Friday 10th of July 2020

Crosby Textor and "Project Genesis" - how the Tories can steal election 2007

It is an interesting coincidence that the offices of the Australian Electoral Commission's "Project Genesis" is right next door to Crosby Textor, Liberal Party lobbyists and pollsters.

The two offices are in the Engineers Australia building in Canberra, not far from the Liberal Party HQ in Barton.

Project Genesis involves updating the software used to hold the electoral roll and manage the logistics of election day.

AEC Annual Report 2005–06

My first question is why the AEC sees fit to develop this software in a small office located apart from any existing AEC office. Why not co-locate it with other parts of the AEC? Is there some reason for not letting existing AEC staff know what is going on?

Please join me in conducting a thought experiment:

If there were something untoward going on between the AEC and Crosby Textor, what could it be?

It is unlikely Crosby Textor would be merely accessing AEC data improperly, they would already have access to the equivalent demographic data.

 The long term plan seems to be to enable electronic voting, a very scary prospect under this Government. The following article could be interpreted as an attempt to allay fears by talking about how "Open Source" this effort is.

http://www.computerworld.com.au/index.php?id=353463869

Note the change of language from e-voting to "Remote Voting", and note the unchallenged assertion that

"Identity management is difficult but [remote e-voting] is no different to a postal vote."

except that there is absolutely no paper trail for an electronic vote. In Howard's AEC we trust.

So maybe unauditable electronic voting is the long-term plan. But what could be accomplished merely by fiddling the electoral rolls, or the election-day logistics?

There are a number of aspects of an election the new software will cover:

  • The addition and removal of voters from the electoral roll.
  • The enrolment of provisional voters (ie not yet 18)
  • The reconciliation of names crossed off as having voted at booths across an electorate
    • To determine who has not voted
    • To determine who has voted more than once.
  • To record the addresses to which postal ballots should be sent.
  • To record the arrival of a completed postal ballots.
    • To cross off names on the roll so that postal voters do not also cast a vote on polling day?
Mechanisms for fraud, noting that hundreds of votes would be needed to rig the result, but the Liberals have got away with covert ops before eg Siev X. Note also all parties receive regular updates to their electoral databases from the AEC. The ALP's database is called Electrac:
  • Can we rule out a Florida-style roll cleansing? Roll-cleansing requires detailed data on likely voting intention. Such information would not be readily available as it was in Florida (People registered as dems or republicans, race etc). However, I can imagine Crosby Textor could conduct "anonymous" phone surveys in marginal electrorates, and feed that data across to Project Genesis.
Indicators: Mysterious dropping of voters from electoral rolls, either gradually in run up to election, or suddenly just prior to election. Blamed on computer glitches or voters themselves. Intensive Liberal phone polling in marginal electorates, conducted without reference to  statistical sampling methods.
  • Provisionally-enrolled 17-year-olds upgraded to voter status by a computer glitch, eg year of birth backdated by a year. 17 year-olds don't turn up to vote, but Exclusive Bretheren-style Liberal crazies put in forged requests for postal ballots and mail in Coalition votes.

Indicators: Encouragement of postal voting (done: happened at last election). Innoculate public with the notion that mismanagement of the election process is to be expected (done: happened at last election). Shutting off rolls early to encourage more provisional enrolments (done: legislation passed). Mysterious lack of provisional enrolments turning up in AEC data, yet a government campaign to encourage provisional enrolments. Unsually large number of new young voters. ALP MPs/Senators send out "Welcome letters" to newly (improperly) enrolled 17 years olds (using their Electrac database), a small number of whom ring back to say say they are only 17 and only provisionally enrolled. Some young people enrolled "automatically" without ever filling out a form. Reconciliation of postal votes received and named crossed off reveal a small number of people voted twice - but this is suppressed by the election software - another glitch. However, figures reveal slightly more votes were cast than people who voted, but not enough to affect the outcome. Tireless detective-work by ALP reveals signed postal declaration do not match real signatures.

  •  Exclusive Bretheren-style Liberal crazies apply for postal votes in names of random voters in marginal seats. Postal votes cast for the Coalition. AEC software glitch fails to detect or prevent these voters later turning up to polling places to vote. Some names crossed off at multiple polling places, but this is not detected either. An matching number of randomly chosen people who fail to vote are recorded as having voted. Thus the numbers of votes cast matches the number recorded as having voted.
Indicators: ALP scrutineers tirelessly go through the paper lists of voters crossed off at each polling place and discover many also mailed in postal forms, for which the signatures are forged, or are listed at multiple booths. Some people who could not possibly have voted are recorded as having voted. It takes months to prove and the court of disputed returns loses patience and rubber-stamps Howard's victory.

Is the ALP prepared to ask the hard questions? Is the ALP prepared to scrutinise an election like they have never done before?

 

Alex
 

e-voting nightmare is here

The e-voting nightmare is almost here. Just imagine the ALPand any other party trying to train scrutineers to properly keep track of what is going on at the e-voting booth out in Woop Woop.

Apparently ADF personnel will be voting online next election.

What on earth does the Victorian Government think it is doing:

http://www.smh.com.au/news/technology/victoria-puts-blind-faith-in-electronic-voting/2006/11/13/1163266481851.html?page=fullpage#contentSwap1

Crosby Textor and Project Genesis right next door