FYI - [IP] How They Could Steal the Election This Time and response (fwd)

From: Karl Auerbach <karl_at_cavebear_dot_com>
Date: Sun Aug 01 2004 - 23:04:25 CDT

This was on Dave Farber's IP list.

One of my thoughts was "shame on Shamos".


---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Sun, 1 Aug 2004 19:29:25 -0400
From: David Farber <>
To: Ip <>
Subject: [IP] How They Could Steal the Election This Time and response

From: "R. A. Hettinga" <>
Date: July 31, 2004 4:03:41 PM EDT
Subject: How They Could Steal the Election This Time


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This article can be found on the web at

How They Could Steal the Election This Time


[from the August 16, 2004 issue]

AND from Mike Shamos who was quoted in the article

"I sent the following to The Nation today:"

To the Editor:

Ronnie Dugger's article ("How They Could Steal The Election This Time," Aug.
16) contains an error in its very first sentence and things only go downhill
from there. He claims that voting system vendors could program the machines
"to invisibly falsify the outcomes." There is no basis at all for asserting,
or even believing, that such a thing is possible. It is pure science fiction
to dream that it can be done "invisibly." Machines are tested, and if
tampering has occurred it can be found. If the machines have been altered,
then forensic examination can detect the alteration. He fails to mention that
DRE machines have been used in the United States for over 25 years without a
single verified incident in which the outcome of any election was altered
through tampering.

Later, Mr. Dugger misquotes me as having said that "computerized vote-counting
is highly vulnerable to fraud." I wrote many years ago, and still believe,
that punched-card voting, not DRE voting, was vulnerable to fraud.

His most basic error, however, is in urging that paper systems are safer than
electronic ones. Since 1852, the New York Times has published over 4000
articles on paper ballot fraud in the United States. That works out to about
one article every 12 days for the past 152 years. Paper is not safe. It may
be familiar, but it is the principal tool of election fraud in this country and
always has been. The answer is not to return to paper but to implement
safeguards to assure the public that the sorts of machinations Mr. Dugger
imagines are not possible in practice.
Michael I. Shamos
Distinguished Career Professor, Language Technologies Institute
Director, Universal Library
Co-Director, Electronic Commerce degree program
4515 Newell-Simon Hall, Carnegie Mellon University
Pittsburgh, PA 15213
412-268-8193 (office phone) 412-268-6298 (office fax) 412-681-8398 (home phone)
Home page:

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Received on Tue Aug 31 23:17:01 2004

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