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Election Integrity News Blog


The British Admitted—24 Years Later—Their Computers Were Connected Real-Time to a Mainframe

Credit: PBS, "The Real Story of Mr. Bates vs The Post Office," April 28, 2024

By Elizabeth Dallam-Ayoub | June 25, 2024

The goal of Michigan Fair Election is to inform and educate. Both of which require relaying facts and information to astute readers who can let the information percolate. So, after the Public Broadcasting System (PBS) recently aired a documentary film telling “the true story about one of the greatest miscarriages of justices in British legal history,” a striking question is fair to ask:

Does the November 2020 election in the United States share a common thread with the British Post Office during the 24-year period from 1999 through 2023?

You be the judge:

Alan Bates, like many subpostmasters, assumed he would run his local post office until he retired. Instead, he and more than 100 of his fellow postal managers were arrested. “It was diabolical” and “It was like fighting the mafia,” two subpostmasters told the documentary film producers of The Real Story of Mr. Bates vs The Post Office.

Subpostmasters in the United Kingdom are self-employed business operators. They run local and village post office branches that handle the local mail, cash checks, and conduct financial transactions. Each week since 1660—for nearly 340 years—British subpostmasters had put pen to paper to reconcile their accounts, and this manual process of “reckoning” had worked without incident. None of the subpostmaster agents had ever had a problem. Their contract with the national post office of the United Kingdom, called the Royal Mail, stipulated that if a problem occurred with the finances and if the accounts were not balanced, each subpostmaster—and there were more than 500 of them—was personally liable for any shortfall.

In 1999 the Royal Mail contracted for each individual local post office to have a Horizon computer installed. The whiz-bang computing machine could balance the accounts automatically at the end of each week and submit the information to a central hub.

From the first week after the computers were installed, four subpostmasters (Bates, Uppal, Thomas, and Hamilton) reported problems. They could not reconcile a cash shortfall. Thomas, in the documentary, said that once he entered the numbers, there was “no way of going back.” Then he tried to correct a number in order to ascertain the problem, and it “doubled the shortfall.” (Compare: Overvotes from voting machine found during recount in Livingston County, MI)

Each of the four managers suffered tremendously. Each was held personally liable for the shortfall, shortfalls that continued for weeks and then months. They all found themselves putting money in themselves to balance the accounts. Royal Mail terminated Bates’ contract and took his life savings. Hamilton was charged first with theft and lost everything. Thomas, who had worked since the age of 17 and spent 36 years as a subpostmaster, was arrested, questioned, and spent nine months in jail.


“Bloody horrible,” Thomas recalled.


Uppal had “a lot of happy memories” being a subpostmaster, but once she was charged with stealing 5,000 pounds sterling, people in her village came in and “spit on the floors.” With tears in her eyes, Uppal shared how she had wanted to end her life. 


Each subpostmaster had contacted the Royal Mail directly, and each was told, “Nobody else has a problem.”


Ten years after the computer systems were installed, Karl Flinders, a journalist with Computer Weekly, read an article about the shortfalls. Curious, he contacted a subpostmaster who told him, “I was led to believe by the Royal Mail that I was the only one having any problems.” Flinders reached out to other subpostmasters, and each repeated essentially the same claim. Each was told they were unique in experiencing problems. See ‘Systemically, seriously wrong’: the 20-year quest to reveal Post Office IT scandal


Flinders broadened his investigation to subpostmasters throughout England and Wales. Many described suffering similar problems.


Then Flinders contacted the Royal Mail, and it released the following statement: “The Post Office Horizon system is extremely robust. It is regularly tested and scrutinized and we do not have any complaints from subpostmasters.” (Compare: MI SOS says election day voting is safe, secure, and smooth)


Ultimately, through Flinders, hundreds of subpostmasters—Many of whom had been charged with theft—coalesced from all over the United Kingdom.


The Royal Mail hired a forensic accountant, and another forensic accountant volunteered her services.


A former post office supervisor made an appointment in 2008 to visit the location to which all the Horizon computers were hard-wired. As he toured the Fujitsu location, he was introduced to what was called the “covert operation team.” Here he was told of the team’s ability to alter figures in real time.


This was surprising because, as a post office supervisor, he was told that “No one else has remote access” to the Horizon computers. (Compare: Did Dominion machines have remote access?)


24 years later


By 2023, after Flinders had “written about 350 articles on the campaign,” the truth was no longer hidden. With the help of a member of Parliament who was also an attorney, more than 3,500 brave subpostmasters who were willing to tell their stories, two forensic accountants, and others, the court in London found that the Royal Mail’s “bare assertions and denials amounted to the 20th century assertions that the earth is flat.” The court declared there had been a “culture of secrecy” surrounding the Horizon-Fujitsu network, and the harm it caused.


All told, the government overturned the convictions of 93 subpostmasters. It paid millions of pounds sterling to the injured subpostmasters.


One victim described his emotions, saying, “The sun was shining, and I was free. I can go home and tell people I was innocent. It is like a sack of rocks off my back.” – a sack of rocks the persecuted subpostmaster had carried for 24 years.

 Alan Bates, the postmaster who had campaigned for 20 years to expose the scandal said,

“It’s about time. This was the decent thing to do,” “We’ve got the whole country behind us now. There’s still a lot of work to do. Once a job’s done, the job’s done, and we can relax a bit — but we’re not there yet.”

Speaking to the BBC, Kevin Hollinrake, the business minister responsible for postal affairs, accepted that the pace of the response had been sped along by the docu-drama Mr Bates vs the Post Office, broadcast in four parts.

“Of course we respond to public pressure. That’s what we’re here for,” Hollinrake said. “This is government. Things go on the ‘too difficult’ pile. There’s lots of different stakeholders involved in government.”

“Three things cannot long be hidden: the sun, the moon, and the truth.”--Confucius



Dominion Voting Machine Fraud?

There have been shocking developments in the court cases with Dominion voting machines, suggesting that Dominion has committed fraud.

at 5:24: Fox fact checker says widespread fraud, ”mathematically impossible” ten days after election.

at 9:00: CISA warning; Professor J. Alex Halderman demonstrates how the machine is hackable.


at 13:16: Sheriff Dar Leaf, Livingston County, MI, sent letter to Congressman Jim Jordan, with evidence that Dominion systems could be connected to the Internet.

Georgia's statewide electronic voting system as currently implemented, suffers from major cybersecurity deficiencies:



Elizabeth Dallam Ayoub serves on Michigan Fair Election’s Communications Team. She started her career working for an international company, transitioned into teaching French and Latin while her children were young, and then became a Michigan attorney. She is currently practicing law.


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