So I was checking out this voting discrepancies between the polling data and the actual ballot count noted in this article by Theodore de Macedo Soares . In all but six states the discrepancy favored President-elect Trump, sometimes by a little, sometimes by a lot. So what could have caused those differences? Perhaps, people were not honest with the pollsters. Hell, I’d never admit to voting for that jackass. But what if something more sinister is going on?
Those claiming to be in the know say it’s impossible, or nearly so, to hack our elections because they’re both decentralized and disconnected from the internet and I believe them. I think it would be very difficult for an outside entity to break into so many separate systems undetected.
Still, looking at the data, I couldn’t prevent a troubled niggling. So pulling out my tinfoil conspiracy theory hat, I began digging. I discovered while these systems are not physically or electronically interconnected, our elections are not truly decentralized.
Oh, the In-The-Knows aren’t outright lying, and I’m probably splitting hairs. Still, it seems a shame to deny my other self’s shiny hat opportunity.
“Yes?” Other replied.
“Do you suppose it’s possible that a manufacturer of an optical scanning machine used to tally ballots could program it to reapportion perhaps… Oh I don’t know, a few votes to a specific candidate?”
“I suppose anything’s possible.” Other mused, her tinfoil chapeau wobbling as I scratched behind my ear. “It wouldn’t take much in a close race. If you channeled a little from each of the other candidates to a specific candidate it might not even be noticed; and if it was, it could be easily explained if they kept it within the margin of error(ex-metrologist… uncertainty is the only thing in life that’s certain.) But all the different manufacturers would have to be in cahoots and that’s a reach, even for me.”
“We’ll see.” I said, tin foil scraping my forehead as I pushed our hat off my eyebrows. “Is this stupid hat really necessary?”
“Only if you want to stop Facebook’s eerily accurate friend suggestions.” Other shuddered.
So how many companies are we talking about? Six … Ten? As it turns out… ONE! And it’s connected to two guys. You read that right… ONE COMPANY … TWO REPUBLICANS.
Election Systems & Software (ES&S) formally known as American Information Systems (AIS) directly provides more than half the equipment used in our elections, and it has additional software agreements tying it to other manufactures. Due to an antitrust action from the Justice Dept. when AIS merged with the Election Services Division of Business Records Corporation to form ES&S in 1997, Sequoia obtained the intellectual property rights to the Optech line of ballot scanners, but ES&S retained the right to sell and service Optech scanners to existing customers, so regardless of the named manufacture, most Optech devices in the US are ES&S machines.
ES&S’s parent company is The McCarthy Group founded by Mike McCarthy, a politically active republican businessman—What is it about people named McCarthy. And a republican senator from Nebraska named of Chuck Hagel was it’s CEO until he decided to run for office. Now here’s where things get interesting. When Hagel ran for public office, Mr. McCarthy was his campaign treasurer. No conflict of interest there.
So is something more insidious than yellow journalism and the obvious gerrymandering effecting our electoral process? While it pains me to admit Trump might be right about anything, my tin foil hat and I would have more confidence in our democracy if we had some of those machines independently audited.