Tuesday, December 28, 2004

How the Election was Stolen: Let me Count the Ways

From the November issue of The Hightower Lowdown (subscription):

John Kerry lost, right? Well, he says he did—he conceded to Bush only hours after the polls closed. But not everyone agrees. Citing a plethora of voting glitches, discrepancies, and "oddities" in states like Ohio and Florida, many democracy activists are not giving up as easily as Kerry did.

Lest you think that these are people who wear tin-foil hats, they are not running around spouting conspiracy theories; they're citing official election results, like the suburban precinct outside Columbus, Ohio, that has 800 voters, but recorded 3,893 for Bush. In a town west of Cleveland, with about 13,000 voters, some 18,000 votes were cast. Also in suburban Cleveland, 29 precincts reported 93,000 more votes than they had voters. In Warren County, outside of Cincinnati, election officials locked down the building where the votes were counted, preventing reporters or other citizens from watching the count. They claim that the FBI and Homeland Security agents had warned them that they were under Code Red terrorist alert. The FBI says it never said that. In Florida, 29 rural counties with huge Democratic majorities reported lopsided victories for Bush. In these counties, optical scanners read paper ballots, then fed the tallies into Windows-based computers that tabulate statewide totals. Vote-fraud watchdog Bev Harris demonstrated on the Tina Brown TV show, before Nov. 2, how easy it is to get inside the software in those computers and change the tallies (go to www.blackbox voting. org)—and several analysts have shown that the percentage of registered Democrats who voted for Bush in those optical-scan counties is mysteriously higher than in comparable counties that used touch-screen machines. (Go to http://www.ustogether org/Florida_Election.htm)

A war is raging among statisticians over the cause and significance of this anomaly, but finding a machine in which the numbers were deliberately altered is going to be tough because the pro- Republican companies that make the software refuse to show it to anyone. Six prominent members of Congress and about a million web blogs have called for a nonpartisan investigation into these and other documentable voting glitches.

Kerry might or might not have been outvoted, but for the public to have faith in our voting system, we need to know!

Let's be blunt: The Republican Party made a determined effort by to keep people who tend to vote Democratic from voting at all. I don't just mean the notorious efforts in Florida by First Brother Jeb Bush to purge the voter rolls of thousands of eligible African Americans, but also tactics employed all across the country.

On election day itself, GOP officials who presided over the election in key states like Ohio simply shorted many Democratic precincts on the number of voting machines made available. The result was that voters faced interminable waits—lines snaked around city blocks, forcing people to stand for seven, nine, or more hours for their turn at the machines. Uncounted thousands of people who have jobs and families to deal with were driven away from the polls by this deliberate logjam.