In August 2004, the Department of Homeland Security issued a Cyber Security Bulletin regarding Diebold’s “GEMS” central tabulator, stating that “a vulnerability exists due to an undocumented backdoor account, which could [allow] a local or remote authenticated user [to] modify votes.”
The control cards that transfer the vote totals from the precincts to the central tabulators are another potential target for bad actors. From 2000 through at least 2017, ES&S got its control cards from a company called Vikant whose owner refused to tell an investigative reporter where the cards were made.
Meanwhile, as reported in Bloomberg and Salon and highlighted during a recent election-security panel by SMARTelections.us, ES&S (Diebold) voting machines in both Tennessee and Georgia seem to be “losing” large numbers of votes from predominantly black neighborhoods. It was concerned citizens, rather than election officials or campaigns, who discovered these problems. The missing black votes in Georgia are now the subject of a citizen-funded lawsuit filed by the nonprofit Coalition for Good Governance. As a result of the lawsuit, the House has opened an investigation as well. Concerned citizens can donate to the litigation, which has national implications given ES&S’s national presence, via this link: https://coalitionforgoodgovernance.org/donate/
Dominion accounts for 37 percent of US election equipment. Dominion was a Canadian company that became a major player in US elections when the Department of Justice forced ES&S to sell some of Diebold’s assets because the combined ES&S/Diebold company had accounted for a whopping 70 percent of US election equipment.
It was Dominion that bought those Diebold assets in 2010. Like ES&S, it is owned by private equity. (Since initially writing this, I have learned that ES&S kept most of Diebold’s large contracts.)
Dominion does some of its programming in Serbia. And a former executive of GTech/IGT — an international gaming company and former Paul Manafort client — joined Dominion as a Senior Vice President in June 2016.
Another former executive of GTech/IGT, Donald Sweitzer, who once worked for Paul Manafort, sits on the Board of the International Foundation for Electoral Systems with Ken Blackwell (infamous former Ohio Secretary of State) and Tad DeVine (Bernie Sanders’s 2016 campaign advisor).
These connections are concerning because, among other reasons, DeVine worked with Paul Manafort and Rick Gates (Manafort’s partner) as recently as 2014 to promote Vladimir Putin’s candidate and other interests in Ukraine and also advised the 2014 campaign of pro-Putin Aleksandar Vučić in Serbia.