100,000+ Votes Were Errantly Added by Hart Machines in a Single County in Last Tuesday's Primary via Flawed, Paperless 'eSlate' Touch-Screen System!
Former Hart Employee, Tarrant County TX Election Worker Notified State, Legal Authorities in 2004 About Serious Voting Machine Problems, Procedures...All Warnings and Complaints Ignored
By Brad Friedman on 3/13/2006, 1:20pm PT  

Continuing in an exclusive BRAD BLOG series of Voting Machine Vendor and Election Fraud whistleblowers, another insider, from yet another voting machine company, has now come forward to reveal a myriad of known problems inside both the company and in several states and counties with whom they do business.

During last Tuesday's Primary Election in the state of Texas, scores of "computer glitches" --- as voting officials and electronic voting machine vendors like to refer to them --- were revealed occurred across the state. Many of those "glitches" occurred on electronic voting equipment manufactured and supplied to various counties in Texas by the Hart InterCivic company.

One such "glitch" occurred in Texas' Tarrant County, which encompasses Fort Worth. That "glitch" resulted in some 100,000 votes being added to the result totals across the county's paperless Hart-Intercivic "eSlate" touch-screen voting system.

Election Officials in Tarrant claim they didn't look into the problems on Election Night as the problem emerged because, as reported by the Star-Telegram last week, "they were dealing with a new system, new procedures and some new equipment."

The BRAD BLOG can now report, however, that according to a Hart InterCivic company whistleblower --- who also happened to have later worked as an "election programmer" in Tarrant County --- the problems with Hart InterCivic's systems in Tarrant County, Texas and elsewhere are not new at all. Not by a longhorn long shot.

Letters sent by William Singer of Fort Worth, a former Hart InterCivic "technical specialist" and Tarrant County election worker, to state officials back in July of 2004 warned of exactly such problems. The letters, obtained and published here for the first time exclusively by The BRAD BLOG, reveal that serious problems and concerns of possible election system meltdowns were already apparent with the Hart machines in Tarrant County long ago. However, the warning letters were all but ignored by both election officials and even state law enforcement officials.

The "glitch" in last Tuesday's primary, as reported the Star-Telegram, "caused Tarrant County to report as many as 100,000 votes in both primaries that never were cast." After the problem was discovered, they report, "the local turnout [dropped] from a possible record high of about 158,103 voters to about 58,000."

A review of several notarized letters sent by Singer to officials in both Texas and Ohio in 2004 warned of fraudulent activities, buggy software and hardware, dysfunctional testing and development procedures, unsecured working environments and possible criminal behavior by both Hart InterCivic and Election Workers in both states.

Singer --- who eventually resigned from the company and ended up working as an Election Programmer for Tarrant County, where last Tuesday's "glitch" occurred --- wrote of allegations that Hart illegally supplied specially prepared machines for testing to state election officials. Along with doing so, they also withheld a number of known security, programming and hardware flaws during official review and certification of the systems.


On July 29, 2004 in a letter sent to Texas Secretary of State, Geoffrey S. Conner (complete letter to Conner in WORD format here) after Singer witnessed problems in the March 2004 primary in Texas, he opened his letter by summarizing the main concerns:

Re: Complaint on conduct of election of March 9, 2004, held in Tarrant County, and the associated activities of that office in it's preparation for that election, including inappropriate, unethical, and possibly illegal activities committed by the Office of the Tarrant County Elections Administrator (Robert Parten), and the two election vendors which service Tarrant County, ES&S and Hart Intercivic.

Singer's complete letter to Connor outlines an astonishing litany of remarkably disturbing accusations of improper procedures, concealment of known problems by both Tarrant County and their two vendors (Hart and ES&S), incompetency, unsecured hardware and software development, and much more.

Writes Singer in his letter to the Texas Secretary of State; "What I witnessed at Tarrant County, what I was subjected to, what I was expected to do in order to 'pull off' an election, was far beyond the kind of practices that I believe should be standard and accepted in the election industry and I was baffled by Robert Parten's continued work with these election companies; even after admissions of concealing software problems, inappropriate pressure, hints of backroom deals, and poor support."

Amongst just a few of the many concerns sent to Connor, and apparently ignored by his office, are the following items as described by Singer: (NOTE: The most damning claims that Singer felt would violate his non-disclosure agreement with Hart were not included in his letters):

  • The audit trail for Hart's election generation software (BOSS) had invalid entries. Hart was aware of this and declined to fix it, and Robert also declined to fix it. I informed him that I had developed a simple, reliable, and effective method to remove the invalid entries (while at Hart), but he still refused to fix the information in the audit database.
  • The public test was fake. We ran a public test but discovered a series of problems with the election we were setting up, and in the course of resolving those issues had substantially different election databases to be used in the actual election. I had inquired about rerunning the public test, but was told it was unnecessary, troublesome, and pointless. ... There was also no record of adjustments made for each new iteration of the election databases.
  • The Hart technician that arrived onsite in Tarrant County admitted to being untrained, the company declined my offer to help, and instead allowed their untrained technician to make changes to Tarrant's election computers. The work was done improperly and had to be fixed twice, and was only finally completed because I intervened and corrected several problems so that the county could continue preparing for the next election.
  • Hart admitted to Tarrant County that votes are sometimes lost when using the disabled voting units
  • ES&S was pressuring Tarrant County into using unapproved software for election day, and told the staff there that they were also pressuring other jurisdictions to do the same thing. ... Tom Eschberger, a vice-president for ES&S, was the person who actually came onsite and tried to apply this pressure, and also asked what kind of deal they could offer to get Tarrant County to stop using Hart Intercivic's products.
  • There was a computer used to combine results from two separate vendor systems which did not have a password. I attempted to add one, but was ordered by Robert not to, on the grounds that it was a "change". ... This computer was the final reporting machine which would be used to generate reports for, among others, the SOS office, the press, and the parties, so the lack of a password was a real concern.
  • In my work area, where there were several computers used to program the elections, there was no physical security of any kind. I didn't have a closed office much less a lockable door
  • Anti-tamper devices provided for some of the computers were used improperly or not at all.
  • Hart did not release bug lists to Tarrant County for their software, and ES&S did so only intermittently and did not respond when I asked for updates
  • Tarrant County had no organized backups nor any procedure for doing so, nor any regular or safe way to maintain such backups.
  • During several Tarrant County elections Hart performed on the fly report fixes during elections, even while results were coming in.
  • Singer concludes the letter to Connor by noting; "As you, and other election officials must be aware, running a complex election is never as simple or easy as the law allows or we would like to believe. And I have recognized these realities in my consideration of the behavior and choices of others, and tried to judge them only on the more severe issues of which I am allowed, under confidentiality agreements, to speak."


    The letter to Connor was sent on the same day as another one sent to Ohio Secretary of State, J. Kenneth Blackwell (complete letter to Blackwell in WORD format here)outlining a series of concerns which, Singer wrote, "rise to the level of legal/contractual violations."

    The letter to Blackwell describes a number of alarming concerns about the electronic voting systems of Hart Intercivic, their gaming of the testing procedures, as well as the conduct of their highest-level officials.

    Amongst the series of complaints and concerns contained in the letter to Blackwell are both "Fraudulent Acts" and "Fraudulent Claims" as alleged by Singer.

    Amongst the "Fraudulent Acts," Singer writes in his letter to Ohio's Blackwell:

    The computer submitted to the examiners in Ohio for security testing was setup specifically for this test. Since I was the person who actually designed and setup the current configurations I was the only one who could have setup such a computer for the review. Not only was I not permitted to do so, I did not even discover Hart had shipped a computer to the state until after the review had started.

    In the "Fraudulent Claims" department, Singer wrote that, despite claims by Hart, storage of votes in the JBC/eState voting system were not random. This design flaw means that under certain circumstances it may be possible to determine how someone voted in violation of the law requiring a secret ballot.

    As well, he writes:

    Hart sales staff has claimed to the Ohio SOS office that results are not transmitted over public networks. This is untrue, and indeed, absurd," wrote Singer. "Unofficial results are transmitted through public phone lines, and even mediocre 'hackers' can access such networks via the internet.

    The letter to Blackwell includes several other remarkable passages including descriptions of what he "believed to be criminal fraud." Here's one such passage:

    I have been fervently hoping that Hart would decide to step forward and do the right thing; to break the industries habit of silence and concealment, and admit to wrongdoing and apologize for their mistakes.
    Had this been a handful of rare incidents, where the repercussions were indeed minor, I could have continued to believe that Hart as a company was doing the right thing. I eventually left Hart Intercivic because it became clear to me that the company's silence had little to do with "rare" incidents but instead revealed a number of potentially serious problems which appeared to be systematically hidden or ignored largely for the sake of corporate profits. While at Hart I had evidence of what I believed to be criminal fraud, extreme negligence, and a distinct and troubling pattern of failure to uphold the public trust both in violations of the spirit of its contracts, but also in concealing problems in an industry which so crucially represents the public interest.


    "The thing that alarms me more than anything else," Singer told The BRAD BLOG in a recent interview, "was that after sending in the complaints to the Secretaries of State, and keeping in mind that there were confidentiality issues here that meant I couldn't disclose the worst of things I saw, neither office even contacted me to find out if there was anything else."

    "That was mindboggling, wouldn't you think?"

    Indeed neither SoS office replied to Singer's letters which led him to write follow-up letters to the Attorneys General of both Texas and Ohio. Those letters were also met with mostly non-responsive responses. If any.

    A major mainstream broadcast news organization who is also currently looking into Singer's complaints has told The BRAD BLOG that the Ohio Secretary of State's office "refuses to either confirm or deny whether they even received the letter" --- which Singer says he had sent via certified mail.

    "When you look at all of these different problems," Singer told us, "when you look at the whole list, the problems are so diverse and there are so many of them, the thing that comes away is that there's no effective Government supervision. Nobodies minding the store. They won't even investigate the complaints!"

    In his followup letters to the states Attornies General offices, he wrote of his repeated attempts to ensure that the TX and OH Sec. of State's offices had received the information and investigated the complaints. The letters were originally notarized and sent via US Mail, he says, and were also sent electronically via email as a follow-up on several occasions.

    "Either both offices are guilty of astonishing incompetence in actually losing both letters and email (twice) (that it would occur to 2 government offices, in well funded states with experienced political offices, Texas and Ohio, at the same time beggars the imagination)," Singer wrote to the AG offices. "Or one or both offices is deliberately concealing evidence of these complaints," he concludes.

    In a written response to Singer's claim recently obtained (but as of yet unreported) as part of their investigation into this matter by the broadcast network mentioned earlier, Hart InterCivic claims that Singer was a disgruntled employee who had been fired by the company.

    Singer responds to that response by calling it "laughable."

    "The people that wrote the response was a PR firm. I don't know if they never actually talked to the people at Hart, or if they talked to them and they didn't care about what the truth of their response was," said Singer.

    In any case, he says, at the time of his resignation he wrote a letter which disproves the notion that he was fired. "At the time of my resignation," he told us, "I provided several people with my resignation letter, so everyone knew that I had resigned and given notice. I wasn't fired."

    Further, he claims that given Tarrant County, Texas' extremely close relationship with Hart --- they are apparently one of Hart's very first customers --- they'd not have hired Singer if there had been a previously soured situation with Hart.

    "Would Tarrant county have hired me to be their Election Programmer if I had been fired by Hart?," Singer asked.

    We hope to follow up this story soon by posting Hart's complete written response, along with Singer's response to it and his complete resignation letter as given to Hart InterCivic at the time he left the company.

    For now, what follows are the complete letters as sent by William Singer to both the Ohio and Texas Secretaries of State, warning them of his concerns and dire consequences in July of 2004.

    -- 7/29/04 Letter to Geoffrey S. Conner [WORD]
    -- 7/29/04 Letter to J. Kenneth Blackwell [WORD]

    UPDATE 3/25/06: Fort Worth Star-Telegram picks up on our story, reports on William Singer matter...

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