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NZ Web Site Claims Massive US Electoral Scandal

NZ Web Site Claims Massive US Electoral Scandal

A self-described “fiercely independent” press release-driven Internet news agency accredited to the New Zealand Parliament Press Gallery claims to have discovered a hole big enough to drive a truck through in the US Electoral system.

Scoop writer Alastair Thomson (www.scoop.co.nz), claims researchers have uncovered one of the biggest stories in the history of the Internet, not to mention the single biggest political scandal in American, if not global history.

And Thomson is warning commercial interests will act swiftly either to put a lid on this story, neutralize it via misinformation, or take legal action. He is pressing editors around the world to give his scoop as much exposure as possible as quickly as possible.

The story is the results of extensive research by computer programmers and journalists working around the globe focussed on investigating the actual software distributed by one of the largest voting systems companies operating in the recent US Elections. It is principally the work of investigative Journalist Bev Harris, author of the soon to be published book Black Box Voting: Ballot Tampering In The 21st Century.

The scandal centres on allegations that under the Diebold election system, votes entered at polling booths are transmitted by modem to the country office, where a "host computer" running a program called GEMS receives the incoming votes and stores them in a vote ledger. But the researchers have discovered that GEMS automatically makes a second and third vote ledger with a copy of what is in vote ledger 1.

The Elections Supervisor never sees these three sets of books but only the reports she can run: Election summary (totals, county wide) or a detail report (totals for each precinct). She has no way of knowing that her GEMS program is using multiple sets of books, because the GEMS interface draws its data from an Access database, which is hidden.

“And here is what is quite odd: On the programs we tested, the Election summary (totals, county wide) come from the vote ledger 2 instead of vote ledger 1,” Harris says.

“Now, think of it like this: You want the report to add up ONLY the ACTUAL votes. But, unbeknownst to the election supervisor, votes can be added and subtracted from vote ledger 2, so that it may or may not match vote ledger 1. Her official report comes from vote ledger 2, which has been disengaged from vote ledger 1.

“If she asks for a detailed report for some precincts, though, her report comes from vote ledger 1. Therefore, if you keep the correct votes in vote ledger 1, a spot check of detailed precincts (even if you compare voter-verified paper ballots) will always be correct.

“And what is vote ledger 3 for? For now, we are calling it the "Lord Only Knows" vote ledger.

“From a programming standpoint, there might be reasons to have a special vote ledger that disengages from the real one. From an accounting standpoint, using multiple sets of books is NOT OKAY. From an accounting standpoint, the ONLY thing the totals report should add up is the original votes in vote ledger 1. Proper bookkeeping NEVER allows an extra ledger that can be used to just erase the original information and add your own. And certainly, it is improper to have the official reports come from the second ledger, the one which may or may not have information erased or added.”

At this stage in the inquiry the authors say they have no proof that the US election system has been compromised, but they do cite a great deal of circumstantial evidence that it could have been. Not do the authors think they have come even remotely close to investigating all aspects of this data. They say there is no reason to believe that the security flaws discovered so far are the only ones and that they expect many more discoveries to be made. They are calling on the online computing community to collaborate in this enterprise. But they also have no doubt the findings so far present just the tip of the iceberg.

“If this was Watergate, we are effectively at the point of discovering evidence of a break-in and have received the call from deep-throat telling us that we should dig much deeper.”

The full story is available here: http://www.scoop.co.nz/mason/stories/HL0307/S00064.htm

The claim is that while investigating the issue of the integrity of new electronic voting machines Bev Harris learned that people around the world had been downloading from an open FTP site belonging to Diebold Election Systems, one of the leading manufactures of voting systems.

This Web site contained several gigabytes of files, including manuals, source codes and installation versions of numerous parts of the Diebold voting system, and of its vote counting programme, GEMS.

To frustrate attempts to prevent exposure investigators have ensured there is a complete copy of the original data set at http://users.actrix.co.nz/dolly/ and are urging supporters of democracy to make copies of these files and to make them available on Web sites and file sharing networks.

They have also posted the location of a utility that should help open the many zip password protected files on the site:

http://www.lostpassword.com

And a tool to read those zip files are partially damaged at:

http://www.zip-repair.com/

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