OPEN LETTER TO AMERICANS:
Rumsfeld replacement (Robert Gates) was director of voting company
The VoteHere company spent more money than ES&S, Diebold, and Sequoia combined to help ram the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) through.
Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld will resign, reportedly to be replaced by former CIA director Robert Gates.
Gates was on the board of directors of VoteHere, a strange little company that was the biggest elections industry lobbyist for the Help America Vote Act (HAVA). VoteHere spent more money than ES&S, Diebold, and Sequoia combined to help ram HAVA through. And HAVA, of course, was a bill sponsored by by convicted Abramoff pal Bob Ney and K-street lobbyist buddy Steny Hoyer ((D-MD) odds-on favorite to become the new House Majority Leader, Tom Delay's old job). HAVA put electronic voting on steroids.
You can find copies of the VoteHere lobbying forms here.
Enter search terms in both "registrant" and "client" fields and put in terms "Rhoads" "Livingston" and "Votehere" (one at a time.). Then look at the gravy train while it was in the process of derailing American democracy.
I first became acquainted with VoteHere when I met a source, Dan Spillane, who is the wonderful guy that identified the Diebold source code modules for me after I found the Diebold files. He is the person who introduced me, and subsequently everyone else, to the odd role of The Election Center and R. Doug Lewis in the elections industry.
Spillane also filled me in on The Livingston Group, VoteHere lobbyists, run by Bob Livingston -- the fellow that Hustler publisher Larry Flynt outed during the Bill Clinton blow job days. Larry Flynt offered a million dollars to anyone who could locate a Republican congressman committing adultery, and out popped peccadilloes by Livingston.
Livingston couldn't live that one down, so he resigned his post as House Speaker-Elect and became a lobbyist -- but that's not all! He also launched a group called "Center for Democracy" which was going to "monitor elections." This group also featured several good old boys from the tobacco industry and some mining companies.
Former VoteHere test engineer Dan Spillane was looking into all this because he had been fired after he questioned the certification process on a touch-screen system in which he had identified 250 flaws. It was way back in November 2002 that Spillane told me, "The voting machine industry is a house of cards. And the certification and testing process is the bottom card in the house of cards."
BUT DON'T RUN OUT OF THE ROOM TO TAKE A SHOWER YET. THERE'S MORE.
VoteHere was a company shilling cryptographic solutions and filled with NSA types (another director was Admiral Bill Owens, another crony of Rummy, Perle and Wolfowitz). For some reason this company claims it was unable to prevent itself from being hacked. In this alleged hack, VoteHere claims that someone stole their source code. Said source code was offered to me in October 2003, an obvious attempt at entrapment which I refused.
Nevertheless, VoteHere claimed to the media that its master security experts had supposedly "tracked" the hacker and had identified the hacker as an activist in the election reform community.
For some reason, it was decided that I should be investigated in connection with this "hack" of VoteHere -- nevermind that I can't remember how to change the password on my own laptop. Therefore I was interviewed by the Secret Service several times about this. Curiously, they never seemed to ask any questions about VoteHere, only my role in finding the Diebold files and publishing the Diebold memos.
This nonsense eventually culminated in a gag order and a letter from the U.S. Attorney to appear in front of a federal grand jury with information on all the visitors to the Black Box Voting Web site. (As if they couldn't get that in less dramatic ways in post-Patriot Act America). Attorney Lowell Finley (now with VoterAction.org ) went to bat for me on this. A reporter named George Howland from the Seattle Weekly also got wind of it. When it hit the press, and with Lowell Finley's help, their harassment of me stopped.
VoteHere never sold any voting machines that I can find, but apparently did set up some deals to embed its cryptography into some voting systems. We found memos in the Diebold trash about VoteHere's crypto-crap, and Maryland Director of Elections Linda Lamone shows up in VoteHere-related letters. Sequoia Voting Systems signed an agreement with VoteHere, but its not clear to me whether they ever did anything about it.
Robert Gates stepped away from VoteHere shortly before he showed up in Chapter 8 of my book, Black Box Voting, in a short bit about the VoteHere company history. You can read that here.
I don't know about you, but I'd rather use a paper, pencil, and count by hand at the polling place than have former CIA director Robert Gates fooling around with my vote.
But that's just me.
Black Box Voting
P.S. Since the HBO special, I have plenty of moral support, but even after the Secret Service interviews and all the rest of the nonsense my husband and I have had to put up with, there are others who have had it rougher.
I'd like you to take a moment to visit this Web site -- not affiliated with Black Box Voting -- to meet one of the heroic citizens in this movement who has faced the most brutal retaliation of all:
Stephen Heller. If you saw the HBO film "Hacking Democracy" you may remember a scene where I am chastising Diebold for lying about correcting problems with its product. I refer to "Release Notes." Those notes came from a source. Stephen Heller is being threatened with up to five years in prison for allegedly leaking me those documents. Kevin Shelley then decertified Diebold, and recommended criminal prosecution of Diebold. Diebold was never prosecuted, but Stephen Heller is being prosecuted RIGHT NOW. I hope you will donate to his defense. If not for citizens like him, where would your vote be now?
To contribute to Stephen Heller's defense fund, please click here.
Black Box Voting is a nonprofit, nonpartisan 501c(3) elections watchdog group supported entirely by citizen donations. We refuse funds from any vendor or vested interest.
To support Black Box Voting: click here to donate
or send your check to:
Black Box Voting
330 SW 43rd St Suite K
Renton WA 98055
Copyright © 2006 The Baltimore Chronicle. All rights reserved.
Republication or redistribution of Baltimore Chronicle content is expressly prohibited without their prior written consent.
This story was published on November 9, 2006.