Counting the Ballots? I'll Help.
A view from the ground in Ohio from a hard-core voting rights activist
by Victoria Parks
The cover-up by the voting machine vendors has got to be over, right? The game is up. The jig is up. The gig is up. How can it not be?
After all, Debra Bowen just decertified Diebold DRE's in California where all three major voting equipment vendors, Diebold, ES&S and Sequoia failed in test after test. Electronic voting machine malfunction is not news. Back in 2005 the GAO reported that electronic voting could be risky. The Department of Homeland Security even called the back door in Diebold's GEMS software a national security risk. The company's stock plummeted with the bad press on it's elections division. Now alas, the Diebold Elections Division has been eliminated and renamed Premier Elections Solutions. Same pig, new lipstick. Diebold just couldn't find a buyer, Hmmm. Electronic voting has got to be over, right?
Over you say?
Not while the vendors still have funds to hire PR firms to make excuses for their utter failure to protect democracy. And, certainly not while there are partisan K-street lobbyists representing the vendors! And, certainly not while lobbyists, partisan vendor moguls, and politicians perpetuate a cozy dance of musical chairs with each other's jobs. Why, this sounds just like a model for organized crime, a gamed system that plays Russian Roulette with our democracy which is proving a gambler's addiction for vendors, politicians and lobbyists, and is played at great expense to our Republic.
I would say to the vendors that it's too late for a PR campaign, though. Seeming to have lost the PR war, vendors continue to behave as if they still have a hand in the game with the public. Yes, as long as there are partisan operatives, partisan vendors, lobbyists, and politicians willing to sell out the voters while claiming that only they know how to protect democracy, they will game the American people with their own elections. Hey, wasn't convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff one of those lobbyists? You know, the one who pushed the Help America Vote Act through with the help of convicted Ohio congressman Bob Ney?
While touchscreen voting machines and their "proprietary software" may well soon be settling in their new home at the landfill, the doors of opportunity rigging elections with absentee ballots and electronic voter registration software have just opened! Even voting on the Internet is being pursued. YIKES. We shall see how this game plays however as the scandals just keep coming. But no, it aint over until the people who gamed our elections are sitting behind bars.
Stealing elections using electronic voting is a simple matter of some software programming and utilizing one or more technicians to carry out the upgrades, but voter suppression using every means available to a skilled election thief is an art practiced for thousands of years. The recent "Voter Caging" scandal brought to light by investigative journalist for the BBC, Greg Palast, has exposed the dirty truth before the Senate and House Judiciary Committees. High-level Republican operatives as Thor Hearne, head of the RNC front organization American Center for Voting Rights have been exposed by the bradblog and the remarkably tenacious journalist blogger Brad Friedman. It is a blogger who brought Hearne's voter suppression "voter fraud" scheme to light, not the mainstream media. Though this and other related stories have been picked up by media luminaries as PBS reporter David Brancacchio, and expanded upon recently by veteran anchorman journalist Dan Rather in a shocking expose´ on Diebold, Sequoia and ES&S, it is the citizen journalists and independent investigators who continue to break these stories. The one story I haven't heard enough of is from Dr. Bob Fitrakis of freepress.org which is most disturbing, in which he speaks of former Ohio SoS J. Kenneth Blackwell routing Ohio's '04 elelction results through RNC servers housed in the basement of the Old Pioneer Bank in Chatanooga, Tennessee, in the wee hours of the morning of November 3, 2004. Where is the mainstream media? Maybe that is where they will find those five million missing emails? I heard they were looking for them.
Voter Suppression is Election Fraud:
The deeper the Senate and House Judiciary Committees dig into the truth behind the partisan firing of federal prosecutors, the more is exposed about the compromised Civil Rights Division at the Department of Justice. The laundry list of fired US attorneys has left a lot of stains that haven't come out in the spin cycle. Those stains lead straight to Whitehouse spinmeister Karl Rove. Tim Griffin, Karl Rove operative and the newly appointed and subsequently resigning USA Missouri, was in and out of his job in no time flat after a sinister Voter Caging scheme Griffin was allegedly to have masterminded, was exposed by Palast. Palast's investigation reveals how deep and how high the partisan voter suppression scheme went. Did Karl Rove reward Tim Griffin with the new position as the USA Missouri in return for his work implementing the voter caging scheme, while replacing Bud Cummins in the process? Eliminating former Bud Cummins' position was the cherry on the cake for Rove operative Hearne. Cummins, as it turns out was busy at the time investigating an office franchising scheme being carried out by Missouri law firm Lathrop & Gage, a case which implicates Missouri Governor Roy Blunt. Bud Cummins was out, Griffin was in but soon thereafter resigned after being exposed on the bradblog the day before. This law office is run by Thor Hearne, Bush operative and director of the inappropriately named American Center for Voting Rights which focused on marketing the imaginary threat of "voter fraud" in '04 and '05. In so doing Hearne trumpeted the false case for "voter fraud" and in return fomade the need for stringent new voter I.D. laws nationwide seem imperative. Turns out, the propaganda campaign for voter fraud became nothing more than a scheme to disenfrnachise democratic voters by going after voter registration groups like ACORN on flimsey grounds. That case was thwon out incidentally. Blame the victim. Such a law was passed in Ohio with the repugnant I.D. provisions of Ohio House Bill 3, the "Voter Suppression Bill" pushed through by Ohio Republicans in 2005. During the hearing on HB3 I listened in horror with steam coming out of my ears watching Ohio Senator Kevin Coughlin bloviate on the "dangers of voter fraud" before the Ohio Senate Rules Committee. I turned purple with rage as he blamed the voters for all the election fraud. Those damn voters, standing in the pouring rain for four hours to exercise their right to vote just to vote once. How dare they? Look at what we have now. Hmmm. oppressive Jim Crow, poll tax voter I.D. laws. Blame the victim but hey, mission accomplished.
Voter caging worked so well for Rove and his minions in Florida in 2000, why not try trumping up voter fraud charges for '04? Find some targets like ACORN perhaps? The Voter Fraud scam gives the appearance of being dreamed up by Karl Rove operative Hearne, the Lathrop & Gage Bush Republican whose law firm was being investigated by, hmmmm, Bud Cummins. But, who else would be punished and who would be promoted concerning the voter fraud campaign? Let's look at the firing of USA Arizona, David Iglesias. Iglesias himself asserts his firing is politically motivated. Iglesias could find scant evidence to pursue legitimate cases of voter fraud, though he was severely pressured to do so by another ACVR operative Patrick L. Rogers prior to the '06 election. Rogers is another west wing political operative according to Iglesias in an interview with TruthOut. Iglesias says Karl Rove's "obsession with voter fraud" seems to have been carried out by Rogers, but Hearne too had his hand in Missouri—your wish is their command, Turdblossom.
Looking deeper into the allegation of voter fraud being trumped up: