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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 11/5/16

Can FBI Director James Comey Be That Clueless About Our Easily Rigged Electronic Elections? But Don't Trust DHS!

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Message Lynn Landes

On November 4th, in an bizarre effort to placate legitimate public concerns about the security of voting machines, FBI Director James Comey said that it would be difficult to rig U.S. elections because our voting system is so "clunky".

"The beauty of the American voting system is that it is dispersed among the 50 states, and it is clunky as heck,'' said Mr.Comey. "A lot of people have found that challenging over the years, but the beauty of that is it's not exactly a swift part of the internet of things, and so it is hard for an actor to reach our voting process."

It's not so much clunky as funky. From its inception, our electronic elections have been completely susceptible to rigging from the inside, and hacking from the outside. From the beginning, all electronic voting machines - ballots scanners and touchscreens - have had open back doors and communication capabilities, making vote fraud easy. And from the beginning, federal authorities were well aware of this criminal state of affairs.

Christopher Bollyn reported in Nov. 13, 2000, "Whether it was the Precinct Ballot Counter 2100 (PBC), the Optech Eagle III, the Model 100 Optic Mark Reader (OMR), or the Votronic touch-screen system that counted your vote, these machines have something in common: they are all designed and operated by Elections Systems & Software, Inc. (ES&S). Each contains a two-way modem, allowing them to communicate -- and be communicated with -- while they are in operation. What is particularly troubling about these machines is the fact that they contain an internal modem, which enables anyone with a modem-equipped computer, from hackers and vendors to telephone company personnel and politicians, to access and alter the computer's tally of the votes."

Not connecting to the Internet will not protect most voting machines from rigging or hacking, as claimed by some security experts. The wireless components of voting machines and ballot scanners make our elections much too tempting targets.

The Department of Justice, DOG's, Craig C. Donsanto said, "If you did it right, no one would ever know," in a July 4,1989 Los Angeles Times article about electronic voting machines and vote fraud. Donsanto is the former head of the U.S. Department of Justice's Election Crimes Branch, Public Integrity Section (from 1970-2010). So, why didn't Donsanto sound the alarm and inform Congress of this threat? The problem was Donsanto. He is known as a gatekeeper. Donsanto was featured in the Colliers' book, VoteScam, the Stealing of America, for his unwillingness to investigate evidence they collected over the years of rampant vote fraud involving voting machine companies, the news networks' exit polls, and election officials in Florida and other states. In fact, some researchers believe that Donsanto was involved in protecting the Democrats during the Watergate scandal. President Nixon's suspicions that elections were being rigged by the Democrats, together with the corporate news media, is sighted as the real reason for the burglary at the Watergate.

Even more incredibly, Donsanto made it official department policy that no federal investigator should enter a polling precinct on election day, nor should they begin any serious investigation of the voting process until after the election results are certified. It is this policy that gives those who commit vote fraud ample opportunity to destroy evidence and cover their tracks. role of the Federal Observer (to protect voters' rights) has been completely compromised, not only through the use of unobservable voting technology, but also due to early and absentee voting. The fact that neither voting rights groups nor the news media has made this an issue, is equally inexplicable.

There is a history of actual FBI involvement in vote rigging. The following are excerpts from the Cincinnati Post of October 30th, 1987: "Cincinnati Bell security supervisors ordered wire-taps installed on county computers before elections in the late 1970s and early 1980s that could have allowed vote totals to be altered, a former Bell employee says in a sworn court document. Leonard Gates, a 23-year Cincinnati Bell employee until he was fired in 1986, claims in a deposition filed Thursday in Hamilton County Common Pleas Court to have installed the wire-taps. Cincinnati Bell officials denied Gates' allegations that are part of a six-year-old civil suit that contends the elections computer is subject to manipulation and fraud. Gates claims a security supervisor for the telephone company told him in 1979 that the firm had obtained a computer program through the FBI that gave it access to the county computer used to count votes."

And that is why we have no reason to trust The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), either. "Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson told a Senate hearing Tuesday that 18 states have taken up his agency's offer to help improve cyber security for their election systems, in the wake of suspected breaches blamed on Russian hackers." Who is to prevent DHS employees from tipping the scales to one or the other of the candidates (i.e., rigging the election)?

Today, voting technology is more vulnerable than ever before, thanks to NSA-required "backdoors", advanced wireless capabilities, and more than 80% of votes counted by ES&S, who also sells voter registration systems. And it's being promoted as a good thing.

"For the 2012 elections, ES&S added wireless modem technology so officials could make secure reports via cell phones. This upgrade was designed to improve the transparency and accuracy of Oakland County's (CA) election night reporting. The wireless technology used by Oakland County was tested by a federally accredited Voting System Test Laboratory and subsequently tested and approved by the State of Michigan for pilot usage in the November 2012 presidential election."

In Rhode Island, "The new (ES&S) machines that will read the paper ballots will now have digital screens displaying directions, and the machines will use wireless technology to transmit results -- rather than the dial-up modem technology that had been in place for years."

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Lynn Landes is a Philadelphia-based writer, researcher, and activist in the fields of politics, health, and the environment. Her articles and opinions have been published in several books, films, and online publications.

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