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Excerpt from Hacked! High Tech Election Theft in America

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Message Vickie Karp
Excerpt from
HACKED! High Tech Election Theft in America
11 Experts Expose the Truth
Edited by Abbe Waldman DeLozier and Vickie Karp

HACKED! is an amazing expose about electronic vote fraud and was released in early September. As stated in the title, it includes contributions from eleven experts from around the country, all of whom have been working on election reform in once capacity or another for years. The common themes throughout the book are that electronic voting is extremely fraudulent, a case made very well by these experts; and that the only acceptable solution is elections held with paper ballots, hand-counted in public view, with totals posted at the precinct level; NOT adding printers to machines; NOT counting paper ballots with optical scan counters.

Here we feature the second of several excerpts from the book. While some of the book's chapters were reprinted from other journals or books, Bob Fitrakis of Ohio wrote this chapter especially for HACKED! As an "Election Protection" volunteer working the 2004 Presidential election in Ohio, Fitrakis was uniquely positioned to witness a number of the creative ways in which minority voters were disenfranchised, yet another way our elections are being stolen in America. The excerpt follows:

E-voting Horrors from the Buckeye State
Bob Fitrakis

I could barely believe my eyes. It was 6:30 in the morning at the Model Cities Neighborhood facility polling site on East Broad Street in Columbus, Ohio, and the longest line of voters I had ever seen snaked well into the parking lot. Hundreds of voters crammed into the halls inside the building that housed the predominantly African American Ward 55B. As the former elected Democratic Party Ward Committeeperson (1996-2000) for the 55th in Franklin County, I knew the turnout was unprecedented. Yet, the line did not appear to be moving. As I worked my way through the crowd with my black and white Election Protection T-shirt and white Legal Team member jacket, I was startled to find only three electronic voting machines inside-of which one was a provisional voter machine that was seldom used. In the spring presidential primary there had been four machines and in prior presidential elections, there had been five machines. It was now THE high stakes 2004 presidential election...and the lack of voting machines stunned me.

The missing machines took an immediate toll on the voters. Between 6:30 and 7:00 A.M., I documented 20 voters leaving the line for various reasons. The reasons most frequently given were that they would be late for work, or that they had to get their kids to school. One elderly handicapped man said he was going home to get a chair because he couldn't stand that long. I couldn't help but think things would be moving faster if there were paper ballots that could be distributed for voting instead of forcing people to wait hours in line to vote on the e-voting machines. The Columbus-based Free Press that I publish and edit would later break a story that Ohio's Secretary of State, J. Kenneth Blackwell, Co-Chair of the Bush-Cheney Re-election Campaign, had turned down a request from Franklin County Board of Elections officials to allow voters to use paper ballots to expedite the voting process.

But this was not the first time I had witnessed problems in Ward 55B involving the e-voting machines manufactured by Danaher. In 1992, I won the Democratic primary as a candidate in the 12th Congressional District. I'd received the endorsement of both the Franklin County Democratic Party and a group of black independent activists not tied to either party supporting the candidacy of south side environmentalist Roberta Booth. So while I was looking at my numbers throughout the inner city of Columbus, where I won every precinct over Ralph Applegate of rural Licking County, I found that my official vote in my home Ward was a statistically impossible 80-20 loss to Applegate. As a political scientist, trained in statistics, with a Ph.D., I knew immediately that the computerized voting machine had flipped the vote.

Although I won the primary with 60% of the vote, I still lodged a formal complaint with then-Franklin County Party Chair Fran Ryan, who served on the Board of Elections. I still remember her words: "Oh honey, does it really matter? You won anyway."Ryan never pursued an investigation of the obviously flipped votes in the '92 primary.

Later, in 1998, underfinanced and little-known Democratic challenger Ed Brown in the same 12th District Congressional race picked up an undeserved 6% of the vote when 3% of incumbent Representative John Kasich's votes were flipped to Brown through a software glitch in an electronic voting machine. With Kasich losing in his home base of Westerville, an investigation followed by the Franklin County Board of Elections at the Representative's request which proved the e-voting machine had wrongly programmed votes away from Kasich and to Brown. In part, this is caused by an Ohio law that requires candidate's names to be rotated on the ballot from precinct to precinct so none will have an advantage being first every time.

But, back to this fateful election day, 2004: between 7 and 10 A.M. I visited all eight polling places containing nine precincts in Wards 55 and 5 in the central city. All of them had long lines, and all but one had people standing outside in the cold rain. One of the most chilling scenes of the day occurred at the Douglas Alternative Elementary School polling site. Upon arriving, I was directed by Election Protection, workers to speak with an elderly black woman who had fainted from standing in line for over two hours. (Election Protection is a citizens' group which had membership nationwide, committed to monitoring elections and reporting any voting and election irregularities they witnessed.) The lady explained to me that she was undergoing chemotherapy and couldn't stand any longer. I approached the presiding judge at the polling site and asked that the woman be accommodated as handicapped and be allowed to move to the front of the line. I was emphatically told that no handicapped individuals would be accommodated at Douglas. I threatened the standard legal action and pointed out that the people in line were willing to let her move forward, yet the presiding judge would not budge. After explaining the situation to the ailing woman, I watched her slowly walk away, cane in hand, giving up on voting that day. At that point I swore that the events I saw would be made public.

As I made my rounds and ended up back at Ward 55B, a young black woman who I had directed earlier to the Board of Elections to cast a provisional ballot, told me "Don't send anyone else down there, it's awful." I asked her what she meant and she said, "There's cops everywhere." I decided to make a trip a mile or so down Broad Street into Columbus' downtown area to the Board of Elections to demand more machines and investigate the report of police presence there.

In a scene reminiscent of my time as an international election observer in El Salvador, I found the Franklin County Board of Elections resembling a military bunker, surrounded by city buses and large concrete barriers. After I negotiated the concrete maze I came upon a large phalanx of armed, overwhelmingly white deputy sheriffs with a metal detector. Inside the building I observed additional security, as I demanded to see Matt Damschroder, County Election Director. To my surprise, the woman informed me that Damschroder was meeting with J. Kenneth Blackwell and President Bush and could not be interrupted. I continued to insist that I speak with an election official to lodge a formal complaint regarding the lack of voting machines in the inner city. Finally, Marlene Wirth, a longtime Board employee and Democratic Party operative was sent out to speak to me. Noting my Election Protection clothing, the first words out of her mouth were: "It's you people who are the problem."

HACKED! Can be purchased through the website,
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Vickie Karp is a Texas voting activist and author of Hacked! about electronic vote fraud in American elections.
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