GEORGIA | 2002 | U.S. Senate
Diebold VOTING MACHINE President Personally Delivered a Secret, Illegal Software Update
Polling discrepancies, statistical analysis, leaked documents, and whistleblowers point to massive fraud in the 2002 Georgia Senate race.
- Poll Discrepancy: Despite polls showing a tight race, Republican Saxby Chambliss defeated the incumbent Democrat Max Cleland by a surprising 7-point margin.
- Privatized Election: The Diebold corporation was authorized to design ballots, program machines, and train poll workers without state supervision.
- No Accountability: Diebold deployed paperless touchscreen electronic voting machines that are impossible to audit throughout the state.
- Statistical Evidence: A strange disparity between the primary and general election: A large Republican vote surge in typically Democratic areas.
- Whistleblowers: Two former Diebold technicians reported numerous security violations and illegal software updates.
- Leak: Internal memos revealed that Diebold was hiding software changes from Georgia officials and the independent testing lab.
- Shady History: Diebold has a history of suppressing the fact that its voting machines are wide open to election rigging.
The 2002 U.S. Senate race in Georgia pitted the incumbent, Max Cleland, against Saxby Chambliss. Karl Rove referred to Chambliss as a “favorite over at the White House” during a campaign event.
Cleland was a popular, decorated triple-amputee Vietnam War veteran, yet Chambliss ran smear ads questioning his patriotism.
Chambliss won a "surprise upset" by a large 7-point margin despite polls showing the race had been too close to call.
A PRIVATIZED ELECTION
This particular "surprise upset" stands out because it took place during one of the first privatized elections: Georgia had recently handed over the keys to its electoral kingdom to the private voting machine vendor, Diebold.
Diebold was awarded the Georgia contract despite having the most expensive bid. It had barely completed its corporate acquisition of the technology it would operate throughout the state—easily-rigged touchscreen voting machines that are impossible to audit because they produce no paper ballot.
With only a short timeline to deploy these deficient devices, the Georgia Secretary of State signed an agreement authorizing Diebold to design ballots, program machines, and train poll workers—all without state supervision.
Just prior to Election Day, the president of Diebold’s election unit, Bob Urosevich, flew in and personally distributed an illegal software update.
According to whistleblower Chris Hood, a Diebold technician, he and other staff were told not to talk to county elections personnel about it. "I received instructions directly from Urosevich," said Hood. "It was very unusual that a president of the company would give an order like that and be involved at that level.”
Hood describes a covert process where technicians went into warehouses early in the morning and installed the Urosevich software on thousands of machines in Democratic strongholds.
Diebold was given “control over the entire environment” says Hood. Watch his full interview on YouTube.
Diebold claims the “patch” was installed with state approval and oversight, but subsequent interviews with election officials and whistleblowers, conducted by Black Box Voting author Bev Harris, prove that the software changes were hidden from Georgia and the independent testing laboratory.
These software changes required recertification of the machines, and were thus illegal under Georgia election law.
Diebold's official response to Georgia on this matter was not made public.
Hood testified that the Urosevich software had nothing to do with clocks, and analysis by cybersecurity expert Stephen Spoonamore supports his claim. Spoonamore concludes that the code was for comparing different values—and likely manipulating them.
Watch Spoonamore's full interview on corruption in the election sector:
The whistleblower testimony was corroborated by the discovery of sensitive Diebold computer files on an unprotected website. The internal company memos show that many fixes were applied to multiple versions of the tabulator software, and that these changes were not certified.
Whistleblower Rob Behler verified that the leaked files and memos were an accurate reflection of his experience as a Diebold technician. Behler was chastised by Diebold executives for talking to Georgia election officials about software updates and massive problems with many of the machines.
As was later revealed by documents leaked in Maryland, Diebold has a history of public deception regarding the fact that its voting machines are wide open to election rigging.
In the Maryland case, Diebold was allowed to redact an independent report on its security vulnerabilities. The full text was withheld from the public and from Maryland officials.
There are statistical signs that something went wrong with the Cleland-Chambliss vote count. As reported in Baltimore City Paper, there was a strange disparity between the primary and general election results.
Cleland's share of the vote surged in typically Republican areas, but it was overwhelmed by a similarly bizarre surge for Chambliss in Democratic areas.
In 74 traditionally Democratic counties, "Chambliss won 22 percent more of the ballots than he could have expected based on the primary results."
It is impossible for citizens of the Peach State to know how badly their elections have been corrupted by Diebold. Georgians should demand paper ballots and robust independent audits to verify all future election results.
“Diebold and Max Cleland’s ‘Loss’ in Georgia,” by Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. in Loser Take All, edited by Mark Crispin Miller.
Black Box Voting (chapters 10, 11), by Bev Harris.
"Future Vote: Computerized Balloting is Taking Over Elections," by Van Smith, Baltimore City Paper.
"An open invitation to election fraud," by Farhad Manjoo, Salon.
"Diebold's Political Machine," by Bob Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman, Mother Jones.