(Article changed on January 31, 2013 at 21:36)
(Article changed on January 31, 2013 at 14:56; broken link fixed)
NBC Political Director Chuck Todd ridiculed election machine
critics at a major conference of vote-counters last weekend -- thereby underscoring
how Washington works.
Todd told the National Association of Secretaries of State that their critics must be paranoid to fear that anyone would deliberately alter results. Allegations against Karl Rove, above, are among the most common.
"That's just stretching the bounds of reality," NBC's chief White House correspondent said in response to my question asking him to amplify his Tweet last fall on vote-tampering claims. "That's feeding the conspiracy." Todd had Tweeted: "The voting machine conspiracies belong in same category as the Trump birther garbage."
Todd won a round of applause for his response, the only such
interruption during his enlightening and entertaining Jan. 26 address and Q&A.
Audience members were mainly state secretaries of state at their mid-winter
conference, plus sales reps for voting machine and software companies.
The rest of this column examines why those involved are so reluctant to discuss election machine fraud publicly except to deny its existence. Hint: Silence is golden.
Suspicious Elections Prompted Study
The secretaries of state, the voting machine companies, and a traditional media benefiting heavily from campaign ads do not want voters thinking about election machine software.
But Karl Rove, a longtime consultant to the Bush family, long ago discovered the possibilities. Let's retrace Bush-Rove footsteps.
First was the 2000 presidential race. Greg Palast's reporting for the BBC and The Guardian documented how the Florida administration of Gov. Jeb Bush used the ChoicePoint subsidiary Database Technologies Online (DBT) secretly to remove some 91,000 eligible voters, mostly Democrats and minorities, from Florida's rolls just before voting began. This helped the Bush-Cheney ticket to eke out a victory by a little over 200 votes in the recount.
In 2002, a second notorious milestone occurred in Alabama's gubernatorial election. Incumbent Democrat Don Siegelman, a potential future presidential nominee, went to bed believing he had been re-elected to a second term by some 3,000 votes. He awoke the next day to learn that 6,000 votes had mysteriously disappeared from his column in rural Baldwin County. Authorities later framed Siegelman on trumped-up corruption charges and imprisoned him with the help of a trial judge who secretly controlled a company receiving $300 million in defense contracts.
The third landmark was the 2004 Bush-Cheney victory in Ohio, whose electoral votes decided the presidency. Suspected IT fraud in that election prompted grassroots activists to try to prevent reoccurence in 2008 and 2012.
These elections beginning in 2000 helped create an "election integrity" movement in reaction. Opponents of software fraud advocate paper ballots and similar protections for the public. These elections implicated Republicans as the main suspects
and beneficiaries. Serious but less-documented allegations concern suspected Democratic
Last Oct. 24, election fraud sleuths Jill Simpson and Jim March presented the attached chart at the National Press Club to warn against fraud in 2012.