CODE RED: Computerized Elections and the War on American Democracy: Election 2018 Edition

CODE RED: Computerized Elections and the War on American Democracy: Election 2018 Edition

by Jonathan D. Simon


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CODE RED is about what has happened to American elections, American politics, and America since computers took over the vote counting at the turn of this century.

Its new subtitle reflects the grave plight of the democracy we take for granted, and this new Election 2018 Edition brings the story up to date, including how we got to the Age of Trump and what we need to do now.

There are hundreds of published accounts explaining how we got here: the Clinton campaign this, the economy that, the white suburban voters without college the other thing...

As varied as they may be, what all these accounts have in common is the assumption that, one way or another, we voted our way here. That is, Americans collectively cast the billions of ballots that, over the past half-dozen or so elections, added up to where we are now.

As if we all got behind the wheel of the national car and somehow steered it over the cliff.

That is not the account offered by this book. CODE RED challenges the fundamental assumption that we voted our way over the cliff. It instead explores the possibility that, since the dawn of the computerized elections era--with votes counted in the partisan, proprietary, pitch-dark of cyberspace--the national car has behaved more like a self-driving car, programmer unknown.

It examines those elections and the veer in American politics, culminating in the Age of Trump, that they have produced-reaching conclusions about who or what has been driving the car that are both more chilling (it's not us) and more encouraging (it's not us) than anything else you are likely to read.

Most important, it's a book to read if you're asking how we can re-take the wheel. Because, while it may be of some comfort to realize that we did not vote our way to this scary place, the correlate is that there is serious and urgent work to be done if we are to be able to vote our way out of it.

"CODE RED is unique, easy-to-understand, and vastly important." - Andrew Kreig, Justice Integrity Project

"As a professional statistician, I found CODE RED's data, analysis, and conclusions compelling." - Dr. Elizabeth Clarkson; Chief Statistician, National Inst. For Aviation Research

"Simon's research is thorough and his case is more than compelling ... He has provided an important public service." - John Zogby, founder of The Zogby Poll

Several other democracies have now moved away from the computerized vote tabulation they initially embraced, having recognized the manifest security risks it entails. But America has continued to entrust its elections to privatized and concealed vote counting despite mounting evidence that the vulnerabilities to manipulation are not merely hypothetical but are actually being exploited, with profound political consequences.

CODE RED shows how America has come to adopt and embrace such a system and why we have been so collectively resistant to any serious reconsideration of its safety and appropriateness. We examine the role of election administrators, politicians, and the media in stifling investigation of the validity of suspect American elections and, more generally, of the safety and rationality of a system proven by experts to be easily corrupted.

Like the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, CODE RED sets a Doomsday Clock. The good news is that it's not quite midnight. We can turn this country around, but only if we first restore public, observable vote counting to our elections. It is a simple thing, but until we do it we will continue putting everything we value at risk.

CODE RED combines analysis and advocacy and concludes with a powerful call to action: "We need only to break a spell that has been cast on us--a spell of convenience, passivity, helplessness. We need only remember that democracy is not something that we watch, it is something that we do."

CODE RED: Read it and Weep Act!

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781719301640
Publisher: CreateSpace Publishing
Publication date: 05/21/2018
Pages: 362
Sales rank: 817,270
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.81(d)

About the Author

Dr. Jonathan Simon is Executive Director of Election Defense Alliance, a nonprofit organization founded in 2006 to restore observable vote counting and electoral integrity as the basis of American democracy.

As a result of his prior experience as a political survey research analyst in Washington, Dr. Simon became an early advocate for an exit poll-based electoral "burglar alarm" system, independent of media and corporate control, to detect computerized vote shifting in the 2004 election.

In the absence of such a system, he was nevertheless able to capture and analyze official exit poll data--briefly, and inadvertently, posted on the web prior to its "adjustment" to congruence with the vote counts--realizing as the following day dawned that he was in fact the only person in the world in possession of this critical data, which went on to serve as the initial basis for analyzing and questioning the validity of the 2004 presidential election vote counts.

Dr. Simon has been active in the cause of electoral integrity since 2001--authoring, both individually and in collaboration, numerous papers and articles related to our electoral process, its vulnerabilities, and approaches to solving them. He has worked in cooperation with many Election Integrity organizations; appeared in several election integrity-related films--including "Stealing America: Vote by Vote" and "Uncounted: The New Math of American Elections"--and as an interviewee on dozens of live broadcasts. He tweets @JonathanSimon14 and invites all interested in corresponding to connect with him through LinkedIn, the CODE RED website, or by email at

Dr. Simon is a graduate of Harvard College and New York University School of Law. He is admitted to the Bar of Massachusetts and holds membership in the legal honor society Order of the Coif.

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