Who Really Won?

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Another Stolen Election: The Book Tour

The national launch of the new book by Bob Fitrakis, DID GEORGE W. BUSH STEAL AMERICA’S 2004 ELECTION? ESSENTIAL DOCUMENTS, begins on June 15, 2005.

“In contrast to the deadly silence of the media is the silent scream of the numbers. The more you ponder these numbers, and all the accompanying data, the louder that scream grows.” —Robert C. Koehler, Tribune Media Services

This book is filled with numbers and data showing what really happened in the 2004 election in Ohio. It includes many crucial source materials, commentary and investigative reports—including the complete text of the Conyers report, prepared by the U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary Committee Democratic Staff. It is a must read for all people concerned about saving democracy and ensuring free and fair elections in the future.

Bob Fitrakis will speak about the book and his role in holding the first public hearings on voter suppression and election irregularities that lead to the Conyers hearings and the members of Congress and the Senate contesting the election in Ohio. Fitrakis is a dynamic, inspiring speaker who receives standing ovations after nearly every speech he gives. He is committed to protecting the voting rights of all Americans and is truly a national hero.

Come support the Another Stolen Election book tour! Your community is invited to join Bob at events in the following cities:

6/15 Santa Barbara, 8pm, Unitarian Hall, 1535 Santa Barbara Street

6/16 Ventura, 8pm, Franky’s Restaurant, 456 East Main Street

6/17 Topanga, 7pm, Topanga Christian Fellowship Church, 269 Old Topanga Canyon Road, Topanga

6/19 Santa Monica, 6pm, Venice United Methodist Church, 1020 Victoria Ave.

Be sure to check Bob’s calendar for continuous updates on venues, times, etc.: www.freepress.org

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Trashing the Machines

Miami-Dade County's elections chief has recommended ditching its ATM-style voting machines, just three years after buying them for $24.5 million to avoid a repeat of the hanging and dimpled chads from the 2000 election.

Elections supervisor Lester Sola said in a memo Friday that the county should switch to optical scanners that use paper ballots, based on declining voter confidence in the paperless touch-screen machines and quadrupled election day labor costs.

Fifteen of Florida's 67 counties chose touch-screen machines after the 2000 election fiasco. The machines have caused problems during at least six elections, including the September 2002 primary, when some polls could not open and close on time and Democratic primary results for governor were delayed by a week.

Miami-Dade would be the first place in the nation to ditch the iVotronics machines for paper-based balloting, said Ken Fields, a spokesman for Election Systems & Software of Omaha, Neb., the company that makes the devices.

Friday, May 27, 2005

Census Statistics Indicate Vote Count Was Significantly Of

Where did 3.4 million votes go?

If the census bureau's statistics can be trusted, this is just more evidence that the count was off.

The official tabulation on November 2, was 122.3 million voters.

The census bureau predicted post-election that 125.7 million people (thought they) had voted.

Why when we have so much evidence that the count was off and could have been easily manipulated by the corporate computers of Diebold and ES&S, which counted 80% of the vote, including 30% with no paper trail whatsoever, why are not more people questioning the validity of this election?

Read more here.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

"Your Vote is A Joke"

Via The Brad Blog comes this story from The Tuscon Weekly:

After countless hours of research, Brakey ardently disagrees. He thinks poll workers obtained ballots by marking "spoiled" on some valid ballots and then casting their own choices as replacements.

Brakey also believes several people who requested early ballots but came to the precinct on Election Day had their "provisional" ballots manipulated there. Based on the records he has, Brakey additionally insists that other votes were cast by poll workers who covered up the act by making it appear people who didn't vote actually did.

Scattered across Brakey's dining room table are stacks of election documents for his precinct. He has entered all the data into a computer that allows him to track the voters. "The county looks at numbers," he emphasizes, "but I looked at names."

Once the alleged problems are meticulously explained, with the paperwork carefully examined, it makes for a strong argument that well more than 10 percent of the almost 900 votes from Brakey's polling place were questionably handled. It was a very busy day at the precinct, but the irregularities are glaring.

Among numerous categories of problems, several stand out. Thirty-nine questionable "provisional" ballots were apparently improperly placed into the optical-scan vote-counting machine instead of being sent to the Pima County Recorder's Office for verification. In addition, while the poll workers certified there were 59 provisional ballots cast, only 53 people actually signed as having done so.

The list of problems grows longer. Some voters' names appear twice on the official roster of those who showed up on Election Day, indicating they were given two ballots. Precinct records also indicate that several people were provided a second ballot because they spoiled the first one, but Brakey says he has contacted a handful of these people--and they deny it happened. Based on that, he believes poll workers cast at least some of these second votes.

Nineteen people also didn't sign in at the precinct, but according to the polling place paper trail, a few of them did cast ballots there. Others from this same list aren't shown as voting by the recorder's office, but claim they did. One person in this latter category, when contacted by phone by the Weekly, was positive she did vote in November.

Not satisfied with his own analysis, Brakey hooked up with David Griscom, a 33-year employee of the Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, D.C., before his retirement to Tucson last year. Reviewing the precinct results statistically, Griscom says he found the data supports Brakey's views.

"There was fraud," Griscom insists after trying to mathematically reconstruct what happened at the polling place. "I think the poll workers arbitrarily picked some innocent people and were in cahoots with other voters."

These serious allegations were turned over to the Pima County Attorney's office. After an investigation, the case was recently closed, based in part on Nelson's written assertion that he found "the integrity of the November 2, 2004 General Election at (the) Precinct sound and reliable."

Brakey remains undeterred, saying of the county election's director: "He's a bureaucrat and wants this swept under the rug."

Even though John Kerry received only 1 percent less of the precinct's votes than Al Gore did in 2000, Brakey continues to believe there was foul play involved last year.

"No way was this gross error," he insists. "The only way you screw things up this bad is you have to plan. It was methodically planned out. But if it was gross error, we have a pretty bad system, and your vote is a joke."

Flori-duh Again

MIAMI - A voters' rights group said Wednesday its audit of November's presidential election ballots in Miami-Dade County showed counting problems — and an unintentional but worrisome instance of a number of votes being counted three times.

A report released by the Miami-Dade Election Reform Coalition said during the elections there were "serious problems with policies and procedures that are supposed to protect the integrity of the ballot."

In many precincts, the number of people who signed in to cast votes was not tracked carefully, or in some cases was not compared with the actual number of ballots cast at those precincts.

The group also said there was a touchscreen machine malfunction; when votes were tallied the results from one machine had been counted three times, creating a discrepancy of 171 votes that became part of the certified canvass, the group said.

"It slid right through and nobody caught it," said Martha Mahoney, a professor at University of Miami and a group member.

Fifteen of Florida's 67 counties used touchscreen machines, including most of the heavily populated ones.

Election officials welcomed the criticism and said the machine that gave a 3-for-1 tally has been sent for testing.

Gee, I wonder who benefitted from these "isolated errors"?

Ohio Whistleblower Fired

Sherole Eaton is as defiant as ever and determined to stand up for democracy. Despite recovering from recent carotic artery surgery and scheduled for brain surgery on June 6 for a brain aneurysm, Eaton, perhaps Ohio’s most well-known whistleblower, refuses to resign as Deputy Director of the Hocking County Board of Elections.

Eaton made national news last December during Ohio’s election recount when she swore in an affidavit that a Triad voting machine technician replaced the hard drive on Hocking County’s central “computer and tabulation machine.”

“I still can’t understand what he was doing there on his own time replacing the hard drive on our computer, our brain, where all the county’s voting information was, in the middle of a recount,” Eaton offered.

Lisa Schwartze, Director of the Hocking County Board of Elections, told the Free Press that Eaton has until June 30 to resign. Initially she told the paper that Eaton was “on vacation” but, the Logan Daily News reported that Eaton was fired on Thursday, May 19 after a five hour meeting.

With more than two dozen Eaton supporters in attendance, the “bipartisan board” voted to terminate Eaton as of June 30, while she’ll still be recovering from surgery.

Franklin County Board of Elections Chair, Democrat William Anthony has recently questioned just how “Democratic” are some of these southern county Democratic election board members.

U.S. Representative John Conyers (D-MI) sent a letter to Ohio Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell protesting Eaton’s firing. “Last fall, Ms. Eaton bravely came forward to report that a representative of Triad, Inc., had behaved suspiciously, and appeared to tamper with computers and appeared to create ‘cheat sheets’ for those who were supposed to be conducting hand recount,” the letter stated. Rep. Conyers’ letter concludes that “Eaton’s firing was solely out of retaliation.”

Eaton concurs: “They’re firing me because I’m a whistleblower, because I wouldn’t keep quiet. This isn’t the type of area where people demonstrate. Everyone pretty much keeps quiet and goes along.”

Read it all in the Free Press...

Monday, May 23, 2005

The Permanent Campaign

Here's a look at the Sore Loser Campaign in Washington State and its implications for us all:

The system of election administration in our country has a margin of error. Political professionals know this and are already using it to calculate whether an election is beyond “the margin of litigation,” as conservative writer John Fund has put it. Professor Rick Hasen, an election law expert at Loyola University Law School, notes that the number of election challenges has already climbed in the wake of Bush v. Gore, from 62 cases in 1998 to 250 cases in 2002. He says the lesson that political professionals have learned is that it is OK to challenge close elections. “There is much less concern about damage to the democratic process and more concern about who won.”

A Rossi court victory could open the floodgates to election challenges around the country. An increase in challenges would make the peaceful transition between office holders more contentious and difficult and would fuel the bitterness of both the grassroots and the elected officials. That bitterness, in turn, would feed into the governing process, making elected officials of both parties less likely to cooperate across party lines to pursue sensible legislation that represents the public interest.

Developments in a courtroom in a small Washington city may determine whether our political process becomes even more degraded than it already is. Keep your eye on Wenatchee.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Small Victory in Ohio

Via Common Cause:

You may remember that attorney Cliff Arnebeck, a board member of Common Cause Ohio, was threatened with sanctions for his activism concerning the recount effort and other suits related to the November 2nd, 2004, election in Ohio.

We believe that such an action (sanctioning activists for questioning the outcome of an election) would have a chilling effect on others' efforts to raise reasonable doubts about election administration and election validity -- and indeed we believe that was the intent behind the motions for sanctions, which were entered by Attorney General Petro at the official request of Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell.

Therefore, we're glad to know that Blackwell's effort failed. In an email today, Cliff sent us the good news that, "Decisions [were] issued today denying the motions for sanctions in the elections contests we filed."

Sometimes the good guys win, even in Ohio!

Monday, May 16, 2005

One Car Length Ahead

Now, I agree that the Bush Leaguers stole votes the last time out. I don't know if they stole enough to steal the election, but they stole as many as they felt they could get away with stealing, and given the corruption of the American media and the ineffectiveness of the Democrats, that means they stole a lot of votes.

I know they did this because, for one thing, they made obvious moves to set out to do it and, for another, they complained all through the campaign about how the Democrats were trying to steal votes.

This is the salient psychological truth about the American Right. Whatever outrageous behavior they accuse Democrats of doing, they are doing themselves.

My main reason, though, for believing they stole votes is that stealing votes is an old and enthusiastically practiced American tradition. Anyone in the media, and especially any blogger left of Glenn Reynolds, who expresses doubts that the election could have been stolen is an ignoramous and should be sent back to high school for remedial study in American history.

They should also be forced to read from the collected works of Mike Royko and Jimmy Breslin every night until they meet their final deadline or blog their last post.

So they stole votes. They'll steal votes in the next election too.

But do they plan to do this on a scale large enough and for a length of time long enough to keep themselves in power forever.? Can they do it secretly enough, competently enough, and consistently enough to manage that?

Well, they would probably try if they thought of it. But I don't think they're thinking that way.

Why not?

Because they are people and people stink and they are stupid.

I believe that the Republicans are driving one car-length ahead.

Friday, May 13, 2005

What's Wrong With Electronic Voting Machines?

An oldie, but goodie. Here's some of it:

Trust a computer to be inaccurate

Technology gets in the way of accuracy by adding steps. Each additional step means more potential errors, simply because no technology is perfect. Consider an optical-scan voting system. The voter fills in ovals on a piece of paper, which is fed into an optical-scan reader. The reader senses the filled-in ovals and tabulates the votes. This system has several steps: voter to ballot, to ovals, to optical reader, to vote tabulator, to centralised total.

At each step, errors can occur. If the ballot is confusing, some voters will fill in the wrong ovals. If a voter doesn't fill them in properly, or if the reader is malfunctioning, then the sensor won't sense the ovals properly. Mistakes in tabulation -- either in the machine or when machine totals get aggregated into larger totals -- also cause errors.

A manual system of tallying the ballots by hand, and then doing it again to double-check, is more accurate simply because there are fewer steps.

The error rates in modern systems can be significant. Some voting technologies have a 5% error rate, which means one in twenty people who vote using the system don't have their votes counted. A system like this operates under the assumption that most of the time the errors don't matter. If you consider that the errors are uniformly distributed -- in other words, that they affect each candidate with equal probability -- then they won't affect the final outcome except in very close races.

So we're willing to sacrifice accuracy to get a voting system that will handle large and complicated elections more quickly.

In close races, errors can affect the outcome, and that's the point of a recount. A recount is an alternate system of tabulating votes: one that is slower (because it's manual), simpler (because it just focuses on one race), and therefore more accurate.

Note that this is only true if everyone votes using the same machines. If parts of a town that tend to support candidate A use a voting system with a higher error rate than the voting system used in parts of town that tend to support candidate B, then the results will be skewed against candidate A.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Nuclear Option Explained

From a guest blogger at Atrios:

One reason I don't think it's at all paranoid to suspect that the Republicans have deliberately taken over the voting system in order to cheat is that they keep doing things that don't otherwise make sense. There's a rather long list of things you just wouldn't expect them to think they could get away with unless they really thought they could control the ballot box, because otherwise they would have to expect that the public would kick enough of them out to not only end some political careers but also make impeachment - and prison - a distinct possibility.

And then there's this nuclear option thing - why would they be willing to remove any possibility of stopping majority party initiatives unless they were absolutely sure that they could never become the minority party again?

Conservatives have made good use of the filibuster over the years, on judicial nominations and a lot of other things. Are they absolutely certain no one will wake up and get rid of them? Or are they just sure that how we vote isn't going to matter?

Sportscaster Jim Lampley Chimes In

From the Huffington Post, here's Jim Lampley's take:

At 5:00 p.m. Eastern time on Election Day, I checked the sportsbook odds in Las Vegas and via the offshore bookmakers to see the odds as of that moment on the Presidential election. John Kerry was a two-to-one favorite. You can look it up.

People who have lived in the sports world as I have, bettors in particular, have a feel for what I am about to say about this: these people are extremely scientific in their assessments. These people understand which information to trust and which indicators to consult in determining where to place a dividing line to influence bets, and they are not in the business of being completely wrong. Oddsmakers consulted exit polling and knew what it meant and acknowledged in their oddsmaking at that moment that John Kerry was winning the election.

And he most certainly was, at least if the votes had been fairly and legally counted. What happened instead was the biggest crime in the history of the nation, and the collective media silence which has followed is the greatest fourth-estate failure ever on our soil.

Many of the participants in this blog have graduate school educations. It is damned near impossible to go to graduate school in any but the most artistic disciplines without having to learn about the basics of social research and its uncanny accuracy and validity. We know that professionally conceived samples simply do not yield results which vary six, eight, ten points from eventual data returns, thaty's why there are identifiable margins for error. We know that margins for error are valid, and that results have fallen within the error range for every Presidential election for the past fifty years prior to last fall. NEVER have exit polls varied by beyond-error margins in a single state, not since 1948 when this kind of polling began. In this past election it happened in ten states, all of them swing states, all of them in Bush's favor. Coincidence? Of course not.

Karl Rove isn't capable of conceiving and executing such a grandiose crime? Wake up. They did it. The silence of traditional media on this subject is enough to establish their newfound bankruptcy. The revolution will have to start here. I challenge every other thinker at the Huffington Post: is there any greater imperative than to reverse this crime and reestablish democracy in America? Why the mass silence? Let's go to work with the circumstantial evidence, begin to narrow from the outside in, and find some witnesses who will turn. That's how they cracked Watergate. This is bigger, and I never dreamed I would say that in my baby boomer lifetime.

Monday, May 09, 2005

First: Steal Elections Second: Start Censoring

Editor and Publisher on the first column ever spiked by syndicated columnist Robert Koehler:

Tribune Media Services didn't syndicate today's Robert Koehler column about alleged voting irregularities in the 2004 election, but allowed him to substitute a piece on the same topic.

"At first I was upset, but it wasn't like I couldn't write about this issue," said Koehler, a TMS editor as well as columnist, when reached today by E&P. "I just wish it [questions about last November's election] would get into the mainstream media more. That would help us have secure elections in 2006, 2008, and beyond."

John Twohey, vice president of editorial and operations at TMS, added: "I'm pleased that Bob's columns on this topic are getting so much attention. It's an important issue." In addition to the many e-mails Koehler has received, the situation involving today's column was publicized on BradBlog.com

Here's his first column, The Silent Scream of Numbers:

As they slowly hack democracy to death, we’re as alone — we citizens — as we’ve ever been, protected only by the dust-covered clichés of the nation’s founding: “Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.”

It’s time to blow off the dust and start paying the price.

The media are not on our side. The politicians are not on our side. It’s just us, connecting the dots, fitting the fragments together, crunching the numbers, wanting to know why there were so many irregularities in the last election and why these glitches and dirty tricks and wacko numbers had not just an anti-Kerry but a racist tinge. This is not about partisan politics. It’s more like: “Oh no, this can’t be true.”

Here's the censored column, Citizens in the Rain:

“Where there is a free press the governors must live in constant awe of the opinions of the governed.” — Lord Macaulay (one of many stirring quotes on the sacred role of the Fourth Estate adorning the lobby of the Chicago Tribune)

My fantasy of the mainstream media actually doing their job, and living up to the words they carve in marble to describe their own importance, is an 80-point (Terri Schiavo- or even Pope John Paul II-sized) headline running across the top of tomorrow’s paper: ELECTION RESULTS IN DOUBT.

That would stop a few hearts. But the nation’s major newspapers, even as they struggle with declining readership, have no intention of being quite that relevant to their readers — no intention, it appears, even to begin the process of looking into the hornets’ nest of vote fraud allegations abuzz in meticulously researched reports on electronic voting (see uscountvotes.org) or the voluminous Conyers Report on what happened in Ohio on Nov. 2 (see truthout.org/Conyersreport.pdf).

Isn’t our democracy at stake? Doesn’t that matter?

Here's the replacement column, Moonbat lefty for fair elections:

Our democracy nerve is resonating.

I've gotten such a huge response to two recent columns I've written on the troubling, underreported irregularities in the Nov. 2 election that I've decided to give my column over to the voices of my readers, or at least a small sampling of them.

WHY DIDN'T YOU SPEAK UP? — Your column really expresses the isolation I feel and the urgency to get back to Democracy. . . . My grandfather, a German, left Germany when Hitler declared his power. My grandfather knew what was happening when people were not allowed to speak their minds. And we've been asking the Germans about the Holocaust, "Why didn't you DO something about it? How could you let it get so bad?" Grandpa, who loved this country so much, is my main inspiration, it seems. — D.B., Tennessee

Here's another column to read, Democracy's Abu Gharib:

“That was when they suspended the Constitution. They said it would be temporary. There wasn’t even any rioting in the streets. People stayed home at night, watching television, looking for some direction. There wasn’t even an enemy you could put your finger on.” — Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid’s Tale

What if it could happen here?

This is the disquieting question I hesitate to ask because, once asked, it pretty much changes everything. The answer roars in behind it, as obvious as a Florida hurricane, an Ohio twister, ripping up the complacent heart. What if it could? What if it did? I think of my daughter, quickly, guiltily, and the country she’d inherit. I can no longer stay on the sidelines. No breath comes easily afterward.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Sore Loser Wins a Round

The Republicans won an important victory Monday in their legal challenge to the election of Gov. Christine Gregoire when a judge allowed them to use a type of statistical analysis to try to prove illegal votes swayed the race.

Republican Dino Rossi is trying to have the election results from November declared invalid. Rossi won the first count and a machine recount, but his Democratic opponent won by 129 votes in a hand recount of 2.9 million ballots.

The trial is set for May 23.

State law includes provisions for challenging and nullifying an election, but they have never been used to try to remove a governor.

Republicans claim they have identified more than 1,000 illegal votes — mostly ballots cast by felons, but also unverified provisional ballots and votes cast in the names of dead people.

Superior Court Judge John Bridges gave the GOP the go-ahead to apply "proportional analysis" to the illegal votes.

Using proportional analysis, they want the court to subtract illegal votes from both candidates' totals according to precinct voting patterns. For example, if 10 illegal votes came from a precinct that voted 60 percent for Gregoire and 40 percent for Rossi, six votes would be deducted from Gregoire's total and four from Rossi's.

Democrats said the method amounts to statistical guessing. At the same time, they have been collecting evidence of illegal votes in GOP-leaning counties, and plan to use the same proportional analysis in court.

In arguments before Bridges, David Burman, an attorney for the Democrats, likened proportional analysis to flipping a coin. To overturn an election, "They have to be certain," he said. "Mathematical chances are not good enough."

Imagine the sides reversed...you could just hear the Rethuglican machine jumping up and down whining, "Fuzzy math, sore loser, get over it!"

Sunday, May 01, 2005

Republicans Will Accept Felons' Votes....

As long as they're Republican votes!

Democrats said yesterday that they've found 432 felons who appear to have voted illegally in November but were ignored by Republicans in their legal challenge to the governor's election.

Republicans left those felons out of their case, Democrats say, because the illegal votes came from parts of the state that supported Republican Dino Rossi in his race against Christine Gregoire, boosting the chances that they were in Rossi's favor.

In a court filing yesterday, Democrats also outlined other alleged illegal votes and errors by election officials that they say favored Rossi in the election and more than make up for any similar charges by Republicans.

"They essentially cherry-picked through Democratic portions of the state to come up with their list," state Democratic Party Chairman Paul Berendt said yesterday.