Fraction Magic and Election Integrity

The fractional method of vote counting is not a bug, but a feature in the vote tabulation software used in nearly every jurisdiction of the United States.

I have previously posted links to two videos made by Bev Harris of Black Box Voting both of which deal with election integrity. Those videos are Hacking Democracy (2006) which was originally shown on HBO and Fraction Magic (2016). Both videos demonstrate how easy it is for an election to be rigged, even from outside the local elections offices.

Very few members of the media, both main stream and independent, have actually done much coverage of election integrity issues outside of the Russiagate conspiracy. The notable exceptions have been Niko House and the Convo Couch. The Convo Couch which features Fiorella Isabel, Craig "Pasta' Jardula, and Jonathan "Jonny Tsunami" Mayorca has made election integrity a priority in their reporting.

Last night the Convo Couch interviewed Bennie Smith, a software engineer who discovered Fraction Magic. This interview is extremely important because Bennie Smith clearly explains how fraction magic works and why we should be so concerned about it. The way he presents it is so clear and simple that anyone can easily understand it. He also offers solutions to the problem of fraction magic and other election integrity issues.

The video I am posting below in this essay covered other subjects in addition to the interview of Bennie Smith. The folks at the Convo Couch played a clip from the film Fraction Magic beginning around the 5:15 mark and running for about two and a half minutes thereafter. If you just want to see Bennie's interview only, begins around the eight minute mark. The interview runs until about the 29 minute mark.

Bennie Smith is an excellent interview. I hope people here will take the time to watch it.

Also, here is a link to the Convo Couch's YouTube site.

Share
up
23 users have voted.

Comments

.

.

Election voting is insecure
.
Insecure voting led to getting rid of Trump
.
.

Ergo: Complaining about insecure voting is pro-Trump


.

Hide and watch as this "logic" will dominate the "news" for the next several weeks.

up
12 users have voted.

I cried when I wrote this song. Sue me if I play too long.

RantingRooster's picture

I have only 1 small quibble with Bennie's statement about checking the audit log.

The audit log it's self, is "programmed" to output what is placed (written) to the audit log, so it would be simple enough to "game" the audit log as well. Audit logs are not just a blanket dump of data, unless programmed that way. Make sense?

As a general design principle, there should be no "percent" of any vote. One can not vote 1/2 a percent for anyone, you either vote for them or not. Meaning there should be no "fraction" of a vote, period. Any "fraction" of a vote, should be a HUGE red flag something is not right with the "system".

Every information processing "system" is (supposed to be) comprised of 5 basic components, input, out, processing, controls and feedback.

Audit logs are a form of "feedback" that lets one know what the system is up to and whether it is functioning properly, if one programmed it that way. Without the ability to verify / check the source code, we'll never know, and argue till hell freezes over. I completely and totally agree with Bennie that the source code should be open source and available for inspection.

If NASA and the military require source code audits, we can, and should, require source code audit our election systems.

Drinks

up
16 users have voted.

C99, my refuge from an insane world.

@RantingRooster
They will say that Open Source exposes the vulnerabilities. Yes! It should! So they can be protected. A few thousand pairs of eyes (dare I hope for tens of thousands?) will find more errors than a small cabal at some closed source shop.
Hardened Linux is Open Source. Sunlight shows all blemishes. Rot festers in shadows.

up
17 users have voted.

We are so screwed.

thanatokephaloides's picture

@The Voice In the Wilderness

Hardened Linux is Open Source. Sunlight shows all blemishes. Rot festers in shadows.

There is only one God, He's the fun Sun God, RA! RA! RA! Wink

Seriously, that's the most succinct way of explaining why any Open Source OS is more secure than its closed-source counterparts! (It's just as true of the BSDs as it is of Linux.)

up
9 users have voted.

"I say enough! If Israel wants to be the only superpower in the Middle East then they can put their own asses on the line and do it themselves. I want to continue to eat."
-- snoopydawg

@thanatokephaloides
Systemd is just windowsClone. FreeBSD is good.

up
7 users have voted.

We are so screwed.

edg's picture

Just because something CAN be done doesn't mean it IS done. Weighted voting does have a purpose, which is why it's included in GEMS. However, weighted voting is not used in US political elections.

Weighted voting is the correct term. The term "fractional voting" was created by a rightwing pundit. In weighted voting, votes are modified by specified percentages. This is a simple and basic floating point calculation available in all modern CPUs and FPUs.

Weighted voting is used for counting ballots at corporation's stockholders meetings and similar elections where different categories of votes are assigned different weights. For example, preferred stock may be weighted 125% while common stock is weighted 75%.

As far as public political elections, only the Hong Kong legislature still uses weighted voting to elect half its members through so-called 'Functional Constituencies'.

Considering that there are 12,500 individual election jurisdictions in the US using many hundreds of thousands of voting machines manufactured by a dozen different companies, it would be impossible to rig an entire election or even a significant portion of an election.

FInally, the best proof that the 2020 election experienced no widespread fraud is that Democrats didn't take over the US Senate and didn't increase their lead in the House of Representatives. Only a fucking idiot would have rigged machines to elect Biden while simultaneously making his job difficult or impossible to perform.

up
9 users have voted.
gulfgal98's picture

@edg who run this country (remember Biden's 131 billionaire donors) love legislative gridlock. That means nothing will fundamentally change. As snoopy said below,

The only thing that changes is the CEO of the country because the people who really run the country are not elected.

Trump was a loose cannon who pu an ugly face on the oligarchy. Biden, and Harris (whom they really wanted), will work within the system. How do we know that? All we have to do is look at the people in Biden's transition team and the people who are at the top of the list for cabinet positions. I predict three things will come out of the new administration: more wars, both abroad and at home via militarized police; attacks on Social Security and Medicare in the name of cutting the deficit; and attacks on free speech via the internet as Obama just recently signaled.

As far as this essay, the real question is not that there is some sort of conspiracy theory that this election was rigged, but why do we allow public money to be spent on proprietary software that contains a feature that could allow for the rigging of ANY election? And I would add why is the public not allowed the opportunity to know how our votes are being counted and be able to audit every election?

up
11 users have voted.

"I don't want to run the empire, I want to bring it down!" ~ Dr. Cornel West

“Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable." ~ President John F. Kennedy

edg's picture

@gulfgal98

Voting in the U.S. has been done by secret ballot since 1888. Unless there is a way the public can view voter addresses and phone numbers and compare signatures and have access to live ballots without compromising voter secrecy and privacy, I don't see this happening.

up
1 user has voted.

Compare the total votes cast for president and some obscure downballot race.(include blank ballots) For county auditor: 25 for winner. 20 for loser, 55 blank (a typical minor race) But for president: 50 for Trump, 65 for Biden, 10 blank = something's fishy! It is almost impossible to use fractional tallying and then make sure it reports totals that are equal in all races, a criminal programmer probably wouldn't bother.

up
6 users have voted.

A PROUD Hillary hater since 1993

snoopydawg's picture

This was THE safest election in history. In forever! The nasty Russians did not try to get Trump re-elected or to stop Biden. The intelligence agencies are very proud of themselves for stopping the evil Putin from rigging it. However, Obama has spilled the beans on Israel. He stated unequivocally that if you don’t cowtow to Israel then you can’t get into congress or be re-elected. At the state and federal levels. I’m not sure how many of you are surprised by this, but for Obama to say it was groovy because it’s not really a secret.

But then it doesn’t matter who you vote for or who wins because nothing changes for the better for most of us and the wars continue no matter what. The only thing that changes is the CEO of the country because the people who really run the country are not elected. They are appointed by the various think tanks, organizations and political action groups. The FBI, CIA, DHS, ICE and other agencies continue doing whatever the hell they want. Congress no longer makes law. They either let lobbyists write them or the Supreme Court weighs in and decides that what we want doesn’t matter and puts corporate profits over human rights.

up
17 users have voted.

“Restoring the soul of this nation” is just MAGA with more words

Twitter is like a game of telephone

gulfgal98's picture

@snoopydawg

But then it doesn’t matter who you vote for or who wins because nothing changes for the better for most of us and the wars continue no matter what. The only thing that changes is the CEO of the country because the people who really run the country are not elected. They are appointed by the various think tanks, organizations and political action groups. The FBI, CIA, DHS, ICE and other agencies continue doing whatever the hell they want. Congress no longer makes law. They either let lobbyists write them or the Supreme Court weighs in and decides that what we want doesn’t matter and puts corporate profits over human rights.

However, keeping the pretense of fair elections is important for this to work.

I also want to add that not every precinct or county would necessarily be rigged to affect the outcome when fraction magic is utilized. It may only be a number of key counties or precincts in which fractional percentages are being applied that can affect the ultimate outcome of ANY election, not just this one. I believe it was utilized in the Democratic primaries in a number of states.

The bottom line for me is why are we allowing the outcome of our elections to be determined by proprietary software that has this code built within it? There is no rational reason for our elections software to contain a feature that allows for the fractionalization of the results.

up
15 users have voted.

"I don't want to run the empire, I want to bring it down!" ~ Dr. Cornel West

“Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable." ~ President John F. Kennedy

snoopydawg's picture

@gulfgal98

The thing is that most people do know how easy it is to rig the voting machines because once upon a time we all got mad about it. Was it during Bush’s tenure? I just have this vague memory of people insisting on paper ballots. But then it went poof and no one talks about it anymore. And let’s not forget Webb,s election articles describing how DHS, Microsoft and others took over the election after 'Russia interfered with the 2016 election."

I haven’t heard much about this for some time. You?

up
12 users have voted.

“Restoring the soul of this nation” is just MAGA with more words

Twitter is like a game of telephone

@snoopydawg of the Empire. They were totally powerless, just maintaining the Illusion of a republic and SPQR.

up
13 users have voted.

We are so screwed.

Lookout's picture

to create the illusion of democracy in a corporate oligarchy.

Even with paper mail in ballots (which is to me the most sensible) the programs for the scan machines can be rigged in the same way you describe above.

Funny that Venezuela and Bolivia have better more transparent elections... the very countries we criticize for rigged elections.

PS I think your analysis of the coming Biden administration is dead on.

up
7 users have voted.

“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

edg's picture

@Lookout

Rigging the programs for scan machines is not as easy as you seem to think it is. Here's what needs to happen:

First you steal a USB key for the voting machines. Your need to create or steal an active supervisory account on the machine. Then you must physically access (requirement to insert the USB key, plus you need steal a traditional key to unlock the access door) each individual machine. Now you need to get past security and election office employees. Once you ninja into the office, unlock the access door, and insert your stolen USB key, there are several more steps. You need to compile the revised executable somehow, keeping in mind there's no compiler on the voting machine. You need to forge the security certificate necessary to install the executable files in the appropriate protected directories. You have to spoof the MD5 hash in the manifest file or create a new manifest file with the correct hash. And you'll likely need a good hacker tool that lets you thwart the antivirus software and built-in operating system security.

Then you need to do the same thing in 5,000 election centers. On 40,000 voting machines. In 28 different Republican and Democratic states. With internal and/or external IT staffs that thoroughly test the voting machines before they are used. And with paper ballots that can be manually recounted like in Georgia, thus showing any vote tampering.

up
1 user has voted.

My daughter lived in GA for years and told me what a disaster the election system is there. I was sceptical but now think she was just scratching the surface.

Here's PBS News Hour on GA's voting system, their cyber security experts panning it - this about 10 days *before* the General Election.

Note: although the voter gets a printout that supposedly records how they voted, what is actually recorded is information on the Q-code that is also printed. But there is no way for the voter to tell that the Q-code actually reflects what the human-readable printout says, and apparently nothing to prevent a copied Q-code from being run through the scanner and counted multiple times...

GA voting system starts at about 34:00

Lots of allegations of what appear to be unfolded (hence not mailed) mail-in ballots all or nearly all for Biden reported by observers there, including several Democrats.

The accounts below are part of a lawsuit filed the other day by attorney Lin Wood against Georgia election officials. Original article is here - has direct links to the affidavits of the witnesses:

An observer at the Cobb County Poll Precinct, who is a Democrat and licensed paralegal, noted how she observed poll workers counting the ballots in silence, not verifying the names aloud.

Additionally, she described unusual sets of ballots similar to those described by the poll manager. In sworn testimony, she said that “hundreds of these ballots seemed impeccable, with no folds or creases. The bubble selections were perfectly made (all within the circle), only observed sections in black ink, and all happened to be selections for Biden.”

This observer also stated that “signatures were not being verified” and there “were no corresponding envelopes seen in site.” She concluded her sworn statement by noting, “I believe there was fraud committed in the presidential election and question the validity of the Georgia recount process.”

Another poll observer, a Democrat and Florida trial lawyer, traveled as an observer to the Dekalb County Poll Precinct. In his sworn statement, this observer noticed ballots with two distinct characteristics: “they all had a perfect black bubble and all were Biden select.” The observer stated that as workers went through the ballots, Biden’s name was called “over 500 times in a row.”

The following day, this same observer went to the Cobb County Poll Precinct where he again noted the same ballot characteristics: “they were all for Biden and had the same perfect black bubble.”

The observer stated that he saw “absentee ballots for Trump inserted into Biden’s stack and were counted as Biden votes.” He stated that during three days spent in Atlanta, “not once did anyone verify signatures on these ballots.”

The observer concluded his testimony by stating: “in the counties that I have observed, there is widespread fraud favoring candidate Biden only. There were thousands of ballots that just had the perfect bubble marked for Biden and no markings in the rest of the ballot.”

Another witness, an election recount monitor at the Georgia World Congress Center, stated that he observed “large quantities of ballots being cast for Joe Biden on ballots that did not appear to have been mailed.” As he stated, “there were no creases in the mail-in ballots giving the impression that they were never folded into an envelope and mailed.”

In particular, this recount monitor stated that these ballots “appeared to be pre-printed with the selections already made.” He noted that “hundreds of ballots at a time were counted for Biden only.”

Boxes of Ballots for Biden, Zero for Trump
Another certified Fulton County recount observer stated that during their observation process, “many of the boxes of ballots had voted 100% for Biden and 0% for Trump.” Similar to other observers, this one stated that the “ballots appeared to be perfectly filled out as if they were pre-printed with the presidential candidate selected.”

This observer stated that they, along with other observers, were disturbed enough to write down “which batch headers and box number ranges were suspicious” and went so far as to create a spreadsheet with a listing of the batch numbers.

A handwritten note on the side of the spreadsheet states, “All questionable ballots. Looked machine stamped. 95-100% Biden for most of them.”

Another election official auditor at the Georgia World Congress Center stated in a sworn statement that she observed the same pristine condition of ballots, noting the “absentee ballots looked as though they had just come from a fresh stack. I could not observe any creases in the ballots and did not seem like they were ever folded and put into envelopes or mailed out.”

Like the other observers, these ballots contained “perfectly bubbled markings for Biden.”

Not to pick on Georgia unduly, but geeze...

up
2 users have voted.
edg's picture

@Blue Republic

The Q Code contains the ballot number. It cannot be run multiple times because each ballot number is deactivated after it is counted.

up
1 user has voted.