Monday, January 08, 2007

Bev Harris Retracts Charge Robert Gates VoteHere board director

In one of the posts at Net the Truth Online, we published a link to the black Box Voting site that claimed to confirm Robert Gates was a member of board of directors of VoteHere.

We have found through an internet search on another issue that Bev Harris' claim that Robert Gates was a director of Vote Here was challenged on BBV forums by Saul Iversen around November 12, 2006.

Over the course of several posts between her and Saul Iversen, finally, Harris admits:

Posted on Monday, November 13, 2006 - 12:59 am:
I should mention that I haven't had time to go back to the old computer where I stored source documents for my book. I used a lot of cites that were mainstream news articles, so it's very possible that the S.F. Chronicle article may have been my source, in which case -- unless the court documents change this -- it would appear that I am wrong about the position of director.

I'll check the court documents when I get a chance, and will issue a correction on the position held.

I don't see it as "huge" as Saul Iverson does...

Harris goes into other areas, and we're wondering why? Does she now also know that Robert Gates possessed stock options in VoteHere, does she have verifiable information on that charge, or has she made that statement because somebody else admitted to having stock options in VoteHere (Avi Rubin)?

To date, Harris still has not posted her original documentation for the reference source she says was possibly used for her own claim concerning Gates.

Harris also has not altered or placed a disclaimer on her site page

And the coupling still comes up in search results.

using a variety of search terms

Bev Harris: DOD Nominee on Board of Voting Machine Company
By Chip Created 11/09/2006 - 2:47pm

Harris' book online Chapter 8 Vote Here Inc. starts page 11

Wonder whether Harris emailed everybody with the retraction?

From: Black Box Voting []
Sent: Thursday, November 09, 2006 9:22 AM
Subject: Rumsfield replacement (Robert Gates) was director of voting company

Permission to excerpt or reprint granted, with link to

Rumsfield replacement (Robert Gates) was director of voting company by Bev Harris
While Iversen challenged Harris, he also maintained a lengthy and detailed discussion of VoteHere technology. In the course of the postings, he offered this. A further discussion followed.

Black Box Voting » Latest Consumer Reports from Black Box Voting » 11-8-06: Rumsfeld replacement (Robert Gates) was director of voting company

The blackbox voting site does contain a wealth of information and links. Just keep looking for truth, and people like Saul Iversen... No, we're not going to go to the extent of calling the number on the TruevoteMd site to inquire about Iversen. Just reading his posts, one can tell he is after truth, no matter what the truth shows.

See posts

Bev Harris Posted on Wednesday, November 08, 2006 - 05:26 pm:
Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld will resign, reportedly to be replaced by former CIA director Robert Gates. Did you know that Robert Gates was involved in the voting machine industry?

Gates was on the board of directors of VoteHere, a strange little company that was the biggest elections industry lobbyist for the Help America Vote Act (HAVA)...

Extensive post discusses VoteHere...

Bev Harris :

2005, New York Times, VoteHere: $120,000 annual contract to lobby state lawmakers to block bill to require use of paper ballots; Mirram Global, hired by VoteHere Inc of Washington State to block law

This isn't even included in the $480,000 from the VoteHere, Rhoads and Livingston Group lobbying. That puts them up to $600,000 in lobbying fees (or $720,000 if it is indeed annual) , a significant chunk of it specifically to block laws requiring paper ballots.

And by the way, look up the former Chairman of the Board at VoteHere: Admiral Bill Owens. He was on the Defense Policy Board and was running SAIC. (Hint: SAIC, involved in a coverup of Diebold flaws, see the BradBlog article on this) You'll see.

By the way, a fledgling company with no sales doesn't just happen to attract the former director of the CIA [Robert Gates] and one of the top people on the Defense Policy Board [Admiral William Owens] and one of the original NASED kingpins [Ralph Munro, who violated state law by accepting a position with VoteHere 10 days after stepping down as Washington Secretary of State without waiting the required 3 years]. Munro, who lists himself as a lobbyist on the VoteHere forms, somehow managed to get himself seated on the Carter-Baker panel to examine voting systems.

Ask yourself what was promised to these heavy hitters to get them involved. The product has never had particularly lucrative prospects, so what was the reason they chose to become part of this tiny company that sold virtually nothing in six years?

Saul Iversen Posted on Sunday, November 12, 2006 - 01:08 pm:

It suggests in the title and explicitly states in the second paragraph of the initial post from Ms. Harris that Gates was on the board of directors of VoteHere. I would like to ask with a muted voice and polite tone: Where did you get that impression? Could you please provide some information to corroborate this? I would suggest that Mr. Gates did not play such a role. But to be fair, first I should examine the evidence that you provide to that effect. Thank you again for your service to this community.

Bev Harris Posted on Sunday, November 12, 2006 - 02:16 pm:

Robert Gates was indeed on the board of directors of VoteHere. He is no longer on the board. Go to and look up the old info from on board members.

Saul Iversen Posted on Sunday, November 12, 2006 - 03:35 pm:

First I must do the homework to demonstrate that Gates was not on the board of directors. I'm off to do something. When I return, I'll start digging. Or you can point me to a link if anyone has one handy. To save me some time. But don't go looking for me. Only if it's handy. I'm perfectly willing to do my own work if needed.

Thanks again for your time and service. I have to address one question at a time.

Bev Harris Posted on Sunday, November 12, 2006 - 06:31 pm:

By all means, do your homework and let me know when you prove that "Gates was not on the Board of Directors."

Still no answer about why taxpayers should put a red cent into a company that involves itself in entrapment and harassment activities.

Saul Iversen :

Ok Bev. Please understand that I responded with indignation at first because I felt like my integrity was in effect questioned for being pro-VHTi (VoteHere's technology). Your initial language was powerful and frankly it hurt me. But you certainly do not owe ME an apology. I will try to be less sensitive. I'm trying to take a more dispassionate approach now. I hope you see that.

Time for the next step in our research. I followed your reference that you mentioned here: "Go to and look up the old info from on board members."

Here is the actual link for anyone interested in checking this out for themselves:*/

You'll have to copy and paste it into your browser because apparently the star (*) splits the link.

Please show me which of the 51 entries on this web page contains any documentation to support the claim that Gates was on the Board of Directors for VoteHere. I'm not doing this to be a pain in your ***. I just have to play devil's advocate and seek the truth. Just as you, I don't want to have to trust anyone. I want to see things for myself. So please tell me which of these 51 links demonstrates that Gates was on the board of directors. Everyone here can participate too! Just go through the 51 links and find it. I'll feel much better when I see it definitively in writing. I hope that you can understand that. It goes along with your motto "Don't tell us how to think." I kind of like that!

Bev Harris :

That was information I've archived during the writing of my book. I have it on an old computer. If not on, it will be findable in an old lexis-nexis search or something. I'm actually working on election followup, but when I get time, if no one else does, I'll go back and pull the original references.

Saul Iversen Posted on Sunday, November 12, 2006 - 11:09 pm:

Remember that they are a venture-capital backed company, and as such, they publish their members of their board of directors. Since Gates is not listed anywhere in their publication as a member of the board of directors, then either:

A. He was not a member of the board of directors.


B. We can have some fun and get them into some serious trouble. Just think... you can bring them down in a simple action.

Find any reference which actually demonstrates that they are lieing when they still maintain that he has never been on their board of directors (because that's indeed what they maintain -- I have a letter here suggesting as much) and I will hire the legal team to harrass them for it. I'll pay you a bonus finder's fee prize (you name the amount before I commit) as an incentive. Anyone a taker? Anyone care to find the truth? I'll wash your car every month. I'll do your laundry for a year. You name it.

P.S. I still humbly maintain that he was never a member of their board of directors. If he was, then again, they are in for the ride of their life... as they have officially lied.

Bev Harris Posted on Sunday, November 12, 2006 - 11:20 pm:

is listed in a San Francisco Chronicle article dated Mar. 3, 2003 as a director of VoteHere. Gates is listed, along with ACCURATE members Avi Rubin and Dan Boneh, as a member of the VoteHere Advisory Board on a VoteHere Web page:

VoteHere Leadership
VoteHere’s Board of Directors, Advisors and Management Team are comprised of highly experienced people internationally recognized for their leadership and expertise in the arenas of technology, security and government.

Board Members | Management Team

Board Members
Directors Advisors
Adm. Bill Owens, Chairman
Jim Adler
Richard Green
Ralph Munro
Tom Simpson
Robert G. Wolfe
Keith Bantick
Dan Boneh
Larry Sabato
Berry Schoenmakers
Avi Rubin
Dr. Robert Gates

Admiral Bill Owens, Chairman

Admiral Bill Owens serves as the Company's Chairman. Currently, Bill Owens is Co-CEO and Vice Chairman of Teledesic, a global broadband networking company. Previously, he was President, Chief Operating Officer and Vice Chairman of Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC), the nation’s largest employee-owned high-technology company.

During his distinguished military career, Bill Owens held the rank of four-star Admiral in the US Navy and served as Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He also served as the deputy chief of Naval Operations for Resources, Warfare Requirements and Assessments, commander of the US Sixth Fleet, senior military assistant to Secretaries of Defense Frank Carlucci and Dick Cheney and director of the Office of Program Appraisal for the Secretary of the Navy

* * * * *

Now I'm taking a moment to see if the S.F. Chronicle may have misread "advisory board" as "board of directors"

I didn't realize that Dan Boneh was also a VoteHere person. This puts the scientists that picked up the $8 million in ACCURATE grants very heavily weighted with VoteHere affiliations.

Saul Iversen Posted on Sunday, November 12, 2006 - 11:40 pm:
I hope you understand the extraordinary significance of the difference between being on the board of directors versus being on the board of advisors. It is monumental. They are two completely different things. And that significance weighs heavily in your post here on your web site AND in the similar claims you make in your book. Most entrepreneurial startups have a board of advisors that plays a very distinct role from the directors. Where there is power with a director, there is absolutely none with an advisor. It's a key distinction that financial analysts understand and appreciate.

The citation above that you have posted here amalgamates members of both classes and so does not demonstrate membership in the directors. Gates was in fact an advisor, not a director.

Bev Harris Posted on Monday, November 13, 2006 - 12:36 am:

Yes, if he is on the advisory board I wouldn't expect him to have culpability for the decision to embark on an entrapment attempt in order to discredit or harass critics. That culpability would be in the hands of the board, but not the advisory board.

So far, the S.F. Chronicle says he is a director, VoteHere says advisory board, and there are references to court documents that reportedly refer to him as a director. Nothing definitive -- except you say you know that he was NOT a director, and that he WAS an advisory board member, therefore, you must have some level of inside knowledge about this.

I can imagine that the S.F. Chronicle reporter may have misunderstood and called Gates a member of the board of directors when he was actually a member of the advisory board.

You seem very close to the situation, Saul. You know this because...?

And since you seem to have close information on this, I'm interested in your take on the entrapment actions and the "hack" and "stolen source code" situations which Jim Adler specifically says VoteHere traced to voting integrity activists.

And what is your take on the SAIC, a company that Owens (and many reports say Gates) were involved with, doing an analysis of the Diebold programs, finding flaws that the purported solution for would be VoteHere?

Don't you think that's a conflict of interest?

And what's your take on the extraodinarily heavy representation of people who are enamored of the VoteHere solution in the NSF-funded ACCURATE program?

I'm asking you this because you apparently have personal or inside knowledge, since the Internet doesn't currently have any clear record on whether Gates was a director or an advisor, but you have stated that he was an advisor, with certainty.

I know the tone of this may sound aggressive, but please bear in mind that the actions taken against me due to VoteHere were extraordinarily and inappropriately aggressive, and need to be examined more closely before anyone even considers spending taxpayer dollars on VoteHere.

Whether Robert Gates or the advisory board members knew about the entrapment scheme or not I don't know; maybe they did, maybe they didn't, but it should be investigated further.

Bev Harris Posted on Monday, November 13, 2006 - 12:59 am:

I should mention that I haven't had time to go back to the old computer where I stored source documents for my book. I used a lot of cites that were mainstream news articles, so it's very possible that the S.F. Chronicle article may have been my source, in which case -- unless the court documents change this -- it would appear that I am wrong about the position of director.

I'll check the court documents when I get a chance, and will issue a correction on the position held.

I don't see it as "huge" as Saul Iverson does. It doesn't even entirely get Robert Gates out of the line of questioning with the entrapment attempt, since the VoteHere Advisory Board members were given stock options. There was a fiduciary interest in discrediting and marginalizing critics, though the entrapment thing was hard to believe in its outright amateurishness and overreaching.

Being on the advisory board of a company that makes a police report claiming theft of code they are giving away, and then persuades law enforcement to harass one of their business critics about it -- hmm, I wouldn't say that's exactly a feather in a cap.

Whether or not it's culpable depends on who knew what and when. In fact, that question is getting more and more interesting. Now we know that SAIC was covering up flaws, and that RABA covered up, and that SAIC had connections with VoteHere while SAIC evaluated Diebold identifying flaws for which VoteHere is the solution.

I'm sorry. It really does stink.

Adam Fulford Posted on Monday, November 13, 2006 - 04:12 am:

From Baltimore Chronicle & Sentinel (8/18/03)

"Another former SAIC board member, also on the board of VoteHere, is ex-CIA director Robert Gates, a veteran of the Iran/Contra scandal."

In These Times
Voting Machines Gone Wild!
December 11, 2003

Robert Gates, ex-CIA director, former SAIC board member and a veteran of the Iran-Contra scandal, also is on the board of VoteHere.

YES! Magazine
Winter 2004 Issue:

Whose Voting Machines
by Doug Pibel

AIC board members Admiral Bill Owens (former military aide to Dick Cheney), and ex-CIA chief Robert Gates, who was implicated in the Iran-Contra scandal of the 1980s, also serve on the board of VoteHere, a growing elections software company. SAIC itself is producing electronic voting systems in partnership with Diversified Dynamics.

The American Assembler Newsblog

Democracy In Peril: Secret Service Attempting to Use Patriot Act to Demand User Info From Black Box Voting

Okay, a word about VoteHere: This is the company that has no visible means of support. It doesn’t seem to sell anything. Its board is heavily infested with defense industry types – a former CIA director (Robert Gates, now heads George Bush School of Government); it had Admiral Bill Owens, also Vice-Chairman of SAIC and a member of the Defense Policy Board with Perle and Wolfowitz, a very close friend of Cheney; currently headed by former Washington Secretary of State Ralph Munro.

(Message edited by North-of-Border on November 13, 2006)

This really is stranger than a Kafka novel. Now, determining exactly what role Robert Gates played in this mysterious organization (that has all the appearances of organized crime) is proving to be a bit of a challenge.

(Message edited by North-of-Border on November 13, 2006)

Saul Iversen Posted on Monday, November 13, 2006 - 07:55 am

Notice Mr. Fulford that none of these items show a documentary source. Noone in these examples bothered to demonstrate (or apparently conduct) their homework. Actually, in the last example you cite, you also see language written in the first person which suggests that the author is Bev Harris. That would be circular reasoning to use her as a source in this example.

Web queries are wonderful, and the internet is indeed a rich resource, but I personally feel a sense of responsibility in this community to do my own homework. I won't merely accept a reporter's word or an internet query about something for which I know I can obtain first-hand information for myself (based on the company dynamics). As Bev herself has said in her closing for this blog entry, "But that's just me."

Bev Harris

Saul Iversen Posted on Monday, November 20, 2006 - 03:26 pm:

I'll cut a deal with you. I'll make it crystal clear about my relationship with Dategrity/VoteHere, its principals (or even its principles as Brant suggests), and any investments I have. I'll answer any questions you have about said relationship... to your utmost satisfaction. I am truly committed to this. It's certainly only right and honest that I do so.

Here's what I ask in return. Will you please submit a quick public retraction with a commensurate level of exposure and visibility as each claim that you have made for which I demonstrate to be unsupportable with the amount of given evidence or even to be clearly false? And patiently put up with any questioning that I may pose of your claims? In the interest of integrity and straightforward communication to the public at large? It is also only right and honest that we all do so.

Fair deal?

I'm ALL ABOUT full disclosure. I'm all about honesty and integrity. I'm all about helping others to understand insofar as I am able. But I am most certainly NOT about promulgating anything as truth for which there is no meaningful evidence or for which one can demonstrate to be false or illogical in its assertion. Remember my posts about the Hursti documents? Same goal there. Nothing new from me.

Everyone here should equally be concerned about the appearance of spreading propaganda, wittingly or otherwise. I certainly wouldn't say that you are intentionally doing so, but even the appearance of doing so is particularly harmful to the cause. I care about you all (No really, I do) and I enjoin with your passion. But we should not be so zealous in our cause as to mislead the public in any remote way. We should painfully endeavor to avoid it. I stand firm to that principle. And I myself will be held mutually accountable by it.

Consider my offer. It's time for my supper. I'm here with my father and grandfather (age 86). I will check the posts later tonight.

Good night and good luck...

(Message edited by Malachite on November 20, 2006)

Saul Iversen Posted on Tuesday, November 21, 2006 - 05:51 am:

Mystery man... that's funny. I find it somewhat scary how easy it is to find out about me by simply executing an unsophisticated internet query. Utterly scary. But I'm an open book. I've also offered up here at BBV my affiliation with TrueVoteMD. There are posters here that know me personally, have regularly met me face to face in our weekly TrueVote meetings (during critical legislative sessions). I am actively involved in their Technical Committee. And I know the founders personally. You can simply call the number on their site and do a simple background check on me. It's no mystery. You'll quickly see if I have an agenda contrary to the purpose of this site. I spent the past several months supporting one of their founding member's bids for the U.S. Senate. He's also the co-founder of VoteTrustUSA (often on CNN, etc).

And in case you instinctively think TrueVoteMD must be some cover agency for the e-voting vendors, see what Bev Harris has to say about TrueVoteMD here:

I suppose the only way in which I could have an agenda contrary to the purpose of this site is if the truth were somehow contrary to its purpose. As Al Gore would attest, the truth is sometimes inconvenient. So if perpetuating myths makes it easier to attain a goal, and you shudder at the thought of someone who is passionate about the truth (regardless of whether it seems to politically help his cause or not), then that is truly lamentable.

Saul Iversen Posted on Tuesday, November 21, 2006 - 06:07 am:

I have no affiliation whatsoever with any vendors. Period. I have met with many CEO's of a variety of companies in my quest for knowledge and as a part of my role at TrueVoteMD. But I have no vested interest whatsoever. No conflicts at all. I earn a wage as a geek, an engineer. I'm noone special.

With regard to Dategrity/VoteHere, let me say this. Their CEO and another team member flew out to the east coast, drove up to the private home of a TrueVoteMD member, and sat down with us on a Super Bowl Sunday of all days to field questions about the VHTi technology. They came to us. They were venturing into antagonistic territory to answer questions. That's how I know them. I also met with many of their employees at the local Maryland legislative hearings. And I felt entirely comfortable contacting literally any of them with questions as I reviewed their technology. As I do with any CEO or employee of any company. I'm quite aggressive in my search for the truth.

And I won't be remotely tainted with any appearance of a conflict of interest along the way.

Saul Iversen

Rebecca Mercuri's post concerning David Dill and VoteHere

from the Mail Bag Posted on Thursday, November 09, 2006 - 06:00 pm:

admin note) Dr. Rebecca Mercuri is one of the pioneers in the election reform issue, and began researching and exposing problems with electronic voting back in 1989.

Nice piece about the connections with HAVA, Robert Gates and VoteHere but it appears that you've neglected to connect the rest of the dots.

VoteHere was the original owner of the verifiedvoting URL, which they provided to David Dill for his use. But, the early petition that Dill had posted on his website for signatures used the phrase "voter-verifiable" rather than "voter verified." I had immediately noted to Dill and others) my strong objection to the word "verifiable" but he insisted on using it, and later explained that it was necessary in order to gain acceptance among the cryptographic community (which of course included VoteHere).

All of verifiedvoting's writings and petitions (until fairly recently) have used the word "verifiable" (rather than "verified"), which one can confirm by Googling on "voter-verifiable" (with or without the hyphen). (Note that it is well documented that I, not Dill, originated the phrase "voter verified" though I do permit and encourage the free use of this terminology.

An extensive explanation of why "verifiable" is not the same as "verified" with regard to the auditing and authentication of paper ballots is on my website at )

Thankfully most of the state and federal legislation that has been introduced (and passed) with regard to VVPATs, correctly uses the word "verified" rather than "verifiable."

Another connection between the academic election technology community and VoteHere was revealed in 2003 shortly after the Johns Hopkins Diebold report was released. As it turned out, Avi Rubin had failed to "remember" that he was a member of the technical advisory board of VoteHere, and further that he held stock options in the company (during the period when VoteHere was lobbying Congress). Details on this can be found at

Both Drs. Dill and Rubin now receive a considerable amount of federal funds annually for election technology research, awarded largely on the basis of a grant proposal and presentations that used certain other proprietary intellectual property without permission, attribution and/or remuneration.

I think it's important that your readers know the rest of the story. Feel free to post this message (only in its entirety, please) on your

Thank you,
Rebecca Mercuri, Ph.D.

Statement of Avi Rubin on Relationship with VoteHere Inc.



"Do electronic voting machines improve the voting process?" We have divided questions about the topic into the issues and sub-issues listed below. All individuals and organizations quoted on our site are ranked based upon our unique theoretical credibility scale...

About VoteHere
Founded in 1998, VoteHere, a division of Dategrity Corp., is the industry leader in election audit and verification technology. VoteHere's patented technology has been used in more than 100 elections throughout the United States and Europe, reaching nearly 13 million voters. VoteHere brings elections up to the same standards of verifiable accuracy as banking, express shipping and other types of transactions people trust every day. For more information, visit



Saul Iversen


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