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In sworn affidavit, programmer says he developed vote-rigging prototype for Florida congressman; Congressman’s office silent
December 6, 2004 6:10 PM   Subscribe

In sworn affidavit, programmer says he developed vote-rigging prototype for Florida congressman; Congressman’s office silent - Will this go the way of the Wayne Madsen report? Perhaps this is, as some have noted, just another Rovian Hit. At this point in time, I keep my tinfoil hat ready. Even if it were true, I doubt the Republican-majority-ed House and Senate are can hardly be expected to investigate themselves. For now, I just keep laughing at HERCUBUSH (Quicktime) (Real) and trying to convince myself that we are all in Bush now.
posted by jackspace (35 comments total)

 
If this sort of shit went on... who would know? Florida was close... and assuming all the other states are decided, Florida could have tipped the balance for a win in either director. Scary stuff.
posted by ac at 6:24 PM on December 6, 2004


Interesting stuff about Yang Enterprises keeps popping up. This one via Google's cache.
posted by jackspace at 6:27 PM on December 6, 2004


If somebody had access to the software on the machines, would it be possible to decompile code and see if this stuff is there?
posted by destro at 6:35 PM on December 6, 2004


The interesting question is - -what if the election is invalid? What do we do then?

I don't see Americans being very much like the Ukrainians in this regard.
posted by undule at 6:35 PM on December 6, 2004


While working for Yang Enterprises in Florida, the 46-year-old programmer says he was instructed by then-Republican state representative Tom Feeney to “develop a prototype of a voting program that could alter the vote tabulation in the election and be undetectable.”

Feeney, a former failed running mate of Gov. Jeb Bush, now represents Florida’s 24th district in the House of Representatives.


*remembers Watergate*
*rubs hands with glee*
*considers value of prayer*
posted by dash_slot- at 6:45 PM on December 6, 2004


Nothing will ever come of this. Nothing. Until a lot of blood is shed, nothing will change.
posted by hincandenza at 6:47 PM on December 6, 2004


see a movie. buy some consumer electronics.
posted by quonsar at 6:53 PM on December 6, 2004


unfortunately unless a reputable news service touches this story nothing will come of it. Please dear god let someone make a big fucking deal about it.

That said, what would happen? I for one would be having a round of heartfelt i told you so's to my red associates. Calling their leader a lying prick etc.... unfortunately i don't see this dream becoming a reality and will quickly stop worrying about it till i can watch it on cnn.
posted by sourbrew at 7:00 PM on December 6, 2004


His affidavit looks pretty fishy. It's hard to belive that this guy knew about the now-infamous purge lists and that the Speaker of the Florida House was so indiscrete as to mention not only that, but also that he was strategically using police patrols to reduce black turnout? All this way back in 2000? And he's telling us now? Not to mention the fact that his timeline seems impossibly short. He was supposedly directed to begin developing the voter fraud software in late September or October in order to have it implemented a month later. I'm totally ignorant about programming but that sounds impossible (or at least highly improbable) to me.

Further, it's hard to figure out for what purpose he's created this affidavit. And why he didn't include these accusations of voter fraud in his qui tam complaint?
posted by leecifer at 7:51 PM on December 6, 2004


No blowjob, no impeachment. Sorry, folks, them's the rules.
posted by PrinceValium at 7:59 PM on December 6, 2004


No one hates losing elections more than me. In fact, no one here is more likely to believe nefarious actions on the part of the GOP than me. That said, this seems pretty fishy. I am reminded of the incident when the US military supposedly shot down on the Eastern seaboard. I was in the Navy at the time and more than one of my friends came to me to ask what I thought the likelihood was. I told them what I will tell you know: If there is a big secret inside a large organization, it will come out. It an American ship were to shoot down a civilian plane, dozens of people are directly involved and hundreds are witnesses. These people are going to talk. The same thing applies in the case of voter fraud. Diebold employs hundreds of people, not all of which have any particular stake in a coverup.

I choose to focus my hatred and disappointment and fear and loathing on winning, not loosing.
posted by SkinnerSan at 8:02 PM on December 6, 2004


SkinnerSan, what makes this so disturbing is that your -- in my opinion -- valid hypothesis does not apply. It's increasingly possible to manipulate these systems with only the bare minimum of people involved. I write software for a living. If I wanted to create a bug in the software, I would only need about three other people to be aware of it. After that, it would be running in about twelve different companies. The source code is closely guarded, and not available to our customers. This is the exact same case with the voting software, only with much more incentive to create undetectable havoc.
posted by odinsdream at 8:11 PM on December 6, 2004


I agree with odinsdream. Even in moderately simple software applications there are normally many source files affecting many different things, often developed by many different people. It would be entirely possible for one or two people to add code that others would remain unaware of.

Also, with these systems using standard Windows database technology (Access) and operating on Windows XP systems, it would be possible to write a third party app that would run in the background, intercept 'button' presses in certain locations and modify the data files as required. It wouldn't even need ot be in the actual voting software. It could be contained in one file in a specific and unobvious location and it could be designed to run only on a specific date (think virus technology).
posted by sycophant at 8:33 PM on December 6, 2004


Related: Bev Harris Flips Out, is Banned from DU
posted by LimePi at 8:55 PM on December 6, 2004


This needs to be on a major news website, and channel.
posted by Keyser Soze at 8:57 PM on December 6, 2004


The software sounds a whole lot like the one in this insider story from a Republican about how Kerry won by 1.7 million votes. (Said with all requisite conspiracy warnings... but I saw the Manchurian Candidate tonight, so I'm in a believing mood).
posted by VulcanMike at 9:29 PM on December 6, 2004


I don't see Americans being very much like the Ukrainians in this regard.

Except the Ukrainians got another election out of it. Guess they got that whole "democracy" thing figured out better.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 9:38 PM on December 6, 2004


hercubush = hilarious. thanks for that.
posted by blendor at 10:37 PM on December 6, 2004


According to his affidavit, Yang, his employer, later informed him that the software might be used to “control the vote in South Florida.” He says that he would never have developed the software had he known its alleged ultimate purpose.

This guy is incredible. What other possible use does a vote-rigging system have?
posted by yarmond at 11:01 PM on December 6, 2004


SkinnerSan: If there is a big secret inside a large organization, it will come out. It an American ship were to shoot down a civilian plane, dozens of people are directly involved and hundreds are witnesses. These people are going to talk.

Uuh, but they are talking. It's just that nobody is listening. At least nobody that counts.
posted by sour cream at 11:28 PM on December 6, 2004


What other possible use does a vote-rigging system have?

Devil's advocate: Running test votes though a pre-election test voting system?
posted by AlexReynolds at 11:29 PM on December 6, 2004


Back when I worked on embedded systems in the nineties, we had long discussions about how to rig an election without anybody knowing. Pretty much all of us thought of novel ways to do it that involved nothing more complicated than being a good enough programmer to get through the door at either Microsoft or an election-software company.

The task after that depends on which company you get into. The ideal scenario would be to go to work for MSFT, then express deep interest in maintaining the window management code of older releases. Nobody else will want to do this, so if you start doing it, you'd stand a good chance of making it your job.

Once you've done that... you could write a general election rigging framework that'd work for a large number of vendor systems... (is it voting day? is it the middle of the day when testing is unlikely to be occurring? is there a touchscreen in use? do the touchscreens buttons identify things like Republican and Democrat? is my secret 'election day has passed' registry key set?). If all those things apply, you make a small percentage of buttons do the opposite of what they say.

It's feasible to pull off without a conspiracy. It'd work on voting systems of multiple vendors. Most importantly, it'd be embedded in Windows, which nobody will audit as part of the vote machine approval process.

Doing vendor specific hacks would certainly be easier, especially if you got a job at the voting software company in question (one person could probably do it alone, if they had full source-code access), but they'd be more detectable.
posted by mosch at 11:43 PM on December 6, 2004


That Brad Menfil article regarding Kerry winning by 1.7 million was copied off Indymedia from the comments section. Credibility = Zero.
posted by drscroogemcduck at 12:16 AM on December 7, 2004


And now this (it's late so I haven't been able to cross-check it with other sources yet):

from Crooks and Liars:
As I'm unable to get to The BRAD BLOG due to the crush of traffic since reporting the "WHISTLEBLOWER AFFIDAVIT: Programmer Built Vote Rigging Prototype at Republican Congressman's Request!" story, I am also unable to report on a sad new related item just in.

I've just spoken with Clint Curtis, the "whistleblower" in this case, and he's reported that his previously healthy three-year old German Shepard has been found dead. Just a few hours after I published my story on Mr. Curtis.

I don't wish to give any other details for the moment, but the story should get out there. And I'm sorry to say that this is the second time this has occurred to Mr. Curtis over the years since he began trying to tell his story.
posted by jackspace at 12:42 AM on December 7, 2004


Liberal democracy is about to be swallowed whole. Long live liberal democracy.

Oh, and the Internet is only for fanatics.
posted by crasspastor at 1:32 AM on December 7, 2004


Good thing troutfishing didn't post this!

Had that been so, it would have been almost immediately deleted and everyone here would have piled on dissing him!

Having said that, let's celebrate that Afghanistan finally got a taste of American "democracy" today as CIA stooge Karzai was ceremoniously installed to a position of power over the city of Kabul and a few of its outlying towns.

Gvie it up! Democracy is dead in the Corporate States of America.
posted by nofundy at 4:33 AM on December 7, 2004


it would have been almost immediately deleted and everyone here would have piled on dissing him

which shows just how stupid his approach was, doesn't it?
unless he was actually a cointelpro double, whose secret mission was to discredit the whole idea...
posted by andrew cooke at 5:24 AM on December 7, 2004


Please dear god let someone make a big fucking deal about it.

it should definately come up in rep. conyers forum tomorrow which is scheduled to be broadcast on cspan.
posted by danOstuporStar at 6:17 AM on December 7, 2004


hincandenza is right: it doesn't matter, and nothing will come of it, because nobody got a blowjob. The media is lame and cowed, Bush doesn't do interviews, and that's that.
posted by waldo at 8:08 AM on December 7, 2004


unfortunately unless a reputable news service touches this story nothing will come of it. Please dear god let someone make a big fucking deal about it.

doesn't look good so far.

update from Raw Story.
posted by mrgrimm at 11:32 AM on December 7, 2004


by the way, mosch just scared the hell out of me. i didn't even think about tweaking Windows. that's the best and cleanest approach. one deal maker (administration official X) + one programmer + millions in an offshore acount. pretty much zero accountability. unless that one programmer talks ... examine that voting source code all you want.
posted by mrgrimm at 11:36 AM on December 7, 2004


waldo: hincandenza is the one who said nothing would come of it until a lot of blood had been shed. PrinceValium is the one who mentioned blowjobs.

The problem is that this thing can't be disproved to the satisfaction of the people who are already willing to credit it. Can't find it in the source code? The source code must have been changed; dig up a machine and get the programmer to demonstrate it. Can't find a machine like that? Maybe you've just got the wrong one; examine every single one of them. Still can't find anything? Maybe they were "fixed" after the election. Or ... maybe some OTHER programmer came along and changed the "invisible button" configurations. Is a major news organization publishing the story? Then there must be something to it. Are no major news orgs publishing the story? Then it must be ... a conspiracy.
posted by coelecanth at 1:35 PM on December 7, 2004


I've just spoken with Clint Curtis, the "whistleblower" in this case, and he's reported that his previously healthy three-year old German Shepard has been found dead.

If you get in contact with him again, please pass along my sympathies, little use that they are. That is so fucking wrong.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 10:48 PM on December 7, 2004


If there is anyone out there who still believes that this last election wasn't stolen, you're an idiot, period.
posted by GrooveJedi at 1:30 AM on December 9, 2004


Yeah, you all are idiots!
posted by I EAT TAPES at 5:09 PM on December 13, 2004


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