November 9  2002

Florida Finds 103,000 'Lost' Votes (Reuters)
Just when Florida finally seemed to have carried out a flub-free election, supervisors in one county discovered they had failed to count more than 103,000 ballots in some tallies.
- Nov 07 1:20 PM ET

How to Rig a Touch Screen Voting Machine

By Bill Sterner email

I have been in the computer programming business for over 30 years. I have written code that runs in devices like the Touch Screen voting machines. When I decided to write this piece, I wanted to describe what it would take to rig a Touch Screen and get away with it and make it very, very, very hard to detect.

Key item: Hardware in the each Touch Screen to get the Date and Time
There are many ways to get the date and time of day. Think of your cell phones and the newer VCRs. There are radio “channels” that provide this all over the US. To write software to rig an election you must have the real time and date to cover up the rigging of the election. And you must be able to do this in a way that cannot be blocked or changed by a human.

For less than 15 dollars, the receiver hardware and interface parts could be added to each Touch Screen device. While there are many ways an operator could enter the current date and time into each system, I cannot think of any reason the manufacturer would add this hardware unless the goal was to rig elections. While the manufacturer could come up with many reasons why they included the hardware, without it, you could not rig a vote and NOT be opened to somebody detecting it easily.

Before an election, test systems are set up and test votes are done and read outs are taken. If the system did not have an independent source for time and date, the fraud could be caught during the testing and other counties and the press warned of the problem.

Why is this hardware needed to rig an election?
For this piece I will write about the Nov. 5, 2002 election and the Florida’s Governors race.

All the Florida counties that brought Touch Screens brought them without a paper trail that a voter could receive and review their votes. In some states a printout of a voter’s choices are required by law but not in Florida, I believe Missouri is one State that requires print outs.

Assume that for every 10 votes that are caste for the Democratic candidate, the powers to be wanted one of those votes to go to the Republican candidate.

The voting software would have to know when to change the vote and only do it on Nov. 5, 2002 between the hours of 7:30am and 6:30pm. Before and after an election, the systems are check to see that they are working correctly. If a spot check on a machine showed that if you caste 10 votes for the Democratic candidate and the read out show 9 votes for the Democratic candidate and 1 for the Republican candidate, then people would know that the software was rigged.

The software must be programmed to vote TRUE IF: the date and time from the hardware source is not Nov. 5, 2002 and the correct hours no matter what date and time the machine is told it is by a human.
The software cannot read the date and time from the special hardware because the machine is placed in an area with bad reception.

Because the US Government and others do transmit the correct time and date all over the US, to catch the fraud happening, this source would have to be transmitting the false time and date for the test. THIS is impossible to do, if the source is somebody like the US Government.

Other sources for time and date
While I wrote this piece with the assumption that the hardware was inside each voting machine, the hardware could be someplace else within the local precinct voting system. For example, it could be in the machine that activates the smart cards that each voter gets to activate their Touch Screen machine. When the smart card is activated, it could have the date and time in it from the machine used to activate the smart card. The reason I would have it in each machine is if the common source could not receive the transmitted date and time, then all the machines in a precinct would record the TRUE votes.

In my opinion
Without a paper trail that a voter can review and deposit in a collection box at the precinct for spot-checking and using the correct hardware and software, an election could be rigged and it would be near impossible to prove it. Only a team of hardware and software people working many days and hours with a precinct voting system used in an election, could find the fraud.

Who makes these touch screen voting machines?