Editor’s Note: Electronic Illusion

In a 1988 New Yorker article, Ronnie Dugger asked: “[C]ould electronic illusionists steal the Presidency by fixing the vote-counting apparatus in just four or five major metropolitan areas?” Less than two months before the 2012 election, the situation Dugger described seemed to be unfolding in Ohio, where software patches were installed on Election Systems & Software tabulators that counted votes in the state’s most populous counties. The public learned of the patches when a journalist filed suit.

Defenders of our completely privatized voting system dismiss critics as conspiracy theorists. Yet the tabulation process is opaque and subject to manipulation. In 2002, Saxby Chambliss defeated Democratic Senator Max Cleland after Diebold President Bob Urosevich secretly ordered 5,000 software patches installed on new Diebold machines in the state. ES&S, the focus of our feature story, was founded by Urosevich and his brother Todd, who continues to serve as president. The two brothers have made more than a quarter of a million dollars in political contributions—all to Republican candidates or PACs.

Also in this issue: Did an Election Day Lawsuit Stop Karl Rove’s Vote-Rigging Scheme in Ohio?