Real cases of election tampering

Despite the mounting evidence that election fraud is real and pervasive, many still dismiss it as a "conspiracy theory." I've explained why this label doesn't make sense, but not everyone will buy that explanation. So instead, let's focus on some real-world examples of election rigging being caught.

I'm not talking about inferential examples, based on exit polls and statistical irregularities. These are the results of activists getting evidence of tampering directly from the machines. Such evidence paints an undeniable picture of election fraud happening.


Volusia County, FL (2000)

Volusia County used the AccuVote OS optical scanner in 2000. Each precinct has an AccuVote OS unit, with a memory card to store results. As ballots are scanned through on election day, the vote counts on the memory card are updated. Once polls close, the memory card is removed and brought to county headquarters, where it's uploaded into the GEMS central tabulator.

Precinct 216 initially had a memory card uploaded with the correct results. One hour later, however, somebody put in a second memory card for that same precinct. This second memory card replaced the original results and gave Al Gore -16022 (negative) votes, causing his statewide total to drop significantly.

The media called the election for Bush because of this, and Al Gore was about to concede. Luckily, a Volusia County official discovered the issue and reloaded the first memory card, which contained the correct results. A staffer stopped Al Gore and told him this right before he was set to give his concession speech.

Was it just a glitch? Only if there was a legitimate reason to have a second memory card at all. This issue was fixed by reloading the first memory card, meaning the first card was correct. There was never any reason to load a second one. Someone intentionally created a fraudulent memory card with -16022 Gore votes and loaded it into GEMS.


King County, WA (2004)

The Diebold central tabulator, GEMS, keeps an audit log of every action you take within the program. Opening/closing the database, modifying the election, and printing results summaries all show up in this log.

Black Box Voting obtained the GEMS audit log for King County. They found that over 3 hours on election night, from 9:52 PM to 1:31 AM, were completely missing. Yet 5 results summaries, which show up in the log, were printed during that period. Somehow, all the log entries in that timeframe were erased.

Could it just be an innocent glitch? The audit log spans 4 months, and the only time period missing from it is those 3 hours on election night. 3 hours in which results are pouring in, and tampering is likely to take place. Combine that with how easy it is to alter the audit log (a chimp can be trained to do it), and King County's history of doing so in the past.

It's almost certain, then, that the audit log was intentionally erased. The only reason for someone to do that would be to hide their activities, and the only reason to do that would be to hide that they were altering an election.


Shelby County, TN (2006)

Black Box Voting examined Shelby County's GEMS tabulator in 2006. What they found was a brazen set of security violations, all indicating tampering:

  • Microsoft Access, the software that can alter GEMS database, was installed on the system and frequently used. The only Access files on the system are GEMS databases, so that's all that the program could have been opening.
  • An HTML editor was also loaded and used. The only major HTML files on the system are election results summaries, so that's almost certainly all the program would have been opening.
  • PC Anywhere, a remote access tool, was installed on the GEMS computer. This computer was connected to the Internet, and through PC Anywhere, someone could have logged into the GEMS tabulator from the comfort of their home. Its installation was clearly meant to enable that kind of remote access.
  • All of this software, which is blatantly illegal to put on the GEMS computer, was loaded through an encrypted USB flash drive. This would have prevented anyone from proving what was on it. Hiding activities like that during an election would only happen if it was something illicit.

While there was no direct smoking gun, the pieces are all there. The election database and results summaries were being edited, a tool was installed to allow that kind of tampering from any private location, and the installation of the programs to do all this was concealed from everyone.

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Hawkfish's picture

Thanks for the heads up.

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We can’t save the world by playing by the rules, because the rules have to be changed.
- Greta Thunberg

The unpatriotic criminal Republican party (yes I mean this) is correct when they bemoan the rampant election fraud but in typical Republican fashion they lie and misdirect to cheat. Republicans are merely passing voter ID paws across the US but the sole reason for it is to disenfranchise democratic and independent voters.

You can't swing an election by a few or a few hundred people voting illegally (the actual instances of this are so rare it does not even register statistically) you steal an election as described above in the back room changing thousands of votes, the Republican way

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TheOtherMaven's picture

so it has become "the American way". Blum 3

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There is no justice. There can be no peace.

Marionumber1's picture

Voter fraud is people voting illegally, while election fraud is the vote rigging that I describe in my post. As you rightly point out, voter fraud is a Republican lie and an useless way to steal an election. Election fraud is a very effective way to do so.

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lunachickie's picture

refer back to the Volusia County example anymore. Thank you for doing so, that was critical.

The SCOTUS installation of BushCo was so completely wrong. I think of that more and more as a silent coup.

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Marionumber1's picture

One thing I wonder is whether the Volusia County fraud was an isolated incident, or a symptom of greater electronic fraud. If it's the latter, the election probably would have been much more decisive for Al Gore. We wouldn't have had the hanging chad debacle, or SCOTUS stepping in and deciding the result. And we might not have gotten HAVA either.

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gulfgal98's picture

was one of the reasons Beverly Harris pursued uncovering election fraud as documented in Hacking Democracy which showed just how easily our voting systems can be hacked to produce a result that does not reflect the actual ballots cast.

But we are now seeing other methods of election fraud that were rampant during the Democratic primaries. Those include voter purges of qualified voters from the rolls (New York 2016), switching of party registrations, requiring voters to fill out provisional ballots, and the failure to count votes (California 2016).

Voter fraud is almost non-existent in the US, but election fraud and denial of voting rights is widespread in addition to vote rigging.

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"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

Very informative.

As a (former) programmer, I see absolutely no way that electronic voting can ever be immune from tampering.

But the question is: what can be done about it?

Voters could insist at the precinct level, but most voters aren't even aware of the problem because the MSM has not covered it. Even well-informed, educated people on this blog and others still seem to think there are solutions that will fix the problems so we can keep voting electronically. There aren't. No machine is immune from tampering - ever.

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Marionumber1's picture

Hand-counted at the precinct on election night, to avoid chain of custody issues. I definitely agree that machines will always be vulnerable to tampering. A couple weeks ago, I was spending time thinking up some zany trusted computing idea, but that still has holes in it.

But coming up with reforms is easy - implementing them is harder. There are a couple ways I see that happening:

  • Winning local elections that aren't rigged, reforming elections there, and moving up to the state and national levels. A bottom-up reform plan just like that of Represent.us.
  • Litigation that disallows electronic voting machines. In New Hampshire, for instance, the state constitution mandates that ballots are counted publicly. The AG isn't enforcing that.
  • The public dramatically becomes aware of the possibility of election fraud, and if we don't return to a voting system we can trust, there will be massive civil unrest. For example, a hacker steals a major election on live TV, or someone comes forward with irrefutable proof that a major election was stolen (and the media reports on it honestly).
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