In short, technical analysts – though not all
in agreement – have found the concept of a rigging
program plausible. Most note that without the original
source code, such a program would be undetectable.
“From a technical standpoint, it is perfectly
plausible,” said a middleware programmer for
IBM in North Carolina, Kim Winz. “Whether or
not this turns out to be true, it’s a very good
reason why we need the source code available for all
of these voting machines.”
Some point to the fact that Diebold already employs
hidden buttons in their software as an example of
how such a program could work.
On other fronts, Curtis’ claims check out.
Raymond Camillo Lemme, who was an inspector for the
Florida Department of Transportation looking into
another of Curtis’ claims was found dead in
a Valdosta, Georgia Knights Inn of apparent suicide
on July 1, 2003, according to Valdosta police.
Hai Lin Nee, a Chinese national, was arrested for
passing sensitive information on U.S. weapons to China.
Curtis claims that Nee worked as a Quality Control
Inspector for his former employer, Yang Enterprises;
RAW STORY has to date only been able to confirm that
Nee had worked for a research institute designing
software, according to the Georgia Office of Homeland
Security. Yang Enterprises is a Florida state contractor
which does, among other things, software research
Yang Executive Secretary Cohen, who Curtis alleges
was present at meetings with Feeney, rebuffed a call
from RAW STORY Tuesday morning.
“I will not speak to you,” he said, and
took down the site’s number for the third time.
The company has not responded to requests for comment.
The man accused of commissioning the software, Rep.
Tom Feeney (R-FL), who was a Florida state legislator
at the time, has remained silent. Three calls placed
over the last two days have not been returned.
Nearly all programmers are in agreement that such
a program would be hard to detect as it existed on
the voting machines. Alan Schlingenbaum, who has an
MBA from Harvard and works in the computer industry,
says a distinction Curtis made is correct.
“There is a very important distinction between
source code and compiled code,” Schlingenbaum
said. “It is very hard (virtually impossible,
for most practical purposes) to look at compiled code
and completely understand every aspect of how it works.”
Winz, who has spent the last 14 years in software
programming, notes that the programming language Curtis
says he used is often used for prototyping, and that
it could be easily adapted for Windows and Unix machines.
“Visual basic is a program that is used to
do prototyping,” she said, noting that the language
is designed to give a client the “basic functionality
and user experience that you intend” from a
Others are more skeptical. Jeff House, a former Microsoft
programmer who works for a prominent dot-com, said
he believed the prototype was probably written but
wouldn’t go far.
“Without more detail, and based on what I know
so far, it's hard to imagine that this could have
really been used to change votes,” he said.
“It's still embarrassing, to be sure, but it's
like he built a nuke out of a cardboard box and some
wires...unless there's some plutonium hiding in there
somewhere, it might look good, but it isn't going
to blow up.”
Winz says that such a program might create a log
file that could be detected, but in any case the only
way to determine anything conclusively would to have
access to the machines.
“If those hard drives could be subpoenaed or
examined, they could give [info] on whether or not
they’re doing what you’d expect,”
“Legal power (power of Congress, power of subpoena,
whatever) must be used to compel Diebold, ESS et al
to divulge, to a proper panel of experts, any and
all source code and compiled code that was in use
on Nov. 2,” Schlingenbaum asserts. “There
is no compelling reason for Diebold to object to such
“It's an outrage that independent experts did
not examine the code before the election,” he
adds. “It must be examined now.”
“You can’t say this has not been used
unless and until corporate control is willing to open
this code to evaluation,” adds Roxann Jerkot,
who taught programming at Georgia’s Lanier Technical
Institute, and who has been in private consulting
business since 1985. “We don’t have any
way to prove or disprove what this man is saying.
Winz, while skeptical, still believes an legal investigation
“I think there’s enough there that it
really demands an investigation,” she said.
“When police investigated a crime, they’re
not saying that it absolutely happened, they’re
just saying its suspicious and we need to investigate.”
Corrections: An earlier version of this article misspelled
the name of a programmer as Kim Minz. Her last name
is Winz. Also, a previous version used "Virtual
Basic;" the correct name for the language is