Fraction Magic – Part 4: Presidential race in an entire state switched in four seconds

Proof of Concept: Election Night Results

alaska-thumb-bigWe used the GEMS fractional vote feature to alter an actual statewide vote database, rewriting all the polling place votes in the state of Alaska for the 2004 presidential election to change the outcome.

This database was obtained by the Alaska Democratic Party in 2006 pursuant to a court order.

Below is the Summary Results Report for the polling place votes* as originally provided by the state of Alaska.

This simple reporting form is used on Election Night and, in various formats, is transferred to Web sites to broadcast election results to the public. Note that Bush/Cheney won with 145,836 votes; Kerry/Edwards received 75,665 votes. A number of other candidates receive a small number of votes.


*Alaska used several counting groups in 2004, labeled “polling,” “absentee,” “early,” and a number of other groupings. This example uses only the “polling” subset.

Altering results

Although we could have simply changed the few numbers on this Summary Results Report, we chose a more elaborate plan. We used a spreadsheet to create vote percentages for each polling place, resulting in changing Kerry’s overall percentage from 34.73% to 55.24%, and Bush from 61.88% to 43.66%; we chose to give all remaining votes to Badnarik. Even though we changed over 200,000 votes in hundreds of different locations, we were able to achieve this in just a few seconds. Because it can be done so quickly, “Fraction Magic” can be performed as often as necessary on Election Night.

The existing votes were transferred among candidates according to pre-set percentages. Because the decimalized vote feature built into GEMS allows an extraordinary amount of precision, it is possible to instruct the voting system to produce a landslide, a squeaker, or just a solid but uncontroversial win.

Here is the same polling place vote Summary Results Report after using “fraction magic”:


Notice that the number of votes never changes but Kerry now has over 120,000 votes and Bush gets about 95,000. We wiped out all but one of the minor candidates, a risky practice and not recommended unless you want a few families waving signed affidavits at the media.

Using a percentage formula to transfer real votes from one candidate to another almost always creates votes that are not whole numbers. Therefore it requires a voting a system that will process votes as decimals.

Where are the decimals?

The votes in the report shown DO contain decimals, but GEMS automatically rounds off decimalized votes in its results so you will never see them.


Part 5: Masters of the Universe


Part 3: Proof of code


Part 1: Votes are being counted as fractions instead of as whole numbers
Part 2: Context, Background, Deeper, Worse
Part 3: Proof of code
Part 4: Presidential race in an entire state switched in four seconds
Part 5: Masters of the Universe
Part 6: Execution capacity – coming –
Part 7: Solutions and Mitigations – coming –


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 bev-harrisBev Harris is a writer and founder of Black Box Voting. She has researched and written about election transparency and computerized voting systems since 2002. Harris was featured in the Emmy-nominated HBO documentary Hacking Democracy, and is the author of Black Box Voting: Ballot Tampering in the 21st Century, a book purchased by the White House Library and also reportedly found on Osama bin Laden’s bookshelf. Harris’s research has been covered in The New York Times, Vanity Fair, Time Magazine, CNN and several international publications, including the Philippine Daily Inquirer and Agence France Presse. Contact by text or phone 206-335-7747 for media inquiries.


bennie-smithBennie Smith is a Memphis-based application developer for an electrical manufacturing company. He is also a political strategist who has developed a micro-targeting application that predicts voter turnout. In August 2014 he was approached by a number of candidates who insisted that their elections had been stolen. He disagreed with the group and offered to look into how the system works. After discovering a number of irregularities, Smith began to research how votes that originate from the same source can change once they get into the GEMS vote tabulation program. Smith’s attention to these anomalies uncovered an extraordinarily high-risk tampering mechanism and ultimately provided a new infrastructure for analyzing questionable election results.



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