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Truthdiggers of the Week: The Voting Machine Crusaders

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Posted on Nov 3, 2006
Voting machine crusaders

From top left, clockwise: activist Bev Harris, journalist Brad Friedman, Princeton University professor Edward W. Felten, a Diebold AccuVote-TS voting machine, Princeton graduate student J. Alex Halderman.

Truthdig salutes all the journalists, activists and researchers who have been working to expose the security flaws of electronic voting machines—an underappreciated endeavor that is essential to the safeguarding of our democracy.

Among journalists, perhaps no single reporter has pursued this story with more tenacity than Brad Friedman. His blog, BradBlog, is a daily must-read for everyone who wants to keep tabs on this subject, and he has used the platform to break several national stories.

Check out BradBlog here.

Truthdig also salutes activist Bev Harris, whose crusade to expose the vulnerability of America’s voting machines was chronicled in the Nov. 2 HBO documentary “Hacking Democracy.” Harris, a Seattle grandmother who took it upon herself to start asking critical questions about the machines that count 80 percent of the votes in the United States, is executive director of Black Box Voting Inc., an advocacy group opposed to computer voting methods without open source codes.

Learn more about Harris and “Hacking Democracy” here.


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Finally, Truthdig shines the spotlight on Princeton computer professor Edward W. Felten and two graduate students, Ariel J. Feldman and J. Alex Halderman, whose research proved that anyone with a screwdriver and a flash memory card could successfully hack a Diebold machine in a minute or two.

Their research paper and accompanying video are here.

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By AnalogDan, January 9, 2008 at 11:59 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The head clerk of the New Hampshire town of Sutton has been forced to admit that Ron Paul received 31 votes yet when the final amount was transferred to a summary sheet and sent out to the media, the total was listed as zero. The fiasco throws the entire primary into doubt and could lead to a re-count.

As we reported earlier today, an entire family voted for Ron Paul in Sutton, yet when the voting map on the Politico website was posted, the total votes for Ron Paul were zero.

Vote fraud expert Bev Harris contacted the head clerk in Sutton, Jennifer Call, who was forced to admit that the 31 votes Ron Paul received were completely omitted from the final report sheet, claiming “human error” was responsible for the mistake.

Two or three votes not counted could be a plausible mistake - but 31 votes for one candidate?

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By Hogwasher, November 7, 2006 at 9:29 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

To One For Dissent: Before 9/11 no skyscrapers collapsed due to fire? Well, first, who could possibly have investigated every skyscraper collapse in history? Second, more importantly, no buildings ever had 767’s with heavy fuel loads crash into them before, either. I guess rational thinking is still not as fun as conspiracy theories, however loony.

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By One For Dissent, November 6, 2006 at 7:50 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Thanks Kathy. Thanks Larry. Here are the facts on 9/11—thousands of people died and it was used as a pretext for war. Did President Cheney and First Lady G.W. know it was going to happen? Probably. But we will never know for sure, unless they admit to it, and I’m not waiting for that day.

As far as seeing what you want to see—I don’t think any American wants to believe it was an inside job. The evidence is shady on both sides of the argument, and that is partially due to the hasty removal of the evidence, which didn’t give investigators a chance to inspect the rubble.

As far as building seven and the towers go—before 9/11 a skycraper had never in recorded history collapsed due to fire.

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By E. Wright, November 6, 2006 at 6:19 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

A case of implausible plausibility:
As of evening, Nov. 6, 2006 news reports are showing up to the
effect that the Republicans are mobilizing massively their electoral
plausibility machine.  When the elections have again been stolen,
Rupert’s legions, and even the NYT organization will dutifully note
how the last minute surge of the Republican plausibility batalions
one the election.

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By kathy sullivan, November 6, 2006 at 1:07 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

RE: Comment #36737 by Larry on 11/05 at 3:03 pm

Larry,  Regarding your comment that I need to follow the evidence instead of seeing what I want to see:  I have been researching this quite awhile.  At the time 9/11 happened, my instincts told me it was an inside job and that what I was seeing were controlled demolitions.  I repressed that thought; it was just too much to absorb psychologically.  A couple months ago, though, I took a deep breath and looked at some of the films made on the subject.  One, in particular 911 Mystery caught my eye because it was made by a Republican who wanted to debunk the 9/11 Truthers.  Instead,  he became convinced that it was an inside job and made his own film.  Please see it:  Also, please see the film 9/11:  Press for Truth which was made by the widows of 9/11 who pressured the government to do an investigation which Bush and Chaney, by the way, fought all the way:  The other films like Terror
Storm or Loose Change are very good too but ask the viewers to stretch their imaginations.  They ask some pertinent questions, though, but I think we need to start with the World Trade Building and Building 7 before we go into the fact that the Pentagon hole was too small or that Flight 93 was really shot down because small fragments of body parts were found over a large area and the local coroner commented that he didn’t see any blood or bodies at the scene.  The idea that the government might have wanted to create American heros (ala Jessica Lynch) who bring the plane down may have been too tempting.  Anyway, I went to the site you recommended and was not convinced.  You forget the buildings were pulverized and burned below ground for weeks.  This is consistent with explosives.  According to the article, Building 7 where Mr. Silverstein said: “Maybe the smartest thing to do is to pull it” meant the contingent of firefighters remaining in the building.  I don’t buy it:  In that video, he was not talking about firemen; there were no firemen in the building after 10:30 a.m according to FEMA.  See:  If that were the case, “pull it” should have been “pull them”.  Your article also suggest that the problem with demolition is that it takes considerable time and effort and how did people get access to the buildings to wire 3 buildings without anyone noticing.  It just happens that Marvin Bush, Bush’s brother, was director of Securacom which did security for the buildings.  And many people remember the many powerdown drills and evacuations that occurred weeks before 9/11.  See: .  After you see these films, get back to me.  I don’t want to overload you, but I have much more for you to see.

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By Jim Neufeld, November 6, 2006 at 9:09 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Voter fraud? What about the man that was put in prison for tampering with the election down in Florida? It was on the internet ! Another words it already happens ! If the CIA can manipulate the electoral votes in other countries -how about ours? Better yet the former CIA director was his father!

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By J, November 6, 2006 at 8:57 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The only question is…not whether, but how the election will be stolen.  All the suppositions, prognostications, aspirations are as the pipe-dreams of hallucinatory fantasists.  It will be stolen, it has to be stolen.  These folks don’t want to go to jail, don’t want to be held accountable, don’t want to give up even the slightest measure of their power and control.  Fuggedaboudi!

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By Dan Weintraub, November 6, 2006 at 8:51 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Too Little, Too Late

Yesterday, George Bush said the following: “I don’t believe it’s (the election) over until everybody votes.” Oh, it’s over alright. The fix is in. Surreal as it may seem, the United States has, in 6 painful years, gained the dubious distinction as the world’s foremost authority on sophisticated and well-laundered election fraud. The Bush mission of saving America from the evils of Islamo-Fascism will not be derailed by the democratic process. George Bush has essentially admitted as much. With his revolutionary view of the absolute authority of the unitary executive and his liberal use of presidential signing statements*, George Bush has clearly demonstrated his intention: to proceed with his agenda of war abroad regardless of the will of the people. It is definitely, positively, and most assuredly, over. *example:

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By Anxious American, November 6, 2006 at 7:50 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Lou Dobbs is also doing an excellent job of publicizing all this shit on CNN. Local election officials who approved these insecure machines need to be fired and imprisoned. Fat chance.

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By Harriett Heisey, November 5, 2006 at 10:38 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

My thanks to all who have worked to reveal the danger of the Diebold electronic voting machines. I just wish their efforts had been successful in getting them removed from polling places, but without Bev, Brad, Felten and Halderman’s hard work, the public would be completely in the dark. 
Certainly, the Democratic Party has known since 2002 the machines were flawed, easily hacked and rigged yet their response has been no response. They move in a business as usual manner and seem perfectly content to watch the fraud unfold, then meekly concede the following morning. I do not understand the lack of outrage on the part of the American people. Are they really so apathetic they don’t wish to inform themselves and understand the enormous damage that is being wrought by these fraudulent elections.
The latest media generated “poll” figures coming out this afternoon clearly show the “fix” is in. Races that were well apart have closed to 2 points and some are tied. This sets the stage for another miraculous get out the vote effort by Republicans. One by one the same Republican rot will return to Congress launched by a rigged and stolen election. Democrats controlling Congress? It’s a cruel joke!

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By jen, November 5, 2006 at 3:58 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Be sure to tune in Election Night:

Peter B. Collins and Brad Friedman to Co-Anchor Historic Election Night Marathon Meltdown-a-Palooza Broadcast!

For details go to The Brad Blog:

Thank you for honoring these Patriots! If anyone can, please throw some cash Brad’s way! It’s up to us to help him keep being the media!

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By Larry, November 5, 2006 at 3:03 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Re: Comment #36621 by kathy sullivan on 11/04 at 1:53 pm

I agree the problems with E-voting need to be more in the public domain and it looks like it’s beginning to get more press coverage. And yes, while there is many unanswered questions about 9/11, I don’t think we need to jump to “inside job”. I prefer to trust science. Please read this article:
Regardless of how evil I can believe this current pack of criminals in the White House can be, I think you really need to follow evidence and not just see what you want to see.
Engage Critical Thinking.
GOTV (Get Out The Vote)

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By Wanda Marie Woodward, November 5, 2006 at 2:07 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Nothing is more sacrosanct to democracy than fair and free elections.  This and global warming are the two most important, critical issues of our day.  The world must be awakened to the sullied electoral process if we are to take back our democracy.  Thank you for all of your courageous efforts.

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By MARIAM RUSSELL, November 5, 2006 at 7:00 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

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By Cheney/Voldemort 2008 Campaign HQ, November 4, 2006 at 11:24 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I just wonder if everything everyone is doing will still be enough to stop the party of fat old sleazoid greedy white men from stealing their fourth election in a row!

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By Savon, November 4, 2006 at 9:16 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The first order of business for the next congress with their Democratic Majority should be to hold real investigations into this. Nothing is more fundamental to the future of our democracy than the sanctity of our vote. So far we’ve blamed the corruption of the process on the Republicans. Let’s hope that the Democrates step up to the plate and do what is necessary to bring the issue to the light and fix it.

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By Druthers, November 4, 2006 at 3:14 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

They deserve a resounding thanks from all of us and you do well to commend and honor them.  They are on the front lines sending up flares to warn of imminent danger.  It is the equivalent of “The British are coming.”

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By GWN, November 4, 2006 at 1:58 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Thanks for highlighting those great folks. Too bad they don’t get the support from the Democrats.
I have watched Brad since 04 work on this e-voting mess. He stuck with it and I imagine he won’t realize what a gift he has given to the American people, and the world really, until he has time to rest.

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By kathy sullivan, November 4, 2006 at 1:53 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

thank you all you truthdiggers for trying to safeguard our elections!  i was appalled that so many americans just seemed to accept these machines without question.  it is good to know that there are people working hard on this issue—i saw “hacking democracy”—great movie!  after we get our democracy back, we should next focus on a new commission for 9/11.  Truthdiggers, please, please take some time to review some of the new facts that are coming out—it was an inside job!!  I know, i know, you have such little time, but this is really, really important.  Our democracy depends on getting at the truth.  There was no real investigation, we all know that.  the commission was a sham, we all know that.  They’ve lied about everything including 9/11!!!

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By felicity, November 4, 2006 at 11:59 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The Republican party is actively involved in getting Republicans elected Secretaries of State in states across the country.  It is they who decide voting processes and policies in states - everything from voting machines to precinct hours.  This is beyong insidious and extremely frightening.

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By GW=MCHammered, November 4, 2006 at 10:49 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)


Cheney twiddles his thumbs with nuclear fury. Rummy’s scowl almost dumps his eyeglasses. Rove rifles through flash cards while Bush snorts hard on a line of blow.

CHENEY: Iraq’s fucked.
RUMMY: It’s not fucked. It’s just a little diddled.
BUSH: Hey, who’s your daddy?

Cheney tosses a pill and it vanishes down Bush’s throat.

BUSH: C’mon people. Need some strategy here. Polls show Dems out ahead.
CHENEY: We have no plan. That’s why Iraq’s fucked.
RUMMY: Of course, there’s a plan. You think I’d send our troops—

Rove halts flipping and reads a flash card.

ROVE: Projection.
BUSH: Hey! Karl’s right. Persuade the voters the Dems have no plan. Heh, heh.
CHENEY: Waterboard ‘em. We’ll get their fucking votes.

Rove reads another flash card.

ROVE:  Primal Angst.
BUSH: ‘Nother good one, Karl. We’ll scare ‘em intuh, intuh votin’ our way. Now, who’s your daddy?

Cheney feeds Bush another pill.

RUMMY: Our terrorist alarm strategy has worn thin. It won’t work!
CHENEY: It’s fucked.
BUSH: I’ll make it work. Just watch me.

Bush leans over his desk like it’s a podium and starts humping.

RUMMY: No more soapbox reruns. It’s time for shock-n-awe.

Rove focuses on a flash card and giggles.

ROVE: Shock Therapy.
RUMMY: Hey, zieg Karl. Give that psychiatry crap a break! Will ya?
BUSH: Who’s your daddy?

Cheney pulls from his pocket a prescription bottle that reads ‘Ritalin’. He turns it over. Empty.

CHENEY: It’s fucked.

Bush draws hard on another line of snow.

BUSH: This is why we gotta keep our borders open. People got God-given vices. Can’t just say, ‘no’.
ROVE: Denial-Idealization.
BUSH: Sure. Whatever that is.

They all bellylaugh. But their howling stops when the door swings open and in steps…

JIMMY CARTER: We found a solution. And we’ll recount all the votes.
BILL CLINTON: Then we’ll go on Stewart and Colbert…
DADDY BUSH: …and tell all the world.

Rove crawls behind his cards.

BUSH: Hey… daddy. Heh, heh.
RUMMY: Shock-n-awe!
CHENEY: We’re fucked!

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By Sleeper, November 4, 2006 at 8:52 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I believe the line is drawn,  Our races will be hacked.  The question is how badly and what will be our proposed remedy?  What will be our Congressional response?  Will they only have some anomolies in races that otherwise could be close or will it be outrageous with races that seem by exit polls to be lopsided coming up with a republican winner and no paper trail?  How bad does our democratic republic need to be ripped off before there will be some accountability?  How can we claim to be a democracy with no verification of the story we will be told after the election?

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By Casey, November 4, 2006 at 8:18 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

They are not underappreciated by me!  We can spend millions on our candidates.  We can volunteer & donate to their campaigns We can work our butts off.  We can drag Democrats to the polls.  They can vote.  But if the machines are screwed up (as we now know they are) It would all be for naught.  THANK GOD WE HAVE THESE FOLKS!  I spend a lot of time at BradBlog… YOU ROCK BRAD!  (although the reading makes me sick)  :O)
My thanks to all who have investigated and are still investigating this mess & all who help by spreading the information.

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By pogblog, November 4, 2006 at 4:01 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Alan Dechert at has also been tireless in insisting on open source code and paper trails. He has kept this issue at the top of many state officials inboxes all over the country.

I’m grateful to this eloquent and determined giga-geek for reminding me that confidence in one’s vote is the essential heartbeat of democracy. He walks the talk on open voting.

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