Republicans Make the US Elections Voting Machines
Republicans, Corporate Players Make the Voting Machines
Appearance of Impropriety — New Questions About the Integrity and Security of USA Elections
The story is not about allegations of fraud — it's about an appearance of impropriety that is stunning in its magnitude.
Unfettered by any disclosure regulations about ownership or political affiliations, just a few companies create and control almost all the voting machines in the U.S.
Election Systems & Software, the firm whose machines were involved in the 2002 flubbed Florida primary election — and the company that now makes the voting machines for most of America — is a private company that does not like to tell the public who owns it. But at least one major shareholder is Michael R. McCarthy, who runs the McCarthy Group. The McCarthy Group has been a primary owner of Election Systems & Software, including its predecessor, American Information Systems for more than a decade. Michael R. McCarthy is the current campaign Treasurer for Republican senator Chuck Hagel. [See Hagel and McCarthy Documents] Prior to his election, Republican Senator Hagel was president of McCarthy & Company. In fact, he was first elected while his own company was making the vote-counting machines!
Let's have happy thoughts:
Before the 2002 Election, let's get disclosure from the handful of companies who make the voting machines that count our votes. These companies have nothing to hide (right?) so they should do this voluntarily. Then, Senator Hagel will lead the charge (won't he?) and he'll protect us from a situation that is, frankly, dangerous to Democracy, by getting some regulations in place:
(1) Require that any company who makes voting machines publicly disclose identities and political activities. And while we're at it, maybe criminal background checks are a nice idea, because if Republicans can control the big corporations that make the voting machines, just think what would happen if some crooks got into it. But I repeat myself.
(2) Require that all voting machines produce tamper-proof audit trails — and that means retaining a paper trail — using transparent computer code so that independent experts can investigate allegations of election tampering whenever needed.
Before Repiglicans start the squealing ("How
DARE you bring this up so close the the election, you know
we have no time to rebut this") — well, you can verify the
facts yourself, in most cases using their own documents, if
you go to google and run the following search terms:
"Election Systems & Software"
"Michael R. McCarthy"
"Charles T. Hagel"
— You'll find enough traceable leads to keep you busy for a week, if you run searches on the names and other related companies. And, for good measure, look up articles by Ronnie Dugger, who will show you how easy it is to fudge the vote-counting on these machines, in ways that can never be detected.
Why isn't tampering detectable?
Well, for one thing because Election Systems & Software fought in court to make its computerized code for vote-counting "proprietary." Only their own programmers, it seems, are allowed to look at the innards of the code. Independent computer consultants almost unanimously cite the voting machine's impenetrable code as a security flaw. Difficult to detect tampering, yet not very difficult to implant a Trojan Horse to change counting algorithms.
Who are these people, anyway?
We could go on for a week on this, and probably will. We've collected over 58 pages of information and there's more to come. But we might as well get started:
Election Systems & Software was formed by a merger of American Information Systems (AIS), a huge election company featuring several Republican owners, and Business Records Corp., part of Cronus Industries, in turn partially owned by a member of the Hunt oil family of Texas.
World Companies, Inc.: This is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Omaha World-Herald. It is a holding company with substantial ownership in Election Systems & Software, and it also controls World Marketing Inc., which operates gigantic databases and mammoth direct marketing companies. Election Systems & Software is also involved in voter registration services, and no one has questioned whether there is a conflict of interest with voter registration activity and access to the nation's largest databases containing race, political affiliations and other demographics.
Questionable associations and relationships throughout this conglomerate abound. One person with shares in the World Companies Inc. is Harold W. Andersen, who is on the board of directors for The Williams Companies — yes, that Williams Energy, recently exposed by CBS for creating a sham energy crisis in California. CBS cites tapes, now sealed by the government, that prove Williams Energy turned off the juice, faking an energy shortage.
Thank goodness a thoroughly objective organization like the Omaha World-Herald owns a chunk of Election Systems & Software. "The delays [in the fall 2002 Florida primary voting] were the result of start-up errors by poll workers, not malfunctions by the company's election equipment," the Omaha World-Herald reports.
And, should you have any doubt about the objectivity of the Omaha World-Herald, just look at its archive article publicizing stock picks (01/01/1989): the newspaper cites analyst's recommendations for about 20 stocks, among them: Valmont (whose chairman and CEO, William F. Welsh II, is now chairman and CEO and shareholder of Election Systems & Software, whose part-owner is the Omaha World-Herald); FirsTier Financial, whose CEO, P. E. Esping went down to Texas to become chairman and CEO of Business Records Corp, which later merged into Election Systems & Software. The paper cites another recommendation of FirsTier based on the involvement of Walter Scott, chairman of Peter Kiewit & Sons, but fails to mention that Peter Kiewit was the publisher and major shareholder of the Omaha World-Herald for two decades; the article recommends Val-Com, Inc, owned by Valmont, run by the CEO who is now the Election Systems & Software CEO; it goes on to recommend Cronus Industries (who owned Business Records Corp., which was purchased by the Omaha World-Herald's subsidiary and merged into Election Systems & Software); and for good measure, a plug is thrown in for Parker Drilling, a subsidiary of The Williams Companies that shared directors with the CIA, The George Bush School of Government, and Halliburton. The article cites no good reason to buy Parker Drilling, endorsing it simply as a good "speculative buy."
M. Gene Aldridge, the president and CEO of Omaha World-Herald subsidiary World Marketing, Inc. (the one that runs all those databases — he knows if you've been black or white, he knows if you are poor; he knows if you've been good or bad so behave for goodness sake!) is part of a conservative think tank, the New Mexico Independence Research Institute, and when he's not busy running the jumbo-sized database and direct marketing company, he is writing letters to Congress advocating that we take the huge future tax cuts and give them to the rich right now.
Here's more information on how Election Systems & Software came about, and who owns it:
From a 1996 article in The Omaha World-Herald:
"An Omaha company would become the nation's No. 1 ballot counter in a planned $59.3 million combination with a Dallas-based competitor...
"BRC is headed by a former Omahan, P.E. "Bill" Esping, who was a founder of First Data Resources.
"Under the agreement, American Information Systems would acquire the election division of Business Records. Both companies sell election counting and voter registration equipment and services based on optical scanners and paper ballots marked with pencils.
"Of the purchase price, $35 million would be in cash, $17.5 million in a note and the rest in stock of American Information, giving BRC about 20 percent ownership of the Omaha company. Stock owned by American Information employees would account for an additional 10 percent [OUR NOTE: This would include William L. Welsh II] with the remaining 70 percent owned by a partnership of the Omaha World-Herald Co. and the McCarthy Group, an Omaha investment banking company. American Information's share of the U.S. election automation market would increase to more than 50 percent..."
of Election Systems & Software, unraveled some
Now, note that the above article says "the remaining 70 percent is owned by a partnership of the Omaha World-Herald Co. and the McCarthy Group. But who owns the McCarthy Group (besides Republican operative Michael R. McCarthy)? World Investments, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Omaha World-Herald Co., is a primary investor in the McCarthy Group. Round and round we go.