Tuesday, September 27, 2005


The Diebold Went Down to Georgia...

...and created one colossal hellacious mess in the 2002 and 2004 elections. And now our side's got the goods on them. Andrew Gumbel tells us about it in The Huffington Post.

Cathy Cox, the Secretary of State of Georgia... was the first Secretary of State to champion and purchase an all-electronic touch screen voting system for her state. She persuaded Georgia to spend an initial $54 million on a hitherto untried Diebold system in 2002, and has tried ever since to parlay the e-voting revolution she helped launch into a bid for the Georgia governorship in November 2006. “Advancing the e-government revolution,” is the slogan on her website. Contrary to the fine rhetoric, however, a raft of official documents obtained exclusively by the Huffington Post – including the original contract signed with Diebold and a flurry of six amendments that followed between July 2002 and December 2004, as well as official correspondence and legal papers – show that Cox’s management of Georgia elections has been little short of a disaster. The documents were obtained by way of multiple public records requests, most of them coordinated by the Georgia voting rights activist Roxanne Jekot and her organization, Count The Vote. The documentary record shows that elections were run on software that was not only untested but also uncertified, that key components broke down during live elections, that county officials were left clueless on how to operate the new machines because of a breakdown in the training schedule, and that the cost of installing the electronic touch-screen system jumped dramatically beyond the advertised $54 million, without proper legislative oversight or approval. None of this has previously been made public.
(More sordid details at the link.) Serious questions about Georgia's voting machines have been raised since before the 2002 election, including whistleblowers' reports that software patches were downloaded after the machines were certified and that machines were deployed for the elections after they failed the quality tests. By sheer coincidence, Diebold's chief lobbyist in Georgia was Lewis Massey, former Secretary of State and Cathy Cox's former boss. Cox's response to these problems has been to deny, obfuscate, and stonewall. The shame of it is that she's a Democrat, and her "incompetent" handling of elections very likely cost the Democrats the governorship and a Senate seat. Now all we need is somebody in the so-called unbiased media to lift this story out of the blogs and put it in the public consciousness. And a prosecutor with the gonads to do a thorough investigation of the connections between Cathy Cox's office and the election-machine vendors.
As a Georgia resident voter I was still wondering why and how voters in this state would oust Vietnam war hero U. S. Senator Max Cleland in favor of Sleazy Shameless (Saxby Chambliss) in 2002.
Now I know. The balloting was rigged ala Diebold..
The official vote tally was a curious reversal of the final pre-election polls -- from voters favoring McCleland by 52% to Chambliss winning with 52%.

Any questions about why the election "reform" recommendations include suppressing exit polls?
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