election, perchance, fixed? 1 in 5 Americans, according to a
December Gallup poll, suspect so.
Four out of five fellow Americans never heard a peep about
rigging, believed scoffing authorities, or, being Bush
backers, gloated. The first whiff our solid, and mostly
white, middle class usually got of electoral mischief was
the brief but brave challenge lodged at a joint
Congressional election certification session January 6 by
thirty-one Congressmen/women and California Senator Barbara
Indeed, if not for the maligned blogs demanding
investigations, such as the forums by Congressman John
Conyers’ House Judiciary Committee Democrat minority,
ordinary citizens reliant on mainstream media (the MSM, in
blogospheric parlance) would imagine that every vote was
counted, just as the Fox News fairy tale goes. The MSM
insisted that the rumors were, well, you know, a conspiracy
made up of internet conspiracy theorists foisting sore loser
views on sensible citizens who ought to believe everything
they read in the New York Times (thanks for the war, Judith
Miller) or watch on cable.
Given the utmost
need for a trustworthy voting system it was very odd to
watch a suddenly fastidious press, guardians of the public
trust, do everything they could to tamp down percolating
‘mis-election’ reports – dismissing them with a royal wave
of the hand as sour grapes or batty conspiracy theorizing.
In upper media circles it is axiomatic that there are no
such things as conspiracies. It was a bit rich, even
bitterly amusing at times, to behold highly ambitious
journalists and scholars, whose career fortunes (as they are
most acutely aware) are decided in small rooms by
unaccountable people, ruling out conspiracy from the start.
Likewise axiomatic is their notion that villains with common
interests must keep in intimate contact to pull off
misdeeds. So only conspiracies are newsworthy, except they
don’t exist. And if there is no cheek-by-jowl conspiracy at
work then villains can’t be working toward a common end, and
so they don’t really matter. Neat logic. One wonders whether
our intrepid media today would have stirred in 1972 if, say,
some naïf noticed that a special White House unit was
targeting domestic foes. Maybe if G. Gordon Liddy crossed
his heart and promised to confess first?
were Americans in November really 'dumb' enough, as an
understandably testy British newspaper headline lamented, to
elect a war-mongering, duplicitous, clueless, inarticulate
buffoon as president?
Has Dubya, this reactionary dynastic 'aberration' slouching
out from the 2000 Florida non-recount, now become a popular
personification of a whole bellicose Orwellian 'era,' as a
supercilious Guardian journalist suggested?
As small a consolation as it is to an apprehensive planet, a
majority of Americans who trudged off to polling stations,
it increasingly appears, fully intended to elect John Kerry
(despite his long dreary list of shortcomings and misplays).
Apart from numerous voter suppression gimmicks built into
the rickety US electoral system, as chronicled by Greg
Palast and others, it was, according to a growing chorus of
well-credentialed skeptics and congressional investigators,
the deployment of easily-rigged electronic voting machines
that may well have clinched the result for Bush.
Does the charge withstand scrutiny?
Contrary to soothing media accounts, the 2004 election was
marred by tens of thousands of reported 'irregularities,'
potentially affecting votes running to 6 and 7 figures. For
starters, ask yourself what other modern country would be so
staggeringly ill-prepared to handle a turnout of about 60
per cent? Scroll through the teeming complaints in Ohio -
half of them afflicting the heavily populated Democratic
county of Cuyahoga.
All one needed do to suppress decisive masses of Kerry
votes, as the implacable Republican Ohio Secretary of State
Kenneth Blackwell is accused, is to deploy needed voting
machines away from inner city working class Democrats who,
with clock-in jobs and children with no nannies, then had to
linger in often impossibly long lines for many hours. The
press, initially, saw no problem whatever with this sly
maneuver. Breaks of the game, guys.
This successful bottlenecking tactic finally is getting
long-delayed coverage, as is a repertoire of dirty
disenfranchising tricks. Blackwell, who also chaired Ohio’s
Bush/Cheney campaign, earlier overruled state guide lines
when he decided that provisional votes (mostly given to
inner city voters under contrived challenges, or while
suffering long queues) be cast only in their own precinct
and, a bit earlier, dictated that new and mostly Democratic
voter registrations be deemed valid only if printed on 80
pound weight paper in shocking pink ink (okay, I added, the
pink ink bit).
voters were at the mercy of often ignorant, indolent or
downright devious poll workers, but that’s nothing new.
Swat squads of Republican ‘challengers’ pestered likely
Democrats (the tip-off usually being skin hue) at polling
places so as to extend their voting ordeals; citizens were
herded into wrong precinct lines in the right buildings,
lifelong Democrats were purged from voting lists (mostly for
not voting in two previous elections or changing their
addresses, which the less affluent do more often). In Ohio’s
Warren County furtive officials expelled independent
observers from the vote count by claiming, ludicrously, that
the FBI warned them of imminent terrorist attack. In short,
every demented trick that superannuated frat rat Republican
cretins could dream up was dragged slimily out. Why? In a
crucial national election, with Democratic registration way
up and Independents and undecided voters likely to break for
Kerry (as they did), Republicans could win only if they
disenfranchise a goodly slice of opponents.
All that is at stake, after all, is hundreds of billions of
public dollars, all those cool Pentagon playthings, and
control of the law enforcement (or law flouting) apparatus
of the nation. A quick scan of Conyer’s Committee 102 page
report covers many of the insidious gags the Republicans
the single most disturbing electoral element in 2004 remains
the role of eccentric, to say the least, electronic voting
devices recording 30% of the US vote (versus 13 per cent in
2000) and, in addition, tallying 80 per cent of nationwide
ballots in central tabulators minded by partisan pro-Bush
private firms. The software ‘source codes’ are,
serendipitously, proprietary information. Your electoral
system , in case you didn’t know it, is virtually
privatized. Why should anyone get excited about such
irrelevant details? The MSM were extremely annoyed, and
indeed baffled,.by the internet outcry. Republicans – even
when displaying ample motive, means and opportunity (not to
mention, sleazy history) – wouldn’t try to exploit this
frightfully advantageous situation, would they?
Perish the thought. Get over it. Pop another Prozac..
the roiling aftermath, as recounts were demanded (but the
Kerry camp remained formally aloof), the protective mantra
was that no one actually hoped to change the outcome. Only
indiscreet third Parties, at first, dared get into the
investigative act. In New Hampshire Ralph Nader forced a
teensy-weensy partial recount (11 of 301 precincts) in which
Kerry gained votes but not what was deemed a significant
number. In Ohio, at the behest of Michael Bednarik of the
Libertarians and David Cobb of the Greens - later obliquely
joined by Kerry/Edwards - a highly crimped recount was
permitteded to proceed only after Blackwell certified a
state vote replete with screamingly obvious anomalies, such
as more votes than voters showing up in certain precincts.
team of Kerry's lawyers did descend on Ohio, they tactfully
said, "to make sure all votes are counted." One worthwhile
service performed by these suits was preserving as much
evidence as possible for perusal afterward. The official
count of Ohio provisional ballots (77% accepted) cut Bush's
margin to under 119,000.
Of 147,000 hand-counted provisional and absentee ballots,
Kerry took 54.46%, which by itself might raise a few
eyebrows. Yet another remarkable
electoral oddity is an obscure, underfunded Afro-American
Democratic nominee C. Ellen Connally for the Ohio state
Supreme Court gathering a six figure vote excess over Kerry.
The candidate at the head of the ticket usually leads as
vote-getter. So what happened?
Ohio ‘recount’ itself was a series of travesties reported as
routine truth. Precincts were not randomly selected, as
stipulated by law, but largely picked by Blackwell. Triad, a
voting machine manufacturer supplying 41 of 88 Ohio
counties, dispatched technicians who, according to
affidavits (not “anecdotes”), re-jigged devices in several
counties before the recount began and also set up cheat
sheet to enable lazy or pliant officials to match tallies
and so avoid full hand recounts.
Some re-counters found ballots were pre-sorted, not random;
that signature counts did not match official recorded votes;
and other anomalies. One can’t help but marvel at Board of
Election officials – and in Ohio Democrat and Republican
alike were appointed by Blackwell – who behaved as if this
nuisance of a voting system must not dare to inconvenience
them. Blackwell brushed off subpoenas like they were gnats.
It is difficult to come away from a survey of ‘incidents’
without deducing that nothing in the USA today seems a
prosecutable offense where vote tampering is concerned. How
many ‘incidents,’ amateur and real lawyers alike wonder, add
up to fraud anyway?
Recount demands were lodged in Nevada (refused) and New
Mexico (still pending) too. With the Democratic Party and
media investigators missing in action, Reverand Jesse
Jackson Sr. visited Ohio in early December to rally support
for investigation of anomalies that he justly said cast the
US election as much into question as the notorious one in
the Ukraine where exit polls discrepancies set off heeded
House Judiciary Committee Democrats led by Conyers commenced
looking into voting maladies and produced a
page Dorian Gray portrait of Ohio. Purported whistleblower
Clint Curtis, who says several years ago he was asked by
Florida Republican honcho and now Congressman Tom Feeney to
devise a nifty prototype software program to switch opponent
votes – one in 20 would do the trick - to Republicans, bore
up rather well under grilling.
the US media, except for a few (like Keith Olbermann of
MSNBC news or Randi Rhodes on Air America radio) shied well
away from what it disdainfully dubbed "tin foil hat"
The best way to prove one's case is, of course, to go and
prove it either way. Commendably keeping the noisome issue
alive in the blogosphere and internet news services were, in
no particular order, such sites as Democratic Underground,
wikipedia.org and many
others one can find through links in the foregoing list. The
MSM was daintily disdainful, although right wing blogs
evidently propelled the mainstream’s insanely
beside-the-point denunciation of Dan Rather for his use of
the wrong memo copy to prove an utterly accurate Bush
National Guard AWOL story.
Still, the stony
silence the mainstream media exhibited on electoral
‘mishaps’ betrayed an inherent rivalrousness with blogs that
formerly were beneath notice. In amazingly haughty retorts
the MSM relied less on argument or evidence than upon their
increasingly tarnished authority to carry the day. The blogs,
for their part, may be wildly varied in tone and temper but
there is an intriguing core that meets high criteria. In the
Democratic Underground threads, for instance, one finds a
few loopy comments (as one does daily in seminar or news
rooms) but any theorizing got tested for rigor and (not
quite the same thing) public persuasiveness. A lawyer would
weigh in, then a computer programmer, then a manager of a
software company, then a statistician, then another lawyer
or someone with ‘insider’ experience to show why this or
that notion would or wouldn’t fly. They ultimately subjected
arguments to some reasonable first round tests of logic and
evidence so as to satisfy (ideal) mainstream requirements.
It wasn’t all that bad as modern town hall meetings go. And
there most definitely is first rate investigative reporting
out there among the dubious stuff. You have to pick though
it with a critical attitude, just like when reading the
daily papers. People in threads love to play devil’s
advocate too. While no substitute for our more staid
institutions, they can be valuable correctives and one is
glad these alternatives are there.
what is potentially at stake is not 500-some Florida votes
but upwards of five million national ballots or more. The
new electoral machinery is the rather wormy fruit of the
Help America Vote Act of 2002, which funded electronic
voting as a panacea for past punch card ills. Yet
Republicans fiercely resisted a paper trail requirement
proposed in separate House (sponsored by Rush Holt) and
Senate bills (sponsored by Hilary Clinton and others).
Venezuelan electronic machines offer auditable paper trails,
why not US ones? Every computer expert not on partisan
payrolls testifies that these ditzy machines are a perfect
invitation to program/reprogram whatever result
manufacturers or rogue programmers please, and with no
unsightly trace. So how to detect tampering? The machines,
as chance would have it, are manufactured mainly by four US
firms which boast strong Republican (including nutcase
Christian fundamentalist) ties.
Diebold’s CEO Wally O’Dell, infamously promised assembled
corporate brethren in the Summer of 2003 that he would
"deliver" Ohio to the Republicans. (Blackwell bragged last
month in a fund-raising letter that he ‘delivered” Ohio to
Bush). Anybody listening? Some 40 million votes passed
through the innards of these delicate gadgets, and
indications that some underwent a sudden 'conversion
experience' there or, much more likely, inside easily hacked
central tabulators, is accumulating.
election – despite Bush’s apparent 3 million vote majority -
came down to whomever nabbed Ohio. Just a one per cent voter
swing would make Kerry president. There were scores of
startling cases of voters touch-screening Kerry and having
Bush flash up or the screen go blank.
But visible miscues are the least of the problems.
Despite a veritable mountain of facts attesting that these
machines can be altered with ridiculous ease, our proud
pundits instantly and without exception opted to explain the
wide discrepancies between exit polls and final tallies as
entirely the fault of historically highly reliable exit
polls. Exit polls should not be confused with pre-election
polling, as the post-election press likes to do. Exit polls
customarily are accurate to within 0.4 per cent of final
tallies whereas pre-election polls have a margin of error
ten times larger. In Germany exit polls regularly predict
election outcomes within a quarter of a percentage point
margin or less, and are regarded as checks on election
mischief. Former Clinton guru Dick Morris stated that US
exit polls are ‘almost never wrong’ and suggested in this
case that the polls, not the vote, must be sabotaged.
The American MSM en masse genuflected to the immensely
fallible machines. Where is a Luddite when you need one?
“Kiev? What about Cleveland?” Reverand Jesse Jackson archly
asked about exit poll discrepancies in one of the first
published mainstream op-eds at the end of November.
Jackson and John Conyers crankily insisted, so the testy
press saw it, that mounting problems, electronic and
otherwise, warranted serious inquiries. The most peculiar
thing about the myriad of reported malfunctions, as Jackson
and Conyers pointed out, is that nearly all malfunctioned in
favor of Bush. Their gutsiness was fueled in no small part
by the disgraceful fact that,
by far the most
targeted and disenfranchised group were blacks, who vote
overwhelmingly for Democrats. The MSM saw nothing
particularly personal or racist in this, just ordinary and
insignificant political high jinks, although many blacks
didn’t see it quite that way. Little wonder that Jackson and
Conyers took the lead in generating what paltry and
belittling attention that the newspapers and networks were
willing to devote.
Were these dark suspicions so preposterous?
In October 2004
California ordered 15,000 touch-screen Diebold machines not
be used because of serious flaws. "[Diebold] literally
engaged in absolutely deplorable behavior and, to that
extent, put the  election at risk, jeopardizing the
outcome of the election," said California Secretary of State
A voting machine in one Ohio
county precinct awarded Bush about 4000 votes despite there
being only 638 registered voters. Was it an isolated error?
Detecting errors is precisely the problem. Had a plausible
number of votes been cast the discrepancy might not have
come to light. A North Carolina County machine lost 4,500
votes. Other machines began counting backwards after a
certain numerical point (32,000 votes).
The list goes on as one scans especially (but not only) the
a controversial chart of the Florida vote, strange results
leaped out. In 22 counties with non-electronic machines one
showed a slight drop in Democratic voting, and they produced
an overall Democratic majority. However, of 52 counties
using electronic machines 37 displayed often steep drops in
Democratic turnout and huge rises in Republican turnout, so
as to pull off a half million vote majority for Bush -
despite both 2000 figures and exit polls predicting the
In 22 non-electronic counties Bush and Kerry showed similar
improvement in turnout while in electronic counties Kerry's
vote was flat while Bush soared 45 per cent. Was this
remotely credible in such a fiercely fought contest? The
Republicans’ smug claim that they worked harder than
Democrats to get out their vote is what they say reports of
voting mischief are, anecdotal.
Florida chart was airily dismissed in The New York Times
when a couple of obliging academics were summoned to point
out that small rural communities in that region often are "Dixiecrat"
(registered Democrats voting Republican).
Sober leftists, including David Corn of The Nation, accepted
this apparent debunking and joined in the mocking chorus, a
weirdity since The Nation earlier published the single best
forewarning of electronic hanky-panky, a piece by Ronnie
Alexander Cockburn, Rick Perlstein, Michael Moore and others
likewise scoffed. Yet contempt is not the soundest
scientific attitude with which to approach data either.
Eager to convict, the mainstream assumed the chart creators
were gullible and that they themselves were not. Yet their
rebukes misfired inasmuch as the original chart analysts,
knowing this, instead had averaged 26 mid-sized counties and
still came up with an identical unlikely tilt to Bush.
last one contrite internet journalist committed the initial
“Dixiecrat” mistake, and was promptly corrected not by the
MSM but by the original compilers of the chart.
Although he retracted his speculation within hours of first
posting, the MSM gleefully seized it and wouldn’t let it go
– circulating the story to this day as proof of the
ineffable daffiness of the internet. News editors, of
course, figured it was a low-risk call to ignore the
electoral flap because Kerry didn’t contest the result and
because they believed that no tree falls in our modern
forest unless their press corps says in fit print they heard
it do so. ‘Scoops’ on the internet don’t count. Anyway, as
one managing editor of a major British newspaper told me, if
the reported irregularities can’t change the election
result, why bother?
troublesome studies poured in. Statistician Colin Shea at
the Zogby Poll web site (which predicted a Kerry victory)
reckoned that the consistent four per cent advantage reaped
by Bush in closely fought states had a statistical
improbability of 50 thousand to one. University of
Pennsylvania researcher Steven Freeman reported that chances
that the gaps between exit polls and votes in three key
states were due to random error were 250 million to 1.
Freeman was criticized for underplaying design effects and
exaggerating the odds.
But, if so, by how much?
Collectively, exit polls had Kerry handily winning both the
electoral college and the popular vote - including Ohio,
Florida and new Mexico- before the polls underwent a
midnight “correction” aligning them with the incoming votes
– which ruins the polls as independent devices. The poll
data, owned by a private consotium, also is proprietary
information. A Cal Tech/MIT Voting Technology Project study,
glommed onto by the New York Times as the infallible final
word, turned out to have employed this useless ‘adjusted
‘poll data to refute charges of a fix.
That is, they circularly used the results they were supposed
to check to verify the results. The demand by bloggers,
critics and Conyers for the ‘raw data” from the NEP was even
ridiculed on the rather contradictory grounds that raw data
is meaningless and that anyway this raw data isn’t raw
anyway since it already has undergone transformations in the
course of being recorded.
Yet what this means is that one cannot appraise the validity
of the transformations or results without examining ‘raw
data,’ or whatever one cares to call it, too. Indeed, even
the National Commission on Elections and Voting in a
much-cited report hostile to the rigging charges recommended
‘full data disclosure.”
University of California professor Michael Hout found that
in Florida's heavily Democratic Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm
Beach counties that Bush was awarded 130-260,000 excess
votes, whether by error or design. (Bush won Florida by 380
thousand votes): "No matter how many factors and variables
we took into consideration, the significant correlation in
the votes for President Bush and electronic voting cannot be
explained," asserted Hout. Yet another study found it
within a 95% probability that Kerry was the popular vote
winner, to boot.
If studies reckoned the odds against Bush winning were only
2 to 1, might a bit of poking around be in order? You know,
just in case?
this hypersensitive fray, mainstream viewers resort to the
discrediting ploy of exaggerating their opponents’ claim to
say exit polls are more accurate than vote tallies all the
time. Authorities say that although it is true exit polls
are used in German elections at a very high accuracy, or
were used in Mexico to assure that the ruling party wasn’t
rigging against Vicente Fox, that the US polls are
constructed for different purposes with different sample
sizes so that, and here they stretch a bit, they are no use
for prediction, even though that is at least one purpose the
networks who pay them for. They are not a ‘warning light’ on
the dashboard, as the US State Department insisted, in
Ukraine. The speculation that exit polls were off because
Kerry voters might have been more eager than pathologically
bashful Bush voters to speak to pollsters is beyond the
realm of the lame as an excuse. How does one account for the
vast preponderance of the breaks from the exit poll
predictions – 42 of 51 units (including Washington D.C) -
going in the same direction, toward Bush, anyway?
reliable protective mainstream device is the familiar
phenomenon of differential application of healthy doubt to
those theories the viewer dislikes versus those the viewer
favors. The first ‘credible alternate explanation’ that is
mooted is duly bought right on the spot, without bothering
to kick the tires or look under the hood. With watchdogs
like these guys who needs stooges? Consider the instructive
following summary, a few days prior to the election, of our
wartime President’s standing, cited by a writer who
nevertheless argues that the Bush camp’s mesmerizing
‘narrative’ (‘Strength! Leadership! Character! Integrity!’)
carried the day:
Most notably, more Americans (55 percent) said they thought
the country was “headed in the wrong direction” than those
who said it was headed in the right one, and fewer than half
the Americans polled (49 percent) said they approved of the
president’s performance in office. More disapproved than
approved of the President handling of foreign policy (49 to
45 percent) and of the economy (51 to 43 percent). Finally,
more Americans disapproved than approved of the president;
handling of Iraq (50 to 45 percent), and, perhaps more
striking, two of three Americans told pollsters that Mr.
Bush’s tax cuts – his signal domestic achievement – had
either been bad for the economy (17 per cent) or had not
made much difference (51 percent).
Yet, after a rocky day, during which an aide informed him
that he was likely to lose, Bush wins handily. (Republican
experts believed the exit polls they now disparage, which
ought to tell us something.)
The question is not whether there are plenty of suckers in
America but whether there were enough to elect our
tongue-tied P. T Barnum. So analysts of every description
and caliber on or via the internet are poring over physical
incidents as well as testing statistical relationships
between votes and kinds of voting devices (paper, punch
card, opti-scan and electronic) plus differences between
exit polls and recorded votes, and subjecting them all to
every imaginable test. By way of evidence gathering, Bev
Harris' organization Black Box Voting (whose video
demonstration of easy electronic meddling is at
www.votergate.tv) is carrying out the largest Freedom of
Information trawl ever for public records from thousands of
counties. According to Harris: "Among the materials
requested are internal audit logs, polling place results
slips, modem transmission logs, and computer trouble slips.
Were there earlier inklings of problems? Plenty. (See, for
Republican Senator Chuck Hagel of Nebraska happened to be
chief executive of a voting machine company which blanketed
his state with its nifty gadgets just before his 1996 upset
victory. Hagel miraculously captured almost every group,
including many blacks who never before showed any fondness
for Republican in suits or sheets. In the all-electronic
state of Georgia pre-election polls showed Democratic
Senator Max Cleland with a two to five point leads over
Republican challenger Saxby Chambliss - and losing by seven
per cent. In one Texas County in 2000 three Republicans got
18,181 votes each - with two more outside Texas scoring
exactly that total too.
The macho naïveté
that many leftists have displayed about ‘getting over it” is
exceedingly strange. If the evidence pans out, and only
investigations can ever find if it will, then the
implication is that, uncorrected, there would be no
possibility of defeating Republicans ever again. One
supposes leftover immiserationists (“the worse things get,
the better”) welcome this plight but they’re woefully misled
if they imagine they and their constituency will suffer less
than the so-called “Red Staters.” in the relentlessly ugly
future that Bush yahoos have in store. What is the point of
crafting incisive manifestos if it is done on the basis of
misinformation and rigged realities? Would the distraction
of ‘moral values” rubbish have arisen otherwise?
What’s the upshot of the controversy? For a brief shining
moment a fading, far-fetched scenario in deep recesses of
the blogosphere was one of an amassing of incontrovertible
errors and malfeasances so as to force scrutiny of election
and perhaps even a re-vote. Some internet enthusiasts even
dreamed Kerry was monitoring events in preparation for a
dramatic ‘un-concession’ speech. Evidently not. Still, on
the basis of evidence of systematic irregularities, lawyer
Cliff Arnebeck of a citizens watchdog group did file in the
Ohio Supreme Court to overturn the result and order a
state-wide revote, a long shot measured in light years. The
suit was rejected after the election result was certified in
Congress but it is likely to be filed in Federal Courts next
so as to secure a precinct by precinct examination that can
yield conclusive data (or disprove suspicions). The Ohio
recount flushed out, or was itself the occasion for, ever
more seamy events. And it is a mistake to ignore antics in
other states, such as New Mexico (a 7000 vote Bush win)
where voter suppression was rampant in native American and
Hispanic districts, or to assume these antics only began in
Jesse Jackson’s proposal for a constitutional amendment to
standardize state voting procedures is an essential step
forward. Democratic Congressmen duly asked the Government
Accounting Office to "immediately undertake an investigation
of the efficacy of voting machines and new technologies used
in the 2004 election, how election officials responded to
difficulties they encountered and what we can do in the
future to improve our election systems and administration."
A verifiable ‘paper trail’ must be affixed to electronic
devices, although only hand counting of paper ballots really
can eliminate the inherent threats of these easily
meddled-with machines. What also is vital is lower level
investigations that may eventually put the squeeze on cute
critters who, if they indeed exist, will blab and offer
evidence to save their skins – and begin to unravel things.
tens of millions of ordinary Americans stand in line, often
for many hours, to vote for an ultra-right winger who has
blithely bungled everything he has touched? Perhaps the
likely story Republican strategist Karl Rove spread about a
vast turnout of rightwing Christians - the American Taliban
- is accurate but the numbers so far don't necessarily
support it. What is clear is that the first priority is
electoral reform to avert a recurrence, or even a suspicion
of recurrence, of this election. One can strategize from
here to doomsday and it won’t matter one iota if the voting
system is rigged. What would advice be today if Kerry were
President with a 51-48% victory, as exit polls seemed to
predict? Perhaps not so different. Kerry is no savior, a
near majority who voted for Bush remain a huge concern, and
the MSM stays overwhelmingly rightwing. Yet the stampede, at
least, into a lot of little Armageddons, or one great abyss
(see Bronner’s grim and insightful accompanying piece),
would have been interrupted. No small grace.
polity that prizes accountability must look into the claims
if only to dispel widening fear that the fix was in. Only
53% of Democrats were “very confident”: their vote counted
(versus 86% of Republicans).
In CNN exit polling 86 per cent of Democrats in Florida and
80 per cent in Ohio 'were not confident that their vote
would be counted accurately." That kind of alienation needs
to be addressed. Bush continues as President but this
controversy is not going to go away quietly. What bloggers,
to whom we owe a debt, are asking is that the media view the
evidence through something other than wraparound tin foil
(only) in Kansas anymore.
For a typical specimen of once-over-lightly
debunking, see Russ Baker, “Election 2004: Stolen or
Lost?’ 10 January 2004.
www.alternet.org/story/20934. “As for Diebold
and other vilified companies,” Baker writes
reassuringly, “in all probability, they didn't, and
wouldn't, risk the ignominy and consequences of
fixing an election.’ That’s all right then, as Monty
Python used to say.
See Bob Fitrakis, Steve Rosenfeld and Harvey
Wasserman “Election 2004: Ohio vote count battles
escalate amidst new evidence of potential criminal
activity.’ 18 December 2004
www.freepress.org. Also see ‘Preserving
Democracy: What Went Wrong In Ohio?’ (fn 9) pp.
Brad Blog.com broke this story. Curtis’ affidavit
Sworn testimony of Clint Curtis to House Judiciary (http://www.dailykos.com/comments/2004/12/13/18416/541/77#77)
one person putting in bad code in a central
tabulation machine could affect thousands and
thousands or tens of thousands of votes?
And if you had a recount and no paper trail,
would that be ... reversible by seeing the
discrepancy between the tabulator, the central
tabulator code, and what the individual machines
which had not been tampered with code?
Not if I wrote it.
Why not? In other words...
other words I could make it match.
‘Broward Machines Count
Backward,’ Palm Beach Post, November 5, 2004
As one blog contributor notes: ‘If
you really don't think election fraud this big is
possible, please go read about the voting systems:
Optech II Eagle Optical Scan readers with modems
inside (the tallies of which can be changed using
cell-phone technology), Windows-based PC's running
Microsoft access to tabulate votes (that can be
hacked via modem), touch screen machines that can be
set to Bush as the default setting and/or that can
be programmed to assign votes correctly unless the
candidate you want to have win starts to drop below
a chosen value (51% or 54%) at which point votes are
assigned so that the vote percentage gets back to
your desired value. How about punch card machines
that are misprogrammed for precincts in which you
think you candidate will lose so that when voters
punch the hole for Kerry their vote is counted for
Bush and vice versa. Where will you find material
about how vote fraud this big could happen? You
might start by tracking the links from Edgar
Steele's post here
(Look at the Devvy link and then at the Ronnie
Dugger links in Devvy's post).”