Jonathan Simon and Bruce O'Dell, Election Defense Alliance
We present evidence supporting the hypothesis that systematic attempts are being made to manipulate the results of the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination contest, through overt means such as crossover voting by non-Democrats, and through covert means targeted at the electronic vote tabulation process itself. The net effect has been to prolong the nomination battle and sharpen its negativity, thereby boosting the prospects of the Republican nominee and making more plausible his "victory" in November-either by an honest count, or through continued exploitation of the proven security vulnerabilities in American voting systems.
Perhaps John McCain is, as Humphrey Bogart says of the young Bulgarian who wins the money for his family's exit visa at the roulette table in Casablanca, "just a lucky guy." Lucky that the Democrats find themselves locked into a protracted primary season inexorable in its dynamics and increasingly destructive in its impact. Lucky that Hillary Clinton has been magically revived each time she has found herself on electoral life support, to assume a position just far enough behind Barack Obama to be induced to resort to desperate measures and increasingly-negative ads, yet not so far behind as to be forced to bow out. Lucky that dynamics ostensibly out of McCain's control have combined to give him such material assistance.
Perhaps. But there is compelling evidence that something other than luck is at work. With 82% of Americans polled convinced the nation is on the wrong track, self-destruction by the Democratic party is the only remaining credible means by which, come 2008, the GOP could sustain the perpetual rule envisioned by Karl Rove. (Rove, of course, has hardly retired and is now working from home, beyond the reach of the mandatory email backup system installed at the White House just before he left to "spend time with his family.") The goal of Democratic party self-destruction in 2008 could most reliably be brought to pass by one progression of events, one choreography: if a candidate, Hilary Clinton, known for her sense of entitlement, lifelong ambition, tenacity-and willingness to go negative-could be placed and kept in a desperate but not quite hopeless position, the result would follow, quite predictably.
What the mainstream media have now set up and trumpeted as an epic "blood feud" in the Democratic Party, whether or not it actually undermines the party's prospects in November, will certainly pre-establish a plausible "explanation" for the defeat of whoever the Democratic nominee turns out to be. The same is true for US Senate and House races, where Democrats are heavily favored to expand their majorities, given the large number of open seats this November that were formerly held by Republican incumbents and a string of recent special election victories. But Democratic congressional candidates in both houses are arguably now facing the prospect of negative coattails. By setting the stage for post-election "spin" for the Presidential and congressional races in November, any outcome-determinative electoral manipulations would become much less "shocking", and that much less likely to trigger investigation and ultimate detection.
This jaundiced overview of the Democratic primary season is unfortunately supported by a body of evidence that goes well beyond the odd anomaly or two. When we examine-as the media has steadfastly refused to do-the numbers and disparities discovered in a parade of key states that determined the path the Democratic contest has taken to date, we find a telling pattern. This pattern is consistent with a tactical manipulation of the primary election vote counts in the service of the strategic choreography alluded to above: keeping Clinton in the race and desperate.
There are sound reasons why the Clinton campaign itself is not among the suspects: if Clinton's campaign or supporters had the capacity and the will to alter election outcomes, it is reasonable to conclude that she would have won, or at least be ahead in, the race; and the ownership and operation of electronic voting equipment remains almost exclusively in the secretive hands of vendors (Diebold/Premier, ES&S, Hart, and Sequoia) with avowedly right-wing Republican political sympathies.
Our examination includes the Democratic primaries in the following key states: New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Texas, Ohio, and Pennsylvania, each of which had surprising and unexpected results. In each of these critical elections there was a significant pro-Clinton disparity when comparing pre-election surveys and Election Day exit polls against the official vote counts.1/8/08: New Hampshire
This was the first of the "must-wins" for Clinton. She went into New Hampshire on the heels of an embarrassing third-place finish in Iowa and a 20%+ defeat in Wyoming, had lost momentum, and was trailing by substantial margins in every pre-election poll in the Granite state (the range was from 5% to 13%, with Obama's and Clinton's internal polling both also showing a double-digit Obama margin). Observers consistently reported Obama rallies that were far larger and more enthusiastic. There was no sign of a Clinton groundswell. Yet on Election Night the voters apparently changed their minds, and gave her a 3% victory.
The media pundits scratched their collective heads and scrambled to explain this stunning reversal, which would have been remarkable enough if it had been a double-digit shift from a single reputable tracking poll, but was truly staggering when viewed against the backdrop of the entire phalanx of tracking polls. There was palpable grasping at straws-but never even a hint that perhaps the polls had it right and something was wrong with the vote counts.
Nor was there a mention that the first posted National Election Pool (NEP) exit poll had Obama ahead 39.4% to 38.1%, while earlier unposted NEP exit polls put Obama further ahead. The first posted exit poll was already weighted to a carefully calibrated demographic profile of the electorate, and therefore as reliable an indicator of voter intent as is available. Indeed, that first-posted exit poll may already have been partially adjusted toward conformity with the incoming vote counts, thereby understating the apparent exit poll-vote count disparity. That exit poll was largely spot-on for the other candidates; only Clinton and Obama's exit poll numbers shifted significantly as votes were tabulated.
The mainstream media also did not mention the extraordinary disparity between votes that were counted by hand (Obama + 6.5% head-to-head with Clinton) and those tabulated by computerized optical scan devices (Clinton + 5.5% head-to-head with Obama). Although the counting method (machine vs. hand) was not strictly homogeneously distributed throughout the state, neither was it clustered in such a way that would readily explain the huge statistical disparity in results.
When considering benign reasons for such surprising and unexpected outcomes, conventional explanations all begin and end with the unquestioned belief that the computerized vote counts are valid. Quite an assumption in light of the parade of anomalies, disparities, and machine failures witnessed nationwide since the advent and proliferation of computerized vote counting. Official election results are assumed valid, even though the votes are tabulated by secret software concealed on memory cards immune to inspection and under the strict proprietary control of an outsourced corporate vendor; in New Hampshire, the vendor is LHS, about which unanswered questions abound.
In an on-going epilogue, the New Hampshire primary remains under scrutiny. Investigators are amassing detailed evidence of pervasive mistabulation, focused in certain counties. On the Democratic side, there were an alarming number of polling sites reporting more votes than voters. Recounting was rendered effectively useless by a nonexistent chain of custody, which permitted more than ample opportunity for ballot substitution and revision. Memory cards were reported as having been erased and were never made available to investigators. Even something as basic as a reconciliation of the number of ballots delivered to number of ballots voted, spoiled, and uncast was lacking. Nor was there reconciliation of number of voters checked in at the polls to number of ballots cast.