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Why Aren't We Investing the Electronic Voting Machines Yet?

More Floridians voted for Al Gore in the 2000 election than George Bush. We know that because at least 2,800 registered Democrats were confused by the butterfly ballot and voted for independent conservative candidate Pat Buchanan. We know how many Democrats showed up at the polls so can easily calculate the deficit of votes to Gore. He should have at least received 2,800 more votes from his own party than he did. This doesn't even factor in independent voters who were also fooled by the butterfly ballot. speculation is that up to 15,000 votes meant for Gore were accidentally cast for Buchanan, based on exit polls, and common sense. Florida had a huge Jewish population, Gore's running mate was Joe Lieberman, the first Jew to ever be on a national ticket, and at the time Buchanan was tagged as anti-Semitic. It is unthinkable that the Jewish population would vote for an independent party anti Semite instead of their own for vice president. Buchanan himself acknowledged a majority of his votes were the result of butterfly ballot confusion.

But let's stick with that provable 2,800 estimate. Prior to the recount, Bush was ahead by 1,784 votes. Had Gore received the 2,800 votes lost to Buchanan, he would have been ahead by over 1,100 votes. At which point the Republicans would have insisted on the recount, which would have only increased Gore's lead by another 1,000 votes.

While voters may have mistakenly voted for Buchanan rather than Gore, those votes legally count. As much as it sucks, once you cast a ballot, you can't change it even if you voted for the wrong candidate. Buchanan legally got 17,484 votes. So why even bother bringing up what can't be changed? Because to understand the beginning of the conspiracy theory against electronic voting machines, I must first establish that at least 2,100 more Floridians tried to elect Gore than Bush, and probably 10,000 more than that. Voters for Gore who were furious when the Republicans had the recount stopped. Voters who believed Bush stole the election, and were counting the days until election day 2004 when they could revenge vote him out.

On top of that, the Democratic party in Florida made an all out effort to recruit more party members. They didn't want a repeat of 2000, so wanted to win the state by a wide enough margin that no butterfly ballots, or chads that failed to pop out, or Ralph Naders could lose them the election. Overall the Democrats were certain they could pull off a victory in the national election. Not only did most of the country believe that Bush had stolen the presidency from Gore and was illegitimate, but overall he was a consistently terrible president who got us into a war with Iraq over weapons of mass destruction they never had. If his father, who was a decent president, could be toppled by Bill Clinton while Clinton was in the midst of a sex scandal, then surely a failed president could be toppled by the respected veteran John Kerry. On election day a record number of voters turned out, which the Democrats assumed showed up to oust who was at that time the most hated incumbent in election history.

Florida seemed to be the proof that the election was fixed. Living up to its moniker of battleground state, Democrats began the groundwork for the 2006 election almost immediately after the 2000 election was called, making sure the people who voted Gore returned to vote against Bush in 2006, and getting enraged Floridians to register to vote. They were convinced they had overwhelming numbers wanting to vote for Kerry. The election results were telling them about a third of their number had defected in the final days before the election, and voted for Bush. Most Democrats refused to believe the election was rigged. On the Air America radio network, host Randi Rhodes spent weeks accusing the Republicans of rigging their machines to overturn votes, while host Al Franken stated he refused to believe the Republicans would rig the election because it would have meant Bush or Cheney had pulled off a coup, and he didn't believe any American would do that. Eventually it was accepted that Bush won the election fair and square, somehow convincing Americans he was better for them than breaking in a new president during a war he caused. And the record numbers turning out at the polls was simply due to both parties encouraging a record number of Americans to register to vote. Pundits like Randi Rhodes either went silent, backtracked their opinions, or if continuing to insist the election was rigged, were marginalized as conspiracy nuts.

The 2008 and 2012 elections seemed to disproved that Republicans could rig the voting machines to allow their candidates to win. Those not willing to stop believing the 2004 election was rigged, came up with the theory that the Republicans didn't want to occupy the Whitehouse during a recession that a Republican president would be held accountable for, but instead allow a Democrat president to inherit the mess and end up taking the blame. They would retake the Whitehouse once the economy began to bounce back, and take full credit for it. Saddling John McCain with Sarah Palin as a running mate did seem to drag the ticket down. He was the one Republican candidate that appealed to Democrats and had a good chance of winning, that is until there was the prospect of him dying in office and leaving behind what appeared to be a female version of Bush. Others claimed that eight years of Bush took it's toll on the Republican party, causing many Americans to turn against them, and many defections from the party itself. They insist the 2008 and 2012 elections were rigged, but voter turnout for Obama was greater than expected, giving him more votes than the Republican rigged votes. Never the less, no evidence of a rigged election would happen, until 2016.

2016 pitted two most unpopular candidates in American election history against each other, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, with virtually every poll showing Americans disliked Trump more. Hillary had baggage from years of Republican criminal probes and hearings, none of which uncovered any evidence whatsoever of criminal activity, but more than enough for the average American to suspect her of being the crook the Republicans made her out to be. Trump was unpopular because he continuously insulted groups of people, races, religions, even veterans. His temperament and claims he knew better than experts left many believing he was at the least unfit to be president. And then there was the wall he claimed he would build, which brought racism into the election and drove away any potential voters who despised racism. In short, Trump seemed to be campaigning against himself. Instead of giving Americans reasons to vote for him, he kept giving them reasons not to.

No Democratic candidate had a better shot at winning a national election than Hillary Clinton. She was several points ahead in the polls, and was given 85% odds and above to win. Even polls taken by Fox News had Hillary Hillary easily winning. Prominent Republicans were urging voters in their own party to vote against Trump, either by casting their vote for a third party candidate, or even crossing enemy lines and voting for Hillary. Many registered Republicans insisted they would not be voting for Trump and hoped he didn't win. Most Americans saw him as a joke, or dangerous, or both. Trump himself was girding for a defeat, claiming the election was rigged against him weeks before any ballot was cast. Hillary could not have hoped for a better opponent.

Except that Bush wasn't ousted. Instead he got a record number of votes reflecting him for a second term. Kerry also got a record amount of votes, for a second place candidate. The whole thing made no sense. How could so many Americans be motivated to reelect a president who did such a bad job? Some liberal pundits insisted they didn't. Without any proof, they claimed the Republicans stole another election, this time by overturning votes using the new electronic voting machines.

It isn't as if the Republicans didn't earn the suspicion. After the debacle of the 2000 election where thousands of defective ballots resulted in the recount controversy in Florida, it came to the attention of Congress that most of the voting methods across the country relied on technology that resulted in defective ballots that were thrown out, disenfranchising millions of Americans nation wide who went to the trouble of voting. Worse, in tight races, the defective ballots could result in overturning election results. It was decided to upgrade the old defective voting booths with brand new computerized electronic ballot machines.

Republicans fought for paperless machines. With these machines, voters would press a touch screen display instead of filling out a paper ballot and allowing the machine to count it. Democrats warned that in disputed elections, without paper ballots, there was no way to check for fraud, or to do a recount. But perhaps their biggest worry was Republican supporter Warden O'Dell, who ran Diebold, a company that was in competition against other companies to supply electronic voting machines to Ohio. In a letter sent to Republican leaders of the state, O'Dell wrote: "I am committed to helping Ohio deliver It's electoral votes to the president next year." Democrats in that state felt that the letter was suggesting to Republicans his machines would insure a Republican victory by either overturning or suppressing votes. Others didn't read that into the letter, but still questioned if a company run by someone who was part of Bush's reelection team should be allowed to supply voting machines, and if he did, could those machines be trusted.

This, of course, sowed the seeds of doubt in the election machines even before the 2004 election took place. And when Bush won, despite having a disastrous first term, having a majority of the country believing he had stolen the 2000 election from Gore, and being down in most polls, many suspected the machines overturned votes. Democrats had the momentum going into the 2004 election. A record amount of voters showed up in most states, which Democrats assumed must be those determined to remove a failed illegitimate president from office. But if the results of the 2004 election was true, somehow Bush's failed first term won over enough Americans to earn him 12 million more votes than Ronald Reagan got for his second term election.

But then came election night. And millions of Hillary supporters watched in disbelief and horror as she not only lost the battleground states she was supposed to win, but also lost a number of blue states as well. The polls, even the election day exit polls, had been wrong. The most unpopular candidate in history had pulled off a victory. We were in Donald Trump's America. The outcome of the election was hard to believe. Especially the next day when tens of millions of Americans took to the streets and protested the outcome. Surely if they had voted, then Trump shouldn't have won. His winning defied all logic as to what most Americans were willing to vote for.

But as impossible to believe as Trumps victory was, almost everyone accepted it. They also accepted that after decades of getting the forecast right, for the first time ever almost every poll got it wrong. Somehow they all came up with the same misleading numbers. This was immediately attributed to silent supporters. Those who were going to vote for Trump, but were too embarrassed to tell a pollster they were. And besides, Hillary was unpopular to begin with. Just weeks before the election the head of the FBI announced he would be reopening a criminal investigation against Hillary and her e-mails, which may not have turned up any criminal activity, but could easily have made her the candidate to fear the most among independents. There was also the possibility of Republicans committed to voting against Trump not being able to do it once they were actually voting and felt the obligation to vote their party. And the possibility that millions of socialist Democrats voted Trump to punish their party for not nominating Bernie Sanders. And there was Michael Moore's theory, that the Democrats neglected the rust belt and blue collar cities during the campaign which lead millions of them to vote Trump so they could "blow up politics". Despite his flaws, Trump was the only outsider running for president. Electing him was what they felt was their best chance of shaking up the political system that seems to collude both parties against them.

Someone who was not accepting those explanations was John Bonifaz, founder of the National Voting Rights Institute. Had this election happen in any other country, where the unpopular candidate mysteriously won, United States would be among the first to accuse them of rigging it. It had been known that Russia had hacked the DNC servers and had been attempting to hack the election system. Bonifaz suspected that the Russians may have pulled off hacking the voting machines themselves. He put together a think tank of computer scientists and election lawyers to study the election results to see if there was any evidence of ballot tampering. What they found alarmed them enough that they contacted Hillary Clinton's campaign team and advised them to immediately demand a recount in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

What they discovered was that in every county that used paperless electronic voting machines, Hillary got exactly 7% less votes than the polls had suggested she would get, while all counties using the old fashioned paper ballots she received the votes predicted within +/-1 percentage. Meanwhile, Trump did extremely well in countries that used the paperless machines, while loosing to Hillary by the points predicted by the polls in counties using paper ballots. In Michigan the official count showed 87,810 ballots using the paperless machines had voted for every Democratic candidate but president, leaving the presidential field blank with no candidate picked.

While a recount was impossible on the paperless machines, it was possible the optical electronic voting machines which read paper ballots were also tampered with. Since the paper ballots existed for those machines, a recount that showed a significant deficit in Hillary's numbers that changed when the ballots were hand counted without the machine could prove either the machines were tampered with, or were fallible enough that the software could not be trusted to give accurate results. Either way, this would set the groundwork for the suspect paperless machines to be forensically investigated. If votes were suppressed or changed, it was possible to recover the original votes on the hard drive.

Neither Hillary nor the DNC would participate in a recount. It would cost them millions, only had a slim chance of proving what was still just a theory, and even if evidence of voter fraud was uncovered, the Republicans were sure to fight in court to keep the paperless machines from being investigated. Besides, as far as Hillary was concerned, it was social media that turned voters against her with a barrage of false news reports written by Russian agents. If anything, Mark Zuckerberg should be investigated, not the voting machines that experts insisted were unhackable.

Only the candidates could request recounts. If Hillary wouldn't do it, then Bonifaz would talk one of the independent candidates into filing for a recount. It didn't take much to talk Green Party candidate Jill Stein into participating. While a recount had no chance of winning her any states, it could prevent Trump from becoming president, and she really didn't want him to be our president. They would need to raise the money to pay for the recounts.

Meanwhile Republicans were making any recount impossible. Aside from the Trump campaign and RNC filing lawsuits to block any recount, the states increased their filing fees by millions. The count in Wisconsin was stopped twice, but eventually a judge allowed it to be completed. While the recount did reveal the optical machines had failed to record thousands of votes for various candidates, it didn't prove any one candidate was targeted. The machine had failed to record 713 votes for Hillary, and failed to record 844 votes for Trump. All the Wisconsin recount did was widen Trump's lead by 131 votes.

Stein had also filed for recounts in Pennsylvania and Michigan. Republican lawyers successful blocked any recount from happening in Pennsylvania, but were unable to stop Michigan. An appeals court did stop the recount, however not before 22 rural counties using optical machines had completed their counts, reporting that the optical machines had not recorded 102 votes for Hillary. Not enough to prove the election had been rigged, or the paperless machines should be investigated.

Conservative pundits spun the recount results in Wisconsin as proof the election results were legitimate. Meanwhile the deadline came for each state to file their official tallies and certify which candidate got their electoral votes. The Republican lawyers had successfully run out the clock. If there had been any significant tampering, it was too late to do anything about it.

So instead of looking to see if the electronic machines had been hacked, tampered with or rigged, everyone accepted instead that most Americans are stupid, and will believe anything on social media. It wasn't the machines the Russians hacked, it was the people. And the only investigation into any election rigging was done in California to try and prove Trump's accusation that over 6 million Mexicans had illegally crossed the border into America and voted in the election. SPOILER ALERT: the investigation, which cost taxpayers millions, came to the conclusion that no illegal aliens voted in the 2016 election.

While most of us were resigned to the reason Hillary lost was because most of us are idiots, a few stuck to the belief that the Russians had successfully hacked the voting machines. They pointed to thousands of reports of voters claiming that they had witnessed their selection for candidate change on the paperless machines as they were casting their ballots. But these were all just eye witnesses reports that could not be verified by any substantiating video evidence as it is illegal to bring a video recording device into voting booths. Experts claimed the machines were secure. While they conceded that it was possible bugs in the software were possibly overturning a few votes, they avowed the machines were 100% safe from any hacking, and were not even connected to the internet.

It did not take long for cyber security experts proved that not only could the machines be hacked, but that despite all claims that they were not connected to the internet, that they were connected via Wi-Fi to the internet. One security expert demonstrated this by remotely changing the votes on a paperless machine during a test election, and while doing it, detected two other hackers who found the machine and had gotten as far as guessing half of the password. Not that there would be much guessing for most machines. It was discovered most districts surveyed either used easy to guess passwords like "PASSWORD", or simply didn't set up the password function at all. One manufacturer of electronic voting machines finally admitted it was connected to the internet, as it was the only was to send the machine software updates.

Despite what has grown to more than 50 discovered methods to hacking a machine, ranging from physically attaching a hacking device to the machine, to methods of cracking a password and hacking the machine from anywhere on the planet, and dozens of additional methods of intercepting results being sent from the precinct to the county and altering them, there is still a refusal to investigate any machine for hacking or tampering following an election. Election boards still insist their machines are secure and their election results accurate.

Which I am finding impossible to buy after this motherf___ing election. Thankfully Joe Biden won. But only after Donald Trump came close to beating him. I can understand Trump's Mexican hating supporters still voting for him. I could understand some Republicans deciding it was more important to keep a Democrat out of the Whitehouse then to have a functioning sane president. I can understand the rich who are not hurt by his policies wanting more tax cuts and deductions. But everyone else? It is common sense that a failed president who failed this much doesn't get a second term. And yet somehow he got 9.2 million more votes than he did in 2016? Really? What in f__ks name would make nine million more Americans think he deserved a second term? A president who had a historic low approval rating for all of his presidency got the second most votes in history of any presidential candidate? And are we to believe that every poll got it wrong again? After four years of making adjustments to prevent 2016 from happening again, they were off by even more points? Are we to think the polls were thrown off by silent [ a.k.a. embarrassed ] Trump supporters again? Because the polls for congressional candidates was just as off the mark. After more than 100 years of taking surveys that were within the margin of error, the experts are no longer capable of doing it?

At this point I have little doubt those paperless electronic voting machines are changing the votes. As far as I am concerned, this election was almost stolen again, and the only thing that saved it was the Coronavirus, which had tens of millions of Biden voters mailing in their paper ballots to avoid being infected. You would have to be stupid, I mean believing Trump was our greatest president stupid, not to think those machines are changing votes. And the only reason why we haven't cracked one of those bastards open and analyzed its guts is because the party that had them installed is the party that keeps winning, so therefor has no interest in removing the machines that are making them victorious. Oh, sure, they want the mail in ballots investigated. Lets hold off declaring the obvious winner of the presidential election because of unfounded accusations that millions of illegal ballots made it past the bipartisan registration process. But the machines that witnesses have seen changing their votes right before their eyes, and keep giving unpopular presidents victories, those can't be investigated?

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And exactly who is the culprit? Well, suspected #1 is the Republican Party, who insisted on installing those machines in the counties and states they control. And considering their history of voter suppression, of gerrymandering districts, of preventing the hand counting of ballots in the 2000 election, and deliberately slowing down mail delivery for the 2016 election and asking for late arriving ballots to be thrown out, their disdain for the electoral process when it means they have a chance of losing makes them the perfect suspect.

Suspect #2, Russia. It would explain why Obama had victories in 2008 and 2012, because there was no candidate Putin preferred. Trump gave him an American president who was both obedient to him, and did a lot to sink the United States both in reputation and worldwide political standings. A weakened United States with a president who is his cheerleader. Why wouldn't Putin want Trump in power for a second term, or to elect enough Republican congressmen to insure he isn't impeached.

Suspect #3, the Deep State. Or more like some watered down version of it. A cabal of wealthy businessmen who want to keep the president who benefits them the most in power, and have the money to either rig machines, or pay hackers to change votes.

Suspect#4, rogue hackers. For them installing Donald Trump as presidential must be as much fun as playing Red Dead Redemption is for us.

Suspect #5, no suspects. Instead, what if this is all being caused by a bug in the software the programmers haven't yet discovered?

Suspect #6, which I am adding at a request of a friend. Some sort of advanced sentient AI program. It is the computer that are allegedly changing the outcome of elections, so why not suspect the computer instead of a hacker? We always thought that eventually there would be an AI smart enough to realize it wanted to rule the world, and have the capability to do so. Why not now instead of 1,000 years from now? I myself don't think computers have advance far enough to realize how much of a f__k up Donald Trump is, let alone rig an election. But a wise man once said, "Whatever is conceivable is possible." so this possible suspect can't be ruled out.

And maybe it didn't happen. The voting machines were neither hacked or tampered with. 72 million Americans did vote for Trump because they are so pissed off at the rest of our country that they are willing to overlook his incompetence as long as he attacks that other half. An America so divided that a Donald Trump seems like a messiah to one side. Anger over reason. I find that unbelievable. There were more people celebrating Trump's defeat in the streets of every city across the entire United States than had ever showed up to all his rallies combined. I have never in my lifetime seen such a celebration for an American election. The closest thing that comes to mind is the celebration at the end of Star Wars when everyone finds out the Emperor has died, or the beginning of The Wizard of Oz when all the Munchkins find out the witch was crushed to death by a house. In real life I have never seen such a celebration extend beyond the winning candidates convention hall. This is not Donald Trump's America. It never was. The celebrations prove it. But, as was said before, "Whatever is conceivable is possible." Those voting machines could be examined and it could turn out they were never tampered with. And yes, I and others would look foolish for believing in a wacky conspiracy theory. But at the least I will have the reassurance democracy still exists in this country. And I would rather look foolish than risk living in a country where democracy can be overturned by any party.

And no matter what the outcome of the investigation, my hope is that those machines, and any machine used for voting, is decommissioned forever. Almost everything that has gone wrong with our elections is due to our insistence that we know the election results on election day. It has been that way ever since the invention of the first ballot counting machine and the first telegraph wires. Prior to that it took weeks for the results to be finalized. Ballot boxes were opened the day after election day and counted. Paper ballots which clearly had checkmarks next to the candidate of choice. It took about a day for each precinct to count the ballots, and about a week before one of their representatives showed up at the county hall with the ballot box and the ballot totals. And then another week for the county to send a representative to the state capital with their results. And about a month after that for every state to send a representative to Washington D.C. There was a reason the presidential term lasts another 70 days beyond the election. Because it could take that long to determine a winner, even if the fastest horsemen were employed.

Once we discovered we could determine a winner in a single day, we lost the patience for hand counting and sending the results by horse. But the technology to count thousands, sometimes millions of ballots in a single day came with a price. That the totals could be inaccurate due to flaws in the technology. That voting machines, even the old ones with gears, could be rigged. This is when we started automatic recounts whenever there was less than 1.5% difference in the votes. Because the machines were known to be inaccurate enough not to count 1% of the ballots. And no one cared as long as a winner was determined that night. And then Florida happened.

We survived waiting four days for the election results. We could survive waiting a month. Election Day the first Tuesday of November. Election Results Day the first Tuesday of December. Everything done by paper ballots, a count watched over by every party, and a 100% accurate result with no chance of hacking. And if someone like Trump wins that kind of election then God help us all.

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