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.
MORE CLUES AND EVIDENCE.
Statistical analyses of the 2004 election. I have cited above the
Freeman and the UC-Berkeley
Quantitative Research Team, both of which provide strong statistical
indications of vote total manipulation. On my desk are drafts of additional
statistical studies that have not been released, pending peer review. No
doubt there are still more studies in progress, and thus we are certain to
hear much more statistical evidence in the near future. Why statistical
studies, and no direct examination of the independent audit trails and
machine software? Because, as we have pointed out, there are no audit
trails and the software is secret.
Elsewhere I have suggested how the accuracy of the DRE machines might be
tested directly, but these methods would have to be employed during the day
of the election, and I have found no reports that any such testing was done
on November 2. So statistical analysis is all that we have – the DRE
manufacturers and the GOP members of Congress have seen to that.
It is significant, but alas not surprising, that while the Freeman and UC-Berkeley
studies have provoked enormous interest in the internet, they have been
virtually ignored by the mainstream media. "The establishment,” it seems,
has put silencers on these smoking guns. Persistent pressure from the
denizens of Blogistan just might bring these issues to the surface of
general public awareness. If public demand becomes strong enough to provoke the media to take on
this issue, that just might be the ball game for the Busheviks.
The Tell-Tale Touch-Screens. Numerous reports from
throughout the country, but most significantly from Florida and Ohio,
attempts to select “John Kerry” on DRE screens resulted in “George Bush”
appearing on the
verification screen. In some reported cases, several attempts to
correct this error were unavailing. (I have heard no reports of the opposite
result: Bush votes converted to Kerry). The media have routinely dismissed
these incidents as curiosities, and as “insufficient to change the outcome
of the election.” Nowhere in the mainstream media have I encountered the
question: “is is possible that such switches might have taken place without evidence
thereof on the screen?”
Here’s an intriguing possibility: these DRE “glitches” are the tip of
a malignant iceberg. A software program designed to convert (say) every
tenth Kerry vote to Bush, occasionally breaks through to record the switch
on a screen. This was not intended, of course. It is a “bug” that was not
found and corrected before the machines were released. Maybe, and maybe not.
But surely it is an hypothesis worthy of investigation by an enterprising
journalist. There has apparently been no such investigation in the
The silence is deafening.
In a carefully monitored election, such malfunctions would trigger serious
investigations. The misbehaving machines would be immediately withdrawn and
subject to thorough examination by computer experts. I’ve heard of no such
investigations. If there were none, then why not?
Is “Moral Values” a Cover Story?
The “official story” is that George
Bush owes his victory to the “moral values” issue, which prompted millions
of evangelical Christians and conservative Catholics, who otherwise would
have stayed at home, to vote for Bush. So pervasive is this “conventional
wisdom” that even Democrats are now talking non-stop about how they might
develop a “moral values” argument of their own. (On its merits, this a
worthy enterprise. But one need not justify a Democratic emphasis on
morality by presuming that “values” was
a significant factor in this election.)
There is reason to believe that “moral values” was not, in fact, a decisive
or even a particularly important issue in this election. However, if computer mischief
were afoot in this election, and if millions of votes were
thus redirected to Bush’s totals, then this unanticipated windfall would
an explanation. I submit that the “moral values” issue might well be a
“cover story” – a concoction designed to “explain” the extraordinarily large
number of votes for Bush.
Among the most widely cited indicators of the importance of the moral values
issue is the
CNN exit poll.
(Warning: the presidential numbers here are the later "adjusted" polls
which some critics believe are corrupted. See
my blog). When asked “which one issue mattered most in
deciding how you voted for president?” more voters identified “moral values”
than any other issue. Of those who chose “moral values,” 80% voted for Bush.
On the surface, that sounds impressive.
But that’s the “glass-half-full” account of the significance of “moral values”
in the election. Closer inspection discloses that the "moral values" issue is of little
importance. There we find that only 22% of the respondents identified this
issue as “the most important.” The runner-up, at 20%, was “the economy,” and of those
who so responded, 78% voted for Kerry. So from another perspective
(“glass-half-empty”) “moral values” appears to be not all that significant.
(Interestingly, conservative pundits
Charles Krauthammer concur, failing to notice, perhaps, that a rejection
of the “values” cover story entails some serious difficulties in explaining
the Bush victory).
But didn’t Bush’s emphasis on “values” (in particular, abortion and gay
marriage) prompt a huge number of evangelicals to vote for him? Again, the
evidence is wanting.
Perlstein of the Village Voice writes:
The idea that [the] election results show that there is a
great silent majority of Americans who vote first and foremost on their
moral values, which means that they vote for the Republicans, has become
gospel on our nation's airwaves by now. It is nonsense on stilts. Bush
didn't win this election on "moral values." It turns out he didn't do any
better among strong churchgoers, or rural voters, than he did in 2000...
On his blog Polysigh, my favorite political scientist, Phil Klinkner, ran
a simple exercise. Multiplying the turnout among a certain group by the
percent who went for Bush yields a number electoral statisticians call
"performance." Among heavy churchgoers, Bush's performance last time was
25 percent (turnout, 42 percent; percentage of vote, 59 percent). This
time out it was also 25 percent—no change. Slightly lower turnout (41
percent), slightly higher rate of vote (61 percent).
Before the election, Karl Rove often said that the secret
for winning in 2004 was to bring to the polls the four million
evangelicals who didn't vote in 2000. Apparently they didn't vote in
this election as well.
Yet Bush’s 2004 total was eight million more than he had in 2000.
Where did Bush’s Eight Million Surplus Votes Come From? Furthermore,
what happened to all those Kerry votes?
When asked by Al Franken how Kerry and the Democrats lost the election,
Kerry adviser Mike McCurry replied, “they out-hustled us.” By this he meant
that the GOP “get out the vote” effort was much more intensive and
successful than that of the Democrats. McCurry’s reply has the appearance of
an ad hoc, after the fact, rationalization. (“We lost. So now figure
out a reason.”) The evidence does not support McCurry's conjecture that the
Democrats were "out-hustled."
The shock of defeat seems to have dropped a curtain of amnesia on November
2, whereby Kerry supporters appear unable to recall events and sentiments
that immediately preceded the election. In fact, at that time there were
abundant indicators of a Kerry landslide in the offing. There were
widespread accounts of Republican defections to Kerry, both from celebrities
(John Dean, Kevin Philips, Pete Peterson, Russell Train, to name a few) and
ordinary Republican citizens. The organization “Republicans for Kerry” was
active and conspicuous, far more than it’s counterpart “Democrats for Bush.”
More than 35 major newspapers that supported Bush in 2000,
switched their endorsements to Kerry.
Reports “from the field” throughout the country told of an
unprecedented effort by the Democratic Party, and by allied organizations
such as MoveOn, the Sierra Club, People for the American Way, ACT, labor
unions, etc., to register new voters and then to get them to the polls.
A sweeping voter registration campaign in heavily
Democratic areas has added tens of thousands of new voters to the rolls in
the swing states of Ohio and Florida, a surge that has far exceeded the
efforts of Republicans in both states, a review of registration data
The analysis by The New York Times
county-by-county data shows that in Democratic areas of Ohio - primarily
low-income and minority neighborhoods - new registrations since January
have risen 250 percent over the same period in 2000. In comparison, new
registrations have increased just 25 percent in Republican areas. A
similar pattern is apparent in Florida: in the strongest Democratic areas,
the pace of new registration is 60 percent higher than in 2000, while it
has risen just 12 percent in the heaviest Republican areas. (September 26)
Fessenden with Kate Zernicke:
A record surge of potential new voters has swamped boards
of election from Pennsylvania to Oregon, as the biggest of the crucial
swing states reach registration deadlines today. Elections officials have
had to add staff and equipment, push well beyond budgets and work around
the clock to process the registrations....
Registration numbers are impossible to tally nationwide, and how many of
the newly registered will vote is a matter of some debate. But it is clear
the pace is particularly high in urban areas of swing states, where
independent Democratic groups and community organizations have been
running a huge voter registration campaign for just over a year...
The huge gains have come in areas with minority and low-income
populations. In some of those areas in Ohio, new registrations have
quadrupled from 2000. (October 4).
These reports come, not from amateur would-be journalists in
“the internets,” but from the New York Times. (See also
This intensity of commitment was also apparent during early voting.
Paul Krugman writes:
Florida's early polling was designed to make voting
easier, but enormous voter turnout swamped the limited number of early
polling sites. Over the weekend, people in some polling places had to
stand in line for four, five, even six hours, often in the hot sun. Some
of them - African-Americans in particular - surely suspected that those
lines were so long because officials wanted to make it hard for them to
vote. Yet they refused to be discouraged or intimidated....
During the last few days before Election Day I saw pictures from Florida
that were even more majestic. They showed long lines of voters, snaking
through buildings and on down the sidewalk: citizens patiently waiting to
do their civic duty. Those people still believe in American democracy; and
because they do, so do I....
And it wasn't just in Florida. Similar stories came in from across the
country, wherever early voting is allowed: Everywhere, huge numbers of
voters were coming to the polls, determined to exercise their democratic
Are we to understand that these long lines in the poor and
African American districts were composed primarily of evangelicals
infuriated at the very idea of gay marriage? If so, then similar crowds
would be expected in the southern "Bible Belt," and they were not there.
Bush's popular vote total simply doesn't add up.
As Marc Sapir explains:
Despite the fact that the Democrats registered far more
people in the past six months than the Republicans, and despite a huge
voter turnout, with first time voters (according to Warren Mitofsky's
poll) giving Kerry a 60:40 edge, President Bush appears to have increased
his national vote total by 8 million votes compared with the 2000
election, yet Mitofsky saw no desertion to Bush from 2000 Gore voters (90%
of Gore voters stayed with Kerry and 90% of Bush voters stayed with Bush).
Did hordes of previously non-voting evangelicals turn out
this time to sweep their born-again leader into power? Apparently not.
Did a faction of the public incensed over liberal "immorality" (and at the
same time unconcerned about the immorality of an illegal war, or of
Republican greed and cruelty) vastly outnumber another faction concerned
about the deteriorating economy? The CNN (Mitofsky) exit polls tell us
that the numbers were essentially equal. Were the Democrats
"out-hustled" by the Republicans in the GOTV ("get out the vote") efforts?
News reports indicate that the "hustle prize" goes to the Democrats.
Did the majority of new registrants enroll as Democrats in order to vote for
Bush? Did the undecideds "break" for the incumbent? This has
rarely happened in history, and even if, somehow, it happened this time, the
few remaining undecideds would not have significantly added to Bush's total.
Was there an eleventh-hour surge of popular support for Bush?
post-election poll reported Bush's approval rating at 48%, and the
percentage of those who agreed that the country was "moving in the right
direction" at 47%. Never before has an incumbent president with
an approval rating below 50% won re-election. What accounts for the
alleged exception in 2004?
Eleven million more votes were cast in 2004 than were cast
in 2000. We are expected to believe that of these Bush got eight
million (73%) and John Kerry three million.
So we ask again: Where did George Bush's surplus eight
million votes come from?
Did those newly registered voters, and those long lines of
voters who waited up to ten hours to vote in the inner cities and college
towns (but not conspicuously in rural Republican areas) come out on November
2 to vote, overwhelmingly, for George Bush?
No, these were Kerry people (or as likely anti-Bush people) believing that
they were about to cast valid votes. Why, then, do these votes not appear in
Kerry’s totals? Is it possible that they were “relocated,” via hidden
digital hocus-pocus, into Bush’s column?
If there is a more plausible explanation I'd like to hear
“WHERE’S YOUR PROOF?”
The preceding is a partial list of clues and evidence that the 2004 election
was stolen. But it does not add up to proof-positive that such a horrendous
crime against our republic was in fact committed by the “winners” of this
election. This lack of “proof” gives aid and comfort to those in the
corporate media who insist that we “get over it” and “move on,” and who
dismiss these investigations as the work of “conspiracy nuts.”
This dismissal disregards an essential point: forensic investigation does
not begin with proof. Its objective is to end either with proof of a crime
and apprehension of the criminal, or with exoneration. Forensic
investigation properly begins with “probable cause.” And probable cause of a
stolen election is, I submit, inescapably before us.
In addition, as any “Law and Order” and “CSI” addict is well-aware, in the
search for a suspect, a detective looks for
motive, means and opportunity. If my preceding argument has merit, the privatized election
industry has given the GOP and the Busheviks abundant means and opportunity
to steal an election. And thanks to the cooperation of the corporate media,
they also have little reason to fear independent investigation and
As for motive, the high-level members of the Bush Administration have
good reason to fear the loss of power and a return to private life. To be
sure, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, and George H. W. Bush intensely desired and
fought hard for a second term. But they all submitted without resistance or
complaint to the will of the electorate.
The Bush gang is of an entirely different sort. They are not only motivated
to remain in power, they are also motivated to retain their ill-gotten
wealth and, in many cases, to avoid indictment, conviction, and federal
To these individuals, a Democratic victory entails much more than a
“transfer of power.” It means a new Attorney General and an FBI with vast
resources of investigation and the option of prosecution. Democratic control
of either house of Congress brings with it the powers of investigation,
including subpoena, the requirement of sworn testimony, and thus the threat
of criminal contempt and perjury.
In addition to all this, a Democratic administration would certainly restore
progressive taxation of the wealthy and federal regulation of corporations.
Given such motivation to win “at all costs,” would the Busheviks hesitate to
implement secret software that would fraudulently deliver to them the White
House along with several congressional seats? If the opportunity were theirs
for the taking, would they hesitate, if they anticipated little likelihood
of discovery or investigation by the media? I don’t think so.
If in fact we had an honest, fair and accurate election on November 2, this
was due only to the good will, sense of fairness, and the sufferance of the
Bush Administration and its corporate supporters, the owners and managers of
the e-voting machines. There is not, and cannot be, independent confirmation
that they did not fix the election. Such a degree of trust in individuals in
high public office should be totally unacceptable to a free people. In fact,
the founders of our republic did not believe that morality, good-will and a
sense of responsibility sufficed to constrain the ambition, greed and power
lust of those in public office. And so, in the Constitution and the Bill of
Rights, the founders instituted the separation of powers, the rule of law
and the guarantee of fundamental human rights – safeguards which have been
profoundly eroded by the Bush Administration.
WHY NOT “GET OVER IT”?
“Wait ‘till next time!,” say the leaders of the Democratic Party. "We’ll try
a different approach, we will sharpen and focus our message.” “The 2004
election is over, we lost, now let’s move on!” To skeptics such as myself,
such talk is profoundly disheartening. For missing from all this is serious
consideration that the problem was not “the message” or the candidate's poor
performance – that in fact, the
intended votes in this election were sufficient to put John Kerry in the
Oval Office, and perhaps even to allow the Democrats to regain control of
The Democrats too readily forget that 2004 was “next time.” Why believe that
2006 and 2008 will be different? If in fact GOP control of the mechanisms of
the election allowed them to steal this election, they will do so “next
time,” and the time after that. Issues, messages, tactics, attractive
candidates will all be unavailing. Republican control of all branches of the
government and of the media will be permanent, and independent of “the
consent of the governed.”
Perhaps this election was scrupulously honest. Perhaps George Bush in fact
received 59 million authentic votes, and 51% of the popular vote. But dare
we accept this on faith, without reflection, without careful examination of
the abundant evidence to the contrary? If the election was fair, then no
harm will result from a scrupulous assessment of the contrary evidence. The
facts will compel that the assessment will come up short. But can we afford
the luxury of blind acceptance of the “official” tally? Must we ignore the
accumulating evidence of foul play? I submit that we must not. The fate of our
democracy is at stake.
This far into the essay, I cannot pursue the topic of remedies. That
requires a separate project, which I expect to undertake shortly. However,
brief mention might be in order.
The Media Problem must be addressed. As
the University of Maryland PIPA study clearly indicates, a large
portion of Bush supporters based their decision on false information. Had
the mass media fulfilled its primary obligation of presenting true
information to the public, not even the best efforts of the DRE industry
could have overcome the overwhelming public sentiment for “regime change.”
(Pending my further treatment of "the media problem," see my
The State-Level Solution. Clearly, neither Attorney General Gonzales
nor the Republican Congress will investigate the 2004 Presidential election.
But that need not be the end of it. Presidential and Congressional elections
are the responsibility of the states. If there were instances of fraud in
this election, these were violations of state laws. States with Republican
Governors and Legislatures are also unlikely to investigate and press
charges. But surely, there are opportunities for official investigation,
with advantages of subpoena and sworn testimony, in Democratically
controlled states. And of course, a successful criminal investigation and
indictment of election fraud on the state level would have immediate
Demand Auditable Voting Equipment. Even if the 2004 election was not
stolen, there was abundant opportunity for unscrupulous candidates to gain
office through fraud. The public must demand, persistently, strenuously, and
in no uncertain terms, that every vote be verifiable, and that every step in
the election process be open to independent confirmation.
We must keep alive our insistence that the election of 2004 may have been
that continuing investigation is imperative. Books must (and presumably
will) be written detailing the evidence and presenting the case. The case
for fraud is not conclusive, but it is compelling. And as long as that case
remains alive, even if unresolved, several advantages will follow:
George Bush will be deprived of his claim of “mandate.”
Continuing doubt of the validity of the 2004 election will both diminish
the legitimacy of the Bush regime, and enhance the legitimacy of the
criticism of that regime.
As long as doubts persist about the validity of this
election, prospects improve for a reform of the electoral system in time
for the 2006 and 2008 elections.
The very possibility that the Bush regime was not chosen
by the American people, but rather was imposed upon them, will help to
restore the reputation of the United States among the peoples and nations
of the world.
Make no mistake: The task ahead will be arduous and for some
even dangerous. Some of us will suffer for it. But if we truly love our
country, and the principles of morality and justice that ennobled its
founding, then we have no honorable choice but to take on this burden.
If the task ahead appears daunting, remember this: in November, 1972,
Richard Nixon was re-elected in an unprecedented electoral vote landslide,
carrying forty-nine states and gathering 60% of the popular vote. Less than
two years later, on August 9, 1974, Nixon resigned in disgrace from the
As Martin Luther King, Jr. said, "The arc of history is long, but it bends
Copyright 2004 by Ernest Partridge