Why Hugo Chavez Must Be Kept Away From U.S. Voting Machines
05.04.06 | In an earlier post, Dean mentioned a Venezuelan company linked to Chavez has purchased a U.S. election machine company. This is far more important than most people realize.
MIT mathematicians using Benford's law have essentially proven Chavez stole the last election, in which Chavez faced recall. They calculated that the odds of the voter tabulations given happening without tampering were about 100:1.
Benford's Law is basically a way of looking at the number of things in lists. It's a statistical law that says in a random sample of tabulations, a certain percentage should begin with the number 1, a certain percentage with 2, etc. The Venezuelan election tallies were way out of line with what the law predicts.
Doug Schoen, from Bill Clinton's polling firm, was pretty blunt:
Schoen has little doubt what happened. “I think it was a massive fraud,” he told me. “Our internal sourcing tells us that there was fraud in the central commission.” This was not the first time he has encountered such things. “The same thing happened in Serbia in 1992, by [President Slobodan] Milosevic. He did it again in the local elections in 1996. As a result, hundreds of thousands of people died. Had he been caught [in this fraud] in 1992, this would not have happened.”
How could this happen, when the Carter Center monitored the elections? Well, the answer is in the software. The Carter Center auditors caved into demands by Chavez' people to use their own random number generator to select which voting centers would be monitored rather than the Carter Center's; one can guess the selection probably wasn't actually very random. And the voting machines themselves allowed two-way communication, meaning their totals could be altered from the central computer. This could have been caught by monitors at those machines, but if Chavez' people knew which ones were monitored, they could easily have simply avoided tampering with those particular machines. No fraud was detected at the time, and so the elections were given the Carter Center's stamp of approval. It was only some time later that statistical analysis showed it was extremely unlikely that the election tallies were accurate.
Think about that: not only was the election stolen, it was certified. That's quite an accomplishment, when you consider it. Despots like Saddam Hussein might have won 99.9% of the vote, but none ever managed to win the veneer of legitimacy that Chavez has acquired.
Dean's right. Having this subtle, effective tyrant anywhere near our voting machines is a serious threat to American democracy. We shouldn't take this lightly.
The whole point of electronics and software is to manipulate information. That makes them great tools for lots of applications, but assuring election integrity is not one of them. If you value your democratic rights, demand your election officials use paper ballots that can be manually recounted and whose physical integrity and chain of custody can be confirmed.
Again, I really can't emphasize enough how important this could be. As a software developer, I can tell you there are a million ways to sabotage something like this; very bad things happen merely by accident all the time. Trust me when I tell you that you wouldn't want an absolutely honest programmer anywhere near your election results, let alone ones who may already be complicit in one stolen election.
Our most important freedom is the freedom to choose our leaders. And the price of keeping that freedom secure, as the saying goes, is eternal vigilance.
UPDATE: Welcome Instapundit readers! Also, I added this link to the English translation of the study data to the second graf.
Related Posts (on one page):
- Why Hugo Chavez Must Be Kept Away From U.S. Voting Machines
- Why is Hugo Chávez Involved With U.S. Voting Machines?
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