballots being counted. James Condit Jr., a founder of CFVC, and Director of Cincinnatus PAC, has been working on the computer vote fraud issue for 21 years. He has appeared on approximately 1,000 radio outlets.

In Teller County poll watchers only get to watch ballots being fed into a Teller County owned Accu-Vote Computer Voting Machine, and the totals being printed out the other end, or phoned by modem to Cripple Creek .

How computers count election ballots is determined by a computer's programming. The programming instructions are contained inside a little black box. No citizens, not even our poll watchers, clerks, election judges, boards of elections, or Secretaries of States are allowed to look inside the little black box because it is proprietary property. Local candidate's names can be inserted, but the source code is not accessible.

On the front page of the November 14, 2000 Mountain Jackpot , Teller County Clerk Connie Joiner stated, ".Teller has a state-of-the-art system (virtually) immune from voter fraud."

Howard Strauss, Director of Advanced Computer Applications at Princeton University , and a nationally renowned expert in the field of computer voting, stated, "When it comes to computerized elections, there are no safeguards. It's not a door without locks, it's a house without doors." Sources Relevance Magazine & The Spotlight .

Computer expert Peter G. Neumann, of Stanford Research Institute pointed out the ease of concealing theft by computer "without a trace," and characterized local elections as very vulnerable to fraud.

Ohio judge Richard Niehaus in a Hamilton County vote fraud case ruled, "There is no adequate and proper safeguard against the computers being programmed to distort election results."

Roy G. Saltman in a 1988 report for the U.S. Commerce Department, 'Accuracy, Integrity, and Security in Computerized Vote-Tallyiing', ".exhaustively documented the many instances of vote mistabulation and the inherent vulnerability of U.S. voting systems to error and fraud."

Author of the 32-page expose', "Annals of Democracy - Counting Votes" in the New Yorker, Ronnie Dugger, summarized the findings of his numerous interviews: "All the computer experts I have spoken with agreed that no computer program can be made completely secure against fraud."

The Mountain Jackpot paraphrased Teller County Clerk Connie Joiner as saying, in order for computers to be rigged.would have to be broken into or accessed through a key.penetrated with a new memory card. .

But this statement by Connie Joiner ignores the most obvious and likely source of computer rigging, which is through secretive co-operation between the programmer/manufacturer and the purchaser of the computer voting equipment, i.e., government officials who are in office and want to stay in office.

We are not saying there is any proof that local officials have been rigging elections. Even if local officials have been co-operating with computer voting equipment suppliers to rig elections, no one would ever know.

Not only are we not allowed to watch how our votes are being counted, but the likelihood of being able to detect vote rigging if it were happening is very difficult. Eva Waskell, Director, Elections Project at Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility (CPSR), stated, "Many court cases involving allegations of fraud were brought against vendors of electronic voting systems. There was no convictions. plaintiffs were never given access to the vote tabulating program."

It has been pointed out that poll watchers are allowed to test vote-counting computers by inserting dozens, or even hundreds, of ballots into the computer in order to check the accuracy of the computer's counting. This test is generally called the "logic and accuracy test."

Howard Strauss, Princeton University , says of this test, ".turns out to be no test at all. That doesn't prove a thing. Any system that was designed with a 'trap door' or a 'Trojan horse' or any kind of fraudulent thing in it could pass that test easily.. There are hundreds of ways you could do this. . I've talked to folks who've said 'oh no, we've fed a thousand votes in and then we looked at the other side and they were counted correctly.' I said, 'so what? That doesn't tell you what's inside the box.' "

Many vote counting computers, including Teller County 's Accu-Vote computers, have an "internal (read hidden) modem, which can allow outside access to the computer without anyone's knowledge.." These modems can even be accessed by cell phone and satellite technology, according to James Condit!

"You can't insulate a computer during vote-counting from outside communication if you have a modem in it," stated Ronnie Dugger in Relevance Magazine .

It's also been argued that, if anyone doubts the accuracy of a computer vote count, then ballots can be recounted by hand. However, Joiner says, ".the protester must foot the bill for a recount, unless the vote is. (within one-half of a percent). ." According to CPSR's Waskell those who have the ballots can frequently block access to the ballots for weeks. "It is a system that is rigged against anyone trying to find proof."

According to CFVC there are at least seven vendors offering sales of voting equipment. Most offer one-stop election supply shopping, including blank ballots, ballot box seals, secrecy envelopes, ballot boxes and transfer cases. Michael Shamos, Ph.D of Carnegie-Mellon University, Pittsburgh, and a Pennsylvania elections consultant, stated, ".plastic seals on the boxes.were easily duplicated."

Most recounts of computer counted elections are done by feeding the ballots right back into the same computer. If the program in the black box was properly rigged to start with, then the recount will produce the same phony results as the original count. Computer programmers call this "garbage in, garbage out."

Here in Colorado State Statute 1-10.5-102 states that how recounts are done is up to the Secretary of State.

Colorado Secretary of State Rule 12.3 says the same method that was used to do the first count must be used in the recount, unless otherwise directed by the Secretary of State. Garbage in, garbage out.

Relevance Magazine editor Dr. Phillip M. O'Halloran stated, ".the computer voting system in this country is a veritable can of worms, so open to tampering that if there is no organized election fraud going on, the criminals are falling down on the job.. computer vote fraud is not only feasible but, by its very nature, undetectable.. it is hard to conceive of an organized criminal enterprise with such a favorable combination of high profit potential and low risk."

When computer voting equipment with black boxes, which can not be observed by anyone but the programmer, are used, it is irresponsible and an abdication of responsibility for government officials to certify the accuracy of the vote count. In most cases the officials do not even know who created the program inside the little black box, let alone how it was done.

James Condit, Jr. states in an article titled, "VNS Falsified GOP Primary Vote..", "..election officials exist to guarantee that the results published on election night reflect the vote of the people; it's not our job to prove that an election was rigged, it's their job to prove that the election was verifiable and honest."

According to Joiner, in the past, election-tracking figures were garnered nationally from the Voter News Service, which even gathers information from Teller County .

The November 9, 2000 issue of The Gazette , p A12, in an AP article titled, "TV networks admit there are big omelette's (sic) on their faces," states, "NBC was the first to declare a winner in Florida.Its rivals quickly followed suit, basing their information largely on polling data provided by Voter News Service, a consortium created by the Associated Press, ABC, CBS, CNN, Fox and NBC."

Hearings on the US TV network's involvement in possible election fraud and exactly what relationship they have to Voter News Service, as well as how the early erroneous projections showing Gore the certain winner in Florida got on all 5 TV networks, are going to be held by the House Telecommunications Subcommittee of the Commerce Committee in early January, 2001. The Chairman of the Telecommunications Subcommittee is Billy Tauzin (R-LA).

Voter News Service (VNS) is a highly secretive organization that was started in 1972. VNS's earliest predecessor was News Election Service (NES), created in 1964, the year after President Kennedy was assassinated. The above AP article is the first time to our knowledge that any owner of VNS has ever gone public about who owns VNS. For nearly four decades the major U.S. media have kept the existence of NES & VNS hidden from the public. Some researchers contend that the media (rather than the US Congress) was given the power to count votes in the U.S. in exchange for covering up the Kennedy assassination. VNS, including its main computer, has been located at approximately the same location (currently 225 W. 34 th St. , New York , N.Y. ) for many years. (See Votescam: The Stealing of America , p 21, 316, by James & Kenneth Collier, and CFVC's information kit for more details.)

According to Votescam: The Stealing of America , CFVC, and Votescam.com, VNS has been falsifying exit polls for many years, possibly in order to prepare citizens for the phony results. Many of the details of how the VNS exit polls have been conducted and reported have been shown to be untrue or impossible. For example, until recently the exit polls were nearly always accurate beyond what was statistically possible, except for counts done in counties that counted the ballots by hand. Also, the TV Networks have been pretending for nearly four decades that they are in competition on election night. Fact is they have all been using VNS & NES since 1964.

VNS adds up the county and state vote totals on election night. VNS is itself a large corporation owned by giant corporations. Chase Manhattan Bank, which is mainly owned by the Rockefellers, owns controlling interest of several of the media corporations that own VNS. Thus the Rockefellers have significant control of VNS. See Vultures In Eagles Clothing , p 148, by Lynne Meredith, 562-592-9077, and Corporate Predators , p120, by Russell Mokhiber and Robert Weissman.

According to Condit, ".in almost every county in the United States, almost every election night, election officials nationwide, most significantly the Secretary of State in all 50 states, willingly abdicate their responsibility to a relative handful of computer programmers, voting machine technicians -- and VNS. It is infinitely easier to falsify the vast majority of elections where, since the 1970's, the public is not permitted to verify the true count. In fact, Citizens are prevented by law from having an opportunity to do so, at the polling place on election night; such is the case virtually everywhere that voting machines or computer vote counting methods are used."

Joiner stated that, ".hand counting ballots won't curb any concerns about potential fraud."

Only a person unaware of the potential for computer vote fraud, or a person who benefits from the ability to rig elections through the use of computers, would prefer to have votes counted by a computer rather than out in the open by hand, where poll watchers and citizens can actually see how their votes are being counted.

How votes are counted is central to the whole democratic process. If the method of vote count does not have integrity, then the whole foundation of a democratic society collapses.

Britain, Israel, India, Switzerland, and Canada count their ballots by hand, according to a cassette tape titled, "Votefraud vs. Honest Elections 2000," distributed by CFVC, and a recent CFVC News Flash.

Canada counts 13 million ballots by hand in four hours, according to CBS News, Nov. 28, 2000 . Canada 's ballots are very simple, are not punch cards, and have no chads. An X is placed in front of the preferred candidate. (See www.elections.ca)

When it comes to counting votes, accuracy and integrity are far more important than speed. Although computers have the ability to be very accurate, they are only as accurate as their programming.

Most of the U.S. precincts have on average 300 votes cast. Assuming 50 ballots would be counted by hand per hour by each person, it would only required three people two hours to count the 300 ballots. Ballots should always be counted first, and the results publicly posted, prior to being removed from the polling place.

In Woodland Park during the past two years city elections have been done by the use of mail ballots counted by one of Teller County 's Accu-Vote Computers. Citizens mail in their ballots, the ballots sit around for 1-10 days protected only by a room key and ballot box seals. Some blank ballots are discarded into the wastebaskets at the post office. Many blank ballots are returned undeliverable.

The Woodland Park City Council claims that they prefer the mail ballots because it encourages more people to vote. But mail ballot voting has only produced a very small percentage increase in voter participation. In the last Woodland Park election the city would have saved over $7,000 by doing a hand count at polling places.

The Teller-Woodland Green Tea Party was recently successful collecting enough valid signatures on an initiative petition that will, if passed, require the hand counting of ballots at polling places in Woodland Park . We certainly hope that the vote on this initiative petition will be counted by hand out in the open.

Main Sources: The info package available from VoteFraud.org, especially Relevance Magazine, November 1996, NetworkAmerica.org, VoteScam.com, Votescam: The Stealing of America by James Collier, The Spotlight 202-546-5614, and "Annals of Democracy - Counting Votes," The New Yorker , November 7, 1988, p 40, , by Ronni Dugger .

If you would like more information, call: 719-687-1002, or 687-8141.

Author: Lotus