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2002 Georgia elections

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Startling upsets

In the 2002 race for U.S. Senate, incumbent Democrat Max Cleland, a Vietnam vet and a triple amputee, was leading Saxby Chambliss 49% to 44% in an Atlanta Journal-Constitution opinion poll; the only other poll conducted, by Zogby, had Cleland ahead 46%-44%. Four days later, however, Cleland lost to Chambliss, a conservative U.S. congressman from rural Georgia, 46% to 53%. This was one of five big Republican upsets that allowed the GOP to take control of the US Senate.[1]

The discrepancy between pre-election opinion polls and the official results in the 2002 race for Georgia governor was even greater, with Republican Sonny Perdue beating incumbent Democrat Roy Barnes by a margin that had a 16-percentage-point discrepancy between the Atlanta Journal-Constitution poll and the official numbers. This was the only poll on the race; Because the election was not even considered in play, no national group polled the race. [2]

Background

Shortly after the 2000 election, Georgia’s Democratic secretary of state Cathy Cox announced that her state would adopt a single statewide system for the 2002 midterm election, which it subsequently did —- choosing a Diebold DRE machine, and thus putting the state in the vanguard of electronic voting. [3] Noting that the Diebold machine violated Georgia law, which requires that “any election system purchased and used by the state of Georgia ‘shall be required to have an independent audit trail for each vote cast,’” Denis Wright, a founder of “Count the Vote,” tried to learn the basis on which the Diebold standard was chosen. He found out, however, that “the bids, and the deliberations and decisions of the committee in charge of recommendations, were exempted from Georgia’s Open Records laws.” He also discovered that Diebold’s chief lobbyist in Georgia was Lewis Massey, former Democratic secretary of state—and the former boss of Cathy Cox.[4]

Iliicit involvement

Computer technician Rob Behler believes that the election “could have been manipulated” through electronic voting fraud. Behler spent the summer of 2002 in a warehouse helping prepare thousands of Diebold DRE machines for the November election. He told the New York Times that the Diebold hardware and software exhibited constant problems. While he was working on the machines, he said that Diebold sent three secret computer “patches” that were installed to update the DRE voting machines. And he said he heard of a fourth patch. Diebold and the State of Georgia say there was only one patch, which, according to Diebold, was installed “prior to the election but not last minute.” Georgia elections officials concede that the one patch that they admit to having installed was only partially examined by the private company that certifies voting machines for the manufacturers. [5]


Articles and resources

Related SourceWatch articles

References

  1. Steven F. Freeman and Joel Bleifuss, Was the 2004 Presidential Election Stolen? Exit Polls, Election Fraud, and the Official Count(New York: Seven Stories Press, 2006) pg 79
  2. Steven F. Freeman and Joel Bleifuss, Was the 2004 Presidential Election Stolen? Exit Polls, Election Fraud, and the Official Count(New York: Seven Stories Press, 2006) pg 80
  3. Election Data Services, 2002. “Election Data Services Inc. Unveils 2002 Voting Equipment Study.” Press release, October 9, 2002
  4. Denis Wright, “Meet Cathy Diebold,” May 23, 2004 http://www.countthevote.org/cathy_diebold.htm.
  5. Adam Cohen, “The Results Are in and the Winner Is . . . or Maybe Not,” New York Times, February 29, 2004.

External resources

Books

External articles

  • Will The Next Election Be Hacked? by Robert F. Kennedy Jr. Rolling Stone Sep 21, 2006.
  • Ansolabehere, Stephen and Charles Stewart III (2005) “Residual Votes Attributable to Technology: An Assessment of the Reliability of Existing Voting Equipment” The Journal of Politics Volume 67, Issue 2