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The Free Press confirms installation, secret justification of uncertified last minute election tabulation reporting software in Ohio


by Gerry Bello and Bob Fitrakis
November 2, 2012

The Free Press has obtained internal memos from the senior staff of the Ohio Secretary of State’s office confirming the installation of untested and uncertified election tabulation software. Yesterday, the Free Press reported that “experimental” software patches were installed on ES&S voting machines in 39 Ohio counties. (see Will “experimental” software patches affect the Ohio vote?).

Election Counsel Brandi Laser Seske circulated a memo dated November 1st renewing the already shaky justification for installing software made by Election Systems and Solutions on vote tabulation equipment used in 39 Ohio counties. The letter to Ohio Secretary of State personnel Matt Masterson, Danielle Sellars, Myra Hawkins, Betsy Schuster, and Ohio’s Director of Elections Matthew Damschroder, clarified the dubious justification for not complying with the legal requirements for the examination of all election related equipment.

Seske begins by explaining what she purports to be the purpose of the software patch: “Its function is to aid in the reporting of results that are already uploaded into the county’s system. The software formats results that have already been uploaded by the county into a format that can be read by the Secretary of State’s election night reporting system.”

According to the contract between the Ohio Secretary of State’s office and ES&S, this last minute “experimental” software update will supposedly transmit custom election night reports to the Secretary of State’s office from the county boards of elections, bypassing the normal election night reporting methods.

In order to justify this unusual parallel reporting method, Seske explains “It is not part of the certified Unity system, so it did not require federal testing.” This attempt to skirt federal and state law from one of the most partisan Secretary of State offices in the nation ignores basic facts of how modern information systems function.

Seske continues “Because the software is not 1) involved in the tabulation or casting of ballots (or in communicating between systems involved in the tabulation or casting of ballots) or 2) a modification to a certified system, the BVME [Board of Voting Machine Examiners] was not required to review the software.” These claims are factually unsound. The software, although not communicating actual ballot information, facilitates communication between systems upon which votes are tabulated and stored. Although the software purports to not modify the tabulation system software, it is itself a modification to the whole tabulation system. This is why certification and testing is required in all cases.

Just as in 2004, the Ohio Secretary of State’s office has enabled the possibility of a “man in the middle” attack. This software, functioning on a network through which votes are transmitted could act to intercept, alter or destroy votes from counties where it is not even installed, hence the “man in the middle” nickname.

On September 19, the last minute contract between ES&S and the Ohio Secretary of State’s office was inked. Within a week, Seske wrote “He [Matt Masterson] has reviewed and approved the changes.” Masterson is the Deputy Director of Elections. After Masterson’s approval, Seske acted to bypass the Ohio Board of Voting Machine Examiners required review.

“Pursuant to the board’s policy, each change will be approved unless three members of the BVME request a meeting to review a change within 15 days of today’s date. Given the proximately of the upcoming election, please let me know as soon as possible whether you will be requesting a meeting to review the changes,” wrote Seske.

Government reports such as Ohio’s Everest study document that any single change to the system could corrupt the whole voting process.

An unelected, partisan group of attorneys appears to have conspired to install election software without testing and certification that they are professionally unqualified to pass judgment upon. These types of last minute installations of software patches on voting machines are considered suspect by knowledgeable and experienced election protection attorneys, in light of all the voting machine irregularities exposed during the 2004 election in Ohio.

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Gerry Bello is the chief researcher at the Columbus Free Press. He holds a degree in computer security from Antioch College. Bob Fitrakis is the Editor of the Free Press. He holds Ph.D. in Political Science and a J.D. from the Moritz College of Law at Ohio State University.

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Wisconsin: None dare call it vote rigging

Bob Fitrakis

June 14, 2012

If vote-rigging prospers, none may call it vote-rigging. It simply becomes the new norm. Once again, the universal laws of statistics apply only outside U.S. borders. The recall vote in Wisconsin produced another significant 7% discrepancy between the unadjusted exit poll and the so-called “recorded vote.” In actual social science, this level of discrepancy, with the results being so far outside the expected margin of error would not be accepted.

When I took Ph.D. statistics to secure my doctorate in political science, we were taught to work through the rubric, sometime referred to as HISMISTER. The “H” stood for an explanation of the discrepancy rooted in some historical intervention, such as one of the candidates being caught in a public restroom with his pants down and a “wide stance” soliciting an undercover cop. The “I” that came next suggested we should check our instrumentation, that is, are the devices adequately reporting the data?

Here’s where U.S. elections become laughable. A couple of private companies, count our votes with secret proprietary hardware and software, the most notable being ES&S. Every standard of election transparency is routinely violated in the U.S. electronic version of faith-based voting. How the corporate-dominated media deals with the issue is by “adjusting the exit polls.” They simply assume the recorded vote on easily hacked and programmed private machines are correct and that the international gold standard for detecting election fraud – exit polls – must be wrong.

They are not going to go through the rest of the acronym and check to see if the Sample makes sense, that the right Measurements are being taken, or whether or not there’s been a breakdown in Implementing the exit polling. They won’t check to see if the representative Size of the polling numbers are accurate, or if there are problems with the pollster’s Technique, or if there was human Error, or if there’s just bad Recording going on.

Of course, the machines could be recording wrong because they are programmed for an incorrect outcome. The easiest people to convince regarding the absurdity of electronic voting with private proprietary hardware and software are the computer programmers across the political spectrum. Statisticians and mathematicians also readily comprehend the obvious nature of rigged elections.

One of my favorite mathematicians is Richard Charnin, who on his website using readily available public information, calculates the odds of the so-called ‘red shift” occurring from the 1988 to 2008 presidential elections. The red shift refers to the overwhelming pick up of votes by the Republican Party in recorded votes over what actual voters report to exit pollsters.

In Charnin’s analysis of exit poll data, we can say with a 95% confidence level – that means in 95 out of 100 elections – that the exit polls will fall within a statistically predictable margin of error. Charnin looked at 300 presidential state exit polls from 1988 to 2008, 15 state elections would be expected to fall outside the margin of error. Shockingly, 137 of the 300 state presidential exit polls fell outside the margin of error.

What is the probability of this happening?

“One in one million trillion trillion trlllion trillion trillion trillion,” said Charnin.

More proof of Republican operatives and sympathizers is found in the fact that 132 of the elections fell outside the margin in favor of the GOP. We would expect eight.

Say you have a fair coin to flip. We would expect that if we flip that coin there would be an even split between heads and tails – or in this case, Republicans and Democrats. Election results falling outside the margin of error should be equally split between both parties. Yet, only five times, less than expected, did the extra votes fall in the direction of the Democratic Party.

So what are the odds? According to Charnin, of 132 out of 300 state presidential elections exceeding the margin of error in the direction of the Republicans – one in 600 trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion.

The corporate-owned media does not want to mention that the problems with the exit polls began with the ascendancy of the former CIA Director George Herbert Walker Bush to the presidency in 1988. It is also that year when the non-transparent push-and-pray voting machines were introduced in the New Hampshire primary by Bush ally John Sununu. Bush, who rigged elections for the CIA throughout the Third World did unexpectedly well where the voting machines were brought in.

In any other election outside the U.S., the U.S. State Department would condemn the use of the these highly riggable machines based on the discrepancy in the exit polls. It’s predictable what would happen if an anti-U.S. KGB agent in some former Soviet Central Asian republic picked up an unexplained 5% of the votes at odds with the exit polls. A new election would be called for, as it was in the Ukraine in 2004. We would not have accepted the reported vote from the corrupt intelligence officer.

The CIA Director’s son wins with laughable exit poll discrepancies in 2000 and 2004 and the mainstream media sees no evil. The media’s perspective is to discredit the exit polls, which they sponsor, and call any who point to the polls “conspiracy theorists.”

In 2004, 22 states had a red shift to the CIA Director’s son, George W. Bush. Usually such improbably results are signs of a Banana Republic. Now we have a too-close-to-call neck and neck recall race in Wisconsin that show an obvious red shift for a right-wing red governor. Nobody wants to look at the non-transparent black box machines. Electronic election rigging has prospered. Long live the “adjusted” vote totals.


Originally published by The Free Press, http://freepress.org