An Anthology of the Best Political Opinion and
From the Progressive Internet -- www.crisispapers.org
WHY WE MUST NOT “GET OVER IT”
Part One: A Stolen Election? Hard Facts. The
Media Dismisses the Critics.
"The Crisis Papers."
November 24, 2004
This first part of a two-part essay presents the
undisputed facts about "direct-recording electronic" (DRE) voting
machines, and then explores some implications of these paperless
"touch-screen" devices. Concerns about the reliability of these
machines have been discounted and even ridiculed by the mainstream
media, despite clear indication that they may have caused fraudulent
congressional and gubernatorial election victories in 2002. Part
Two examines indications of DRE fraud in the 2004 presidential election,
and argues that the fate of American democracy may rest upon whether or
not the public and the media keep the issue of ballot integrity alive
and demand investigation of the validity of the 2004 election.
Hand over the tin foil hat: I’m a believer!
I strongly suspect that if everyone who went to the polls on November 2
voted, and if all the votes were tallied as the voters intended, then John
Kerry would now be the President-Elect – by a landslide. Even if we
disregard the intended votes of the discouraged voters who were unwilling or
unable to remain in line at the polls or whose registration was “lost,”
Kerry still would have won.
Notice that I said “suspect.” I am less than fully convinced.
New evidence of electoral fraud is coming in each day, so I will not attempt
to cover even the most prominent new indicators that there has been a horrendous
crime against our republic and its citizens. Instead, I would like to offer
a fresh perspective on some of the evidence at hand.
Serious consideration of the possibility that George Bush may, for the
second time, have acquired his office through fraud and manipulation, has
been effectively banished from the mainstream media. The issue has been kept
alive by the progressive internet and, occasionally, the foreign press.
When, in rare instances, the charge of election fraud is mentioned by the
media, it is routinely dismissed with contempt and ridicule.
The “rebuttal argument”? “Shut up!.” “Get over it!” “Conspiracy nuts.” “Not
worthy of serious consideration.” “Move along folks, nothing to see here.”
This dismissive headline from the New York Times is typical:
“Vote Fraud Theories, Spread by Blogs, are Quickly Buried.” (See also
Washington Post and the
Boston Globe). In fact, prominent among the debunkers are such
liberal supporters of John Kerry as Al Franken, Arianna Huffington, and
Farad Manjoo (Salon.com).
To be sure, there are reputable scholarly studies that defend the legitimacy
of the 2004 Presidential election. Prominent among these are the analyses of
the Florida election by
Jasjeet Sekhon and
Walter Mebane, and by the
Technology Project (This study is criticized by
of the University of Indiana).
Soon to follow, however, were disturbing statistical analyses by
Freeman of the University of Pennsylvania and the University of
Quantitative Research Team.
Freeman examined the discrepancies between the exit polls and the final
tallies in Ohio, Florida and Pennsylvania. He concluded that “The odds
against all three occurring together are 662,000-to-one. As much as we can
say in social science that something is impossible, it is impossible that
the discrepancies between predicted and actual vote counts in the three
critical battleground states of the 2004 election could have been due to
chance or random error.”
The UC-Berkeley team concluded that “irregularities associated with
electronic voting machines may have awarded 130,000-260,000 or more excess
votes to President George W. Bush in Florida in the 2004 presidential
Critics of the UC-Berkeley study have pointed out that even if the study
were correct, these “excesses” were not sufficient to alter the outcome of
the Florida election. However, these were not the only anomalies in Florida.
In view of additional irregularities such as “lost” absentee and provisional
ballots, an “honest” Florida election might well have gone to John Kerry,
and with it the Presidency. As in 2000, the Florida exit polls indicated a
victory for the Democrat.
SOME UNDISPUTED FACTS:
The following essential facts about direct-recording electronic (DRE)
“touch-screen” voting machines are acknowledged by both sides of the
The machines produce no paper or other independently
auditable record of the votes.
The software that records the votes is “proprietary” –
It follows that there are no direct and independent means
for a citizen or a government agency to verify that a vote has been
correctly counted and recorded. As the UC-Berkeley group pointed out,
statistical analysis is “the sole method available to monitor the accuracy
of e- voting.” Accordingly, the only possible answer that a company
official can give to a demand for verification is “trust us.”
DRE machines can be easily “hacked” – vote totals changed,
leaving no evidence of the tampering. This is not speculative. Several
demonstration “hackings” have been performed.
The owners and senior officers of the three major
companies that manufacture and program the machines are supporters of and
contributors to the Republican Party and the Bush Campaign.
Observers abroad are astonished at the willingness of the
American people to tolerate the privatization of their elections, and the
use of non-auditable polling machines. They should be astonished.
American elections are absurdly insecure, as they offer an open invitation
for political allies of the DRE manufacturers (i.e., Republicans) to steal
elections with little fear of discovery.
In the 2004 presidential election, about thirty percent of the votes were
cast with “paperless” touch-screen voting machines, manufactured by Diebold,
ES&S and Sequoia. (Diebold, the largest of these, also manufactures ATM
machines and checkout scanners which, of course, print out paper receipts of
Diebold and ES&S, both founded by Republican Bob Urosevich, are responsible
for the central tallying of about 80% of all votes cast in the United
States. (C. D. Sludge
Fitrakis) Recall that Diebold CEO Wally O’Dell announced that he was
committed "to helping Ohio deliver its electoral votes to the President."
THE “WARRENIZATION” OF THE FRAUD ISSUE.
In view of all this, why has there not been a public outcry and a demand for
Because the corporate media have succeeded in “Warrenizing”
those who insist
that this election may have been stolen by Bush and the Republicans.
The critics have
been as effectively marginalized as were those who would not accept the
"official version" Warren Report on the Kennedy assassination. To this date,
critics of “the official version” of the election have had little impact
upon the general public, not because their arguments are weak or the
rebuttals conclusive, but, far worse for their case, because they are
regarded as "unfashionable," and "out of the mainstream."
This is not the place to revive the Warren Report controversy, except to say
that even believers, if they are honest and informed, must concede that the
skeptics have a plausible case, even if the believers are unconvinced by the
Let the following suffice in behalf of the skeptics (which includes myself):
Millions have seen with their own eyes clear evidence that, contrary to the
Warren Report, the fatal shot came from the front. They have nonetheless
been persuaded not to believe their "own lyin' eyes." Specifically, the
Zapruder film clearly shows that one shot caused brains and blood from JFK's
head to spew out behind the head. According to Newton's laws of motion, this
could only be caused by a shot from the front. Those laws of motion, by the
way, are implicitly known to anyone who has played a game of pool, punted a
football, or driven an nail with a hammer. I.e., everybody.
To this day, polls show that a majority of the public doubts the Warren
Report, nor have most of the public believed it since its publication in
September, 1964. Still, it is the "official version," and those who publicly
express skepticism (e.g., Oliver Stone) are promptly dismissed by the
mainstream media. (Incidentally, if I had served on the jury depicted in
Oliver Stone's JFK, I would have voted acquittal. While Garrison/Costner
effectively debunked the Warren Report, he failed to prove the guilt of the
defendants -- a pathetic assortment of New Orleans freaks).
This might be the fate in store for those who insist that the presidential
election of 2004 was stolen by the Bush campaign. Not that they don't have a
compelling case, but rather that their accusations are "unfashionable," “out
of the mainstream,” “grassy knoll conspiracy bunk.”
Nonetheless, however much the skeptics are dismissed by the media as
“conspiracy nuts,” the evidence is what it is. “Fashion” and “the mainstream”
have nothing to do with it.
“THEY WOULDN’T DARE!”
The crime of stealing a presidential election is so portentous – in effect,
it is nothing less than treason – that the public appears unable to
seriously consider the thought that Bush and his associates could
contemplate, much less accomplish, such an offense against the body politic.
“They wouldn’t dare!” we are told.
Oh, wouldn’t they?
Reflect for a moment: who would have imagined, four years ago, that the Bush
administration would dare to implement the following:
For the first time in our history, an American president
launched an aggressive war against a sovereign nation that posed no threat
to the United States. Moreover, the justifications for this war have
all proven to be without foundation. The war is illegal according to
In retaliation for the Joseph Wilson's offense of truth-telling,
Wilson’s wife, CIA operative Valerie Plame, was “outed” by a
still-unidentified and unindicted official in Bush Administration. Plame
was coordinating counter-terrorist activities.
American citizens Yassir Hamdi and Jose Padilla were
incarcerated indefinitely, without charge, without access to legal
counsel, without trial, all this in violation of four articles of the Bill
Torture of prisoners took place at Abu Ghraib and
Guantánamo in violation of the Geneva Conventions, which have the force of
United States law. Attorney-General designate Alberto Gonzales drew up a
memo sanctioning torture, and describing the Geneva Conventions against
torture as “quaint.”
"Tax reforms” benefited the wealthiest two percent of the
population at the expense of the middle class and the poor, while support
of public institutions such as research, education, infrastructure and
health care was severely curtailed. The federal deficit has put severe
financial burdens upon future generations.
There is much more, of course, but this much makes the
point: George Bush and his associates have perpetrated offenses against
the American people, the Constitution, and the world community that were
scarcely imaginable when they took office four years ago.
In addition, the public has learned of numerous instances of GOP ballot
manipulation and voter suppression, including “lost” absentee and
provisional ballots, purge lists that disenfranchised tens of thousands of qualified voters
(Florida 2000), the closing and unannounced relocation of
polling precincts, insufficient numbers of voting machines in heavily
Democratic districts (Ohio, 2004). Why then is it such a “stretch” to
suspect that, given the opportunity and little chance of discovery, the same
political operatives might not engage in direct alteration of voting totals
via software in the voting machines and the vote compiling centers?
Not only might the GOP “fix” an election with paperless e-voting machines,
there is compelling statistical evidence that e-voting manipulation and fraud were at work in
the 2002 mid-term elections. Within days of the 2002 election,
Zealand website Scoop published a comparison of the final polls with the
actual results of 19 contests (five Governor, four House, ten Senate). The
“14 races showed a post opinion poll swing towards the
Republican Party (by between 3 and 16 points)
“2 races showed a post opinion poll swing towards the
Democratic Party (by 2 and 4 points)
“In three races the pollsters were close to correct
“The largest post opinion poll vote swings occurred in
Minnesota and Georgia...
“All the post polling swings in favour of the democratic
party were within the margin of error.
“Several of the post polling swings in favour of the
republican party were well outside the margin of error.”
The Georgia races are particularly interesting, not only
because they had the largest post-poll swings, but also because most of the
state used paperless Diebold DRE machines. In the senate race, Max Cleland
led Saxby Chamblis by 2 to 5 points in the polls. Cleland lost, by 7 points
– a swing of 9 to 12 points. In the Gubernatorial race, Democrat Roy Barnes
led Republican Sunny Perdue by nine points, only to lose by seven points –
an incredible shift of 16 points.
In the interval between the final polling and the election, there were no
startling events that could explain these discrepancies. That being the
case, the statistical probability of a random deviation of nine to twelve
points (Cleland/Chamblis) and sixteen points (Barnes/Perdue) ranges from
less than two percent (Senate) to one in several hundred thousands
(Governor). (I will spare you the statistical analysis here. But if you
insist upon taking the punishment, the statistical argument may be found
Can the state of Georgia validate their e-voting returns? They cannot. There is no
independent audit trail. They can only refer one to the manufacturers and
programmers of the DRE equipment – the Diebold Corporation. Diebold’s only
available answer: “Trust us!”
Was Georgia (and presumably several other states) a trial run for a
Presidential election? If so, it was a stunning success. Not only did the
Republicans “turn” at least two senate seats (thus winning control of the
Senate), but in addition the media took no great notice of these upsets, and
the Democrats meekly accepted the results without protest. To this date,
three weeks after the 2004 election, that pattern appears to be repeating.
Part Two of this essay examines indications of DRE
fraud in the 2004 presidential election, and argues that the fate of
American democracy may rest upon whether or not the public and the media
keep the issue of ballot integrity alive and demand an investigation of
the validity of the 2004 election. Follow
this link for the complete essay.
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