Today I’m delighted to share an extract from 42 Million to One courtesy of Camylle Fleming from Mindbuck Media
“They say truth is stranger than fiction. But when fiction is this true, it’s the best of both worlds. 42 MILLION TO ONE is really gripping, really important (especially now), and really good.” — Jonathan Simon, author of CODE RED: Computerized Elections and The War on American Democracy
About the Book
Forty-two Million to One is a political thriller for the turbulent times in which we live when you have to ask yourself: How Secure Are Our Elections?
What if you knew that hacking a voting machine is so easy that at a cyber security conference in 2017 an entire array of commonly used machines were hacked in a matter of hours?
What if you knew that in 301 elections Republican candidates outperformed exit polls over a 12 year period? What if you knew the odds of that happening by random chance are 42 million to one? Forty-two Million to One weaves an enthralling story about voting machine manipulation to steal an election–and the fundamental tenets of our democracy. Lucy Gilmore, a young reporter, begins a journey to uncover proof that voting machines have been hacked and election outcomes have been altered. She discovers the real events that demonstrate just how vulnerable our democracy has become. This eye-opening book speaks not just to voting machine corruption but the state of our democracy and why our struggle to govern effectively becomes more difficult every year.
As soon as I got back to Washington, I called Vince.
“Did your computer guy find any issues with the voting machines?”
“Lucy, he wasn’t allowed to look.” “How can that be?”
“Apparently, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act bars inspection of the machines. What is inside is their intellectual property. No one is allowed to look, not even election officials.”
Can you believe it?
I called our political editor at the Post and asked for a meeting. Sometimes I get a little intimidated by a big meeting. Yousee,I am only four-foot-ten inches tall. And it can be hard enough for a woman to get listened to, much less one who is so short she needs a pillow on her chair to reach the keyboard.
But the day of the meeting, for some reason, all these anxieties had disappeared. Here I was, a reporter. I worked for one of the top newspapers in the United States of America. And I had a story.
Could it get any better?
The story was that our elections were being stolen. Rigged. And what better example than a completely invisible candidate getting 59 percent of the vote against a candidate who was within seven points of unseating an incumbent United States senator. Motive: Senator saving his skin. Weapon: Voting machines that can be rigged. Crime: Invisible candidate gets 59 percent of the vote.
What was I missing?
So there I was sitting in the office of Brad Aaronson, the star political editor at TheWashingtonPost. He had broken the story about Jack Belimi, a lobbyist who had made a fortune representing Indian tribes and then crossed the line between influence and bribery. Brad wrote a great book about how we got into the Iraq war, sure to be a loser but made worse by Americans who knew nothing about the country we suddenly owned. He wasn’t my boss. I covered local pol- itics in the DC suburb of Prince George’s County, Maryland. But he was nice enough to see me and listen to my pitch.
His door was open, and he was hacking at the keyboard. “Lucy? So nice to see you.”
He had soft brown eyes that clashed a little with his salt and pepper hair. He was always in a hurry but in a relaxed way, calm, but if you were wasting his time, he started glancing around the room. Anyway, he was always nice to me. He complimented my story on Rock Hill corruption. He told me I had a big future at the Post. For a 25-year-old, still with stars in her eyes, that was all it took. I loved him.
Now I had his attention. He looked at me directly with a little respectful half-smile and waited. “Brad, I have a pretty big story. Did you read about the election in South Carolina?”
“Yeah, I saw something about it. Barry White, the singer, won another Grammy.”
Not a good answer. But I continued.
“Well, that is what they are saying but, listen, Barry White, the candidate, made no appearances, raised no money, has no website. Someone paid his $10,400 filing fee anonymously. But he got 59 per- cent of the vote against a guy who was giving Senator Mintura a race. How could that happen?”
“I don’t know.”
“Well, I know. They recently installed these new voting machines. Have you read about these voting machines?”
“A little. Bring me up to speed.”
“The ones in South Carolina are basically computers. Computers can be hacked. According to experts the machines are easy to hack. Three lines of code and you can change the vote count any way you want. I believe those computers were programmed to give White the election.” I looked across the desk into his blank stare.
About the Author
Hal Malchow has enjoyed a long and successful career as one of America’s leading political consultants. Starting on his kitchen table in an efficiency apartment, he built the nation’s largest voter contact firm. He pioneered the use of advanced data analytics to revolutionize political targeting and control group experiments to measure and improve campaign tactics. His work in changing campaign politics is chronicled in Sasha Issenberg’s 2011 book, The Victory Lab: The Secret Science of Winning Campaigns.
Hal Malchow’s writing career began when his then eight-year-old son approached him about writing a book together. Two years later, they completed the first draft of The Sword of Darrow, an acclaimed young adult fantasy novel. He wrote and published a sequel, The Dragon and the Firefly, in 2014. He followed that book in 2018 with a political thriller, No Popes in Heaven.