Harris has been referred to as "the godmother" of the election reform movement. (Boston Globe). Vanity Fair magazine credits her with founding the movement to reform electronic voting. Time Magazine calls her book, Black Box Voting, "the bible" of electronic voting.
She began writing on the subject of electronic voting in 2002 after she discovered that U.S. Senator Chuck Hagel had ownership in and had been CEO of the company that built the machines which counted his own votes. (The company: Election Systems & Software).
Harris has spent over 6,000 hours researching the election industry. Her articles were the first to reveal that modern-day voting systems are run by private for-profit corporations, relying on a few cronies for oversight, using a certification system so fundamentally flawed that it allows machines to miscount and lose votes, with hidden back doors that enable "end runs". Harris's investigations have led some to call her the "Erin Brockovich of elections." (Salon.com) In 2003, just weeks after a stunning electoral upset in Georgia that tipped control of the U.S. Senate, she discovered 40,000 secret voting machine files -- including a set of files called "rob-georgia," containing instructions to replace Georgia's computerized voting files before the election. The files she found contained databases with votes in them and the voting machine programs themselves. She downloaded the files on Jan. 23, 2003 and set them free on the Internet a few months later, where they were studied by scientists and security experts.
Harris has supervised five "hack demonstrations" in the field, using real voting machines. These have been covered by the Associated Press, the Washington Post, and in formal reports by the the United States General Accounting Office.She has received three cease & desist notices from private manufacturers for releasing information to the public about their secret voting systems. In 2004, she was interviewed repeatedly by the U.S. Secret Service Cybercrime Task Force, and was ultimately hit with a gag order and threatened with a federal grand jury action for refusing to turn over information on visitors to the BlackBoxVoting.org Web site. The action was dropped after it was exposed by a Seattle Reporter.
In 2003, Harris and a colleague filed a lawsuit against Diebold Election Systems, resulting in Diebold paying $2.6 million in restitution to the state of California for making false claims in selling its voting system to Alameda County, the first successful litigation against a voting machine manufacturer in the United States.Her work on another manufacturer, Sequoia Voting Systems, revealed over 100,000 errors in the logs for the 2004 election in Palm Beach County, Florida, including over 1,000 "recalibrations" performed on machines during the middle of the election and 50 machines with votes time and date-stamped weeks before the election, some of them in the middle of the night.
Her facts check out. Her original investigative work has been featured frequently in The New York Times, the Washington Post, The Associated Press, Reuters, and on CBS, NBC, ABC, CNBC, MSNBC, CNN and Fox News, and in many European media outlets.
Harris tweets from @BlackBoxVoting.