Dale Tavris -- World News Trust
Aug. 20, 2018
Election Fraud in the United States: 2004 to Present
Part VI: Evidence for Election Fraud in Election Machine "Glitches"
I have never found an illuminating discussion on voting machine “glitches." Do they usually represent mere accidents? Or do they sometimes, often, or usually constitute evidence of electronic election fraud? My discussions with various people on the subject suggest to me that few if any people really know.
Computerized election fraud doesn’t yet have a very long history. Obviously, those who engage in it would want their efforts to be invisible to voters and anyone following the relevant elections. But perhaps the science of election fraud is still too new for those who program election counting computers for fraud to do so with great confidence that their efforts won’t be revealed in the form of election “glitches." Perhaps they’re willing to take such risks, feeling safe in the knowledge that most people will believe or pretend to believe (from fear of appearing to be a loony “conspiracy theorist”) that any “glitches” seen on Election Day are mere accidents.
As with exit polls, I make no claims that the evidence I present of election machine “glitches” provides proof of election fraud. But they do seem highly suspicious to me, especially in the context of all the other evidence. A discussion of evidence for electronic election fraud in the United States wouldn’t be complete without them. Here I will present some examples, in chronological order:
Computer “glitch” in Volusia County Florida, 2000, that resulted in call of Florida for Bush
In the 2000 Presidential election, the TV networks were very embarrassed when, after initially calling Florida (whose electoral votes determined the Electoral College winner in 2000) for Al Gore, then early the next morning reversing their initial call to call it for George W. Bush, later that morning they had to reverse their call yet again to call the election “too close to call” (which remained the status of the contest for 36 days, until the U.S. Supreme court abruptly halted a Florida Supreme Court mandated recount of the whole state while Bush held a 537 vote lead, thus awarding the Presidency to Bush). Though the TV networks acknowledged embarrassment over all this, they never explained to the American people the reasons for their miscalls, other than to say that they were based on “bad data." It is illuminating to understand the reasons for those miscalls.
Regarding the first miscall, for Gore: As noted in Part III of this series, TV networks routinely use a combination of exit polls and current official vote count to call elections early, before the final official vote count has been tabulated. Exit polls measure who voters think they voted for. Normally voters know who they voted for. But in heavily populated Palm Beach County, Florida, in 2000, a “butterfly ballot” was used for voting for President. The butterfly ballot was very confusing, as Al Gore’s name was listed next to two third-party candidates -- Patrick Buchanan and Socialist candidate David McReynolds -- on the adjacent page, making it difficult to tell which hole punches corresponded to which candidate. This undoubtedly caused many voters who intended to vote for Gore to vote for either Buchanan or McReynolds or one of those candidates plus Gore -- in which case the ballot was rejected as an “over-vote” even though many hundreds or thousands of voters wrote Gore’s name at the bottom of the ballot. Later investigations made it clear that this confusion cost Gore thousands of votes (more than enough to win the election) and would also cause an exit poll discrepancy because there were so many voters who thought they had voted for Gore but were ruled by the vote counting machines not to have voted for him. That exit poll discrepancy was undoubtedly the most plausible reason for the first TV networks call for Gore.
The basis of the second bad call, for Bush, at 2:16 a.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 8, can be explained by the following report:
Deland, FL, Nov. 11 – Something very strange happened on election night to Deborah Tannenbaum, a Democratic Party official in Volusia County. At 10 p.m., she called the county elections department and learned that Al Gore was leading George W. Bush 83,000 votes to 62,000. But when she checked the county's Web site for an update half an hour later, she found a startling development: Gore's count had dropped by 16,000 votes, while an obscure Socialist candidate had picked up 10,000 -- all because of a single precinct with only 600 voters.
At 2:09 a.m. Volusia County’s erroneous numbers were added to Voter News Service’s tabulations, and less than ten minutes later Florida and the U.S. election were called for Bush. The error in Volusia County had cost Gore (temporarily) 16,021 votes.
Gore’s sudden drop of 16,021 votes (in a precinct with only 600 voters) clearly makes no sense. The error, due to some sort of electronic “malfunction” of one of the machines was quickly discovered and reversed, and that’s why the national news stations reversed their call a second time within a few hours to call the Florida election “too close to call."
The computer error in Volusia Counter was later publicly said to be due to a faulty memory card, with little or no further explanation. It was considered to be accidental, nobody was prosecuted for it, and it stirred up little national attention or concern. The bigger questions are: 1) Was this computer error purposeful or accidental; and 2) How many other computer errors occurred that night that were not caught?
Probably few people will ever know the answers to these questions. After all, the results produced by these electronic voting machines cannot be verified. So, unless the errors are massive, as they were in Volusia County, there is little chance of catching them. At least one computer voting expert, Bev Harris, author of Black Box Voting, believes she has good evidence that the error was purposeful, though it didn’t work exactly as planned.
Voter observed electronic vote switching from Kerry to Bush in the 2004 Presidential election
In order to assess the potential role of electronic vote switching in the 2004 presidential election, I conducted an analysis of reports by U.S. voters to the Election Incidence Reporting System (EIRS) developed by the National Election Data Archive Project. All reports included in this analysis involve the U.S. national election of November 2004. The EIRS database included 28,734 reported incidents, including 2,115 “machine problem” incidents. The material for this analysis was obtained by searching these “machine problem” incidents only in counties that used electronic voting machines, according to a database provided by Voters Unite!.
A report was categorized as a presidential vote switching incident if: 1) the report specifically referred to the presidential vote OR to one or both of the two major parties; and 2) The report noted that the voting machine made it easier or more difficult to vote for one of the two major candidates. Typically, these reports involved a voter attempting to register a vote for one candidate, and then the machine noting that another candidate has been selected. These “vote switches” involved switches from one to the other major party candidate, from a major party to a third party candidate, or vice versa.
The analysis showed 87 cases where the vote switch favored Bush and 7 where it favored Kerry -- a 12 to 1 ratio in favor of Bush.
Of the 87 vote switches that favored Bush, 67 were reported from one of the 11 swing states. The rate of these reports (per voter using electronic voting machines) from the battleground states was nine times greater than in the other 39 states. The distribution of incidents by state and county was very uneven. Of the 67 vote switches reported from swing states, all were reported from four states: Florida (47 incidents), Ohio (eight incidents), New Mexico (eight incidents), and Pennsylvania (four incidents) .
Four voting machine vendors accounted for all but three of the 87 reported incidents that were favorable to Bush. These included Diebold, Danaher, Sequoia, and ESS. The rate of reported incidents was more than five times greater with touchscreen machines than with other electronic voting machines.
Many of the voters who experienced vote switches from Kerry to Bush tried to vote for Kerry several times before the correct vote finally registered. Three voters said they ended up voting for Bush because they lost patience trying to change their vote. Twenty-four of the reports noted that there were numerous additional reports of similar incidents in the same polling place, which used phrases such as “happening all day."
Most of the reports did not specify precisely how the vote switch took place, although one gets the impression from reading many of these reports that the vote switch often took place immediately after the voter registered his/her vote, and that it was immediately apparent. On the other hand, 15 reports specifically noted that they were not aware of the switch until the end, when they checked the “review” or “summary” screen, or when they tried to “confirm” their vote. One of these voters noted that the switch on the summary screen took place right before her eyes as she was registering her vote, which meant that she accidentally voted for Bush. Several voters noted that the vote switch was difficult to identify, and only their watchfulness prior to registering their vote prevented them from voting for Bush.
Discussion of the results
What is the meaning of the voter reported incidents of vote switching that favored George W. Bush over John Kerry by a ratio of more than 12 to 1? Let’s examine the possibilities:
Statistical analysis showed that the odds against random chance (like flipping a coin and getting 87 heads and seven tails) accounting for the large preponderance of vote switches favoring Bush over Kerry exceed 10 million to one. So there is no reasonable probability that random chance explains the degree to which Bush was favored by these vote switches.
Bias would explain the disproportionate percent of cases favoring Bush if, in reality, the Bush and Kerry favorable incidents occurred with approximately the same frequency, but the Bush favorable incidents were more likely to be reported by the voters who experienced them. Although such a bias could exist, it seems implausible that the magnitude of such a bias could be so great as to result in a 12 to 1 ratio. Why would Kerry voters be so much more concerned about vote switches than Bush voters?
The remaining possibility is that there were many voting machines throughout the country for which it was more difficult to vote for Kerry than for Bush (or that switched or attempted to switch votes from Kerry to Bush), and that such occurrences greatly outnumbered problems in the opposite direction.
Vote switching on electronic machines can be accidental. But if they were accidental, then why would the vast majority of these incidents favor one candidate over the other? And furthermore, why would the incidents be concentrated so heavily in swing states? I cannot think of an explanation for how this could have happened accidentally.
If the tendency of these voting machines to favor Bush was not accidental, that means that someone programmed them to act this way. If voting machines used in the 2004 Presidential election were in fact programmed to make it more difficult to vote for Kerry than for Bush, or to switch votes from Kerry to Bush, what significance could that have had to the integrity or outcome of the election? 87 individual incidents of vote switching in an election involving more than a hundred million voters doesn’t seem like very much. But what if these 87 incidents represent only the tip of an iceberg -- the known part of a much larger problem? Let’s consider some possibilities that would suggest that a much larger problem exists than these 87 reports.
No one knows what fraction of problems discovered by voters at the polls in November 2004, were reported to the EIRS. It seems likely that the great majority of voters weren’t even aware that the system existed. Or even if they were aware of it, most people just don’t feel the necessity of taking the time to report such things.
A typical report noted that a voter would attempt to register a choice for President (or other candidate), and then prior to finalizing their choice would note that the screen registered a vote for the other candidate. How many voters would have noticed this, and how many voters would have failed to notice it, and therefore cast their vote for the other candidate?
If the machines were programmed to switch votes, the person(s) behind this crime would not have wanted the machines to register any visual evidence to that effect, thus enabling the voter to have a chance to correct the problem, or bring it to the attention of election officials, and potentially a much wider audience. But what if it was not possible to program the machines in such a way that they wouldn’t occasionally provide this evidence, or what if doing so would have required a level of skill that many of the programmers didn’t have? The bottom line is that it is possible or likely that the great majority of vote switching went unnoticed, uncorrected, and/or unreported.
Other investigations have been conducted that strongly support the idea that the EIRS reports represent only the tip of an iceberg:
First there is a report by Paul Lehto and Jeffrey Hoffman that identified 19 reports of electronic vote switching in Snohomish County, Washington -- all which favored Bush -- from the Washington State auditor’s office, the Washington Secretary of State’s office, and a Snohomish County voter complaint hotline. This compares with only three reports made to EIRS for that county.
An investigation undertaken by the Washington Post regarding electronic vote switching in Mahoning County, Ohio, identified 25 electronic voting machines in Youngstown, Mahoning County, each which transferred an unknown number of votes from Kerry to Bush. The Post report goes on to state “Due to lack of cooperation from Secretary of State Blackwell, we have not been able to ascertain the number of votes that were impacted or whether the machines malfunctioned due to intentional manipulation or error.”
Supporting the supposition of election fraud as an explanation for the vote switches described in the EIRS analysis, as well as the exit poll discrepancy nationally and in Ohio, sworn testimony of computer programmer Clint Curtis before the House Judiciary Committee’s Democratic staff (discussed in detail in Part IV of this series) suggests an intention on the part of Republican functionaries to utilize electronic vote switching software in the 2004 election.
Nobody knows how many votes the electronic vote switching described here cost John Kerry. Clearly, this is an issue that should have been thoroughly investigated. The implicated voting machines should have been analyzed by voting machine experts in order to determine why they malfunctioned. Attempts to do this since 2004 have met with objections by the voting machine companies to the effect that their machines are “proprietary” and therefore legally immune to government confiscation and analysis. Consequently, no such analyses have ever been carried out.
Miami County Ohio, 2004 Presidential election
In Miami County, Ohio, after 100 percent of precincts had reported, an additional 19,000 votes were reported, giving Bush an additional vote margin of about 6,000 (in exactly the same percentage as the previous votes). What makes this additionally suspicious is that Miami County reported a 20.9 percent increase in turnout for 2004, compared with 2000, despite a gain in population of only 1.4 percent. Miami County reported the second largest vote gain for Bush of Ohio’s 88 counties (second to Butler County), compared with his performance in 2000. Furthermore, the final official voter turnout figure for Miami County, after the additional 19,000 votes were added, was a highly suspect 98.55 percent. A later investigation report cited more than 3,000 apparently fraudulent voter registrations from Miami County.
Similar apparent glitches were found in several precincts in the county. The Conyers report, “Preserving Democracy: What Went Wrong in Ohio” concluded with regard to this issue:
... we have received no explanation as to how the vote count in this particular county could have changed for President Bush, but not for Senator Kerry, after 19,000 new votes were added to the roster. The vote results in Miami constitute yet another significant anomaly in the tens of thousands range without any explanation or investigation by Secretary of State Blackwell, leading us to conclude that there is likely some vote error or vote manipulation....
Clearly, there is an unexplained discrepancy between the actual vote tallies and the number of registered voters in various precincts as well as other statistical anomalies in the County. Given the lack of any explanation to date, and an absence of willingness by Secretary Blackwell or any other authorities to explain or investigate these irregularities, it is not inconceivable that some sort of vote tampering has occurred.
Very strange events in Warren County, Ohio, 2004 Presidential election
In Part IV of this series, I briefly mentioned that, with Kerry ahead in Ohio by 3 percent, the vote suddenly flipped to give Bush a 3 percent lead, and that soon thereafter Ohio and the national election were called for Bush. Later in the article, I suggested that Michael Connell’s upcoming testimony in late 2008 probably could have shone a lot of light on this issue, before he was killed in a private plane crash shortly prior to his scheduled testimony.
Very strange events in Warren County Ohio that night also may be relevant. Warren County was the most Republican County in Ohio. That night the polls stayed open late, making Warren County the last county in the state to report its results.
Warren County was also the site of the infamous lockdown, which allowed Republican officials to tally the Warren County vote in private, while the press and anyone other than approved Republican election officials were locked out of the building. Their initial excuse for disallowing any observers to watch the vote count was that they didn’t want interference with the counting process. Later, they changed that excuse to say that the FBI warned them of a terrorism alert of grade 10 on a 1 to 10 scale. That claim was later denied by the FBI, and county officials refused to name the FBI agent whom they claimed gave them the warning. The claim of a terrorism alert was also tainted by the later finding that the lockdown has been planned in advance.
This event occurred when it still looked very much as if Kerry would win Ohio. Bush picked up thousands of additional votes in Warren County, compared with his performance in the 2000 election against Al Gore, and the number of voters officially increased 30 percent compared with the 2000 election. By the time the Warren County votes had been “counted,” victory had all but slipped away from the Kerry/Edwards ticket.
The votes from Warren County alone were not enough to reverse the election results. But there has been much speculation that the site of the lockdown was where computers were accessed to flip the statewide vote early on Wednesday morning. There has never been another plausible explanation for the bizarre bogus claim of a terrorist alert that allowed the Warren County officials to “count the vote” in private.
The Conyers report concluded with regard to this incident:
… it is impossible to rule out the possibility that some sort of manipulation of the tallies occurred on election night in the locked down facility. The disclosure that the decision to lock down the facility the Thursday before the election, rather than on election day would suggest the lockdown was a political decision, not a true security risk.
Several months later I called Erica Solvig, the reporter who initially broke the story of the lockdown, in an attempt to find out more about what happened. She told me that she wasn’t at liberty to discuss it.
Disappearing Sanders votes in Sussex County, DE and Broom County, NY, 2016 Democratic primaries
In the 2016 Democratic primaries In Sussex County Delaware, the “glitches” were quite remarkable. With 16 percent reporting from Sussex County, Bernie Sanders was ahead of Hillary Clinton by 6,247 to 1,250. But later that evening, with almost 40 percent of the vote reported, Sanders’ count went DOWN to 2,383, a drop of 3,864 votes, while Clinton surged ahead of him. Even near the end of the evening, with 96 percent of the vote reported in Sussex County, Sanders’ vote total didn’t get back to what it was before his votes disappeared. Sanders also experienced a decrease in Delaware votes statewide during the course of the evening.
Something similar happened in Broom County, New York in the Democratic primaries. With 100 percent of precincts reporting from Broom County, Sanders was ahead of Clinton with 56.6 percent of the vote. But later that evening, Clinton took the lead in Broom County with 57.5 percent of the vote, as Sanders lost nearly a thousand votes.
Strange electronic machine behavior in the Kentucky 2016 Democratic primary
On Election Night in the 2016 Kentucky Democratic primary, I was following comments on the reddit live blog while also following the Kentucky election returns. Early in the evening, with about 20 percent of precincts reporting, with Sanders ahead in the state count by about 4 percent, several bloggers noticed something very strange. What they noticed was a sudden decrease in the percent reporting from Jefferson County, simultaneously with a big increase in the vote count for Clinton in that county. This concerned me, so I looked back at the election results, which literally seconds ago had shown Sanders with a four-point lead, and it was completely gone -- Clinton had taken the lead. Throughout the rest of the evening, I saw somewhat similar comments from the bloggers, causing me to believe that there were several similar occurrences.
Also of note is that very late in the election, with the vote count extremely close, suddenly all of the votes from Pike County, one of only four counties in Kentucky where Sanders won by more than a 2:1 margin, disappeared, giving Clinton a substantial lead. Votes from Pike County returned several minutes later, and when they did Clinton still had a small lead, which she maintained until the end. The Inquisitor reports that when the Pike County returns came back, 20 percent of their votes were gone, but others maintain that all the votes came back. I cannot resolve that issue.
These findings sounded suspicious to me. I was dying to get hold of exit poll results to see if the strange electronic “glitches” from Jefferson County would show up as a large red shift. That’s when I found out that exit polls had been canceled for the rest of the Democratic primary season. Perhaps some people in a position of power became very nervous over the fact that a substantial minority of U.S. citizens had been voicing concerns about the large red shifts seen in so many Democratic primary states.
Later I read an article titled ”Hillary Clinton Supporter Allison Lundgren Grimes Stole Kentucky Primary for Hillary. MSM Cancelled Exit Polling Last Week,” which confirmed my impressions from Election Night:
As I watched the returns come in last night, I noticed a trend in the numbers as they came in. Sanders would be gradually building a lead, getting it up to about 2,000 votes or so and then suddenly, a big number shift would come in and Hillary would be up 1,000, 2,000, 4,000 votes all at once. Then the numbers would trickle in and Bernie would gradually regain the lead over the course of an hour or so and suddenly, once again, Hillary votes would come in in one massive dump and she would go up by another 1,000 or 2,000.
This unlikely trend continued all night. Jefferson County kept injecting some votes periodically yesterday during the count but then they stopped with about two hours or so to go before the final votes, Jefferson County held their vote totals until about 98% of the votes were in from the rest of the state and they suddenly dumped a bunch of Hillary votes into the mix, giving her a 2,500 vote lead with 98 percent of the votes in and a guaranteed “victory” in Kentucky.
Also in the article is a video of Grimes cheerleading for Clinton at a rally in Louisville (in Jefferson County) before a crowd of 200 people. Grimes, as the Kentucky Secretary of State, was the primary official in Kentucky responsible for ensuring a fair election there. And there she was, shortly before the election cheerleading for one of the two candidates.
In addition to the strange sudden swings to Clinton due to massive vote dumps from Jefferson County and a Secretary of State who was an ardent Clinton supporter, is the fact that exit polls, which the TV networks had been sponsoring throughout the primary season, were canceled for the rest of the primary season shortly before the Kentucky primary.
Discussion of the meaning of electronic “glitches” in U.S. elections in recent years
None of the incidents described in this article prove election fraud. But when considered in the context of so many other reasons to question the integrity of our elections (the proven vulnerability of our electronic voting system, the ownership of much of that system by actively right-wing individuals who insist that the American people have no right to examine their machines for evidence of fraud, the large, widespread, and consistent red shifts occurring in election after election, and much more), they seem highly suspicious.
Of the issues discussed in this article, I believe that the most damning is the analysis of the EIRS system reports from 2004. That study showed a highly disproportionate incident of vote switching that benefitted George W. Bush and hurt John Kerry, rather than vice versa, and occurred very disproportionately in states that were considered crucial to the outcome of the election (especially Florida and Ohio). Benign and plausible explanations could perhaps be put forth to explain the other incidents discussed in this article, because they all represent single incidents. But the EIRS system analysis was a scientific study that examined reported incidents of voter identified vote switching throughout the whole country. It is very difficult to think of a benign explanation as to why the indents would so strongly favor one candidate over the other and be so highly concentrated in crucial swing states. Although there were only 87 incidents of vote switching from Kerry to Bush identified in this study, it is quite clear that those cases represent only the tip of a far larger iceberg.
Dale Tavris has worked as a public health physician/epidemiologist for 40 years, with state departments of public health, the U.S. Air Force, the Medical College of Wisconsin, and the Food and Drug Administration. In that capacity, he has authored 39 publications in peer-reviewed medical or public health journals.
Since 2004 he has been actively involved in the national election reform movement, serving in a volunteer capacity with the Election Defense Alliance for a few years as their data coordinator.
He has written dozens of online articles about election fraud. In 2007 he co-authored a journal article on election fraud: “Fingerprints of Election Theft: Were Competitive Contests Targeted.”
Tavris has written and published three books, including two of a political nature: “The Unfulfilled Promise of the American Dream: The Widening Gap between the Reality of the United States and its Highest Ideals,” 2011; and “Democracy Undone: Unequal Representation, the Threat to our Election System, and the Impending Demise of American Democracy,” 2012.