Another area of concern as a vulnerability for GOP election fraud is described by Bev Harris, one of the people who got involved with examining the voting process for the last eight years. She has been examining the role of middlemen and the 2008 election and has some concerns that she reports here:
http://www.opednews.com/articles/New-results-middleman-spot-by-Bev-Harris-081016-741.html and here http://www.opednews.com/articles/2008-election-results-to-b-by-Bev-Harris-080929-93.html . As Bev so aptly puts it:
WHAT'S A MIDDLEMAN AND WHY THE CONCERN?
A middleman entity is an entity that sits in between the votes first counted and the results finally reported. Visualize it this way: If you hand count votes at a polling place, then give the results sheet to a courier, who then drives the results and ballots somewhere else before publicly reporting them, that courier is inserted between the original results and the reported results. Middlemen are in a position to see the results before they are officially reported, and may be in a position to alter results before they are officially reported.
Another example of a middleman is the central tabulator computer, which aggregates results. Whoever operates that computer is in a position for "first look" and alteration. Another middleman is the company that provides the server which hosts the results when they are posted publicly. As results stream into the server, the owner of the server can get access to the results for first look or alteration.
DO MIDDLEMEN MEAN THE ELECTION WILL BE COMPROMISED?
No. They are in a position to cheat, and they are privatized so it is not possible to learn much about what they do. It is important to know who they are.
For example, the Smartech firm that served as a results middleman for Ohio is extremely partisan and a highly inappropriate choice. The LEDS LLC middleman is involved in an ethics scandal in Colorado right now. The GBS/Fidlar middleman in Illinois is also highly partisan.
I have not yet looked up more information on SOE Software, but have pulled its corporate documents from the State of Florida. It's officers include:
SCHNEIDER, MARK A
MARC, FRATELLO J
MICHAEL, HATCH L
Because it has access to sensitive information and acts as an election results middleman it will be a good idea to learn more about this firm.
SOE Software, owns ClarityElections.com, which acts as an election results middleman, as you can see here:
This Middleman issue reminds me that in elections there is a strong public perception bias in favor of the person who is initially termed the winner. We saw this in election 2000 with the public sentiment turning against Gore once Katherine Harris certified the results. It doesn't matter what fraud occurred to produce the initial result, the person on the wrong side of that result faces a difficult and uphill battle fighting to get the issues examined, let alone corrected. The way this relates to the 'middleman' issue is that it is easy to foresee in a close election that a Middleman could alter the results of one or more counties that would result in an initial declaration or certification for the wrong candidate. Getting that result changed would involve the apparent 'loser' fighting against public opinion as they tried to correct the results. A recount would probably uncover the erroneous results sent in by a middleman, but would the public sit still long enough to let that process play itself out before demanding the person initially termed the 'loser' concede?
Are Electronic Voting Machines the Cure alls we have been promised?