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Congressmen call for election probe
Three Democratic congressmen have called on the General Accounting Office to launch an investigation into voting machine irregularities in the recent election. The congressmenmembers of the U.S. House from Florida, New York and Michiganpointed to a number of incidents that surfaced the day after the vote.
There were problems with absentee ballots in Florida, where software made by Election Systems & Software (ES&S) began subtracting votes when totals topped 32,000. Election officials knew about the fault two years ago, but ES&S failed to correct the problem before the election.
Palm Beach County, Fla., recorded 88,000 more votes than there were voters. Some 542, 835 ballots were cast for presidential candidates, but only 454,427 voters turned out, leaving a discrepancy of 88,408 votes for president. (Washington Dispatch.com)
The election supervisor in Palm Beach County is Theresa LePore, known in Florida as Madame Butterfly because of the notorious butterfly ballot that caused much confusion in the 2000 election. (truthout.org)
In the frantic fray in Ohio, state Sen. Teresa Fedor said: There was trouble with our elections in Ohio at every stage. Its been a battle getting people registered to vote, getting to the ballot on voting day and getting that vote to count. There is a pattern of voter suppression; thats why I called for [Ohio Secretary of State Ken] Blackwells resignation more than a month ago.
But who counted the votes in Illinois? In Cook County it was ES&S, in fact, according to company claims, 42 percent of all registered voters in the country used ES&S machines on election day. Cook County voters were among the 60 million Americans who voted with this system.
It means that ES&S, a private and highly secretive company, manages everything from voter registration, printing ballots, programming the voting machines, counting and tabulation of results and final reporting of results for 60 million Americans in 47 states. (American Free Press)
AFP reporter Christopher Bollyn went to the Cook County Clerks offices shortly before the polls closed on Nov. 2. He found the only outsiders there were a few reporters from the Associated Press and Fox News.
When Bollyn attempted to speak with the AP reporter, a spokesman for the county clerk told him he could not do so. He did learn that AP got a direct feed from the ES&S central tabulators, housed in a back room of the clerks quarters.
The Fox News reporter also said his network got a direct feed of vote totals and statistics.
So who counts? In most counties in this country, ballots are processed in computer systems owned by private companies who are accountable to no one. Not even election officials are permitted to see how the actual tabulation is done.
ES&S was founded in 1980 by Bob and Todd Urosevich when they started a company named Data Mark. In 1984, the Urosevich brothers got financing from the ultra-conservative family of Robert Ahmanson. They made their money in insurance and the savings and loan industry. Ahmanson holds a sizeable portion of ES&S stock.
The Urosevich company became American Information Systems and then morphed into ES&S. Today, Bob Urosevich heads Diebold Election Systems, the second largest U.S. maker of electronic voting machines.
The only vote-counting the press or public can see is displayed on screens in the Cook County Clerks office. The computer generating the data was run by ES&S technicians. (American Free Press)
Bollyn reported he noticed stacks of boxes at the rear of the press room. These boxes were printed, stating they contained Votamatic voting machines and PRE-PUNCHED ballots prepared by ES&S of Addison, Texas, for the various precincts in Cook County.
Bollyn said when he stepped into a rear hallway and tried to peek into the ES&S computer room, an armed marshal and an ES&S employee quickly appeared. Bollyn left at once.
Both ES&S and Diebold Election Systems have close ties to the Bush administration.
Major investors in ES&S, Diebold and Sequoia are defense contractors Northrup-Grumman, Lockheed-Martin, Electronic Data Systems and Accenture.
Diebold hired Scientific Applications International Inc., to create the software security for Diebolds voting machines. These are the ones we use in Winnebago County.
A majority of Scientifics board of directors are former members of the CIA or the Pentagon. They include: Army Gen. Wayne Downing, formerly of the National Security Council; Bobby Ray Inman, former CIA director; retired Adm. William Owens, ex-vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; and Robert Gates, another former CIA director. (commondreams.org)
Election Systems is based in Omaha and is controlled by a small group of men that includes Sen. Charles Hagel, who is a member of the Bilderberg group, often referred to as the shadow government.
Sen. Hagel was chairman of ES&S until March 1995 when he left to ready his senate run. His former company made the machines that counted his votes.
In 1997, the same company, then American Information Systems, was a wholly-owned subsidiary of Omaha World Herald Company, which owns the Omaha daily newspaper and is into data accumulation and other business ventures.
Bollyn said the company, which gives out no information about itself, appears to be guided by billionaire and millionaire conservatives of the Christian Coalition type who have converted the Republican Party into an extreme pro-Israel, Christian fundamentalist group, ready to do anything to win.
ES&S was created in 1997 through a merger of American Information Systems and Dallas-based Business Records Corp. The latter company was partially owned by Cronus Industries, a company linked to the Hunt brothers of Texas and other entities, including Rothschild Inc.
The McCarthy Group owns about 35 percent of ES&S, and Sen. Hagel has investments in that group of between $1 and $5 million, according to Bev Harris, operator of the Web site, Black Box Voting.org. Harris charged a conflict of interest exists because Hagel holds investments in a company that counts the votes in Nebraska.
Diebold won a $54 million contract to overhaul election system technology in the state of Georgia. It became the first state in the country to install a statewide, computerized touch-screen voting system, which leaves no verifiable audit trail.