Evidence Suggests Millions of Stolen Votes
'Forcing' the Exit Polls
How to Safeguard the 2008 Election
November 27, 2006
Evidence Suggests Millions of Stolen Votes
Rob Kall / Op-Ed News.com
According to the Election Defense Alliance (EDA), an analysis of national exit polling data indicates a major under-count of Democratic votes and an over-count of Republican votes in the 2006 US House and Senate races. The EDA has called for further investigation into the election results and a moratorium on deployment of electronic-voting equipment.
"We see evidence of pervasive fraud, but apparently calibrated to political conditions existing before recent developments shifted the political landscape," said attorney and EDA co-founder Jonathan Simon. Fortunately, he added, "the 'fix' turned out not to be sufficient for the actual circumstances."
"When you set out to rig an election, you want to do just enough to win. The greater the shift from expectations, the greater the risk of exposure -- of provoking investigation. What was plenty to win on October 1, fell short on November 7."
"The findings raise urgent questions about the electoral machinery and vote counting systems used in the United States," according to Sally Castleman, National Chair of EDA. "The numbers tell us there absolutely was hacking going on, just not enough to overcome the size of the actual turnout. It looks for all the world that [the White House] already figured out the percentage they needed to rig, when the programming of the vote-rigging software was distributed weeks before the election -- and it wasn't enough."
EDA's data analysis team leader Bruce O'Dell's expertise is in the design of large-scale secure computer and auditing systems for major financial institutions. O'Dell stated, "The logistics of mass software distribution to tens or even hundreds of thousands of voting machines in the field would demand advance planning at least several weeks & prior to the election.
"Malicious insiders at any of the vendors would be in a position to alter the behavior of literally thousands of machines by infecting or corrupting the master copy of the software that's cloned out to the machines in the field.... It appears that such changes would have to have been done by early October at the latest," O'Dell explained.
The EDA captured the unadjusted National Election Pool (NEP) data as posted on CNN.com, before it was "adjusted" to match the vote counts. This data was instrumental in exposing the gross miscount.
"You have a choice," Simon observes. "You can believe in an electorate composed of the correct proportions of men and women, young and old, rural and urban, ethnic and income groups, Democrats, Republicans, and Independents -- or you can believe the machines." But remember that these machines "are designed, programmed, deployed, and serviced by avowedly partisan vendors, and can easily be set up to generate entirely false counts with no one the wiser, least of all the voters."
'Forcing' the Exit Polls
The Election Defense Alliance
As in 2004, the November 2006 midterm exit polling data and the reported election results don't add up. But this time there is an objective yardstick that establishes the validity of exit polling and challenges the accuracy of the election returns.
The 2006 Edison-Mitofsky Exit Poll (commissioned by a consortium of major news organizations) was based on the responses of more than 10,000 voters nationwide. It showed that Democratic House candidates out-polled Republicans by 55.0 percent to 43.5 percent -- an 11.5 percent margin in the total vote for the US House.
By contrast, the election results showed Democratic House candidates won 52.7 percent of the vote to 45.1 percent for Republican candidates, producing a 7.6 percent margin in the total vote for the US House -- 3.9 percent less than the Edison-Mitofsky poll. This discrepancy has less than a 1-in-10,000 likelihood of occurring by chance.
By Wednesday afternoon, the Edison-Mitofsky poll had been adjusted (by a process known as "forcing") to match the reported vote totals for the election. The result, posted at 1:00 PM November 8, showed the adjusted Democratic vote at 52.6 percent and the Republican vote at 45.0 percent -- a 7.6 percent margin, exactly mirroring the reported vote totals.
This "forcing" process reveals a great deal. The party affiliation of the respondents in the original 7:07 PM election night Exit Poll closely reflected the 2004 Bush-Kerry election margin. After the forcing process, 49-percent of respondents reported voting for Republican George W. Bush in 2004, while only 43-percent reported voting for Democrat John Kerry. This 6-percent gap is more than twice the size of the actual 2004 Bush margin of 2.8 percent, and a clear distortion of the 2006 electorate.
The adjusted 2006 Exit Poll simply does not reflect the actual turnout on Election Day 2006.
The adjusted exit poll is a statistical illusion. It required incredible distortions of the demographic data within the poll to bring about the match with reported vote totals. The Democratic margin of victory in US House races was substantially larger than indicated by the election returns. (A detailed analysis of the exit polls and related data is posted on the EDA website.)
The Stakes in Electronic Voting: The Chips Are Down
This controversy comes amid growing concern about the security and accuracy of electronic voting machines used to count approximately 80 percent of the votes cast in the 2006 election. In a September 2006 study, the Princeton University Center for Information Technology Policy exposed significant flaws in the design and software of one of the most popular electronic touch-screen voting machines -- the AccuVote-TS, manufactured by Diebold, Inc.
The Princeton report described the machine as "vulnerable to a number of extremely serious attacks that undermine the accuracy and credibility of the vote counts it produces." These machines were used to count an estimated 10 percent of votes on Election Day 2006.
The University of Connecticut's VoTeR Center and Department of Computer Science and Engineering concluded that Diebold's AccuVote-OS machines (optical scanners that tabulate votes cast on paper ballots) are also vulnerable to "a devastating array of attacks." AccuVote-OS machines are even more widely used than the AccuVote-TS.
The Brennan Center at New York University warns that all of America's computerized voting systems "have significant security and reliability vulnerabilities, which pose a real danger to the integrity of national, state, and local elections."
It is abundantly clear that these machines are not secure. The EDA continues to call for a moratorium on the deployment of electronic voting machines and the passage of HR 6200, which would require hand-counted paper ballots for presidential elections beginning in 2008. The EDA also favors adoption of the Universal Precinct Sample hand-count sampling protocol for verification of federal elections as long as electronic election equipment remains in use.
How to Safeguard the 2008 Election
Gar Smith / The-Edge
The message from the corporate media was that, despite public concerns over electronic voting machines, the election went "surprisingly well."
Don't tell that to the volunteers at the 866-OUR-VOTE vote-protection hotline. These workers logged more than 25,000 calls from people who complained they had been denied their right to vote on November 7.
Andi Novick of Northeast Citizens for Responsible Media faults the country's major news organizations for refusing to publicize or investigate recurring problems with America's electoral process. Even worse, Novick notes, the media "are actively complicit in this fraud." Why? Because "ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, Fox and the AP own the exit polls and have defied Congressmember John Conyers' request for the raw data, keeping that data secret from even qualified independent researchers."
In a typical post-election narrative, the Omaha World-Herald ran a report on Election Systems & Software, that praised the performance of the ES&S machines that counted 67 million votes in 1,800 jurisdictions in 43 states. The Herald quoted an ES&S spokesperson who declared: "It's been, all things considered, a smooth day" and added that any irregularities that surfaced were "problems you would expect."
The Herald article failed to mention that it's parent company, the Omaha World-Herald Company, is a minority shareholder in ES&S.
Clearly, we can't wait for the corporate media to come to the defense of democracy. With the November 2008 election less than two years away, we need to start organizing now. Here are some ways to act.
Election Reform in Washington
Nancy Pelosi (D-SF), the new Speaker of the House, has promised a "100-hour plan" for Democratic reform when she picks up the House gavel in January. Election reform needs to be at the head of the agenda. People for the American Way (www.pfaw.org) is one of the organizations campaigning for federal action. As the new chair of the Senate Rules and Administration Committee, Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) has promised that election reform will be among her top priorities. Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) plans to revise and reintroduce her "Count Every Vote Act."
End Voter Intimidation
Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) has introduced the Deceptive Practices and Voter Intimidation Prevention Act of 2006 (S. 4069), which would make it a crime to impede anyone's voting rights, to mislead voters with deceptive information, or harass voters with annoying "robocalls." (In the midterm election, GOP operatives launched swarms of "robot" phone calls that were falsely attributed to Democratic candidates -- and made sure the calls were timed to wake voters in the middle of the night.)
"Too often, we hear reports of mysterious phone calls and mailers... that seek to mislead and threaten voters," Obama observed, adding, "these deceptive and underhanded campaign tactics usually target voters living in minority or low-income neighborhoods."
Don't Concede without a Recount
Pointing to a 363-vote lead, Florida Republican Vern Buchanan claimed victory in the race for Sarasota's 13th congressional seat. But Democratic challenger Christine Jennings has sued to demand a recount, claiming that ES&S touch-screen voting machines failed to record more than 18,000 votes in the critical House race. This would mean an "undercount" of 14%. (The typical undercount runs a little over 1% nationwide. The undercount on Sarasota's absentee paper ballots was only 2.5%.)
Insist on a Paper Trail
H.R. 550 would require redesigning electronic voting machines to produce a paper record. To avoid a potential White House veto, paper-trail advocates are working to pass this legislation at the state level. (www.usalone.com/paper_ballots.php) But it's not enough to have a paper record. Wyoming's voting machines produce paper ballots but the state has no law requiring a recount. As a member of VoteTrustUSA notes: "What is the purpose of... a paper ballot if the law does not allow for manual checks and balances in counting those paper ballots?"
Rehabilitate the Exit Poll
After the 2004 exit polls showed John Kerry winning the presidential race, the media had a choice: it could have challenged the election results but it decided instead to challenge the exit poll. A flood of media hype spread the idea that exit polls were "unreliable" and needed to be abandoned. In fact, exit polls have proven to be "gold standard" guarantor of election honesty -- not only in the US but also around the world. In the US, exit polls are now the "property" of the major media corporations. Democracy requires independent exit polling to guard against fraud. As one progressive poll-watcher puts it: "If the Ukrainians can do it, why not us?" The Vote Count Projection Project (www.electionintegrity.org) is working to create an independent exit polling operation in time for the 2008 election.
Conduct Citizen Audits
"With the election essentially controlled by ES&S and Diebold, the stage is set for another easy-to-rig election," warns ballot watchdog Lynn Landes. In 2005, Landes proposed the creation of Citizen Audits/Parallel Elections. Citizen Audits have since been instituted in Texas, Florida, California, Georgia and Ohio.
Clean Money Legislation
California's Clean Money initiative failed (thanks to a flood of "dirty money" sent into the state to defeat it). But Arizona and Maine have both established Clean Money laws that provide public financing for politicians who agree not to accept corporate or special-interest campaign funds.
Banish Electronic Voting Machines
Four large corporations received generous federal subsidies to introduce electronic voting machines under the Help America Vote Act. Three of the companies have financial and political ties to the GOP. In addition to losing, mis-recording, and "flipping" votes, some of these machines have also "edited" the election process. In the critical Virginia Senate race between Republican George Allen and Democrat Jim Webb, the Hart InterCivic voting machines somehow managed to misspell the name of Democrat challenger Webb. Rep. Rush Holt's (D-NJ) electronic voting reform act, which would address this, has 200 co-sponsors.
Change Election Day
Holding elections on a workday tends to disenfranchise working voters. There are two ways to solve this systemic problem: declare election days to be National Holidays or move election days to the weekend. For more information, go to www.whytuesday.org/home.
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