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Hacking Democracy

29 customer reviews

Additional DVD options Edition Discs
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(Mar 27, 2007)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

The disturbingly shocking HBO documentary HACKING DEMOCRACY bravely tangles with our nation's ills at the heart of democracy. The film the Diebold corporation doesn't want you to see, this revelatory profile follows a tenacious grandmother from Seattle, Bev Harris, and her band of extraordinary citizen-activists as they set out to ask one simple question: How does America count its votes? From Florida and California to Ohio and Washington State, filmmakers Simon Ardizzone, Robert Cohens, and Russell Michaels starkly reveal a rotten system riddled with inaccuracy, incompetent election officials, and electronic voting machines that can be programmed to steal elections. Equipped only with a powerful sense of righteous outrage, the activists take on voting machine manufacturer Diebold, exposing unsettling security holes in the company's equipment. They even go dumpster diving at a county election official's office in Florida, uncovering incendiary evidence of miscounted votes.

HACKING DEMOCRACY takes a nonpartisan, clear-eyed look at the secrecy, cronyism, and incompetence of elections in present-day America as it captures a citizen's movement intent on taking back elections--and democracy itself. "It is hard to imagine...a documentary this season that is more important to the civic life of the nation--let alone one that is so compelling and ultimately moving" (Baltimore Sun).

Hacking Democracy tells the tale of a modern-day David and Goliath. On one side stand three corporations in the voting machine business, led by Diebold. On the other stands Bev Harris, a concerned citizen from Seattle. When touch-screen voting machines are installed in her community, she decides to do some research. Harris discovers that black boxes aren't exactly fool-proof—-far from it. As technology experts attest, the code is vulnerable to manipulation. Worse yet, after-the-fact changes are undetectable. So, Harris forms a grass-roots organization and proceeds to dig deeper. If that means dumpster-diving, so be it. Starting in 2004, Simon Ardizzone and Russell Michaels accompany Harris around the country to document her mission. Over the course of three years, they find several troubling instances of corporate malfeasance and computer malfunction. Foremost among consequences, her findings lead the State of California to file criminal charges against Diebold. Since most American votes are counted by computer, this isn't a trivial matter. Like This Film is Not Yet Rated, which reveals the inner workings of the MPAA, Hacking Democracy sheds light on a secretive process that affects all Americans--even those unfortunates who can't be bothered to vote. After all, they still have to live with the results, accurate or otherwise. --Kathleen C. Fennessy

Special Features

  • Original trailer
  • Deleted scenes
  • Filmmaker biographies

Product Details

  • Actors: Bev Harris, Andy Stephenson, Harri Hursti, Ion Sancho, Mark Radke
  • Directors: Simon Ardizzone, Russell Michaels
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Docurama
  • DVD Release Date: March 27, 2007
  • Run Time: 82 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000MKXF28
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #104,323 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Hacking Democracy" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Laura Lounsbury on May 13, 2007
Format: DVD
I stumbled upon this documentary when it was first aired on HBO, I was spellbound by the amount of evidence this film produces which PROVES, that our election process is so corrupt that those in power can choose whomever pleases THEIR INTERESTS. Add to this mountain of proof the testimony of Clinton Curtis in Ohio 2004. In his testimony the panel asks him "are there programs that can be secretly used to fix elections?" answer, "Yes", "How do you know this to be the case?", answer "Because in October of 2000 I wrote a prototype for Congressman Tom Finney at the company I worked for in Florida that did just that." "And when you say did just that, it could rig an election?" answer, "It would flip the vote 51-49". This story needs to be the headline of every paper in the United States, if our elections are not free of corruption then how can we expect ANY LEVEL of Government to be working in the best interests of the American people. Investigate 911.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By K B on April 8, 2007
Format: DVD
This movie is a must see for every American. You need to see how secetive the companies are that make the electronic voting machines and how easily they are hacked. This is the most informative movie you will ever see about the machines we entrust with our democracy. And most telling is when they hack a machine in minutes and change the outcome of a mock election. You must see this!
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By P. Mann VINE VOICE on June 8, 2007
Format: DVD
Was George W. Bush ever legitimately elected president? The answer, according to many, is no. Whether they are correct, the fact that there is so much distrust in elections is a serious problem, even if the elections were completely legitimate. That legitimacy and the perception of illegitimacy are at the heart of "Hacking Democracy" and represent the consuming passion of Bev Harris, the center of the film and author of Black Box Voting: Ballot Tampering in the 21st Century. Harris, as the film shows, is obsessed with voting rights, especially when it comes to computer voting.

This issue should be non-partisan. Americans should be concerned about the accuracy of the vote regardless of their party affiliation. Unfortunately, the film, perhaps for reasons of recent history, seems to portray Democrats as the victims of Republicans' machinations. In particular, the film suggests strongly that President George W. Bush's two elections were the result of voter[...], not of actual votes, first in Florida and then in New Mexico and Ohio. I suspect that today's highly polarized zeitgeist might lead those who lean right to dismiss the film while those who lean left to endorse it uncritically. If I'm right, then it's a shame since the issue really is vital to the country.

Bev Harris, from the film's depiction, is a concerned citizen who stumbled across a mistake when she was doing an Internet search. Concerned about Diebold, which makes, programs, and sells electronic voting machines, she happened to find an ftp site that the company had neglected to remove from the Web. She downloaded over dozens of hours all sorts of files, including code to earlier versions of the voting programs.
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Format: DVD
I first heard Bev Harris ( the chief Star, by "acclamation," of this film, and called by Time Magazine the "Godmother" of voting reform ) on AM radio, a national broadcast, at the start of 2004. And that revelatory and long interview (4 hours) she gave on the overwhelming evidence of electronic fraud in our elections persuaded me to devote much of my time during the last three years to election fraud investigation and commentaries (such as this review of a GREAT film). That also launched my own involvement as journalist and radio guest in this fight to restore our democracy, including invitations to discuss this at length on broadcasts on the East Coast, and many postings at the think tanks that have sprung up to address this incredibly dangerous threat to the very basis of our public life and government.

It has since been proven, as if there were ever really any question, that electronic voting is impossible to protect from hackers, especially those who have the most access to the machines: voting officials and voting machine vendors and their employees. Add to this the eerie and vast presence of the CIA, NSA, FBI and many other covert agencies behind the scenes in the counting of our vote, which can be easily documented beyond a "shadow" of a doubt, and you have a full blown catastrophe. Such is what many of us believe has happened. We currently have no way of knowing what has occured in the casting and counting of electronic votes. I made my views public several years ago that I also believed optical scan machines, which have been counting our votes since the early 1980s, are just as impossible to secure, and as easy to rig. Unbelievably easy. In fact, they seemed designed to rig.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Alex Hutchinson VINE VOICE on December 22, 2008
Format: DVD
Many of the revelations brought forth in Hacking Democracy probably would have seemed crazy if I hadn't been living in Florida when it all happened. During the 2002 election the computer voting machines forced me to write in a third party candidate that was supposed to be a choice. If I got one letter wrong in his name, the vote would not have counted. In 2004 I personally witnessed machines that would not accept a Presidential vote for John Kerry, each time the vote registered for Bush. In addition were the endless stories of problems in heavily democratic districts, most of which never made it onto the news. The media appeared to be ovewhelmed by the stories and had to pick the ones that seemed most credible.

Ultimately I was able to confirm much about how the Florida elections were manipulated. Bev Harris was a public figure showing what so many others were discovering on their own. In the end I wrote a novel called Purple State full of stories about what I witnessed. It was made more credible by the work that Bev has done with her organization Black Box Voting. Her efforts and this movie are invaluable to the integrity of our democracy.
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