Monday, November 5, 2012
Republican ops and H.I.G. – Hart Intercivic - voting machines are again in place to steal Ohio…
In response to my two recent posts about my experiences voting in Jefferson County on machines that leave no paper trail here and here, I received two letters about the theft of the 2004 election, one of which makes clear how far along the attempt to steal Ohio for Romney in 2012 is. Bob Fitrakis, who teaches political "science" at Columbia State Community College and Harvey Wasserman, a journalist and activist - see their link to an ebook on the stealing of 2004 election - detail how the Republicans are set to do it again. See below. It is a pretty grim possibility and I hope – but do not see - that it is wrong. So get out the vote – there is a limit to how many votes can be shifted - and Obama can also win without Ohio.
But anything that can be done to shine a laser on Secretary of State of Jon Husted, the Republican governor, and H.I.G, Hart Intercivic, the e-voting machine company which has not only Tagg but Ann and Mitt Romney involved needs to be.
The Romneys really set a novel standard for “brass” – brazenness - and lying.
This morning, Fitraskis and Wasserman are filing a law suit against Secretary of State Husted about patches for the voting machines. See below.
There is a fearsome price to be paid if the truth comes out before the election. A spotlight is really a good device to warn off thieves...
The spotlight is also on the Courts which probably cannot simply do a repeat of 2000 and how such companies, owned by the miserable Tagg Romney and his parents for example, are really allowed to have “proprietary rights” to computerized voting machines which do not leave a paper trail…
This is the right to vote and for the votes to be counted, we are talking about. How some corporation can claim "proprietary rights" when these matters are, in the slightest way, unclear is bizarre.
At a minimum, voting machines need to leave independent paper trails, and all other machines, and companies that make them (again, ATMs leave paper trails; what other purpose than fraud is there in machines which do not?), need to be barred from elections.
The polling average at Talking Points Memo this morning showed Obama with a 4.4% lead in Ohio. See here. That was Kerry’s margin, destroyed by Diebold. Given the failure to canvass cell phone users (those under 30 and many under 40), the results are likely to be skewed, i.e. to be more strongly in Obama’s favor. So whether the shift will be enough and be even slightly believable - the horse race fairy tale in the corporate media, however, has made it initially "credible" to many, i.e. Republicans and the fainthearted - is an important question.
One might add that the myth of American exceptionalism - that somehow we are the "one real democracy" in the world, God-blessed, the gold standard - and certainly not worse, in the elections of 2000 and 2004 - than the so-called "banana republics" of racist lore - gulls many Americans into sleepiness. This sleep has been deepened by the silence of the Democratic Party in which there may also have been some shenanigans; Hilary's "victory" in New Hampshire over Obama after his victory in Iowa in 2008 probably bears scrutiny. Further, the corporate press coverage, that the national race is a "dead heat," also gives cover for stealing the election.
Even the Obama team's correct emphasis - that every vote counts, that one must work down to the wire - unfortunately has the side effect of legitimizing the story.
That Obama was elected in 2008 was a miracle, occasioned by two lost wars and occupations and a financial collapse. There is precisely no reason to think, after the elections of 2000 and 2004, that America is not on the verge of becoming a “banana republic,” a quasi-police state. Even Obama’s regime has consolidated elements of authoritarianism, for example in the state secrets doctrine, the continuance of Guantanamo – which Obama commendably tried to end – and the military courts and other pseudo-procedures which he and Eric Holder have, miserably, strengthened, as well as the implementation of what was called when Admiral Poindexter tried to do it for Bush: Total Information Awareness (the US government illegally and immorally collects extensive information behind a barrier of secrecy on all Americans).
Below are also links to four videos about the theft of 2004 sent to me by Matt Nicodemus.
Finally, there is a fine editorial from the Sunday New York Times which sets the general tone or background about corrupt “Republican” machinations. All the Jim Crow actions and vote stealing/shifting need to be stopped, point-blank…
Here is Harvey Wasserman's and Bob Fitrakis's letter forwarded to me by a friend:
Subject: Will Ohio's H.I.G.-Owned E-Voting Machines Give Romney the White House? by Bob Fitrakis & Harvey Wasserman
Date: October 12, 2012 8:07:30 AM MDT
Will Ohio’s H.I.G.-Owned E-Voting Machines Give Romney the White House?
By Bob Fitrakis & Harvey Wasserman
Electronic voting machines owned by Mitt Romney’s business buddies and set to count the votes in Cincinnati could decide the 2012 election.
The narrative is already being hyped by the corporate media. As Kelly O’Donnell reported for NBC’s Today Show on Monday, October 8, Ohio’s Hamilton County is “ground zero” for deciding who holds the White House come January, 2013.
O’Donnell pointed out that no candidate has won the White House without carrying Ohio since John Kennedy did it in 1960. No Republican has EVER won the White House without Ohio’s electoral votes.
As we document in the e-book WILL THE GOP STEAL AMERICA’S 2012 ELECTION (www.freepress.org) George W. Bush got a second term in 2004 thanks to the manipulation of the electronic vote count by Ohio’s then-Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell. Blackwell served as the co-chair of the state’s committee to re-elect Bush/Cheney while simultaneously administering the election.
The widespread use of electronic voting machines from ES&S, and of Diebold software maintained by Triad, allowed Blackwell to electronically flip a 4% Kerry lead to a 2% Bush victory in the dead of election night. ES&S, Diebold and Triad were all owned or operated by Republican partisans. The shift of more than 300,000 votes after 12:20 am election night was a virtual statistical impossibility. It was engineered by Michael Connell, an IT specialist long affiliated with the Bush Family. Blackwell gave Connell’s Ohio-based GovTech the contract to count Ohio’s votes, which was done on servers housed in the Old Pioneer Bank Building in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Thus the Ohio vote tally was done on servers that also carried the e-mail for Karl Rove and the national Republican Party. Connell died in a mysterious plane crash in December, 2008, after being subpoenaed in the King-Lincoln-Bronzeville federal lawsuit focused on how the 2004 election was decided (disclosure: we were attorney and plaintiff in that suit).
Diebold’s founder, Walden O’Dell, had vowed to deliver Ohio’s electoral votes---and thus the presidency---to his friend George W. Bush. That it was done in part on electronic voting machines and software O’Dell happened to own (Diebold has since changed hands twice) remains a cautionary red flag for those who believe merely winning the popular vote will give Barack Obama a second term.
This November, much of the Ohio electorate will cast its ballots on machines again owned by close cronies of the Republican presidential candidate. In Cincinnati and elsewhere around the state, the e-voting apparati are owned by Hart Intercivic. Hart’s machines are infamous for mechanical failures, “glitches,” counting errors and other timely problems now thoroughly identified with the way Republicans steal elections. As in 2004, Ohio’s governor is now a Republican. This time it’s the very right-wing John Kasich, himself a multi-millionaire courtesy of a stint at Lehman Brothers selling state bonds, and the largesse of Rupert Murdoch, on whose Fox Network Kasich served as a late night bloviator. Murdoch wrote Kasich a game-changing $1 million check just prior to his winning the statehouse, an electoral victory shrouded in electronic intrigue. The exit polls in that election indicated that his opponent, incumbent Democrat Ted Strickland, had actually won the popular vote.
Ohio’s very Republican Secretary of State is John Husted, currently suing in the US Supreme Court to prevent the public from voting on the weekend prior to election day. As did Blackwell and Governor Robert Taft in 2004, Husted and Kasich will control Ohio’s electronic vote count on election night free of meaningful public checks or balances
Hart Intercivic, on whose machines the key votes will be cast in Hamilton County, which includes Cincinnati, was taken over last year by H.I.G. Capital. Prominent partners and directors on the H.I.G. board hail from Bain Company or Bain Capital, both connected to Mitt Romney. H.I.G. employees have contributed at least $338,000 to Romney’s campaign. H.I.G. Directors John P. Bolduk and Douglas Berman are major Romney fundraisers, as is former Bain and H.I.G. manager Brian Shortsleeve.
US courts have consistently ruled that the software in electronic voting machines is proprietary to the manufacturer, even though individual election boards may own the actual machines. Thus there will be no vote count transparency on election night in Ohio. The tally will be conducted by Hart Intercivic and controlled by Husted and Kasich, with no public recourse or accountability. As federal testimony from the deceased Michael Connell made clear in 2008, electronically flipping an election is relatively cheap and easy to do, especially if you or your compatriots programmed the machines.
So as the corporate media swarm through Ohio, reporting breathlessly from “ground zero” in Cincinnati, don’t hold your own breath waiting for them to also clarify that the voting machines in what may once again be America's decisive swing state are owned, programmed and tabulated by some of the Romney campaign’s closest associates.
Bob Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman are co-authors of WILL THE GOP STEAL AMERICA’S 2012 ELECTION? an e-book here
Renowned Voting Rights Advocate Files Federal Lawsuit
Against Ohio Secretary of State John Husted
Green Party Presidential and Congressional Nominees Reveal Details
of FITRAKIS v. HUSTED
The Fitrakis v. Husted Federal lawsuit filed today in Columbus, OH demands that illegal patches implanted in critical electronic vote count software be immediately removed.
Robert Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman broke many of the major stories surrounding the theft of the 2004 election in Ohio, leading to a federal injunction and numerous criminal convictions.
Widespread abuses reported in www.freepress.org and elsewhere indicate an election already tainted by systematic disenfranchisement and computerized vote count rigging.
Today's media conference will explain this new lawsuit and present evidence of yet another national election likely to be tilted by corporate fraud and theft.
Where: Lisagor Room, National Press Club, Washington, DC;
When: 12:00 PM, Monday, November 5
With: Jill Stein, Presidential nominee, Green Party of the United States
Bob Fitrakis, Green Party Congressional nominee, Central Ohio;
Plaintiff, FITRAKIS V. HUSTED
Lori Grace, founder and CEO, Institute for American Democracy and Election Integrity
Sarah Manski, Communications Director, NoMoreStolenElections.org.
Clint Curtis, Advanced Computer Programming Expert, electronic voting software whistleblower.
Moderator: Harvey Wasserman, author, columnist; Green Party Poll Monitor, Bexley, Ohio
Here are several videos on the stealing of Ohio in 2004 sent to me by Matt Nicodemus:
Struggle: A Documentary, directed by Roger Hill (2008). This one's been showing on either Current TV or LinkTV -- I can't recall which. Very powerful and detailed re: the many different ways in which Democratic votes were stolen. See here
How the Republicans Stole '04 (on public television, video in two parts): here and here.
Mark Crispin Miller -- The Stolen 2004 Election and Election Reform (two parts): here and here (sound may be low)
"What Really Happened in the 2004 Election in Ohio," a lecture by Bob Fritakis: here.
New York Times
November 3, 2012
Upholding Democracy, Ballot by Ballot
This year, voting is more than just the core responsibility of citizenship; it is an act of defiance against malicious political forces determined to reduce access to democracy. Millions of ballots on Tuesday — along with those already turned in — will be cast despite the best efforts of Republican officials around the country to prevent them from playing a role in the 2012 election.
Even now, many Republicans are assembling teams to intimidate voters at polling places, to demand photo ID where none is required, and to cast doubt on voting machines or counting systems whose results do not go their way. The good news is that the assault on voting will not affect the election nearly as much as some had hoped. Courts have either rejected or postponed many of the worst laws. Predictions that up to five million people might be disenfranchised turned out to be unfounded.
But a great deal of damage has already been done, and the clearest example is that on Sunday in Florida, people will not be allowed to vote early. Four years ago, on the Sunday before Election Day, tens of thousands of Floridians cast their ballots, many of them black churchgoers who traveled directly from services to their polling places. Because most of them voted for Barack Obama, helping him win the state, Republicans eliminated early voting on that day. No legitimate reason was given; the action was entirely partisan in nature.
The author of that law, as The Palm Beach Post revealed last week, was Emmett Mitchell IV, the general counsel for the state Republican Party. Under his guidance, party officials in Florida got thousands of perfectly eligible black voters purged from the rolls in 2000, and got a law passed last year that limited registration drives and early voting days. A federal judge struck down the registration limits, but not before they drove down the numbers of new registrants.
The law cutting back nearly half the number of early-voting days in Florida remains in place, a reaction to the Obama campaign’s successful use of the system. Early voting is wildly popular, freeing people from having to cast a ballot within a few hours on a workday, and all but 15 states allow it in some form. (When will New York get the message?) But even after long lines formed last week at early-voting stations in Florida, Gov. Rick Scott refused to extend the period an extra day. In Ohio, a judge had to restore early-voting days that Republicans had tried to cut.
One of the biggest attempts to reduce the turnout of minority voters, poor people and others likely to vote Democratic has been the imposition of photo ID requirements, under the guise of preventing nonexistent voter fraud. In Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas and Wisconsin, courts have blocked these laws or postponed them until after the election, but the issue is by no means dead, and Republicans can be expected to continue to press their self-serving case.
In Iowa and Wisconsin, the Romney campaign has given its poll watchers misleading or incorrect information — for instance, that voters should show an ID in Iowa, where none is required — which could create disputes and long lines, most likely in Democratic precincts.
One of the saddest signs of the politicization of the voting process and the counting of ballots has been the armies of lawyers assembled by both parties in the swing states where the vote is likely to be the closest. Much of this would be unnecessary if not for the requirements that Republicans have tried to put in place, which force Democrats to make sure that provisional ballots are not thrown out or mishandled. (In Nevada, Republicans are already preparing their challenge by claiming, with absolutely no evidence, that some machines are malfunctioning in Mr. Obama’s favor.)
Public outcry, with support from the courts, may eventually remove these threats to democracy. For now, those who contribute to a heavy turnout on Tuesday will send a message that Americans reject any underhanded effort to place political gain above a franchise for which people have given their lives.