As the state of Georgia prepares to conduct a runoff between incumbent Senator Saxby Chambliss and his Democratic challenger, Jim Martin, old doubts about the election in which Chambliss took the Senate seat from Max Cleland six years ago are attracting fresh notice.
Chambliss was the victor in the 2002 election by seven percentage points, despite polls which showed him trailing by five points just a week earlier. That unexpected turnaround, combined with the exclusive control over the voting machines by Diebold Election Systems, raised suspicions of electronic vote-tampering from the start.
According to cyber-security expert Stephen Spoonamore, "If you look at the case of Saxby Chambliss, that's ridiculous. The man was not elected. He lost that election by five points. Max Cleland won. They flipped the votes, clear as day."
Spoonamore has been speaking out since last summer about the problems with the 2002 election, drawing on his examination of a software patch which the president of Diebold's election unit personally brought to Georgia to be installed prior to the voting.
Spoonamore received the patch from Diebold whistleblower Chris Hood, who first came forward two years ago and spoke with Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. for an article in Rolling Stone.
"We ran the election," Hood told Kennedy. "We had 356 people that Diebold brought into the state. Diebold opened and closed the polls and tabulated the votes. Diebold convinced [Georgia Secretary of State Cathy] Cox that it would be best if the company ran everything due to the time constraints, and in the interest of a trouble-free election, she let us do it."
Hood has now repeated his doubts about the 2002 Georgia election, as well as about voting problems in Maryland in 2004, in an interview with former ABC News producer Rebecca Abrahams. "I have come to believe that these errors are now permanently embedded into the system," Hood told Abrahams.
Abrahams states, "Jim Martin should be concerned about the veracity and validity of the November election results after anomalies in the last election and the statement by Chris Hood. In fact, voters should demand to know if Chambliss had any knowledge that the 2002 election was rigged and whether he knew that Georgia citizens voted on electronic voting machines that had been patched with uncertified software days before the election in clear violation of Georgia law."
Chambliss, meanwhile, may be growing testy as the runoff election approaches. He was recently asked about his refusal to testify in a case involving Imperial Sugar and responded by putting his hand over the camera lens and saying, "You can take it away now."
This video was posted by Velvet Revolution on YouTube on November 21, 2008.