Anti-AV Campaign Distributes
In Run Up To UK Referendum On Election Reform
Everyone Should Oppose Electronic Voting Systems
But The 'Alternative Vote' System Does Not Mean The Introduction Of Electronic Voting
Computer Programmer Testifies Under Oath
How He Was Asked To Write Vote Rigging Software For Electronic Voting Machines In US
1 May 2011
"The change to AV
will cost up to an additional £250 million. Local councils would have to waste money on
costly electronic vote counting machines and expensive voter education campaigns."
"The AV referendum has produced the most idiotic political debate in living memory.... the AV referendum has offended the basic rule of an educated
democracy: that politicians can insult each other's intelligence as much as they like,
just so long as they don't insult ours... I resent being told, as the 'no' campaign
insists, that AV is too complicated. Sometimes, when they're ordering a pizza, my children
say they'll have a pepperoni, but if the restaurant hasn't got any they'll have a
margherita. They've got the basic idea of rank order. I think we'll cope. Please don't tell me, either, that AV is too expensive. As we don't need electronic voting machines,
AV wouldn't cost anything."
Philip Collins - Hot AV news from Oz: it's not an issue, mate
London Times, 22 April 2011, P31
Computer Programmer Clinton Curtis
Clint Curtis testified in 2004 on how easy it is to rig elections without detection by rewriting the programme code of electronic voting machines to produce a marginal (and therefore credible) victory for an otherwise losing candidate. He claimed that in the run-up to the US elections of 2000 he had been asked to write such a programme by his employer. He resigned from the company concerned. He considered the intended use for the programme, which he says was the rigging of voting results in Florida, to be fraudulent.
Particularly as Britain's Labour Party already has a track record of postal ballot voting fraud, public concerns about such matters are absolutely valid, and indeed crucial.
But they are not a legitimate argument against the introduction of the Alternative Vote (AV) system for electing MPs to Parliament in Britain, as may or may not result from the referendum to be held on 5 May.
Contrary to misleading 'No Vote' campaign literature AV is not tied to the introduction of electronic voting machines. Australia has deployed AV for years without using such machines.
Everyone should therefore ignore this false issue when making their minds up about how to vote on 5 May.
"Nick Clegg has
authorised a bare-knuckle political fight to try to rescue the faltering Yes campaign
for the alternative vote [in Britain], in a strategy that risks inflaming tensions in the coalition ahead
of next weeks referendum.... Chris Huhne, Lib Dem energy secretary, even hinted at
taking legal action against Tory cabinet colleagues if they continued to tell 'blanket untruths' about the alleged £130m cost of buying electronic voting machines to deal with a new
AV system.... Mr Cameron has been forced to come out
fighting after initial polls suggested that Britain might vote to ditch the traditional
first-past-the-post voting system at Westminster in favour of the alternative vote. But as
the polls have moved in Mr Camerons favour, the Lib Dems have become angry at the
tactics used by the No campaign. Mr Huhne said the cross-party campaign was 'a Tory front
organisation because they are funding it and running it'. The ferocity of the No campaign
has left the Yes camp trying to fend off attacks and struggling to make headway in
explaining the supposed advantages of a new system. Simon Hughes, Lib Dem deputy leader,
said he would ask the Electoral Commission to investigate the 'dishonest' claims by the
official No campaign. He said Lady Warsi, Conservative party co-chairman, was 'inventing
Clegg takes gloves off over AV
Financial Times, 24 April 2011
Who Is Trying To Promote AV And Who Is Trying To Stop It?
vast majority of people in Britain are represented by someone they had no part in voting
for ... one third of the electorate no longer vote
Labour or Tory.....
The Liberal Democrats think they will gain under AV. The Tories think they will lose. Labour isn't sure and so it's split."
Philip Collins - Hot AV news from Oz: it's not an issue, mate
London Times, 22 April 2011, P31
In This Bulletin
AV A Stepping Stone
Curtis And Why The 5 May British Referendum
Is Not An Opportunity To Campaign Against Electronic Voting
The White House Twice
The Voting System
AV Does Not Mean
The Introduction Of Electronic Voting
reforming Britain's voting system today refused to publish details of the
multi-millionaire donors who are bankrolling them. At the launch of the No2Av campaign in
London its director Matthew Elliott said he wanted to see more 'transparency' in politics
and not a political system 'conducted behind closed doors'. But when pressed on whether
No2Av would publish details of who was funding its campaign before the planned referendum
in May Mr Elliott refused. Later the No campaign claimed that the Yes Campaign were also
refusing to publish a list of their major donors. However a spokesman for the Yes Campaign
said it had so far raised £2 million of which 95 per cent had come from two donors: the
Electoral Reform Society and Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust. In an uncomfortable press
conference for Mr Elliott he also came under pressure over claims made by No2Av that a
yes vote in the May would cost the tax payer £250 million. The estimate was based on £82m to hold the referendum, £9m for voter
education ahead of the plebiscite the cost of electronic vote counting at £90m-£130m and
£26m for subsequent voter education. But critics pointed out that Australia uses the Alternative Vote system
without the need for electronic voting machines and there are
no plans to introduce them into Britain."
No2Av campaigners refuse to publish donor details
Independent, 15 February 2011
"The NO campaigns claims on the cost of AV have fallen apart as Australian election expert Antony Green
revealed that the country which has used the system for over 80 years has never used voting
machines. The No
campaigns central claim at their launch today was that AV would force the UK to
spend £130 million on electronic counting machines, but it is undermined by one simple fact there will be no electronic counting machines
used with AV! This is a desperate claim that the NO campaign simply seem to have just made
up. Antony commented: 'Weve used AV for 90
years at all levels of government. And Australia has never used voting machines to conduct
its elections. ' They need to get their facts right
about Australia and AV. The point is you get better representation. Thats what AV is
all about.' In fact, all the major claims the NO campaign make unravel at the slightest
scrutiny. The cost of the referendum is incurred whether there is a Yes or a No vote. So
there is no saving from voting No in the referendum planned for 5th May. And they wildly
exaggerate the cost of voter education with AV, basing the cost of the adoption of a
different system the Single Transferable Vote for Scottish Council elections
that is much more complex than AV.
Alternative Vote referendum: Desperate NO campaign claims unravel
Yes to Fairer Votes, 15 February 2011
But Is AV A Stepping
To Proportional Representation?
|The Conservatives and Labour no longer dominate British
politics like they used to, with increasing numbers of people voting for third parties in
elections despite the country still operating a 'first past the post' electoral system for
This means that few candidates ever win more than half the votes in any constituency, which also means that most people end up being represented in Parliament by someone who they didn't vote for at all.
In two thirds of seats these days nobody actually gets 'past the post' at all in terms of securing a majority of the vote. So in practice 'first past the post' is now actually a misnomer. For exceeding a 50% majority threshold is now the exception rather than the rule.
There will be a referendum on 5 May asking the country whether or not it wishes to change to the 'Alternative Vote' system for electing Members of Parliament whereby candidates can only be elected once they have achieved more than 50% of the vote (except in the unlikely event that there are insufficient alternative votes to take any candidate over the 50% threshold).
In simplified terms, this system essentially works by allowing voters to indicate on the ballot who they would like to vote for instead, should their preferred choice not be successful in gaining 50% of the vote.
Sometimes this system is called 'instant run-off voting' (IRV), as it avoids the need for voters to go to the polls again (as happens in some elections around the world using a more standard 'run-off' election system) should no candidate win a majority.
The referendum on AV is a result of negotiations that took place when the Conservative and Liberal Democrat parties sought to form a coalition government following the inconclusive result of the last general election. However, neither the Conservatives nor (really) the Liberal Democrats want AV. The Conservatives wish to remain with the current 'first past the post' system, whereas what the Liberal Democrats really want is proportional representation (PR).
These positions are driven largely by what each party thinks the impact will be on the number of seats it might win under the different systems.
As things stand at present it is thought unlikely that the 'fudge' of AV will in fact change election results greatly. However, for those who really want PR, voting for AV is one way of trying to demonstrate an appetite for electoral reform generally even if AV itself is not regarded as satisfactory.
The web site of the 'No2Av' campaign (an organisation which the Liberal Democrat Energy Secretary Chris Huhne has accused of being a front for the Conservative Party) claims an AV system of voting would incur additional costs associated with 'voter education' and the introduction of electronic voting machines.
The colour leaflets which the 'No' campaign has also being putting through letter boxes show this figure broken down between the two elements - £26 million for voter education and up to £130 million for 'electronic vote counting machines.'
But the proposal to introduce AV does not require the introduction of electronic voting machines (as has proved to be the case in Australia), and nor does the referendum include any proposal to do so.
And Why The 5 May British Referendum
Is Not An Opportunity To Campaign Against Electronic Voting
|Clinton Curtis And The Vote Rigging Programme|
|In the autumn of 2000 Clinton Curtis, a computer programmer and life long registered Republican, was asked by his employer to see if he could create a programme suitable for rigging electronic elections in America. This he proceeded to do. He thought he was being asked to do this so that the Republican party could try and expose any attempts to rig impending elections by the Democrats. However, it turned out, according to a sworn Affidavit by Mr Curtis dated 16 December 2004, that the opposite was true. According to Mr Curtis, the programme had been requested to be built not as a test, but as a potential application to be used to rig part of the vote in Florida by the Republican Party. A film about Mr Curtis's experience later won 'Best Documentary' at the 2008 New Jersey Film festival.|
watchdog group is investigating allegations made by a Florida programmer... Programmer
Clint Curtis claims that four years ago Rep. Tom Feeney (R-Florida) asked his
then-employer to write software to alter votes on electronic voting machines in
Florida.... Staff members for Rep. John Conyers (D-Michigan) met with Curtis last week to
discuss the election allegations. Representatives for Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Florida)
inquired about other allegations from Curtis that his former company spied on NASA. The
FBI in Tallahassee, Florida, has set up a meeting with Curtis, and Citizens for
Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, or CREW, said it was trying to corroborate his
claims about possible election fraud and NASA spying. The
group hopes that even if the election allegations aren't proven, they will inspire
legislators to pass a law requiring voting software to be open to public inspection to
help deter fraud and restore public confidence in the election process. The software code
used in voting machines is considered proprietary and it is protected from public
examination -- an issue voting activists have been trying to address. 'I think Mr. Curtis
helps make that issue a little more difficult to shunt aside,' said CREW Executive
Director Melani Sloan. 'You don't even have to believe what he says (in order to be
concerned about voting machines), just that he created a program. If he can do it, anyone
More Questions for Florida
Wired, 13 December 2004
thereafter [a meeting in the autumn of 2000], as directed, I created the vote fraud
software prototype... If the candidate they
selected is leading the race, nothing happens. If the other candidate is leading the race,
the vote totals are altered so that the selected candidate is now leading with 51% of the
vote. The other candidates then share the remaining 49% in exact proportions to the totals
they had previously.... In an actual application, the user would receive no visible clues
as to the fraud that had just occurred.... No amount
of testing or simulations would expose the fraud as its activation and process is completely invisible to
everyone except the person programming the vote fraud
routine..... I gave the software program, which was
on a CD disc, and the report that was on disc and paper to [my supervisor].... if they
allowed blind (already compiled) code to be used (no source code provided) and there were
no paper receipts, the votes could be flipped from
one candidate to the other without any possible way for the deception to be detected. I explained that this could be done with a touch screen or automatically.
She [my supervisor] immediately stated, 'You don't
understand, in order to get the contract we have to hide the manipulation in the source
code. This program is needed to control the vote in South Florida.' "
Sworn Affidavit, 16 December 2004
- BEST DOCUMENTARY - NEW JERSEY FILM FESTIVAL - 2008
The Clint Curtis Story
|In September of 2008, a
feature-length documentary film, Murder, Spies &
Voting Lies: The Clint Curtis Story, by filmmaker Patty Sharaf, was released on DVD and on LinkTV
"Clint Curtis was an everyday computer programmer in Florida until he was asked by a powerful Republican legislator to create vote-rigging software for electronic voting machines. For the first time, Patty Sharaf's terrifying documentary, Murder, Spies & Voting Lies (the Clint Curtis story), recounts the full, remarkable tale. Join journalist/blogger Brad Friedman, as he investigates Curtis's hair-raising claims, uncovering a seamy side of American democracy that mainstream media fails to report."
|To View Film Trailer - Click Here|
"Late last year, Congress heard sworn testimony from Florida programmer Clint
Curtis, who created vote-rigging software in 2000 at
the request of Tom Feeny, a Bush Family factotum. Feeny wanted Curtis (a fellow
Republican) and his employer, Yang Enterprises, to produce untraceable programs that could
'control the vote' as needed, investigator
Brad Friedman reports. Feeny also told Curtis of Bush plans to 'suppress the black
vote' with 'exclusion lists.' This is exactly what happened. BBC investigator Greg
Palast has shown that tens of thousands of legitimate African-American voters were
deliberately 'purged' from the rolls by a Republican-controlled private corporation hired
by Jeb Bush. Afterwards, Feeny who had been Jeb's running mate in his first
gubernatorial campaign was rewarded for his dutiful service with a plum
Congressional seat. In 2002, Raymond Lemme, a Florida
state government inspector, took up Curtis' charges, which included other corruption
allegations involving Feeny, Yang Enterprises, and a Yang employee charged with peddling
military technology to the Chinese. In June 2003, Lemme told Curtis he had 'tracked the
corruption all the way to the top' and that 'the story would break in a few weeks.' On
July 1, 2003, Lemme was found dead in a Georgia hotel room, just across the Florida
border. Local police ruled that Lemme, a happily
married man eagerly planning his daughter's wedding, had suddenly decided to slash his
wrists. At first, they said there were no photos of the death scene; but then the pictures
turned up on the Internet, and were confirmed as authentic by the embarrassed police. The
photos clearly contradicted the original suicide report at several points including
evidence that Lemme had been beaten before his death. The investigation was re-opened
after Curtis' Congressional testimony then abruptly shut down after local police
spoke to a never-identified 'someone' in the Florida state government."
The Big Fix
Moscow Times, 8 April 2005
|In Britain on 5 May there will be a referendum about the
possible introduction of the 'Alternative Vote' system for use in parliamentary elections.
Some of those who are against this system have been putting out false statements on the
web and in leaflets that the introduction of AV will involve the introduction of
This is absolutely untrue. There is no such proposal. Nor is electronic voting used in Australia where AV has been the system in use for decades.
All people who are interested in maintaining democracy should be absolutely opposed to the introduction of electronic voting systems - for one simple reason. They are are not transparent.
An electronic voting system can be programmed to produce any result its programmer wants.
It really doesn't matter what the system of election is if your vote is going to be 'counted' electronically. You or the election monitors will have no way of knowing:
In December 2004 American computer programmer Clinton Curtis appeared before Democrat members of the US House Judiciary Committee, who were holding hearings in Columbus Ohio on alleged Election 2004 voting irregularities and to whom Curtis gave sworn oral testimony.
Curtis stated that he had been asked by his employer in the autumn of 2000 to write a voting machine programme which "would flip the vote 51-49 to whoever you wanted it to go to", and that the process would have been completely undetectable by election officials. "They'd never see it", said Mr Curtis.
At the time the request was made Curtis had been a life long registered Republican. According to Curtis, the ultimate source of the request came from within the Republican Party.
Based on own his experience and the difference between the official results and exit-poll data, Mr Curtis believes the Presidential election vote in Ohio in 2004 was electronically 'hacked'. Later Mr Curtis's experience formed the foundation for the story line of a film which won 'Best Documentary' at the New Jersey Film Festival in 2008.
Whether or not the details of Mr Curtis's particular claims are correct is not of central importance. For however great their implications might be, it is nearly impossible to establish the degree to which the methods he describes might have already been deployed.
This is because, by their very nature, the way electronic voting machines count votes is not transparent.
And that is why they must not be permitted.
Every genuine opportunity to campaign against electronic voting machines should be taken, especially because the last British government was flirting with the idea of introducing them.
That possibility must not be allowed to resurface. Otherwise, where it hasn't been rendered so already by other means (such as the corrosive role played by money in politics whether at home or abroad), democracy will be at additional risk of becoming a fraud.
However, don't let these particular concerns influence your decision one way or the other about whether, or how, to vote in the referendum on the potential adoption of AV in Britain. They are not relevant.
The 5 May referendum is not an opportunity to campaign against electronic voting.
|Watch Clinton Curtis Give Testimony About Electronic Vote Tampering On YouTube - Click Here|
Bush In The White House Twice
Was The 2004 US Presidential Election Electronically Hacked?
The World Was Stunned In 2004 When It Learnt That America
Had Voted For George W Bush Twice
But Had It?
"Republican Congressman Tom Feeney of
Oviedo asked a computer programmer in September 2000, prior to that year's contested
presidential vote in Florida, to write software that could alter vote totals on
touch-screen voting machines, the programmer said. Former computer programmer Clint Curtis
made the claim Monday in sworn testimony to Democrats
on the House Judiciary Committee investigating allegations of voter fraud in the 2004 presidential election involving touch-screen voting in Ohio. In his testimony, Curtis said that Feeney, then a member of the Florida
House of Representative, met with Curtis and other employees of Yang Enterprises, an
Oviedo software company, and asked if the company could create a program that would allow
a user to alter the vote totals while using the touch-screen machine. The program had to be written so that even the human-readable
computer code would not show its illicit capabilities, Curtis recalled. Curtis said he
wrote a prototype program for Feeney, and that he
believed the program might not only be usable on touch-screen
voting machines, which some counties - predominantly in South
Florida - now use, but also on optical-scan machines, which most of the state's counties used in the 2004 elections.... Democrats and independent groups are challenging presidential
election results in Ohio, and have claimed that irregularities in some precinct results
might have been caused by tampering with electronic voting machines."
Feeney implicated in vote fraud
Seminole Chronicle, 16 December 2004
Michael Meacher smells something fishy in Bush's return to office. The evidence of fraud is not yet conclusive but, given the Republicans' record, it is all too plausible.
The great mystery of the US presidential election was that the exit polls, which had been reliable guides in all previous elections, did not tally with the final results. Tony Blair, it is said, went to sleep on 2 November thinking John Kerry had won, but woke in the morning to find that George W Bush was the victor. Many Britons and Americans had the same experience. Nobody has advanced a satisfactory explanation. Now allegations are surfacing that the use of electronic voting systems and optical scanning devices may have had a significant influence on the result. Computer security experts insist that such systems are not secure and not tamper-proof, yet they were used to count a third of the votes across 37 states. Though the Democrats remain strangely coy about the whole subject, academics and political analysts are now drawing comparisons between areas that used paper ballots and areas that used electronic systems. Is it possible that results in the latter were rigged?
An analysis of the poll by different states points up inconsistencies that cannot be explained by random variation. In Arizona, Colorado, Louisiana, Michigan, Iowa, New Mexico, Maine, Nevada, Arkansas and Missouri, where a variety of different voting systems were used, including paper ballots in many cases, the four companies carrying out exit polls were almost exactly right and their results were certainly within the margin of error. In Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Florida, Minnesota, New Hampshire and North Carolina, however, where electronic or optical scanning machines were used (though not exclusively), the tracking polls were seriously discrepant from the published result.
Two aspects of this are immediately striking. One is the large size of the variance, and the other is that in every case it favoured Bush. In Wisconsin and Ohio, the discrepancy favoured Bush by 4 per cent, in Pennsylvania by 5 per cent, in Florida and Minnesota by 7 per cent, in North Carolina by 9 per cent and in New Hampshire by an astonishing 15 per cent.
Moreover, extensive voting irregularities have been reported across the US - including intimidation, exclusion of black voters from electoral rolls, touchscreens that consistently registered support for Bush when the name Kerry was touched, and a large number of county precincts (including in Ohio) where the number of votes cast exceeded the total number of registered voters, sometimes by large margins. In Florida, for example, the number of votes reported for all the candidates exceeded the maximum possible voter turnout by 237,522, so that a minimum of 3.1 per cent of the votes must be fraudulent, and possibly considerably more. Florida uses electronic voting machines in 15 counties, and these account for a majority of the state's residents.
None of this is conclusive evidence of fraud. But an independent inquiry is surely needed to expose what really happened in Florida and several other states. Some Americans are already demanding such an inquiry. Court hearings, held in public in Columbus, Ohio, will very likely lead to at least a partial recount in that state. Ralph Nader, the Green candidate, may have secured a recount in New Hampshire, and is demanding recounts also in Ohio, Florida and North Carolina. And a survey by the University of Berkeley, California, has shown that irregularities in Florida associated with electronic voting machines seem to have awarded 130,000 to 260,000 or more excess votes to Bush.
One's immediate reaction is that such large-scale fraud is implausible. But look at the history of the Republican Party, and its willingness to go to extraordinary lengths to manipulate the popular vote, and the idea seems all too likely.
The best-known example was the Watergate break-in of 1972, designed to get illicit access to Democrat plans for a presidential election that Richard Nixon feared he would lose. At the previous election in 1968, Nixon's aides were charged with persuading the South Vietnamese to delay their participation in peace talks to deny possible advantage to the Democrats, then in office.
But that was only a precursor for 1980. In that year, when Ronald Reagan was the Republican candidate trying to stop the re-election of President Jimmy Carter, a potentially treasonable plot was hatched, which came to be known as the "October surprise". To stop Carter getting the credit for securing the release of the 52 US embassy hostages seized after the Iranian revolution, members of the Reagan campaign flew to Paris to meet Iranian and Israeli representatives in October, less than a month before the election on 4 November. Several sources, including the New York Times (15 April 1991), confirm that not only did William Casey, the CIA director, attend those meetings, but so did the vice-presidential candidate George Bush (father of George W).
It was agreed with the Iranians that the hostages would not be released before the election. In return, the Reagan-Bush team promised to supply $40m of military equipment if elected. Military equipment started to flow to Iran from Israel on 21 October, the proffered release of the hostages was withdrawn, and Carter was defeated. The hostages were finally released on 21 January 1981, minutes after Reagan was sworn in as president.
The Iran-Contra affair followed in 1986-87. After the US Congress had passed the Boland Amendment in 1982 forbidding direct military aid to the Contras in Nicaragua, the Reagan administration again ferried arms secretly to Iran (then subject to a US arms embargo), and then used the proceeds to fund weaponry for the Contras. Even when this deal, illegal at both ends, was later exposed, the administration's web of deceit managed to shield Reagan and Bush from the consequences of their conspiracy.
Once elected, Bush junior used his authority to keep this material hidden for ever. In November 2001, he signed an executive order that limited freedom of information by allowing either a past or sitting president to block access to White House papers. He then vetoed access to Reagan's papers, which would otherwise have been opened to public scrutiny in January 2002. Under this order, Bush's personal papers, detailing the decision-making process in the war on terrorism, could remain secret in perpetuity.
The most recent example of Republican manipulation is notorious. After the Bush-Gore race for the presidency in 2000, it later emerged that, under the governorship of George W's brother Jeb in Florida, around 30,000 black voters (overwhelmingly Democratic) had been illegally excluded from the voting rolls. When a stop was put to the recounts in the state, Bush was declared the winner by fewer than 540 votes.
So can we really be sure that this year's result was an accurate reflection of the popular will? It has emerged that the Diebold Gems software and optical scan voting machines used in counting a high proportion of the votes may not be tamper-proof from hacking, particularly via remote modems. Two US computer security experts, in their recently published book Black Box Voting, argue that "by entering a two-digit code in a hidden location, a second set of votes is created; and this set of votes can be changed in a matter of seconds, so that it no longer matches the correct votes". After the Florida fiasco four years earlier, the US Congress voted $3.9bn to improve the quality of voting systems. Perhaps the latest revelations about what happened where electronic systems were used may become known as the "November surprise".
Michael Meacher is Labour MP for Oldham West and Royton
2000 - A Key Move In Florida That Took Bush Into The White House
Click Here For Video - Click Here For Transcript
|US Election 1980 - 'October Surprise' And Iran-Contra - Click Here|
'And The Alternative Is...'
America's 'Two Wolves' First Past The Post System
"Democracy must be something more than
two wolves and
a sheep voting on what to have for dinner."
James Bovard, Civil Libertarian
Lost Rights: The Destruction of American Liberty (1994)
"Because of ballot access laws in the
several states, it is virtually impossible to organize and operate a third party."
Third Parties, Third Ways, the Tea Party, and the GOP
RedState, 20 April 2011
But Why Care About It If Your Vote Isn't Going To Be Counted Anyway?
group of technical, legal and political experts has begun a campaign to expose the use of
unsafe electronic voting systems in Europe. Jason
Kitcat, a programmer who helped to start the campaign, is concerned that voters' trust
will be eroded as problems emerge with insecure voting systems, as has been happening in
the United States. With most e-voting companies
refusing to make their software available for public testing, and no current system
offering a printed record of votes cast, it will now be easier than ever to hack into an
election, Mr Kitcat told The Times. 'You could have fraud on a scale never seen before, and it will be
completely undetectable,' he said. 'What worries me is that by rushing in we 'll actually turn more
young people off voting. Instead of thinking that their vote doesn't count, they will now
be worrying that no one's going to be counting their vote.' Critics of electronic voting cite early problems in the US, where
President Bush last year pledged $3.9 billion (£2.3 billion) to modernise the ballot. Bev
Harris, author of a book investigating electronic-voting companies, has catalogued what
she alleges are electoral irregularities involving touch-screen and other computerised
voting systems..... Last November, for instance, 6,300 votes changed overnight after an
election in Alabama, handing the state's governorship to a Republican. At the same time
three winning Republican candidates in elections in Texas all polled exactly 18,181
votes..... Diebold Election Systems, a US company whose software has been used in Greater
Manchester e-voting pilots, has faced particularly close scrutiny. This year its
programming code - which it refuses to disclose - was found on an unprotected website and
passed to computer scientists at Johns Hopkins University. The scientists' analysis,
published in July, found significant security flaws and said that a teenager could
circumvent the system using equipment that can be bought for £70 over the internet. Voters could cast unlimited votes without being detected by
mechanisms within the voting terminal, they reported, and votes could be overwritten in
the system's logs. Poll workers could give passwords
to their friends and alter the terms of an election."
Hackers Threaten to Short-Circuit E-Voting Plans
London Times, 15 November 2003
Changing The Voting System
Is Not Enough
".... if you look around and see what the world is now facingI don't think in the last two or three hundred years we've faced such a concatenation of problems all at the same time.....[including] the inevitability, it seems to me, of resource wars.... if we are to solve the issues that are ahead of us, we are going to need to think in completely different ways. And the probability, it seems to me, is that the next 20 or 30 years are going to see a period of great instability... I fear the [current] era of small wars is merely the precursor, the pre-shock, for something rather larger to come... we need to find new ways to be able to live together on an overcrowded earth."
Changing The Way We Think
On 5 May there will be a referendum in Britain on the possibility of introducing an 'Alternative Vote' (AV) for electing Members of Parliament, so that under most circumstances, by a process of elimination, candidates must win at least a 50% threshold of the vote to gain their seat at Westminster. Like all democratic systems it is far from perfect, but for those who really want to move to a system of proportional representation it will be necessary to support AV in the referendum.
Otherwise a 'successful' no vote will be used as an argument to claim that there is no appetite for electoral reform.
However, no one should be fooled into thinking that merely changing the voting system, into whatever format, will be sufficient to address the enormous challenges ahead that society faces. To tackle those effectively will require no less than a major change in national consciousness. Despite the current rhetoric in Britain about creating 'the big society', so far no government has brought forward tested proposals that might seriously address such a dimension.
Any country suffering from an incoherent collective consciousness will always produce poor government whatever the voting system, whether or not that system is transparent or electronic. Addressing this 'coherence' issue is where any nation's first priority should lie.
Consciousness-Based Education - 'We Need A New Way Of Thinking'
natural law publishing