Wednesday, November 24, 2004
Could the Associated Press rig the election?
Thank you Aimee in OKC for pointing out a piece by Lynn Landes entitled "Could the Associated Press Rig the Election?" I recall that independent journalist Lynnn Landes was one of the names listed on the IndyVoter.org page that announced the Ohio hearings. This is from October 22:
PHILADELPHIA, Oct. 22 /PRNewswire/ -- The Associated Press (AP) will be the sole source of raw vote totals for the major news broadcasters on Election Night. However, AP spokesmen Jack Stokes and John Jones refused to explain to this journalist how the AP will receive that information. They refused to confirm or deny that the AP will receive direct feed from voting machines and central vote tabulating computers across the country. But, circumstantial evidence suggests that is exactly what will happen.
And what can be downloaded can also be uploaded. Computer experts say that signals can travel both to and from computerized voting machines through wireless technology, modems, and even simple electricity. Computer scientists have long warned that computer voting is an invitation to vote fraud and system failure. An examination of Diebold election software by several computer scientists, including Dr. Avi Rubin and his staff, proved that secret backdoors can be built into computer programs that allow votes to be easily manipulated without detection.
ES&S, the nation's largest voting machine company that will reportedly count 50% of all votes, describe on their webpage how "accessible" their results are, "At ES&S, we know election administrators and the public want fast and accurate election results. That is why we have developed several election management system software solutions to make the reporting process easier, more reliable, and more accessible." Diebold, the second largest voting machine company, advertises a similar service. Both ES&S and Diebold have close ties to the Republican Party.
But, can't the AP be trusted? Isn't it an objective non-partisan news organization? Some say no. The AP is batting for a Bush presidency.
In Online Journal, Stephen Crockett and Al Lawrence, the hosts of Democratic Talk Radio, wrote, "...the Associated Press ran a story that was widely published in newspapers and on the Internet, headlined "Bush Leads Kerry In Electoral Votes," that could have been written by the Bush campaign. The assignment of states to candidates, the headline and the conclusions were all simply wrong. The Associated Press should print a retraction and work to see that it is widely published."
And on WBAY-TV in Green Bay, Wisconsin ran an AP article reporting that Bush has won the election, weeks before the election is to take place. The AP reported, "At this hour, President Bush has won re-election as president by a 47 percent to 43 percent margin in the popular vote nationwide. Ralph Nader has 1 percent of the vote nationwide. That's with 51 percent of the precincts reporting." According to reports, the AP is now saying the article was a "test article," a never-heard-before journalistic practice.
Posted at 07:50 pm by Renee_in_Ohio
Richard Hayes Phillips on Ohio Recount
Posted at 04:52 pm by Renee_in_Ohio
In addition to the efforts of the Green and Libertarian parties (sometimes referred to as the "Glibs"--at least by Keith Olbermann), the Ohio Democratic party is planning to participate in the recount...
In Ohio, the state Democratic Party will recruit volunteers to help monitor the recount, along with volunteers organized by the other two parties.
"We are proud to stand up for Democrats all over the world who have asked us to make sure every vote gets counted," said Dennis White, Ohio Democratic Party chair, in making Tuesday's announcement.
Click here for the rest of the article, which also mentions the GAO's decision to investigate irregularities in the 2004 Presidential Election.
You may have heard about a judge denying a recount. Rest assured there will be a recount--what the judge denied was a request to force a recount before the official count was finished.
And in the Augusta Free Press, there is a guest editorial about "J. Kathererine" (Blackwell)...
If you recall, J. Katherine (well, really, J. Kenneth Blackwell) had insisted, until the courts intervened, that voters register on 80-pound paper stock (even though few election boards had enough to go around) and vote in the precinct in which they had registered even if they still lived in the same county as last election.
Provisional ballots were provided to potentially fraudulent but insistent voters, and the post-election validation process has proven 81 percent were indeed entitled to vote. Damn those liberal judges! And so much for J. Katharine's dedication to open, free and fair elections.
The couple filing suit against J. Katherine in Cincinnati noted that largely black voting precincts were supplied with fewer voting machines per registered voter than other voting precincts, which guaranteed long lines and may have discouraged voters from waiting in line for hours, although many did just that.
Could this have been deliberate? Who will ever know, because this kind of thing doesn't show up in post-election recounts and statistical analyses. But when you realize that the voting machines in black precincts broke down more frequently than those elsewhere, something in Denmark starts to smell fishy. Did J. Katharine send an insufficiency of machines to black voters and then compensate by making sure they were older, less reliable machines to boot?
Posted at 02:28 pm by Renee_in_Ohio
Tuesday, November 23, 2004
Bush in Columbus on Election Day...why?
I don't know how I missed this earlier...
Damschroder is the former Executive Director of the Franklin County Republican Party. Sources close to the Board of Elections told the Free Press that Damschroder and Ohio's Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell met with President George W. Bush in Columbus on Election Day.
Posted at 10:16 pm by Renee_in_Ohio
Let's thank these representatives
Per my request, Make4Think has tracked down contact information for the representatives who requested the GAO investigation of election irregularities. (Thanks, M4T!) A lot of us, myself included, are a lot quicker to criticize than praise our representatives in government. But, just as I've learned with my kids the importance of "catching them being good", I realize that it is also important to tell people in public office that we appreciate it when they get it right. With that in mind, let's express our appreciation to the following representatives for standing up for our right to be assured transparency and accountability in our elections.
Posted at 08:59 pm by Renee_in_Ohio
GAO Will Investigate 2004 Elections
From the Common Cause weblog, Common Blog...
Government Accountability Office to Conduct Investigation of 2004 Election Irregularities
The following is a press release from Government Accountability Office
(Washington, DC) Reps. John Conyers, Jr., Jerrold Nadler, Robert Wexler, Robert Scott, and Rush Holt announced today that, in response to their November 5 and 8 letters to the Government Accountability Office (GAO), the GAO has decided to move forward with an investigation of election irregularities in the 2004 election. The five Members issued the following statement:
"We are pleased that the GAO has reviewed the concerns expressed in our letters and has found them of sufficient merit to warrant further investigation. On its own authority, the GAO will examine the security and accuracy of voting technologies, distribution and allocation of voting machines, and counting of provisional ballots. We are hopeful that GAO's non-partisan and expert analysis will get to the bottom of the flaws uncovered in the 2004 election. As part of this inquiry, we will provide copies of specific incident reports received in our offices, including more than 57,000 such complaints provided to the House Judiciary Committee.
"The core principle of any democracy is the consent of the governed. All Americans, no matter how they voted, need to have confidence that when they cast their ballot, their voice is heard."
The Members listed above were joined in requesting the non-partisan GAO investigation by Reps. Melvin Watt, John Olver, Bob Filner, Gregory Meeks, Barbara Lee, Tammy Baldwin, Louise Slaughter and George Miller.
Posted at 03:36 pm by Renee_in_Ohio
How a Republican election supervisor manipulated the vote
More from Bob Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman of the Free Press...
Posted at 02:11 pm by Renee_in_Ohio
Monday, November 22, 2004
Election Official Calls Recount Request Frivolous, Insulting
Keith Cunningham, director of the Allen County Board of Elections and incoming president of the Ohio Association of Election, is not happy about the prospect of a recount. He says, backed by Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell's claim that the total cost of the recount will be $1.5 million, that this will crush county governments. Green Party candidate David Cobb is one of the people calling for the recount:
"Nothing could be more important to our country than ensuring the results of the Ohio presidential election are accurate and complete," Cobb said. "Our faith and trust in the democratic process all hinge on a fair, unbiased and transparent counting of ballots in Ohio."
That assertion offends Cunningham.
"The inference is that Ohio election officials will not count every vote," Cunningham said. "That's just insulting; it's frivolous and simply harassment."
Cunningham said he was consulting with officials in several counties before deciding whether to pursue legal action to prevent a recount.
Read the rest of the article here
Posted at 11:31 pm by Renee_in_Ohio
Buzzflash piece by Laura Flanders' producer
In Buzzflash: Ohio Presidential Results to be Challenged
A BUZZFLASH GUEST CONTRIBUTION
By Steven Rosenfeld, Senior Producer, The Laura Flanders Show
Ohio’s 2004 presidential vote will be challenged in the state’s Supreme Court, a coalition of public-interest lawyers announced Friday, Nov. 19.
The lawyers have taken sworn testimony from hundreds of people in hearings in Columbus, Cincinnati and Cleveland and will use excerpts as well as documents obtained from county election officials and Election Day exit polls to make a case that thousands of votes were incorrectly counted or not counted on Election Day.
"The objective is to get to the truth," said Columbus Ohio lawyer Cliff Arnebeck, coordinator of the Ohio Honest Elections Campaign. "What’s critically important, whether it’s President Bush or Sen. Kerry, whoever’s been elected actually elected, is to know you won by an honest election. So it’s in the interest of both sides as American citizens to know the truth and have this answered."
The ‘Ohio Honest Election Campaign' is a coalition of public-interest groups and citizens interested in free and fair elections. The three lawyers announcing the challenge are associated with a variety of established groups. Arnebeck is the counsel for Common Cause’s Ohio chapter and The Alliance for Democracy. Attorney Susan Truitt is with Citizens Alliance for Secure Elections-Ohio, www.caseohio.org. The boards of groups have not yet formally endorsed the election challenge but are expected to do so in coming days.
The Honest Election campaign is part of a populist groundswell to safeguard voting rights. The 2004 campaign saw the most new voters in a generation. Even though Kerry conceded on Nov. 3, many people were not satisfied with national media explanations of the Ohio vote. Scientifically designed non-partisan exit polls taken during the day showed a different result from the result reported that night, when George W. Bush was declared the victor.
Posted at 10:37 pm by Renee_in_Ohio
Bob Fitrakis on the emerging pattern in Ohio
Bob Fitrakis, editor of the Free Press, has been one of my primary sources of information on the election irregularities and voter suppression in Ohio. As is noted at the bottom of this article, Dr. Fitrakis has a Ph.D. in Political Science, and a J.D. and is a lawyer working with the Alliance for Democracy--Ohio. Below are some excerpts from his most recent article, How the Ohio Election was Rigged for Bush.
Following four community public hearings in Ohio about election irregularities and voter suppression – two in the capitol, Columbus, and one each in Cincinnati and Cleveland – a clear pattern and practice of voter disenfranchisement is emerging.
In order to understand the extent of the voter suppression in the inner city of Columbus and Franklin County, overwhelmingly Democratic wards, start with the phrase: “Machines Placed By Close Of Polls” on the last page of the county’s 17-page voting machine allocation report.
This phrase at the end of the spreadsheet may be the key in unraveling a deliberate and unprecedented plan to repress African American and poor central city voters. In statistics, when you see a bizarre definition or measurement, it sends up red flags. Why doesn’t the Franklin County Board of Elections have a number for “Machines Placed By Opening Of Polls”?
It now appears that the Franklin County BOE placed scores of machines too late in the day to alleviate the long lines of voters who gathered to vote before work and at lunchtime.
In Cuyahoga County, according to the Secretary of State’s website there are 24,788 provisional ballots, most of them from the city of Cleveland, not its surrounding suburbs. Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell served as Co-Chair of the Bush/Cheney Ohio reelection committee.
There also seems to be an abnormally high vote count for third party candidates who received less than one-half of one percent of the statewide vote total combined. For example, in precinct 4-F, the right-wing Constitutional Law candidate Peroutka received 215 votes to Bush’s 21 and Kerry’s 290. In this precinct, Kerry received 55% of the vote where Gore received 91% of the vote in the year 200. These numbers suggest that Kerry’s votes were inadvertently or intentionally shifted to Peroutka.
In Cincinnati, sworn testimony was taken on vote buying, the lack of machines in African American neighborhoods and the deliberate destruction of new voter registration cards by a private company hired to process the forms.
Posted at 08:17 pm by Renee_in_Ohio