12/01/2008 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

How Electronic Voting Machines Could Steal Our Democracy

Did you know the hardware and software used in electronic voting machines (DREs) is considered proprietary and cannot be inspected by outside experts? That means that a small number of people could easily program DREs to flip votes, and the evidence of this crime would be safely locked inside the machines, with no way that anyone (except for the manufacturers) to know with 100% certainty that votes were accurately counted, or even if they were counted at all. And paper trails are only useful if they are actually counted. They often aren’t.

As Josef Stalin (allegedly) said, "It's not the people who vote that count. It's the people who count the votes."

This is potentially a democracy nightmare, where private companies are allowed to count the votes with absolutely zero transparency or accountability. We might as well have the vote count done at Guantanamo Bay by Blackwater.

But there are a few patriots out there who are ceaselessly fighting to expose this potential crisis. One is Clint Curtis, a software developer turned whistleblower who was asked in 2001 to write vote hacking software to be used in DREs. Another is Brad Friedman, a tireless investigative blogger and creator of, an excellent clearinghouse for election fraud information. Both are featured in the excellent, terrifying documentary Murder, Spies & Voting Lies: the Clint Curtis Story. You can see my review of it here (you can buy the movie and find out more about it at

America’s corporate media has done a woeful, shameful job reporting this issue that goes to the very heart of our democracy and our identity and reputation as a free nation. A few nights ago, a major channel finally did a long, in-depth story about election fraud, featuring interviews with Curtis and Friedman. The channel? Al-Jazeera English. You can watch the entire story here (part 1 & part 2).

I’ve talked to a lot of serious progressives who refuse to believe that election fraud could decide the election. But there is a very real chance it could. I checked, which lists what voting systems are used in which states and the makers of their voting machines, and compared it with the electoral map at The contested states of Pennsylvania, Indiana, and Florida use a mix of paper ballots and DREs without paper verification. Nevada uses DREs with paper and Colorado uses a mix of DREs with and without paper. That’s 133 electoral college votes that could be flipped to decide the election.

To find out how to protect your vote, check out or these other sites:

And remember to bring your video camera to the polls to record any dirty tricks.

Don’t think for a second that this couldn’t happen.