Voting Machines Can Never Be Trusted, Says GOP Computer Security Expert

News & Politics

In an interview from October, 2006, that has only now seen the light of day, Stephen Spoonamore, one of the world's leading experts in cyber crime and a self-described "life-long Republican" destroys Diebold's already non-existent credibility.

Spoonamore lays it out for anyone to see and understand. If you care about America and it's survival as a democratic republic, you'll watch this interview.

The interviews are on YouTube and are being carried by a new site created by Velvet Revolution,

Read below the fold for details and background.

There is a civil suit pending in Ohio, King Lincoln Bronzeville v. Blackwell. We covered a July 17 press conference about this case here. The issues in this case are complex, but in a nutshell, some Ohio voters filed a lawsuit about the 2004 election. These voters want to get the deposition of Mike Connell, a Republican IT expert who set up Ohio's computers for the 2004 election while simultaneously running the IT network for the Bush/Cheney 2004 campaign.

Connell's allegiance is clear; he is the co-owner of Connell Donatelli Inc., the company that was the registrant, administrator, and tech organizer of the website for the so-called Swiftboat Veterans for Truth. Connell has also been called "a high-tech Forrest Gump" who was "'at the scene of every crime' for numerous questionable elections since 2000."

The plaintiffs are working with an expert witness, Stephen Spoonamore. Spoonamore, according to Arnebeck, "works for credit card companies chasing data thieves, identity thieves around the globe, and also consults with government agencies including the Secret Service, the Pentagon, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation in criminal matters. [He's] really one of the top, and in fact the top private cop in the world on the subject of data security."

In this interview, "Spoon," as his friends call him, cuts through the lies and dissembling of Diebold and explains in language that anyone can understand how our elections have been stolen and how they are going to be stolen again. Even though this interview is almost two years old, the issues are still, unfortunately, germane to our elections.

The interview is broken into eight segments, and each segment is only a few minutes long. We urge you to watch each segment for yourself, which won't take very long. It is only through an electorate that is educated about the problems with electronic voting and the lies told by the e-voting companies that we will have a chance to take our elections back from the crooks who are currently in control of them.

Following are some excerpts from the interview, but we urge you to watch the entire thing.

In segment one:

Spoon explains that Diebold "refuse[s] to show the architecture [of their voting machines] or allow it to be exposed to any kind of significant expert." He says, "The people who … they claim have certified their machines have no knowledge of architecture whatsoever."

Spoon continues, "The fundamental structures that Diebold has used to set up their voting machines are inherently flawed. They are what I would consider IT junk."

He explains how a Diebold ATM is set up with checks, double checks, triple checks, and even quadruple checks to ensure that the machine works the way it is supposed to. And, adds Spoon, "Those people [the people who check a bank's ATM] are not from Diebold. One of them is from the installation group and one of them is from the bank. Otherwise, the [ATM] machine is not certified for use."

When the interviewer says, "So what you're saying is there's more security regarding the dispensing of a $20 bill and the fact that if you don't get that $20 bill, there is more of an audit system set up [as compared to any audit system for the counting of our votes]," Spoon replies, "Of course."

Regarding the 2000 elections, he says, "There is a very strong argument to be made that the 2000 election was electronically stolen, the hanging chads were just a distraction."

In segment two:

Spoon talks about the Department of Homeland Security's warning via the US-CERT Center (the United States' Cyber Emergency Response Team) "warning that the way Diebold systems are architected in the way the tabulators communicate to the central state tabulation center is subject to foreign national hacking [as well as hacking from within the U.S.]. They put out a warning about it. To the best of my knowledge, this is still the case." He explains how this can happen.

On to segment three.

In talking about memory cards, which hold the electronic votes and are fed into tabulation machines and which have extensive security flaws, Spoon explains a serious issue regarding negative vote numbers.
There has been repeated issues [sic] where people have said they've seen votes backing up in tabulators as cards are put in [meaning votes are being subtracted instead of added]. Okay, well that would indicate that something in that program is not adding cards forward, it may be adding cards backward.


There is no reason in the world a negative number should ever be able to exist on a voting card. And yet, in all the voting card code that I've looked at, Diebold has a negative field that allows a negative number to be entered in a vote total. Why? Why would you want -- to steal votes. That way you can start with a card that has negative a hundred votes for somebody, then it takes them a hundred votes before they're even back to zero.

And yet Diebold does not allow, for proprietary reasons, anyone to review the vote tabulation software?

They let us work on their cash machines, but no, they won't let anybody see their software.

Any thoughts as to why?

Because they're stealing elections.

Referring to the 2002 election results in Georgia, where Republican Saxby Chambliss defeated incumbent Senator Max Cleland, Spoon says, "If you look at the case of Saxby Chambliss, that's ridiculous. The man was not elected. He lost that election by five points. Max Cleland won. They flipped the votes, clear as day."

Spoonamore continues:
"I do not believe George Bush won [in 2004], I believe Kerry won. And I'm a member of the GOP. But I want to make it clear: we need to live in a place where your [a candidate's] election actually is reflected in the vote. I want my candidate to win, but if my candidate loses, I care a lot more about the process than I care about the victory."

Would that all Americans thought that way.

And segment four.

Spoon discusses the infamous Georgia patch from the 2002 election. "I've personally reviewed a number of pieces of code from Diebold. It's garbage. Some of the code is awful. I reviewed the patch that they put in Georgia, 2002, that many of them claimed is a clock function. It's not a clock function, it's a comparator function. … If it were me and I were to guess what that code is, it's a vote flipping code. It's not a clock function, that I know."

Segment Five:

So this is not a partisan issue?

It shouldn't be. This is a fascist issue. People who don't want voting and want fascist control but have people think they're voting. I mean, people forget the fact there was voting in Hitler's Germany. Guess what? He won with 90% of the vote all the time. There was voting in Saddam's Iraq. And guess what? Saddam won the vote all the time. Well, did they win? Was that actually the will of the voter? Was that the way the votes were even cast?

Spoonamore goes on to explain that with credit cards, at least 2.5% of all transactions are fraudulent, and that they cannot get that number any lower. He believes that electronic voting, no matter how transparent and secure, will also have an error rate, whether from fraud or flawed technology or both, of at least 2.5%.
Do you want to have a system in place where there is a permanent background of electronic voting fraud of 2-and-a-half percent? That means you have to win an election by a minimum of 3% to know that you've won? I don't. Paper ballots, please. That's the only thing that can be secure.

Segment six:

[Regarding the Harri Hursti hack] Diebold has come back every time and said, "Well, you know, that hack can't happen."

They're lying. They're lying. Diebold is lying.

What, their systems can't be hacked?

There is no system, electronic, in the world that cannot be hacked. I've spent my entire life building or hacking electronic systems. … There is no system in the world -- none -- that cannot be hacked. … End of discussion.

Then how do you secure such a piece of equipment then?

You don't. You use paper ballots. I can't make it any clearer than this. You cannot have secure electronic voting. It doesn't exist. … You must have paper ballots.

Spoon continues: "There are people out there -- and there is [sic] a lot of them -- who don't really want to win elections. What they want to do is they want to steal them. … I don't want to have a society where we're not sure who won. I want to live in a democracy where there is a valid capacity to audit the entire trail."

Well said, Mr. Spoonamore.

Segment seven:

"I think they [the Diebold machines] are brilliantly designed. They're designed to steal elections. … There are back doors in the tabulations machines, which is what the US-CERT warning is about. There's a backdoor communication that allows secondary computers to talk to the actual tabulators electronically from a distance." Spoon goes on to describe some of the technical details of electronic voting machine election fraud.

And lastly, segment eight:


Many people who are denying problems, they're saying, "Oh well, these are just Democrats signaling alarms -- "

I'm a Republican. I'm a Republican, I worked on Giuliani's campaign, I worked on Bloomberg's campaign, I worked on John McCain's campaign. I've been a life-long member of the party. This is not a Democrat/Republican issue. This is not a partisan issue. This is a democracy issue. If you actually care about a constitutional democracy in which each person votes, that vote is validated, and the people who end up in office are reflected on the basis of the way people voted, you care about this issue.

If you don't want people to vote, if you don't want people's vote to count, and you want to rule without owning it by a mandate, then you are very supportive of Diebold.

Relative to this statement from Mr. Spoonamore, please watch this youtube clip of Paul Weyrich, co-founder of the Heritage Foundation and the Moral Majority, talking about voting:

That's a rare and candid admission of a still on-going strategy to prevent Americans from registering and/or voting.

The interview continues:
I mean, who's stealing the votes? If what you say is true, who wants to steal the elections?

I certainly know that in all the statistical information, it seems that in every single bizarre circumstance where exit data, polling data, or informational data swings, it has all been in favor of Republicans. But not the sort of Republicans who I want to see in office at all. These are people who lie and people who cheat. That is not the conservative way. Conservatives conserve things. We are respectful and we are constitutionally based.

You know what the real problem is? People do not want to believe that people want to steal elections in this country. I've done extensive work over the years for voting monitoring overseas. If we had a variance in the exit polling of even 2% from what actually was tabulated -- which is exactly how the Orange Revolution came about in Ukraine -- we would be in there explaining to people something is wrong.

We have had numerous elections in this country now in which -- where you use Diebold Election System machines -- that what happens with the vote is way off, five, ten, as much as twelve percent from the exit polling and the actual survey. These statistical numbers are impossible.

And the problem is Americans do not want to believe that we have people stealing our elections. And they must come to the realization there are people in this country who want to steal elections, and we must stop them.

If you've read this far, you clearly care about this issue. Please, we implore all Americans to contact their state's secretary of state, their House representative, and their Senators and DEMAND they ban the use of electronic voting machines. Demand that all elections in the United States be conducted:
1) with a hand-marked paper ballot for every vote;

2) the ballots counted publicly and transparently at each precinct;

3) citizens allowed by law to observe the ballots being counted;

4) precinct results posted publicly before being sent to the central tabulator.

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