A few years ago, when computerized voting devices came into use, some software professionals reviewed the devices and their software and found them deficient. There is a YouTube video about finagling a particular brand of voting machine with a hardware change. New York missed out on this: state law requires that all of the candidates and issues on a ballot appear on a single page, and so we have paper ballots and scanners, which are really clunky, but seem to work.
I’m not a software jock, but I know something about computers. Given a couple of days, I could write a functional emulation of one of the old mechanical voting machines for a Windows PC. You’d have to partition the ballot to make it readable on the screen, but other than that, it would work. It wouldn’t be certifiably bomb-proof, but in the hands of professionals, it could be used to run a real election.
After the November elections, reports surfaced that many districts in Pennsylvania and Ohio recorded not a single vote for Romney. In other districts, the number of votes recorded exceeded the number of actual voters. There were scattered reports of people who were clearly not from the area (out in rural areas where people presumably know each other) appearing in significant numbers to vote. There were also reports of people being unable to vote for Romney in that the machine would change their vote to Obama.
None of these events was reported widely in the media, but then again, when the votes from the 2000 election in Florida were counted a few months later, Al Gore would have one, and that story was buried, too.
I’m beginning to believe that the complaints about deficient software and hackable voting machines may be misplaced. The software in an election device may be imperfectis there ever such a thing as perfect software?but running an honest election is really simple stuff.
But what if the election authorities, or someone behind them, didn’t want to run an honest election?
In another time, I would have considered the thought preposterous. But if someone did want to run a corrupt election, voting machines would be just one tool among many. And whatever software certifications the machines might have had are beside the point. No machine is incorruptible, if you want to corrupt it badly enough.
But why? And why has the mainstream media reported nothing about this?