|Truth, Lies, & Politics
When is a coincidence too much of a
coincidence to be one?
2,261,000 Stolen Votes & Counting. ES&S: “A time
bomb waiting to go off.”
The implications of failed voting machines are staggering for every election, big and small,
current and past. Consider the winner and loser of your favorite election. If the race was
close, or the exit polls disagreed with the win, or even if the winning candidate’s name was
placed above the losing candidate on the ballot . . . this favorite election of yours is
While this article concentrates on the implications of the defective touchscreens, every
election, every race, every vote in which votes were cast and counted on any ES&S
equipment is suspect.
Over 76 million voters in 1,992 jurisdictions across America will vote on ES&S equipment
when they vote. Of these, nearly 26 million registered voters in 415 jurisdictions across
America will vote on ES&S iVotronic touchscreens. (VerifiedVoting.org)
ES&S: Every election, every race, every vote is suspect:
As Election Systems & Software (ES&S) takes over voting America with its purchase of
Premier Election Solutions/Diebold, how many Americans know firsthand their votes didn’t
count? Or worse still, how many votes actually flipped to the other guy? (ES&S Acquires
Premier Election Solutions. This is just wrong on so many levels.)
Who did you vote for in 2008, 2006, 2004, 2002? If you cast your vote on one of ES&S’s
vote-flipping touchscreens, chances are it tossed your vote away. Your vote didn’t count.
Or perhaps you’re one of the lucky ones who bubbled in your own hand-marked paper
ballot. Think your votes are safe? Not so. If an ES&S ballot scanner sucked it in, or ES&S
software tallied it up, or ES&S printed your ballot, your vote might not have counted either.
Elections Systems & Software (ES&S) is an all service, beginning-to-end election provider.
They record your vote on their touchscreens . . . or not. They count your paper ballot on
their scanners . . . or not. They even print the paper ballots to secure your votes . . . or not.
And finally at the end of the day, they tally up the results . . . or not. Failures during all
aspects of ES&S high-tech voting systems remain pandemic: touchscreens, ballot scanners,
ballot tabulation and reporting. Even their ballot printing is suspect since their own ES&S
scanners can’t always read the ballots ES&S prints.
Ballot scanning and tallying errors can be an easy fix . . . or not. That is if and when you
know there’s a problem. You can always scoop up your paper ballots and count them by
hand. Just as they did in Minnesota when the ES&S counts proved to be unreliable in the U.
S. Senate race between Al Franken and incumbent Norm Coleman. A long and arduous
task, but every vote got counted. ES&S tabulation errors can be so insidious. In another
election this summer, ES&S doubled the final results, reporting 10,488 votes when only
5,613 ballots were cast. "It's not that we found ballots. It's not that we lost ballots . . . It's
just [ES&S] combining them didn't work." Fortunately this error was discovered the night
of the election, unfortunately after everyone had gone home believing there would be a
runoff election. This error and other miscounts might not have been discovered at all.
(“Scanner glitch blamed for election miscounts,” Emilie Rusch, 06/04/09)
However it’s the touchscreens errors that prove most sinister. Not only are these errors
profoundly illusive, without a voter-marked paper ballot, the evidence walks away as soon
as the votes are cast. As a result, if the voter doesn’t trap the error, it’s gone. So as a
voter, it’s up to you to debug ES&S’s errors . . . after waiting in line, wading through the
sign-in screening process, waiting in line again before finally bellying up to the touchscreen
. . . Well first figure out the ballot after straining to read the touchscreen, then touch-n-poke
your way through the ballot on a machine you see maybe once every two years or so. . . on
an input screen that changes with every election. By the time you finally get through
touching-n-poking and . . . the touchscreen asks you to confirm your vote . . . for the wrong
candidate. Do you even notice it’s wrong? Or do you say, “Yeah, yeah just let me out of
here. Click. I know I did it right.” Think Walmart. How carefully do you check your
receipt? Do you so much as glance over the items? Or is it too long, too annoying? The
total seems about right. Just let me outta here. Crunch. Toss. Gone.
ES&S: They know and they knew their touchscreens didn’t work:
ES&S has known about vote-flipping and drifting candidates for years. See “Time Bombs
Waiting To Go Off,” below. So why is it up to the voters to catch these errors? After all
when was the last time you caught a pricing error? A bank error? Yet every election, the
errors creep back. And when the counting’s done, the machines are tucked safely away for
the next election.
The proof is in the numbers. During 2008/2009, ES&S election errors continue to roll in as
documented by these states: AR, AZ, CA, FL, IN, KS, OH, IL, MA, MI, MN, NC, NE,
NM, PA, SC, SD, TN, TX, WI, WV, FL . . . FL . . . FL . . . Some have actual backups in the
form of voter marked paper ballots. Others do not. But all incurred errors with their ES&S
equipment that changed the final election results.
Still, there’s nothing wrong with the voting machines, right? Must be a user error, right?
Remember the byline, “Those ol’ fossils don’t know how to vote down there in Florida.”
Even Florida’s own Secretary of State is guilty of that one. Well, now comes 2008 and 2009
and the excuse is, “You guys at Elections need to calibrate your machines.” Calibrate?!! If
those persnickety little lying PC’s don’t work for you, the voter, first time every time, they
don’t work. Period. (See “What’s that mean? Calibration drift, smoothing filters, and
vanishing votes,” below.)
The Truth Will Out:
“I voted for Obama, but my vote went to McCain,” and “I voted for Kerry, but the
touchscreen told me to confirm my vote for Bush.” “Why should I vote? My vote doesn’t
count anyway.” 2008, 2006, 2004, 2002 . . . Every election, news reports and voting logs
record the same problems: Flipped votes, lost votes, vote-counting errors. Yet it wasn’t
until late 2008 that mounting evidence of ES&S flip-flopping and vanishing votes during
early voting gained enough traction to skip past some of the standard ES&S roadblocks to
fair and accurate elections when after a series of early voting incidents, the Brennan
Center for Justice at New York University School of Law sent letters to all ES&S iVotronic
Secretaries of State warning, “There is a real chance that voters using iVotronic machines
in your state will experience ‘vote flipping’ similar to that experienced by voters in West
Virginia.”(The iVotronic “Vote Flipping” Statements & Testimony by Lawrence Norden,
Counsel, Brennan Center for Justice and Pamela Smith, President, Verified Voting.)
Then finally in April 2009, after years of authenticated vote-flipping and vanishing votes,
VotersUnite.org recorded this entry in its log: “Vote flipping is a known problem that
affects 22,619 ES&S iVotronic voting machines. . . ES&S admits that calibration may not
hold through the entire Election Day . . .” The entry refers to vote-flipping in Kansas. And
when Saline County Clerk Don Merriman consulted ES&S about the errors reported
during April’s early election, he was told that calibration on his touchscreen machines might
change during the day. "What they've seen is calibration drift on a unit. . . They're fine in
the morning, but by afternoon they're starting to lose their calibration. This “calibration
drift” or sudden-out-of-calibration problem affects [at least] 22,619 touchscreens cited in a
lawsuit filed in late 2005. (“'Vote flipping' was not unexpected,” by DUANE SCHRAG,
Salina Journal, Kansas, 4/10/2009)
What’s that mean? Calibration drift, smoothing filters, and vanishing votes:
"The problem was this: When a voter pressed a certain candidate's bar on the voting
machine's screen, the candidate above the selected candidate instead received the
checkmark." (Saline Journal Faulty-Election)
In other words, while a candidate’s name and touch-here box may be displayed correctly on
the screen, the touch-here sensors don’t hold their places next to the name displayed. The
display screen is not aligned with the touchscreen input. http://www.gao.gov/new.
items/d0897t.pdf So while the voter reads “Obama” and presses “Obama,” since McCain’
s voting sweet spot has drifted or bled into Obama’s territory, McCain gets the vote in
Texas, West Virginia, Missouri . . .
Calibrated / AlignedoooooooCalibration Drift
oooTouchscreenooooooooooBallot Not Aligned
McCain - - - - - - - [ X ]ooooo McCain - - - - - - - [ X ]
Obama- - - - - - - - [ X ]ooooo Obama- - - - - - - -[ X ]
The voter “touches” one candidate and another candidate gets the vote. Ironically,
according to a report by Brad Freidman, every incident of vote-flipping during early voting
in 2008’s general election involved a Democratic vote flipping to a vote for a Republican or
another party.(State After State, ES&S iVotronics Are Flipping Democratic Votes to
If you’re curious about your state, all these states used iVotrinics during 2008, some with
paper, many without: Arkansas, Florida, Indiana, Kansas Kentucky, Missouri,
Mississippi, North Carolina, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee,
Texas, Virginia, Wisconsin. 26 million registered voters eligible to vote on ES&S
touchscreens in 414 juristictions across the country. (Voter information was not available
for all jurisdictions. VerifiedVoting.org)
In battleground Ohio alone, of the nearly 8 million registered voters, nearly 4 million
registered voters in 39 jurisdictions would vote ES&S. iVotronic touchscreens are standard
voting equipment in Delaware, Franklin, Knox, Lake, Mahoning, Pickaway, Ross, Union
and Wyandot. Some 4 million registered voters in 48 jurisdictions vote Premier/Diebold,
recently acquired by ES&S. VotersUnite.org Election Problem Log
In battleground Florida, of the 10.5 million registered voters, 6.7 million registered voters
vote in ES&S territory.
Battleground Florida: Key to Understanding Both the Problem and the Implications:
Florida represents a milestone in understanding the means and magnitude of ES&S
touchscreen failures. This is due to the comprehensive studies conducted on the statewide
failure of Florida’s ES&S touchscreens, as well as the Government Accountability Office’s
investigation into Sarasota’s Congressional District 13 election where 18K ballots were lost
in 2006. So even though Florida replaced its ES&S touchscreens with E&S scanners as the
primary method of voting, Florida is key to understanding both the touchscreen problems
and the overwhelming implications.
If you’re a Democrat voting in Florida, a cursory glance at ballots past shows a definite
pattern of Red votes gobbling up Blue votes, as the calibration drift causes candidates at
the top of the ballot hierarchy to snuff out the challengers below. McCain takes the Obama
vote. Now sitting Governor Charlie Crist gets the D-Jim Davis vote. R-Buchanan gets the
D-Jennings vote. R-McCollum gets the D-Campbell vote. Attorney Janet Reno loses to
the relatively unknown Bill McBride in the primaries. As a result Jeb Bush goes on to take
his second term. And so on.
Oh yes, and in 2004’s Presidential? “I clicked John Kerry but the computer kept asking me
to verify George Bush.” Florida and five other states, reported their votes changing from
Kerry to Bush. (MSNBC) Remembering the battleground in 2004, a win in either Florida
or Ohio provided the candidates with a win to the presidency. (2004 vs. 2000 Electoral Map)
When exit polls showed John Kerry with a three percent lead in these key battle ground
states, and when NBC’s Tom Brokaw proclaimed Kerry the winner, did both get it right?
In Ohio, while George W. Bush’s official margin of victory was just 118,775, U.S. House
Judiciary Committee received "more than 57,000 complaints" following Bush's re-election.
Powerful Government Accountability Office Report Confirms Key 2004 Election Problem
Findings by Bob Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman http://www.ejfi.org/Voting/Voting-128.
htm and GAO Report Ohio
In Florida, Kerry did win after all. At least in the morning. But by afternoon, the machines
heated up, “melting” his win away. Had candidate “Alicia Aardvark” claimed a place at the
top of the ballot, an extra 25% bump might not have gleaned enough votes for her to win.
But in a close contest, it’s more than enough to bump a loser over the top. Over 5000
incidents were documented in Florida alone by VoteProtect.org. Miami-Dade and Broward
Counties each recorded over one thousand election incidents. (VoteProtect.org)
In summary, we can’t know how many votes might have been lost had there been no
warning from the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University in 2008. Just as we
can’t know how many votes actually were lost and flipped in previous elections. But we do
know ES&S rakes in our dollars to count our votes, then they squander out votes away. We
do know unequivocally, ES&S is not working for America.
Meanwhile, the folks at Diebold recently purchased by ES&S “Quietly Patches Security
Flaw in Vote Counting Software,” Kim Zetter, Wired.com's Threat Level Blog, August
Time Bombs Waiting To Go Off: ES&S has known about vote-flipping and drifting
candidates for years:
A “time bombs waiting to go off,” is how one senior scientist employee described the
touchscreens her company manufactured for ES&S. This same scientist describes in painful
detail her unsuccessful attempts to interject stability into the touchscreen manufacturing
and testing processes as early as 2001 in a sworn affidavit to the Minnesota District Court
in April 2007. (United States District Court, District of Minnesota, The Bergquist
Company vs. Hartford Casualty Insurance. Court File No. 05CV2594 JNE/SRN: Company,
Affidavit of Patricia Dunn, pdf-page 6)
Ironically, ES&S own Operator’s Manual warns that normal operating conditions require a
temperature range of 60-100° Fahrenheit and non-condensing humidity of less than 95%.
Even so, the touchscreen component was shipped to the Philippines where it was stored and
later assembled both in hot and humid conditions without air conditioning. (Lost Votes in
Florida's 2006 Election)
ES&S, Bergquist, and Pivot International:
ES&S touchscreens were assembled in a Pivot International sweatshop in Manila, in humid
conditions sans air conditioning. The Berquist Company manufactured the actual
touchscreen component that Pivot International installed in the ES&S voting machines.
The Bergquist Company vs. Hartford Casualty in the United States District Court, District
of Minnesota. Court File No. 05CV2594 JNE/SRN, 11/08/2005.
Page, 4. Item 13.
Berquist continued to receive information into the fall of 2003 that many of the
touchscreens that had been installed in voting machines were defective and were failing to
hold calibration shortly after having been calibrated. Ultimately, Berquest determined that
dielectric ink (Acheson ML 25265) which had caused the sudden “out-of-calibration”
problems had been used in 22,610 touchscreens sold by Pivot and incorporated into voting
machines, and thus every screen had failed and required replacement.
It should be noted that Sarasota County, Florida replaced all their ES&S touchscreens
between 10/2003 and 1/2004. Pivot International supervised the installation. The reason
given for the replacement was a faulty manufacturing process that caused the machines to
fail. (Sarasota’s Vanished Votes: An Investigation into the Cause of Uncounted Votes in
the 2006 Congressional District 13 Race in Sarasota County, Florida, Susan Pynchon and
ES&S, Bergquist, Pivot International . . . There are no clean hands here.
Checking the Numbers - 2,261,900 Votes and Counting:
The severity of ES&S’s defective voting machines cannot be over exaggerated. 22,619
ES&S iVotronic touchscreens taking in approximately 100 ballots per machine results in a
total of 2,261,900 individual ballots during one election. In an election with just 5 races, the
cumulative number of votes counted for all 5 races would be 11,309,500. A 20% error rate
of missing and flipped votes results in 2,261,900 individual lost or flipped votes in one
Why 20%? Previous studies determined an undervote rate of from 17.63% to 24.9% in
their analysis of election results from several counties where ES&S touchscreens were the
primary method of voting as compared to non ES&S counties where only a 2% to 3%
undervote for the same race was recorded. This means the undervote error rate is actually
15% to 22% once the standard 3% undervote it taken away. An even 20% error rate is
assumed for the projections in this article. This 20% error rate does not include the vote-
flipping phenomenon (both error types may eventually be determined to be facets of the
same problem). It should also be noted this 20% error rate could actually be lowball when
applied to a condensed set of machines where all machines are known to be defective.
Other studies analyzed all ES&S iVotronics touchscreens used statewide, not just the
While this is not meant to be a scientific projection, perhaps it is more reliable than the
voting machines themselves.
Count the Machines:
Considering the numbers of iVotronic touchscreen failures reported in 2008 and 2009, the
publically known number of 22,619 defective machines is low. Moreover this particular
batch of defective machines was replaced with a new batch of machines that also proved to
A county by county inventory of machines is not available. We may know the types of
voting machines a county uses, but not necessarily the numbers. And definitely not the
numbers of defective machines unless the voting errors are documented. However when a
statewide study of all ES&S iVotronic touchscreens in the state reveals a 17.63% to 24.9%
undervotes compared with 2% to 3% undervotes for all other machines including ES&S
scanners, one might consider all Florida’s touchscreens were defective. In which case the
number of touchscreens balloons. Or defective touchscreens actually produce a much
higher error rate that is flattened down when averaged in with the numbers of other
machines. (Lost Votes in Florida's 2006 Election Part 2 An Investigation into Excessive
Undervotes on the iVotronics in the Attorney General's Race January 2008 by Kitty
Garber Research Director.)
References & Other Required Reading, Listening, Viewing:
Senate Panel to Examine Sale of Diebold Voting Machine Division, Kim Zetter
SIGN UP HERE TO OPPOSE ES&S/DIEBOLD ACQUISITION
Black Box Voting request for investigation with the United States Dept. of Justice Office of Antitrust and with the
Your Once Public Elections includes startling visuals of US maps illustrating states controlled by ES&S – Diebold
Voting News: ES&S-Diebold's "Ominous Monopoly", ACORN, NY "Count the Vote", Internet Voting
Whackamole in FL
Video Vendors are Undermining the Structure of U.S. Elections, Ellen Theisen, Director, VotersUnit.org
Lost Votes in Florida's 2006 Election An Investigation into Excessive Undervotes on the iVotronics in the Attorney
General's Race January 2008 by Kitty Garber Research Director.
Sarasota’s Vanished Votes: An Investigation into the Cause of Uncounted Votes
in the 2006 Congressional District 13 Race in Sarasota County, Florida, Susan Pynchon and Kitty Garber
A Sampling of Misconceptions & Outright Lies About Elections by Pokey Anderson
Co-producer of The Monitor on KPFT-Pacifica in Houston, of weekly news and analysis radio program.
State purchases voting machine from the same vendor it then hires to help with the election . . . . bringing memory
cards & backup machines along Interview by talknationradio.com, Dori Smith (This veers from ES&S to Diebold.
However, it’s a must read since the scenario here is an invite to collusion and fraud.)
The iVotronic “Vote Flipping” Statements & Testimony by Lawrence Norden, Counsel, Brennan Center for Justice
and Pamela Smith, President, Verified Voting.
VotersUnite.org Election Problem Log
ES&S Buys Premier (Diebold) Election Systems, for Near-Monopoly in U.S. Vote Count by Veronica Dagher, Dow
Jones Newswires on ElectionDefenseAlliance
Bo Lipari’s News and Commentary on Election Integrity in the 21st Century
“The Trouble With Touchscreens,” Dan Rather Reports
United States District Court, District of Minnesota, The Bergquist Company vs. Hartford Casualty Insurance. Court
File No. 05CV2594 JNE/SRN: Company, Affidavit of Patricia Dunn, pdf-page 6:
Miami-Dade and Broward Counties each recorded over one thousand election incidents.
Powerful Government Accountability Office Report Confirms Key 2004 Election Problem Findings by Bob Fitrakis
and Harvey Wasserman and GAO Report Ohio
Voters with Secret Decoder Rings Get Votes Counted
Summary of the Government Accountability Office’s Troubling Investigation: Florida 2006
ELECTIONS : Further Testing Could Provide Increased but Not Absolute Assurance that Voting Systems Did Not
Cause Undervotes in Florida's 13th Congressional District.
ELECTIONS : Status of GAO's Review of Voting Equipment Used in Florida's 13th Congressional District.
ELECTIONS : Results of GAO's Testing of Voting Systems Used in Sarasota County in Florida's 13th
"Buyers' Remorse," DailyBusinessReview.com, 2/3/03.), http://ballotsofstraw.com/TruthWhyTouchscreensSB.html
This article was previously published in OpEdNews
Fiction Stops Here
Numbers don’t lie. Voting machines do. Evidence points to ES&S
voting machines losing nearly 25% of the votes . . . in one race alone.
With 22,619 flawed voting machines . . . How many hot races & issues
on your ballot? Did you check them all before ES&S took your votes
away? . . . Every election, every race, every vote cast & counted on ES&S
equipment is suspect . . . ES&S: Wrong for our votes. Wrong for our
country. They took your $$$$ to count your votes, then threw your votes
What does it mean when 22,619 of your individual voting machines are
flipping and losing votes? The severity of the nationwide impact of
defective voting machines cannot be over exaggerated. Particularly
when an error rate of 20 to 25 percent per defective machine is not out
of line. In an election with just 5 races on the ballot, potentially
2,261,900 votes are lost or flipped. (Please see Checking the Numbers
and more importantly Counting the Machines at the end of this article.
While 22,619 is the publically cited number of defective machines, this
batch of machines has been replaced by a new batch of machines that
also proves to be defective.)