Writer after writer keeps talking about how we are just going to march
into the polls come November and vote the monsters out. If only that were true.
The system is rigged, folks. Just like oil and water, computers and
voting don't mix. And that includes touch screens, optically-scanned ballots,
even punch cards that are tabulated by computers. Worse, the voting equipment
is in the hands of partisan private firms and they deny you the right to see
the code, claiming it is proprietary information.
Adding so-called "verifiable" paper receipts to touch screens would
be meaningless, because a handful of scumbags still can change the results just
enough to give their candidates a win without triggering a hand recount.
Is this so hard to understand? It must be, because we, Bev Harris, Lynn Landes
Bob Fitrakis and others have been screaming about this elephant in the room
for nearly six years.
Bev Harris and her Black Box Voting
team have proved in state after state how easily computers can be rigged. Lynn
Landes' voting rights lawsuit
has made its way to the US Supreme Court (Docket No. 05-930), where she intends
to represent herself.
"I tried to get civil rights organizations interested in this case, but
had no luck. Their disregard for this issue is incredible. It's clear to me
that without direct access to a physical ballot and meaningful transparency
in the process, our elections have no integrity whatsoever," Landes said.
Fitrakis and three other attorneys, who filed a 1awsuit
questioning the results of the 2004 presidential election in Ohio, found
themselves the target of Ohio Attorney General James Petro, who sought stiff
legal sanctions against the four for filing a "political nuisance"
In a Feb. 3, 2005, Free
Press article, Steve Rosenfeld and Harvey Wasserman wrote, "In documents
filed with the Ohio Supreme Court, Petro’s office charges that the citizen
contestors -- Ohio voters -- and their attorneys lacked evidence and proceeded
in bad faith to file the challenge. Petro says the election challenge was a
'political nuisance' lawsuit, and as such, the legal team should be fined --
personally -- many thousands of dollars."
That ploy backfired on Petro, when more documents were entered into evidence,
including the 102-page Status Report of the House Judiciary Democratic Staff
entitled "What Went Wrong in Ohio?", further exposing the 2004 skullduggery.
While Petro's sanction motion was denied by the Ohio Supreme Court, the voters
lost again when the case was dismissed.
But instead of remedying the situation, the legislature passed and Gov. Robert
Taft, the only sitting Ohio governor ever convicted of a crime, signed into
law on Jan. 31 a draconian bill (HB 3), which Fitakris
noted in a Dec. 7 article, "HB3's most publicized provision will require
positive identification before casting a vote. But it also opens voter registration
activists to partisan prosecution, exempts electronic voting machines from public
scrutiny, quintuples the cost of citizen-requested statewide recounts and makes
it illegal to challenge a presidential vote count or, indeed, any federal election
result in Ohio. When added to the recently passed HB1, which allows campaign
financing to be dominated by the wealthy and by corporations, and along with
a Rovian wish list of GOP attacks on the ballot box, democracy in Ohio could
be all but over."
So what chance do you think Fitrakis, who is now a Green Party candidate for
Ohio governor, has against the winner of the GOP primary -- either Petro or
Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell, the man at the center of the 2004 vote
horror? Ditto for whoever wins the Democratic primary.
While the Bushistas have learned to be a bit more careful in the wake of the
2000 Florida debacle, stuff happens, as Donald Rumsfeld would say. Perhaps Florida
in 2000 and Ohio in 2004 were diversions to keep people from looking at the
skullduggery that went on everywhere. For example, George W. Bush received an
extra 100,000 votes -- "phantom votes," as Chris
Floyd called them -- in Alaska in 2004.
Floyd wrote, " A good example of how this control really works can be
found in Alaska. There, the state Democratic Party has long been seeking an
audit of some of the 2004 Diebold-counted returns, which produced a series of
strange anomalies – including awarding George W. Bush an extra 100,000
votes that turned out to be phantoms. First, state officials blocked the request
because that information – the vote count of a public election –
was a "company secret" that belonged exclusively to Diebold, Friedman
reports. Then they decided that the returns could be examined – but only
on the condition that Diebold and the Republican officials be allowed to "manipulate
the data" before it was released. In the end, even this tainted transparency
was too much for the Bushist ballot crunchers; late last month, Alaska officials
suddenly declared that examining the returns would pose a dire but unspecified
"security risk" to the state.
Yet, writers blat on and on about what the Democrats need to do to win, as
if the Democratic cretins were any better than the Republican cretins, and how
"progressives" of any stripe need support in the primaries and general
Meanwhile, the Bushes and their criminal allies continue on their merry way,
pulling off "miraculous" win after "miraculous" win. Hey,
God is on their side and if the exit polls say the other guy or gal should have
won, declare the exit polls erroneous.
Some pundits are even foolish enough to think that a little bribery scandal
spells the end of Rep. Katherine Harris' bid for a US Senate seat. Harris, who,
as Florida's secretary of state, pulled every dirty trick in the book to hand
the Sunshine State's electoral votes to George W. in 2000, was rewarded with
a seat in the US House of Representatives. So why not a Senate seat? Harris,
unlike Tom DeLay, hasn't yet been indicted, and an indictment didn't stop DeLay
from "winning" his primary bid against three opponents. Harris will
be gone only if the powers that be, not the voters, want her gone.
Elections, for most people, used to be a relatively simple thing. They took
a paper ballot into a voting booth and penciled an X next to the names of the
candidates they favored. The paper ballot was then dropped into a locked box.
At the end of the voting day, the box was opened and the votes were counted
one by one. Most states even allowed the public to witness the counting.
Sure, it was slow and, depending on the length of a ballot, the election board
workers tended to gripe. For the voters, though, election nights used to be
filled with anticipation and excitement as the results trickled in. So the question
comes down to do we want accurate and honest vote counts or fast and crooked
If it's fast and crooked, stay with easily rigged computers. If it
is accurate and honest, demand a return to paper ballots, which make it much
harder to steal a statewide, congressional or presidential election.