Top Leaderboard, Site wide
Truthdig: Drilling Beneath the Headlines
July 25, 2017 Disclaimer: Please read.

Statements and opinions expressed in articles are those of the authors, not Truthdig. Truthdig takes no responsibility for such statements or opinions.

Truthdig Bazaar more items

Ear to the Ground
Email this item Print this item

Diebold Employee Alleges Shenanigans

Posted on Sep 24, 2006

A Diebold whistle-blower has cited a mysterious patch that possibly swung the 2002 Georgia election as evidence that the company can’t be trusted.  Days before the vote, Democrats in both the Senate and governor’s race were ahead in the polls by 5% and 11%, respectively, only to lose by a narrow margin on election day. 

According to the whistle-blower, a Diebold executive distributed a special patch that may have tampered with the election: “The curious thing is the very swift, covert way this was done.”

(h/t: Engadget)

Rolling Stone:

Then, one muggy day in mid-August, Hood was surprised to see the president of Diebold’s election unit, Bob Urosevich, arrive in Georgia from his headquarters in Texas. With the primaries looming, Urosevich was personally distributing a “patch,” a little piece of software designed to correct glitches in the computer program. “We were told that it was intended to fix the clock in the system, which it didn’t do,” Hood says. “The curious thing is the very swift, covert way this was done.”

Georgia law mandates that any change made in voting machines be certified by the state. But thanks to Cox’s agreement with Diebold, the company was essentially allowed to certify itself. “It was an unauthorized patch, and they were trying to keep it secret from the state,” Hood told me. “We were told not to talk to county personnel about it. I received instructions directly from Urosevich. It was very unusual that a president of the company would give an order like that and be involved at that level.”

According to Hood, Diebold employees altered software in some 5,000 machines in DeKalb and Fulton counties - the state’s largest Democratic strongholds. To avoid detection, Hood and others on his team entered warehouses early in the morning. “We went in at 7:30 a.m. and were out by 11,” Hood says. “There was a universal key to unlock the machines, and it’s easy to get access. The machines in the warehouses were unlocked. We had control of everything. The state gave us the keys to the castle, so to speak, and they stayed out of our way.” Hood personally patched fifty-six machines and witnessed the patch being applied to more than 1,200 others.

The patch comes on a memory card that is inserted into a machine. Eventually, all the memory cards end up on a server that tabulates the votes - where the patch can be programmed to alter the outcome of an election. “There could be a hidden program on a memory card that adjusts everything to the preferred election results,” Hood says. “Your program says, ‘I want my candidate to stay ahead by three or four percent or whatever.’ Those programs can include a built-in delete that erases itself after it’s done.”


New and Improved Comments

If you have trouble leaving a comment, review this help page. Still having problems? Let us know. If you find yourself moderated, take a moment to review our comment policy.

Join the conversation

Load Comments

By Muderxl, October 16, 2006 at 1:16 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The work the webmaster has done is worth bookmarking.

Report this

By Jody Holder, September 25, 2006 at 5:55 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Someone mentioned using an absentee ballot as being more secure.
No they are not.
Most absentee ballots are counted on centrally located optical scanners. That means they are counted electronically based upon someone programming in the “ballot definitions” which will assign each “mark” to a particular candidate or measure.
One mistake, or one malicious programming virus can swing an election. It only takes one person.
ES & S creates all the programming for the ballot definitions at their headquarters for the entire country. This year there have been multiple “errors” in their programming.
Diebold used to have a printout of the totals available on the central count. That could be used to conudct a random audit to see if the count was accurate. Now they no longer have the totals printout.
The only protection is rigorous, mandatory, publicly observed audits.
Until every jurisdiction that uses electronic means of recording and counting votes has such stringent auditing practices in place no election they conduct can be classed as worthy of our trust.
There are also other methods to commit electoral fraud by using absentee ballots.
Do a Google search using the key words of “election”, “fraud”, “absentee ballots”, “Hursti”, ballot definitions”, etc.
Check out the Citizens Toolkit at for ideas in how to protect our vote.

Report this

By Charles Cook, September 25, 2006 at 5:29 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

There will NOT be a civil war in the U.S. The people in this country have become far too lazy, stupid, and cowardly to even think civil disobediance much less a civil war.

Report this

By Charles Cook, September 25, 2006 at 5:18 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

There will be no civil war in the United States. The people in this country have become to cowardly, lazy, and stupid to care!

Report this

By Marjorie G, September 25, 2006 at 5:14 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

A note to the ATM suggestion. Business practices insist the machines get audited 100% throughout the day, catching many errors. Mostly, we need the political will for honest elections.

The NY lever machines aren’t as good as people think, but still the best idea when maintained. Other than paper counting, which urban centers won’t do. Difficult to cheat with levers, or on a mass scale. If someone green-lighted the project, we’d have technicians and plants to produce.

When lever machines were first introduced decades ago, there was a model available that could give a printout list-meeting a requirement of HAVA even back then. NY chose not to buy, because they’d rather have the wriggle room to fudge.

Report this

By Ed, September 25, 2006 at 12:24 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

If the corruption continues, there’s going to be civil war in the U.S. Start stockpiling ammo, Democrats.

Report this

By Margaret Currey, September 25, 2006 at 12:04 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Get rid of the electoral college, when it was started this country only had 13 states, another ting the person who won the election did not take office right away, because way backin the 18th century it took some time to get to Washington.  Isay change the law this country does not need to know in one night who will be president, and another thing this announcing who will be president early does a great disservice to the west coast, of course out here we are smart enough to have vote by mail, and even that is not perfect.  I knew maybe before a lot of people that Fla was stolen from Al Gore, why because the south is and has always been open to corruption the people who wanted to vote were harrassed by the state police, good ole boys trying to keep law and order and keep the south backwards as much as possible, I could go on and on and the truth will never be on television because all of the news people are bought and paid for, FOX news is the biggest right wing company in business.

from Marge, Vancouver, WA

Report this

By Chris, September 25, 2006 at 11:33 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Give up.

The election will remain rigged. Once again the democratic strongholds will “suddenly” have only one working machine per 10,000 voters. Once again the Republican strongholds will have 1,000 electronic machines per every 100 voters.

As a voter I can’t even verify my OWN vote!!!

How do I know when I select “Democrat” that my vote (electronically anyway) is actually making a vote for a Democrat? Maybe they’ve rigged the machines to just say “Democrat” on the computer screen but in reality it tabulates it as Republican??? So long as I can’t go back and verify my own vote (a current impossibility) then fraud will be impossible to stop.

The only way to EVER stop the vote rigging is if we, as citizen, had the ability to go back and check our votes and actually SEE if who we voted for actually matches what the machines say.

How do I know if my vote was tossed in the garbage? How do I know I’m tossed in the garbage as a “felon” (by mistake, of course. Yeah, right!) after the fact even though that’s not the case?

Hate to say it but I can guarantee in blood that the Republicans will “miraculously” manage to win every single race this November.

So long as Republican governors are in control of what machines go to what districts, so long as Republican governors can re-write the election “eligibility” rules at will and without ANY oversight, so long as Diebold can work without any oversight—- your vote is worthless. Might as will just toss it in the garbage bin yourself because that’s what the Republican governors will do.

The Republican state and local officials control every single aspect of the voting process and they can legally prevent you from voting by “mistakenly” purging you as an eligible voter, throw your provisional ballot away because they rewrote the rules to say the ballot was printed on the wrong weight of paper, that can allocate broken machines to Democratic districts, they can literally do anything they want to ensure, legally, that all Democratic votes are tossed in the garbage and that the only votes that are “eligible” are Republican votes.

Report this

By Marsha Vilt, September 25, 2006 at 8:31 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Die Bold

The touch-screen voting machines, designed for increased accessibility and accuracy than traditional devices, became popular after the controversial 2000 presidential election. Diebold has since deployed some 100,000 units in Ohio, Georgia, California, Mississippi, Maryland, among other states, Bear said.

“Every board of election has staff members with the technological ability to fix an election,” Ion Sancho, an election supervisor in Leon County, Florida, told me. “Even one corrupt staffer can throw an election. Without paper records, it could happen under my nose and there is no way I’d ever find out about it. With a few key people in the right places, it would be possible to throw a presidential election.


Diebold responds to the Princeton study (concerning the finding that a minibar key could open the machines). And, yes, Diebold does ATM’s, too.

Want to fight back?

Report this

By charlie kasnick, September 25, 2006 at 8:04 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

since computer hackers were found in the capital
building,Mr orin hatches office,and nobody cared.
now new revelation on election computer being hacked,seems like a call for independant investigation is needed now not later.

Report this

By Patricia Herrick, September 25, 2006 at 7:27 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Why do I have this knot in my midsection? Are we sunk??? I, many times feel like that ‘lone voice, crying out in the wilderness.’

Report this

By Is Feeney a KILLER or did he ORDER the KILL?, September 25, 2006 at 7:08 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

What type of Low Level Republicans do we have here?

Will U.S. Congressman Tom Feeney ( R - FLA )  KILL to acquire votes?

Report this

By Erik McBain, September 25, 2006 at 6:39 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The mechanical voting machines that we use here in New York are unhackable. Built in the early 1900’s they operate without electricity, and in fact, would work fine underwater. They can be dropped from a ten story building and still work fine ( one was tested in this manner). You need a Oxy/acetylene torch to get to the gearing. The vote is taken by reading the counter on the back after it is opened on site with four witnesses, each of whom must agree on the count ( witnesses are from the local community and include a neutral party - all are bonded). The machine is resealed and sent back to the warehouse ( a secure facility) where if any questions arise as to the vote in that precinct, the machine can be checked. The reason these machines are being fazed out is that the technology is too complex to repair ( we no longer have the highly skilled tool makers). The reason these machines came into existence was the rampant voter fraud New York faced at the turn of the century ( the Tweed machine in NYC).

Report this

By gp, September 25, 2006 at 6:29 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

One workaround: an absentee ballot.  Thay are typically counted outside the reach of these machines.  Won’t help on a large scale, but helpful nonetheless for anyone who wants to know that their vote was actually counted, not programmed to erase.

Report this

By atheist mom, September 25, 2006 at 2:58 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

My jaw dropped when I saw this item and I quickly surfed to Yahoo news to see if it appeared there. Of course not! What was I thinking? What can we do? Whenever I feel like I just want to climb under a rock, I think of Nazi Germany and how people failed to act because of “the banality of evil.” Surely we can do something?! Organize something?!

Report this

By Paul M Smith, September 25, 2006 at 2:27 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“A Better Election System” By Paul Magill Smith 3-8-2K6

  “To begin with, in the United States there must be a powerful demolition of the old political order: We need elections where all votes are cast and counted. The campaign against voter repression is the essential civil rights struggle of our time, even though most progressives don’t seem to realize it yet. Prevailing will require fundamental reform such as the introduction of nationwide vote-by-mail (the Oregon system). Without that, and also many relentless prosecutions, nothing else will be achieved”.—-JAMES K. GALBRAITH March 30, 2006   “Taming Global Capitalism Anew”—-(April 17, 2006 issue of The Nation Magazine)
(James K. Galbraith, chair of the board of Economists for Peace and Security, teaches at the University of Texas and is senior scholar with the Levy Economics Institute)

The System:
The latest round of corruption in our government stems from the biggest executive crime of all. In collusion with the Supreme Court our glorious president/dictator/tyrant “stole” the election of 2000, with another criminal (Tom DeLay) “stole” a majority in the house through re-districting, and with corporate henchmen in Diebold & Company “stole” another presidency in 2004. Whether you agree with the presidential election results or not there were statistical anomolies, and thousands of citizen complaints that should have required greater scrutiny & inquiry.

Since the 2000 presidential election our national coffers have been looted to the tune of trillions of dollars, and with almost three more years to go in this theocratic oligarchy there is still much more damage to come. Our financial ruin, through an unsustainable balance of trade deficit, massive fiscal deficits, and a consolidation of wealth in the hands of a few individuals & corporations, bodes ill for generations of Americans to come—-IF there are generations to come after the effects of global warming, a state of perpetual global war, and depleted uranium have their way with us.

A bleak picture-yes-but there is cause for hope. Going under the assumption most Americans have a streak of common sense, and an inbred respect for ‘the rule of law’, the first step toward retrieving our now stolen democracy is restoring honesty to our electoral process. Accountability, verifiability, and transparency are not luxuries; they are necessities if democracy in America (the world) is to be viable.

With these considerations in mind I propose an entirely new election system for this country. It uses, for the most part, existing equipment & technology already in place throughout the entire country, and would only require the development of some software. Election expenses would be reduced, election theft would become a thing of the past, and national referendums on key issues would become a possibility. The ‘will of the people’ would become king, instead of the preferences of King George/Dick/Karl/Donald/ etc.

So here is the idea. Currently in the US there are 368,000 ATM machines. They are easy to use (even from a car), provide a paper trail, accessible by use of a card with security features, and very accurately keep track of billions of transactions every month (a 1% accuracy error, which is acceptable for most elections, would land bankers out of their jobs & very likely jailed).

OK, so the first part deals with voting at ATM’s, except when they are being used for elections they would become AVM’s (Automatic Voting Machines). Instead of elections being held on one day (usually during the week) they would be held on the weekend from Friday evening at 6 PM until midnight on Sunday. This convenience would allow for larger turnouts meaning a more representative democratic system and sample.

The issue of verifiability would be very simple also. Since each registered voter would receive their own magnetic credit-card type, individually numbered card (requiring a personalized identification number-PIN-to make it work), each voter would have a specific number, and security that they were the only one who had the secret code to access the AVM.

Following an election their unique number, along with the way their vote was recorded would be published in the local paper & on the internet at a specific site. Since all the voter numbers could be placed in numerical order it would be easy to scan down the list to your number and verify your vote was cast for the person you wanted it to be.

If it was an election with candidates in a number of positions your vote would read as a multi-character number. An example would be 1324113 in which you voted for 7 different people for as many electable posts. The AVM would have given you a hard copy receipt to be used to verify against the posted list.
ATM’s are already linked to central computers, so collection of the total votes from all the machines should present very little problem. Election officials would be necessary at these institutions to verify all the votes were retrieved, but the elimination of officials at each precinct polling place would eliminate much of the costs of holding elections as with our current system.

As a further dis-incentive to election fraud, caused by computer tampering, if a certain percentage or number of voters provide their AVM receipt to election officials, and their vote code doesn’t match that of the central computers, the election results are AUTOMATICALLY declared void, resulting in a new election.

Since I have only begun thinking & writing about this new system I am sure there are many details to be considered and worked out. The bottom line is the current election system is broken, with millions of Americans lacking confidence in the extant election process & results.

As the world’s oldest democracy, holding our ‘system’ up as a model for budding or want-to-be democracies around the globe, it behooves us to make sure our own system is the best we can possibly make it, and the one others will wish to emulate. “Do as I say” is not good enough. If America is to ‘talk the talk’ we must ‘walk the walk’ also.

Paul Magill Smith
24 Oak Leigh Ct.
Richmond, VA 23238
.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Report this

By Alan Folsom, September 24, 2006 at 11:00 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

My greatest fear is that Republicans are stealing the elections.

If this is true, then we have no choice but to use weapons.

Report this

By Mike #2, September 24, 2006 at 10:56 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

How much do you want to bet that this revelation goes nowhere?  With the Repugs in control of all levels of governance, including the judiciary, as well as a press corps that always backs down when BushCo raises its voice, it will soon disappear.  FOX is already preparing a smear campaign against this whistle-blower (count on it) just in case word about this does get out to most of the public.  People need to take to the streets in large numbers in order to force the gov’t to act on this.  If what this guy says is true, these treasonous scumbag traitors must be tried, convicted and put away for several years.

Report this

By kevin99999, September 24, 2006 at 10:07 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Regardless of the shenanigans by Diebold, it is absolutely moronic to have the outcome of the elections rest in the hands of a corporation, regardless which corporation. The corporation are too corrupt and very much prone to criminal behavior. Only in the U.S., there is such a system.

Report this

By Steve, September 24, 2006 at 10:06 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I have already expressed to friends my believe that this next election will be no different, as a way of steeling myself against the disappointment we felt at the last three stolen election results. The Bush crime regime cannot let it happen and they won’t be subject to Democratic congresses investigations into their war profiteering and other heinous crimes, and the complicit news media will blizzard us with bull once again, and the ‘Get over it ” bumper stickers will be on display again ad nauseum, I think I’m going to be sick…..

Report this

By veep, September 24, 2006 at 8:52 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

God this is SO scary.

Report this

By Name Withheld, September 24, 2006 at 7:27 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The way to fix this:

Some smart hacker needs to fix a machine (or many machines) to give a 100% victory to Abraham Lincoln, or Karl Marx, or The San Diego Chicken.

Only then will it be provable to the average American that our system of democracy is in jeopardy.

Report this
Right Top, Site wide - Care2
Right Skyscraper, Site Wide
Right Internal Skyscraper, Site wide

Like Truthdig on Facebook