Increasingly we're hearing the call to upgrade American democracy for the 21st Century. If we bank online, why shouldn't we vote online? Why not use smart phones and iPads to cast a ballot? This will make voting easy and cool! We can even have a Democracy App!
This well meaning but painfully misguided sentiment has found strong support most recently within the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) movement. Some Occupiers support the replacement of representational democracy with "direct democracy." Online voting, they reason, could allow for decentralization of our process, with citizens drafting their own bills and the public at large voting on them directly via computer.
The truth is, for those of us in the Election Integrity movement who have spent decades fighting the spreading democratic cancer of electronic vote counting, this idea makes us . . . how should I put it . . . insanely, desperately frustrated? Tear-your-hair-out, final straw, gonna lose it, hold me down crazypants? Or maybe I just speak for myself.
To lay out the fundamental argument against Internet voting and the final destruction of our actual ballots, I'm going to wisely use the words of someone who says it so clearly and unemotionally that I certainly can do no better.
Bev Harris, of Black Box Voting.org, is one of the most tenacious, effective, knowledgeable computer election fraud investigators of the past 10 years. Here is her response in an online debate to an OWS member who writes:
“as for my personal goals… I want an online voting system …”
(my emphasis is added in bold -- VC)
Okay. Thank you for stating your personal goals. I want an election system that does not violate our human rights, allowing us to retain sovereignty over the instruments of government which we have created. Any system that does not allow us to see what’s going on violates our rights. Focusing on the mechanics without first examining the specifications for what makes a public election actually public is like committing to build a shiny building without an architectural plan or any idea of what the building is to be used for.
By the way, “public election” in my book does not mean throwing away our political privacy. It means making sure the public can authenticate without need for special expertise the four key elements, (who can vote, who did vote, chain of custody and the count). Simply saying this can be done with Internet voting does not make it so; saying we should “study the issue” ignores the very large number of studies that have already demonstrated that Internet voting cannot be made secure. It would be an excellent idea to read those studies first before drawing conclusions about whether Internet voting can ever be appropriate.
As to throwing away political privacy (revealing who voted for whom) – this opens the door for massive coercion, by employers. That’s why privacy of your vote was put in place, following years of brutal machine politics targeting the most vulnerable members of our society, immigrants, the elderly, and the poor. It was not unusual for jobs to be withheld from those who voted against the employer’s interests; they were frequently beaten, and even members of their families had their livelihoods threatened.
That said, privacy of the vote is a lower level right than the inalienable right to be able to see and authenticate the original accounting of our vote. Note that the only authentication that counts is of the original, first-generation information. A second generation report is one that purports to be derived from the original, and that is where the trapdoor is for online voting. At best, the public can only receive second generation reports and must trust the source, an undemocratic principle and a funnel through which the votes of the masses can be stolen at a single critical point.
As for corporations ultimately controlling the process with online voting, that is certainly the case, but it is worse than that. The design of these systems would be developed either by academically trained persons or by the United States intelligence services (both have been involved in creating Internet voting systems in past years).
If it is academics, that’s a scary thought. I have considerable discourse with guys from M.I.T., Stanford, etc; purported “experts” in the field of computer technology. Note first that computer technology is not the relevant discipline; what we are looking at is methodology through which we can reinstate our ability to exert our own sovereignty over the government we pay for. Here’s a typical quote from one of the ivory tower computer guys regarding human rights and voting: “I am not interested in what some Eighteenth Century statesman had to say about democracy.” They really aren’t on board with the whole self-government thing. They are more interested in getting grants and its just fine with them if the public is required to trust them to tell us it’s okay. And in addition, they still are against Internet voting. While I am concerned that it can’t be made transparent, they know it can’t be made secure.
And now let’s turn to the national security intelligence types. I have been privy to some fascinating discourse between former national security guys and so-called “computer security experts.” To the stupified wonder of the academics, the national security guys scoff at their concept that encryption can make it secure. “You don’t have the security clearance,” they explain. Truth is, the intelligence guys know how to end-run some of the cryptography that even the most elite academics and corporate experts think is unpenetratable.
And to add another layer of concern: Did you know that it is truly not possible to execute military internet voting securely? The communications structure underlies other foreign nations, who can intercept information flowing through. There, it isn’t just the risk of knowing how people voted. It gives away positions of our military assets — translation, guys with special skills.
Einstein once said that anyone can make a complicated system. The genius is in making it simple. With each layer of complexification, we remove the public one step from control of their own government, placing actual control into the hands of those who control each complexification level.
To learn more about Bev Harris' groundbreaking work on exposing computerized election theft, and for highlights and links to her most important information, see The Evidence page on this website.
Illusion of Democracy, though, is key and going on globally, as such dubious voting machines were secretly fast-tracked, exported globally by NGOs, operating under the auspices of the crony-controlled U.N., for early use in the European Union (EU) Parliamentary elections, et al. (Note: control of elections is a principal tool and goal of the global gang known as the NWO. See John Perkins’ best-selling book, Confessions of an Economic Hitman.)
The Game is getting old, friends, and it’s insanity. Â So, don’t buy into Internet voting for cultural convenience because it’s easy and familiar to just click. That’s what the spooks are banking on we’ll do. But, are we fools?
Word is, a better system of self-governance is emerging. Stay tuned. Till then, to ensure the People’s rightful control over the instruments of just governance we originally created, as Bev said, simplify, as Einstein suggested.
Simplify the ballot, as Victoria has long advised. It’s easy to do. Use simple means, like color-coding and perforations of paper ballots for the different areas and races. For many races on ballots in populated urban areas, hold more than one election date for state and local, and federal races. To discourage ballot box stuffing, be sure to use clear ballot boxes, as Victoria’s father and uncle, Jim and Ken Collier, first suggested. Hand-mark paper ballots the old-fashioned way, with pen and paper, and drop them in clear ballot boxes. Be sure to hand count these genuine paper ballots in open community meeting, immediately upon close of polls. Make Election Nights in your local area festive, yet earnest and serious community events. Due to very real chain of custody concerns, do NOT transfer ballots- of any sort, in any way- to count them centrally, initially, in secondary locations. DO NOT use so-called “central tabulators”. This translates to too much blind faith and central control of vote counts by too few. (Election Directors, Moderators, and Election Workers: You and your co-workers may be in earnest, but what do you really know for sure of the interests and intentions of those above you? Hand count paper ballots in your locale, then prominently post and report vote totals.)
Post all vote totals openly when ready. Do not be pressed by anyone at all- including media- to hurry, project, or guess election vote totals. Media broadcasts can wait. Media loves to hurry elections along, and is long-known to have private ownership, its own political agendas and insider-interest in election outcomes. (Read up on “Operation Mockingbird”, for starters.)
End ALL invisible vote counts, including and especially those taking place inside secretive, “proprietary”, privately-manufactured machines. We have seen voters threatened with arrest for simply asking questions about elections or, for trying to view a vote count. Understand that, by design, it is impossible to monitor invisible vote counts inside shadowy machines. Instead, the more public eyes on the vote count, the better, as Bev has said. For greater transparency, arrange to videotape, with LIVE broadcast, vote counts on community access channels. Â The People must, at all times, be welcomed by town moderators and other public officials to be present, and to assist, with supervision, at public vote counts. Any election moderator that would opt to keep a public vote count concealed from the public itself should ask himself, “Why?” If he still feels that way after, he should willingly step down or be dismissed, as he is not serving the public interest, as he is sworn to do, and should. As no man can serve two masters, any other oaths and/or allegiances that would hinder this sacred duty, or supercede, are unacceptable.
It is time to usher in a spirit of true participation in public elections in our republics, worldwide. Feeding mystery-printed, pre-coded ballot paper through, and/or pressing buttons like monkeys on, current costly machines cynically-equipped with infra-red technology and secretive “proprietary” flashable firmware covert-controlled by shadowy private interests just won’t do.
If we have been fooled, let’s correct course. Jonathan is right. Over time, we have been lulled to sleep with the seduction of convenience. As well, we’ve been robbed of our money and of our precious autonomy- worldwide- with empty promises of the benefits of “progress by technology” that have proven to be a tragic Trojan Horse. The result has been Poor Stewards. Look at the cumulative planetary ravages. They are everywhere, profound, and all around us.
So now, let’s, rather, correct course. And hasten the return to the sanity of real and honest elections by way of hand counted paper ballot (HCPB) simplicity. To begin to reverse the great tragedy of 40+ years of exceedingly costly techno-political connivance for total control of our votes by notable spooks, for purposes of predictable profits and geo-political local, regional, and global control, take centralized, covert-controlled, shadowy Trojan Horse technology entirely out of the election equation. “Internet voting” is yet another Trojan Horse. So, NO.
William J. Kelleher, Ph.D.