Thursday, November 08, 2012
KARL ROVE'S PLAN TO STEAL OHIO FOR ROMNEY WAS FOILED BY (BELIEVE IT OR NOT) FOX NEWS AND FORBES MAGAZINE!
TECH | 11/06/2012 @ 12:20AM Original Here
The Technological Foundations Of Today's Election Are Shaky, Especially In Ohio
The polls for tomorrow’s presidential election are close, and Ohio will be the most important battleground. Eight years ago, the election was mired in the Florida recount, the results of which are still disputed (by at least half the country.) Could we be heading for something far worse?
This year’s version of the hanging chad could be even more pernicious since it resides in the software that tabulates the votes. Google “election fraud,” and you will get stories about both campaigns lawyering up for possible visible irregularities. They should perhaps hire some hackers and statisticians and get under the hood. Three separate news reports, from well-researched but admittedly left-wing sources, question whether the integrity of the election can be assured. Surprisingly, the only mention of these stories on mainstream television come from the FOX affiliate station in Cincinnati, WXIX-TV. See the “Reality Check” segment above.
The first unsettling report originated in The Free Press, has been corroborated by multiple sources and was covered on Forbes by Rich Ungar, in a very well-read post, Romney Family Investment Ties To Voting Machine Company That Could Decide The Election Causing Concern. Although Tamara Keith, on the supposedly left-leaning NPR provided a debunking headline, No, Romney’s Son Is Not Gunning To Steal Ohio Vote By Rigging Voting Machines, even she had to admit that there are multiple points of contact between the company, Hart InterCivic, and the Romney campaign.
The second, and most recent story, points to last minute “uncertified ‘experimental’ software patches” that have been installed on electronic vote tabulation systems in 39 Ohio counties. The same writers, Bob Fitrakis and Gerry Bello, writing in The Free Press, uncovered a contract between the office of the Republican Secretary of State of Ohio, Jon Husted and electronic voting system manufacturer ES&S, for a modification to the software that controls “vote counting tabulators in up to 39 Ohio counties.” The Secretary of State’s office has been evasive and contradictory in response to questions about the minor seeming change that involved converting results from xml to csv format. Apparently, by calling the software “experimental,” Husted was attempting to avoid any approval, review or testing of the new software. But as the federal Elections Assistance Commission titled a memo back in February , “Software and Firmware modifications are not de minimis changes.”
Brad Friedman (featured in the video above from the Russian RTAmerica YouTube channel) wrote an extensive post about the story on his BradBlog. He points out that Art Levine reported on the Huffington Post that Fitrakis and attorney Cliff Arnebeck are trying to block the use of the new software. Friedman quotes Libertarian election integrity and software expert Jim March’s affidavit for the Fitrakis/Arnebeck injunction lawsuit where he writes, ”The method of execution chosen is unspeakably stupid, excessively complex and insanely risky. In medical terms it is the equivalent of doing open heart surgery as part of a method of removing somebody’s hemorrhoids. Whoever came up with this idea is either the dumbest Information Technology ‘professional’ in the US or has criminal intent against the Ohio election process.” (See the sidebars on the Free Press and BradBlog posts linked to here for additional, relevant stories.) What could this mean? This software vulnerability “creates a digital ‘back door,’ which someone wishing to alter vote totals might be able to exploit,” explains The Christian Science Monitor.
The third story is both the biggest and at the same time, the most circumstantial. Denis Campbell at the UK Progressive, has written a series of posts based on the statistical analysis of a former NSA analyst that show an inexplicable but recurrent statistical anomaly. Draw your own conclusions, but this retired analyst, Michael Duniho, has demonstrated “mathematics [that] showed changes in actual raw voting data that had no statistical correlation other than programmable computer fraud. This computer fraud resulted in votes being flipped from Democrat to Republican in every federal, senatorial, congressional and gubernatorial election since 2008 (thus far) and in the 2012 primary contests from other Republicans to Mitt Romney.” He claims to prove that there is an unexplained, and systemic, shift in favor of Republicans in the larger districts by a factor of 10%. See video below for more detail:
Whether you believe any or none of these assertions, the doubts raised by them show how shaky the technological foundations of our democracy are. No consumer would engage with e-commerce on the web if those systems were as hackable and open to abuse as those that count our votes. The 2007 Ohio EVEREST Voting Study showed how hackable that state’s voting machines, supplied by Elections Systems and Software (ES&S), Hart InterCivic, and Premier Election Systems (formerly Diebold), are and how they do not obey basic principles of containment that underpin any competent security system.
I sent a couple of these stories to a friend of mine, Dr. Nathaniel Polish, a brilliant software developer and inventor, to see what the tech take on this would be. His response was immediate and opinionated, “Computer based voting is a real problem. If it is not completely open source with code open for public inspection and comment, then is can not be a valid way to collect votes. Period. There is really no room for compromise on this. Elections done electronically with proprietary systems will always be suspect.” He went on to mention the GOP’s voter suppression attempts and the fact that “when you have partisan secretaries of state you have to assume that they will do all that they can for their party. The Dems might be tempted some time to try something similar.”