This is the seventh blog in our series examining election integrity.  Last month we established that the voting equipment used in the U.S. can be used to rig elections, both because of flaws in the privatized black-box equipment and because the government has failed to establish and enforce uniform voting standards that would insure fair elections.  This month’s blog will introduce the vendors of the voting equipment in the United States and explain their ties to the political and religious right wing.  

In 2000 the world was presented with the embarrassing spectacle of hanging chads and butterfly ballots in Florida. This created a gold rush for vendors and lobbyists, who took advantage of the Florida fiasco to persuade legislators to enact a sweeping election reform bill.  A bipartisan congress passed the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) in 2002.  The goals of HAVA were (1) to replace punch card and lever-based voting systems; (2) to create the Election Assistance Commission (EAC) to help with the administration of federal elections; and (3) to establish minimum standards for election administration. States would receive federal funding if they submitted a plan describing how the money would be used for the adoption of new voting systems. States were allowed to make their own decisions about the specifics, but all states and localities were required to upgrade their voting machines, registration processes, and poll worker training.

Unfortunately, as it turned out, HAVA had the effect of undermining the integrity of U.S. elections. DeForest Soaries, appointed by George W. Bush to head the Election Assistance Commission (EAC) created by HAVA, called his position a “charade.”  In 2005, Soaries resigned, saying that he had been deceived by both the White House and Congress. “… there’s an erosion of voting rights implicit in our inability to trust the technology that we use. And if we were another country being analyzed by America, we would conclude that this country is ripe for stealing elections and for fraud.”  He concluded that Washington politicians are apparently uninterested in fair elections, since it was our flawed voting system that got them elected.

Vendors of voting machines

The federal money that HAVA provided was a bonanza for the voting machine industry, which already had a shady history.  After a series of business failures, mergers and acquisitions, there remain currently only three major players in the industry. Dominion Voting Systems Corporation, Election Systems & Software (ES&S), and Hart InterCivic control about 92% of the market. ES&S is the largest, with 44%.  Dominion has 37%, and Hart InterCivic has 11%.  All three companies are privately held and do not disclose their financial information.

Dominion Voting Systems

Dominion Voting Systems is a Canadian company and a global provider of end-to-end election tabulation solutions and services. In May 2010, Dominion acquired Premier Election Solutions (PES), formerly Diebold Election Systems, from Election Systems & Software (ES&S).  ES&S had recently acquired PES but was required to sell it because of anti-trust issues.  In June 2010, Dominion also acquired Sequoia Voting Systems.

Diebold Election Systems

Diebold Election Systems had a checkered history.  Last month we discussed the exposure its flaws received after Bev Harris found the GEMS security breach. It was also sued by the SEC for inflating earnings through fraudulent accounting practices from at least 2002-2007.  In addition, the SEC filed civil charges against former Diebold executives, including Diebold’s former chief executive, Walden O’Dell, who agreed to pay back about $470,000 in cash, plus stock and options.  This is the same Walden O’Dell who in August 2003 hosted a $1000-a-plate fundraiser at his 10,800-square-foot home outside Columbus, Ohio to benefit the Ohio state Republican Party’s 2004 campaign fund. O’Dell was a Bush Pioneer, which means that he raised at least $100,000 for the George W. Bush campaign. A diehard Republican, O’Dell, who was then President, Chairman, and CEO of the company that made the machines on which many Ohioans would vote, stated in a letter, “I am committed to helping Ohio deliver its electoral votes to the President next year.”  When people reacted to the statement, he said it was merely a poor choice of words.  John Kerry’s wife Teresa blamed Kerry’s loss to Bush in 2004 on rigged Diebold voting machines.   O’Dell left Diebold in 2005 just before a class-action lawsuit accusing Diebold of fraud, insider trading, and slipshod quality control was filed.

In 2004 California banned Diebold’s touchscreen system, and Secretary of State Kevin Shelley called the company “fraudulent,” “despicable,” and “deceitful.” After Diebold equipment jeopardized the outcome of the California primary, Shelley said he would recommend that California’s attorney general look into possible criminal and civil actions against Diebold.  A report issued by Shelley’s office accused Diebold of breaking state law by installing uncertified software on machines in four counties and lying to state officials.

Concerned about its tarnished brand, the company removed its label from the front of voting machines and changed the name of its voting-machine division to Premier Election Solutions. In 2009, Diebold sold Premier to ES&S.

Sequoia Voting Systems

Another Dominion acquisition, Sequoia Voting Systems, has also had its share of controversy. In 2007 the California secretary of state withdrew approval and then granted conditional reapproval for Seqoia’s optical scan and DRE machines.  A 2007 review of the machines found “significant security weaknesses throughout the Sequoia System” and “pervasive structural weaknesses” which raise “serious questions as to whether the Sequoia software can be relied upon to protect the security of elections.”

Also in 2007, an investigative report by Dan Rather charged Sequoia with undermining the 2000 presidential election in Palm Beach County, Florida by supplying poor quality punch card ballots that caused the famous “hanging chads.”  Former Sequoia employees stated that these ballots were produced with paper and manufacturing processes that were outside of normal specifications, but when production workers reported the quality problems, Sequoia management ordered the workers to ignore them. There was speculation that management hoped to promote sales of direct-recording electronic machines (DREs) by discrediting punch-card ballots.  This is, in fact, what occurred: Florida counties were required to buy touch-screen systems.  However, by 2007 there were so many problems with the DREs that the counties were required to replace them with optical-scan equipment.

In 2008, election officials in New Jersey announced that they would send Sequoia Advantage voting machines to computer scientists Edward Felten and Andrew Appel at Princeton University to analyze them for security issues.  Sequoia’s Edwin B. Smith III, VP of Compliance, Quality, and Certification, responded by advising Felten that Sequoia would take legal action “to stop… non-compliant analysis… publication of Sequoia software… or any other infringement of our intellectual property.”

After the merger, the same Edwin B. Smith became VP of certification and compliance at Dominion Voting Systems.  In 2009, in an outrageous conflict of interest, Smith was appointed to the Election Assistance Commission (EAC) Technical Guidelines Development Committee, which is in charge of certification of voting machines.

In 2011, the team at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory easily breached a system made by Sequoia, using the “man in the middle” hack, which requires no knowledge of the actual voting software. The same Sequoia machine was used by voters in four states in 2012.

After the acquisition of Diebold/PES and Sequoia, Dominion continued to use their machines, and problems were reported regularly up to the present.

Election Systems & Software (ES&S)

Bev Harris documented problems with ES&S machines between 1996 and 2003, including:

1996 in Polk County, FL: County Commissioner Marlene Duffy Young (a Democrat) lost the election to Bruce Parker (a Republican) but regained the seat after a court-ordered hand recount. After the recount, county commissioners unanimously voted to ask for a grand jury probe. Testifying were Todd Urosevich, a vice president with American Information Systems Inc. (now ES&S), the company that had sold the county its ballot-counting equipment. Todd Urosevich said his machines were not responsible for the miscount. (p. 25)

1998 in Stanislaus County, CA: A grand jury was convened to determine what caused computerized voting machines to misreport election results. The grand jury concluded that an ES&S computerized counting system miscounted the votes for three propositions. A hand recount of the ballots resulted in Measure A, a state proposition, being reversed: ES&S machines had reported that it had lost badly, but it had actually won. According to the county clerk recorder and registrar of voters, the problem occurred because of a programming error in the software produced by ES&S. (p. 25)

1998 in Honolulu, HI: A state senate investigation was conducted into the 1998 election and the malfunction of ballot-counting machines in seven precincts at once. ES&S acknowledged the error and paid more than $250,000 for the recount, in which the biggest expense was hand counting, according to Vice President Todd Urosevich. ES&S financial officer Richard Jablonski said ES&S would have saved a lot of money if it had been permitted to just do a machine recount, giving voice to a financial incentive for voting machine companies to get rid of the paper trail. (p. 40)

1998 in Dallas, TX: More than 41,000 votes were not counted during the 1998 general election. The system refused to count votes from 98 precincts, and operators and election officials didn’t realize they had a problem until after they’d released “final” totals. The system vendor, ES&S, assured voters that votes were never lost, just uncounted. The company was trying to find two apparently unrelated software bugs, one that mistakenly indicated precinct votes were in when they weren’t, and another that forgot to include 8,400 mail-in ballots in the final tally. ES&S said, “What we had was a speed bump along the way.”  (p.21)

2000 in Caracas, Venezuela:  Venezuela’s highest court suspended elections because of problems with the vote tabulation for the national election. Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez accused ES&S of trying to destabilize the country’s electoral process. (p; 21)

2000 in Glenwood Springs, CO: At a special city council meeting held just after the election, Mayor Skramstad announced that the Garfield County Clerk and Recorder asked that he read a press release. It stated, “The Garfield County Clerk and Recorder wishes to inform the public that she is continuing to experience difficulty with the ES&S Inc. software utilized for tabulating election results. Whenever I made my choice, the opposite choice lit up…” (p. 43)

2000 in Allamakee County, IA: The county’s lone voting machine was fed about 300 absentee ballots, but the optical-scanning device reported it had counted 3.9 million extra ballots.  ‘We don’t have four million voters in the state of Iowa,” said Bill Roe Jr., county auditor. Todd Urosevich of ES&S said, “You are going to have some failures.” (p. 29)

2002 in Alabama: In the general election, machines made by ES&S flipped the governor’s race. Six thousand three hundred Baldwin County electronic votes mysteriously disappeared after the polls had closed and everyone had gone home. Democrat Don Siegelman’s victory was handed to Republican Bob Riley, and the recount Siegelman requested was denied. (p. 46)

2002 in Lake County, IL: A losing Republican candidate for alderman was told that he won the Lake County, state primary election. He was among 15 people in four races affected by an ES&S vote-counting foul-up in the Chicago area. (p. 21)

2002 in Broward County, FL: The day after the election, the County Elections Office discovered 103,222 votes had not been counted. Broward Deputy Elections Supervisor Joe Cotter called the previous day’s mistake “a minor software thing.” (p. 22)

2002 in Union County, FL: A programming error caused machines to read 2,642 Democratic and Republican votes as entirely Republican in the September 2002 election. The vendor, ES&S, accepted responsibility for the programming error and paid for a hand recount. Unlike the new touch-screen systems, which eliminate voter-verified paper trails, Union County retained a voter-verified paper trail. Thus, a recount was possible and Democratic votes could be identified. (p. 27)

2002 in Adams County, NE:  Adams County Election Commissioner Chris Lewis says she will be meeting with representatives of ES&S to further discuss “what went wrong” on November 5th. During the General Election, Adams County was the last in Nebraska to have election results, due to both machine and software glitches. ES&S has talked about some compensation for the election problems including paying for election worker overtime and not charging for programming adjustments. (p. 45)

2002 in South Dakota: A voting machine was caught double-counting votes. The error was blamed on a “flawed chip.” ES&S sent a replacement chip, and voters demanded that the original chip be impounded and examined. Who was allowed to examine it? Citizens? (No.) Experts that we choose? (No.) ES&S? (That’s it.) (p. 29)

2002 in Gretna, NE: Vote-counting machines failed to tally “yes” votes on the Gretna school-bond issue, giving the false impression that the measure failed miserably. The measure actually passed by a 2-1 margin. Responsibility for the errors was attributed to ES&S, the Omaha company that provided the ballots and the machines. (p. 47)

2002 in Scurry County, TX: When election officials became suspicious about a Republican landslide, they hand-counted the ballots and found that the machine was miscounting. ES&S sent a new chip down and installed it, and the correct count reversed the election, giving it to the Democrat. (p. 46)

2003 in Lake County, IL: Illinois Democrat Rafael Rivera said, “I knew something was wrong because when I looked up the results in my own precinct it showed zero votes. I said, `Wait a minute. I know I voted for myself.’” Clerk Willard Helander blamed the problem on ES&S, the Omaha company in charge of operating Waukegan’s optical-scan voting machines. (p. 22)

The most frightening part of this record of errors is that we can be sure that for each one that was discovered, there were many more that remained undiscovered.  Bev Harris’ book was published in 2004, but problems have continued to turn up since that time.  For example, in 2010, the Cleveland Plain Dealer reported that “About 10 percent of Cuyahoga County’s voting machines … [had] failed a pre-election test.”  After 20 months of investigation, the Election Assistance Commission (EAC) recommended decertification of the ES&S voting machine if it could not be fixed.

In 2012, the EAC found that the ES&S optical scanner slated for use in the 2012 presidential elections “misreads ballots, fails to log critical events and is prone to sudden lockups.” The EAC report cited “substantial anomalies” including screen freezes, system lockups and shutdowns, and a failure to log all normal and abnormal system events.  The machine sometimes failed to log events, such as a vote being cast, when its touchscreen was calibrated or when the system was powered on or off. Though the EAC concluded that the machine doesn’t currently meet federal standards, it stopped short of decertifying the system.

ES&S remains the largest vendor of voting equipment in the United States.

Hart InterCivic

Hart InterCivic, the smallest of the big three, makes a wide range of voting equipment, including hardware and services such as election consultation, training, professional services, preventive maintenance, and ballot production services.

In 2007, the State of Ohio commissioned the Evaluation and Validation of Election Related Equipment, Standards and Testing (EVEREST) study to analyze the usability, stability, and security of all voting systems used in Ohio elections. They found that, along with the other systems, the Hart systems were critically flawed in ways that are easy to exploit. For example, the flaws could  prevent votes from being counted and  change the election results.

In less than nine weeks of study, the Project EVEREST team discovered 27 new issues in the Hart system, and they expect that many more issues remain to be discovered. Most striking was the fact that entirely new classes of vulnerabilities were found, such as vast numbers of undocumented features in the Hart system enabled by hidden Windows registry entries. Each device studied had significant security failures. “For example, the ExpressPoll electronic poll book presented little or no challenge to compromise. In this case, the consequences of this are clear–anyone using this device could arbitrarily add voters or disenfranchise others,” the study concluded.

Right wing ties

Prior to the 2010 merger, Diebold, ES&S, and Sequoia were estimated to control 80% of black box voting in the United States, and they all had strong ties to the right-wing evangelical Christian and Republican circles.  According to the New York Times, Diebold’s executives donated exclusively to the Republican party in 2003, and Diebold and ES&S were owned by essentially the same people.

Much of the following history is based on a 2004 article by Dr. Bob Fitrakis, election integrity lawyer, political science professor, senior editor of The Free Press, and author of numerous articles and books on the subject of election integrity:

In the early 1980s, brothers Bob and Todd Urosevich founded Data Mark, predecessor of ES&S.   In 1984, according to the Omaha World Herald, the brothers Urosevich obtained financing from friends of their family, the far-right Ahmanson family.  In return, the Ahmansons got a 68% share of Data Mark, which was renamed American Information Systems (AIS).

The Ahmanson family had long been deeply involved in right-wing religious and political causes, spending millions on promoting Christian Right candidates.  They were financiers of the Discovery Institute of Irvine CA, which spread creation science as an alternative to evolution.  They were major contributors to the Capitol Resource Institute, the California political front for Focus on the Family; the Western Center for Law and Religious Freedom; the Reason Foundation; the California Prolife Council; Claremont Institute, another conservative think tank; and Paul Weyrich’s Free Congress Foundation.  TIME Magazine named the Ahmansons first in their 2005 list of the 25 Most Influential Evangelicals in America, classifying them as “the financiers.”

Howard Ahmanson was a chief contributor and long-time board member for the Chalcedon Foundation, the main think tank for Christian Reconstructionism.   Christian Reconstructionism  is included in a group of Christian political ideologies called Dominionism or Dominion theology, which hold that  “ true believers need to ‘reconstruct’ America as a Christian nation in order to set the stage for the Second Coming.”  It calls for the United States to return to Old Testament Biblical law, including the death penalty for crimes such as homosexuality, adultery, and blasphemy.  Although I have not been able so far to trace ties between Dominion theology and Dominion Voting Systems, the latter’s choice of name seems ominous.

Ahmanson was also a member of the secretive, far-right Council for National Policy (CNP).   Other members included Iran-Contra figures such as Lieutenant Colonel Oliver North and former Klan members such as Richard Shoff.

The CNP was founded in 1981 by a group of leading social conservatives.  Among the most interesting are:

  • Paul Weyrich, now deceased, co-founded the Moral Majority (with Rev. Jerry Falwell).  He also co-founded the Heritage Foundation, the Free Congress Foundation, and the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). Paul Weyrich made an infamous video in 1980 in which he said, “I don’t want everybody to vote” because conservatives win elections when fewer voters go to the polls.
  • Tim LaHaye (CNP President, 1981-1982): Evangelical minister, co-author of the Left Behind series of apocalyptic Christian novels, and then-leader of the Moral Majority. Tim LaHaye, has described gay people as “vile,” said the Illuminati are conspiring to establish a “new world order,” attacked Catholicism, and once worked for the conspiracist John Birch Society.
  • Nelson Baker Hunt (CNP President 1983-1984): billionaire son of billionaire oilman H.L. Hunt: He backed Christian Right causes such as Promise Keepers, Here’s Life, Campus Crusade for Christ, Jesus People, and Christian World Liberation Front.  He was a heavy donor to the Christian Reconstructionist/Dominionist Chalcedon Foundation. And he was involved in right wing political groups such as the John Birch Society, Ronald Reagan’s political network, and a paramilitary force called Americans Volunteer Group.  He contributed to the Contras of the Iran-Contra debacle.

The CNP is an umbrella organization of about 500 members that provides an opportunity for networking between right-wing donors and top conservative operatives with the goal of planning long-term movement strategy.   The New York Times described it as “a little-known club of a few hundred of the most powerful conservatives in the country.” It can only be joined by invitation, and it tells its members not to admit their membership or even name the group. It still has major relevance in conservative politics.  According to the National Review, Donald Trump and five other Republican presidential candidates in 2016 each took 30 minutes to address the group; Trump was reportedly by far the favorite candidate.

The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) managed to obtain a copy of the CNP’s 2014 Membership Directory, which lists 413 members, 118 members who have died, and 14 past presidents. The 2014 vision statement in the directory says, “A united conservative movement to assure, by 2020, policy leadership and governance that restores religious and economic freedom, a strong national defense, and Judeo-Christian values under the Constitution.”

The CNP has strong ties to the religious as well as the political right.  For example, Rousas John Rushdoony, who is widely considered the father of Christian Reconstructionism and an inspiration for the modern Christian homeschool movement, is listed in the “In Memoriam” section of the 2014 directory.  Jerry Falwell, also listed “In Memoriam,” was a Southern Baptist pastor, televangelist, conservative activist, founder of Liberty Christian Academy in 1967, Liberty University in 1971, and co-founder (with Paul Weyrich) of the Moral Majority in 1979.  Rev. Pat Robertson (CNP President, 1985-1986) is a former Southern Baptist minister who presently serves as chairman of the Christian Broadcasting Network and chancellor and CEO of Regent University (formerly Christian Broadcasting Network University).

Some members listed in the 2014 directory are involved with the Trump administration now, including:

Kellyanne Conway, who was a member of the CNP Executive Committee in 2014. Conway was President Trump’s campaign manager and is currently serving as Counselor to the President.

Steve Bannon was former White House Chief Strategist for President Trump and former executive chairman of Breitbart News.

Jay Sekulow is a member of President Trump’s personal legal team charged with advising the president regarding the investigation into possible collusion between members of his 2016 campaign and the Russian government.  Sekulow, a self-described Messianic Jew, is Chief Counsel for the right-wing American Center for Law and Justice and a frequent guest commentator on the Christian Broadcasting Network and Fox News.

Ken Blackwell was a member of the CNP Executive Committee in 2014.  Blackwell was the infamous secretary of state accused of rigging Ohio for Bush in the 2004 presidential election.  He was also a member of President Trump’s now-defunct voter fraud commission

Vice President Pence recently confirmed that he is also a member of the CNP.

In 1987, the Ahmanson family sold their shares in American Information Systems (AIS) to the McCarthy Group, an investment banking firm, and the World Herald Company, Inc. In 1992, future Republican Senator Chuck Hagel became president of the McCarthy Group and also served as Chairman and CEO of AIS.  In 1997, AIS bought Business Records Corp. (BRC), which was formerly known as Cronus Industries, an election company. The conglomerate became ES&S. Among the BRC owners were Carolyn Hunt and Nelson Bunker Hunt of the right-wing Hunt oil family, major financiers of the Council on National Policy (CNP) and the Christian Reconstructionist Chalcedon Institute.

On March 15, 1995, Chuck Hagel resigned from the board of AIS and announced his intention to run for the Senate a few days later. Michael McCarthy, the parent company’s founder, was treasurer of Hagel’s campaign. Until at least 2003, Hagel retained between $1 million and $5 million in stock in Election Systems & Software’s parent company, the McCarthy Group.  However, confidentiality agreements between the State of Nebraska and ES&S kept the public in the dark about Chuck Hagel’s role as head of the company.  So when Hagel won a “stunning upset” in his 1996 senatorial election, few eyebrows were raised.  Hagel became the first elected Republican senator from Nebraska in 24 years, sweeping virtually every demographic group in the state, including large African American communities that had never before voted Republican.  Using the same ES&S equipment in 2002, Hagel won re-election with an improbable 83 percent of the vote, which was the widest margin of victory in the history of Nebraska.  In both the 1996 and 2002 Nebraska elections, ES&S counted approximately 80% of the votes.

Hegel also had ties to the George H.W. Bush administration. During the first Bush presidency, Hagel served as Deputy Director and Chief Operating Officer of the 1990 Economic Summit of Industrialized Nations (G-7 Summit). He served as U.S. Secretary of Defense in the Obama administration from 2013 to 2015.

Hagel had strong ties to the Christian Right. He consistently voted to restrict abortion rights, even in cases of rape and incest; the National Right to Life Committee gave him a rating of one hundred per cent. He supported teacher-led prayer in schools; the Christian Coalition gave him a rating of one hundred per cent. He was staunchly in favor of capital punishment, the drug war, and gun rights; he received an “A” rating from the NRA

In 2002, Hagel won re-election against Democrat Charlie Matulka.   Because Hagel had never actually disclosed his financial ties to ES&S, Matulka requested an investigation by the Senate Ethics Committee. His request was rejected.  Matulka asked that state elections officials conduct a hand recount of the vote, but that request was also rejected, both because the margin of victory was outside the recount range, and also because a Nebraska law specified that recounts had to be conducted using the very same “vote-counting device” that was used in the election—in this case, the ES&S optical scanners.  Hand recounts, the guarantee of fair elections, were illegal!

Just before the 2012 presidential election, Forbes reported that the voting machine vendor Hart InterCivic also had Republican ties, specifically to the Romney family:

Hart Intercivic is owned, in large part, by H.I.G. Capital—a large investment fund with billions of dollars under management—that was founded by a fellow named Tony Tamer. While it is unclear just how much H.I.G. owns of Hart Intercivic, we do learn that H.I.G. employees hold at least two of the five Hart Intercivic board seats. Tony Tamer, H.I.G.’s founder, turns out to be a major bundler for the Mitt Romney campaign, along with three other directors of H.I.G. who are also big-time money raisers for Romney.

 

Indeed, as fate would have it, two of those directors—Douglas Berman and Brian Schwartz— were actually in attendance at the now infamous “47 percent” fundraiser in Boca Raton, Florida….

 

… we learn that two members of the Hart Intercivic board of directorsNeil Tuch and Jeff Bohl, have made direct contributions to the Romney campaign. This, despite the fact that they represent 40 percent of the full board of directors of a company whose independent, disinterested and studiously non-partisan status in any election taking place on their voting machines would seemingly be a ‘no brainer’.

 

To Mr. Bohl’s credit, after giving a total of $4,000 to “Romney For President”, it must have occurred to him that it might not look so good for a board member of a company whose voting machines are to be a part of the presidential election to be playing favorites—so he gave $250 to Barack Obama to sort of balance the scales.

 

Mr. Tuch? Not so much.

 

Interestingly, Mr. Bohl lists himself as an investor at H.I.G. Capital for his Romney contributions but his far smaller donation to Obama was done as “Jeff Bohl, self-employed innkeeper”.

 

… H.I.G. is the 11th largest of all the contributors to the Romney effort….

 

Numerous media sources, including Truthout, are reporting that Solamere Capital—the investment firm run by Mitt Romney’s son, Tagg, and the home of money put into the closely held firm by Tagg’s uncle Scott, mother Anne and, of course, the dad who might just be the next President of the United States—depending upon how the vote count turns out, in our little tale, in the State of Ohio—have shared business interests with H.I.G. either directly or via Solamere Advisors which is owned, in part, by Solamere Capital, including a reported investment in H.I.G. by either Solamere Capital or Solamere Advisors.

The article points out that Keith Olbermann was suspended from his job at MSNBC for donating a couple hundred dollars to a local candidate who was a friend of his because MSNBC required that journalists at the network refrain from contributing to any candidate for all the obvious reasons.  Why aren’t those who control the voting machines that record and count the votes of our elections held to the same standard?

It should also be mentioned that there was a false right-wing rumor that a smaller voting company, Smartmatic, was owned by left-leaning George Soros.  In an interview with Wolf Blitzer on the Situation Room, Rep. Sean Duffy, R-Wis. said “Articles that I have read, I haven’t verified them, but we heard that one of George Soros’ companies has provided some of the machines for some of these states. And, obviously, Mr. Soros leans left. I haven’t personally verified that yet.”  Duffy said this even though the tie between Soros and Smartmatic had been debunked a week before he appeared on CNN by Snopes, and again three days before by the Washington Post.

The debunked Soros/Smartmatic accusation can be seen as a symptom of the widespread distrust of the voting system. The public suspects that something is amiss, but is largely ignorant of what the real issues are, and in that atmosphere it’s easy for rumors to proliferate.  The government needs to step up and pass some laws that require transparency and make it harder for elections to be stolen.

In future blogs, we will show how election officials have given every appearance of cooperating with the vendors to steal U.S. elections, and that suspicious elections almost always show a “red shift,” meaning that they favor Republicans.  U.S. elections are not stolen equally by both parties.