State by State: Voting Rules and Restrictions

Posted in '06 Election, Disenfranchisement, General, Redistricting, State by State, Voter ID on September 1st, 2006

In his 2006 book “Stealing Democracy,” Spencer Overton illustrates historical and current flaws related to America’s voting system, including an overview of most states. Check the status of your home state below.

Also, find the latest rules in your state regarding:


  • 2004: Residents of Asian ancestry account for one-third of the population of Bayou La Batre, and despite intimidation of Asian Americans at the voting polls, Phuong Tan Huynh becomes the first Asian American councilman in Bayou La Batre by fewer than 100 votes.
  • 1996: In Bayou La Batre, despite a sizeable Asian American community, only 15 of the town’s 800 votes were cast by Asian Americans.
  • 1995-2004: Alabama is among the top 15 states in voting rights objections and claims per capita, most federal observers sent to monitor elections per capita, largest disparities between citizens of color and statewide elected officials of color, least party competition for voters of color, and largest minority group.
  • 1960s: Dallas County has a voting-age population estimated at 29,500, just over half of whom are black. However, politicians ensure that the rolls include only one percent of its black residents by requiring that applicants for registration pass and oral exam about the U.S. Constitution and possess “good character.”


  • 1995-2004: Alaska is among the top 15 states with the largest low-English proficient populations.


  • 1995-2004: Arizona ranks among the top 15 states in voting rights objections and claims per capita, most federal observers sent to monitor elections per capita, largest disparities between citizens of color and statewide elected officials of color, largest racial disparities in voter turnout, largest minority group, and largest low-English-proficient population.


  • 1995-2004: Arkansas is among the top 15 states for largest disparities between citizens of color and statewide elected officials of color, the least competition for voters of color, and the largest minority group.


  • 2004: All of the incumbent state legislators or U.S. House members who run retain their seats.
  • 2004: Ventura County, where 33 percent of the population is Latino and where 26,000 Spanish speaking U.S. citizens have limited English skills, is charged with failing to provide enough bilingual poll workers and voting materials. In response, the county agrees to provide its first Spanish-language ballot and offers bilingual county employees the day off with pay plus a stipend to ensure that 300 of the county’s 1,300 poll workers could speak both Spanish and English.
  • 2004: Los Angeles County provides ballots in more languages than any other area in the nation – including English, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Spanish, Tagalog, and Vietnamese. Of the 22,000 poll workers in the county leading up to the 2004 election, almost 5,000 said they were bilingual.
  • 2002: Democrat Michael Case decides not to make another run against Republican U.S. House incumbent Elton Gallegly where redistricting inflated registered Republicans from 39 to 46 percent and deflated registered Democrats from 40 to 35 percent of the district’s voters.
  • 2002: As a result of redistricting, only one of the fifty-three California U.S. House races is competitive.
  • 2002: No more than 17 of the 153 U.S. House, State Senate, and State Assembly seats at stake in California in 2002 are considered competitive, compared with 44 competitive seats following the 1991 redistricting.
  • 2002: Following the new U.S. house map, which removes Latino voters from Berman’s district and puts them in an adjacent district represented by another white Democrat, Berman’s voting constituency is reduced from 45 percent Latino to 31 percent.
  • 2002: In the November election, 100 percent of the incumbents who run win reelection. The padding of districts ensures that most races are not close. The average incumbent wins with 69 percent of the vote.
  • 2001: The California state legislature draws three new maps that assign a total of 173 districts: fifty-three U.S. House seats, forty State Senate seats, and eighty State Assembly seats. State Democrats effectively control the process and pay a consultant $1.36 million to draw the State Senate districts, and incumbent Democratic members of Congress collectively pay the consultant about $600,000 ($20,000 each) to draw the U.S. House map. The new maps protect almost all Republican and Democratic incumbents.
  • 1998: In the Democratic primary election, the Latino mayor of San Fernando, Raul Godinez, challenges Congressman Berman. Although three out of four Latinos votes for Godinez, Berman wins handily by receiving nine out of ten white votes.
  • 1996: Los Angeles County reports costs of $1.1 million to provide language assistance in Spanish, Chinese, Vietnamese, Japanese, and Tagalog at more than 5,600 polling places ($196 per poll).
  • 1995-2004: California is among the top 15 states for most federal observers sent to monitor elections per capita, , largest disparities between citizens of color and statewide elected officials of color, largest disparities between citizens of color and officials of color in all elected positions, largest disparities in voter turnout, largest minority group, and largest low-English-proficient population.


  • 1995-2004: Colorado is among the top 15 states with the largest racial disparities in voter turnout, and the largest low-English-proficient populations.


  • 1995-2004: Connecticut is among the top 15 states with the largest disparities between citizens of color and officials of color in all elected positions, the largest racial disparities in voter turnout, and the largest low-English-proficient population.


  • 2004: In anticipation of the 2004 election, the office of Florida Republican Secretary of State Glenda Hood compiled a list of “felons” to be omitted from voting rolls and refused to disclose the list to the public. After a court ordered the list’s release, journalists discovered that it improperly included 2,100 former prisoners who had successfully applied for a restoration of their voting rights. Due to another “computer error” about 22,000 African Americans were incorrectly included on the list.
  • 1995-2004: Florida is among the top 15 states with the largest disparities between citizens of color and statewide elected officials of color, largest disparities between citizens of color and all elected officials of color, least party competition for voters of color, largest racial disparities in voter turnout, and largest low-English-proficient populations.
  • Florida is one of only four democratic systems in the world that ban voting by all former offenders for life.
  • 2000: Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections Theresa LePore tires to design a ballot with large type so that it can be read by her county’s large senior population. The confusing ballot is never tested on sample voters, and in the real election it causes thousands in Palm Beach County to mistakenly vote for Pat Buchanan, costing Al Gore an estimated 6,607 Florida votes and the presidency.
  • 2000: Had former felons who had completed their sentences been allowed to vote, Al Gore would have won Florida (and thus the presidency) by about 31,000 votes.


  • 2006: A photo ID requirement would exclude Americans of all backgrounds, but the elderly are some who would bear the greatest burden. According to the Georgia chapter of the AARP, 36 percent of Georgians over age seventy-five do not have a driver’s license.
  • 2005: A photo ID requirement would exclude Americans of all backgrounds, but people of color are some who would bear the greatest burden. Only one of the ten Georgia counties with the highest percentage of blacks had an office that issued state IDs, and no such office existed in Atlanta.
  • 2005: Secretary of State Cathy Cox states that she cannot recall one documented case of voter fraud relating to the impersonation of a registered voter at the polls during her ten-year tenure as secretary of state or assistant secretary of state.
  • 2005: Georgia reduces its list of acceptable identification from seventeen (including non-photo ID such a bank statement, utility bill, or government paycheck) to six forms of state-issued photo ID in an attempt to prevent “fraud.” But at the same time, Georgia scrapped its old law that limited absentee voting to people who met narrow requirements (such as being older than 75 or disabled) anyone who applies. The double standard is particularly disturbing because absentee ballots are widely acknowledged to be more susceptible to fraud than ballots cast at the polls. Further, whites are much more likely than African Americans to vote absentee.
  • 1995-2004: Georgia is among the top 15 states in voting rights objections and claims per capita, largest disparities between citizens of color and statewide elected officials of color, largest disparities between citizens of color and all elected officials of color, least party competition for voters of color, and largest minority group.
  • 1996-2006: Within the last ten years, politicians in Georgia have used Confederate-flag debates to polarize voters along racial lines.


  • 1995-2004: Hawaii is among the top 15 states with the largest minority group, and the largest low-English-proficient populations.


  • 1995-2004: Idaho is among the top 15 states with the largest low-English-proficient populations.


  • 1995-2004: Illinois is among the top 15 states for most federal observers sent to monitor elections per capita, and largest disparities between citizens of color and officials of color in all elected positions.


  • 1995-2004: Indiana ranks among the top 15 states for most federal observers sent to monitor elections per capita, and largest racial disparities in voter turnout.


  • 1998: Because former felons are denied their right to vote, U.S. Republican Senator Jim Bunning ekes out a narrow victory, winning by only 6,766 votes (Kentucky banned 94,584 former offenders from voting).
  • Kentucky is one of only four democratic systems in the world that ban voting by all former offenders for life.
  • 1984: Had former felons who had completed their sentences been allowed to vote, U.S. Republican Senator Mitch McConnell would likely have lost the tightly contested Senate race.


  • 1995-2004: Louisiana is among the top 15 states in voting rights objections and claims per capita, most federal observers received to monitor elections, largest disparities between citizens of color and statewide elected officials of color, largest disparities between citizens of color and all elected officials of color, least party competition for voters of color, and largest minority group.
  • 2002: Despite attempts at voter suppression, black turnout jumps to 27.1% of the electorate, effectively ensuring that Democrat Mary Landrieu beats Republican Suzanne Terrell for U.S. Senate.
  • 2003: whites who voted against Democrat Landrieu cross party lines to vote for white Democrat Kathleen Blanco over South Asian Bobby Jindal.
  • 2003: The African-American population in Ville Platte jumped from about 25 percent of the town’s population in 1980 to 56.6 percent in 2000. In 2003, city officials suggest a redistricting plan that reduces the African-American population in one of its six council districts from 55.1 to 38.1 percent, shifting many African Americans within this district to another district that was already 78.8 percent African American, thereby reducing the number of predominantly African-American council districts from four to three.
  • 1888-1910: The 1888 voter registration rolls contained the names of 127,923 African Americans and 126,884 whites, but by 1910 only 730 African Americans remained registered.


  • 1995-2004: Maryland is ranks among top 15 states in largest disparities between citizens of color and statewide elected officials of color, largest disparities between citizens of color and officials of color in all elected positions, least party competition for voters of color, and largest minority group.


  • 2005: Latinos hold two of the seven school-committee seats and four of the nine city-council seats.
  • 1995-2004: Massachusetts is among the top 15 states in voting rights objections and claims per capita, the largest racial disparities in voter turnout, and the largest low-English-proficient population.
  • 2001: As a result of the voting-rights lawsuit, grassroots registration efforts, and more convenient voter-registration requirements, Latinos, who comprise more than 60 percent of Lawrence residents, make up 43.7 percent of the city’s registered voters.
  • 1999: Following settlement of a lawsuit brought by the U.S. Department of Justice for violation of the Voting Rights Act, city officials agree to provide bilingual voting information, ballots and poll workers, and to disseminate election information through local Spanish-language media and community groups.
  • 1990: Though approximately 70 percent of the students in Lawrence Public Schools are Latino, no one on the seven-member school committee is Latino.
  • 1990: Latinos increase to 25 percent of Lawrence’s voting-age-citizen population, but they comprise only 11 percent of registered voters.


  • 1995-2004: Michigan is among the top 15 states in most federal observers sent to monitor elections per capita, and least competition for voters of color.
  • 2001: Republicans control all three branches of Michigan’s government and draft legislative maps that expand their party’s power in both chambers.


  • 1996-2006: Within the last ten years, politicians in Mississippi have used Confederate-flag debates to polarize voters along racial lines.
  • 1995-2004: Mississippi is among the top 15 states in voting rights objections and claims per capita, most federal observers received to monitor elections, largest disparities between citizens of color and statewide elected officials of color, largest disparities between citizens of color and all elected officials of color, least party competition for voters of color, and largest minority group.
  • 2003: African Americans cast 94 percent of their votes for incumbent Democratic Governor Ronnie Musgrove, but their turnout is not large enough to offset the 77 percent of white voters who favor former National Republican Party Chair Haley Barbour, who Musgrove by fewer than 61,000 votes.
  • 2001: In the town of Kilmichael, where the number of African-Americans has grown to over 52 percent of the town’s population, there were several African-American candidates qualified for the mayoral and board races and a very strong possibility that African-American candidates would win most of the municipal offices. However, three weeks before the general election, the incumbent, all-white board of alderman voted unanimously to cancel the election.
  • 1965: Following passage of the Voting Rights Act, African American registration increased from less than 6.7 percent in 1965 to 60 percent in 1968.


  • 1998: Minnesota’s same-day registration allowed 250,000 new voters to mobilize around and elect as governor political newcomer Jesse Ventura, who won by under 57,000 votes.


  • 1995-2004: Montana is among the top 15 states in voting rights objections and claims per capita.


  • 2006: As a result of grass roots efforts promoting campaign finance reform, almost all of Nebraska’s state legislative candidates voluntarily agree to limit their spending to $75,000 in order to receive public funds.

New Jersey

  • 1995-2004: New Jersey is among the top 15 states in voting rights objections and claims per capita, most federal observers sent to monitor elections per capita, largest disparities between citizens of color and all elected officials of color, largest racial disparities in voter turnout, and largest low-English-proficient population.

New Mexico

  • 1995-2004: New Mexico is among the top 15 states in voting rights objections and claims per capita, most federal observers sent to monitor elections per capita, largest racial disparities in voter turnout, largest minority group, and largest low-English-proficient populations.

New York

  • 1990-2003: In the early 1990s, up to 70 percent of residents in New York’s Chinatown spoke little English and only about 30 percent of eligible Chinatown voters were registered. In 1996, after the city added Chinese voting materials and oral assistance, an estimated 30 percent of the Chinese-American voters in the city relied on the Chinese ballots, the cost of which accounted for under 4 percent of the city’s total $16 million election budget.
  • In New York City, which has no photo-ID requirement, a study showed that poll workers illegally asked one in six Asian Americans for identification at the polls.
  • 1995-2004: New York is among the top 15 states for most federal observers sent to monitor elections per capita, largest disparities between citizens of color and statewide elected officials of color, largest disparities between citizens of color and officials of color in all elected positions, least party competition for voters of color, largest racial disparities in voter turnout, largest low-English-proficient populations.

North Dakota

  • 1995-2004: North Dakota ranks among the top 15 states in voting objections and claims per capita.
  • 1995-2004: North Carolina is among the top 15 states in voting rights objections and claims per capita, largest disparities between citizens of color and statewide elected officials of color, least party competition for voters of color, and largest minority group.


  • 2004: Voters at the polls wait in for as long as 5 hours due to large voter turnout and too few voting machines.
  • 2004: In Franklin County, 102,000 new voters were added to the registration rolls, but because too few voting machines are provided, there are 170 voters per machine and up to a five-hour wait to cast a ballot.
  • 2004: Four years after Florida’s hanging-chad fiasco, only 13.1 percent of American voters use punch-card machines, but more than 70 percent of Ohio voters use such machines.
  • 2004: Ohio punch-card machines produce more than 76,000 spoiled ballots in the November presidential election (a smaller number than President Bush’s 118,600-vote margin of victory over Senator Kerry).
  • 2004: A federal court in Ohio found that during the 2004 presidential election, Republicans deployed their poll monitors so that only 14 percent of new voters in predominantly white precincts would face a Republican challenger, while fully 97 percent of new voters in African-American precincts would face one.
  • 2002 and 2004: A statewide survey found four instances of ineligible persons voting or attempting to vote in 2002 and 2004, out of 9,078,728 votes cast – a rate of 0.00004%.


  • 1995-2004: Oklahoma is among the top 15 states with the largest racial disparities in voter turnout.


  • 1995-2004: Pennsylvania is among the top 15 states for most federal observers sent to monitor elections per capita, and least party competition for voters of color.

Rhode Island

  • 1995-2004: Rhode Island is among the top 15 states with the largest low-English-proficient populations.
  • 1996: Central Falls, Rhode Island reports that it spent $100 in printing costs for Spanish materials used at nine polling places (just over $11 per poll).

South Dakota

  • 2003: Though many American Indians in South Dakota do not drive cars and lack driver’s licenses, and though several tribes do not issue photo-identification cards, the Republican-controlled South Dakota legislature instigates a photo-identification provision, requiring voters to now show poll workers a South Dakota driver’s license, a state-issued photo ID, a tribal photo ID, or a state university ID.
  • 1995-2005: South Dakota ranks among the top 15 states in the most voting objections and claims per capita.
  • 2004: Data from the first election covered by the photo ID law indicate that a disproportionately large number of American Indian voters did not bring photo IDs to the polls.
  • 2004: In lieu of photo ID, affidavits were signed by under 2 percent of voters statewide, but in each of the predominantly American Indian counties, 5.3 percent to 16 percent of voters signed affidavits.

South Carolina

  • 1996-2006: Within the last ten years, politicians in South Carolina have used Confederate-flag debates to polarize voters along racial lines.
  • 2005: Based on government pay scales, the state annually pays out less than $18,300 in salaries devoted to compliance with Section 5, averaging under $458 per submission in a year with forty submissions. By contrast, incumbent politicians on the Charleston County Council spent more than $1.5 million of taxpayer funds fighting a single voting rights lawsuit against the Justice Department.
  • 1995-2004: South Carolina is among the top 15 states in voting rights objections and claims per capita, most federal observers received to monitor elections, largest disparities between citizens of color and statewide elected officials of color, largest disparities between citizens of color and all elected officials of color, least party competition for voters of color, and largest minority group.
  • 2003: In the early 1990s a number of African Americans living southeast of the town of North’s boundary petition to become a part of North, but officials reject the petition with no explanation. If officials had accepted the petition, African Americans would have become the majority of the town’s population. Curiously, in September 2003, the town of North approves a petition to annex a small group of white voters into their town.


  • 1995-2004: Tennessee is among the top 15 states with the least party competition for voters of color.


  • 2004: By redrawing districts that snake hundreds of miles across various counties, Republicans inflate their power so that following the 2004 election they control 66 percent of the Texas congressional seats.
  • 1995-2004: Texas is among the top 15 states in voting rights objections and claims per capita, largest disparities between citizens of color and statewide elected officials of color, largest disparities between citizens of color and all elected officials of color, largest racial disparities in voter turnout, and largest low-English-proficient population.
  • 2003: Enforcement of Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act prevents Waller County district attorney, Republican Oliver KItzman, from denying students at Prairie View A&M University, a historically black college, the right to register or to vote.
  • 2002: 53 percent of Texas voters cast their ballots for Republican congressional candidates, but Republicans control only 47 percent of the Texas congressional seats.
  • 2001: Incumbent Democrat Lee Brown, Houston’s first African-American mayor, increases African-American turnout by 30 percent to narrowly defeat Republican Orlando Sanchez by one percentage point.
  • 1974: Vilma Martinez, president and general counsel of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, testifies before Congress that election officials in Uvalde County, Texas, refused to name Latinos as deputy registrars, removed registered Latino voters from voting polls, and refused to aid Spanish speakers who spoke little English.


  • 1995-2004: Utah ranks among the top 15 states in most federal observers sent to monitor elections per capita.


  • 1995-2004: Virginia is among the top 15 states in voting rights objections and claims per capita, largest disparities in voter turnout, and largest minority group.
  • Virginia is one of only four democratic systems in the world that ban voting by all former offenders for life. P.


  • 2004: Though seventy percent of the state turns out to vote in the election for governor, only 57 percent of the Asian Americans, who largely support the democratic candidate Christine Gregoire, go to the polls. As a result, Gregoire wins by a mere 128 votes out of more than 2.9 million cast.
  • 1995-2004: Washington is among the top 15 states for most federal observers sent to monitor elections per capita.
  • 2004: An extensive investigation following the 2004 election uncovered less than one case of double voting or voting in the name of another for every 100,000 ballots cast.


2004: In Milwaukee, half the city’s residents are white and more than a third are African-American. In a non-partisan mayoral race featuring two democratic candidates, white candidate Tom Barrett beats African-American candidate Marvin Pratt. Polls show that 92 percent of African-Americans voted for Pratt, while 83 percent of white voters cast ballots for Barrett.

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Democracy In Crisis – An Exclusive BRAD BLOG Interview with Mike Papantonio

Posted in '06 Election, Brad Blog, General, Legal, Mike Papantonio, RFK Jr., TAKE ACTION! on August 2nd, 2006

The Electronic Voting Machine Company Qui Tam Cases Explained… ‘Citizen media is replacing mainstream media…and a lot more successfully than anybody dreamed.’

An Exclusive Interview for The BRAD BLOG as Guest Blogged by Joy and Tom Williams…

Mike Papantonio and Bobby Kennedy co-host Ring of Fire on Air America. The two attorneys have filed qui tam lawsuits against the Electronic Voting Machine (EVM) companies for defrauding the government. We previously posted an exclusive interview with Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. about this case.

Papantonio is a Florida attorney who has already gone after a number of big corporations for the American people. He is named partner and head of the Mass Tort Department at his firm. He has handled many famous cases throughout the nation, including asbestos, breast implants, Dalkon Shield, Fen-Phen, hemophiliac-AIDS, L-Tryptophan, railroad disasters and the Florida Tobacco litigation. He is listed in Best Lawyers in America and Leading American Attorney. He is also the author of In Search of Atticus Finch, A Motivational Book for Lawyers; Clarence Darrow, The Journeyman; Resurrecting AESOP, Fables Lawyers Should Remember and a co-author of Closing Arguments — The Last Battle. In addition to all this, he is a popular lecturer in the legal field.

We would like to say something about what a dynamic and articulate man he is, and how much we think he’s doing for our country, but, really, res ipsa loquitur, the thing speaks for itself, and this is no accident. Mike Papantonio is a hard-working, extremely generous, friendly and personable — and dedicated — man. One would be hard-pressed to find a better duo for the difficult job ahead. The Kennedy/Papantonio alliance is a particularly brilliant one. Mike took the time to talk to us about aspects of the qui tam cases they have set in motion already…

BRAD BLOG: Can you tell us about these qui tam cases?

MIKE PAPANTONIO: What we’re doing with these qui tam cases is really not much different than the approach we used in the national tobacco litigation. We’ve put together that same kind of team, not the same people, but the same kind of people who are used to working with complex litigation. Because of that, there’s a benefit to the U.S. attorney saying, “Well, you know, we don’t know if we really want to do this.” And once they say that, those are the golden words that will allow us to go in and handle the case ourselves. Exactly like we’ve done with tobacco, asbestos, virtually every major pharmaceutical case in the country, it’s always originated with the same kind of lawyers. And those are the kind of lawyers that do fairly complex stuff.

BB: I want to thank you for doing those cases, by the way, Mike.

MP: Thank you for saying that, sometimes it just takes a while to register, to where you say, well you know, I didn’t want to have to do this, but apparently we have to. That’s how I feel about this right now.

BB: How do you feel about the idea that you might be saving our Democracy?

MP: Morris Dees is a civil rights lawyer and a very good friend of mine. As a matter of fact he started the Southern Poverty Law Center in Montgomery. If you talk to someone like Morris, and you ask him, what is it that brought some closure, some beginning for closure to the civil rights movement, he’d say it was really no one event; it was kind of a collection of displaced separate events. That’s always stuck with me, because with anything that’s worth doing, it’s rare that you will accomplish it with one event that you are able to manage, or one success that you are able to gain. It rarely works like that. I think there are some similarities here, just like I thought the same thing with tobacco. When we first started talking about tobacco, everybody thought we were pretty much nuts, because we were taking on some of the biggest corporations in the world. But it wasn’t just our effort, it had been the effort of people who’d gone before us, and all we did was take what they’d already done for us and make it a little bit better — a small reinvention of the wheel, in a way that just helped the wheel roll a little better. It’s the same thing here.

I think of Lowell Finley. Lowell Finley is a great lawyer who’s handled these voter cases a long time, but he’s had to handle them by himself. First of all there’s the economics of it, and if all you are doing is going to court and arguing with some Judge, about the fact that he ought to enjoin the further use of the company, the product, or that he ought to put limitations on how the product’s used, that doesn’t really get you where you need to go, and it costs you instead of the company. The only thing that corporate America understands is when they have to say to their stockholders, or to their partners in their businesses, “Hey, we have to write a big check now and it could put us out of business.” That’s all they respond to. Having done complex litigation for 25 years, I’ve never seen any other formula. You know, in a perfect world we could throw them in jail.

In Japan, for example, if you are following this latest story — I think it has to do with an auto case where they didn’t tell the consumers the truth — the consumer doesn’t really get to sue them the same way they do in the States, but the good news is that they throw them in jail. So that’s where I wish we were. I would gladly give up the multi-million-dollar recoveries from all the pharmaceutical cases, from everything we’ve done, for the last 25 years. If I knew we had a law that said, “Well, you guys can’t really sue them for money but we can have these creeps thrown in jail,” I’d gladly give up every dime. But, unfortunately, in the US, the only avenue we have to punish these companies is to take their money away. And so that’s the method of operation that we’ve used in pharmaceutical cases, in asbestos cases, and tobacco cases, and roll-over cases — all of those consumer cases are only driven by the fact that greed is such a driving force with corporate America that they only react when you take some of their ill-gotten money away from them.

BB: So it’s not only the machine fraud. The Republican Party has been involved with all kinds of methods to disenfranchise voters, from intimidation, to destruction of Democratic voter registrations, and all kinds of other things that result in people not having their votes counted, or not being able to vote. Is there any possibility of a class action lawsuit down the line for the American people because they had their election stolen?

MP: I don’t really see that. I understand class action suits very, very well, and I don’t really see that as a possibility. It’s not likely that you’re going to have a case where you say the same offense that prevented person A from voting also prevented person B and person C, where you can show those three events are exactly the same. And unfortunately in a class action suit there are certain hoops that you have to jump through, like similarity in action, numerosity, all of these things that you really have to be specific about to get to the class action threshold. There may be some small cases, for example, where the Indians are disenfranchised, in a particular area — yes, that has a ring to it. Or where the Hispanics in a certain state are disenfranchised — that has some appeal to it. I don’t think that we are ready to get there yet with these. The trick to any particular litigation is to lay out the best strategy you can with what you have.

When I look at this, the best strategy that I’m able to come up with, and Bobby’s able to come up with, is a strategy that forces us into a room with the people who are making these decisions — so I’m able to sit across the table from those people and ask them some tough questions. That: a.) forces them into committing perjury; and b.) exposes them as being the criminals that they are. I think that the best way to get there, is to do it by way of qui tam lawsuits and I may be wrong, but sometimes you have to stick with your strategy and that’s where we’re headed with it.

BB: Bobby was talking about how widespread this machine tampering is getting. It suggested to me that since these machines don’t tamper themselves, and since the Republicans don’t do things ad hoc, there may be a room filled with high level people who are sitting around analyzing data, plotting strategies, coming up with numbers and giving instructions, and if you could find out who those are wouldn’t you have a massive conspiracy case?

MP: Yes, you would. Tom, I keep hearing of people afraid to say that there’s any design, that everything that happened in Ohio must have just happened to be coincidental, disjointed events. I’m not afraid to say I think there is something that has more of a design to it.

For example, there is no question Feeney, down in Florida, met with people who were trying to put together a system to game voting. Here you have a Republican Congressman, this guy who represents Floridians, who represents Americans, and he’s sitting down trying to figure out how he can defraud Americans of their right to vote. Now, you’ve got to find that here too. Does it all fit together? It might.

[Ed Note: We have been reporting on Florida vote-rigging whistleblower Clint Curtis for the past year and a half. He is the programmer who has alleged Republican Congressman Tom Feeney asked him to create a software prototype to flip votes on electronic voting machines. A summary of our coverage is posted here. Curtis is now running for Congress in Florida’s 24th district in hopes of unseating Feeney this fall. The Clint Curtis for Congress website is here.]

I think for something as critical as this is, you have to have a very methodical approach, just the same kind of an approach I would use if I were going to sue Merck for a defective product for 10,000 people. But that’s not new stuff. If you were to follow me around in a given month, you would see that I use the same methodology almost all the time, because it’s proven methodology, and that’s the way this has to be approached. It’s easy to get your attention pulled in so many directions that you forget that you still have a methodology that you need to follow. So all of these things are issues. You say to yourself, “My God, I know this is happening,” but you have to be patient. You have to say to yourself, “I gotta get there.”

BB: That’s not to say in following your planned strategy you might not turn up a lot of things in the woodwork during the process.

MP: Yes, I think you will. I think we’ll turn up exactly what you’re talking about in the process. And then at some point, that’s something that will become useable. Right now with the way that politics are situated in Washington, if you were to turn up the fact that Dick Cheney, for an example – just for an example – if Dick Cheney and Karl Rove had sat down and said, here is the master strategy that’s even better than Lee Atwater’s Southern Strategy, and here’s how we are going to create this Republican machine that’s never going to go away — if they were to have said that, and I actually had documents to show that they said it, that ordinarily would work…. But with the present environment, with the media that we are confronted with, and with the Justice Department, (not so much the Justice Department, but the people who are running the Justice Department, because we have very good U.S. Attorneys who are career people and they don’t like this anymore than we do) — unfortunately, until we take back Congress and then take back the White House, we could have all the smoking guns you want, but the infrastructure to do anything with it is not there.

Every time I talk about this Democrats get mad, but it’s just absolutely the truth: Had Bill Clinton gone after and really sustained his investigation into the Iran-Contra affair for the full two years that he was there with a Democratic Congress, had he aggressively gone after the people he needed to, we wouldn’t have had Wolfowitz, we wouldn’t have had Rumsfeld, we wouldn’t have had Richard Perle, we wouldn’t have most of the Neocons that are running things right now. They would be in jail. But he didn’t do it. So the question is, if we can get Congress back one more time, and we can gain control of the infrastructure that puts thugs in jail, then we can have some change, but it has to begin in November, it has to happen.

This is it — 2006 is the test.

But until we have either the House or the Senate, we don’t even have a bully pulpit. We have a press that is a completely dismal failure. And there’s a clear reason why they’re a dismal failure. Want to hear it?

BB: Of course!

MP: In the next 900 days, they have the last opportunity to enhance the 1996 Telecommunications Act. Michael Powell, if you will remember, took a shot at it last year, and he was very close, a lot closer than anybody thought. If they can get there, then what you are going to have is that Viacom, or NBC, or Rupert Murdoch is going come to your home town, and own your newspaper, own your radios, own your televisions, own everything, so that the one message that, say, Rupert Murdoch wants to deliver is delivered on virtually every venue available to you.

BB: That’s so dangerous.

MP: It’s awful. But the corporate media understands that this is it.


Really, they’ll never again have this opportunity to have such a bumpkin President, such a lapdog bunch of Congressmen, and such a bottom-feeding kind of Administration. They’ll never have this again. They are afraid they will lose this opportunity by actually telling the stories, that people like you are telling. They are afraid to tell the story about the fact that 80,000 votes were shifted from John Kerry’s name to George Bush’s name in Ohio; or, that in the same state of Ohio, in one district, there were only 800 people who were registered, but 4000 votes showed up on the ledger.

BB: About qui tam: I understand that when you file, the government has the option of taking the case, instead of the citizen who files. Is that true?

MP: Correct.

BB: Is there any chance that the government might take the case and then go ahead and spike it?

MP: You mean sit on it?

BB: Yes.

MP: Yes, that’s exactly everybody’s fear, and that’s what we are trying to work around right now. The answer is, yes, that could very well happen, and we’re doing the best we can to not allow it to happen. Interestingly enough, within 60 days they have to make a decision, the decision if they are going to take the case, and they have a right to have one extension, they can get one continuance for that decision, so that’s one thing we have to be very conscious of.

BB: That can leave the disclosure until after the election then.

MP: Oh, absolutely. We’re trying to do what we can in that regard too.

BB: It’s too bad it couldn’t have been filed a little bit earlier.

MP: We had to have the facts. You have to have the relator, you have to have the whistleblowers, without those you can’t really do anything.

BB: I want to thank you for doing this. I really appreciate it.

MP: Well thank you, and I appreciate what you’re doing. I’m very optimistic about what you’re doing, because I think there’s a real rise in the citizen media. Citizen media is replacing mainstream media, and I think it’s doing it a lot more aggressively, and a lot more successfully than anybody dreamed. If you look at the numbers right now, 60% of Americans don’t trust the news. 60% say that they don’t even believe that the news can be adequately reported because government or corporations don’t allow it to happen. So what happens out there, is that the market always takes care of itself. There is some truth to that. And the market right now is moving rapidly towards the same kind of citizen media that you’re involved with. It’s one of those events that I talked about earlier, which coalesces with other things that are happening, so citizen media does get a story like this out, and it’s very effective. It’s amazing.

So when you run this story, somebody somewhere might read it and they might say, “Well I have information,” and they call someone or they call us, and you have a whole new dimension to the case that develops. Every day, somebody inside one of these voter corporations is mistreated, becomes disgruntled, finds their conscience, gets fearful that they are going to be arrested — because all those things do happen — and every time another of these key people decides to do the right thing, we have a better chance of getting to the whole story, so what you’re doing has a dramatic effect.

BB: Well I hope so, I just want to save this country.

MP: [Laughing] Well, I thank you for that. I will keep you posted as this story develops. It’s not something that happens right away. I think people may believe things are going to happen so rapidly that it’s going to be a huge flash, it’s more like a smoldering fire. And that’s not such a bad thing.

BB: No, because sometimes a smoldering fire will do a lot more damage in the long run than a flash. I’m hoping that this will actually change the consciousness in America so that when everybody goes to vote they look carefully at what’s going on around them. If we can at least get it out there that these voting machine companies are being sued, then maybe there will be more attention paid during the 2006 election, even if the case hasn’t been concluded.

MP: Joy, let me ask you something. Just put yourself in the position of an insider. The number ten guy with a huge voting machine company. All of a sudden, you understand that we’re already going fairly aggressively against one of your competitors. And you as number ten person in that company have firsthand knowledge that the company is committing fraud, and that the fraud is resulting in people being disenfranchised — just totally being disenfranchised from the right to vote. If you are that number ten guy, and as you listen to the story unfold, there ought to be a certain pucker factor. That fear factor is what you should react to, rather than being somebody that is brought into a lawsuit or a criminal case. The thing to do is to come forward now, and let people know up front that, yes, you know about it, and, yes, you’re willing to help correct it.

BB: And that’s part of the message we need to get out….

MP: That’s it!

BB: You were saying the other day it’s “like the civil rights issue” I think this is the civil rights issue.

MP: Oh yes, it is the civil rights issue; it’s the heart of the civil rights issue. It’s what people were murdered for, why they had to march in lines where they had dogs sic’d on them, and tear gas thrown at them, and bullets shot over their heads, or sometimes into their bodies. There’s no difference from what’s happening here, it’s just that people don’t understand or react to the racial aspect of it. Because it’s not simply a racial issue, it’s a class issue.

BB: Exactly, it’s the poor, as well as minority groups, as well as anyone who might commit the crime of voting while Democrat.

MP: If you think that this is happening in upper middle class neighborhoods, where white people drive 15 minutes to vote, you’re wrong. The problem was in the places where people had to take buses, and walk and take taxicabs to go vote, and then they would have to stand in line for four hours.

BB: And they might not even be in the “right” line in the same polling precinct. In Ohio there were frequently two polling precincts in one place, like a high school gym, and people would get in the wrong line, wait four hours, and then have to go to the end of the other line.

MP: Yes… and, then when they get there, their name isn’t even on the voting roll. So those are the nuances. We have to handle the direct issue right now. The direct issue is, even when they got there, the voting was probably gamed after they voted.

BB: Do you think that ChoicePoint is pulling people’s names off the rolls in 2006 as they did in 2000 in Florida?

MP: Oh, I just don’t know that yet. There’s no way to tell yet.

BB: This whole story is so intricate and so complicated, if they game the system again in 2006, it’s going to be a lot harder to tell because there are so many small races compared to the big major races for President….

MP: You hit a very good point. The point is: What about the developer who wants to have two of his friends put on the county commission so he can build a new high-rise? Nobody wants the high-rise, but, if he can get his friends put on there, my God, he might stand to make $15 million. Isn’t that just as much of a threat? The local issue is not quite as important as the national, but it’s pretty damned important.

BB: And, if the poll workers can take these machines home and have a sleepover with them, you can have one person put in a nasty chip, and change the whole outcome of the race!

MP: And without any evidence at all, so there would be no way to tell.

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Democracy in Crisis – An Exclusive BRAD BLOG Interview with Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.

Posted in Brad Blog, General, Legal, RFK Jr. on July 18th, 2006

An Exclusive Interview for The BRAD BLOG as Guest Blogged by Joy and Tom Williams…

“The Republican Party, the Republican National Committee, has been using old-fashioned, Jim Crow, apartheid-type maneuvers to steal the last two national elections.”

– Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.

Recently, Robert F. Kennedy Jr., (bio) , wrote the article: “Was the 2004 Election Stolen” where he examined the election fraud in Ohio that took place during the last Presidential Election. He also has written a book “Crimes Against Nature: How George W. Bush & His Corporate Pals Are Plundering the Country and Hijacking our Democracy“. Mr. Kennedy, along with Mike Papantonio have filed a “qui tam” lawsuit against some of the voting machines companies, in an effort to save our Democracy.

I’ve long had a deep respect for Robert F. Kennedy for his dedicated work as an environmental advocate. Tom and I enjoyed interviewing him and were moved by his passion and dedication to our country and our Democracy. We spoke to him via phone at his office at Pace University’s Environmental Litigation Clinic in White Plains, New York, which he founded, about the election of 2004. This was an experience to remember…

BRAD BLOG: In your book, “Crimes Against Nature,” you said that Bush won the 2004 election because of an information deficit caused by a breakdown in our national media. You go on to say that “Bush was re-elected because of the negligence of-and deliberate deception by-the American press.” Your recent article in “Rolling Stone” seems to suggest that your opinion has changed, focusing more on the fraud and deception in Ohio with the computerized voting machines. What was the most important thing that made you suspect fraud and decide to investigate the 2004 election?

ROBERT F. KENNEDY JR.: Well, my opinion hasn’t changed, that the press has been negligent, and that the large amount of support for the President, and for the people that did vote for the President, that large numbers of them would not have done so, had they known the truth about his policies, and his record. You say my opinion changed, but it hasn’t changed.

You know I’ve known this for many years, because of my anecdotal experience. I give about 40 speeches a year, in red states to Republican audiences, and I get the same enthusiastic responses from those audiences as I get from Liberal college audiences. The only difference is, is that the Republicans often say to me, “How come we’ve never heard this before?” I made the conclusion many years ago that there’s not a huge values difference between Red State Republicans and Blue State Democrats. The distinction is really informational. 80% of Republicans are just Democrats who don’t know what’s going on. And my anecdotal conclusion was confirmed by a survey done immediately after the 2004 election called the PIPA report, which tested Bush supporters and Kerry supporters based upon their knowledge of current events. It found that among Bush supporters, they were widespread in its interpretations, or there were factual errors in the way that they viewed Bush’s major public policy initiatives.

For example, 75% of the Republican respondents believed that Saddam Hussein bombed the World Trade Center, and 72% believed that WMD had been found in Iraq. And most of them believed that the war in Iraq had strong support among Iraq’s Muslim neighbors and our traditional allies in Europe, which of course is wrong. The Democrats as a whole had a much more accurate view of those events. And then PIPA went back twice to these same people. The first time it went back to the people that had these misinterpretations, and asked them where they were getting their news, and invariably they said talk radio and FOX news. And PIPA went back a third time, and made inquiries about their fundamental values, and it did start with a string of hypotheticals:

What if there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq? What if Saddam Hussein had nothing to do with bombing the World Trade Center? What if the U.S. Invasion of Iraq had little support among Iraq’s Muslim neighbors and was largely opposed by Iraq’s Muslim neighbors, and by our troops and allies in Europe? Should we have still gone in?” And roughly 80% of Dem and 80% of Rep said the same thing, “We should not.” And so the values were the same. It was the facts, the information, it was the access to information that was different.

BB: Are you then adding a layer of suspicion about the direct manipulation and fraudulent counting through computerized voting?

RFK JR.: That also happened, that was another factor. Our democracy is broken. Our democracy is broken because of our campaign finance system, which is just a system of legalized bribery, which has allowed corporations and the very wealthy to control the electoral results. Let me go back and say our electoral system is broken for three reasons, in three large respects: The first is our campaign finance system, which is a system of legalized bribery, and which has allowed corporations and the very rich to control the results of our electoral process. Number two is the failure of the American press and that is also a function and result of corporate control, as I showed in my book. Number three is the election system itself, which is broken. We’ve privatized it and allowed four large corporations to count our votes on machines that don’t work.

But also the Republican party has inculcated a culture of corruption. The Republican party has adopted a strategy of denying votes to blacks and other minorities, and to other people more traditionally Democratic, suppressing Democratic vote and fraudulently expanding Republican vote. And this is happening all over the country. I would urge you to read Greg Palast’s latest book, Armed Madhouse. He does for the national elections what I did for the Ohio election, which is to synthesize the information that’s out there into a readable document, in which he shows exactly how this election was stolen-not just in Ohio but in many other states as well.

BB: Have any of your expert witnesses or anyone referred to some of the stringent requirements in the gaming industry which uses computerized slot machines, poker machines and so forth involving the levels of certification and disclosure of the security requirements of its vendors?

RFK JR.: Well, you see this was just another corporate boondoggle that gave the most venal mendacious corporations charge of our most sacred public trust, which is the right to vote. These corporations were making hundreds of millions of dollars. The machines, as it turns out, were manufactured by wireless companies and were just a cheap piece of junk that cost less than $100 to manufacture, and they were selling them for $2400 apiece. And they were using Jack Abramoff and other corrupt lobbyists to persuade federal officials to pass the federal act to appropriate the money and then to persuade state and local officials to purchase the defective machines.

BB: Jack Abramoff was involved in this?

RFK JR.: Oh yes. Jack Abramoff, and Bob Ney (R-Oh), the principle figure in the Abramoff scandal and he’s the author of the Help America Vote Act (HAVA). And Diebold contributed millions of dollars to these guys, including hundreds of thousands of dollars to Abramoff to lobby on behalf of HAVA, and to lobby states like New York and the other states, to adopt the Diebold machines.

BB: So HAVA was “created specifically to disenfranchise voters and verfication”?

RFK JR.: HAVA was written specifically to require the states to buy Diebold machines. I mean one company basically had control of the whole legislative process. That’s why HAVA has a provision in it that discourages vote verification by paper ballots. Both Republicans and Democrats tried to reform the HAVA, saying of course we should have paper verification of the vote. Paper verification would allow you to go in, make your vote on the electronic machine, and you get a receipt that is a copy of who you voted for and you are allowed to examine that receipt. You deposit it in a locked box in the voting area. That way, if there’s ever any question, if you need to count, you can count the papers, and see if it compares to what the machine says.

But Bob Ney fought tooth and nail against that provision because Diebold made a machine that does not provide a paper ballot. And he went so far, because Diebold contributed a million dollars to an organization that purportedly protects the rights of blind people. And in exchange for that, that organization got one of its officers to testify on Capitol Hill at the HAVA hearings, that blind people in America did not want paper ballots – voter verified ballots – because it would deprive someone of the right to vote secretly. Now the other organizations that support handicapped rights and rights of the blind, do not take that position. This was a position that that organization adopted after accepting a million dollars from Diebold. The whole operation was corrupt and now Bob Ney is going to jail for it.

BB: Also, speaking of those guys, election officials in several states, most notably Ken Blackwell in Ohio and Bruce McPherson here in the state of California, appear to be be deliberately flouting established law and procedures as well as direct court orders, and they seem to be just “getting away with it”. How can that be?

RFK JR.: Well, again, it’s because of the failure of the American press. This is the most important issue in American Democracy and the press isn’t covering it. So the politicians who want to fix the elections, and who want these fraudulent machines, can get away with it, don’t take a position because it gets no traction in the press.

BB:: But then why didn’t people like Kerry want to contest the results?

RFK JR.: You’d have to ask Kerry.

BB: Why hasn’t the DNC done anything about this?

RFK JR.: You’d have to ask the DNC.

BB: We watched Howard Dean on television having a hack demonstrated to him by Bev Harris, and he doesn’t seem to say anything… I guess we’ll have to ask them! But there seems to have been a pattern here in the leadership of the Democratic Party….What I was getting to in those questions was not for you to interpret the actions of the those in the DNC and so forth, but there seems to be a pattern in the leadership of the Dem Party that shies away from direct conflict in this….

RFK JR.: The Democratic leadership on this issue has been abysmal. And particularly since this is a civil rights issue and it’s a racial issue. The machines themselves are kind of a distraction because the machines are recent innovations. The Republican Party, the Republican National Committee, has been using, old-fashioned, Jim Crow, apartheid-type maneuvers to steal the last two national elections.

BB: Like in Georgia, who were trying to establish the Poll Tax again…

RFK JR.: And this has been happening all over the country. If you look at who’s being denied the right to vote, on absentee ballots, on provisional ballots, it’s Hispanics, it’s Blacks and it’s Native Americans, and the Democratic Party ought to be touting this as the biggest civil rights issue of our time. But they are ignoring it, and that really is shocking. It’s shocking that the Republicans are not up in arms about this too, because this should not be a partisan issue. This is a fundamental basis of our American value system, which is representative Democracy. For a party that claims to speak for “American Values” to ignore the fact that other members of the party, that the leadership of the party is involved in an active national campaign to stop black people from voting, and to steal elections, shows the moral bankruptcy of everybody in that party!

Why aren’t Republicans standing up and speaking on this issue? Why isn’t Republican leadership standing up and speaking on this issue?

BB: California [state recently re-certified] Diebold machines, all over the state. If California “goes” Republican, do you think we will be able to say, ok, there’s no doubt anymore?

RFK JR.: Listen: all I can say is that the Diebold machines are among the worst. They break down, they are easily hacked, Diebold uses fraudulent misrepresentations to sell the machines, and they should not be part of our voting system.

BB: Are there any plans on a national or state level to contest suspicious results this time around?

RFK JR.: They make it very difficult to contest crooked elections. Nebraska is one of several states that have now passed laws, and I believe Florida is one of those states, that prohibit counting paper ballots in votes that were originally counted by machines. The only way that you can count votes is the original way in which they were counted. And so, of course, that makes it easy to fix any election and make sure that nobody has the right to challenge it.

Many other states, including Ohio, have made it impossible for anybody to challenge an election, even if it was obviously fixed. And these kinds of initiatives are happening all over the country. Why would any state legislature vote for such a rule unless they were Republicans who felt that elections would be fixed in their favor? Why would any American vote for such a rule? It is completely anti-American and un-American. We should be encouraging Americans to vote and encouraging EVERY American to cast a vote and to make sure that every vote is counted. And both parties should be working toward that.

But instead you have a Republican party that is trying to suppress votes and trying to defraud the public. And you have a Democratic party that is like the deer in headlights. And the Democrats are never going to win another election if they don’t fix this issue because they are starting out every election with a 3 million vote deficit, and those are mainly the black voters in this country and who no longer have their votes counted.

And you know, this may sound shrill, but look at the facts. And I challenge anyone who says that this is shrill and inaccurate to read Greg Palast’s book, to read my article, to look at the facts, because the facts are infallible.

BB: Do you think we are going to need a reaction like they are having currently in Mexico?

RFK JR.: Well, I wish the Democratic Party had the cojones that the Mexican opposition party has! They’re saying “We’re not gonna stand for our elections being stolen anymore!” It’s great for these (our) political leaders to stand up and say “I will gracefully concede” but what does that mean for the rest of us? We are getting stuck with these governments that are absolutely running our country into the ground.

BB: You said in your recent interview with Charlie Rose, that this is the worst Presidency we’ve ever had, and they’ve ruined our reputation in the world. So if you had your ideal President, what kind of things would he or she need to do to restore our credibility?

RFK JR.: Well the first thing we need to do is to restore American Democracy.

Number One: Fix the campaign finance system to get corporate money out of the electoral process. Corporations are a great thing for our country. They drive our economy but they should NOT be running our government because they don’t want the same thing for America that Americans want. Corporations don’t want democracy, they want free markets, they want profits, and oftentimes the easiest path to profits is to use the campaign finance system to get their hooks into a public official and to use that public official to dismantle the marketplace to give them monopoly control and a competitive edge and to privatize the commons-to steal our air, our water, or our public treasury, and liquidate it for private profits.

Number Two: We have to fix the press: restore journalistic ethics in this country, and that is by bringing back the fairness doctrine and strengthening the FCC. The Fairness Doctrine was abolished by Ronald Reagan in 1988, and it recognized that the airwaves belong to the public; that the broadcasters can be licensed to use them to make a profit, but they use them with the proviso that their primary obligation is to advance democracy and promote the public interest. They have to inform the public because a democracy cannot survive an uninformed public. As Thomas Jefferson said, “An uninformed public will trade a hundred years of hard-fought civil rights for a half an hour of welfare.” And they will follow the first demagogue or religious fanatic that comes along and offers them a $300 tax break.

Number Three: We have to fix our electoral system so that every vote is counted. Those are the first three things that any President should do, Republican or Democrat, to restore American Democracy.

BB: Now all these state laws that are being put in place could be trumped by Congress…

RFK JR.: Of course, we should have a federal law that creates federal standards for elections. All federal elections have to be verified by paper ballots. Election officials, whose job is to ensure the integrity of federal elections, cannot simultaneously serve as campaign managers or candidates who are participating in that contest. Many states already have that rule, but Florida and Ohio do not. It’s a formula for corruption!

BB: In summary, how optimistic or pessimistic are you about our ability to get our country back?

RFK JR.: Well, you know, my attitude is that I don’t try to predict the future, I can only say that those of us who care about this country have to keep fighting, and whether you think you’re gonna win or lose, you gotta just keep slugging and you gotta be ready to die with your boots on, because that’s what our forefathers did, they started a revolution, and they put their fortunes and their lives at stake. And we need to summon the same kind of courage from our generation, and demand that kind of courage from our leadership.

BB: And we have to get that message out to the Democratic leadership as well.

RFK JR.: And that’s what you guys are doing….

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The Stolen Election of 2004

Posted in General on July 13th, 2006

By Michael Parenti

The 2004 presidential contest between Democratic challenger Senator John Kerry and the Republican incumbent, President Bush Jr., amounted to another stolen election. This has been well documented by such investigators as Rep. John Conyers, Mark Crispin Miller, Bob Fitrakis, Harvey Wasserman, Bev Harris, and others. Here is an overview of what they have reported, along with observations of my own.

Some 105 million citizens voted in 2000, but in 2004 the turnout climbed to at least 122 million. Pre-election surveys indicated that among the record 16.8 million new voters Kerry was a heavy favorite, a fact that went largely unreported by the press. In addition, there were about two million progressives who had voted for Ralph Nader in 2000 who switched to Kerry in 2004.

Yet the official 2004 tallies showed Bush with 62 million votes, about 11.6 million more than he got in 2000. Meanwhile Kerry showed only eight million more votes than Gore received in 2000. To have achieved his remarkable 2004 tally, Bush would needed to have kept all his 50.4 million from 2000, plus a majority of the new voters, plus a large share of the very liberal Nader defectors.

Nothing in the campaign and in the opinion polls suggest such a mass crossover. The numbers simply do not add up.

In key states like Ohio, the Democrats achieved immense success at registering new voters, outdoing the Republicans by as much as five to one. Moreover the Democratic party was unusually united around its candidate-or certainly against the incumbent president. In contrast, prominent elements within the GOP displayed open disaffection, publicly voicing serious misgivings about the Bush administration’s huge budget deficits, reckless foreign policy, theocratic tendencies, and threats to individual liberties.

Sixty newspapers that had endorsed Bush in 2000 refused to do so in 2004; forty of them endorsed Kerry.

All through election day 2004, exit polls showed Kerry ahead by 53 to 47 percent, giving him a nationwide edge of about 1.5 million votes, and a solid victory in the electoral college. Yet strangely enough, the official tally gave Bush the election. Here are some examples of how the GOP “victory” was secured.

—In some places large numbers of Democratic registration forms disappeared, along with absentee ballots and provisional ballots. Sometimes absentee ballots were mailed out to voters just before election day, too late to be returned on time, or they were never mailed at all.

—Overseas ballots normally reliably distributed by the State Department were for some reason distributed by the Pentagon in 2004. Nearly half of the six million American voters living abroad—a noticeable number of whom formed anti-Bush organizations—never received their ballots or got them too late to vote. Military personnel, usually more inclined toward supporting the president, encountered no such problems with their overseas ballots.

—Voter Outreach of America, a company funded by the Republican National Committee, collected thousands of voter registration forms in Nevada, promising to turn them in to public officials, but then systematically destroyed the ones belonging to Democrats.

— Tens of thousands of Democratic voters were stricken from the rolls in several states because of “felonies” never committed, or committed by someone else, or for no given reason. Registration books in Democratic precincts were frequently out-of-date or incomplete. —Democratic precincts—enjoying record turnouts—were deprived of sufficient numbers of polling stations and voting machines, and many of the machines they had kept breaking down. After waiting long hours many people went home without voting. Pro-Bush precincts almost always had enough voting machines, all working well to make voting quick and convenient.

—A similar pattern was observed with student populations in several states: students at conservative Christian colleges had little or no wait at the polls, while students from liberal arts colleges were forced to line up for as long as ten hours, causing many to give up.

—In Lucas County, Ohio, one polling place never opened; the voting machines were locked in an office and no one could find the key. In Hamilton County many absentee voters could not cast a Democratic vote for president because John Kerry’s name had been “accidentally” removed when Ralph Nader was taken off the ballot.

—A polling station in a conservative evangelical church in Miami County, Ohio, recorded an impossibly high turnout of 98 percent, while a polling place in Democratic inner-city Cleveland recorded an impossibly low turnout of 7 percent.

—Latino, Native American, and African American voters in New Mexico who favored Kerry by two to one were five times more likely to have their ballots spoiled and discarded in districts supervised by Republican election officials. Many were given provisional ballots that subsequently were never counted. In these same Democratic areas Bush “won” an astonishing 68 to 31 percent upset victory. One Republican judge in New Mexico discarded hundreds of provisional ballots cast for Kerry, accepting only those that were for Bush.

—Cadres of rightwing activists, many of them religious fundamentalists, were financed by the Republican Party. Deployed to key Democratic precincts, they handed out flyers warning that voters who had unpaid parking tickets, an arrest record, or owed child support would be arrested at the polls—all untrue. They went door to door offering to “deliver” absentee ballots to the proper office, and announcing that Republicans were to vote on Tuesday (election day) and Democrats on Wednesday.

—Democratic poll watchers in Ohio, Arizona, and other states, who tried to monitor election night vote counting, were menaced and shut out by squads of GOP toughs. In Warren County, Ohio, immediately after the polls closed Republican officials announced a “terrorist attack” alert, and ordered the press to leave. They then moved all ballots to a warehouse where the counting was conducted in secret, producing an amazingly high tally for Bush, some 14,000 more votes than he had received in 2000. It wasn’t the terrorists who attacked Warren County.

—Bush did remarkably well with phantom populations. The number of his votes in Perry and Cuyahoga counties in Ohio, exceeded the number of registered voters, creating turnout rates as high as 124 percent. In Miami County nearly 19,000 additional votes eerily appeared in Bush’s column after all precincts had reported. In a small conservative suburban precinct of Columbus, where only 638 people were registered, the touchscreen machines tallied 4,258 votes for Bush.

—In almost half of New Mexico’s counties, more votes were reported than were recorded as being cast, and the tallies were consistently in Bush’s favor. These ghostly results were dismissed by New Mexico’s Republican Secretary of State as an “administrative lapse.”

Exit polls showed Kerry solidly ahead of Bush in both the popular vote and the electoral college. Exit polls are an exceptionally accurate measure of elections. In the last three elections in Germany, for example, exit polls were never off by more than three-tenths of one percent.

Unlike ordinary opinion polls, the exit sample is drawn from people who have actually just voted. It rules out those who say they will vote but never make it to the polls, those who cannot be sampled because they have no telephone or otherwise cannot be reached at home, those who are undecided or who change their minds about whom to support, and those who are turned away at the polls for one reason or another.

Exit polls have come to be considered so reliable that international organizations use them to validate election results in countries around the world.

Republicans argued that in 2004 the exit polls were inaccurate because they were taken only in the morning when Kerry voters came out in greater numbers. (Apparently Bush voters sleep late.) In fact, the polling was done at random intervals all through the day, and the evening results were as much favoring Kerry as the early results.

It was also argued that pollsters focused more on women (who favored Kerry) than men, or maybe large numbers of grumpy Republicans were less inclined than cheery Democrats to talk to pollsters. No evidence was put forth to substantiate these fanciful speculations.

Most revealing, the discrepancies between exit polls and official tallies were never random but worked to Bush’s advantage in ten of eleven swing states that were too close to call, sometimes by as much as 9.5 percent as in New Hampshire, an unheard of margin of error for an exit poll. In Nevada, Ohio, New Mexico, and Iowa exit polls registered solid victories for Kerry, yet the official tally in each case went to Bush, a mystifying outcome.

In states that were not hotly contested the exit polls proved quite accurate. Thus exit polls in Utah predicted a Bush victory of 70.8 to 26.4 percent; the actual result was 71.1 to 26.4 percent. In Missouri, where the exit polls predicted a Bush victory of 54 to 46 percent, the final result was 53 to 46 percent.

One explanation for the strange anomalies in vote tallies was found in the widespread use of touchscreen electronic voting machines. These machines produced results that consistently favored Bush over Kerry, often in chillingly consistent contradiction to exit polls.

In 2003 more than 900 computer professionals had signed a petition urging that all touchscreen systems include a verifiable audit trail. Touchscreen voting machines can be easily programmed to go dead on election day or throw votes to the wrong candidate or make votes disappear while leaving the impression that everything is working fine.

A tiny number of operatives can easily access the entire computer network through one machine and thereby change votes at will. The touchscreen machines use trade secret code, and are tested, reviewed, and certified in complete secrecy. Verified counts are impossible because the machines leave no reliable paper trail.

Since the introduction of touchscreen voting, mysterious congressional election results have been increasing. In 2000 and 2002, Senate and House contests and state legislative races in North Carolina, Nebraska, Alabama, Minnesota, Colorado, and elsewhere produced dramatic and puzzling upsets, always at the expense of Democrats who were ahead in the polls.

In some counties in Texas, Virginia, and Ohio, voters who pressed the Democrat’s name found that the Republican candidate was chosen. In Cormal County, Texas, three GOP candidates won by exactly 18,181 votes apiece, a near statistical impossibility.

All of Georgia’s voters used Diebold touchscreen machines in 2002, and Georgia’s incumbent Democratic governor and incumbent Democratic senator, who were both well ahead in the polls just before the election, lost in amazing double-digit voting shifts.

This may be the most telling datum of all: In New Mexico in 2004 Kerry lost all precincts equipped with touchscreen machines, irrespective of income levels, ethnicity, and past voting patterns. The only thing that consistently correlated with his defeat in those precincts was the presence of the touchscreen machine itself.

In Florida Bush registered inexplicably sharp jumps in his vote (compared to 2000) in counties that used touchscreen machines.

Companies like Diebold, Sequoia, and ES&S that market the touchscreen machines are owned by militant supporters of the Republican party. These companies have consistently refused to implement a paper-trail to dispel suspicions and give instant validation to the results of electronic voting. They prefer to keep things secret, claiming proprietary rights, a claim that has been backed in court.

Election officials are not allowed to evaluate the secret software. Apparently corporate trade secrets are more important than voting rights. In effect, corporations have privatized the electoral system, leaving it easily susceptible to fixed outcomes. Given this situation, it is not likely that the GOP will lose control of Congress come November 2006. The two-party monopoly threatens to become an even worse one-party tyranny.

Michael Parenti’s recent books include The Assassination of Julius Caesar (New Press), Superpatriotism (City Lights), and The Culture Struggle (Seven Stories Press). For more information visit:

Re-Posted from ZNet

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Democracy Crisis – Election 2006: Will All Votes Count?

Posted in General on July 13th, 2006

The One-Two Punch: Disenfranchise Voters & Miscount the Votes
A. Disenfranchisement: Suppress the Vote!
B. E-Voting Problems: Many Different Systems, Different States, Different Elections
C. What You Can Do
D. Voting Systems: Election integrity requires openness & transparency.
E. The Elephant in the Room
F. Common Cause Recommends
G. Online Videos & Interactive
H. Books
I. The BEST Websites & Online Resources

A. Disenfranchisement: Suppress the Vote!
Information in this section, except where noted, is from Greg Palast’s “Armed Madhouse”Over 3 million votes were cast but never counted in the 2004 presidential election. Millions more were lost because voters were prevented from casting their ballots – including those illegally denied registration or wrongly purged from the registries. The new black boxes played their role… but the principal means of the election heist – voiding ballots, overwhelmingly of the poor and Black, Native Americans and Hispanics – went unexposed, unreported and most importantly, uncorrected and ready to roll out on a grander scale in 2008. (All information on this page, except where noted, is from Greg Palast’s “Armed Madhouse”).Provisional Ballots Rejected: About 1.1 million. Provisional ballots are given if there are problems with the voter’s registration or ID, if there is an error in the voter rolls or if they are “challenged” by GOP. Provisional ballots should be counted unless there is evidence the voter was lying – which is extremely rare.

Spoiled Ballots: About 1.4 million punch-card, optical scan, and e-vote ballots were cast but not counted. About ¾’s of a million African-American votes were not counted, about ¼ of a million Hispanic and Native American votes were not counted. Remaining 400,000+ uncounted votes belonged overwhelming to the poor.

In New Mexico the margin of victory for the Presidential race was 5,988 votes. E-voting machines in Kerry-leaning precincts failed to properly register a presidential vote on more than 20,000 ballots.

Absentee Ballots Rejected: Over half a million in 2004. In swing states, absentee ballot shredding was pandemic. (Florida conveniently labels the voter’s party on the ballot envelope).

In Arapahoe County, Colorado, three times more absentee ballots mailed to Democrats “failed to return” as compared to Republican ballots. Voters from Kerry precincts were 265% more likely to have their absentee ballots tossed out when they did arrive at the clerk’s office.

Voters Barred from Voting: Incompetence and trickery that prevented people – primarily racial minorities, low-income voters, and Democratic voters – from voting included: Destroying voter registrations * Failing to process registrations in a timely manner * Illegally re-registering Democrats as Republicans
* Illegal purges of voter rolls * GOP challenges to voter registrations via ‘caging’ * Voter intimidation and misinformation campaigns * Forgot to mail absentee ballots in Florida, Ohio, and to nearly 3 million Americans living abroad * Phone-jamming Democratic candidate lines provided to help voters having problems on election day * Creating impossibly long lines at the polls as a result of GOP challenges to voters; too few functioning voting machines; changing polling station locations; merging polling stations to save money * GOP volunteers ‘picked up’ absentee ballots from Democratic voters.

In what may be the single most astounding fact from the election, 1 in every 4 Ohio citizens who registered to vote in 2004 showed up at the polls only to discover that they were not listed on the rolls. (Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., “Did Bush Steal the 2004 Election?” Rolling Stone)

B. E-Voting Problems: Many Different Systems, Different States, Different Elections.
Dozens and dozens of instances of electronic voting machine malfunctions & instances of malfeasance have occurred and are catalogued at VotersUnite.Org and Just a few are listed here:1. New Elections Needed after Electronic Voting Failures.A memory limitation on paperless Unilect Patriot voting machines caused 4,438 votes to be permanently lost in North Carolina (2004).1

AVS WINVote computers at some polling places failed to start up, others overheated and broke down during the election in Mississippi (2003).1

2. “Phantom” Votes Added by Electronic Voting Machines.

After the 2004 General Election, phantom votes (more votes than voters) were reported in Florida, Nebraska, New Mexico, Ohio, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Washington. In North Carolina Microvote DREs showed nearly 3,000 more votes than voters; in New Mexico Sequoia AVC Edge DREs showed over 2,700 early voting phantom votes.1

Hart Intercivic machines in Tarrant County, Texas recorded an additional 100,000 votes that were never actually cast in 2006 Primary Election (Formal challenge to results has been filed).1

3. Bugs!

ES&S vote-tallying software counted to 32,767 and then counted backwards in November 2004 elections: 70,000 votes temporarily disappeared in Broward County, Florida; 8,400 votes in Orange County, Florida; and 22,000 votes in North Carolina.1

4. Votes Jump to the Opponent on the Screen

In the November 2004 hundreds of votes jumped from Bush to Kerry in New Mexico (Sequoia), Maryland (Diebold) and elsewhere. Some voters could correct the problem, some did not.1

5. DRE’s Present Incorrect Ballots to Voters

In March 2004, the US Senate contest in Maryland was omitted from ballots in three counties.1

6. Negative Votes Added to Tally

In Volusia County, Florida in 2000, Al Gore’s count dropped by 16,022 votes, while an obscure Socialist candidate picked up 10,000 votes at 10:30 PM on election night. Global Election Systems explained that two memory cards had been uploaded; there should have only been one memory card uploaded; the second card caused the problem. (

7. DREs Pass Pre-Election Testing, Fail on Election Day

In Mercer County, Pennsylvania all 250 UniLect Patriot machines had been checked and rechecked. On election day some machines never operated, some offered only black screens.1

8. Programming Errors Give Votes to the Wrong Candidate (Vote Switching)

Ballot programming determines how a touch on a screen or marks on a ballot are translated into votes counted by the machine. In November 2000, 67,000 absentee and early-voting ballots were counted incorrectly by a Diebold optical scan machine in New Mexico. ES&S machines miscounted votes in North Carolina in 2004; in New Mexico in 2002; in Kansas in 2002.1

9. Voting Machines Present a Default Candidate (Electronic Version of a Pre-Marked Ballot).

Election officials in Travis County (Austin) Texas, set up Hart Intercivic eSlate DREs so that voters who voted straight party Democratic ticket and pressed ‘enter’ on the next screen – caused their Kerry/Edwards vote to be changed to the default candidate -> Bush/Cheney.1

10. Voting Machines Do Not Count Some Votes

Voters claimed that machines failed to register votes for incumbent school-board member, Rita S. Thompson ( R ), who lost an election in Fairfax, Virginia by 1,662 votes. Election officials observed that one of the questionable machines appeared to subtract a vote from Thompson for about one out of every 100 attempts to vote for her.2

1. VotersUnite.Org: “Facts About Electronic Elections”
PDF File:…

2. Common Cause: “Election Reform: Malfunction and Malfeasance”

C. What You Can Do 1. VOTE! GET ALL ELIGIBLE VOTERS YOU KNOW TO VOTE! We are most likely to detect malfunction or malfeasance if there is massive voter turnout. Let’s top the turnout from 2004!2. Contact election officials in your county or state by email, phone, private letter or LTTE to tell them your concerns and to tell them what you want.

3. Watch videos and/or read more about election malfunction and malfeasance (& how to ensure free and fair elections) on the excellent websites & books listed at the end of this document. Educate your family and friends. Print out the best material and take it to your local political party, candidates, and progressive groups and activate them!

4. Check for organizations that may already be active in your area and join them! In Indiana: NAACP, People for the American Way, Common Cause, and League of Women Voters should all be working to enfranchise eligible voters and make sure all votes are counted.

5. Contact your local political party and local progressive organizations to educate and activate them!

6. Help register eligible citizens to vote and educate them about their rights & responsibilities.

7. Participate in elections as a poll-worker or poll-monitor.

8. Conduct exit polls or parallel elections.

9. Learn about election laws and policies in your county and state. Then collaborate with/challenge election supervisors in your county/state to ensure that voters are not disenfranchised, and to ensure that votes are cast and counted accurately.

10. BE PREPARED TO TAKE ACTION AFTER ELECTIONS. If our government truly derives its power from the consent of the governed, then we the people must not allow the results of tainted elections to stand. Elections are not about profit and loss; they are not about which party or candidate wins or loses; they are about the essence of democracy. There are lives in the balance.

D. Voting Systems: Election integrity requires openness & transparency.Election integrity cannot be assured without openness & transparency. Yet, computerized voting systems prevent even election supervisors from observing all aspects of an election.What do we want?
VVPBs (Voter-Verified Paper Ballots) & MMRAs (Mandatory Manual Random Audits)!

Paper Ballots, Hand Counted: The gold standard for openness and transparency! A 2001 CalTech/MIT study concluded that hand-counted paper ballots have the lowest average incidence of spoiled, uncounted, and unmarked ballots. While this sounds like going back to the dark ages – it may be the most realistic option for November 2006 for all counties that have electronic voting machines without paper trails.

Precinct-Count Optical Scan Systems: Once voters mark their paper ballots, they insert them into the optical scanner at their precinct. Ballots that cannot be read are rejected and the voter gets a fresh ballot, virtually eliminating spoiled ballots. Votes are counted in the scanner’s (computer) memory. Ballots are stored in an attached, locked metal box, available for automatic, random audits to check for programming and tallying accuracy and recounts.

Direct Recording Electronic (DRE) Voting Machines with VVPB: A voter’s choice is captured both internally, in electronic form, and printed on a paper ballot. The ballot can be checked by the voter before being submitted. The paper ballots would count as the actual votes, taking precedence over any electronic counts and would be available for audits and recounts. (Warning: About 1/3 of voters do not check the printed ballots, assuming that they must be accurate. Not true!)

“Direct Recording Electronic” (DRE) Voting Machines without VVPB: The ballot appears on a display screen and votes are captured and stored electronically. An election without Voter-Verified Paper Ballots cannot be open and transparent. When election officials state that they are satisfied with the accuracy and reliability of DRE voting systems, they are able to do so only because there is virtually no way to detect errors or deliberate election-rigging without VVPBs.

E. The Elephant in the RoomThe history of elections in the U.S. not a source of pride. To learn more, read “Steal This Vote: Dirty Elections and the Rotten History of Democracy in America” or “Deliver the Vote: A History of Election Fraud, an American Political Tradition 1742-2004”.1If we had a color scheme to express how dirty elections have been over time, I would argue that right now we are experiencing a CODE RED, because a small, fanatical group of Republicans, spread out across the U.S., encouraged by right-wing think tanks, is using economic and racial discrimination to get away with disenfranchising millions of voters and neglecting or manipulating the voting systems to steal elections.

Paul Weyrich, co-founder of the Heritage Foundation and the Free Congress Foundation was taped while speaking in private, at a church, to Republican activists: “How many of our Christians have what I call the goo-goo syndrome? Good government! They want everybody to vote! I don’t want everybody to vote. Elections are not won by a majority of people, they never have been from the beginning of our country and they are not now. As a matter of fact, our leverage in the elections, quite candidly, goes up as voting populace goes down.” 2

Mr. Weyrich sounds different in an article entitled “Easy Voting Brings Low Participation”: “Former Presidents Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter have come up with a series of recommendations aimed at increasing participation in national elections. Among the proposals the former presidents have put forth are (a) to hold elections on a national holiday, such as Veterans Day; (b) to make convicted felons eligible to vote after they have served time; (c) to permit people who aren’t on the voter rolls on Election Day to vote, sorting out their eligibility in the days after the election…. I am glad that Pres. Bush’s reaction has been lukewarm…. The truth is simply this: The easier we have made it to vote, the lower the voter participation.” 3

Jeff Horwitz reports: “One recent Sunday, at Morton Blackwell’s Leadership Institute, a dozen students meet…. All are earnest, idealistic and as right wing as you can get. They take careful notes as instructor Paul Gourley teaches them how to rig a campus mock election. “Can anyone tell me,” asks Gourley, “why you don’t want the polling place in the cafeteria?” Stephen, a shy antiabortion activist sitting toward the rear of the class, raises his hand: “Because you want to suppress the vote?” The students, strait-laced kids from good colleges, seem unconvinced. The lesson — that with sufficient organization, the act of voting becomes less a basic right than a tactical maneuver — doesn’t sit easy with some students at first. Gourley, a charismatic senior from South Dakota and the treasurer of the College Republican National Committee, assures them: “This is not anti-democracy. This is not shady. Just put somewhere where you might have to put a little bit of effort into voting.” The rest, Gourley explains, is just a matter of turnout. Yet Blackwell’s foundation, the Leadership Institute, is not a Republican organization. It’s a nonpartisan 501(c)(3) charity… Despite its legally required “neutrality,” the institute is one of the best investments the conservative movement has ever made. Its walls are plastered with framed headshots of former students — hundreds of state and local legislators sprinkled with smiling members of the U.S. Congress…. Thirty-five years ago, Blackwell dispatched a particularly promising 17-year-old pupil named Karl Rove to run a youth campaign… Over the last 25 years, more than 40,000 young conservatives have been trained at the institute ” 4

Indiana Secretary of State Todd Rokita: “It is difficult to say exactly why Americans are so apathetic about voting. Some suggest that the processes of registering and voting are too difficult or confusing. I disagree. In recent years, the acceptance of procedures such as early voting and voting by mail have made it even more accessible to Americans. But an increase in the promotion and use of these techniques has not been followed by an increase in voter turnout. Just the opposite is true.” 5

1. Read a condensation of Deliver the Vote: A History of Election Fraud, an American Political Tradition 1742-2004.…

2. Audio played on The Thom Hartmann Radio Show, syndicated by Air America Radio

3. Easy Voting Brings Low Participation –…

4. My Right-Wing Degree –…

5. IN SoS Press Release 9/5/04 –…

F. Common Cause Recommends…I’ve abbreviated the Common Cause recommendations about Free & Fair Elections. If you are going to fight the battle about securing the voting machines you need to read much more about the systems at and…TO ENSURE FREE AND FAIR ELECTIONS, Common Cause recommends:

Reduce Partisanship and Conflict of Interest in Election Administration.

Enforce Laws Prohibiting Voter Suppression/Intimidation: State and local governments need to make strong statements about protecting the rights of voters and to enforce existing laws and prosecute illegal activities. Establish transparent, fair, statewide standards for challenges, including penalties for partisan or otherwise frivolous challenges.

Voter Education: Voters should receive written information about their voting rights and location of their polling place prior to Election Day or any early voting period. New registrants should receive timely notification of their registration status after registering to vote. Correction of errors in registration should be allowed up to and including Election Day. Poll-workers should be trained thoroughly so that they provide accurate information to voters.

ID Requirements and the Voter Databases: The process of establishing and maintaining the databases must be open to the public. A voter cannot be purged from voting rolls unless there is direct communication from the voter, the registrar of another state, or from the courts. Voters should easily be able to confirm their presence on the voter rolls by phone or on the Internet.

Develop Uniform Statewide Provisional Ballots Standards: Every provisional ballot cast by an eligible voter should be counted and the HAVA-required notification system should be implemented.

Fix, Replace, Test and Maintain Voting Machines Ballot definition files are not independently tested prior to the election. Extensive pre-testing could reduce the possibility of malfunction or malfeasance.


The US Congress should immediately pass HR550, “The Voter Confidence and Increased Accessibility Act of 2005” and/or states should pass laws or adopt regulations that: (1) require all voting systems to produce a VVPB, (2) mandate that the VVPB is the ballot of record, (3) establish a requirement for mandatory manual audits in at least 2% of randomly-selected precincts, and (4) establish funding to implement VVPB voting systems. (5% to 10% precinct audits would be better!)

State election officials should, wherever possible: immediately retrofit DREs with printing systems to produce a VVPB, and use those ballots in audits – OR – decertify DREs that cannot provide VVPB and turn to other voting systems such as optical scan machines for the November elections.

Election officials should take necessary steps to safeguard machines prior to Election Day.

Voters should be encouraged to vote on paper whenever possible. If facing the prospect of voting on paperless DREs in November, they should advocate for change with local election officials well before the election. If that does not work, where possible, voters should vote by absentee ballot / early voting.

Regardless of the voting equipment in a jurisdiction, citizens should VOTE. While there is a chance that a vote won’t be counted if cast on a paperless DRE, not voting at all will assure that it is not.

G. Online Videos & InteractiveVotergate: The Movie
http://www.votergate.tvCNN’s Lou Dobbs’ coverage of e-voting…

Catherine Crier – CourtTV
Defending Our Democracy I
Defending Our Democracy II

Mark Crispin Miller speaks at U. Mass.…

ACLU Freedom Files: Voting Rights

ACLU Virtual Voting Booth

Democracy’s Ghosts

I. The BEST Websites & Online
E-VOTING 2006: The Approaching Train Wreck * Excellent Reports: Mythbreakers: Facts About Electronic Elections * Voting system failures by vendor * Vote-Switching and Ballot Definition
Daily News * State-by-State News Archive * Election Integrity Weekly Newsletter * Poll Monitors’ and Poll Workers’ Guide to E-Voting
Resolution on Electronic Voting * Election Administration Project: Best Practices for Reliable Election Systems. * Election Incident Reporting System (EIRS) * Election Protection Questionnaires: Local & State Election Officials, Pre-Election Testing

Common Cause
Excellent report: “Election Reform. Malfunction and Malfeasance – A report on the electronic voting machine debacle.” Vote for America, a non-partisan voter education and mobilization program.

People for the American Way: Civic Participation
Election Protection Program offers: volunteer poll monitors; civil rights lawyers and advocates who expose and prevent voter intimidation; work with election officials to identify and solve problems with voting machines, technology and ballot forms.

League of Women Voters: Election Reform
American Democracy at Risk: Agenda for Renewal and Repair includes recommendations for election reform and advocates nonpartisan redistricting, safeguarding civil liberties.

Brennan Center for Justice
Excellent reports: “The Machinery of Democracy: Protecting Elections in an Electronic World” & “Verification Processes for Voter Registration”

Voter Action
Provides strategic and legal support to ensure verifiable, accurate and transparent voting systems. Has supported lawsuits in Arizona, California, Colorado, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Pennsylvania.

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Congresswoman ‘Apologizes’ for Not Taking Allegations of Stolen 2004 Election Seriously!

Posted in General, TAKE ACTION! on June 16th, 2006
Was it Stolen? ‘Only Answer is Yes,’ says Schakowsky who Claims DCCC to Announce Steps Soon to Avoid ‘Repeat Performance’
EXCLUSIVE: Complete Text of Prepared Remarks from today’s ‘Take Back America’ Conference…

I just got off the phone with Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) who reportedly wowed ’em a few hours ago during her speech (posted in full below) on the closing afternoon of the “Take Back America” conference being held in Washington D.C.

In her remarks, Schakowsky apologized for “not taking seriously enough the allegations that the 2004 election was stolen.” She now feels it was, and claims that the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) will be launching an initiative. From today’s speech:

I apologize for not taking seriously enough the allegations that the 2004 election was stolen. After reading Bobby Kennedy’s article in Rolling Stone, “Was the 2004 Election Stolen?”, I am convinced that the only answer is yes. He documents how 357,000 Ohio voters, the vast majority Democrats, “were prevented from casting ballots or did not have their votes counted…more than enough to shift the results.” Watch for the DCCC to take some very public steps in the near future to ward off a repeat performance. In the meantime, there needs to be a citizens’ effort starting now to assess the machines, the ballots, the registration process within each and every election jurisdiction in each and every swing district and state, in the case of Senate races. Where the situation looks perilous, go to the media, raise a stink, demand changes. This is a great project for the many of you who have been diligently working to guarantee fair and accurate elections.

Raise a stink? Can do. So can you! Sign Velvet Revolution’s petition declaring “No Confidence” in the Busby/Bilbray race!

(Hat tip to my buddy Peter B. Collins, who is in DC to cover the conference, for his quick phone call alert after Schakowsky’s speech earlier this afternoon!)

Schakowsky’s prepared statement from today’s Take Back America conference speech follows in full…


Remarks of Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky

My topic today is “Closing the Deal.” Closing the deal. I believe that on November 7, Democrats can be in the majority in the Congress – both Houses. And I believe that the activists and leaders who are here today can make it happen. I am optimistic – cautiously optimistic.

At long last, nearly everyone in our country sees what we’ve seen for a long time. Let’s just tick off a few of the problems of their own making that the Republicans face, beginning but not ending with the calamitous war in Iraq. During the time of this panel – one hour – your tax dollars will have contributed to the $11 million the U.S. spends in Iraq every hour – 24/7. And between Iraq and Afghanistan , the equivalent of one battalion of soldiers (600) is killed or injured each month. Move on to gas prices, heating costs, unaffordable health care, the Medicare Part D disaster. Katrina, Guantanamo Bay, Halliburton, Abu Ghraib; college tuition, the NSA spying on everyone (and proud of it), tax cuts just for the Paris Hiltons, drilling in ANWR, global warming, the 9/11 Commission failing grades, Dubai ports deal, stagnant or falling wages, everyone around the world hates us, Jack Abramoff, relentless attacks on women’s reproductive rights, labor unions, affirmative action, gays and lesbians, civil rights and civil liberties. You know, after a while it starts to add up. These guys have got to go.It’s no wonder the President’s approval, even after getting al Zarqawi, continues to slip. I don’t know if Bush is the worst President in history. I’m not an expert on the Presidents. As far as I know, there may have been less intellectual Presidents. There may have been more incompetent Presidents or one or two with worse judgment or more reckless or less curious. I don’t know about Chester Arthur or Millard Fillmore. Herbert Hoover was certainly delusional about the economy and James Polk allegedly manufacturing the war with Mexico. But it never mattered as much as it does now. The decisions of the President of the United States, you know, the Decider, have never been more consequential than they are today. While military misadventures of the past certainly claimed many innocent lives, it is only in recent times that the result could be worldwide death and destruction. There may have been Presidents more contemptuous of science, though I doubt it. But nothing else ultimately matters if our planet becomes incapable of sustaining human life. Even the most upscale gated communities can’t protect him and his friends. In the most profound ways, this President and his rubber stamp Congress are proving that elections really do matter. You would think that the real question is how can we lose? The answer is we’ve already proven it can be done. Even when we win, we lose. Fool me once…or whatever the President tried to say. This is no time to play the fool. We need to close the deal. Our challenge, particularly the challenge of the progressives and activists here at this great conference, is not crafting the overarching thematics of the campaigns. Fortunately, the big theme is change, and the goal to put this failed President on every ballot, so far, seems to be working.

For us, it must all be about execution.

1) First, we must not allow the Republicans to steal the election-again.

2) We have to mobilize the voters who are already with us, and run picture perfect, aggressive, leave no voter behind GOTV, Get Out the Vote campaign.

3) We have to persuade the persuadables. (I’ll go more into each of these.)

4) We have to travel. I’ll tell you about the Committee of 100 in my district.

5) We need to keep our eyes on the prize – beating the Republicans.

1) Stealing: I apologize for not taking seriously enough the allegations that the 2004 election was stolen. After reading Bobby Kennedy’s article in Rolling Stone, “Was the 2004 Election Stolen?”, I am convinced that the only answer is yes. He documents how 357,000 Ohio voters, the vast majority Democrats, “were prevented from casting ballots or did not have their votes counted…more than enough to shift the results.” Watch for the DCCC to take some very public steps in the near future to ward off a repeat performance. In the meantime, there needs to be a citizens’ effort starting now to assess the machines, the ballots, the registration process within each and every election jurisdiction in each and every swing district and state, in the case of Senate races. Where the situation looks perilous, go to the media, raise a stink, demand changes. This is a great project for the many of you who have been diligently working to guarantee fair and accurate elections.

2) GOTV: “Intensity equals turnout.” That is one of the political truths that we must NOT rely on. The Republicans learned about grassroots organizing from us and learned it well. We must count on their willingness and capacity to drag out their voters. There is a reason that they are throwing red meat at their base – Constitutional Amendments on same-sex marriage and Flag burning, and demonizing immigrants. They are attempting to motivate and mobilize their base voters. They also successfully targeted individual Republican voters in Democratic precincts, not just relying on larger demographic data. Their operation was often more sophisticated than ours. But we know how to do mobilization. It’s grassroots, door-to-door campaigns that enable us to beat them on the ground. Air strikes – radio and TV, just get you so far; the personal contact drives home the point. As great as job as we did in 2004, we need to do it more and better.

3) PERSUASION: In 2004, the Republicans left no constituency untouched. Their goal was to shave off just enough points from Jewish voters or Hispanic voters. For the first time, they won the majority of Catholics. Why did we lose Catholics? They had a Catholic strategy, and we didn’t. I’m told that Karl Rove met with selected Bishops and lay leaders on a weekly basis. Millions of “Voter Guides for Serious Catholics” were distributed both inside churches and, if that wasn’t an option, outside the churches. It says, “This voter’s guide identifies 5 ‘non-negotiable’ issues and helps you narrow down the list of acceptable candidates, whether they are running for national, state, or local offices. Candidates who endorse or promote any of the 5 non-negotiables should be considered to have disqualified themselves from holding public office, and you should not vote for them.” “It is a serious sin to endorse or promote any of these actions: 1. Abortion 2. Euthanasia 3. Fetal Stem Cell Research 4.Human Cloning 5. Homosexual “Marriage.” Who produced and paid for the distribution of these Voter Guides? Religious leaders? Forget it. This campaign was run by political operatives, armed with political money to defeat John Kerry and other Democratic candidates.

Well, we know how to produce voter guides. We know how to pass out voter guides. I’m no expert on Catholic teachings, but I didn’t see anything here about poverty, or health care or the dignity of work. Shame on us when we don’t compete at all.

4) We have to travel. If you live in a safe Democratic district like mine, you need to consider every candidate in every winnable district as our candidate – at least adopt one or more of those candidates as your own. Let me tell you about an effort I’m helping build in my district called the Committee of 100. It started in 2004 with a group of activists, many first time activists, who called themselves the Kerry Travelers. Since Illinois was solidly blue, we were able to send over 1200 people to various cities in Wisconsin to go door-to-door for John Kerry, helping to put him over the top. No moping for them after the November election. They created the Committee of 100, 100 people who each agreed to contribute between $100 and $250 to a Congressional candidate and go work in a swing district – mine being blessedly safe. We just met last Sunday. So far they have recruited 200 people and are aiming for 1,000 by election day. Representatives from the campaigns of 4 Democrats running for Congress in Illinois came and made pitches for their candidates. Canvass days were announced for each of them, and people signed up to travel to their districts. Much of the organizing for the Committee of 100 takes place on the internet, but this is no virtual community. You can do it too, and my young political director, Alex Armour, would be happy to help you get started.

5) Finally, we all need to resist, as hard as I know it is at times, griping about the Democrats, one, because it’s takes time away from the real work of defeating the Republicans, and two because it’s counterproductive, demoralizing the very people we need to be engaged and enthusiastic. I am not necessarily talking about staying away from primaries. I refer to the time spent complaining about this or that performance, how we’re not tough enough, we’re not articulate enough, we are too wishy-washy. I agree that those critiques are often true. But keep in mind this one thing. Right now we are winning! We are not doing everything wrong.

I refer you to an article in the May Washington monthly by Amy Sullivan, called “Not as Lame as You Think, Democrats learn the art of opposition.” Let me read just a few lines. “…the truth is that Newt Gingrich and the Contract loom so large – and today’s DC Democrats seem so small – largely because of the magic of hindsight. Back in 1994, Republicans were at least as divided as Democrats are now, if not more so…As for unity of message, the now-revered Contract with America didn’t make its debut until just 6 weeks before the election.” She goes on to say that “On virtually all of the major slips this White House has made in the past year, there have been unnoticed Democrats putting down the banana peels.” She gives as an example the Dubai port deal. “If you read the press coverage of the story, you would have thought the issue surfaced on its own. In fact, however, the story was a little grenade rolled into the White House bunker by Sen. Chuck Schumer…who had been tipped off by a source in the shipping industry.” After it became a story, the President went on TV and asked the American people if they really thought he would support any deal that would pose a threat to our country. And Americans answered with a collective, “Yeah.”

When someone starts griping to you, remind them we are winning and ask them to think of one good idea the Republicans have come up with. But if you just have to vent, pick a griping buddy and do it late at night or early in the morning when you are not working on winning.

Let me end with this. On Memorial Day, there was a Washington Post political cartoon by Tom Toles reprinted in the Chicago Sun-Times. It shows an old military veteran reading a newspaper with the banner headline that reads Security Bungle, and articles including Domestic Spying, Data Lost, Official Lying, America Loses Its Friends, and Inequality Growing. The Veteran is saying, “My country’s identity has been stolen.” I love this country. I know that what motivates you to be here at this conference, and to do what you do back home is a love of our country and its promise of justice and freedom, unfulfilled though it may be. This is a room full of patriots – true patriots, the real patriots. I DO feel as if our American identity has been stolen, but I believe that working with you we can, beginning in a mere 5 months, Take Back America.

Re-posted from the Brad Blog 6-14-06

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Was the 2004 Election Stolen?

Posted in General on June 1st, 2006

Republicans prevented more than 350,000 voters in Ohio from casting ballots or having their votes counted — enough to have put John Kerry in the White House. BY ROBERT F. KENNEDY JR.

The complete article, with Web-only citations, follows. For more, see exclusive documents, sources, charts and commentary.Like many Americans, I spent the evening of the 2004 election watching the returns on television and wondering how the exit polls, which predicted an overwhelming victory for John Kerry, had gotten it so wrong. By midnight, the official tallies showed a decisive lead for George Bush — and the next day, lacking enough legal evidence to contest the results, Kerry conceded. Republicans derided anyone who expressed doubts about Bush’s victory as nut cases in ”tinfoil hats,” while the national media, with few exceptions, did little to question the validity of the election. The Washington Post immediately dismissed allegations of fraud as ”conspiracy theories,”(1) and The New York Times declared that ”there is no evidence of vote theft or errors on a large scale.”(2)

But despite the media blackout, indications continued to emerge that something deeply troubling had taken place in 2004. Nearly half of the 6 million American voters living abroad(3) never received their ballots — or received them too late to vote(4) — after the Pentagon unaccountably shut down a state-of-the-art Web site used to file overseas registrations.(5) A consulting firm called Sproul & Associates, which was hired by the Republican National Committee to register voters in six battleground states,(6) was discovered shredding Democratic registrations.(7) In New Mexico, which was decided by 5,988 votes,(8) malfunctioning machines mysteriously failed to properly register a presidential vote on more than 20,000 ballots.(9) Nationwide, according to the federal commission charged with implementing election reforms, as many as 1 million ballots were spoiled by faulty voting equipment — roughly one for every 100 cast.(10)

The reports were especially disturbing in Ohio, the critical battleground state that clinched Bush’s victory in the electoral college. Officials there purged tens of thousands of eligible voters from the rolls, neglected to process registration cards generated by Democratic voter drives, shortchanged Democratic precincts when they allocated voting machines and illegally derailed a recount that could have given Kerry the presidency. A precinct in an evangelical church in Miami County recorded an impossibly high turnout of ninety-eight percent, while a polling place in inner-city Cleveland recorded an equally impossible turnout of only seven percent. In Warren County, GOP election officials even invented a nonexistent terrorist threat to bar the media from monitoring the official vote count.(11)

Any election, of course, will have anomalies. America’s voting system is a messy patchwork of polling rules run mostly by county and city officials. ”We didn’t have one election for president in 2004,” says Robert Pastor, who directs the Center for Democracy and Election Management at American University. ”We didn’t have fifty elections. We actually had 13,000 elections run by 13,000 independent, quasi-sovereign counties and municipalities.”

But what is most anomalous about the irregularities in 2004 was their decidedly partisan bent: Almost without exception they hurt John Kerry and benefited George Bush. After carefully examining the evidence, I’ve become convinced that the president’s party mounted a massive, coordinated campaign to subvert the will of the people in 2004. Across the country, Republican election officials and party stalwarts employed a wide range of illegal and unethical tactics to fix the election. A review of the available data reveals that in Ohio alone, at least 357,000 voters, the overwhelming majority of them Democratic, were prevented from casting ballots or did not have their votes counted in 2004(12) — more than enough to shift the results of an election decided by 118,601 votes.(13) (See Ohio’s Missing Votes) In what may be the single most astounding fact from the election, one in every four Ohio citizens who registered to vote in 2004 showed up at the polls only to discover that they were not listed on the rolls, thanks to GOP efforts to stem the unprecedented flood of Democrats eager to cast ballots.(14) And that doesn?t even take into account the troubling evidence of outright fraud, which indicates that upwards of 80,000 votes for Kerry were counted instead for Bush. That alone is a swing of more than 160,000 votes — enough to have put John Kerry in the White House.(15)

”It was terrible,” says Sen. Christopher Dodd, who helped craft reforms in 2002 that were supposed to prevent such electoral abuses. ”People waiting in line for twelve hours to cast their ballots, people not being allowed to vote because they were in the wrong precinct — it was an outrage. In Ohio, you had a secretary of state who was determined to guarantee a Republican outcome. I’m terribly disheartened.”

Indeed, the extent of the GOP’s effort to rig the vote shocked even the most experienced observers of American elections. ”Ohio was as dirty an election as America has ever seen,” Lou Harris, the father of modern political polling, told me. ”You look at the turnout and votes in individual precincts, compared to the historic patterns in those counties, and you can tell where the discrepancies are. They stand out like a sore thumb.”

I. The Exit Polls
The first indication that something was gravely amiss on November 2nd, 2004, was the inexplicable discrepancies between exit polls and actual vote counts. Polls in thirty states weren’t just off the mark — they deviated to an extent that cannot be accounted for by their margin of error. In all but four states, the discrepancy favored President Bush.(16)

Over the past decades, exit polling has evolved into an exact science. Indeed, among pollsters and statisticians, such surveys are thought to be the most reliable. Unlike pre-election polls, in which voters are asked to predict their own behavior at some point in the future, exit polls ask voters leaving the voting booth to report an action they just executed. The results are exquisitely accurate: Exit polls in Germany, for example, have never missed the mark by more than three-tenths of one percent.(17) ”Exit polls are almost never wrong,” Dick Morris, a political consultant who has worked for both Republicans and Democrats, noted after the 2004 vote. Such surveys are ”so reliable,” he added, ”that they are used as guides to the relative honesty of elections in Third World countries.”(18) In 2003, vote tampering revealed by exit polling in the Republic of Georgia forced Eduard Shevardnadze to step down.(19) And in November 2004, exit polling in the Ukraine — paid for by the Bush administration — exposed election fraud that denied Viktor Yushchenko the presidency.(20)

But that same month, when exit polls revealed disturbing disparities in the U.S. election, the six media organizations that had commissioned the survey treated its very existence as an embarrassment. Instead of treating the discrepancies as a story meriting investigation, the networks scrubbed the offending results from their Web sites and substituted them with ”corrected” numbers that had been weighted, retroactively, to match the official vote count. Rather than finding fault with the election results, the mainstream media preferred to dismiss the polls as flawed.(21)

”The people who ran the exit polling, and all those of us who were their clients, recognized that it was deeply flawed,” says Tom Brokaw, who served as anchor for NBC News during the 2004 election. ”They were really screwed up — the old models just don’t work anymore. I would not go on the air with them again.”

In fact, the exit poll created for the 2004 election was designed to be the most reliable voter survey in history. The six news organizations — running the ideological gamut from CBS to Fox News — retained Edison Media Research and Mitofsky International,(22) whose principal, Warren Mitofsky, pioneered the exit poll for CBS in 1967(23) and is widely credited with assuring the credibility of Mexico’s elections in 1994.(24) For its nationwide poll, Edison/Mitofsky selected a random subsample of 12,219 voters(25) — approximately six times larger than those normally used in national polls(26) — driving the margin of error down to approximately plus or minus one percent.(27)

On the evening of the vote, reporters at each of the major networks were briefed by pollsters at 7:54 p.m. Kerry, they were informed, had an insurmountable lead and would win by a rout: at least 309 electoral votes to Bush’s 174, with fifty-five too close to call.(28) In London, Prime Minister Tony Blair went to bed contemplating his relationship with President-elect Kerry.(29)

As the last polling stations closed on the West Coast, exit polls showed Kerry ahead in ten of eleven battleground states — including commanding leads in Ohio and Florida — and winning by a million and a half votes nationally. The exit polls even showed Kerry breathing down Bush’s neck in supposed GOP strongholds Virginia and North Carolina.(30) Against these numbers, the statistical likelihood of Bush winning was less than one in 450,000.(31) ”Either the exit polls, by and large, are completely wrong,” a Fox News analyst declared, ”or George Bush loses.”(32)

But as the evening progressed, official tallies began to show implausible disparities — as much as 9.5 percent — with the exit polls. In ten of the eleven battleground states, the tallied margins departed from what the polls had predicted. In every case, the shift favored Bush. Based on exit polls, CNN had predicted Kerry defeating Bush in Ohio by a margin of 4.2 percentage points. Instead, election results showed Bush winning the state by 2.5 percent. Bush also tallied 6.5 percent more than the polls had predicted in Pennsylvania, and 4.9 percent more in Florida.(33)

According to Steven F. Freeman, a visiting scholar at the University of Pennsylvania who specializes in research methodology, the odds against all three of those shifts occurring in concert are one in 660,000. ”As much as we can say in sound science that something is impossible,” he says, ”it is impossible that the discrepancies between predicted and actual vote count in the three critical battleground states of the 2004 election could have been due to chance or random error.” (See The Tale of the Exit Polls)

Puzzled by the discrepancies, Freeman laboriously examined the raw polling data released by Edison/Mitofsky in January 2005. ”I’m not even political — I despise the Democrats,” he says. ”I’m a survey expert. I got into this because I was mystified about how the exit polls could have been so wrong.” In his forthcoming book, Was the 2004 Presidential Election Stolen? Exit Polls, Election Fraud, and the Official Count, Freeman lays out a statistical analysis of the polls that is deeply troubling.

In its official postmortem report issued two months after the election, Edison/Mitofsky was unable to identify any flaw in its methodology — so the pollsters, in essence, invented one for the electorate. According to Mitofsky, Bush partisans were simply disinclined to talk to exit pollsters on November 2nd(34) — displaying a heretofore unknown and undocumented aversion that skewed the polls in Kerry’s favor by a margin of 6.5 percent nationwide.(35)

Industry peers didn’t buy it. John Zogby, one of the nation’s leading pollsters, told me that Mitofsky’s ”reluctant responder” hypothesis is ”preposterous.”(36) Even Mitofsky, in his official report, underscored the hollowness of his theory: ”It is difficult to pinpoint precisely the reasons that, in general, Kerry voters were more likely to participate in the exit polls than Bush voters.”(37)

Now, thanks to careful examination of Mitofsky’s own data by Freeman and a team of eight researchers, we can say conclusively that the theory is dead wrong. In fact it was Democrats, not Republicans, who were more disinclined to answer pollsters’ questions on Election Day. In Bush strongholds, Freeman and the other researchers found that fifty-six percent of voters completed the exit survey — compared to only fifty-three percent in Kerry strongholds.(38) ”The data presented to support the claim not only fails to substantiate it,” observes Freeman, ”but actually contradicts it.”

What’s more, Freeman found, the greatest disparities between exit polls and the official vote count came in Republican strongholds. In precincts where Bush received at least eighty percent of the vote, the exit polls were off by an average of ten percent. By contrast, in precincts where Kerry dominated by eighty percent or more, the exit polls were accurate to within three tenths of one percent — a pattern that suggests Republican election officials stuffed the ballot box in Bush country.(39)

”When you look at the numbers, there is a tremendous amount of data that supports the supposition of election fraud,” concludes Freeman. ”The discrepancies are higher in battleground states, higher where there were Republican governors, higher in states with greater proportions of African-American communities and higher in states where there were the most Election Day complaints. All these are strong indicators of fraud — and yet this supposition has been utterly ignored by the press and, oddly, by the Democratic Party.”

The evidence is especially strong in Ohio. In January, a team of mathematicians from the National Election Data Archive, a nonpartisan watchdog group, compared the state’s exit polls against the certified vote count in each of the forty-nine precincts polled by Edison/Mitofsky. In twenty-two of those precincts — nearly half of those polled — they discovered results that differed widely from the official tally. Once again — against all odds — the widespread discrepancies were stacked massively in Bush’s favor: In only two of the suspect twenty-two precincts did the disparity benefit Kerry. The wildest discrepancy came from the precinct Mitofsky numbered ”27,” in order to protect the anonymity of those surveyed. According to the exit poll, Kerry should have received sixty-seven percent of the vote in this precinct. Yet the certified tally gave him only thirty-eight percent. The statistical odds against such a variance are just shy of one in 3 billion.(40)

Such results, according to the archive, provide ”virtually irrefutable evidence of vote miscount.” The discrepancies, the experts add, ”are consistent with the hypothesis that Kerry would have won Ohio’s electoral votes if Ohio’s official vote counts had accurately reflected voter intent.”(41) According to Ron Baiman, vice president of the archive and a public policy analyst at Loyola University in Chicago, ”No rigorous statistical explanation” can explain the ”completely nonrandom” disparities that almost uniformly benefited Bush. The final results, he adds, are ”completely consistent with election fraud — specifically vote shifting.”

II. The Partisan Official
No state was more important in the 2004 election than Ohio. The state has been key to every Republican presidential victory since Abraham Lincoln’s, and both parties overwhelmed the state with television ads, field organizers and volunteers in an effort to register new voters and energize old ones. Bush and Kerry traveled to Ohio a total of forty-nine times during the campaign — more than to any other state.(42)

But in the battle for Ohio, Republicans had a distinct advantage: The man in charge of the counting was Kenneth Blackwell, the co-chair of President Bush’s re-election committee.(43) As Ohio’s secretary of state, Blackwell had broad powers to interpret and implement state and federal election laws — setting standards for everything from the processing of voter registration to the conduct of official recounts.(44) And as Bush’s re-election chair in Ohio, he had a powerful motivation to rig the rules for his candidate. Blackwell, in fact, served as the ”principal electoral system adviser” for Bush during the 2000 recount in Florida,(45) where he witnessed firsthand the success of his counterpart Katherine Harris, the Florida secretary of state who co-chaired Bush’s campaign there.(46)

Blackwell — now the Republican candidate for governor of Ohio(47) — is well-known in the state as a fierce partisan eager to rise in the GOP. An outspoken leader of Ohio’s right-wing fundamentalists, he opposes abortion even in cases of rape(48) and was the chief cheerleader for the anti-gay-marriage amendment that Republicans employed to spark turnout in rural counties(49). He has openly denounced Kerry as ”an unapologetic liberal Democrat,”(50) and during the 2004 election he used his official powers to disenfranchise hundreds of thousands of Ohio citizens in Democratic strongholds. In a ruling issued two weeks before the election, a federal judge rebuked Blackwell for seeking to ”accomplish the same result in Ohio in 2004 that occurred in Florida in 2000.”(51)

”The secretary of state is supposed to administer elections — not throw them,” says Rep. Dennis Kucinich, a Democrat from Cleveland who has dealt with Blackwell for years. ”The election in Ohio in 2004 stands out as an example of how, under color of law, a state election official can frustrate the exercise of the right to vote.”

The most extensive investigation of what happened in Ohio was conducted by Rep. John Conyers, the ranking Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee.(52) Frustrated by his party’s failure to follow up on the widespread evidence of voter intimidation and fraud, Conyers and the committee’s minority staff held public hearings in Ohio, where they looked into more than 50,000 complaints from voters.(53) In January 2005, Conyers issued a detailed report that outlined ”massive and unprecedented voter irregularities and anomalies in Ohio.” The problems, the report concludes, were ”caused by intentional misconduct and illegal behavior, much of it involving Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell.”(54)

”Blackwell made Katherine Harris look like a cupcake,” Conyers told me. ”He saw his role as limiting the participation of Democratic voters. We had hearings in Columbus for two days. We could have stayed two weeks, the level of fury was so high. Thousands of people wanted to testify. Nothing like this had ever happened to them before.”

When ROLLING STONE confronted Blackwell about his overtly partisan attempts to subvert the election, he dismissed any such claim as ”silly on its face.” Ohio, he insisted in a telephone interview, set a ”gold standard” for electoral fairness. In fact, his campaign to subvert the will of the voters had begun long before Election Day. Instead of welcoming the avalanche of citizen involvement sparked by the campaign, Blackwell permitted election officials in Cleveland, Cincinnati and Toledo to conduct a massive purge of their voter rolls, summarily expunging the names of more than 300,000 voters who had failed to cast ballots in the previous two national elections.(55) In Cleveland, which went five-to-one for Kerry, nearly one in four voters were wiped from the rolls between 2000 and 2004.(56)

There were legitimate reasons to clean up voting lists: Many of the names undoubtedly belonged to people who had moved or died. But thousands more were duly registered voters who were deprived of their constitutional right to vote — often without any notification — simply because they had decided not to go to the polls in prior elections.(57) In Cleveland’s precinct 6C, where more than half the voters on the rolls were deleted,(58) turnout was only 7.1 percent(59) — the lowest in the state.

According to the Conyers report, improper purging ”likely disenfranchised tens of thousands of voters statewide.”(60) If only one in ten of the 300,000 purged voters showed up on Election Day — a conservative estimate, according to election scholars — that is 30,000 citizens who were unfairly denied the opportunity to cast ballots.

III. The Strike Force
In the months leading up to the election, Ohio was in the midst of the biggest registration drive in its history. Tens of thousands of volunteers and paid political operatives from both parties canvassed the state, racing to register new voters in advance of the October 4th deadline. To those on the ground, it was clear that Democrats were outpacing their Republican counterparts: A New York Times analysis before the election found that new registrations in traditional Democratic strongholds were up 250 percent, compared to only twenty-five percent in Republican-leaning counties.(61) ”The Democrats have been beating the pants off us in the air and on the ground,” a GOP county official in Columbus confessed to The Washington Times.(62)

To stem the tide of new registrations, the Republican National Committee and the Ohio Republican Party attempted to knock tens of thousands of predominantly minority and urban voters off the rolls through illegal mailings known in electioneering jargon as ”caging.” During the Eighties, after the GOP used such mailings to disenfranchise nearly 76,000 black voters in New Jersey and Louisiana, it was forced to sign two separate court orders agreeing to abstain from caging.(63) But during the summer of 2004, the GOP targeted minority voters in Ohio by zip code, sending registered letters to more than 200,000 newly registered voters(64) in sixty-five counties.(65) On October 22nd, a mere eleven days before the election, Ohio Republican Party Chairman Bob Bennett — who also chairs the board of elections in Cuyahoga County — sought to invalidate the registrations of 35,427 voters who had refused to sign for the letters or whose mail came back as undeliverable.(66) Almost half of the challenged voters were from Democratic strongholds in and around Cleveland.(67)

There were plenty of valid reasons that voters had failed to respond to the mailings: The list included people who couldn’t sign for the letters because they were serving in the U.S. military, college students whose school and home addresses differed,(68) and more than 1,000 homeless people who had no permanent mailing address.(69) But the undeliverable mail, Bennett claimed, proved the new registrations were fraudulent.

By law, each voter was supposed to receive a hearing before being stricken from the rolls.(70) Instead, in the week before the election, kangaroo courts were rapidly set up across the state at Blackwell’s direction that would inevitably disenfranchise thousands of voters at a time(71) — a process that one Democratic election official in Toledo likened to an ”inquisition.”(72) Not that anyone was given a chance to actually show up and defend their right to vote: Notices to challenged voters were not only sent out impossibly late in the process, they were mailed to the very addresses that the Republicans contended were faulty.(73) Adding to the atmosphere of intimidation, sheriff’s detectives in Sandusky County were dispatched to the homes of challenged voters to investigate the GOP’s claims of fraud.(74)

”I’m afraid this is going to scare these people half to death, and they are never going to show up on Election Day,” Barb Tuckerman, director of the Sandusky Board of Elections, told local reporters. ”Many of them are young people who have registered for the first time. I’ve called some of these people, and they are perfectly legitimate.”(75)

On October 27th, ruling that the effort likely violated both the ”constitutional right to due process and constitutional right to vote,” U.S. District Judge Susan Dlott put a halt to the GOP challenge(76) — but not before tens of thousands of new voters received notices claiming they were improperly registered. Some election officials in the state illegally ignored Dlott’s ruling, stripping hundreds of voters from the rolls.(77) In Columbus and elsewhere, challenged registrants were never notified that the court had cleared them to vote.

On October 29th, a federal judge found that the Republican Party had violated the court orders from the Eighties that barred it from caging. ”The return of mail does not implicate fraud,” the court affirmed,(78) and the disenfranchisement effort illegally targeted ”precincts where minority voters predominate, interfering with and discouraging voters from voting in those districts.”(79) Nor were such caging efforts limited to Ohio: The GOP also targeted hundreds of thousands of urban voters in the battleground states of Florida,(80) Pennsylvania(81) and Wisconsin.(82)

Republicans in Ohio also worked to deny the vote to citizens who had served jail time for felonies. Although rehabilitated prisoners are entitled to vote in Ohio, election officials in Cincinnati demanded that former convicts get a judge to sign off before they could register to vote.(83) In case they didn’t get the message, Republican operatives turned to intimidation. According to the Conyers report, a team of twenty-five GOP volunteers calling themselves the Mighty Texas Strike Force holed up at the Holiday Inn in Columbus a day before the election, around the corner from the headquarters of the Ohio Republican Party — which paid for their hotel rooms. The men were overheard by a hotel worker ”using pay phones to make intimidating calls to likely voters” and threatening former convicts with jail time if they tried to cast ballots.(84)

This was no freelance operation. The Strike Force — an offshoot of the Republican National Committee(85) — was part of a team of more than 1,500 volunteers from Texas who were deployed to battleground states, usually in teams of ten. Their leader was Pat Oxford, (86) a Houston lawyer who managed Bush’s legal defense team in 2000 in Florida,(87) where he warmly praised the efforts of a mob that stormed the Miami-Dade County election offices and halted the recount. It was later revealed that those involved in the ”Brooks Brothers Riot” were not angry Floridians but paid GOP staffers, many of them flown in from out of state.(88) Photos of the protest show that one of the ”rioters” was Joel Kaplan, who has just taken the place of Karl Rove at the White House, where he now directs the president’s policy operations.(89)

IV. Barriers to Registration
To further monkey-wrench the process he was bound by law to safeguard, Blackwell cited an arcane elections regulation to make it harder to register new voters. In a now-infamous decree, Blackwell announced on September 7th — less than a month before the filing deadline — that election officials would process registration forms only if they were printed on eighty-pound unwaxed white paper stock, similar to a typical postcard. Justifying his decision to ROLLING STONE, Blackwell portrayed it as an attempt to protect voters: ”The postal service had recommended to us that we establish a heavy enough paper-weight standard that we not disenfranchise voters by having their registration form damaged by postal equipment.” Yet Blackwell’s order also applied to registrations delivered in person to election offices. He further specified that any valid registration cards printed on lesser paper stock that miraculously survived the shredding gauntlet at the post office were not to be processed; instead, they were to be treated as applications for a registration form, requiring election boards to send out a brand-new card.(90)

Blackwell’s directive clearly violated the Voting Rights Act, which stipulates that no one may be denied the right to vote because of a registration error that ”is not material in determining whether such individual is qualified under state law to vote.”(91) The decision immediately threw registration efforts into chaos. Local newspapers that had printed registration forms in their pages saw their efforts invalidated.(92) Delaware County posted a notice online saying it could no longer accept its own registration forms.(93) Even Blackwell couldn’t follow the protocol: The Columbus Dispatch reported that his own staff distributed registration forms on lighter-weight paper that was illegal under his rule. Under the threat of court action, Blackwell ultimately revoked his order on September 28th — six days before the registration deadline.(94)

But by then, the damage was done. Election boards across the state, already understaffed and backlogged with registration forms, were unable to process them all in time. According to a statistical analysis conducted in May by the nonpartisan Greater Cleveland Voter Coalition, 16,000 voters in and around the city were disenfranchised because of data-entry errors by election officials,(95) and another 15,000 lost the right to vote due to largely inconsequential omissions on their registration cards.(96) Statewide, the study concludes, a total of 72,000 voters were disenfranchised through avoidable registration errors — one percent of all voters in an election decided by barely two percent.(97)

Despite the widespread problems, Blackwell authorized only one investigation of registration errors after the election — in Toledo — but the report by his own inspectors offers a disturbing snapshot of the malfeasance and incompetence that plagued the entire state.(98) The top elections official in Toledo was a partisan in the Blackwell mold: Bernadette Noe, who chaired both the county board of elections and the county Republican Party.(99) The GOP post was previously held by her husband, Tom Noe,(100) who currently faces felony charges for embezzling state funds and illegally laundering $45,400 of his own money through intermediaries to the Bush campaign.(101)

State inspectors who investigated the elections operation in Toledo discovered ”areas of grave concern.”(102) With less than a month to go before the election, Bernadette Noe and her board had yet to process 20,000 voter registration cards.(103) Board officials arbitrarily decided that mail-in cards (mostly from the Republican suburbs) would be processed first, while registrations dropped off at the board’s office (the fruit of intensive Democratic registration drives in the city) would be processed last.(104) When a grass-roots group called Project Vote delivered a batch of nearly 10,000 cards just before the October 4th deadline, an elections official casually remarked, ”We may not get to them.”(105) The same official then instructed employees to date-stamp an entire box containing thousands of forms, rather than marking each individual card, as required by law.(106) When the box was opened, officials had no way of confirming that the forms were filed prior to the deadline — an error, state inspectors concluded, that could have disenfranchised ”several thousand” voters from Democratic strongholds.(107)

The most troubling incident uncovered by the investigation was Noe’s decision to allow Republican partisans behind the counter in the board of elections office to make photocopies of postcards sent to confirm voter registrations(108) — records that could have been used in the GOP’s caging efforts. On their second day in the office, the operatives were caught by an elections official tampering with the documents.(109) Investigators slammed the elections board for ”a series of egregious blunders” that caused ”the destruction, mutilation and damage of public records.”(110)

On Election Day, Noe sent a team of Republican volunteers to the county warehouse where blank ballots were kept out in the open, ”with no security measures in place.”(111) The state’s assistant director of elections, who just happened to be observing the ballot distribution, demanded they leave. The GOP operatives refused and ultimately had to be turned away by police.(112)

In April 2005, Noe and the entire Board of Elections were forced to resign. But once again, the damage was done. At a ”Victory 2004” rally held in Toledo four days before the election, President Bush himself singled out a pair of ”grass-roots” activists for special praise: ”I want to thank my friends Bernadette Noe and Tom Noe for their leadership in Lucas County.”(113)

V. ”The Wrong Pew”
In one of his most effective maneuvers, Blackwell prevented thousands of voters from receiving provisional ballots on Election Day. The fail-safe ballots were mandated in 2002, when Congress passed a package of reforms called the Help America Vote Act. This would prevent a repeat of the most egregious injustice in the 2000 election, when officials in Florida barred thousands of lawfully registered minority voters from the polls because their names didn’t appear on flawed precinct rolls. Under the law, would-be voters whose registration is questioned at the polls must be allowed to cast provisional ballots that can be counted after the election if the voter’s registration proves valid.(114)

”Provisional ballots were supposed to be this great movement forward,” says Tova Andrea Wang, an elections expert who served with ex-presidents Jimmy Carter and Gerald Ford on the commission that laid the groundwork for the Help America Vote Act. ”But then different states erected barriers, and this new right became totally eviscerated.”

In Ohio, Blackwell worked from the beginning to curtail the availability of provisional ballots. (The ballots are most often used to protect voters in heavily Democratic urban areas who move often, creating more opportunities for data-entry errors by election boards.) Six weeks before the vote, Blackwell illegally decreed that poll workers should make on-the-spot judgments as to whether or not a voter lived in the precinct, and provide provisional ballots only to those deemed eligible.(115) When the ruling was challenged in federal court, Judge James Carr could barely contain his anger. The very purpose of the Help America Vote Act, he ruled, was to make provisional ballots available to voters told by precinct workers that they were ineligible: ”By not even mentioning this group — the primary beneficiaries of HAVA’s provisional-voting provisions — Blackwell apparently seeks to accomplish the same result in Ohio in 2004 that occurred in Florida in 2000.”(116)

But instead of complying with the judge’s order to expand provisional balloting, Blackwell insisted that Carr was usurping his power as secretary of state and made a speech in which he compared himself to Mohandas Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr. and the apostle Paul — saying that he’d rather go to jail than follow federal law.(117) The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld Carr’s ruling on October 23rd — but the confusion over the issue still caused untold numbers of voters across the state to be illegally turned away at the polls on Election Day without being offered provisional ballots.(118) A federal judge also invalidated a decree by Blackwell that denied provisional ballots to absentee voters who were never sent their ballots in the mail. But that ruling did not come down until after 3 p.m. on the day of the election, and likely failed to filter down to the precinct level at all — denying the franchise to even more eligible voters.(119)

We will never know for certain how many voters in Ohio were denied ballots by Blackwell’s two illegal orders. But it is possible to put a fairly precise number on those turned away by his most disastrous directive. Traditionally, anyone in Ohio who reported to a polling station in their county could obtain a provisional ballot. But Blackwell decided to toss out the ballots of anyone who showed up at the wrong precinct — a move guaranteed to disenfranchise Democrats who live in urban areas crowded with multiple polling places. On October 14th, Judge Carr overruled the order, but Blackwell appealed.(120) In court, he was supported by his friend and campaign contributor Tom Noe, who joined the case as an intervenor on behalf of the secretary of state.(121) He also enjoyed the backing of Attorney General John Ashcroft, who filed an amicus brief in support of Blackwell’s position — marking the first time in American history that the Justice Department had gone to court to block the right of voters to vote.(122) The Sixth Circuit, stacked with four judges appointed by George W. Bush, sided with Blackwell.(123)

Blackwell insists that his decision kept the election clean. ”If we had allowed this notion of ?voters without borders’ to exist,” he says, ”it would have opened the door to massive fraud.” But even Republicans were shocked by the move. DeForest Soaries, the GOP chairman of the Election Assistance Commission — the federal agency set up to implement the Help America Vote Act — upbraided Blackwell, saying that the commission disagreed with his decision to deny ballots to voters who showed up at the wrong precinct. ”The purpose of provisional ballots is to not turn anyone away from the polls,” Soaries explained. ”We want as many votes to count as possible.”(124)

The decision left hundreds of thousands of voters in predominantly Democratic counties to navigate the state’s bewildering array of 11,366 precincts, whose boundaries had been redrawn just prior to the election.(125) To further compound their confusion, the new precinct lines were misidentified on the secretary of state’s own Web site, which was months out of date on Election Day. Many voters, out of habit, reported to polling locations that were no longer theirs. Some were mistakenly assured by poll workers on the grounds that they were entitled to cast a provisional ballot at that precinct. Instead, thanks to Blackwell’s ruling, at least 10,000 provisional votes were tossed out after Election Day simply because citizens wound up in the wrong line.(126)

In Toledo, Brandi and Brittany Stenson each got in a different line to vote in the gym at St. Elizabeth Seton School. Both of the sisters were registered to vote at the polling place on the city’s north side, in the shadow of the giant DaimlerChrysler plant. Both cast ballots. But when the tallies were added up later, the family resemblance came to an abrupt end. Brittany’s vote was counted — but Brandi’s wasn’t. It wasn’t enough that she had voted in the right building. If she wanted her vote to count, according to Blackwell’s ruling, she had to choose the line that led to her assigned table. Her ballot — along with those of her mother, her brother and thirty-seven other voters in the same precinct — were thrown out(127) simply because they were, in the words of Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones (D-Ohio), ”in the right church but the wrong pew.”(128)

All told, the deliberate chaos that resulted from Blackwell’s registration barriers did the trick. Black voters in the state — who went overwhelmingly for Kerry — were twenty percent more likely than whites to be forced to cast a provisional ballot.(129) In the end, nearly three percent of all voters in Ohio were forced to vote provisionally(130) — and more than 35,000 of their ballots were ultimately rejected.(131)

VI. Long Lines
When Election Day dawned on November 2nd, tens of thousands of Ohio voters who had managed to overcome all the obstacles to registration erected by Blackwell discovered that it didn’t matter whether they were properly listed on the voting rolls — because long lines at their precincts prevented them from ever making it to the ballot box. Would-be voters in Dayton and Cincinnati routinely faced waits as long as three hours. Those in inner-city precincts in Columbus, Cleveland and Toledo — which were voting for Kerry by margins of ninety percent or more — often waited up to seven hours. At Kenyon College, students were forced to stand in line for eleven hours before being allowed to vote, with the last voters casting their ballots after three in the morning.(132)

A five-month analysis of the Ohio vote conducted by the Democratic National Committee concluded in June 2005 that three percent of all Ohio voters who showed up to vote on Election Day were forced to leave without casting a ballot.(133) That’s more than 174,000 voters. ”The vast majority of this lost vote,” concluded the Conyers report, ”was concentrated in urban, minority and Democratic-leaning areas.”(134) Statewide, African-Americans waited an average of fifty-two minutes to vote, compared to only eighteen minutes for whites.(135)

The long lines were not only foreseeable — they were actually created by GOP efforts. Republicans in the state legislature, citing new electronic voting machines that were supposed to speed voting, authorized local election boards to reduce the number of precincts across Ohio. In most cases, the new machines never materialized — but that didn’t stop officials in twenty of the state’s eighty-eight counties, all of them favorable to Democrats, from slashing the number of precincts by at least twenty percent.(136)

Republican officials also created long lines by failing to distribute enough voting machines to inner-city precincts. After the Florida disaster in 2000, such problems with machines were supposed to be a thing of the past. Under the Help America Vote Act, Ohio received more than $30 million in federal funds to replace its faulty punch-card machines with more reliable systems.(137) But on Election Day, that money was sitting in the bank. Why? Because Ken Blackwell had applied for an extension until 2006, insisting that there was no point in buying electronic machines that would later have to be retrofitted under Ohio law to generate paper ballots.(138)

”No one has ever accused our secretary of state of lacking in ability,” says Rep. Kucinich. ”He’s a rather bright fellow, and he’s involved in the most minute details of his office. There’s no doubt that he knew the effect of not having enough voting machines in some areas.”

At liberal Kenyon College, where students had registered in record numbers, local election officials provided only two voting machines to handle the anticipated surge of up to 1,300 voters. Meanwhile, fundamentalist students at nearby Mount Vernon Nazarene University had one machine for 100 voters and faced no lines at all.(139) Citing the lines at Kenyon, the Conyers report concluded that the ”misallocation of machines went beyond urban/suburban discrepancies to specifically target Democratic areas.”(140)

In Columbus, which had registered 125,000 new voters(141) — more than half of them black(142) — the board of elections estimated that it would need 5,000 machines to handle the huge surge.(143) ”On Election Day, the county experienced an unprecedented turnout that could only be compared to a 500-year flood,” says Matt Damschroder,(144) chairman of the Franklin County Board of Elections and the former head of the Republican Party in Columbus.(145) But instead of buying more equipment, the Conyers investigation found, Damschroder decided to ”make do” with 2,741 machines.(146) And to make matters worse, he favored his own party in distributing the equipment. According to The Columbus Dispatch, precincts that had gone seventy percent or more for Al Gore in 2000 were allocated seventeen fewer machines in 2004, while strong GOP precincts received eight additional machines.(147) An analysis by voter advocates found that all but three of the thirty wards with the best voter-to-machine ratios were in Bush strongholds; all but one of the seven with the worst ratios were in Kerry country.(148)

The result was utterly predictable. According to an investigation by the Columbus Free Press, white Republican suburbanites, blessed with a surplus of machines, averaged waits of only twenty-two minutes; black urban Democrats averaged three hours and fifteen minutes.(149) ”The allocation of voting machines in Franklin County was clearly biased against voters in precincts with high proportions of African-Americans,” concluded Walter Mebane Jr., a government professor at Cornell University who conducted a statistical analysis of the vote in and around Columbus.(150)

By midmorning, when it became clear that voters were dropping out of line rather than braving the wait, precincts appealed for the right to distribute paper ballots to speed the process. Blackwell denied the request, saying it was an invitation to fraud.(151) A lawsuit ensued, and the handwritten affidavits submitted by voters and election officials offer a heart-rending snapshot of an electoral catastrophe in the offing:(152)

From Columbus Precinct 44D:
”There are three voting machines at this precinct. I have been informed that in prior elections there were normally four voting machines. At 1:45 p.m. there are approximately eighty-five voters in line. At this time, the line to vote is approximately three hours long. This precinct is largely African-American. I have personally witnessed voters leaving the polling place without voting due to the length of the line.”

From Precinct 40:
”I am serving as a presiding judge, a position I have held for some 15+ years in precinct 40. In all my years of service, the lines are by far the longest I have seen, with some waiting as long as four to five hours. I expect the situation to only worsen as the early evening heavy turnout approaches. I have requested additional machines since 6:40 a.m. and no assistance has been offered.”

Precinct 65H:
”I observed a broken voting machine that was not in use for approximately two hours. The precinct judge was very diligent but could not get through to the BOE.”

Precinct 18A:
”At 4 p.m. the average wait time is about 4.5 hours and continuing to increase?. Voters are continuing to leave without voting.”

As day stretched into evening, U.S. District Judge Algernon Marbley issued a temporary restraining order requiring that voters be offered paper ballots.(153) But it was too late: According to bipartisan estimates published in The Washington Post, as many as 15,000 voters in Columbus had already given up and gone home.(154) When closing time came at the polls, according to the Conyers report, some precinct workers illegally dismissed citizens who had waited for hours in the rain — in direct violation of Ohio law, which stipulates that those in line at closing time are allowed to remain and vote.(155)

The voters disenfranchised by long lines were overwhelmingly Democrats. Because of the unequal distribution of voting equipment, the median turnout in Franklin County precincts won by Kerry was fifty-one percent, compared to sixty-one percent in those won by Bush. Assuming sixty percent turnout under more equitable conditions, Kerry would have gained an additional 17,000 votes in the county.(156)

In another move certain to add to the traffic jam at the polls, the GOP deployed 3,600 operatives on Election Day to challenge voters in thirty-one counties — most of them in predominantly black and urban areas.(157) Although it was billed as a means to ”ensure that voters are not disenfranchised by fraud,”(158) Republicans knew that the challengers would inevitably create delays for eligible voters. Even Mark Weaver, the GOP’s attorney in Ohio, predicted in late October that the move would ”create chaos, longer lines and frustration.”(159)

The day before the election, Judge Dlott attempted to halt the challengers, ruling that ”there exists an enormous risk of chaos, delay, intimidation and pandemonium inside the polls and in the lines out the doors.” Dlott was also troubled by the placement of Republican challengers: In Hamilton County, fourteen percent of new voters in white areas would be confronted at the polls, compared to ninety-seven percent of new voters in black areas.(160) But when the case was appealed to the Supreme Court on Election Day, Justice John Paul Stevens allowed the challenges to go forward. ”I have faith,” he ruled, ”that the elected officials and numerous election volunteers on the ground will carry out their responsibilities in a way that will enable qualified voters to cast their ballots.”(161)

In fact, Blackwell gave Republican challengers unprecedented access to polling stations, where they intimidated voters, worsening delays in Democratic precincts. By the end of the day, thanks to a whirlwind of legal wrangling, the GOP had even gotten permission to use the discredited list of 35,000 names from its illegal caging effort to challenge would-be voters.(162) According to the survey by the DNC, nearly 5,000 voters across the state were turned away at the polls because of registration challenges — even though federal law required that they be provided with provisional ballots.(163)

VII. Faulty Machines
Voters who managed to make it past the array of hurdles erected by Republican officials found themselves confronted by voting machines that didn’t work. Only 800,000 out of the 5.6 million votes in Ohio were cast on electronic voting machines, but they were plagued with errors.(164) In heavily Democratic areas around Youngstown, where nearly 100 voters reported entering ”Kerry” on the touch screen and watching ”Bush” light up, at least twenty machines had to be recalibrated in the middle of the voting process for chronically flipping Kerry votes to Bush.(165) (Similar ”vote hopping” from Kerry to Bush was reported by voters and election officials in other states.)(166) Elsewhere, voters complained in sworn affidavits that they touched Kerry’s name on the screen and it lit up, but that the light had gone out by the time they finished their ballot; the Kerry vote faded away.(167) In the state’s most notorious incident, an electronic machine at a fundamentalist church in the town of Gahanna recorded a total of 4,258 votes for Bush and 260 votes for Kerry.(168) In that precinct, however, there were only 800 registered voters, of whom 638 showed up.(169) (The error, which was later blamed on a glitchy memory card, was corrected before the certified vote count.)

In addition to problems with electronic machines, Ohio’s vote was skewed by old-fashioned punch-card equipment that posed what even Blackwell acknowledged was the risk of a ”Florida-like calamity.”(170) All but twenty of the state’s counties relied on antiquated machines that were virtually guaranteed to destroy votes(171) — many of which were counted by automatic tabulators manufactured by Triad Governmental Systems,(172) the same company that supplied Florida’s notorious butterfly ballot in 2000. In fact, some 95,000 ballots in Ohio recorded no vote for president at all — most of them on punch-card machines. Even accounting for the tiny fraction of voters in each election who decide not to cast votes for president — generally in the range of half a percent, according to Ohio State law professor and respected elections scholar Dan Tokaji — that would mean that at least 66,000 votes were invalidated by faulty voting equipment.(173) If counted by hand instead of by automated tabulator, the vast majority of these votes would have been discernable. But thanks to a corrupt recount process, only one county hand-counted its ballots.(174)

Most of the uncounted ballots occurred in Ohio’s big cities. In Cleveland, where nearly 13,000 votes were ruined, a New York Times analysis found that black precincts suffered more than twice the rate of spoiled ballots than white districts.(175) In Dayton, Kerry-leaning precincts had nearly twice the number of spoiled ballots as Bush-leaning precincts.(176) Last April, a federal court ruled that Ohio’s use of punch-card balloting violated the equal-protection rights of the citizens who voted on them.(177)

In addition to spoiling ballots, the punch-card machines also created bizarre miscounts known as ”ballot crawl.” In Cleveland Precinct 4F, a heavily African-American precinct, Constitution Party candidate Michael Peroutka was credited with an impressive forty-one percent of the vote. In Precinct 4N, where Al Gore won ninety-eight percent of the vote in 2000, Libertarian Party candidate Michael Badnarik was credited with thirty-three percent of the vote. Badnarik and Peroutka also picked up a sizable portion of the vote in precincts across Cleveland — 11M, 3B, 8G, 8I, 3I.(178) ”It appears that hundreds, if not thousands, of votes intended to be cast for Senator Kerry were recorded as being for a third-party candidate,” the Conyers report concludes.(179)

But it’s not just third-party candidates: Ballot crawl in Cleveland also shifted votes from Kerry to Bush. In Precinct 13B, where Bush received only six votes in 2000, he was credited with twenty percent of the total in 2004. Same story in 9P, where Bush recorded eighty-seven votes in 2004, compared to his grand total of one in 2000.(180)

VIII. Rural Counties
Despite the well-documented effort that prevented hundreds of thousands of voters in urban and minority precincts from casting ballots, the worst theft in Ohio may have quietly taken place in rural counties. An examination of election data suggests widespread fraud — and even good old-fashioned stuffing of ballot boxes — in twelve sparsely populated counties scattered across southern and western Ohio: Auglaize, Brown, Butler, Clermont, Darke, Highland, Mercer, Miami, Putnam, Shelby, Van Wert and Warren. (See The Twelve Suspect Counties) One key indicator of fraud is to look at counties where the presidential vote departs radically from other races on the ballot. By this measure, John Kerry’s numbers were suspiciously low in each of the twelve counties — and George Bush’s were unusually high.

Take the case of Ellen Connally, a Democrat who lost her race for chief justice of the state Supreme Court. When the ballots were counted, Kerry should have drawn far more votes than Connally — a liberal black judge who supports gay rights and campaigned on a shoestring budget. And that’s exactly what happened statewide: Kerry tallied 667,000 more votes for president than Connally did for chief justice, outpolling her by a margin of thirty-two percent. Yet in these twelve off-the-radar counties, Connally somehow managed to outperform the best-funded Democrat in history, thumping Kerry by a grand total of 19,621 votes — a margin of ten percent.(181) The Conyers report — recognizing that thousands of rural Bush voters were unlikely to have backed a gay-friendly black judge roundly rejected in Democratic precincts — suggests that ”thousands of votes for Senator Kerry were lost.”(182)

Kucinich, a veteran of elections in the state, puts it even more bluntly. ”Down-ticket candidates shouldn’t outperform presidential candidates like that,” he says. ”That just doesn’t happen. The question is: Where did the votes for Kerry go?”

They certainly weren’t invalidated by faulty voting equipment: a trifling one percent of presidential ballots in the twelve suspect counties were spoiled. The more likely explanation is that they were fraudulently shifted to Bush. Statewide, the president outpolled Thomas Moyer, the Republican judge who defeated Connally, by twenty-one percent. Yet in the twelve questionable counties, Bush’s margin over Moyer was fifty percent — a strong indication that the president’s certified vote total was inflated. If Kerry had maintained his statewide margin over Connally in the twelve suspect counties, as he almost assuredly would have done in a clean election, he would have bested her by 81,260 ballots. That’s a swing of 162,520 votes from Kerry to Bush — more than enough to alter the outcome. (183)

”This is very strong evidence that the count is off in those counties,” says Freeman, the poll analyst. ”By itself, without anything else, what happened in these twelve counties turns Ohio into a Kerry state. To me, this provides every indication of fraud.”

How might this fraud have been carried out? One way to steal votes is to tamper with individual ballots — and there is evidence that Republicans did just that. In Clermont County, where optical scanners were used to tabulate votes, sworn affidavits by election observers given to the House Judiciary Committee describe ballots on which marks for Kerry were covered up with white stickers, while marks for Bush were filled in to replace them. Rep. Conyers, in a letter to the FBI, described the testimony as ”strong evidence of vote tampering if not outright fraud.” (184) In Miami County, where Connally outpaced Kerry, one precinct registered a turnout of 98.55 percent (185) — meaning that all but ten eligible voters went to the polls on Election Day. An investigation by the Columbus Free Press, however, collected affidavits from twenty-five people who swear they didn’t vote. (186)

In addition to altering individual ballots, evidence suggests that Republicans tampered with the software used to tabulate votes. In Auglaize County, where Kerry lost not only to Connally but to two other defeated Democratic judicial candidates, voters cast their ballots on touch-screen machines. (187) Two weeks before the election, an employee of ES&S, the company that manufactures the machines, was observed by a local election official making an unauthorized log-in to the central computer used to compile election results. (188) In Miami County, after 100 percent of precincts had already reported their official results, an additional 18,615 votes were inexplicably added to the final tally. The last-minute alteration awarded 12,000 of the votes to Bush, boosting his margin of victory in the county by nearly 6,000. (189)

The most transparently crooked incident took place in Warren County. In the leadup to the election, Blackwell had illegally sought to keep reporters and election observers at least 100 feet away from the polls. (190) The Sixth Circuit, ruling that the decree represented an unconstitutional violation of the First Amendment, noted ominously that ”democracies die behind closed doors.” But the decision didn’t stop officials in Warren County from devising a way to count the vote in secret. Immediately after the polls closed on Election Day, GOP officials — citing the FBI — declared that the county was facing a terrorist threat that ranked ten on a scale of one to ten. The county administration building was hastily locked down, allowing election officials to tabulate the results without any reporters present.

In fact, there was no terrorist threat. The FBI declared that it had issued no such warning, and an investigation by The Cincinnati Enquirer unearthed e-mails showing that the Republican plan to declare a terrorist alert had been in the works for eight days prior to the election. Officials had even refined the plot down to the language they used on signs notifying the public of a lockdown. (When ROLLING STONE requested copies of the same e-mails from the county, officials responded that the documents have been destroyed.) (191)

The late-night secrecy in Warren County recalls a classic trick: Results are held back until it’s determined how many votes the favored candidate needs to win, and the totals are then adjusted accordingly. When Warren County finally announced its official results — one of the last counties in the state to do so (192) — the results departed wildly from statewide patterns. John Kerry received 2,426 fewer votes for president than Ellen Connally, the poorly funded black judge, did for chief justice. (193) As the Conyers report concluded, ”It is impossible to rule out the possibility that some sort of manipulation of the tallies occurred on election night in the locked-down facility.” (194)

Nor does the electoral tampering appear to have been isolated to these dozen counties. Ohio, like several other states, had an initiative on the ballot in 2004 to outlaw gay marriage. Statewide, the measure proved far more popular than Bush, besting the president by 470,000 votes. But in six of the twelve suspect counties — as well as in six other small counties in central Ohio — Bush outpolled the ban on same-sex unions by 16,132 votes. To trust the official tally, in other words, you must believe that thousands of rural Ohioans voted for both President Bush and gay marriage. (195)

IX. Rigging the Recount
After Kerry conceded the election, his campaign helped the Libertarian and Green parties pay for a recount of all eighty-eight counties in Ohio. Under state law, county boards of election were required to randomly select three percent of their precincts and recount the ballots both by hand and by machine. If the two totals reconciled exactly, a costly hand recount of the remaining votes could be avoided; machines could be used to tally the rest.

But election officials in Ohio worked outside the law to avoid hand recounts. According to charges brought by a special prosecutor in April, election officials in Cleveland fraudulently and secretly pre-counted precincts by hand to identify ones that would match the machine count. They then used these pre-screened precincts to select the ”random” sample of three percent used for the recount.

”If it didn’t balance, they excluded those precincts,” said the prosecutor, Kevin Baxter, who has filed felony indictments against three election workers in Cleveland. ”They screwed with the process and increased the probability, if not the certainty, that there would not be a full, countywide hand count.” (196)

Voting machines were also tinkered with prior to the recount. In Hocking County, deputy elections director Sherole Eaton caught an employee of Triad — which provided the software used to count punch-card ballots in nearly half of Ohio’s counties (197) — making unauthorized modifications to the tabulating computer before the recount. Eaton told the Conyers committee that the same employee also provided county officials with a ”cheat sheet” so that ”the count would come out perfect and we wouldn’t have to do a full hand-recount of the county.” (198) After Eaton blew the whistle on the illegal tampering, she was fired.

(199) The same Triad employee was dispatched to do the same work in at least five other counties. (200) Company president Tod Rapp — who contributed to Bush’s campaign (201) — has confirmed that Triad routinely makes such tabulator adjustments to help election officials avoid hand recounts. In the end, every county serviced by Triad failed to conduct full recounts by hand. (202)

Even more troubling, in at least two counties, Fulton and Henry, Triad was able to connect to tabulating computers remotely via a dial-up connection, and reprogram them to recount only the presidential ballots. (203) If that kind of remote tabulator modification is possible for the purposes of the recount, it’s no great leap to wonder if such modifications might have helped skew the original vote count. But the window for settling such questions is closing rapidly: On November 2nd of this year, on the second anniversary of the election, state officials will be permitted under Ohio law to shred all ballots from the 2004 election. (204)

X. What’s At Stake
The mounting evidence that Republicans employed broad, methodical and illegal tactics in the 2004 election should raise serious alarms among news organizations. But instead of investigating allegations of wrongdoing, the press has simply accepted the result as valid. ”We’re in a terrible fix,” Rep. Conyers told me. ”We’ve got a media that uses its bullhorn in reverse — to turn down the volume on this outrage rather than turning it up. That’s why our citizens are not up in arms.”

The lone news anchor who seriously questioned the integrity of the 2004 election was Keith Olbermann of MSNBC. I asked him why he stood against the tide. ”I was a sports reporter, so I was used to dealing with numbers,” he said. ”And the numbers made no sense. Kerry had an insurmountable lead in the exit polls on Election Night — and then everything flipped.” Olbermann believes that his journalistic colleagues fell down on the job. ”I was stunned by the lack of interest by investigative reporters,” he said. ”The Republicans shut down Warren County, allegedly for national security purposes — and no one covered it. Shouldn’t someone have sent a camera and a few reporters out there?”

Olbermann attributes the lack of coverage to self-censorship by journalists. ”You can rock the boat, but you can never say that the entire ocean is in trouble,” he said. ”You cannot say: By the way, there’s something wrong with our electoral system.”

Federal officials charged with safeguarding the vote have also failed to contest the election. ”Congress hasn’t investigated this at all,” says Kucinich. ”There has been no oversight over our nation’s most basic right: the right to vote. How can we call ourselves a beacon of democracy abroad when the right to vote hasn’t been secured in free and fair elections at home?”

Sen. John Kerry — in a wide-ranging discussion of ROLLING STONE’s investigation — expressed concern about Republican tactics in 2004, but stopped short of saying the election was stolen. ”Can I draw a conclusion that they played tough games and clearly had an intent to reduce the level of our vote? Yes, absolutely. Can I tell you to a certainty that it made the difference in the election? I can’t. There’s no way for me to do that. If I could have done that, then obviously I would have found some legal recourse.”

Kerry conceded, however, that the widespread irregularities make it impossible to know for certain that the outcome reflected the will of the voters. ”I think there are clearly states where it is questionable whether everybody’s vote is being counted, whether everybody is being given the opportunity to register and to vote,” he said. ”There are clearly barriers in too many places to the ability of people to exercise their full franchise. For that to be happening in the United States of America today is disgraceful.”

Kerry’s comments were echoed by Howard Dean, the chairman of the Democratic National Committee. ”I’m not confident that the election in Ohio was fairly decided,” Dean says. ”We know that there was substantial voter suppression, and the machines were not reliable. It should not be a surprise that the Republicans are willing to do things that are unethical to manipulate elections. That’s what we suspect has happened, and we’d like to safeguard our elections so that democracy can still be counted on to work.”

To help prevent a repeat of 2004, Kerry has co-sponsored a package of election reforms called the Count Every Vote Act. The measure would increase turnout by allowing voters to register at the polls on Election Day, provide provisional ballots to voters who inadvertently show up at the wrong precinct, require electronic voting machines to produce paper receipts verified by voters, and force election officials like Blackwell to step down if they want to join a campaign. (205) But Kerry says his fellow Democrats have been reluctant to push the reforms, fearing that Republicans would use their majority in Congress to create even more obstacles to voting. ”The real reason there is no appetite up here is that people are afraid the Republicans will amend HAVA and shove something far worse down our throats,” he told me.

On May 24th, Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) tried unsuccessfully to amend the immigration bill to bar anyone who lacks a government-issued photo ID from voting (206) — a rule that would disenfranchise at least six percent of Americans, the majority of them urban and poor, who lack such identification. (207) The GOP-controlled state legislature in Indiana passed a similar measure, and an ID rule in Georgia was recently struck down as unconstitutional. (208)

”Why erect those kinds of hurdles unless you’re afraid of voters?” asks Ralph Neas, director of People for the American Way. ”The country will be better off if everyone votes — Democrats and Republicans. But that is not the Blackwell philosophy, that is not the George W. Bush or Jeb Bush philosophy. They want to limit the franchise and go to extraordinary lengths to make it more difficult to vote.”

The issue of what happened in 2004 is not an academic one. For the second election in a row, the president of the United States was selected not by the uncontested will of the people but under a cloud of dirty tricks. Given the scope of the GOP machinations, we simply cannot be certain that the right man now occupies the Oval Office — which means, in effect, that we have been deprived of our faith in democracy itself.

American history is littered with vote fraud — but rather than learning from our shameful past and cleaning up the system, we have allowed the problem to grow even worse. If the last two elections have taught us anything, it is this: The single greatest threat to our democracy is the insecurity of our voting system. If people lose faith that their votes are accurately and faithfully recorded, they will abandon the ballot box. Nothing less is at stake here than the entire idea of a government by the people.

Voting, as Thomas Paine said, ”is the right upon which all other rights depend.” Unless we ensure that right, everything else we hold dear is in jeopardy.

For more, see exclusive documents, sources, charts and commentary

1) Manual Roig-Franzia and Dan Keating, ”Latest Conspiracy Theory — Kerry Won — Hits the Ether,” The Washington Post, November 11, 2004.

2) The New York Times Editorial Desk, ”About Those Election Results,” The New York Times, November 14, 2004.

3) United States Department of Defense, ”Defense Department Special Briefing on Federal Voting Assistance Program,” August 6, 2004.

4) Overseas Vote Foundation, ”2004 Post Election Survey Results,” June 2005, page 11.

5) Jennifer Joan Lee, ”Pentagon Blocks Site for Voters Outside U.S.,” International Herald Tribune, September 20, 2004.

6) Meg Landers, ”Librarian Bares Possible Voter Registration Dodge,” Mail Tribune (Jackson County, OR), September 21, 2004.

7) Mark Brunswick and Pat Doyle, ”Voter Registration; 3 former workers: Firm paid pro-Bush bonuses; One said he was told his job was to bring back cards for GOP voters,” Star Tribune (Minneapolis, MN), October 27, 2004.

8) Federal Election Commission, Federal Elections 2004: Election Results for the U.S. President.

9) Ellen Theisen and Warren Stewart, Summary Report on New Mexico State Election Data, January 4, 2005, pg. 2.

James W. Bronsan, ”In 2004, New Mexico Worst at Counting Votes,” Scripps Howard News Service, December 22, 2004. 10) ”A Summary of the 2004 Election Day Survey; How We Voted: People, Ballots & Polling Places; A Report to the American People by the United States Election Assistance Commission,” September 2005, pg. 10.

11) Facts mentioned in this paragraph are subsequently cited throughout the story.

12) See ”Ohio?s Missing Votes.”

13) Federal Election Commission, Federal Elections 2004: Election Results for the U.S. President.

14) Democratic National Committee, Voting Rights Institute, “Democracy at Risk: The 2004 Election in Ohio,” June 22, 2005. Page 5

15) See ”VIII. Rural Counties.”

16) Evaluation of Edison/Mitofsky Election System 2004 prepared by Edison Media Research and Mitofksy International for the National Election Pool (NEP), January 19, 2005, Page 3

17) This refers to data for German national elections in 1994, 1998 and 2002, previously cited by Steven F. Freeman.

18) Dick Morris, “Those Faulty Exit Polls Were Sabotage,” The Hill, November 4, 2004.

19) Martin Plissner, “Exit Polls to Protect the Vote,” The New York Times, October 17, 2004.

20) Matt Kelley, “U.S. Money has Helped Opposition in Ukraine,” Associated Press, December 11, 2004.

Daniel Williams, “Court Rejects Ukraine Vote; Justices Cite Massive Fraud in Runoff, Set New Election,” The Washington Post, December 4, 2004.

21) Steve Freeman and Joel Bleifuss, “Was the 2004 Presidential Election Stolen? Exit Polls, Election Fraud, and the Official Count,” Seven Stories Press, July 2006, Page 102.

22) Evaluation of Edison/Mitofsky Election System 2004; prepared by Edison Media Research and Mitofsky International for the National Election Pool (NEP), January 19, 2005, Page 3.

23) Mitofsky International Web site.

24) Tim Golden, “Election Near, Mexicans Question the Questioners,” The New York Times, August 10, 1994.

25) Evaluation of Edison/Mitofsky Election System 2004; prepared by Edison Media Research and Mitofsky International for the National Election Pool (NEP), January 19, 2005, Page 59.

26) Jonathan D. Simon, J.D., and Ron P. Baiman, Ph.D., “The 2004 Presidential Election: Who Won the Popular Vote? An Examination of the Comparative Validity of Exit Poll and Vote Count Data.”, December 29, 2004, P. 9

27) Analysis by Steven F. Freeman.

28) Freeman and Bleifuss, pg. 134

29) Jim Rutenberg, ”Report Says Problems Led to Skewing Survey Data,” The New York Times, November 5, 2004.

30) Freeman and Bleifuss, pg. 134

31) Analysis of the 2004 Presidential Election Exit Poll Discrepancies. U.S. Count Votes. Baiman R, et al. March 31, 2005. Page 3.

32) Notes From Campaign Trail, Fox News Network, Live Event, 8:00 p.m. EST, November 2, 2004.

33) Freeman and Bleifuss, pg. 101-102

34) Evaluation of Edison/Mitofsky Election System 2004; prepared by Edison Media Research and Mitofsky International for the National Election Pool (NEP), January 19, 2005, Page 4.

35) Freeman and Bleifuss, pg. 120.

36) Interview with John Zogby

37) Evaluation of Edison/Mitofsky Election System 2004; prepared by Edison Media Research and Mitofsky International for the National Election Pool (NEP), January 19, 2005, Page 4.

38) Freeman and Bleifuss, pg. 128.

39) Freeman and Bleifuss, pg. 130.

40) “The Gun is Smoking: 2004 Ohio Precinct-level Exit Poll Data Show Virtually Irrefutable Evidence of Vote Miscount,” U.S. Count Votes, National Election Data Archive, January 23, 2006.

41) ”The Gun is Smoking,” pg. 16.

42) The Washington Post, “Charting the Campaign: Top Five Most Visited States,” November 2, 2004.

43) John McCarthy, “Nearly a Month Later, Ohio Fight Goes On,” Associated Press Online, November 30, 2004.

44) Ohio Revised Code, 3501.04, Chief Election Officer

45) Joe Hallett, ”Blackwell Joins GOP?s Spin Team,” The Columbus Dispatch, November 30, 2004.

46) Gary Fineout, ”Records Indicate Harris on Defense,” Ledger (Lakeland, Florida), November 18, 2000.


48) Joe Hallett, ”Governor; Aggressive First Round Culminates Tuesday,” Columbus Dispatch, April 30, 2006.

49) Sandy Theis, ”Blackwell Accused of Breaking Law by Pushing Same-Sex Marriage Ban,” Plain Dealer (Cleveland, OH), October 29, 2004.

50) Raw Story, “Republican Ohio Secretary of State Boasts About Delivering Ohio to Bush.”

51) In the United States District Court For the Northern District of Ohio Northern Division, The Sandusky County Democratic Party et al. v. J. Kenneth Blackwell, Case No. 3:04CV7582, Page 8.

52) Preserving Democracy: What Went Wrong in Ohio, Status Report of the House Judiciary Committee Democratic Staff (Rep. John Conyers, Jr.), January 5, 2005.

53) Preserving Democracy, pg. 8.

54) Preserving Democracy, pg. 4.

55) The board of elections in Cuyahoga, Franklin and Hamilton counties.

56) Analysis by Richard Hayes Phillips, a voting rights advocate.

57) Fritz Wenzel, ”Purging of Rolls, Confusion Anger Voters; 41% of Nov. 2 Provisional Ballots Axed in Lucas County,” Toledo Blade, January 9, 2005.

58) Analysis by Hayes Phillips.

59) Cuyahoga County Board of Elections

60) Preserving Democracy, pg. 6.

61) Ford Fessenden, ”A Big Increase of New Voters in Swing States,” The New York Times, September 26, 2004.

62) Ralph Z. Hallow, ”Republicans Go ?Under the Radar? in Rural Ohio,” The Washington Times, October 28, 2004.

63) Jo Becker, ”GOP Challenging Voter Registrations,” The Washington Post, October 29, 2004.

64) Janet Babin, ”Voter Registrations Challenged in Ohio,” NPR, All Things Considered, October 28, 2004.

65) In the United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio, Western Division, Amy Miller et al. v. J. Kenneth Blackwell, Case no. C-1-04-735, Page 2.

66) Sandy Theis, “Fraud-Busters Busted; GOP?s Blanket Challenge Backfires in a Big Way,” Plain Dealer, October 31, 2004.

67) Daniel Tokaji, “Early Returns on Election Reform,” George Washington Law Review, Vol. 74, 2005, page 1235

68) Sandy Theis, “Fraud-Busters Busted; GOP?s Blanket Challenge Backfires in a Big Way,” Plain Dealer, October 31, 2004.

69) Andrew Welsh-Huggins, ”Out of Country, Off Beaten Path; Reason for Voting Challenges Vary,” Plain Dealer (Cleveland, OH), October 27, 2004.

70) Ohio Revised Code; 3505.19

71) Directive No. 2004-44 from J. Kenneth Blackwell, Ohio Sec?y of State, to All County Boards of Elections Members, Directors, and Deputy Directors 1 (Oct. 26, 2004).

72) Fritz Wenzel, ”Challenges Filed Against 931 Lucas County Voters,” Toledo Blade, October 27, 2004.

73) In the United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio, Western Division, Amy Miller et al. v. J. Kenneth Blackwell, Case no. C-1-04-735, Page 4.

74) LaRaye Brown, ”Elections Board Plans Hearing For Challenges,” The News Messenger, October 26, 2004.

75) LaRaye Brown, ”Elections Board Plans Hearing For Challenges,” The News Messenger, October 26, 2004.

76) Miller v. Blackwell, (S.D. Ohio), (6th Cir. 2004)

77) James Drew and Steve Eder, ”Court Rejects GOP Voter Challenge; Some Counties Hold Hearings Anyhow; 200 Voters Turned Away,” Toledo Blade, October 30, 2004.

78) United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, Republican National Committee v. Democratic National Committee, No. 04-4186

79) United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, Republican National Committee v. Democratic National Committee, No. 04-4186

80) Kate Zernike and William Yardley, ”Charges of Dirty Tricks, Fraud and Voter Suppression Already Flying in Several States,” The New York Times, November 1, 2004.

Greg Palast, “New Florida Vote Scandal Feared,” BBC News, October 26, 2004.

81) Kate Zernike and William Yardley, ”Charges of Dirty Tricks, Fraud and Voter Suppression Already Flying in Several States,” The New York Times, November 1, 2004.

82) Greg J. Borowski, ”GOP Demands IDs of 37,000 in City,” Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, October 30, 2004.

83) “The Disenfranchisement of the Re-Enfranchised; How Confusion Over Felon Voter Eligibility in Ohio Keeps Qualified Ex-Offender Voters From the Polls,” Prison Reform Advocacy Center, Cincinnati, Ohio, August 2004.

84) Preserving Democracy, 64.
Note: Additional reporting contributed to this paragraph.

85) Gardner Selby, ”Hundreds of Texans Ride Bandwagons Around U.S.; Volunteers Say Election is Too Important Not to Hit the Campaign Trail,” San Antonio Express-News (Texas), October 15, 2004.

86) ”Down to the Wire,” Newsweek, November 15, 2004.

87) Lynda Gorov and Anne E. Kornblut, ”Gore to Challenge Results; No Plans to Concede; top Fla. Court refuses to order resumption of Miami-Dade County,” The Boston Globe, November 24, 2000.

88) Al Kamen, “Miami ?Riot? Squad: Where are they Now?” Washington Post, January 24, 2005.

89) Al Kamen, “Walking the Talk,” Washington Post, April 21, 2006.

90) Secretary of State Directive, No. 2004-31, Section II, September 7, 2004.

91) Tokaji, pg. 1227
Voting Rights Act, 42 U.S.C. 1971(a)(2)(B) (2000).

92) Jim Bebbington and Laura Bischoff, ”Blackwell Rulings Rile Voting Advocates,” Dayton Daily News. 93) Congress of the United States House of Representatives, Committee on the Judiciary, letter from Conyers to Blackwell.

94) Catherine Candisky, ”Secretary of State Lifts Order on Voting Forms; Lighter Paper Now Deemed Acceptable for Registration,” Columbus Dispatch, September 30, 2004.

95) Analyses of Voter Disqualification, Cuyahoga County, Ohio, November 2004, Greater Cleveland Voter Registration Coalition, updated May 9, 2006, page 14.

96) Analyses of Voter Disqualification, page 5.

97) Analyses of Voter Disqualification, page. 1.

98) Lucas County Board of Elections — Results of Investigation Following November 2004 General Election, April 5, 2005, Richard Weghorst and Faith Lyon.

99) “Feds Confirm Investigation of GOP Campaign Contributor,” The Associated Press State & Local Wire, April 28, 2005.

100) Mark Naymik, ”Coin Dealer Raised Chunk of Change for Bush,” Plain Dealer, August 7, 2005.

101) Christopher D. Kirkpatrick, “Noe Indicted for Laundering Money to Bush Campaign,” Toledo Blade, October 27, 2005.

Mike Wilkinson and James Drew, “Grand Jury Charges Noe with 53 Felony Counts,” Toledo Blade, February 13, 2006.

102) Lucas County Report, pg. 2.

103) Lucas County Report, pg. 9.

104) Lucas County Report, pg. 10.

105) Lucas County Report, pages 9-10.

106) Lucas County Report, pg. 9.

107) Lucas County Report, pg. 9.

108) Lucas County Report, pg. 18.

109) Lucas County Report, pages 18-19.

110) Lucas County Report, pg. 19.

111) Lucas County Report, pages 4, 6.

112) Lucas County Report, pg. 6.

113) “Remarks by the President at Victory 2004 Rally,” Seagate Convention Centre, Toledo, Ohio, October 29, 2004, The White House.

note: Bernadette and Tom Noe?s last name is incorrectly spelled “Noy” in the official White House transcript.

114) Help America Vote Act, Title III, Uniform and Nondiscriminatory Election Technology and Administration Requirements, Subtitle A Requirements, Section 302.

115) Directive No. 2004-33 from J. Kenneth Blackwell, Ohio Sec?y of State, to All County Boards of Elections 1 (Sept. 16, 2004.).

116) In the United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio, Western Division, The Sandusky County Democratic Party v. J. Kenneth Blackwell, Case No. 3:04CV7582, Page 8.

117) Gregory Korte and Jim Siegel, ”Defiant Blackwell Rips Judge; Secretary Says He?d go to Jail Before Rewriting Ballot Memo,” Cincinnati Enquirer, October 22, 2004.

118) Sandusky County Democratic Party v. Blackwell, (N.D. Ohio), (6th Cir. 2004).
Tokaji, pg. 1229

119)Tokaji, pg. 1231

120) ”Judge, Blackwell, Spar Over Provisional Ballots,” The Associated Press, October 20, 2004. 121) In the United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio Western Division, The League of Women Voters of Ohio, et al. v. J. Kenneth Blackwell, Case No. 3:04 CV 7622

122) David G. Savage, Richard B. Schmitt, “Bush Seeks Limit to Suits Over Voting Rights,” Los Angeles Times, October 29, 2004.

123) Judge Julia Smith Gibbons August 2, 2002
Judge John M. Rogers November 27, 2002
Judge Jeffrey S. Sutton May 5, 2003
Judge Deborah L. Cook May 7, 2003

124) Darrell Rowland and Lee Leonard, “Federal Agency Distances Itself from Ohio Official; Blackwell Says Their Provisional-Balloting Positions are the Same,” Columbus Dispatch (Ohio), October 20, 2004.

125) David S. Bernstein, “Questioning Ohio,” Providence Phoenix, November 12 -18, 2004.

126) Norma Robbins, ”Facts to Ponder About the 2004 General Election,” May 10, 2006.

127) Fritz Wenzel, “Purging of Rolls, Confusion Anger Voters; 41% of November 2nd Provisional Ballots Axed in Lucas County,” Toledo Blade, January 9, 2005.

128) Interview with Stephanie Tubbs Jones

129) Democratic National Committee, Voting Rights Institute, “Democracy at Risk: The 2004 Election in Ohio,” June 22, 2005. Page 6.

130) Democracy at Risk, pg. 5.

131) Ohio Secretary of State Web site, Provisional Ballots; Official Tabulation, November 2, 2004.

132) Michael Powell and Peter Slevin, “Several Factors Contributed to ?Lost? Voters in Ohio,” Washington Post, December 15, 2004.

Christopher Hitchens, “Ohio?s Odd Numbers,” Vanity Fair.

Additional analysis by Bob Fitrakis, editor of the Columbus Free Press, and Richard Hayes Phillips.

133) Democracy at Risk, pg. 3.

134) Preserving Democracy, pg. 29.

135) Democracy at Risk, pg. 5.

136) Bernstein, Providence Phoenix 137) U.S. Election Assistance Comm’n, Funding for States,
and Tokaji, pg. 1222.

138) ”The Battle Over Voting Technology,” PBS, Online NewsHour, December 16, 2003.
Paul Festa, ”States Scrutinize e-Voting as Primaries Near,” CNET, December 8, 2003.

139) Preserving Democracy, pg. 27.

140) Preserving Democracy, pg. 30.

141) Matt Damschroder, chairman of Franklin County Board of Elections. 142) Preserving Democracy, pg. 26. 143) Michael Powell and Peter Slevin, “Several Factors Contributed to ‘Lost’ Voters in Ohio,” Washington Post, December 15, 2004.

144) Correspondence with Matt Damschroder.

145) Suzanne Hoholik and Mark Ferenchik, “GOP Council Hopes Rising; Party expects ruling on peititions will put its candidate on ballot,” Columbus Dispatch, March 26, 2003.

146) Preserving Democracy, pg. 25.

147) Mark Niquette, “GOP Strongholds Saw Increase in Voting Machines,” Columbus Dispatch, December 12, 2004.

148) Michael Powell and Peter Slevin, “Several Factors Contributed to ‘Lost’ Voters in Ohio,” Washington Post, December 15, 2004.

149) Columbus Free Press editor, Bob Fitrakis.

150) “Voting Machine Allocation in Franklin County, Ohio, 2004: Response to the U.S. Department of Justice Letter of June 29, 2005,” Walter R. Mebane, Jr., February 11, 2006, Page 13.

151) Tokaji, pg. 1238.

Ohio Democratic Party v. Blackwell, No. C2 04 1055, (S.D. Ohio Nov. 2, 2004).

152) Ohio Democratic Party v. Blackwell, No. C2 04 1055, (S.D. Ohio Nov. 2, 2004).

153) Ohio Democratic Party v. Blackwell, No. C2 04 1055, slip op. At 1 (S.D. Ohio Nov. 2, 2004).

154) Washington Post, “Several Factors Contributed to ‘Lost’ Voters in Ohio,” Michael Powell and Peter Slevin, December 15, 2004.

155) Preserving Democracy, pg. 25.

156) Affidavit of Richard Hayes Phillips, December 10, 2004.

157) Mark Niquette, “Finally, It’s Time to Vote; U.S. Appeals Court Overturns Ban, Allows Challengers Back in Polling Sites,” Columbus Dispatch (Ohio), November 2, 2004.

158) In the United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio, Western Division, Marian A. Spencer, et. al., v. J. Kenneth Blackwell, Case no. C-1-04-738, page 3.

159) James Dao, “The 2004 Campaign: Ohio, G.O.P. Bid to Contest Registrations is Blocked,” The New York Times, October 28, 2004.

160) Marian A. Spencer, et. al., v. J. Kenneth Blackwell; In the United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio, Western Division; Case no. C-1-04-738.

161) Dan Horn, Howard Wilkinson, and Cindi Andrews, “Supreme Court Justice Allows Challengers,” Cincinnati Enquirer.

162) Tokaji, pages 1237-1238.

163) Democracy at Risk, pg. 20.

164) The Columbus Free Press.

165) “Errors Plague Voting Process in Ohio, Pa.” The Vindicator, November 3, 2004, Vindicator Staff Report

166) Voters Unite catalogues news reports from around the country that give examples of dysfunctional voting machines, among other election stories.

167) The Columbus Free Press.

168) Jim Woods, “In One Precinct, Bush’s Tally was Supersized by a Computer Glitch,” Columbus Dispatch (Ohio), November 5, 2004.

169) Hitchens, Vanity Fair.

170) Letter from J. Kenneth Blackwell, Ohio Secretary of State, to Doug White, President, Ohio Senate 3 (Feb. 26, 2004).

171) Sixty-eight counties used punch card ballots. Thirteen used optical scan machines. Seven used touch-screen technology.

172) Malia Rulon, “Congressman Calls For FBI Investigation Into Ohio Election,” The Associated Press State & Local Wire, December 15, 2004.

173) Tokaji, Page 1221.

174) Jim Konkoly, ”Volunteers Complete Local Recount,” Coshocton Tribune, December 18, 2004.

175) New York Times, “Voting Problems in Ohio Spur Call for Overhaul,” James Dao, Ford Fessenden, December 24, 2004.

176) Ken McCall and Jim Bebbington, ”Two Precincts had High Undercounts, Analysis Shows,”Dayton Daily News, November 18, 2004.

177) Lisa A. Abraham, “Punch-Card Voting is Illegal,” Akron Beacon Journal, April 22, 2006.

178) Analysis by Hayes Phillips.

179) Preserving Democracy, pg. 57.

180) Analysis by Hayes Phillips.

181) Analysis completed by using official tallies on the Ohio Secretary of State Web site.
Official tallies for Kerry:

Official tallies for Connally:

182) Preserving Democracy, pg. 55.

183. Analysis conducted through official vote tallies posted on Ohio Secretary of State Web site.

184. Letter from Rep. John Conyers to Chris Swecker, assistant director of the Criminal Investigative Division at the Federal Bureau of Investigation. See attached affidavits.

185. Miami County Board of Elections.

186. Confirmed by Bob Fitrakis of the Free Press

187. Analysis conducted through official vote tallies posted on Ohio Secretary of State Web site.

188. Erin Miller, “Board Awaits State Follow Up,” The Evening Leader.

189. “Preserving Democracy,” pages 58-59.

190. The Associated Press, “News Groups Sue Ohio Elections Chief Over Poll Access,” Associated Press, November 2, 2004.


Mark Crispin Miller, “None Dare Call It Stolen,” Harper’s, August 2005.

191. Incidents in Warren County were catalogued in a series of articles by the Cincinnati Enquirer:

Erica Solving, “No Changes in Final Warren Co. Vote Count; E-mails Released Monday Show Lockdown Pre-planned,” Cincinnati Enquirer, November 16, 2004.

Erica Solving, “Warren’s Vote Tally Walled Off; Alone in Ohio, Officials Cited Homeland Security,” Cincinnati Enquirer, November 5, 2004.

Erica Solvig and Dan Horn, “Warren Co. Defends Lockdown Decision; FBI denies warning officials of any special threat,” Cincinnati Enquirer, November 10, 2004.

Erica Solvig, “Warren Co. Recount Goes Public; After Election Night lockdown, security eases up,” Cincinnati Enquirer, December 15, 2004.

192. Erica Solvig, “Warren’s Vote Tally Walled Off; Alone in Ohio, Officials Cited Homeland Security,” Cincinnati Enquirer, November 5, 2004.

193. Analysis conducted through official vote tallies posted on the Ohio Secretary of State Web site.

194. “Preserving Democracy,” pg. 52.

195. Analysis conducted through official vote tallies posted on the Ohio Secretary of State Web site.

196. Joan Mazzolini, “Workers Accused of Fudging ’04 Recount; Prosecutor Says Cuyahoga Skirted Rules,” The Plain Dealer, April 6, 2006.

197. Malia Rulon, “Congressman Calls for FBI Investigation Into Ohio election,” The Associated Press, December 15, 2004.

198. Affidavit, December 13, 2004, Sherole Eaton, Re: General Election 2004, Hocking County.

199. Jon Craig, “’04 Election in Hocking County; Worker Who Questioned Recount is Asked to Quit,” Columbus Dispatch (Ohio), June 1st, 2005.

200. “Preserving Democracy,” pg. 81.


202. “Preserving Democracy,” pg. 82.

203. “Preserving Democracy,” pg. 83.

204. Ohio Secretary of State’s press office.

205. Count Every Vote Act of 2005

206. Dena Bunis, “Senate Limits Immigration Debate,” The Orange County Register, May 24, 2006.

207. Tokaji’s blog, Election Law at Moritz, “McConnell’s Voter ID Amendment,” May 22, 2006.

208. United States District Court Northern District of Georgia, Rome Division.


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How to Keep Democrats From Blowing the November Election

Posted in General, TAKE ACTION! on May 9th, 2006
Posted by CrisisPapers in Editorials & Other Articles
Tue May 09th 2006, 05:09 AM
| Bernard Weiner |

I know it doesn’t make much sense, given how the Republicans seem to be imploding every day in new scandals and corruptions and reckless policies — and with the Administration’s approval numbers about to head into the 20s — but I can’t shake the fear that somehow Bush&Co. will keep both houses of Congress in the November election.

This anxiety was heightened the other day when, in a local supermarket, I ran into Stephen Rosenfeld, one of the key electoral-integrity activists in this country.

Since he had been examining electoral chicanery in the 2004 balloting for more than a year-and-a-half, I asked Rosenfeld if he was close to finishing up his research.

My simple question released a torrent of information from him about how the Republicans were able to steal the election in Ohio, and thus the Electoral College vote that elongated the HardRight’s hold on power, with Bush as their front man.

Customers who were reaching around us to get to the bread and cookies were party to the rush of facts about how and why pundits are not now analyzing the presidency of John Kerry — but I don’t want to diminish Rosenfeld’s thunder by listing the details here, since he (with co-author Bob Fitrakis) has a book on the subject coming out in the Fall.

Suffice it to say that the information he laid on me, along with what has been picked up from other electoral-fraud experts — Mark Crispin Miller, Ernest Partridge, Steven Freeman, Bob Fitrakis, Harvey Wasserman, Brad Friedman, Alastair Thompson, Bev Harris, John Conyers, et al. — makes it clear that Kerry was robbed. In some states, it’s likely that the Republican vote-counting corporations massaged the numbers to create a Bush "victory." But it’s equally clear that, in key locales around the country, the GOP might not have needed to fiddle with the computer software since enough votes were stolen from the Democrats by other slimy methods.


As many have noted, the Bush campaign was aided enormously in this thievery because their campaign co-chairs in key states were also the Secretaries of State — that is, the officials in charge of conducting elections and certifying the vote results: Katherine Harris in Florida in 2000 (with brother Gov. Jeb Bush overseeing her work), and, in 2004, Kenneth Blackwell in Ohio, Terry Lind in Michigan, Matt Blunt in Missouri, Glenda Hood in Florida, et al.

It has been widely documented that nefarious techniques were employed in key states to aid Bush’s "victory," such as: removing hundreds of thousands of likely Democratic voters from the voting rolls; rejiggering the precincts so that when those voters went to their usual polling place, they were told they had to go vote elsewhere and when they got to the new place, they had to vote by Provisional Ballots (in Ohio, thousands of those ballots apparently are still uncounted!); making sure the voting machines in heavily Democratic wards were out of commission or malfunctioning or too few in number for the crowds who wanted to vote, thus forcing working-class citizens to stand in line for many hours, with the result that many gave up and went back to their jobs; thousands of unstamped ballots that were moved around to various precincts; locked warehouses in which various electoral irregularities were carried out; dirty tricks to keep likely Democratic voters from showing up (supplying them with the wrong voting date, telling them that anybody with unpaid parking tickets would be arrested at the polls, that sort of thing); not always catching that e-votes for Kerry automatically, either deliberately or because of technical malfunctions, were being switched into the Bush column, etc. etc.

With several hundred thousand voters kept from casting their ballots in Ohio, for example, the ultimate conclusion is that Kerry would have won that key state, and other close states, had the election been conducted honestly, absent the dirty tricks and fraud. But, of course, before any serious recounting could take place, Kerry, despite his promise to fight, quickly threw in the towel, as had Al Gore four years earlier, which haste and timidity permitted Bush&Co. to continue on their corrupt, incompetent, deadly ways.

These were shameful, cowardly Dem retreats by the candidates in the face of fire. Only now are Gore and Kerry starting to behave and speak out the way they should have during their campaigns, at least about the environment and civil liberties and the war in Iraq, leading one to believe that those two are readying themselves for another go in 2008.


And where were the rest of the Democrats during all this electoral thievery? Lost and asleep at the wheel, as usual.

One can’t escape the conclusion that even five years out, the Democrats in general just don’t know how to respond to cutthroat aggressiveness and criminality on the part of the Republicans. They never knew what hit them in Florida in 2000, in Ohio in 2004 and don’t really have their oppositional act together now in 2006, with the midterm election just six months away.

On occasion the Dems display a bit more starch in their spines, but in general liberals remain locked in a more naive frame of mind, from an earlier era, when elections, no matter what their deficiencies, were more or less on the up-and-up and fair-mindedness was the operational mode for politicians: Elections were held and the declared winners got to rule, but they governed by taking into account the legitimacy of the opposition minority. Those days are long gone, thanks to Rove’s bullyboy tactics.

The Democrats just don’t want to deal with, or don’t know how to deal with, the reality that in the Bush/Cheney/Rove era the Republican leadership has a singular goal in mind — to win, by whatever means necessary — and that it has a meticulously worked-out system for victory that violates every rule and tradition set up in years’ past. The lasting legacy of Karl Rove.

And yet the Dems are planning their first weeks in office post-November, as if all they need to do is to watch the GOP sink further in the polls and then waltz into control of the House and/or Senate.


Why am I so snarky here about the Dems? Because there is a too-long history of Democrats tending to gear up once every two and four years for an election campaign, refusing to face the fact that the Republicans are in campaign mode every minute of every day, with the goal of decimating and destroying their political opposition. It’s the permanent campaign which, not coincidentally, ties in to their permanent war ("the war on terrorism," a war against a tactic) that serves as the underpinning for their domestic and foreign agenda.

The end result has been an increasing slide into a homegrown kind of American fascism: a desire by the HardRightists for one-party rule; Bush’s fondness for dictatorial governance; his 750 "signing statements," where he asserts that he can override laws passed by Congress whenever he so chooses (see Charlie Savage’s mostly-ignored Boston Globe story, "Bush Challenges Hundreds of Laws: President Cites Powers of His Office"; and Bob Egelko’s "How Bush Redefines the Intent of the Law"); his conviction that he has a blank-check to initiate wars of choice; his authorization of torture; his ordering the NSA to spy on millions of American citizens; his attempts at neutering the Legislative and Judicial branches of government, etc. etc.

And permitting all this to pass beneath the public radar is a cowed, cooperative mass-media, whose reporters serve mostly as stenographers rather than as true journalists holding government officials’ feet to the fire. Clearly, if a Democratic President had behaved himself as Bush and Cheney have done — lying in order to foment a war, breaking the law on innumerable occasions, leaking classified information for political reasons, authorizing torture, etc. etc. — he would have been impeached and removed from office with extreme haste before he could do any more damage to the Republic.


So, if all this is true, with Karl Rove (assuming he’s not indicted shortly for perjury and obstruction of justice in the Plamegate case) unleashing his campaign and foreign-policy "surprises" during the next six months, what do we ordinary citizens do about the situation? Specifically, what can we do about the reality of a corrupted election system?

Thankfully, many citizens and public-interest groups have become involved in the electoral-integrity issue, both on the national level and in various key states, challenging the reliability and transparency of e-voting machines and vote-tallying procedures, suing voting officials in civil courts when honest elections and verified means for re-checking the votes are not satisfactory, etc.

But angry citizens are ignoring another powerful avenue to counteract election fraud, and the increasing chances for more such illegality: They should demand that their state attorneys general and local district attorneys bring criminal charges in their jurisdictions against the GOP, Diebold, ES&S, Sequoia, et al. Were this to happen, the "discovery" process might well yield an abundance of incriminating documents that would have an enormous impact on national politics. Example: the phone-bank sabotage case in New Hampshire, where GOP officials with ties to the White House were convicted of interfering with the Democrats’ phone system in that state just prior to the 2004 election.

But whether all these good-government moves will be enough to guarantee honest elections in November is up in the air, especially with many Bush-appointed judges on the federal appeals courts. The point is that by and large these legal moves are being initiated by citizens and organized groups, not by the Democratic Party.

(I have been following the suggestion of Ernest Partridge and others: I return solicitation letters to Democratic Party headquarters with a strong note saying I will send no money until the Democrats decide to fight like an opposition party should for honest, transparent, verifiable elections. No action, no donation. Similarly, many progressives are telling much the same thing: stop being so timid; electoral integrity and confronting electoral fraud needs to be front and center for progressives. We can have all the good candidates and popular policies in the world, but if the opposition is running the vote-counting mechanism, goodbye honest elections and the chance to defeat the GOP and begin to restore America’s traditional values to our political system.)


New revelations about electoral integrity and fraud, both good and bad, keep breaking all the time. As I write this, more states have become aware of built-in problems with computer-voting systems and are being forced, at least temporarily, to consider more secure methods for voting and ballot-tabulation. Brad Friedman reports:

"We’ve now been able to gather a great deal of additional information concerning details about the story we first posted yesterday on the official Pennsylvania state warning issued about the new ‘security vulnerability’ discovered in all Diebold touch-screen electronic voting machines.

"That warning, which has now brought a lock-down on all Diebold systems in PA, where early voting is about to begin prior to their upcoming May 16th primary election, was reported by the Morning Call yesterday. The warning says the serious security vulnerability could allow ‘unauthorized software to be loaded on to the system’."


Many liberal pundits and thinkers are out there, many based on the internet, with solid ideas and suggestions for how the Dems might position themselves for victory in November and in 2008; for just one, see the new book "Crashing the Gate: Netroots, Grassroots, and the Rise of People-Powered Politics," by Markos Moulitsas Zuniga ("Kos") and Jerome Armstrong. But it’s not clear if the party establishment is open to what its base is telling them. If such blindness and deafness continues, this ignorance and timidity will guarantee a continuing series of losses at the polls, despite recent public-opinion surveys indicating how poorly the Republicans are viewed in the country, including, most importantly, by those calling themselves conservatives.

Perhaps the worst crime of the Democrats these days is their failure to recognize that ordinary citizens, including many of those moderate Republicans and independents, are way ahead of them in wanting a quick exit from Iraq and in approving impeachment hearings. That Dem timidity does not give evidence of a robust opposition party, willing to fight for what is best for the country; many moderate Republicans and independents may choose to vote for the devil they know than one about which they’re uncertain and apprehensive.

So what can you and I do to alter this picture of Democratic lassitude and possible defeat in November?

As with’s handy list, "What You Can Do," the first and most important task is for all of us to educate ourselves on what’s going on, and then spread the word, light fires of activism in our friends and neighbors, organize ourselves politically (whether running yourself or becoming active in the campaigns of Dem or third-party candidates), relentlessly demand that our elected representatives stand up for the Constitution and not roll over when the Administration continues its illegal rampaging at home and abroad, constantly call the mass media on their biases and deficiencies of investigatory coverage of the Bush Administration, and support the nation’s largest and most effective alternative press: the progressive websites and bloggers on the internet.


Finally, realize the import of a good share of the conservative Republican movement abandoning the extremism of the Bush Administration. All those conservative generals and Bill Buckley are just the tips of the iceberg of resentment and appalled anger at what Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld/Rove are doing to the once-respected Republican Party and to this country in terms of our stalled economy, the humongous deficits being racked up, the unending wars of choice our young troops are dying in (with Iran fast coming up as the next reckless-insanity theater of war), the ever-expanding levels of corruption in the Republican Party, the outsourcing and privatization of so much of traditional, established government functions — outsourcing even to potential enemies abroad!

These moderate and conservative Republicans are ripe for making alliances with progressives, populists and libertarians in opposing the dangerous, reckless policies of the Bush Administration. Smart Democratic policy would devise ways to lure those folks into the impeachment camp.

But, if the kinds of changes discussed above are not made, and the Dems lose both houses of Congress in November and still no radical changes are made in how to approach the 2008 presidential election, it may well be time for serious consideration of a third-party alliance. In short, 2006 may be the Dems’ last reasonable shot and they’d better not blow it. Let’s put our activism into hyperdrive in the next six months and make sure they don’t.

— BW

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G.W. Bush Conspired with Others to Steal the 2000 and 2004 Elections.

Posted in General on February 13th, 2006

by columnist Maureen Farrell
Extracted from Top 10 ‘Conspiracy Theories’ about George W. Bush, Part 2.
See also… Top 10 ‘Conspiracy Theories’ about George W. Bush, Part 1

"There was one exact moment, in fact, when I knew for sure that Al Gore would Never be President of the United States, no matter what the experts were saying — and that was when the whole Bush family suddenly appeared on TV and openly scoffed at the idea of Gore winning Florida. It was Nonsense, said the Candidate, Utter nonsense. . .Anybody who believed Bush had lost Florida was a Fool. The Media, all of them, were Liars & Dunces or treacherous whores trying to sabotage his victory . . Here was the whole bloody Family laughing & hooting & sneering at the dumbness of the whole world on National TV. The old man was the real tip-off. The leer on his face was almost frightening. It was like looking into the eyes of a tall hyena with a living sheep in its mouth. The sheep’s fate was sealed, and so was Al Gore’s."
Hunter S. Thompson, ESPN, Nov. 27, 2000

"[The Bush Family’s] sense of how to win elections comes out of a CIA manual, not out of the Declaration of Independence or the Constitution."
Former GOP strategist Kevin Phillips, BuzzFlash, Jan. 7. 2004

While some believe a coup began on Sept. 11, others will tell you it began with the 2000 election. Even though George Bush’s first cousin declared him the winner and his brother Jeb assured him he’d won Florida, many Americans remained unconvinced.

First there was the surreal sight of the Bush family on national TV, as staged and phony as Susan Smith’s tearful plea to return her "kidnapped" children. Then came the well-groomed thugs, sent on Enron and Halliburton planes to stop the Florida recount. But it wasn’t just James Baker’s ploys or the Supreme Court’s ruling that signaled something was amiss — it was the attitude of ordinary citizens who were more concerned about their "team" winning than about democracy itself.

Unless you rely solely on FOX news (the modern equivalent to "living under a rock"), the shenanigans that occurred in pre-election Florida are now old news, and have been dissected at length in documentaries, magazines and to some degree, in the mainstream press. A St . Petersburg Times op-ed later deemed the election "stolen," the Associated Press reported that Florida had "quietly" admitted "election fraud," and Vanity Fair devoted a sizable portion of its Oct. 2004 issue to exactly how Team Bush pulled it off. By the time CNN sued the state of Florida for its ineligible voters list in 2004, the underbelly of the beast was plainly visible.

But in Nov. 2001, when Greg Palast uncovered then Secretary of State Katherine Harris’ role in the shameful voter roll purge in Florida, the news was explosive. The New York Times — the paper that would later print front page disinformation to sell the war in Iraq — took a pass, however, until three years later, when it was too late to do anything about it.

At first, election irregularities were featured as anomalies, like when the Washington Post covered computer glitches that literally subtracted thousands of votes from Al Gore and gave them to a Socialist candidate. By the time similar problems were reported during the 2002 midterm and 2004 primary elections, people were understandably skittish, with e-voting failures having "shaken confidence in the technology installed at thousands of precincts" — with as many as 20 states introducing legislation calling for paper receipts on voting machines.

In early 2004, Mother Jones predicted that "Ohio could become as decisive this year as Florida was four years ago" and sure enough, Americans awoke the day after the election without a decisive winner. And though John Kerry later conceded, questions have since been raised by computer programmers, mathematicians, journalists and others. "Was the election of 2004 stolen?" columnist Robert Koehler asked, before addressing the many "numbers-savvy scientists are saying that the numbers don’t make sense."

There were warnings before the election, of course, with red flags being raised by researchers at prestigious Stanford and John Hopkins Universities. But despite Diebold’s CEO’s promise to deliver Ohio’s electoral votes to George W. Bush, Ohio Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell’s prominent role in the Bush/Cheney campaign, and the suspicious election night lock-down in Warren County, Ohio, many still believed election angst could be attributed to a super-sized case of "sour grapes."

When Christopher Hitchens, who is admittedly not a Kerry fan, also weighed in, however, that excuse flew out the window. "Whichever way you shake it, or hold it to the light, there is something about the Ohio election that refuses to add up. . . ," he wrote.

Rep. John Conyers and the Government Accountability Office also found widespread irregularities, and when statisticians picked apart the election results, Bush was not the legitimate winner. Pollster John Zogby compared the 2004 election to 1960’s suspicious contest, and University of Pennsylvania professor Steven F. Freeman put the odds that exit polls were that wrong, in that many states, at 250 million to one.

The evidence was so compelling, in fact, that NYU professor Mark Crispin Miller took it upon himself to tackle the proverbial suggestion "somebody should write a book." His extensively-researched yet largely ignored Fooled Again: How the Right Stole the 2004 Election & Why They’ll Steal the Next One Too (Unless We Stop Them) shines a crucial light on the "stealthy combination of computerized vote theft, bureaucratic monkey business, systematic shortages of viable equipment and old-fashioned dirty tricks. . . " that led to democracy’s last debacle, and will most likely lead to the next.

Ohio’s 2005 election also failed the smell test, and by late Jan. 2006, the Washington Post looked into allegations of election tampering — without the dismissive, lazy reporting usually afforded the subject. Describing tests conducted by Florida’s Leon County supervisor of elections Ion Sancho, using "relatively unsophisticated hacking techniques," the paper quickly uncovered how easy it is to steal an election. "Can the votes of this Diebold system be hacked using the memory card?" election officials asked test participants, and though two marked their ballots "yes" and six said "no," by the time they went through Diebold’s optical scan machine, the results read seven "yes" votes and one "no."

"More troubling than the test itself was the manner in which Diebold simply failed to respond to my concerns or the concerns of citizens who believe in American elections," Sancho said. "I really think they’re not engaged in this discussion of how to make elections safer."

Hmmm. You don’t say.

There is a reason, you see, that "None Dare Call It Stolen," and that reasons extends beyond the preponderance of evidence. "If electronic voting machines programmed by private Republican firms remain in our future, dissent will become pointless unless it boils over into revolution," former Assistant Secretary of the Treasury Paul Craig Roberts wrote. "Power-mad Republicans need to consider the result when democracy loses its legitimacy and only the rich have anything to lose."

James Madison predicted a similar scenario. "The day will come when our Republic will be an impossibility," he reportedly told the New York Post. "It will be an impossibility because wealth will be concentrated in the hands of a few."

Those would be the "one percenters." And chances are, you aren’t one of them.


© Copyright 2004, Maureen Farrell

Maureen Farrell is a writer and media consultant who specializes in helping other writers get television and radio exposure.

Extracted from Top 10 ‘Conspiracy Theories’ about George W. Bush, Part 2. See also… Top 10 ‘Conspiracy Theories’ about George W. Bush, Part 1

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Mark Crispin Miller On The Reality of Election Fraud, How to Confront It and Save American Democracy

Posted in General on February 13th, 2006
Speech at the First Unitarian Church on Nov. 13, 2005 in Portland, Oregon
Many thanks to: Monica Taylor (Transcription) & Eric Griswold (Photograpy)
Listen to a short clip re 2004 election fraud.

Introduction: … Mark Crispin Miller is a professor of Media Studies at New York University. He has written articles for The Nation and the New Yorker and many books. He’s been on many different national radio and television shows, and we are extremely fortunate to have him with us here today. He is a real champion for election integrity and for getting the word out about what we need to do to save our Democracy.[Loud Applause]

Mark Crispin Miller: Well, thank you very much and thanks to both groups for doing all this great work and for making enough to bring me here for a book tour.

I want to start out by telling you a story, which some of you may have heard. And in fact much of what I have to say will probably not come as news to many of you, because I know you all are very well informed about these issues. Two years ago I got myself invited to a fund raiser for John Kerry, when he was just one of many aspirants to the Democratic party nomination for president. I got myself invited by the New York treasurer of his campaign, who shared my concern about the integrity of the electoral system, precisely, or I should say primarily, because of the use of electronic touch screen machines. This had been a profound concern of mine and of certain other people, since the passage of the HAVA Act. And this limited network of people were trying to do everything they could to get this on the national agenda, so I got a little face time with the senator.

It was at George Plimpton’s house. He came in. I was introduced to him. I looked up at him, he was very tall. And he looked down at me. I had about 5 minutes to try to convey the seriousness, the complexity of this problem to him, and with a sense of urgency. And so, you know, I think the cards were stacked against me because I’m sure I sounded psychotic, you know. (audience laughter) And as far as he was concerned, I probably looked psychotic,… short but psychotic…(audience chuckle) because he had never given this a thought. I think he didn’t know about it at all, but he did wear a look of grave concern, you know (smoothing his hair back in a John Kerry gesture, audience chuckle). He nodded thoughtfully for a moment. (Like Kerry, Miller crosses his arms and rests his left first finger on his chin with his face looking downward in a thoughtful pose.)

He thanked me for my effort to enlighten him. He was going to take this under advisement, you know. I could almost see my words go, you know, in one ear and out the other. I also met with Terissa Heinz Kerry and talked to her about it. And she at least seemed to get it. She was very exercised about it. But nothing came of this. And we all know what happened, well, I should say we all think we know what happened.

Concerning that, what we think happened, as you know I wrote a book about the Election 2004. And I wrote this book to give people a panoramic sense of what went down last year and to try to give people a view of the kind of mentality that drives the anti-democratic crusade. I wrote this book for one reason only, I’m not going to challenge the outcome of the last election, there is no constitutional way to do that. I wrote the book to jump start a national movement of radical electoral reform. And so, knowing as I did that the mainstream media is not going to take this seriously, I decided that I’ve got to get to as many prominent people as possible….So two weeks ago, I got myself invited to a fund raiser for John Kerry. (audience laughter.)

His political action committee was meeting in New York. They were going to have a dinner, and I was allowed to come in before the dinner. And in he came, tall as ever, and I had a very different perception of him this time. (audience chuckle.) Ok, I had the book held up, you know, for all to see, and he looked very interested. And I said, "You were robbed, senator!" And he said "I know" (and held his hands up to his head like he had a headache, as Kerry would do) just like that. "I know! (Miller makes the same hand gesture.) And he started to say, "I can’t find the evidence." I can’t persuade my colleagues to take this seriously. I certainly knew what he was talking about. But I had to say, it was more than refreshing to hear him say this. I was delighted. He said he just had a big argument the week before with [Senator] Christopher Dodd from Connecticut trying to tell Dodd that these voting machines are really not reliable. And Dodd just got mad. He didn’t want to hear about it. Dodd said: "We looked into this. There’s no story there!" He (Kerry) said, "Well is there evidence in your book?" I said, "Well, yeah, you know, there is really quite a lot of evidence." I told him what the Government Accountability Office Report said, the GAO Report. People in here have heard of it. Most people in this country have not, because this ground breaking report on the flaws and dangers of touch screen voting, by a very, very establishment government body, has gone almost completely unreported in this country. In fact, Kerry had not heard about it. [Kerry said]: "Oh really, the GAO report?"

So instead of saying, "What, is your staff in a coma?" (loud audience laughter and applause)….so because you can attract more flies with honey than with vinegar, I didn’t say that. (Audience laughter) I said, "Yeah, the GAO Report, you can just go on-line and get a copy." He was quite pleased. You could see…see that it was obvious that he was going to use this, these arguments. So I said, "Now senator, I believe that, in the spirit of these ground breaking investigations into Iran Contra and the BCCI in the Senate," which I happen to think is his best, his greatest work, "in the spirit of those investigations, you should really look into what happened last year. And you should make a larger inquiry into the state of American electoral apparatus. Because it’s in a shambles." And I cannot remember how I put this, I can only tell you what I was trying to say to him.

But I was being tactful, so I don’t know what I said. I was trying to say to him: "If you think you are going to get like 10 votes from the people you sold out last time, you know, if you don’t embrace this issue with both arms, you don’t have a prayer." So I didn’t say that either (audience laughter.) So I said, "There are a lot of people felt disappointed…" [Kerry] nodded. Now he wasn’t just wearing a mask of concern. He was really listening. He said, "Well I don’t know if I can be the one to do that because there is the sour grape factor," he said. OK. Well I understand that. I’m not a politician. It is very easy for me to say, "Do this, do that." But I said, you know, “Read the book. The book is very persuasive.” He said “I will. I’m really excited. I’ll read it this weekend. Thanks a lot.” He punched me on the arm. He gave me the thumbs up. (audience chuckle) Threw me a football, you know. (audience laughter) I caught the football. (laughter) We rough housed a little bit. (loud audience laughter.) The memory is very precious to me. (loud laughter)

So anyway, I was really happy. I thought this was a great thing. It didn’t occur to me that this was news exactly. But I did tell my friend, I emailed people that "Kerry thinks the election was stolen." And my book tour started Tuesday a couple weeks ago in New York. And I found that telling that story really went over. I mean, it really made people feel optimistic. Then I was on Democracy Now last Friday. Did any of you hear that? (audience applause) I was debating with Mark Hertzgaard who’s got a piece in the latest Mother Jones, seeking to throw cold water on the "wild theory" that the Republicans stole the election last year. And one of the things that struck me in his arguments …. he’s a friend of mine, OK, I have known him a long time. I don’t think this is his best work. (audience laughter). One of the things that struck me was that he was unduly swayed by the "say so" of Democrats.

So we’re talking about Warren County [Ohio]. You know how they declared a terrorist alert throughout the press before the vote count. His claim was, “Well I talked to a Democrat who was there, and he said: "Gee, I wish I could tell you that it was suspicious, but, you know, frankly there is nothing to it." It turned out the next day according to the FBI said that there was no terrorist alert, and then the Cincinnati Inquirer reported that this plan had been in the works for nine days. So I don’t care what a Democrat told him. Who is this democrat? Who cares? Why does that trump common sense? (Audience applause). I didn’t say any of this. But I says to myself, I says, ‘Well, if he wants to strut out Democratic authorities, I’ve got a great response.’ So I said, “Well as a matter of fact, Kerry thinks the race was stolen.” And I told the story. And Mark was very impressed. “Wow this is really big news. You really buried the lead. You should call a press conference. This is important.”

Well in fact that day, Democracy Now sent out a press release. "Breaking: Kerry Believes the Race was Stolen." So there was a lot of stuff on the internet. It was all over the place. And sites like Democratic Underground, long threads about it. Raw Story, in a website in D.C., called Kerry’s office to get a response. And a staffer of Kerry’s office made a statement that categorically denied that he had ever had this conversation with me. (Audience says "Whoa") "The only true thing in Mr. Miller’s account is that he gave the senator the book"…(audience gasps) a process server. He kind of pressed it on his arm and ran away…"You’re served!"

This was….the most galling thing to me personally was the fact that this implied that I had made this up to sell the book. "We know that Mr. Miller is trying to sell the book," they said. This really pissed me off. So I gave Raw Story my response. And the next day Robert Perry, a great reporter who has the website Consortium News, ran a piece based on what he was told by a guy named John Weiner, who was an old Kerry associate, who said to Perry: "John thinks the race was stolen, he said that to me too."

So, there is trouble in making things up. I don’t make things up. In this world, these days, you don’t have to make things up. (Audience laughter.) Do you know what I mean? You can’t. It is impossible to keep track of reality. So I tell this story to make a few larger points. It is not about Kerry per se. And it is not about my personal pique, about being treated so disrespectfully. This is not a personal issue. It is not even a partisan issue. It is a civic issue. It is a civic issue of profound importance. And I tell the story about Kerry partly to make clear that this is not a left versus right, or Democrat versus Republican issue. In fact, on this issue, it’s really the people at risk because of the collusion of the two parties. I think the collusion is passive. Some people have said that they know, they have made a deal, but I think that is unlikely.

If someone has the evidence, I’ll look at the evidence. But I don’t think that it is necessary for there to be a deal, because this has happened before. When you have a resolved, well organized, highly disciplined fascistic movement of some kind, (audience applause) right. (Audience applause) Let’s hear it for Fascism. (Sarcastically…Loud audience applause.) Calm yourselves. (Laughter) And they have a tremendous amount of social power and media influence, and they manage to get the press on their side for various reasons, those who would resist this, but who aren’t all that zealous about it, are simply going to deny that there’s a problem. Now why do the Democrats refuse to face this issue? Does it make any sense? Their existence as a party is threatened. They will cease to be, if this Republican party, the Bushevic party, (audience laughter) the theocratic Republican party, has it’s way, there will be no more Democrats. Now, one of the reasons that Democrats refuse to look at this, or read the evidence, or listen to it, is just corruption. Because a lot of democrats are in fact republicans. And in places like Ohio, rural Ohio….maybe you’ve had Bob Fitrakis come here and speak? …(audience confirms)…as he explains to me and he says in his writing, the democrats in rural Ohio are just as much a part of the status quo as the republicans. They are very close to the Republicans and they all serve at the pleasure of Ken Blackwell. So they all toe the line.

There was only one board of elections member, a democrat in the state, who blew the whistle. And that was Sheryl Eaton, who …(loud audience applause)… We love Sheryl, we know she exposed the deliberate subversion of the recount that was supposed to take place. And it has never taken place. And there are still 100,000 plus votes in that state that haven’t been counted to this day. She is the exception. Since a lot of Democrats just go along to get along and they figure, hey, you know, the two parties have divided the spoils. We can work it out. This is our turf. We’ve got the Sharks and the Jets, you know? We’ve got to divide it up. So why upset the apple cart? There is a lot of that.

But aside from that there is just plain old denial. Kerry was describing denial to me. Dodd wouldn’t have gotten angry if this thought did not frighten him. Because the implications of what happened last year are quite frightening….quite frightening. It doesn’t make any difference how brilliant a campaign you run. It doesn’t make any difference how smart your TV ads are. It doesn’t make any difference what a stellar profile your candidate has. You could run Jesus Christ for President, ok? You’re not going to win. You’re not going to win because this is not a functioning Democracy. America is no longer a Democracy. The last three elections have been stolen.

This refusal to confront the implications of what is going down has to do with deeply rooted ideological assumptions that we all have. Like "it can’t happen here." That’s the very important one. Like this is "The city on the hill." This nation was claimed by God. And what has happened to other countries can’t happen here, can’t happen here. So however copious and solid the evidence you have that it has happened here, you can’t get anywhere. It’s fascinating. You’ve got a moment in which pretty much everyone now finally agrees that the Bush regime lied, or deluded itself and the rest of us, to get us into a major war that we are losing. That’s really not a good thing. And people will face that. And the press will say yes that seems to be true. You’ve got a moment at which the people will say: yes, they did deliberately conspire to out a CIA agent who was responsible for keeping us safe from weapons of mass destruction, and they did it for petty political reasons. The people struggling to deny this are having an ever harder time. We accept this. We accept that they had to know that the attack was coming on 9/11 and they, at best, did nothing about it. (Audience applause.) We also accept that in the face of one of the worst natural disasters in our modern history, they did nothing and they continue to do nothing. All of this we accept. Right? All of this we accept. All this the press will admit "Yeah that’s true." OK. Progressives, everybody snarling foaming at the mouth…Bush is wicked, terrible. But somehow there is this magic circle drawn around "The Election." "Oh no, they wouldn’t do that! They wouldn’t to that!" Well, that’s what they would do first of all. In fact, that’s what they did do! That’s why they’re there. (Applause)

Understand this…I want to try to give you a sense of what we’re really up against, because I think it’s only if we face that, will we be able to deal with it. Ok, here it is folks. It’s about the elections. The electoral system is a mess. I think there are certain policies we should all pursue to improve the system. And we can talk about those policies. I want to give you a foretaste, because often people want to hear that. These are "take home points." We should go back to paper ballots. (Applause.) We should ban the participation of all private vendors in our electoral system. (Loud long applause.) So that means in Oregon, you know, you’ve got the paper ballots. You’ve got to get the software out of there, because as you know, using proprietary software to count the votes is like having a secret vote count. And so this is COMPLETELY UNACCEPTABLE. Anyone who defends this is a foe of American Democracy. It’s a simple as that. We also need a uniform federal standard for our election from coast to coast, from county to county, from precinct to precinct. We have to have….I’m going to say the dirty "B" word…we have to have an efficient, utterly non-partisan bureaucracy, on the order of the Post Office (it just delivers mail) to oversee our elections.

And I will add, that I would like to have as an ally in this fight any authentic conservative who believes in The Bill of Rights, way before I’ll accept the half hearted support of an Al Franken or somebody like that, or Mother Jones. The people, now this is us, not the Democratic Party, not the media, the people have got to fight back. We are at that point. And in order to do that we’ve got to make common cause with a lot of people we don’t ordinarily talk to. The Bush administration and the movement it represents is only one part of the Republican party. The Republican party is divided now. A lot of Republicans voted against Bush or just stayed home. In "Fooled Again" I gave a lot of examples. The very prominent Republicans of all kinds came out publically against Bush before the election and the press would never report on this trend, which was remarkable. But you had Bob Barr of Georgia, you can’t get much more right wing than that. You had John Eisenhower. You had General Tony McPeak of the Air Force, who was a pro-Bush military guy in 2000, now coming out for Kerry! You had Tom Clancy! You had Lee Ioacoca. You had an open letter signed by 169 tenured emeritus business professors deploring Bush’s economic policies. And the letter started at the Harvard Business School. You remember who went there? Bipartisan groups of diplomats, military men, moderate Republicans. A guy who ran a chapter of Republicans Abroad said he could not in good conscience support Bush. This guy [Bush] did not really win the election, because very few people really voted for him! (Audience applause.) Just read my book.

The thing is that it can happen here, and they knew it. And if we don’t reacquaint ourselves with their concerns, it will happen here, and have happened here for good. Because this is what we’re up against, ok? We are not up against conservatism. Bush is not a conservative president. Cheney is not a conservative vice president. The movement that we’re fighting is not a conservative movement. That is why it didn’t get all those Republican votes. I am not a conservative, but I respect conservatism. I see it as a coherent philosophy. I see it essentially as a philosophy that’s based on the improvement or at least the maintenance of THIS world. See. They believe in limited government, fiscal prudence, no foreign wars, all that kind of stuff. I can live with all of that. What does that have in common with this regime and its agenda? This is a guy who with all his tax cuts has spent more money than all of our other presidents combined. Did you know this? He has vastly expanded the police powers of this government, vastly expanded them. He has repealed Habeas Corpus. I mean, if on his say so, you’re a terrorist, they can come and drag you off to prison, and they don’t have to tell anybody that they did it. This is called disappearing people. This is unprecedented in our history. We don’t have freedom of assembly. We have First Amendment Zones. (Audience groan.) Freedom of Speech has been radically abridged. I mean, you know all that I am saying. Right? This is not conservatism. It is extremely radical. It’s much closer to Fascism. It has a great deal to do with the power of corporations. You can hiss all you want, and I am with you, but they are not going to listen. The fact that End Corporate Personhood is involved with this is really something that makes me very happy, because in a sense the idea that corporations should have the rights of persons, the status of persons, can be regarded, in a sense, as the worm in the apple here. I mean, things really started to go wrong in this country when corporations took on such power. Indeed as we have seen from the dangerous sway of the corporate manufacture of touch screen voting machines, corporations are reeking havoc on American Democracy, because corporations are driven by concern for only one thing, and that is their own profits. That’s money over the franchise, money over votes. This is something I think we can all agree on. We have to take a step further because there is something else at work here. It’s not just corporations. It’s not just the drive for profits. It’s not just corporate capitalism. As a matter of fact, certain large sectors of the corporate system are extremely unhappy with this president, like the insurance industry has done a big about face on global warming. Well for rational reasons. (Audience laughter.) Because they don’t want to go bankrupt!

So this is rational self interest at work. You read accounts of the financial get together in Datyl, Switzerland…it’s like a wake there now. They’re just miserable because this guy, this cabal, this movement is destroying the economy. They are on a suicide course. So even though they are infinitely pleasing to many corporate interests, you know, Haliburton and so on, especially their cronies, they are on a suicide course. They had an apocalyptic streak, that cannot be explained in economistic terms. Now people on the left tend to explain everything in economistic terms. It’s always about the money, follow the money. That’s true to a great degree. But it is not enough, because it does not account for the ferocious strain of anti-enlightenment activism that this regime represents. (Audience applause.)

Understand that this is a theocratic movement. It is not just a bunch of corporations, that know better, slyly manipulating the pieties of the masses. That is a leftist fallacy. Because we are talking about the energetic, political participation of a number of extremely right wing billionaires with enormous clout, people like Richard Mellon Scaif, and Howard Ahmanson. These are people who are extraordinarily active and productive on the political front and they make [George] Soros look like a piper. They spent far more money that he does. They spend it on propaganda; they spend it on political issues. Howard Ahmanson is the motive force behind the schism in the Episcopalian Church. He supports the Discovery Institute which is behind the spread of Intelligent Design. So to say there is religion over here and there are corporations over here is a mistake. It’s not that simple because there are points of convergence.

What we have here is a movement intent on turning the United States into a Christian republic. Now they often say that the United States is a Christian republic, then you say to them, "As a matter of fact, it isn’t." Look at say the First Amendment, look at Article 6 which forbids a religious test for office holders, look at everything the framers ever said on the subject. Well they don’t want to hear that so they say, "Well, it’s a Christian republic." Does this sound familiar? "Mr. President, there is no evidence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq." "0h yeah? there is too." "Go back and find it." "Oh, wait. Here it is, here it is." See? We think they are lying through their teeth, but please believe me that Cheney still believes there are weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. If it were only lying, or or if it was only machiavellian manipulation, I promise you we would be better off than we are right now. What we are dealing with is pathological. You tell them, "Hey, there is no evidence for intelligent design," and they say "oh yes there is." They proclaim that there is. There is no evidence that abstainance based sex education does anything except raise pregnancy rates and raise rates of sexually transmitted diseases. They say "Nope…no…" Because it’s faith based.

They live in a faith based universe. I want you to grasp the enormity of this problem. We have all grown up in the shadow of the cold war. All of our politics were forged in the context of a post enlightenment moment. I mean the enlightenment is settled, ok? And now we have the clash between two great enlightenment doctrines, capitalism and socialism. Do you want to know something? That turned out to be a blip on the radar screen. We are right back where we were when the framers wrote the Constitution. We are right back there. They did this incredibly brave and intelligent thing. They forged a national charter that was the first in human history not to invoke the deity. They separated church from state. And this was not a plot by a handful of professorial smarty pantses, who were a lot less religious than the average Joe. This was on the one hand an innovation by brilliant Deists who were indeed Rationalists. But it wasn’t just that. Separation of church and state grew out of American soil. Because this was a nation of religious immigrants, and most believing American were grateful for the separation of church and state. You know that the Baptists for over a hundred years were arch- Jeffersonians? Because they understood that if there is a state church in this country it would be Episcopalian and they would be persecuted again. So it was in everybody’s interest to separate church from state. There is no reason to apologize for it. There is no reason to dance away from it. There is no reason to meet with Hillary and decide, "How we can look more religious?" Screw that! (Loud audience applause.)

When de Tocqueville came here in the 1830’s, he remarked on the fact that this country was the most religious country on the earth and he understood that the reason is because they separated church and state. The reason is because there is no coersion here. So religion thrives. Why can’t Democrats just say that? What’s wrong with that? Is there any problem? Now the fact that they don’t seem to have any faith in our revolutionary division, they don’t seem to have any understanding of what the framers wrote, they don’t really believe in American democracy, leaves us just extremely vulnerable to a highly organized, extremist movement that is intent on undoing all that. We don’t hear about it. Right? Like this business about the Supreme Court, we hear about Alito’s style, you know his style, what kind of person he is, we parse his record. We talk about what kind of demeanor he has and what kind of suit he wears, his life experiences, and so on. Maybe if we get really bold and specific, we’ll say, "They are going to repeal Roe vs. Wade." What they don’t understand is that Roe vs. Wade is only "Step One" for these people, right? Step one!

Do you know what the Constitution Restoration Act is? A few of you do. Go home and do a little google search on it. The Constitution Restoration Act would declare that God is the sovereign basis of American Law. Do you know what that means? That means that a judge could make decisions on the basis of the Old Testament and it couldn’t be reversed. So if you want to see a vision of the possible future as these people imagine it, go home and read the book of Leviticus, and see how many things you can be executed for doing. Heresy, for example, Astrology, Pre-marital sex … well, only the woman gets killed for pre-marital sex. This is directly and ferociously opposed to the whole American tradition. So when I said this is not a partisan issue, I really meant it. The American people don’t go for this, I promise you. A lot of Americans may have been hood-winked by Bush and so on, but understand that his strong support is now at 22% with a margin of error of 4 points. So it could be 18%. I estimate that at least Kerry won by 51 to 48%. Kerry won! And probably by more or would have, because between the votes that were thrown away, and the votes that were pre-empted, and the votes abroad, it’s a significant number.

The American, you know, people for all their, or all our shortcomings, for all the decadence that has been sponded by a consumer culture, which has had a seriously destructive effect on our ability to function in a democracy, for all that, the American people are not extremists. The American people are not theocrats. The Wall Street Journal just a few days ago ran an piece about the new phenomena of the Evangelical Churches trying to do something about global warming through their churches. So it’s time for us all to join hands with each other, all rational Americans who love our traditions got to join hands and insist on electoral reform which both parties seem not to want. Right? It’s not up to the Democrats. It is certainly not up to the media. It’s up to us. Now this is the kind of thinking we’ve become estranged from, as I say, because we’re mostly parked in front of the set, you know, with a big gulp and a bag of Doritos. And we’re thinking, "Oh gee, am I getting fat," or "Don’t I look great?" "Oh let’s watch reality TV" …getting into so and so’s life for a minute, unreality TV, you know.

But we have to get back to that. Do you know why? Because we don’t have any choice. There’s no choice. If we don’t get electoral reform in place, if we don’t reclaim the system from the Right, this experiment is over. If this experiment is over, the world could well be over. I think we should return to the best that our framers had to offer. And consider ourselves as noble and dedicated representatives of that tradition. We have nothing to apologize for, and everything to gain. Thank you.

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