During the two and a half years that The Crisis Papers has been on the
web, we have posted hundreds of articles and links in our
2004 Fraud” and
“Electoral Integrity” pages. In addition I have written and
published numerous essays about the issue,
recently just two weeks ago. On each occasion, I have received
numerous letters telling me “I’m convinced that the elections are frauds,”
then asking “Now what can I do about it?”
Here is a partial answer. “Partial,” because if honest and verifiable
elections are ever to return to the United States, it will be because this
question will be asked relentlessly by an outraged public.
Electoral integrity is arguably the most important political issue to face
the American people since the founding of our democracy, as it raises the
question of whether, in fact, we still have a democracy. For if, as the
skeptics contend, the outcomes of our federal “elections” are decided
before a single vote is cast, then the government of the United States no
longer “[derives] its just powers from the consent of the governed.”
Despite what we are told from Washington, or by the corporate media, this
is not a government “of, by, and for the people.”
The grounds for suspicion about the integrity of our elections are simple,
straightforward, and undisputed. In federal elections, thirty percent of
the votes are cast, and eighty percent of the votes are regionally
compiled, in machines: (a) utilizing secret software, (b) producing no
independent record of the votes (e.g. Paper trails”), and ( c )
manufactured by active members and supporters of the Republican Party. In
sum, the system in place is effectively designed, either deliberately or
accidentally, to facilitate fraud.
Moreover, remedies for these shortcomings are readily available, and in
fact, in use. The simplest and best solution, bar-none, is to throw
away all e-voting machines and use paper ballots.
Failing that, if we are stuck with touch-screen and optical scan
machines, some remedies might include: (a) a requirement that software (“source
codes”) be made public (as in Australia), (b) production of a separate
paper ballot to be inspected by the voter (as in Nevada). In addition, (c) voting machines could be selected at random
immediately before the polls open, then withdrawn from use and
examined for accuracy. (d) At randomly selected precincts and
with randomly selected e-voting machines voters would be asked to cast
paper ballots in addition to their touch-screen votes. The two
ballot totals would then be compared. And (e) central compiling could be done “in parallel”
by two distinct and independent methodologies. Discrepancies in
these compilations would then trigger recounts.
These “black box” voting machines, as now in use, inevitably raise
questions as to the legitimacy of the elections. For if the system now in
place is as honest as “the winners” (i.e., the Republicans) tell us it is,
why do they oppose these guarantees? Would not the winners want these
suspicions to be put to rest? Why, then, do they doggedly oppose reforms
that would validate the honesty of our elections? Causes one to wonder,
does it not?
Add to this the accumulating evidence that our elections have in fact been
“fixed.” This includes: (a) anecdotal evidence from voters – e.g.
malfunctioning screens, “lost” registrations, etc. (b) public
demonstrations of simulated vote fraud, (for example, the CNBC
demonstration by Bev Harris and Howard Dean – see
impossible and improbable vote totals – e.g. more votes reported than
registered voters, and “negative” vote totals. ( d ) exit poll
discrepancies – accurate polls in precincts with validated (e.g. paper)
ballots, inaccurate polls in precincts with “black-box” machine voting and
all discrepancies favoring one candidate or party. (e) statistical
analyses of these anomalies. Because the evidence of machine voting fraud
has been extensively published elsewhere, I will not elaborate here. (For
a list of websites and articles dealing with voting fraud, see The Crisis
Papers pages on
Fraud 2004” and
So what is to be done about this outrage?
The media problem. Don’t expect help from the mainstream
media – at least, not without some persistent and creative pressure from
the public. The issue of voting fraud is virtually absent from the media,
except for occasional debunkings of the skeptics. There are
reports that “top
down” orders have been given to media staff to say and write nothing about
the issue, and that violations of these orders are “career-enders.” True
or not, the media behaves as if such orders have been given. There is a
black hole of reporting on ballot integrity. As for investigative
What to do? We begin by acknowledging this problem, and then
proceed to locate the “pressure points” that might budge the media from
Ask an ordinary citizen, “Who are the sellers and the customers, and what
is the product, of the broadcast mass media?” and you will likely be told
that the TV and radio networks are the sellers, the audience are the
customers, and the programming is the product. Wrong! In
fact, the media corporations are the sellers, the corporate sponsors are
the customers, and the attention (“eyes”) of the public is the product. If
you doubt this, then just follow the money. It flows from sponsors to the
So therein is the pressure point: if the public withdraws the “product,”
namely its attention, the public can “starve the beast.” This is the
crucial difference between the media in the Soviet Union and the media in
United States. The Soviet Commissars didn’t care a whit if Pravda,
Izvestiya and Gostelradio failed to turn a profit, so long as
they continued to spew out the party line. In the US, profit is the
sine qua non – the whole point of having a media at all.
Case in point:
The Sinclair Broadcasting “Stolen Honor” fiasco. As
you likely recall, in the closing days of the Presidential campaign,
Sinclair scheduled “Stolen Honor,” a smear of John Kerry’s Vietnam
service. Following a public outcry, Sinclair withdrew the program. And
why? A sudden realization of civic responsibility? Ya gotta be kidding!
Fear of offending the public? Yes, but not directly. In fact, the Sinclair
management, solid supporters of George Bush and the GOP, buckled from
pressure from the stockholders. The offended public was removing its eyes
from the Sinclair TV screens. Hence lower ratings and lower profits.
Sinclair management was ungently reminded that their job was not to
campaign for George Bush, their job was to provide a return on the
stockholders’ investments. Failing that, management might quite properly
be sued, or at least booted out, at the next stockholders’ meeting.
The immediate target of our protest is not the mainstream media at large,
it is the mainstream news media. And that beast is starving even
today. The credibility of the corporate news media is in free-fall.
Timothy Maier reports that:
For two decades polls increasingly have indicated public dismay at
the spin and fantasies of the press. In fact, a recent Gallup Poll says
Americans rate the trustworthiness of journalists at about the level of
politicians and as only slightly more credible than used-car salesmen.
The poll suggests that only 21 percent of Americans believe journalists
have high ethical standards, ranking them below auto mechanics but tied
with members of Congress. More precisely, the poll notes that only one
in four people believe what they read in the newspapers. Chicago Tribune
Editor Charles M. Madigan may have put it best when he offered this
advice: "If you are a journalist, you should probably just assume that
you come across as a liar." ... The study also points out that there has
been a rapid decline in newspaper readership since the 1980s, with
slightly more than half of Americans, 54 percent, reading a newspaper
during the week.
The prospects for the future are grim, as the younger cohorts are
particularly cool to the media. In a recent speech,
Rupert Murdoch (no less!) noted that the 18-34 age group was
abandoning newspapers for the internet. Furthermore, he reported that
“only 9%” of this group “describe us as trustworthy, a scant 8% find us
useful, and only 4% think we’re entertaining.”
Professional journalists find these statistics alarming. On the contrary,
I find them very hopeful. The mainstream news media have richly deserved
this public contempt, as they have increasingly become purveyors of trivia
and conduits of official right-wing propaganda, and decreasingly
independent investigative watchdogs serving the public interest. The
public, especially the younger cohort, knows this and is now looking
elsewhere for its news.
With the abandonment of responsible broadcast journalism in favor of
trivial “info-tainment,” there is a latent demand for the “old-style”
reporting and investigations of “pros” such as Edward R. Murrow, Walter
Cronkite, and Woodward and Bernstein. Surely such an enterprise would be
commercially viable. As in the “Field of Dreams,” if they build it the
public will come.
And so the news media, desperate for recovery, need to be told, time and
again, that if they want our attention, they had better declare their
independence and get back to the business of investigating and reporting
significant public issues. And they might start with the most important
issue of all: the integrity of our ballots.
Our job: tell the media, and their sponsors, that we no longer trust their
news reporting, and are now looking elsewhere. And while we are at it, we
should collect and distribute the names and addresses of media and
sponsors, and encourage still others to voice their complaints. (The
Democratic Underground’s outstanding
Media Blaster” can direct you to local and national media addresses.
See also The Crisis
Papers’ “Activist’s Page”).
Progressive Voices on the Commercial Broadcast Media. Air
American Radio is a good start – but merely a start. A progressive cable
news channel – an “Anti-FOX” -- is long overdue, and as the past election
campaign demonstrated, “start-up” funds are available from such major
sources as George Soros and Warren Buffet.
The Internet and Alternative Media. Unless and until the
mainstream news media acknowledge and deal with the ballot integrity
issue, the progressive internet and the alternative media must be
supported and encouraged to publicize the problem of ballot fraud. In your
public and private e-mails, include links to the websites and the
particular articles that deal with the issue. Download, print, and copy
these articles, and pass them around to your friends and associates.
Recruit the “Allies.” Regrettably, many prominent
progressives are not convinced that the past election was “fixed.” Among
them, Paul Begala, Al Franken, Arianna Huffington, and Bernie Sanders. To
this day, the Democratic Party is mute on the issue, as is the progressive
think-tank, The Center for American Progress. Demand that they
examine the evidence and challenge them to refute it. And if they can’t,
tell them to join the fight.
Where are the Books? Effective political movements
have a supporting literature. The American Revolution had Tom Paine and
“Common Sense.” The Civil War had “Uncle Tom’s Cabin.” The supporting
documents of the electoral reform movement are compelling, but they are
diffuse. The defining and catalyzing book – the book that is held aloft at
the public meetings, cited in the media and in the letters to Congress –
that work is desperately needed and overdue. Perhaps it is still in
progress, or even now at the publishers. If not, will some genius (and our
cause has several) please write that book!
Perhaps such a book exists, but no American publisher dares to print it.
In that case, the author might look abroad and import it. (And what a
message that would convey about the state of our “free press”!) In
the meantime, or instead, the book should be put on the Internet.
Send a Message to the Democrats. Those who contributed to
the Democrats and the Kerry Campaign are surely receiving numerous
solicitations for donations. Find them, take out a red felt pen, and write
something like: “Unless the Democratic Party addresses the problem of
voting fraud, its time and my contribution will be wasted. Secure my vote,
and I will once again contribute generously. Until then, nada!”
Demand Action on the Local Level. As Ohio’s Kenneth
Blackwell dramatically demonstrated, federal elections are administered on
the state level. Election fraud is a violation of both federal and state
laws. Obviously neither Attorney General Gonzales nor the Republican
Congress will touch the issue. However, there must surely be a state with
a Democratic Governor and/or Legislature and/or Attorney General that
could investigate, indict, and prosecute some culprits involved in the
Great Election Robbery of 2004. And if elected officials refuse to take
the initiative, citizen groups and defeated candidates should file law
suits. With the threat of perjury and imprisonment, and the prosecutor’s
power of investigative discovery, some culprit somewhere might “break,”
then another and another, whereupon the whole rotten system of fraud and
cover-up might collapse. It happened to Richard Nixon, and it can
The voting fraud issue is a sleeping giant that the Busheviks, with the
determined complicity of the mainstream media, are desperately trying to
keep asleep. Few appreciate just how daunting a task this is. As we noted
at the outset of this essay, the opportunity for fraud is known and
undisputed. The evidence published, available, and compelling. There is no
refutation other than “trust us,” “get over it,” “let’s move on,” “don’t
be so paranoid,” and other such
Bush, the GOP, and their media allies hope that if they ignore the issue
and direct public attention elsewhere, the sleeping giant will not stir.
But if I were Bush, Rove, Cheney, or the rest, I’d be afraid – I’d be very
afraid. For now Bush’s approval ratings are falling even as gas prices,
interests rates, and the consumer price index rise. And all these may be
harbingers of much worse to come. As the dire economic costs to almost
everybody of the Bushevik plunder become more apparent, the American
public will become ever more receptive to the idea that they were
criminally robbed of their franchise in (at least) the past three federal
elections, that the Bush Administration and the Republican Congress lack
legitimacy, and that the American people are no longer, in any authentic
sense, “citizens” of a free society.
Those of us who are aware of the electoral crime against the American
people must steadfastly sound the alarm and arouse the sleeping giant.
No doubt many of you who read this essay will have still more ideas.
Share them with us. Send your suggestions to me at
and I promise to collect and publish a selection of them in
Copyright 2005, by Ernest Partridge
For a few
of the many responses to this essay, follow this link.
Ernest Partridge's Internet Publications
Conscience of a Progressive:
Partridge's Scholarly Publications. (The Online Gadfly)
Dr. Ernest Partridge is a consultant, writer and lecturer in the field
of Environmental Ethics and Public Policy. He has taught Philosophy at
the University of California, and in Utah, Colorado and Wisconsin. He
publishes the website, "The Online
Gadfly" and co-edits the progressive website,
"The Crisis Papers".