- When I spoke with Jeff Fisher this morning (Saturday,
November 06, 2004), the Democratic candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives
from Florida's 16th District said he was waiting for the FBI to show up.
Fisher has evidence, he says, not only that the Florida election was hacked,
but of who hacked it and how. And not just this year, he said, but that
these same people had previously hacked the Democratic primary race in
2002 so that Jeb Bush would not have to run against Janet Reno, who presented
a real threat to Jeb, but instead against Bill McBride, who Jeb beat.
- "It was practice for a national effort," Fisher
- And evidence is accumulating that the national effort
happened on November 2, 2004.
- The State of Florida, for example, publishes a county-by-county
record of votes cast and people registered to vote by party affiliation.
Net denizen Kathy Dopp compiled the official state information into a table,
- http://ustogether.org/Florida_Election.htm, and noticed
- Also See:
- Florida Secretary of State
- Presidential Results by County 11/02/2004 (.pdf)
- Florida Secretary of State County
- Registration by Party 2/9/2004 (.pdf)
- While the heavily scrutinized touch-screen voting machines
seemed to produce results in which the registered Democrat/Republican ratios
matched the Kerry/Bush vote, and so did the optically-scanned paper ballots
in the larger counties, in Florida's smaller counties the results from
the optically scanned paper ballots - fed into a central tabulator PC and
thus vulnerable to hacking - seem to have been reversed.
- In Baker County, for example, with 12,887 registered
voters, 69.3% of them Democrats and 24.3% of them Republicans, the vote
was only 2,180 for Kerry and 7,738 for Bush, the opposite of what is seen
everywhere else in the country where registered Democrats largely voted
- In Dixie County, with 4,988 registered voters, 77.5%
of them Democrats and a mere 15% registered as Republicans, only 1,959
people voted for Kerry, but 4,433 voted for Bush.
- The pattern repeats over and over again - but only in
the smaller counties where, it was probably assumed, the small voter numbers
wouldn't be much noticed. Franklin County, 77.3% registered Democrats,
went 58.5% for Bush. Holmes County, 72.7% registered Democrats, went 77.25%
- Yet in the larger counties, where such anomalies would
be more obvious to the news media, high percentages of registered Democrats
equaled high percentages of votes for Kerry.
- More visual analysis of the results can be seen at
- And, although elections officials didn't notice these
anomalies, in aggregate they were enough to swing Florida from Kerry to
Bush. If you simply go through the analysis of these counties and reverse
the "anomalous" numbers in those counties that appear to have
been hacked, suddenly the Florida election results resemble the Florida
exit poll results: Kerry won, and won big.
- Those exit poll results have been a problem for reporters
ever since Election Day.
- Election night, I'd been doing live election coverage
for WDEV, one of the radio stations that carries my syndicated show, and,
just after midnight, during the 12:20 a.m. Associated Press Radio News
feed, I was startled to hear the reporter detail how Karen Hughes had earlier
sat George W. Bush down to inform him that he'd lost the election. The
exit polls were clear: Kerry was winning in a landslide. "Bush took
the news stoically," noted the AP report.
- But then the computers reported something different.
In several pivotal states.
- Conservatives see a conspiracy here: They think the exit
polls were rigged.
- Dick Morris, the infamous political consultant to the
first Clinton campaign who became a Republican consultant and Fox News
regular, wrote an article for The Hill, the publication read by every political
junkie in Washington, DC, in which he made a couple of brilliant points.
- "Exit Polls are almost never wrong," Morris
wrote. "They eliminate the two major potential fallacies in survey
research by correctly separating actual voters from those who pretend they
will cast ballots but never do and by substituting actual observation for
guesswork in judging the relative turnout of different parts of the state."
- He added: "So, according to ABC-TVs exit polls,
for example, Kerry was slated to carry Florida, Ohio, New Mexico, Colorado,
Nevada, and Iowa, all of which Bush carried. The only swing state the network
had going to Bush was West Virginia, which the president won by 10 points."
- Yet a few hours after the exit polls were showing a clear
Kerry sweep, as the computerized vote numbers began to come in from the
various states the election was called for Bush.
- How could this happen?
- On the CNBC TV show "Topic A With Tina Brown,"
several months ago, Howard Dean had filled in for Tina Brown as guest host.
His guest was Bev Harris, the Seattle grandmother who started www.blackboxvoting.org
from her living room. Bev pointed out that regardless of how votes were
tabulated (other than hand counts, only done in odd places like small towns
in Vermont), the real "counting" is done by computers. Be they
Diebold Opti-Scan machines, which read paper ballots filled in by pencil
or ink in the voter's hand, or the scanners that read punch cards, or the
machines that simply record a touch of the screen, in all cases the final
tally is sent to a "central tabulator" machine.
- That central tabulator computer is a Windows-based PC.
- "In a voting system," Harris explained to Dean
on national television, "you have all the different voting machines
at all the different polling places, sometimes, as in a county like mine,
there's a thousand polling places in a single county. All those machines
feed into the one machine so it can add up all the votes. So, of course,
if you were going to do something you shouldn't to a voting machine, would
it be more convenient to do it to each of the 4000 machines, or just come
in here and deal with all of them at once?"
- Dean nodded in rhetorical agreement, and Harris continued.
"What surprises people is that the central tabulator is just a PC,
like what you and I use. It's just a regular computer."
- "So," Dean said, "anybody who can hack
into a PC can hack into a central tabulator?"
- Harris nodded affirmation, and pointed out how Diebold
uses a program called GEMS, which fills the screen of the PC and effectively
turns it into the central tabulator system. "This is the official
program that the County Supervisor sees," she said, pointing to a
PC that was sitting between them loaded with Diebold's software.
- Bev then had Dean open the GEMS program to see the results
of a test election. They went to the screen titled "Election Summary
Report" and waited a moment while the PC "adds up all the votes
from all the various precincts," and then saw that in this faux election
Howard Dean had 1000 votes, Lex Luthor had 500, and Tiger Woods had none.
Dean was winning.
- "Of course, you can't tamper with this software,"
Harris noted. Diebold wrote a pretty good program.
- But, it's running on a Windows PC.
- So Harris had Dean close the Diebold GEMS software, go
back to the normal Windows PC desktop, click on the "My Computer"
icon, choose "Local Disk C:," open the folder titled GEMS, and
open the sub-folder "LocalDB" which, Harris noted, "stands
for local database, that's where they keep the votes." Harris then
had Dean double-click on a file in that folder titled "Central Tabulator
Votes," which caused the PC to open the vote count in a database program
- In the "Sum of the Candidates" row of numbers,
she found that in one precinct Dean had received 800 votes and Lex Luthor
had gotten 400.
- "Let's just flip those," Harris said, as Dean
cut and pasted the numbers from one cell into the other. "And,"
she added magnanimously, "let's give 100 votes to Tiger."
- They closed the database, went back into the official
GEMS software "the legitimate way, you're the county supervisor and
you're checking on the progress of your election."
- As the screen displayed the official voter tabulation,
Harris said, "And you can see now that Howard Dean has only 500 votes,
Lex Luthor has 900, and Tiger Woods has 100." Dean, the winner, was
now the loser.
- Harris sat up a bit straighter, smiled, and said, "We
just edited an election, and it took us 90 seconds."
- On live national television. (You can see the clip on
- Which brings us back to Morris and those pesky exit polls
that had Karen Hughes telling George W. Bush that he'd lost the election
in a landslide.
- Morris's conspiracy theory is that the exit polls "were
sabotage" to cause people in the western states to not bother voting
for Bush, since the networks would call the election based on the exit
polls for Kerry. But the networks didn't do that, and had never intended
to. It makes far more sense that the exit polls were right - they weren't
done on Diebold PCs - and that the vote itself was hacked.
- And not only for the presidential candidate - Jeff Fisher
thinks this hit him and pretty much every other Democratic candidate for
national office in the most-hacked swing states.
- So far, the only national "mainstream" media
to come close to this story was Keith Olbermann on his show Friday night,
November 5th, when he noted that it was curious that all the voting machine
irregularities so far uncovered seem to favor Bush. In the meantime, the
Washington Post and other media are now going through single-bullet-theory-like
contortions to explain how the exit polls had failed.
- But I agree with Fox's Dick Morris on this one, at least
in large part. Wrapping up his story for The Hill, Morris wrote in his
final paragraph, "This was no mere mistake. Exit polls cannot be as
wrong across the board as they were on election night. I suspect foul play."
- Thom Hartmann (thom at thomhartmann.com) is a Project
Censored Award-winning best-selling author and host of a nationally syndicated
daily progressive talk show. www.thomhartmann .com His most recent books
are "The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight," "Unequal Protection:
The Rise of Corporate Dominance and the Theft of Human Rights," "We
The People: A Call To Take Back America," and "What Would Jefferson
Do?: A Return To Democracy."