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Life Arts    H1'ed 4/12/15

CODE RED: Jonathan Simon's Hail-Mary for Democracy

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My guest today is Jonathan Simon, co-founder and currently Executive Director of Election Defense Alliance.

JB: Welcome back to OpEdNews, Jonathan. You wrote Code Red: Computerized Election Theft and the new American Century, and more recently the post 2014 edition. Why did you write this book?

JS: Why did Doug Flutie throw his "Hail-Mary" pass? Because the clock was running out and the end zone was a mile away.

I have been witness to and participant in more than a decade of strenuous but essentially fruitless efforts to challenge the passivity with which America has collectively accepted an "upgrade" that gave us a concealed, computerized, privatized vote counting process--a Trojan Horse which the forensic evidence we have painstakingly gathered links inextricably to a bewildering political sea change tantamount to a rolling coup. It became clear to me that a massive boost of public awareness would be essential as a foundation for the kind of determined and dramatic action needed to restore observable vote counting to our wounded democracy. CODE RED is my hail-mary pass to bring about that awareness.

I also state my purpose explicitly in CODE RED, if I may quote myself:

"My goal in writing this book has been to bring the issue of vote counting, and the perils it presents in the New American Century, into the public discourse. I hope also that reading CODE RED will help those who have been keeping to themselves their suspicions, concerns, or outrage about our faith-based, man-behind-the-curtain electoral system to recognize that they are neither crazy nor alone."

Some may view CODE RED as primarily a fact-laden reference book, but to me it is rather a kind of suspense or even horror story with factual backup--a Blair Witch Project of contemporary American politics. I hope no one finishes it unshaken or finds it possible to remain passive and quiet.

JB: Anyone who is still unaware of the dire situation need only consult the recent Harvard study that places the U.S. 46th in the world for election integrity. Can you explain briefly what's happened with exit polls, traditionally a good indication when something is amiss electorally?

JS: If the United States were pretty much any other country on Earth, the chronic disparities between exit polls and vote counts--which we have come to call the "Red Shift" because they are virtually always in the same direction, favoring Republican candidates--would have resulted in charges of wholesale fraud, serious investigations, and probably even electoral re-dos. In America, however--in no small part because we just take it as an article of faith that we must be first in the world when it comes to election integrity--the Red Shift is simply taken in stride: the pundits conclude that the pollsters must have, yet again, "oversampled Democrats," or that Republican (but not Democratic) voters must just be lying to the exit pollsters. Although unsupported by evidence, these conclusions are comforting to a nation that, collectively, would rather not ask serious questions about how its votes are being counted.

In E2014 the Red Shift was especially egregious: 19 out of 21 exit-polled US Senate elections were red-shifted; 20 out of 21 gubernatorial elections were red-shifted; and in the US House, which is exit-polled with an aggregate national sample, the Red Shift was 3.7%, the equivalent of nearly 3 million votes, more than enough to determine control of the House. This caps a pattern in which six out of seven biennial elections since the computers took over in 2002 have exhibited the Red Shift--in other words, a whole era of suspect elections with cumulative political effect.

To which we may add that none of the thousands of contests for state legislative office is ever exit polled, and capture of those legislatures has enabled Republicans (who now hold 68 out of the 100 state legislative chambers, more than at any time since the Hoover presidency) to lock in their gains indefinitely via such tactics as gerrymandering, voter suppression laws, gutting of campaign finance regulations, and control of other aspects of election administration. Those critical infrastructural elections can be electronically rigged with essentially zero risk--not even a Red Shift to be explained away.

But it has become clear enough that, in America at least, exit polls and the chronic Red Shift disparities are simply written off. The burden of proof for election theft appears to be set higher than any statistics, no matter how telling, will ever be able to meet. Since we are strictly denied access to all such "smoking gun" materials as memory cards, computer code, and actual voter-marked ballots, "proving" fraud has become a terminally frustrating effort. But is that what we have to do before America decides to take a serious look at its vote counting process?

I think not. If you took all of the analyses in CODE RED--every calculation of the Red Shift, every flipped vote, every suspect result, all evidence of fraud, and the whole big picture of resulting political incongruity--and tossed it all in the trashcan, if you said it was all a conspiracy theorist's mirage, what we'd still have sitting on the table in front of us is an unobservable vote counting process. A process in which votes become 1s and 0s in the pitch dark of cyberspace--literally trillions of 1s and 0s, a tiny portion of which can be moved around in that darkness to alter outcomes and change what will one day be our history and world history. Without an observable count of the votes, elections are fatally compromised as the legitimate foundation of democracy, and this basic truth requires no exit polls, no Red Shift, no forensics, direct or indirect, to establish.

JB: If there is no way to measure, now that the once tried and true exit polls have been discarded, how do we know what the electorate actually looks like, locally and nationally? Could it be that our nation really is as red as the elections appear to indicate and complaints and concerns are not justified?

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Joan Brunwasser is a co-founder of Citizens for Election Reform (CER) which since 2005 existed for the sole purpose of raising the public awareness of the critical need for election reform. Our goal: to restore fair, accurate, transparent, secure elections where votes are cast in private and counted in public. Because the problems with electronic (computerized) voting systems include a lack of (more...)

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