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"Trust Me Elections" - computerized Voting in Bullitt Co. Kentucky

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From Bev Harris and Black Box Voting, the MOONSHINE ELECTION SERIES - Part 1: The report, plus photos etc., in pdf format: (372 KB).

Full details, sources, footnotes and the interview with the elusive Joe Bolton are also at this web site, which has a discussion area (must log in to discuss; anyone can read):

Bev writes:


A surprisingly large percentage of our national vote comes from rural locations, even in states like New York and California. In Kentucky, 109 out of 120 counties are rural; overall, 60 percent of Kentucky's votes come in from rural election administrations.

In swing states, small rural voting pockets can tip the state's electoral votes. The moonshine elections territories have been known to influence presidential races -- in 1960, the moonshine sections of West Virginia helped deliver John F. Kennedy's nomination. According to witnesses, the total paid to buy the election was over two million dollars.

In close elections, a single rural location can flip control of the U.S. Congress.

The public pocketbook and the public safety is at stake -- several of these jurisdictions have an unfortunate history of electing people who dip into the public till, along with law enforcement officers who commit felonies.In Kentucky, one newspaper calls this the "colorful political landscape."

Kentucky is a swing state where 87 out of 120 counties had a majority of Democratic registered voters, yet 106 out of 120 counties voted for Bush in 2000; 108 voted for Bush in 2004. It wasn't low turnout -- in fact, turnout has been going up. It was Kentucky politics: Registered Democrats went into the voting booth, Republican votes came out. (Details at links above)

In Nov. 2007, Kentucky voters will get to choose between two pearls for governor: Steve Beshear (D), who wants to change the state constitution to allow gambling, or Ernie Fletcher (R), who has been embroiled in a criminal controversy involving attempts to build a patronage army.

Perhaps the most vulnerable races of all in Kentucky are the gravy train positions: Sheriff, Judge Executive (similar to a supercommissioner or being chief of the county supervisors), and the county clerk position. Even the jailer position has good opportunities for personal remuneration if one is unscrupulous, due to poorly controlled "jail canteen accounts."

Kentucky elections are mostly rural affairs, with the exception of Louisville, Covington, Lexington and Frankfort.


We discovered that a man named Joe Bolton has inside access to nearly 200,000 votes, most of them in the most troubled areas, locations that have a history of vote fraud, family-run government, drug-dealing sheriffs, what-have you.

I don't want to give you the wrong impression. Whether or not you choose to trust Joe -- when we eventually located him we found him to be friendly and forthcoming, but then again, what does that mean? -- at any rate, procedures that give one guy access to voting machines that count nearly 200,000 votes with no oversight whatsoever do not secure and protect voting rights.

Computerized election systems are based on the strange assumption that voters should trust the government and its contractors to count votes in secret. As voting rights attorney Paul Lehto likes to point out, you can no more secure a computer against an insider than you can secure your laptop from yourself.

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Bev Harris is executive director of Black Box Voting, Inc. an advocacy group committed to restoring citizen oversight to elections.
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