Saturday, November 06, 2004

Voting Irregularities

There's some claims being made that the Tuesday election was stolen by dishonest deeds. Some of this reporting may be the response of frustrated Democrats and conspiracy theorists. I doubt if all of it is, though. I think these incidents, if proven to have any validity, need further investigation.

Many of you are most likely already aware of these stories. The reason I'm even mentioning them is that a shadowy character, discussed previously here at Jake's place, shows up on the scene once again. I'll get to that in a bit. First, here's a review of the current reporting;

An Election Spoiled Rotten;
John Kerry is down by several thousand votes in New Mexico, though not one ballot has yet been counted. He's also losing big time in Colorado and Ohio; and he's way down in Florida, though the votes won't be totaled until Tuesday night.

Through a combination of sophisticated vote rustling—ethnic cleansing of voter rolls, absentee ballots gone AWOL, machines that "spoil" votes—John Kerry begins with a nationwide deficit that could easily exceed one million votes...

N.C. Computer Loses More Than 4,500 Votes;
More than 4,500 votes have been lost in one North Carolina county because officials believed a computer that stored ballots electronically could hold more data than it did. Scattered other problems may change results in races around the state...

Computer Glitch Still Baffles County Clerk:
The day after a two-and-a-half-hour delay in counting ballots due to a glitch in a computer program, LaPorte County election officials are still trying to figure out what happened.

"Maybe there was a power surge," LaPorte County Clerk Lynne Spevak said. "Something zapped it"...

House Dems Seek Election Inquiry :
Three congressmen sent a letter to the General Accounting Office on Friday requesting an investigation into irregularities with voting machines used in Tuesday's elections.

The congressmen, Democratic members of the House of Representatives from Florida, New York and Michigan, cited a number of incidents that came to light in the days after the election. One was a glitch in Ohio that caused a memory card reader made by Danaher Controls to give George W. Bush 3,893 more votes than he should have received. Another was a problem with memory cards in North Carolina that caused machines made by UniLect to lose 4,500 votes cast on e-voting machines. The votes were lost when the number of votes cast on the machines exceeded the capacity of the memory cards...

Hacking Democracy?
Computerized vote-counting machines are sweeping the country. But they can be hacked -- and right now there's no way to be sure they haven't been...

Evidence Mounts That The Vote Was Hacked:
When I spoke with Jeff Fisher this morning (Saturday, November 06, 2004), the Democratic candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives from Florida's 16th District said he was waiting for the FBI to show up. Fisher has evidence, he says, not only that the Florida election was hacked, but of who hacked it and how. And not just this year, he said, but that these same people had previously hacked the Democratic primary race in 2002 so that Jeb Bush would not have to run against Janet Reno, who presented a real threat to Jeb, but instead against Bill McBride, who Jeb beat.

"It was practice for a national effort," Fisher told me.

And evidence is accumulating that the national effort happened on November 2, 2004...
Here's an interesting film that explores the problem of voting machines; Votergate; The Movie.
(Note: Votergate is currently displaying this message; Our video files have been attacked and taken out. Who doesn't want you to see this film? We are working around the clock to get the video files back online right away. Please check back soon.)

One final quote that looks at who is behind the companies that manufacture and service these machines;

Election Fraud;
It's a shell game, with money, companies and corporate brands switching in a blur of buy-outs and bogus fronts. It's a sinkhole, where mobbed-up operators, paid-off public servants, crazed Christian fascists, CIA shadow-jobbers, war-pimping arms dealers - and presidential family members - lie down together in the slime. It's a hacker's dream, with pork-funded, half-finished, secretly-programmed computer systems installed without basic security standards by politically-partisan private firms, and protected by law from public scrutiny.

It's how the United States, the "world's greatest democracy," casts its votes. And it's why George W. Bush almost certainly won the 2004 presidential election.

The American vote-count is controlled by three major corporate players - Diebold, ES&S, and Sequoia - with a fourth, Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC), coming on strong. These companies - all of them hardwired into the Bushist Party power grid - were given billions of dollars by the Bush Regime to complete a sweeping computerization of voting machines nationwide for the 2004 election. These glitch-riddled systems - many using "touch-screen" technology that leaves no paper trail at all - are almost laughably open to manipulation, according to corporate whistleblowers and computer scientists at Stanford, John Hopkins and other universities.

The technology had a trial run in the 2002 mid-term elections. In Georgia, serviced by new Diebold systems, a popular Democratic governor and senator were both unseated in what the media called "amazing" upsets, with results showing vote swings of up to 16 percent from the last pre-ballot polls. In computerized Minnesota, former vice president Walter Mondale - a replacement for popular incumbent Paul Wellstone, who died in a plane crash days before the vote - was also defeated in a large last-second vote swing. Convenient "glitches" in Florida saw an untold number of votes intended for the Democratic candidate registering instead for Governor Jeb "L'il Brother" Bush. A Florida Democrat who lost a similarly "glitched" local election went to court to have the computers examined - but the case was thrown out by a judge who ruled that the innards of America's voting machines are the "trade secrets" of the private companies who make them.

Who's behind these private companies? It's hard to tell: the corporate lines - even the bloodlines - of these "competitors" are so intricately mixed. For example, at Diebold - whose corporate chief, Wally O'Dell, a top Bush fundraiser, has publicly committed himself to "delivering" his home state's votes to Bush next year - the election division is run by Bob Urosevich. Bob's brother, Todd, is a top executive at "rival" ES&S. The brothers were originally staked in the vote-count business by Howard Ahmanson, a member of the Council for National Policy, a right-wing "steering group" stacked with Bushist faithful.

Ahmanson is also one of the bagmen behind the extremist "Christian Reconstructionist" movement, which openly advocates a theocratic takeover of American democracy, placing the entire society under the "dominion" of "Christ the King." This "dominion" includes the death penalty for homosexuals, exclusion of citizenship for non-Christians, stoning of sinners and - we kid you not - slavery, "one of the most beneficent of Biblical laws."

Ahmanson also has major holdings in ES&S, whose former CEO is Republican Senator Chuck Hagel of Nebraska. When Hagel ran for office, his own company counted the votes; needless to say, his initial victory was reported as "an amazing upset." Hagel still has a million-dollar stake in the parent company of ES&S. In Florida, Jeb Bush's first choice for a running mate in his 1998 gubernatorial race was ES&S lobbyist Sandra Mortham, who made a mint installing the machines that counted Jeb's votes...
Howard Ahmanson shows up once again. Imagine that.

Avenging Angel of the Religious Right:
In the summer of 2000, a group of frustrated Episcopalians from the board of the American Anglican Council gathered at a sun-soaked Bahamanian resort to blow off some steam and hatch a plot. They were fed up with the Episcopal Church and what they perceived as a liberal hierarchy that had led it astray from centuries of so-called orthodox Christian teaching. The only option, they believed, was to lead a schism.

But this would take money. After the meeting, Anglican Council vice president Bruce Chapman sent a private memo to the group's board detailing a plan to involve Howard F. Ahmanson Jr., a Southern California millionaire, and his wife, Roberta Green Ahmanson, in the plan. "Fundraising is a critical topic," Chapman wrote. "But that topic itself is going to be affected directly by whether we have a clear, compelling forward strategy. I know that the Ahmansons are only going to be available to us if we have such a strategy and I think it would be wise to involve them directly in settling on it as the options clarify." It was a logical pitch: As a key financier of the Christian right with a penchant for anti-gay campaigns, Ahmanson clearly shared the Anglican Council's interest in subverting the left-leaning church. Moreover, Ahmanson and his wife were close friends and prayer partners of David Anderson, the Anglican Council's chief executive, while Chapman and his political team were already enjoying hefty annual grants from Ahmanson to Chapman's think tank, the Discovery Institute.

Soon, the money came rolling in to the Anglican Council, with more than $1 million in donations from Ahmanson in 2000 and 2001...
Ahmanson also just happens to be a member of St. James, Newport Beach, which is currently involved in a legal struggle with the diocese of Los Angeles since they decided to join a Ugandan diocese. I commented on this a few months ago. St. James might win this legal battle. Ahmanson has deep pockets.

It is also worth noting Ahmanson's connection with the Institue on Religion and Democracy, which shares an office and mailing address with the American Anglican Council. The IRD is a well funded advocacy group which uses various tactics to push the agenda of the religious right within the mainline traditions. Their "Episcopal Action" segment recently played an important role in forming a witch hunt within the Episcopal Church. Roberta Ahmanson, Howard's wife, is a member of the IRD's board.

Is there any reason for liberal and moderate Christians to be concerned about the religious right's attempts to manipulate American politics? This Episcopalian is concerned. I'll let you come to your own conclusions.


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