Ohio 2004: Case Not Proven – Smoke yet no fire

Several sources have carried the following article from the Free Press. It seems the headline distorts the actual case: New court filing reveals how the 2004 Ohio presidential election was hacked <read>

A more accurate headline would be “New court filing confirms how the 2004 Ohio presidential election results could easily have been changed, undetected

Almost all systems are vulnerable to change by insiders, yet good systems have a variety of security measures, separation of duties, oversight, cross-checks,  and audits to reduce the likelihood of inappropriate change while increasing the likelihood of skulduggery being detected.

Reading the article we see lots of evidence that the system was vulnerable to change by insiders, lack of controls, and a design that lends itself to undetected change. The circumstantial evidence seems consistent with a system designed to be vulnerable:

“SmarTech was a man in the middle. In my opinion they were not designed as a mirror, they were designed specifically to be a man in the middle.”

A “man in the middle” is a deliberate computer hacking setup, which allows a third party to sit in between computer transmissions and illegally alter the data. A mirror site, by contrast, is designed as a backup site in case the main computer configuration fails.

Add to that a system that seems overly complex and unnecessary to outsource. And that it was outsourced to a clearly partisan entity.  We have lots of smoke, yet no proven fire. The headline is a disservice to election integrity:

  • Distortion harms the case for a history and a potential for fraud and error when claims are made that cannot be substantiated. Especially it those who read quickly or are less logical spread the report and its claims. It subjects them and other voting integrity advocates with claims of distortion.
  • Distortion obscures the real story and learning available from the 2004 Ohio case. This is a seriously risky and vulnerable system, both from its complex, weak design and outsourcing to partisans. Elections results should be accumulated by computer and human systems that we can trust.

This article and diagrams add significant details to previous information covered three years ago by the Free Press, yet the case remains unproven.  There is much to question in Ohio in 2004.  Three years ago we also reviewed the book “Witness to a Crime” by Richard Hayes Phillips. It provides clear evidence of several instances of significant manipulations in that election, we have yet to hear of any of them refuted.

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