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Why We Fight to Prevent Stolen Elections in 2012 and Beyond


US Politics & Gov't  (tags: abuse, americans, candidates, constitution, corruption, crime, dishonesty, elections, ethics, Govtfearmongering, lies, media, news, politics, propaganda, republicans, SupremeCourt )

Kit
- 653 days ago - truth-out.org
When the first stories were broken by a handful of us after the fiascos of Florida 2000 and Ohio 2004, there was a stunning silence, followed by a wide range of attacks. Today the warnings about the possibility of another election theft are taken-->



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Kit B. (277)
Sunday November 4, 2012, 5:51 am
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With election day less than a week away, the spectre of another stolen election is upon us. The airwaves and internet are at last filling with discussion of this possibility.

When the first stories were broken by a handful of us after the fiascos of Florida 2000 and Ohio 2004, there was a stunning silence, followed by a wide range of attacks. Today the warnings about the possibility of another election theft are taken with increasing gravity.

The question is deep and profound, with a huge body of research and writing surrounding it.

But among the many concerns, two are key: massive disenfranchisement, and manipulation of the electronic vote count.

DISENFRANCHISEMENT:

There is no doubt the Republican party has done much to prevent likely Democrats from voting. This "Jim/Juan Crow" strategy has included legislation aimed at requiring photo ID as a means of restricting the vote. This involves financial and other burdens that would prevent as many as ten million citizens from voting according to the Brennan Center at New York University, the vast bulk of them likely Democrats.

Though these photo ID and other restrictive laws are being overturned in some courts, it's a virtual certainty Republican poll workers and challengers will use them---overturned or otherwise---as pretext for intimidating people away from the voting booths.

There has been massive stripping of voter rolls, often by electronic means, as was done in Florida 2000 and Ohio 2004. Much of the disenfranchisement has focused on the inner cities which, again, lean heavily Democratic. In Ohio, more than a million citizens---some 20% of the electorate---have lost their right to vote this way since 2009. The phenomenon is clearly nationwide.

Misinformation is being spread by Republican-controlled election boards about voting place locations and times and dates when the polls will be open, a tactic widely used in Ohio 2004 and elsewhere.

Threatening billboards, fliers, phone calls and more have been deployed to intimidate potential voters.

Right wing organizations such as the Tea Party, True the Vote and others have organized to work as poll workers or challengers at the polls, with the mission of discouraging potential Democrats from voting through intimidation and delay.

All these tactics are being choreographed as part of a larger strategy aimed at slashing the vote count among minorities and other target groups not only in the presidential race, but for control of Congress and statewide offices, and in key referenda over such issues as labeling GMO food, legalizing marijuana and more.

ELECTRONIC VOTE THEFT:

**Virtually the entire national vote count is now being conducted on electronic voting machines, which include optical scanning computers. There is one overriding reality that defines their use: the courts have ruled that their software is proprietary, and therefore in essence immune from public scrutiny. In practical terms, this means the vote counts for tens of millions of American citizens is opaque and beyond investigative or legal monitoring or recall.

**As we saw in Volusia County, Florida, in 2000, and in Ohio 2004, as well as in numerous Congressional and other races, control of the electronic vote count can decide an election, and there is nothing the public can do to prove it, or to challenge the outcome through the legal system.

**That a firm with deep ties to the Romney family and campaign has a major interest in a company that owns, programs, manages and tallies votes in at least four swing states that could decide the election must be a matter of concern.

**Beyond Hart Intercivic, nearly all the nation's electronic voting machines are also owned, programmed, managed and tallied by firms with deep Republican ties. Among them are ES&S, Sequoia, Dominion, Triad and more. They are spread throughout the United States, and will surely control the decisive votes in many if not all key swing states.

**The essential insecurity of the electronic vote count is an affront to democracy. That a theft can be done so easily---and with the overwhelming body of evidence indicating it HAS been done---means that the individual vote of any American citizen is not sacred...that it's up for grabs. No matter what margin of victory may present itself in any election, this is not acceptable. Each and every vote cast by each and every American citizen, swing state or otherwise, decisive or not, has been won with the blood of our ancestors and, in many cases, of those of us still living. Each vote cast by an American citizen has meaning, and must be protected---at all costs---by the structure of the voting process.

**The "solution" to electronic election theft can never lie in building up a margin of victory sufficient to overcome stolen numbers. Massive turnouts of voters are always a great thing. But electronic votes are the ultimate fungible blind article. The process desecrates everything democracy is supposed to stand for, and is never acceptable under any circumstances.

**The fact that Republicans might steal elections from Democrats and vice versa means further that the two of them together can always shut out a third or fourth party trying to mount a serious challenge to corporate power. This has in fact been done throughout American history to protect the power of the corporate structure. We now have an African-American in the White House. But the last president who was not a Democrat or Republican was the Whig Millard Fillmore, whose term ended in 1853. As long as the vote count can be manipulated by those in power, electronically or otherwise, there is no hope for meaningful change through the ballot box.

**As this year's massive electoral drama unfolds, more and more disturbing stories surface about the ease with which it could be stolen. They are to be taken with profound gravity, no matter who one favors for the presidency or other office.

**The gargantuan sums of cash flowing into the process due to Citizens United and other loopholes in the system mean, simply enough, that our government is wholly owned and operated by large corporations. Systematic disenfranchisement and electronic vote theft are the cornerstones of that power.

Until we have money out of politics, abolition of the Electoral College, universal automatic voter registration and universal hand-counted paper ballots, there is no hope for real democracy in this country. As election protection advocates, activists and investigators, we urge everyone to pay very close attention to what happens in this election, to work to prevent the terrible abuses we see forthcoming, and to follow in the coming years with a powerful social movement that will deliver real democracy to this country.

Which candidate gets your vote is not our concern here. As Americans, we agree on one thing: all citizens must have their right to a ballot and to have it counted. In the long run, our one best hope for a sustainable future is the power of an fully enfranchised people.

By Joan Brunwasser, Sally Castleman, Victoria Collier, Bob Fitrakis, Lori Grace, Emily Levy, Mark Crispin Miller, Greg Palast, Jonathan Simon and Harvey Wasserman, The Free Press | Op-Ed | Truthout |
 

Kit B. (277)
Sunday November 4, 2012, 5:54 am

Before the discussion here gets off the topic of the article, I have checked with Fact Check and other sources and find this:

Ask FactCheck:

Q: Does Mitt Romney’s son Tagg own Ohio’s electronic voting machines?

A: There’s no evidence of that. A spokesman for Tagg Romney’s private equity firm states that it has no stake in Hart InterCivic, a supplier of voting machines in two of Ohio’s 88 counties.
fact check.org/
 

Helen Avila (175)
Sunday November 4, 2012, 6:37 am
This is an interesting comment by Mark Summers from the Daily Kos about the republican party: Republicans, the ones who have captured the party of Lincoln and reshaped it into the party of Limbaugh, are the children of Rand. Sure, they may invoke the name of Reagan as the root of their movement, but the followers of Reagan are exactly the kind of Republicans now being chased out of offices both state and federal. The ones too weak to regard every instance of selflessness as a sin, too ignorant to know that any effort toward community is only a few letters away from communism. This isn't Reagan's party. It's not even the party of George Bush. It's the Grand Objectivist Party, and it's proud of it.
 

John C. (80)
Sunday November 4, 2012, 6:56 am
Mail-in ballots are also an Achilles Heel as well as a convenience. One in five are expected to be rejected.
That's 20%. Many will not know that their vote was even challenged.
Gaining power through attrition is a strategy wearing the mask of fear of voter fraud.
It has no respect for the will of the electorate no matter which party one belongs to. Both are betrayed.
 

Kit B. (277)
Sunday November 4, 2012, 7:11 am

In some areas hit hardest by the hurricane, the proposal of email voting is being discussed. If mail-in ballots are challenged think about the fight over the email votes.
 

John C. (80)
Sunday November 4, 2012, 8:03 am
There are a number of other landmines for the future as well. In Arizona if one does not return books from the library you can't get your drivers license renewed. No license no vote. Something as simple as that.
 

Val R. (236)
Sunday November 4, 2012, 8:36 am
They'll come up with anything to create fraud - but the elections are rigged in any case.
 

Kit B. (277)
Sunday November 4, 2012, 9:20 am

Robert left a link to a very good article.

--- Here are some highlights from that article:

The report ranks states from worst to best (inadequate, needs improvement, generally good, good and excellent) in these five areas of evaluation:

1. Does the state require paper ballots or records of every state? When computer failures or human errors cause machines to miscount, election officials can use the original ballots to determine correct totals. Additionally, paper ballots or records can be used to audit machine counts to determine if outcomes are correct.

2. Does the state have adequate contingency plans at each polling place in the event of machine failure? Machine repair should occur quickly and emergency paper ballots should be made available if any machine fails and to alleviate long lines.

3. Does the state protect military and overseas voters by ensuring that marked ballots are not cast online? Voting system experts at the National Institute of Standards and Technology and cyber security experts at the Department of Homeland Security warn that even state-of-the-art online voting technology lacks adequate security and privacy protections. Ballots cast over the Internet can be subject to alteration and voters may lose the right to a secret ballot.

4. Has the state instituted a post-election audit that can determine whether the electronically reported outcomes are correct? Simply voting on paper ballot systems does not increase the accuracy and integrity of election results; the ballots or records must be used to independently audit the vote count. Mandatory comparison of a random sample of the paper ballots to electronic totals is one of the best ways to ensure that the reported outcomes are correct. A well designed audit should use statistical sampling methods tied to the margin of victory and should be able to correct the outcome if it is wrong.

5. Does the state use robust ballot reconciliation and tabulation practices? These basic procedures, including reconciling the number of votes cast to the number of voters who signed in and reconciling precinct totals with county-level totals, help ensure that no ballots are lost or added as the votes are tallied and aggregated from the local up to the state level.

The five measures listed above protect against machine failures that can change election outcomes and disenfranchise voters.
*****
This is the first time I have had no choice but use the electronic ballot, I kept the "receipt" number, does that mean any thing?
 

Angelika R. (146)
Sunday November 4, 2012, 12:56 pm
Thanks Kit and also Robert. Quite a tough and fatiguing fight there... Naomi Wolf has found another, and I hink BETTER suggestion or solution for it: A Cure for America's Corruptible Voting System

From her article:
Here is my modest proposal: let us end the secret ballot, because we have reached a point, with the internet, in which transparency and accountability is more important than absolute secrecy. Don't panic, because this is what I mean: your vote won't be publicly available, but why can't I get a number when I hand in my ballot, or when I vote in a machine – just as I do with bloodwork, or computer passwords, or other transactions in which I get accountability, but not disclosure of my actual name? Then, the votes get tallied and posted – with their corresponding numbers – online on a public site, and major media reproduce the lists. And I can check my number (unidentifiable to anyone else) to check whether my vote was correctly registered.

This would allow, in one sweep, all citizens to watch the watchers. It does not compel anyone to reveal his or her vote – but gives him or her the option of challenging a discrepancy, and the means to verify what he or she had actually intended to do. And in one easy, inexpensive, technically feasible gesture, it takes the power away from the Diebold-type private corporations and the various parties and the officials, and allows actual verification that cannot be spun or falsified. Most importantly, it removes a psychological blinder, which the American people are asked to wear every two and four years – the blinder that infantilizes us, that has highly interested individuals and groups say to us, "we are impartial, this is a magically noble and incorruptible process: trust us."

As President Ronald Reagan put it in another context: sure – trust, but verify.
 

Dave C. (213)
Sunday November 4, 2012, 2:19 pm
thanks, Kit....
 

Lois Jordan (54)
Sunday November 4, 2012, 2:36 pm
Noted. Thanks for the info. Angelika, I like Naomi Wolf's ideas, too. Makes complete sense to me. We need a strong grassroots push for massive changes before the next election.
 

Roger M. (0)
Sunday November 4, 2012, 3:09 pm
It's astonishing that we have to have this conversation. There will be U.N. observers keeping an eye on what goes on this week. It's a shocking indictment.

But then, if there's nothing to hide, what possible objection could there be?
 

Nancy L. (139)
Sunday November 4, 2012, 6:25 pm

Which candidate gets your vote is not our concern here. As Americans, we agree on one thing: all citizens must have their right to a ballot and to have it counted. In the long run, our one best hope for a sustainable future is the power of an fully enfranchised people.

ABSOLUTELY
 

Cindy Richardson (80)
Sunday November 4, 2012, 9:42 pm
NOTED
 

Dandelion G. (385)
Monday November 5, 2012, 5:59 pm
In the article:

As we saw in Volusia County, Florida, in 2000, and in Ohio 2004, as well as in numerous Congressional and other races, control of the electronic vote count can decide an election, and there is nothing the public can do to prove it, or to challenge the outcome through the legal system.

My comment:

I lived in Volusia County then and and Iive here now. I KNOW my vote was stolen in 2000. I guess no one will be stealing my vote for Rocky Anderson at least. Fight is between the D's and R's.

It's a mess down here in Florida no help by our Republican Tea Bag Governor. The Republican Party more than understands when the time is given to make it easier to vote, the Democrat wins. Is the whole reason that Rick Scott has not only tried to purge voters by their last names and in heavily Democratic Counties, but by giving less time to vote and making the wait time in line to vote longer, he is in hopes to discourage people from voting at all.

Whatever Party you are, this should not be acceptable, for if this is the idea of how to win elections then it will be whoever can out rig and steal the best. So for people to sit back and feel smug that it's their party who will win by these methods, how can you feel good about that? How can you sit back and say that you can feel proud of being in a Country that has it's elections stolen? You don't have a Republic anymore, nor a democracy, you have a farce, even if your Party is the winner, you have lost anyways. You lost your Country, your freedom, your dignity, and self respect. You lost as we all loose.
 

Kit B. (277)
Monday November 5, 2012, 6:04 pm

Strange thing about that article from Naomi Wolf, this is the first time ever that I was given a numbered receipt when I voted. I did have driver's license with me, but that too was not required. If it can happen in Texas it can happen any where.
 

Kit B. (277)
Tuesday November 6, 2012, 9:43 am

The list is still growing. Let me know if I missed anything.

1. Saved the collapse of the American automotive industry by making GM restructure before bailing them out, and putting incentive money to help the industry

2. Shifted the focus of the war from Iraq to Afghanistan, and putting the emphasis on reducing terrorism where it should have been all along

3. Relaxed Anti-American tensions throughout the world

4. Signed order to close the prisoner “torture camp” at Guantanamo Bay

5. Has made the environment a national priority, and a primary source for job creation

6. Has made education a national priority by putting emphasis and money behind new ideas like charter schools, but speaking directly to school children in telling them they have to do their part.

7. Won the Nobel Peace Prize

8. $789 billion economic stimulus plan

9. Appointment of first Latina to the Supreme Court

10. Attractive tax write-offs for those who buy hybrid automobiles

11. Authorized construction/opening of additional health centers to care for veterans

12. Renewed dialogue with NATO and other allies and partners on strategic issues.

13. Beginning the process of reforming and restructuring the military 20 years after the Cold War to a more modern fighting force… this includes new procurement policies, increasing size of military, new technology and cyber units and operations, etc.

14. Better body armor is now being provided to our troops

15. “Cash for clunkers” program offers vouchers to trade in fuel inefficient, polluting old cars for new cars; stimulates auto sales

16. Changed the failing/status quo military command in Afghanistan

17. Closed offshore tax safe havens

18. Deployed additional troops to Afghanistan

19. Ended media “blackout” on war casualties; reporting full information

20. Ended previous policy of awarding no-bid defense contracts

21. . Ended media blackout on war casualties and the return of fallen soldiers to Dover AFB.

22. Ended previous policy of cutting the FDA and circumventing FDA rules

23. Ended previous practice of forbidding Medicare from negotiating with drug manufacturers for cheaper drugs; the federal government is now realizing hundreds of millions in savings

24. Ended previous practice of having White House aides rewrite scientific and environmental rules, regulations, and reports

25. American Recovery and Reinvestment Act has created 2.1 million jobs (as of 12/31/09).

26. Ended previous policy of not regulating and labeling carbon dioxide emissions

27. Ended previous policy of offering tax benefits to corporations who outsource American jobs; the new policy is to promote in-sourcing to bring jobs back

28. Ended previous policy on torture; the US now has a no torture policy and is in compliance with the Geneva Convention standards

29. . Launched Recovery.gov to track spending from the Recovery Act, an unprecedented step to provide transparency and accountability through technology.

30. Ended previous practice of protecting credit card companies; in place of it are new consumer protections from credit card industry’s predatory practices

31. Ended previous “stop-loss” policy that kept soldiers in Iraq/Afghanistan longer than their enlistment date

32. Energy producing plants must begin preparing to produce 15% of their energy from renewable sources

33. Established a National Performance Officer charged with saving the federal government money and making federal operations more efficient

34. Established a new cyber security office

35. Expanded the SCHIP program to cover health care for 4 million more children

36. Expanding vaccination programs

37. Families of fallen soldiers have expenses

38. . Provided the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) with more than $1.4 billion to improve services to America’s Veterans.

39. Federal support for stem-cell and new biomedical research

40. Funds for high-speed, broadband Internet access to K-12 schools

41. Responded with compassion and leadership to the earthquake in Haiti

42. Immediate and efficient response to the floods in North Dakota and other natural disasters

43. . Launched Business.gov – enabling conversation and online collaboration between small business owners, government representatives and industry experts in discussion forums relevant to starting and managing a business. Great for the economy.

44. Improved housing for military personnel

45. Improved conditions at Walter Reed Military Hospital and other military hospitals

46. Changed failing war strategy in Afghanistan.

47. Improving benefits for veterans

48. Increased infrastructure spending (roads, bridges, power plants…) after years of neglect

49. Donated his $1.4 million Nobel Prize to nonprofits.

50. Increasing opportunities in AmeriCorps program

51. Provided tax credits to first-time home buyers through the Worker, Homeownership, and Business Assistance Act of 2009 to revitalize the U.S. housing market.

52. Increasing pay and benefits for military personnel

53. Increasing student loans

54. Instituted a new policy on Cuba, allowing Cuban families to return “home” to visit loved ones

55. Cracked down on companies that deny sick pay, vacation and health insurance to workers by abusing the employee classification of independent contractor. Such companies also avoid paying Social Security, Medicare and unemployment insurance taxes for those workers.

56. Limited salaries of senior White House aides; cut to $100,000

57. Limits on lobbyists’ access to the White House

58. Protected 300,000 education jobs, such as teachers, principals, librarians, and counselors through the Recovery Act that would have otherwise been lost.

59. Limits on White House aides working for lobbyists after their tenure in the administration

60. Children’s Health Insurance Reauthorization Act on February 4, 2009, provides quality health care to 11 million kids – 4 million who were previously uninsured.

61. Lower drug costs for seniors

62. Making more loans available to small businesses

63. Many more press conferences and town halls and much more media access than previous administration

64. . Signed the Christopher and Dana Reeve Paralysis Act, the first piece of comprehensive legislation aimed at improving the lives of Americans living with paralysis

65. Negotiated deal with Swiss banks to permit US government to gain access to records of tax evaders and criminals

66. New Afghan War policy that limits aerial bombing and prioritizes aid, development of infrastructure, diplomacy, and good government practices by Afghans

67. Announced creation of a Joint Virtual Lifetime Electronic Record for members of the U.S. Armed Forces to improve quality of medical care.

68. New federal funding for science and research labs

69. New funds for school construction

70. Ordered all federal agencies to undertake a study and make recommendations for ways to cut spending

71. Ordered a review of all federal operations to identify and cut wasteful spending and practices

72. . Negotiated deal with Swiss banks to permit US government to gain access to records of tax evaders and criminals.

73. Phasing out the expensive F-22 war plane and other outdated weapons systems, which weren’t even used or needed in Iraq/Afghanistan

74. Reengaged in the agreements/talks on global warming and greenhouse gas emissions

75. Provided tax credit to workers thus cutting taxes for 95% of America’s working families.

76. Reengaged in the treaties/agreements to protect the Antarctic

77. Removed restrictions on embryonic stem-cell research

78. . Helped reverse a downward spiral of the stock market. On January 19, 2009, the last day of President Bush’s presidency, the Dow closed at 8,218.22. In February 2010, the Dow closed at 10,309.24

79. Renewed loan guarantees for Israel

80. Restarted the nuclear non-proliferation talks and building back up the nuclear inspection infrastructure/protocols

81. Provided attractive tax write-offs for those who buy hybrid automobiles.

82. Returned money authorized for refurbishment of White House offices and private living quarters

83. Sent envoys to Middle East and other parts of the world that had been neglected for years; reengaging in multilateral and bilateral talks and diplomacy

84. Unveiled a program on Earth Day 2009 to develop the renewable energy projects on the waters of our Outer Continental Shelf that produce electricity from wind, wave, and ocean currents. These regulations will enable, for the first time ever, the nation to tap into our ocean’s vast sustainable resources to generate clean energy in an environmentally sound and safe manner.

85. Signed national service legislation; expanded national youth service program

86. States are permitted to enact federal fuel efficiency standards above federal standards

87. Students struggling to make college loan payments can have their loans refinanced

88. Successful release of US captain held by Somali pirates; authorized the SEALS to do their job

89. The FDA is now regulating tobacco

90. Ended the previous stop-loss policy that kept soldiers in Iraq/Afghanistan longer than their enlistment date.

91. The missile defense program is being cut by $1.4 billion in 2010

92. The public can meet with federal housing insurers to refinance (the new plan can be completed in one day) a mortgage if they are having trouble paying

93. The “secret detention” facilities in Eastern Europe and elsewhere are being closed

94. US financial and banking rescue plan

95. US Navy increasing patrols off Somali coast

96. . Signed the Weapons Systems Acquisition Reform Act to stop fraud and wasteful spending in the defense procurement and contracting system.

97. Visited more countries and met with more world leaders than any president in his first six months in office

98. Improved relations with Iran

99. Improved U.S. policy on climate change

100. Set timetable for exiting Iraq (already started removing troops)

101. Improved relations with Russia

102. Improved relations with the Islamic World

103. Made progress towards greater cooperation on limiting nuclear proliferation

104. Economic stimulus plan has created jobs. (Unemployment rate decreasing)

105. Drastically slowed down the recession

106. Saved Wall Street

107. Passed the Lilly Ledbetter Act (equal work for equal pay) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lilly_Ledbetter_Fair_Pay_Act_of_2009

108. HEALTH CARE REFORM

Once again, this is a lot to accomplish in such a short amount of time. He was elected President, he wasn’t elected Jesus.
 

Jennifer C. (172)
Wednesday November 7, 2012, 4:05 pm
Thanks.
 
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