Electronic Voting Machines Stealing Votes?

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We are in the process of converting America to computers in every phase of life with voting a good snapshot of the future.  What do the people who have seriously studied this field say?  We found two examples at “votescam.org” and “BlackBoxVoting.org.”  Both are studies including shocking stories of computer errors, frauds or manipulations that confirm the worst of our suspicions and you can download their books free.  For example, from “votescam.org:”

“In the Alabama 2002 general election, machines made by Election Systems and Software (ES&S) flipped the governor’s race. Six thousand three hundred Baldwin County electronic votes disappeared after the polls had closed and everyone had gone home.

Democrat Don Siegelman’s victory was handed to Republican Bob Riley, and the recount Siegelman requested was denied. Six months after the election, the vendor shrugged. “Something happened. I don’t have enough intelligence to say exactly what,” said Mark Kelley of ES&S.”

This is the most common case:  Computers are not at fault and they may have exposed a fraud where one would not have been detected in the past.  Also from “Votescam.org:”

“In the 2002 general election, a computer miscount overturned the House District 11 result in Wayne County, North Carolina. Incorrect programming caused machines to skip several thousand partyline votes, both Republican and Democratic. Fixing the error turned up 5,500 more votes and reversed the election for state representative.”

This feeds our greatest fears as programming a computer to count the numbers of times each of several buttons are pushed is a simple task and I say that as one who spent 15 years writing 430 educational programs for the Apple IIe in BASIC, with occasional subroutines in machine language, a process that would drive a wooden Indian nuts.

The only way this kind of error can happen is for the program author to have put it there.  This is curable.

National elections attract the most attention, but local elections affect the quality of your life directly, immediately and often profoundly. They are not too small for the “hackers” as we see in this example from “Votescam.org”:

“An Orange County, California, election computer made a 100 percent error during the April 1998 school bond referendum. The Registrar of Voters Office initially announced that the bond issue had lost by a wide margin; in fact, it was supported by a majority of the ballots cast. The error was attributed to a programmer’s reversing the “yes” and “no” answers in the software used to count the votes.”

This was a money issue affecting local property taxes, which is not to say the national elections do not, but it all seems so far away and the fuse is longer.  Either way we pay, but it smarts more when you live with the perpetrators and “Votescam.org” includes an example from Illinois that did not, for once, involve the cemeteries of Cook County:

“A computer program that was specially enhanced to speed the November 1993 Kane County, Illinois, election results to a waiting public did just that — unfortunately, it sped the wrong data. Voting totals for a dozen Illinois races were incomplete, and in one case they suggested that a local referendum proposal had lost when it actually had been approved. For some reason, software that had worked earlier without a hitch had waited until election night to omit eight precincts in the tally.”

This kind of error can only happen if someone who knew a lot about the program got into it and made some changes.  As an experienced programmer I can say that no one can do this work without having planned for it carefully with serious intent to commit a fraud.  It usually has to be the original programmer.

While new technology solves problems and makes our lives easier it does not change the nature of the people and it seems we will always have a certain number of skunks and scoundrels we need to control in the voting machine story.

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The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author and are not not necessarily either shared or endorsed by iPatriot.com.

Adrian Vance

Adrian Vance Trained as a science teacher, with eight years classroom experience, he has been writing professionally since the age of 15. He was the youngest person to be published in Journal of the Illinois Academy of Science at 17 as a result of a paper he wrote suggesting a revision in the science teaching curriculum. Publication was accidental as his teacher headed the selection committee and his paper was sent to the printer in error. Nonetheless, it received positive response. It proposed teaching General Science, then Physics followed by Chemistry with Biology in the senior year given the then new molecular focus in Biology. During his college years he worked on the school newspaper, primarily as a photographer and did an occasional feature, some of which caused him to be called to the Dean's office. "You don't like the way we do things here?" was the usual opening remark followed by the expected suggestion. After his third year, exhausted and without direction, he left for one year, but returned, when Sputnik and Admiral Rickover's books documented a crisis in American education. He felt called to teach and completed a B.S. in Physical Science at Illinois State University with a major in chemistry, minor in biology, near minors physics and education. He did graduate work in both Illinois and California completing a California Life Diploma teaching credential in 1962. While teaching he saw many needs and opportunities in educational publishing so he wrote and produced educational materials, primarily filmstrips and sound recordings. He also wrote for photographic magazines as film work put him in touch with many photographic and production problems. He has 325 screen credits in educational, industrial film and filmstrip as a writer-producer. In 1976 he won the Learning Magazine “Best of the Year” award for his “You in the Universe” filmstrip series and the New York Film and Television Festival Silver Medal for “An Introduction to Cells” filmstrip series. For a partial database of Adrian’s publications please click on http://www.worldcat.org/search and you will see them listed by series title and publisher. Each series title included four to 30 filmstrips and all are not fully listed in this database. The grand total is over 800. Over that 30 years Mr. Vance also wrote other material: two books, published in New York: “UFO’s: The Eye and the Camera” for Barlenmir House and “Audiovisual Production” for Amphoto Books. He wrote and illustrated over 100 features and columns for photography magazines. He was a Founding Contributing Editor for Peterson's PhotoGraphic Magazine and the West Coast Editor of Popular Photography from 1974 to 1978, writing a monthly column for the magazine. As a result of underwater photography work he contributed to SKIN DIVER magazine in the 70's. His "Timing Waves to Enter The Sea" article, first appearing in SKIN DIVER, is now a chapter in a classified U.S. Navy Seals training manual. "UFO's, The Eye and the Camera" documents his "Two channel information theory for the analysis of events simultaneously seen and photographed." It is the first comparative analysis of vision and photography written with the idea of combining information from both sources into a single analysis that can be used scientifically and forensically. Mr. Vance is also credited with solving the mystery of how complete maps of Earth were drawn in antiquity and he rediscovered Captain Cook's secret method of locating Pacific islands so well their positions have only recently been improved. He is cited with discovering the method in the seventh edition of "The Maps of the Ancient Sea Kings," by Dr. Charles Hapgood and he later contributed to a definitive article on cartography in antiquity for The Smithsonian Magazine as they confirmed his method. On February 19, 1976 Mr. Vance got a “Certificate of Appreciation” award from the Los Angeles Police Department “in grateful recognition of his generosity in make available to officers of this Department the talents and training of his German Shepherd, Boris. The ready willingness of Mr. Adrian Vance to become involved and to make available his valuable dog in a potentially hazardous situation deserves the gratitude and approbation of the entire Los Angeles Police Department.” This incident was critical to the LAPD administration’s realization that trained dogs could be of value in police work and they are now employed by the LAPD. When the computer replaced film the school market audio-visual field he switched horses at full gallop and produced 460 computer educational disk systems for the Apple II computer over 15 years. During that time he became a professional broadcaster in the 90's to promote the State Water bond issue in Santa Barbara, California as he felt it was critical for the town. He was publicly credited for having been one of the top ten reasons the measure passed thanks to his book “Drought in Paradise” and radio work. The collapse of his software business when Apple Computer discontinued the "II" machine line in 1995 crystallized the failure of his second marriage. With no clear direction in the school market supplemental materials field he sought a career in broadcasting in Las Vegas, Nevada doing shows on both KDWN and KXNT. This was unsatisfying due to the "star" economics of commercial radio where a few performers make millions and everyone else starves. Mr. Vance has also been a day trader, strategist, system developer and author on the equities markets and trading. He now trades stock, land and develops residential property. His website and trading information service, "The Stock Surfer" was a leading Internet service for seven years. He has been developing “The Young Americans” series of Young Adult novels promoting conservative values as well as his personal memoir, “A Long Way From Normal.” You can buy Adrian Vance’ books or downloads at Amazon.com December 21, 2010 he was awarded US. Patent 7,855,061 for his “Fuel Farm” that makes a gasoline equivalent 100 Octane fuel, butanol, from CO2, water and sunlight with algae and bacteria. You can see the full disclosure websites regarding his inventions at: http://CO2Au.blogspot.com and http://fuelfarm.i8.com -30-

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