My name is Eric Smith. I'm a journalist and IT instructor in Tokyo. And after three years of study I've come to a terrifying conclusion. As British security expert Scott Granneman put it recently:
"The heart of American democracy is at risk."
The import of this threat cannot be overstated - the issue is very real and very grave.
The chilling, incontrovertible fact is that America's elections are being silently, deliberately and PERMANENTLY compromised. The problem lies in the rapid installation of unauditable, unverifiable DRE (Direct Recording Electronic) touch screen voting machines in advance of the 2004 elections.
Just how vulnerable are these machines?
Author Bev Harris's diagrammed analysis of the "hacking" of a Diebold "Accuvote" machine to reverse an election proves it's not just possible - it's easy:
These e-voting machines are being quietly installed across the country in preparation for the 2004 election, as per the characteristically disingenuously named "Help America Vote Act" President Bush mandated in the wake of the 2000 debacle. Alarming summaries of independent research by Johns Hopkins and Rice University, MIT, the Electronic Frontier Foundation and even Congress echo Harris's concerns:
DEAD LINK: http://www.vote.caltech.edu/Reports
The full extent of the threat to our electoral process has been documented in Harris's explosive expose, "Black Box Voting", which can be downloaded free of charge here:
DEAD LINK: http://www.talion.com/blackboxvoting.org.htm
In light of these stunning vulnerabilities, US Representative Rush Holt has sponsored "The Voter Confidence and Increased Accessibility Act of 2003" which calls for printed receipts for the 2004 and subsequent elections:
DEAD LINK: http://holt.house.gov/issues2.cfm?id=5996
Unfortunately, Republican support hasn't been forthcoming, and the measure has stalled. Because of the stillborn status of Rep. Holt's initiative, the outlook for Americans is rapidly worsening to the point of emergency: primaries for the 2004 election will begin in two months. And so, I'm writing to ask - in fact to BEG - for your help in seeking an immediate moratorium on the use of paperless, unverifiable e-vote machines in the 2004 election. The use of paper ballots may be the only interim solution to assure a verifiable election: DREs that produce verifiable paper receipts are available, but are not currently in widespread use.
An immediate legal injunction to halt the use of non-verifiable DREs in the 2004 election is a stopgap emergency measure, perhaps at this late date the only way to ensure the integrity of our Democratic process.
Over the long term, lobbying for the implementation of Congressman Holt's Voter Integrity Act will provide a more permanent solution. Today, I'm asking you to aggressively and persistently bring the legal and personnel resources of your organization into the effort to save our electoral process. Before it's too late.
Steps you can take right now:
1. Sign the online e-petitions at EFF and VerifiedVoting.org:
2. Bev Harris is in immediate need of attorneys for coordinating legal injunctions to stop insecure voting machine use before the 2004 primaries:
3. Solicit the help of your organization's members in lobbying Congress to support Rep. Holt's Voter Integrity Act:
4. Contact your friends, family, associates and the media:
5. Act now - your country needs you. And the time is getting very, very short. Tomorrow might be just one day too late.
Eric A. Smith, Tokyo, Japan 81-03-3959-5371
State elections boards: http://usgovinfo.about.com/blstateelection.htm
State Attorneys General (party affiliations listed): www.naag.org/ag/full_ag_table.php
Rep. Rush Holt: DEAD LINK: http://holt.house.gov/feedback.cfm?campaign=holt&type=Contact_Rush
E-mail campaign links:
Alternative e-voting machines:
Compelling evidence for the gravity of the situation can be found in the following "smoking gun" internal emails from Diebold. As you've no doubt heard, the company began a desperate attempt at suppressing the distribution of these emails on the Internet, in a series of gag lawsuits successfully countered by the Electronic Frontier Foundation last month. One of these emails - from Lana Hires to Global Election Systems (now Diebold) - baldly states how 16 THOUSAND e-votes for Gore were "disappeared" during the 2000 Presidential election.
Hires frantically asks how she should explain this to an auditor:
<I need some answers! Our department is being audited by the County. I have been waiting for someone to give me an explanation as to why Precinct 216 gave Al Gore a minus 16022 [votes] when it was uploaded. Will someone please explain this so that I have the information to give the auditor instead of standing here "looking dumb">
Additional excerpts from the Diebold internal emails:
<For a demonstration I suggest you fake it. Program them both so they look the same, and then just do the upload fro [sic] the AV. That is what we did in the last AT/AV demo.>
<Right now you can open GEMS' .mdb file with MS-Access, and alter its contents. That includes the audit log. This isn't anything new.>
<Elections are not rocket science. Why is it so hard to get things right! I have never been at any other company that has been so miss [sic] managed.>
<Johnson County, KS will be doing Central Count for their mail in ballots. They will also be processing these ballots in advance of the closing of polls on election day. They would like to log into the Audit Log an entry for Previewing any Election Total Reports. They need this, to prove to the media, as well as, any candidates & lawyers, that they did not view or print any Election Results before the Polls closed. However, if there is a way that we can disable the reporting functionality, that would be even better.>
"Diebold - The face of modern ballot tampering"
"If You Want To Win An Election, Just Control The Voting Machines"
"How George W. Bush Won the 2004 Presidential Election"
"Safeguarding the Vote"
"Electronic Voting Machines Blasted by Scientists, Hacked by Author"
Last month, California Secretary of State Kevin Shelley mandated that Californians be provided with a verifiable paper trail in future elections: