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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 1/25/10

Massachusetts 'Deja Vu'-Senate Race - Questionable Counts &-Speedy Concessions

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Message Lynn Landes
The controversy over Massachusetts Democrat Martha Coakley's quick concession,despite red flags over the use of non-transparent voting technology, regardless of complaints from voters of election day irregularities, and before all the ballots were counted, is a replay of previous hasty 'election concessions'. Stoking the frustration of her supporters was Coakley's apparent victory in the hand-counted paper ballot precincts in Massachusetts over Republican Scott Brown.
On Wednesday, January 20, Bev Harris of BlackBoxVoting.org reported, "According to preliminary media results by municipality, Democrat Martha Coakley won Massachusetts overall in its hand counted locations,* with 51.12% of the vote (32,247 hand counted votes) to Brown's 30,136, which garnered him 47.77% of hand counted votes. Margin: 3.35% lead for Coakley. Massachusetts has 71 hand count locations, 91 ES&S locations, and 187 Diebold locations, with two I call the mystery municipalities (Northbridge and Milton) apparently using optical scanners, not sure what kind."
It's almost happened before. Howard Dean nearly won the hand-counted precincts in the New Hampshire presidential primary of 2004 against John Kerry. Martin Bento published an interesting analysis of the primary results based on the voting systems used. According to Bento, Howard Dean lost to Massachusetts Senator John Kerry by only 1.6% when the ballots were hand-counted, 9.7%when ES&S optical scanners were used, and 14.7%on Diebold scanners. (See: http://www.thelandesreport.com/NewHampshirePrimary.htm)

Who knows how many candidates may have won hand-counts over machine-counts? Despite warnings not to concede, not to trust the machine counts, to wait until at least the paper ballots had been counted, Coakley acted as if she couldn't wait to throw in the towel. Brad Friedman wrote,
"Several supporters of Democrat Martha Coakley were injured during her rush to get to the phone as quickly as possible in order to concede the race for the U.S. Senate in MA to Scott Brown even before AP called the race in favor of the Republican. That, while some 25% of the precincts had yet to report even how Diebold's easily-hacked, oft-failed optical-scan machines (which are in violation of federal voting system standards and programmed by a company with a disturbing and criminal background), had even reported their tabulation and, more disturbingly, while 0% of the voters' cast ballots in Massachusetts had been counted or examined by any human being on the face of the earth" http://www.bradblog.com/?p=7656

That's happened before, too. In a2006 article, I wrote, "Democrats have considerable cause to be concerned about their candidates. Last spring, San Diego Democrats were flabbergasted when Francine Busby conceded the election to Republican Brian Bilbray before all the ballots were counted. She left thousands of absentee ballots uncounted, more than enough to win her the election." http://www.thelandesreport.com/2006MidtermElections.htm

Enter John Kerry, again. After Kerry (George W. Bush's fraternity brother)promised voters to count every ballot inthe 2004 presidential election against Bush, he did just the opposite. "Greens joined numerous Democrats in criticizing John Kerry's quick concession to President Bush in light of thousands of uncounted and obstructed votes and wide discrepancies between counted votes and exit polls,"reported the Green Party of the United States. http://www.gp.org/press/pr_11_08_04b.html.
So, not uncoincidentally perhaps, last week Kerry congratulated Coakley on her speedy concession. Brad Friedman reported:
"Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) released a statement upon hearing the news, proclaiming he was "proud of the speed at which Martha (Coakley) was able to concede the race with even fewer of the votes counted by anyone --- zero in Martha's case --- than when I conceded the race for President of the United States in 2004." Kerry added that he had prepared his statement on Monday, so as to save valuable time on Election Night, since American Idol was also scheduled to be on."

There are a couple of exceptions to this 'need to concede'. In 2005, Republican candidate Steve Troxlerfor North Carolina's Commissioner of Agriculture, rounded up affidavits from more than 1,400 voters who said they had voted for him in precincts where voting machines had lost votes. As a result, his Democratic opponent conceded. Clint Curtis, computer programmer and election fraud whistleblower, discovered that the official election results of his November 2006 race for Congress, differed from his own audit by an average of 16%! Like Troxler, Curtis's post election audit consisted of collecting voters signed statements indicating for whom they voted.It showed that Curtis should have won the election. Curtis took his evidence to the U.S. Committee on House Administration, chaired by Philadelphia Democrat, Congressman Robert Brady, whereupon the entire committee, both Democrats and Republicans, unanimously voted not to investigate.

And therein lies the rub. Our major political parties appear not at all interested in investigating or instituting any counter measures to any election fraud that involves America's nontransparent voting process (i.e., voting technology and absentee ballots). In a 2008 article, I wrote:
I've been advising (sometimes begging) candidates and activists to conduct audits (or Parallel Elections), since 2005. In 2006, I e-mailed every Democratic congressional candidate urging them to audit. Last summer, I went to the DemocracyFest in New Hampshire for the same purpose.The conference was sponsored by Democracy for America (DFA).According to their website: "As the chair of Democracy for America (DFA), Jim Dean is committed to carrying on what his brother, Governor Howard Dean, started - strengthening grassroots participation; and the recruitment and election of fiscally responsible and socially progressive candidates to all levels of government. This is a long-term investment that will pay off if we are willing to stand up for what we believe in and support candidates at every level of political office."

At the conference Clint Curtis, Judy Alter, myself, and a few other activists met with Jim Dean. We requested that he give our effort some much needed publicity by adding our information to the curriculum, or at least posting something on his website. We pleaded our case, pointing out that if candidates didn't verity the vote count, what was the point of running for office? Although polite, Jim Dean has, thus far, refused our request. You would think he would know better, given his own brother's history.

I received the same reaction a few months later at the Claim Democracy Conference in Washington, DC. It was another effort dedicated to candidate training. And their organizers,like Jim Dean,also acted like they had never considered the idea of checking up on the vote count in any other way, but to request an official recount.http://www.thelandesreport.com/NewHampshirePrimary.htm
One can't help but reach the conclusion that elections in America are one big fat charade, as powerful players within both the Democratic and Republican parties continue to support a voting system that is totally nontransparent and easy to rig, particularly by government or 'voting machine' industry insiders. After years of meticulous investigation by a growing cadre of researchers and journalists documenting massive election fraud and voting technology failures, candidates continue to ignore calls to wait for all the ballots to be counted or to independently audit their own election results. Coakley may have actually won the election, but unless she or a concerned citizens group ask Massachusetts voters to go public with their votes (in select precincts, like Troxler and Curtis did), no one will ever know.

Contact: lynnlandes@earthlink.net or 215-629-3553


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Lynn Landes is a Philadelphia-based writer, researcher, and activist in the fields of politics, health, and the environment. Her articles and opinions have been published in several books, films, and online publications.

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