Another Stolen Bush Election?
Evidence Mounts That The Vote May Have Been Hacked
by Thom Hartmann / Common Dreams Nov. 6, 2004
When I spoke with Jeff Fisher this morning (Saturday,
November 06, 2004), the Democratic candidate for the
U.S. House of Representatives from Florida's 16th
District said he was waiting for the FBI to show up.
Fisher has evidence, he says, not only that the
Florida election was hacked, but of who hacked it and
how. And not just this year, he said, but that these
same people had previously hacked the Democratic
primary race in 2002 so that Jeb Bush would not have
to run against Janet Reno, who presented a real threat
to Jeb, but instead against Bill McBride, who Jeb
"It was practice for a national effort," Fisher told me.
And evidence is accumulating that the national effort
happened on November 2, 2004.
The State of Florida, for example, publishes a
county-by-county record of votes cast and people
registered to vote by party affiliation. Net denizen
Kathy Dopp compiled the official state information
into a table, available at
noticed something startling.
While the heavily scrutinized touch-screen voting
machines seemed to produce results in which the
registered Democrat/Republican ratios matched the
Kerry/Bush vote, and so did the optically scanned
paper ballots in the larger counties, in Florida's
smaller counties the results from the optically
scanned paper ballots - fed into a central tabulator
PC and thus vulnerable to hacking - seem to have been
In Baker County, for example, with 12,887 registered
voters, 69.3% of them Democrats and 24.3% of them
Republicans, the vote was only 2,180 for Kerry and
7,738 for Bush, the opposite of what is seen
everywhere else in the country where registered
Democrats largely voted for Kerry.
In Dixie County, with 4,988 registered voters, 77.5%
of them Democrats and a mere 15% registered as
Republicans, only 1,959 people voted for Kerry, but
4,433 voted for Bush.
The pattern repeats over and over again - but only in
the smaller counties where, it was probably assumed,
the small voter numbers wouldn't be much noticed.
Franklin County, 77.3% registered Democrats, went
58.5% for Bush. Holmes County, 72.7% registered
Democrats, went 77.25% for Bush.
Yet in the larger counties, where such anomalies would
be more obvious to the news media, high percentages of
registered Democrats equaled high percentages of votes
More visual analysis of the results can be seen at
And, although elections officials didn't notice these
anomalies, in aggregate they were enough to swing
Florida from Kerry to Bush. If you simply go through
the analysis of these counties and reverse the
"anomalous" numbers in those counties that appear to
have been hacked, suddenly the Florida election
results resemble the Florida exit poll results: Kerry
won, and won big.
Those exit poll results have been a problem for
reporters ever since Election Day.
Election night, I'd been doing live election coverage
for WDEV, one of the radio stations that carries my
syndicated show, and, just after midnight, during the
12:20 a.m. Associated Press Radio News feed, I was
startled to hear the reporter detail how Karen Hughes
had earlier sat George W. Bush down to inform him that
he'd lost the election. The exit polls were clear:
Kerry was winning in a landslide. "Bush took the news
stoically," noted the AP report.
But then the computers reported something different.
In several pivotal states.
Conservatives see a conspiracy here: They think the
exit polls were rigged.
Dick Morris, the infamous political consultant to the
first Clinton campaign who became a Republican
consultant and Fox News regular, wrote an article for
The Hill, the publication read by every political
junkie in Washington, DC, in which he made a couple of
"Exit Polls are almost never wrong," Morris wrote.
"They eliminate the two major potential fallacies in
survey research by correctly separating actual voters
from those who pretend they will cast ballots but
never do and by substituting actual observation for
guesswork in judging the relative turnout of different
parts of the state."
He added: "So, according to ABC-TVs exit polls, for
example, Kerry was slated to carry Florida, Ohio, New
Mexico, Colorado, Nevada, and Iowa, all of which Bush
carried. The only swing state the network had going to
Bush was West Virginia, which the president won by 10
Yet a few hours after the exit polls were showing a
clear Kerry sweep, as the computerized vote numbers
began to come in from the various states the election
was called for Bush.
How could this happen?
On the CNBC TV show "Topic A With Tina Brown," several
months ago, Howard Dean had filled in for Tina Brown
as guest host. His guest was Bev Harris, the Seattle
grandmother who started www.blackboxvoting.org from
her living room. Bev pointed out that regardless of
how votes were tabulated (other than hand counts, only
done in odd places like small towns in Vermont), the
real "counting" is done by computers. Be they Diebold
Opti-Scan machines, which read paper ballots filled in
by pencil or ink in the voter's hand, or the scanners
that read punch cards, or the machines that simply
record a touch of the screen, in all cases the final
tally is sent to a "central tabulator" machine.
That central tabulator computer is a Windows-based PC.
"In a voting system," Harris explained to Dean on
national television, "you have all the different
voting machines at all the different polling places,
sometimes, as in a county like mine, there's a
thousand polling places in a single county. All those
machines feed into the one machine so it can add up
all the votes. So, of course, if you were going to do
something you shouldn't to a voting machine, would it
be more convenient to do it to each of the 4000
machines, or just come in here and deal with all of
them at once?"
Dean nodded in rhetorical agreement, and Harris
continued. "What surprises people is that the central
tabulator is just a PC, like what you and I use. It's
just a regular computer."
"So," Dean said, "anybody who can hack into a PC can
hack into a central tabulator?"
Harris nodded affirmation, and pointed out how Diebold
uses a program called GEMS, which fills the screen of
the PC and effectively turns it into the central
tabulator system. "This is the official program that
the County Supervisor sees," she said, pointing to a
PC that was sitting between them loaded with Diebold's
Bev then had Dean open the GEMS program to see the
results of a test election. They went to the screen
titled "Election Summary Report" and waited a moment
while the PC "adds up all the votes from all the
various precincts," and then saw that in this faux
election Howard Dean had 1000 votes, Lex Luthor had
500, and Tiger Woods had none. Dean was winning.
"Of course, you can't tamper with this software,"
Harris noted. Diebold wrote a pretty good program.
But, it's running on a Windows PC.
So Harris had Dean close the Diebold GEMS software, go
back to the normal Windows PC desktop, click on the
"My Computer" icon, choose "Local Disk C:," open the
folder titled GEMS, and open the sub-folder "LocalDB"
which, Harris noted, "stands for local database,
that's where they keep the votes." Harris then had
Dean double-click on a file in that folder titled
"Central Tabulator Votes," which caused the PC to open
the vote count in a database program like Excel.
In the "Sum of the Candidates" row of numbers, she
found that in one precinct Dean had received 800 votes
and Lex Luthor had gotten 400.
"Let's just flip those," Harris said, as Dean cut and
pasted the numbers from one cell into the other.
"And," she added magnanimously, "let's give 100 votes
They closed the database, went back into the official
GEMS software "the legitimate way, you're the county
supervisor and you're checking on the progress of your
As the screen displayed the official voter tabulation,
Harris said, "And you can see now that Howard Dean has
only 500 votes, Lex Luthor has 900, and Tiger Woods
has 100." Dean, the winner, was now the loser.
Harris sat up a bit straighter, smiled, and said, "We just edited
an election, and it took us 90 seconds."
On live national television. (You can see the clip on
Which brings us back to Morris and those pesky exit
polls that had Karen Hughes telling George W. Bush
that he'd lost the election in a landslide.
Morris's conspiracy theory is that the exit polls
"were sabotage" to cause people in the western states
to not bother voting for Bush, since the networks
would call the election based on the exit polls for
Kerry. But the networks didn't do that, and had never
intended to. It makes far more sense that the exit
polls were right - they weren't done on Diebold PCs -
and that the vote itself was hacked.
And not only for the presidential candidate - Jeff
Fisher thinks this hit him and pretty much every other
Democratic candidate for national office in the
most-hacked swing states.
So far, the only national "mainstream" media to come
close to this story was Keith Olbermann on his show
Friday night, November 5th, when he noted that it was
curious that all the voting machine irregularities so
far uncovered seem to favor Bush. In the meantime, the
Washington Post and other media are now going through
single-bullet-theory-like contortions to explain how
the exit polls had failed.
But I agree with Fox's Dick Morris on this one, at
least in large part. Wrapping up his story for The
Hill, Morris wrote in his final paragraph, "This was
no mere mistake. Exit polls cannot be as wrong across
the board as they were on election night. I suspect