Did Expert Witness, Activists Thwart a Rove Ohio Vote Plot?

Michael DunihoA software expert’s testimony last week may have thwarted a plot to flip enough votes to secure a victory for GOP Presidential nominee Mitt Romney.

Building on years of efforts by activists, election software critic Michael Duniho testified in Ohio's state court that secret software installed on Ohio machines could enable officials to flip enough votes to select a different statewide winner that the one chosen by voters.

Duniho, a retired National Security Agency analyst, is shown at right in similar testimony in Arizona, where he is a local elections official.

Jon HustedDuniho provided his explosive testimony first via telephone to a federal judge in a temporary restraining order hearing in the morning, and then to Franklin County Judge Mark Serrott to amplify his written affidavit, published here. The testimony supported an injunction request by election machine critics who have argued for years -- with scant previous success in courts and in the media -- that election machine software tampering has enabled theft of major elections, and thus poses a grave danger to the democratic process.

On Election Day 2012, their litigation and testimony raised the issue to unprecedented prominence. The litigation against state officials would have put any plotters on notice of serious threat of investigation and retribution.

The contrary view is that no plot ever existed -- and that Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted, shown at left, and fellow Republicans are being falsely suspected of bad intentions. Husted has denied misconduct in court filings. I reached out to him also for more specific questions, and shall update this post with any comment he or his staff provide. The Ohio Secretary of State's website contains background information.

This column reports Duniho’s testimony, and summarizes other evidence that election software poses a threat to fair elections. Reported also are: an Oct. 24 news conference announcing a chart alleging a Rove-linked “empire” of vote theft; a half dozen recent books on electronic election fraud; and a survey of a decade of major scandals, books, and articles.

The documentation draws on my previous columns, my research for a forthcoming book, Presidential Puppetry, and my ongoing interactions with research sources, several of whom asked my advice concerning their recent  news announcements in Washington. I suggested they announce litigation before Election Day because the public tunes out complaints from losers.

Update: I am scheduled to appear Nov. 12 on vote theft-critic Harvey Wasserman's 3 p.m. (EST) radio show on the Progressive Radio Network to discuss next steps with him and his fellow pioneer in the election integrity movement, Robert Fitrakis, a 2012 Green Party Congressional candidate. Fitrakis, based in Columbus, is a professor, attorney, website editor, and co-author of several books with Wasserman. Fitrakis filed the suit alleging electronic voting theft in Ohio’s 2004 presidential election and elsewhere.

Theirs and my multiple roles are increasingly typical in modern communications. Many news makers blog and broadcast these days, thereby blurring the lines between being a news source and part of the media.

An even greater departure from past categories is that Karl Rove covered the Democratic National Convention September on a press pass. This was while he was also in the process of spending an estimated $300 million to help Republican candidates via his American Crossroads and Crossroads GPS funds. Also, he was allegedly scheming to steal elections via software fraud and voter suppression. Rove, like Husted, denies wrongdoing, and failed to respond to my request for comment on specifics. Whatever the facts on election fraud, Rove clearly is part of the Washington punditry elite delivering news to the nation.

The Duniho Testimony
Michael “Mickey” Duniho is a volunteer election official in Pima County, Arizona. He became prominent this fall among electronic voting machine critics because of his videotape testimony in an Arizona case arguing that dishonest officials can easily steal votes electronically. The photo above portrays that testimony, not his remarks by telephone in the Ohio litigation Nov. 6.

Duniho worked nearly four decades as a National Security Agency computer expert before his retirement. NSA is far larger and more secretive than the better-known CIA. It has vast information gathering and storage capabilities reported, among other places, in a series of authoritative books by former NSA staffer James Bamford.

Duniho claimed that the United States faced the threat of vote theft in Ohio because Husted, Ohio's secretary of state, had secretly installed software on voting machines covering 80 percent of the state’s population for no apparent legitimate purpose. The witness said the software could enable vote theft by officials, and no actual “emergency” required its installation throughout Ohio in violation of a state law requiring testing before installation. Also, Duniho said the voting machine company, Electronic Systems and Solutions (ES&S), appeared to be cheating the state on the cost of the software.

Clifford Arnebeck

Husted’s legal team rebutted Duniho’s affidavit and testimony. The presiding state court judge failed to issue the injunction requested by the plaintiff.

A whistleblower in Husted’s office prompted the litigation by telling the Fitrakis team Thursday that the state secretly installed the controversial software in September. The Fitrakis suit was one of several he filed in state and federal courts last week with the cooperation of Columbus attorney Clifford Arnebeck, at left.

The litigation failed to attract much news coverage from major news outlets. Historically, reporters ignore allegations of electronic vote fraud as, in general, too complex and controversial. NBC News Political Director and Chief White House Correspondent Chuck Todd sent a Tweet this fall claiming election machine fraud is a “conspiracy theory” unworthy of coverage.

Similarly, the New York Times published on Nov. 8 what can only be described as a biased, mocking profile of Mark Crispin Miller, a New York University professor and author who has documented election fraud. The Times article was A Long Day for a Professor Suspicious of Voting Machines. In contrast to the snide approach by the Times reporter, a YouTube video garnered more than 80,000 views with its more straightforward interview, visible here:

.be ">None Dare Call It Stolen: US Election Fraud in 2012?

Despite such handicaps, the litigation last week doubtless reminded elections decision-makers that civil and perhaps criminal investigation could await them if dubious election results occurred. A reporter such as NBC's Chuck Todd can ignore a story. A defendant must respond in court, sometimes by sworn testimony that could potentially escalate into a criminal investigation that trumps secrecy provisions in official contracts with private vote tabulation companies.
 
The Secretary of State's Role?
Several voting theft opponents allied with Fitrakis and Arnebeck helped publicize the Ohio-litigation with a news conference Nov. 5 at the National Press Club in Washington, DC. Speakers included Clint Curtis, a Florida IT consultant who helped pioneering whistle blowing in the field by alleging that a Florida congressman asked  him to help defraud voters in the 2000 election. Also speaking were Harvey Wasserman, a frequent co-author with Fitrakis of books and articles on the topic, and Lori Grace, who has helped provide funding for such research. The activist group Protect Our Elections created a

of the speakers.
 
Several days previously, Ben Swann, a television-consumer reporter based in Cincinnati for Fox News affiliate WXIX-TV, published an investigative report describing how electronic vote thievery can occur. Swann’s video was widely circulated until YouTube removed it for violating terms of service. Election theft critics hope that such news reports encourage the FBI to demand records and interview all those involved.

Their view is that massive elections fraud can be accomplished by very few conspirators so long as the operators are sufficiently expert and corrupt.

Alleged Rove Electronic Vote Fraud 'Empire'

On Oct. 24, I  co-moderated with Arnebeck a news conference at the National Press Club. Alabama attorney Dana Jill Simpson and IT consultant Jim Marsh unveiled a new chart that they described as “Roadmap to Karl Rove’s Empire of Election Fraud.”  

The chart is displayed at right, here on a downloadable link, and in larger size below. The relationship chart diagrams voting machine companies, and their ownership (including by Romney and Bush family backers).  Also, it asserts that a national training network runs a significant part of the nation’s back-office election operations through private companies hired by partisan officials who conduct operations in secret because the voting companies use proprietary software immune from outside scrutiny.

Simpson, Marsh, and Arnebeck also announced formation of a new organization, Election Protection Action. This is one of several small civic groups across the country that have developed election fraud research for years, primarily in obscurity.

Simpson has said she formerly worked with Rove and his allies on campaign opposition research that inevitably led, by her account, to campaign dirty tricks that soured her on the Republican Party. Among her allegations is that SmarTech, a Chattanooga IT consultancy, has played major role helping Republicans control elections, government websites, and government email  traffic both through the United States and globally.

Alabama Test Run For Election Theft?

Now a progressive, Simpson says that when she was a Republican volunteer opposition researcher she visited SmarTech in the days it was handling vast volumes of sensitive political traffic. Also, she has been reported to be knowledgeable on certain circumstances of one of the nation’s most notorious election software mysteries, the late-night switch of nearly 7,000 votes in rural Baldwin County that flipped Democratic Governor Don Siegelman’s reported re-election victory in 2002.

Speaking also at the Oct. 24 news conference was Siegelman's daughter, Dana, 27. She said the family went to bed on Election Night in 2002 believing news reports that her father had won re-election, but awoke to learn that votes had been shifted electronically in Baldwin County for never-disclosed reasons. She said that Alabama's Attorney General William Pryor, a Republican since elevated to the federal appeals court, threatened to arrest anyone who tried to investigate the vote-change.

Therefore, she said, there was nothing her father could do except try to run again for governor in 2006. However, the Bush administration indicted him on corruption charges in 2004. When that case fell apart, they indicted him against before a different judge, Chief U.S. District Judge Mark Fuller, who was able to help prosecutors secure corruption convictions by making many pro-prosecution rulings that have puzzled legal experts for years but have been affirmed by appeals courts, including Pryor's. The convictions were primarily for Siegelman's reappointment to a state board in 1999 of a Republican who had donated to a non-profit that Siegelman supported. 

In 2007, Simpson broke with the Republican Party to swear that she was aware of a Republican plot for years to prevent Siegelman from running for re-election in 2006 by framing him on corruption charges with the help of “Karl” {whom  she identifies as most likely Karl Rove] and Fuller, whom she swore was picked to preside over Siegelman as judge because the judge "hated" the defendant and wanted to "hang" him.

Nonetheless, Fuller has remained on the case, and in August ordered Siegelman, now 67, to resume a seven-year sentence. Don and Dana SiegelmanDana Siegelman, at left with her father before his reimprisonment, is leading a nationwide petition drive to persuade President Obama to pardon her father. The petition is here.

She said it has been signed by 34,000 people so far, including an unprecedented group of 112 former state attorneys general who separately wrote the Supreme Court that Siegelman's actions did not constitute a crime under the law. The Justice Integrity Project has gone beyond that finding and concluded that prosecutors and the trial judge framed Siegelman, thereby creating a notorious political prosecution of global significance. 

The Siegelman prosecution is the kind of result that can occur when vote thieves acquire the power to appoint prosecutors and judges.

Simpson’s “roadmap” devised with Marsh is so other researchers, including the media and law enforcement personnel, can understand the ownership, operation, and goals of the nation’s vote-tabulation process. The critics allege that the process is increasingly secret and controlled by partisan officials seeking to rig outcomes in selected locales when the stakes are high enough.

Karl Rove

Rove has denounced her as someone who makes incredible allegations. Also, he states that he has never met her. Vanity Fair columnist Craig Unger examined her allegations, SmarTech's responses and , and Rove’s denials in his recent book, Boss Rove. Unger found her to be more credible than Rove on the specifics.  

I have reached a similar conclusion. Rove has failed to respond to my requests for comment, or an in-depth interview. Furthermore, representatives of the Romney family have denied that family or Bain investments in a voting tabulation company, HIG Capital, which controls Hart InterCivic, has a fraudulent purpose.

Historical Background of Software Fraud
Fitrakis, Arnebeck, and Wasserman have alleged election machine fraud for years, including in litigation alleging that the 2004 presidential election was determined by IT fraud. In their  books and unsuccessful lawsuits, they say Ohio’s electoral votes went to President Bush via what they call a “Man in the Middle” strategy whereby IT consultant Michael Connell helped arrange for SmarTech to have access to Ohio’s votes before they were announced to the public.

Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell, a GOP partisan, arranged Connell’s consultancy via his company, GovTech, which hosted its operations at SmarTech in Chattanooga. Blackwell denied any improper motive or result. Yet Steve Spoonamore, the top IT employee for 2008 GOP nominee John McCain, testified that the set-up enabled vote-switching without public knowledge. Connell described in a 2008 pretrial deposition the specifics of how he set up vote transfers. Connell died a month later when his airplane crashed. I summarized that history in a 2010 column. An appendix to the column provides hot links to nearly a decade of major books and articles in the field.

The concept of "election fraud" orchestrated via voting machine software is different from "voter fraud," which typically refers to ineligible voters casting ballots. Republicans have enacted many harsh voter suppress laws to restrict voting by largely Democratic groups, as Huffington Post columnist Dan Froomkin noted Nov. 12, Voter ID: The More You Know, The Less You Like It. Some voter fraud does in fact exists, counters Melinda  Pillsbury-Foster, a host of World Truth Radio who formerly had close contacts with prominent conservatives. But, she says, whatever actual problems exist in voter fraud have been grossly magnified by the media to create a false equivalence with the much-greater problem of massive elections fraud.  

Summing up
Conventional wisdom is that no plot existed this year, or ever in the past. But we’ll never know for sure unless the relevant operatives and officials are examined under oath.

Michael Duniho took the process to a new level on Election Day, Nov. 6. Let’s hope that the beginning, not the end, of any questions.

 

Contact the author Andrew Kreig or comment

 

 

Update

OpEd News, Anonymous had no impact on the presidential election, Gerry Bello, Nov. 26, 2012. http://www.opednews.com/articles/Anonymous-had-no-impact-on-by-Gerry-Bello-121126-283.html On November 12th, the website VelvetRevolution.us posted a letter, which they claimed to "accept at face value" from "The Protectors." This letter claimed that a  shadowy hacker group had clandestinely defeated Karl Rove's latest vote rigging machinations. A few weeks earlier, some subset of the hacker group Anonymous posted a video to youtube promising intervention in any Rove directed electronic election fraud.  Coupling these claims with Rove's Fox news election night meltdown, and you have just enough speculation to go to print. Somehow "The Protectors" became conflated with Anonymous and thus a myth was born: Anonymous saved American democracy.  I was asked to examine this myth by my editor at the Columbus Free Press, Bob Fitrakis, and render an opinion.  My opinion as a trained computer security person and as a journalist is that these claims have a number of huge cultural and technical flaws in them.  These flaws and improbabilities cast grave doubt over the truthfulness of the claims.  So much doubt in fact that I am willing to bet my mouse finger against them.

Previous Justice Integrity Project Coverage

Comparing Presidential Results, Polls, Predictions and Pundits, Andrew Kreig, Nov. 7, 2012. President Obama's re-election victory Nov. 6 should not be the end of the election season. Today, let's examine pundit performance. Some of the biggest names in the media seem incompetent at best in their predictions. At worst, they may be motivated by a hidden agenda that makes them deceive the public because of their ideology and their paymasters. In the wake of the election, serious scrutiny is now needed also for the out-of-control campaign finance system, and deeply disturbing voter suppression and privatized electronic voting systems gaining ascendancy. All of these problems seem linked to a "win at all costs" partisan mentality ruining our society. Exhibit A is longtime Washington Post columnist and ABC-TV analyst George Will. Holder of a Ph.D. and married to a former high-ranking GOP campaign consultant, Will is by most measures the nation's most widely syndicated and otherwise influential political columnist.

Election Fraud Critics Seek Halt To Ohio's Secret Software In GOP Plan, Andrew Kreig, Nov. 5, 2012. Longtime critics of voting machine electronic software that can be used to steal elections filed a federal court civil suit Nov. 5 seeking to enjoin Ohio's Secretary of State from using a secret installation of "emergency" software packets that could be used to affect what they called nearly 80 percent of the state's vote and thus steal the Nov. 6 presidential election.

Michael ConnellRove Vote-Switching 'Empire' Alleged to Threaten Nov. 6 Results, Andrew Kreig, Nov. 4, 2012. A well-funded alliance of Rove-linked Republican companies linked also to the Bush and Romney families is poised to repeat previous successes in decisive election-machine vote manipulation on Nov. 6.

Jonathan SimonBook Reviews: Two Recommended Books on Election Fraud, Andrew Kreig, Nov. 4, 2012. Two leading voting sleuths are among a half a half dozen authors who have published books in recent weeks underscoring the dire threat of electronic election fraud on Nov. 6. Today's column features two of them: Richard Charnin, author of Matrix of Deceit, and Jonathan D. Simon, right, who wrote Code Red.

2012 Election Theft Fears Escalate, Andrew Kreig, Oct. 30, 2012. Authors of a half dozen new books point to the 2012 elections as a landmark in election fraud. For the first time, most suggest, technology makes possible massive election result tampering cross major regions, not just in targeted locales. Establishment experts, including those from voting machine companies and the officials that awarded the contracts, insist that nothing dangerous or unusual will occur.

Dana Siegelman Describes Nationwide Pardon Petition Push, Andrew Kreig, Dana Siegelman, daughter of former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman, appears Aug. 16 on my weekly MTL Washington Update radio show to describe progress on the nationwide petition her father's supporters have launched to obtain a presidential pardon. Dana has recently written and spoken eloquently about why presidential action is justified to redress his 2006 federal convictions on corruption charges.d

Cutting Through Hype, Hypocrisy of Vote Fraud Claims, Andrew Kreig, Aug. 13, 2011. Recent events show why election theft deserves much more scrutiny than it receives from either government officials or news reporters. Most dramatically, a federal judge has released the 2008 testimony of GOP IT guru Michael Connell. The Ohio resident, shown at left, died in a mysterious plane crash that year after anonymous warnings he would be killed if he testified about his work with Karl Rove and others helping the Bush-Cheney ticket win in 2000 and 2004.

 

Related News Coverage

Salon, Did Anonymous stop Rove from stealing the election? It would explain his Fox News outburst, but the Hacker claim lacks evidence, VIDEO, Natasha Lennard, Nov. 20, 2012. On Election Night, viewers watched in shock as Karl Rove refused to accept the call, confirmed by Fox News analysts, that Ohio had gone to Obama. A release claiming to be from hacker collective Anonymous alleges there was more behind Rove’s freak-out than first met the eye. The group says that it foiled Rove’s attempt to steal the election in Florida, Virginia and Ohio by using the GOP’s ORCA system. Two weeks prior to Election Night, a typical Anonymous video was released warning Rove against rigging the election. “We want you to know that we are watching you, waiting for you to make this mistake of thinking you can rig this election to your favor,” Anonymous’ ubiquitous Guy Fawkes character warned. Then, following Obama’s win and Rove’s very public outburst, a group calling themselves “The Protectors,” believed to be comprised of Anonymous hackers, sent a letter to election transparency non-profit, Velvet Revolution, claiming to have thwarted attempts by GOP strategists to flip votes and rig the election in three swing states.

Online Publishing, Illegal Voter Sentenced to Federal Prison, Barry Sussman, Nov. 16, 2012.  From Florida comes another installment in the “no crime is too small to prosecute” department. The American criminal justice system currently enjoys a world-wide reputation for turning molehills into mountains and the upward trend in prosecuting minutia shows no sign of abating. Proponents of criminalizing legal trivialities often claim to subscribe to the “broken windows” theory of policing under which it is asserted that failure to prosecute minor crimes is an invitation for offenders to commit more serious violations. Regardless of what legal justification is employed, the idea that only “serious” offenses warrant federal prosecution has been turned on its head by prosecutors who are alternatively looking to pad resumes with meaningless convictions, move up the judicial-corporate ladder or simply do God’s work by punishing all perceived evil-doers. Josef Sever, 52, an Austrian national and Canadian citizen who has lived in Florida since 1992 but never obtained U.S. citizenship, admitted to having voted in two presidential elections despite his status as a non-citizen. Sever was indicted by a federal grand jury in August of 2012 for falsely impersonating a U.S. citizen in order to vote. Federal investigators began looking at Sever earlier this year when he was identified as a possible illegal voter by state officials in Florida.

Progressive Radio Network/Green Power, 2012 Election Roundtable, with Harvey Wasserman, Bob Fitrakis, Brad Friedman and Andrew Kreig, Nov. 12, 2012.

UK Progressive, NSA Analyst Proves GOP Is Stealing Elections, Denis G. Campbell and Charley James, Oct. 25, 2012.  Why is Mitt Romney so confident? In states where the winner will be decided by less than 10%, of the vote he already knows he will win. This is no tinfoil hat conspiracy. It’s a maths problem. And mathematics showed changes in actual raw voting data that had no statistical correlation other than programmable computer fraud. This computer fraud resulted in votes being flipped from Democrat to Republican in every federal, senatorial, congressional and gubernatorial election since 2008 (thus far) and in the 2012 primary contests from other Republicans to Mitt Romney. See also follow-ups

Huffington Post, Why Did the Republicans Win the House? Geoffrey Stone, Nov. 12, 2012. Although the Republicans won 55 percent of the House seats, they received less than half of the votes for members of the House of Representatives. Indeed, more than half-a-million more Americans voted for Democratic House candidates than for Republicans House candidates. There was no split-decision. The Democrats won both the presidential election and the House election. But the Republicans won 55 percent of the seats in the House. This seems crazy. How could this be? This answer lies in the 2010 election, in which Republicans won control of a substantial majority of state governments. They then used that power to re-draw congressional district lines in such a way as to maximize the Republican outcome in the 2012 House election.

Huffington Post, Voter ID: The More You Know, The Less You Like It, Huffington Post, Nov. 12, 2012.  The pitch by advocates of voter ID laws and other measures to restrict voting is that they are necessary to prevent voter fraud, which they insist is rampant and poses a serious danger to the electoral process. The factual record, however, shows that voter fraud is extremely rare -- and the kind that voter ID could actually prevent is virtually nonexistent. So how do you scare people about voter fraud if there isn't any? One way is to tap into other fears -- fear of being displaced, fear of being robbed, fear of people who aren't like you. These days, most political appeals to racial anxiety are subtle. The official spokesmen of the national voter ID movement speak smoothly and euphemistically about the "illegal alien" and "urban" voters who are purportedly committing fraud, even as they forcefully deny any racist intent.

Robert FitrakisFree Press, Bob Fitrakis & Harvey Wasserman, An Election Protection Agenda for 2016, Bob Fitrakis, left, & Harvey Wasserman, Free Press, Nov. 10, 2012.  A mass grassroots election protection movement has been born. It's finally forced the issues of mass disenfranchisement and hackable electronic voting machines into the mainstream. And it's emerged from this election with a must-do list of things that need to be accomplished---soon---if we are to retain any shreds of American democracy.  Meanwhile the flaws in our system allowed the theft of the presidential elections of 2000 and 2004, and threatened to do it again this year. They've allowed the theft of countless other races for Congress, governorships, state offices, judgeships, referenda and more. This cuts to the core of our democracy process. But as we've seen so many times before, we can change all this.

Harvey Wasserman, Romney would have won if it had all come down to Ohio, Harvey Wasserman, Nov. 9, 2012. The simple truth of Barack Obama's victory is that if it had just come down to Ohio, Mitt Romney might have won. The gears of the election theft machine were well-oiled and running at top speed….until an "October Surprise" named Hurricane Sandy intervened. Those now rejoicing over the Obama triumph should know that there is absolutely no excuse for leaving this sinister apparatus of electronic election theft in place. Election reform should be at the top of the progressive movement's list, led by the non-negotiable demands for universal hand-counted paper ballots and universal automatic voter registration. As Obama said in his victory speech in reference to the long lines in Florida: "We need to do something about that." This year, as in 2004, the Rovian blueprint was simple if not clean: keep the election close enough that Ohio and Florida would be the deciders…and then do the deciding.

Part One was the massive Jim/Juan Crow campaign aimed at disenfranchising millions of primarily black and Hispanic voters throughout the US, but especially in swing states Ohio, Florida and Pennsylvania. With photo ID and other restrictive laws, along with yet another 2004-style tsunami of misinformation, intimidation and artificially induced mass confusion, the GOP brought on truncated voting hours that caused long lines intended to keep suspected Democrats as far from casting countable ballots as possible. Part Two was to embed a thoroughly corrupted electronic voting system that could flip Ohio to Romney with a few simple dead-of-night keystrokes. The Rovian narrative that all would turn on Ohio spread predictably through the corporate media. All bloviating eyes were focused on Hamilton County (Cincinnati), population 800,000, where the votes would be cast and counted on machines owned, programmed, operated and tallied by Hart Intercivic, a company with deep ties to the Romney family and campaign apparatus. Most of the rest of Ohio would do its electoral business on machines from the Republican-owned E.S.& S company. To guarantee the right outcome, Ohio Secretary of State John Husted installed an "experimental" software patch ideally designed for theft and fraud by a secretary of state ready to flip an election. The patch would handle about 80% of Ohio's 5-plus million votes....

New York Times, A Long Day for a Professor Suspicious of Voting Machines, Ariel Kaminer, Nov. 8, 2012. Monday afternoon, just half a day before the polls opened, Prof. Mark Crispin Miller was feeling pessimistic about the electoral process. Actually, he had been feeling pessimistic for years, certainly since Senator John Kerry lost — or as Professor Miller tells it, since the credulous citizens of the United States were told that he lost, and the lily-livered news media swallowed that story hook, line and sinker.

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