In Rolling Stone, Robert Kennedy Jr wrote in June of ’06 that his study of the ’04 election had convinced him “that the president’s party mounted a massive, coordinated campaign to subvert the will of the people”.
Across the country, Republican election officials and party stalwarts employed a wide range of illegal and unethical tactics to fix the election. A review of the available data reveals that in Ohio alone, at least 357,000 voters, the overwhelming majority of them Democratic, were prevented from casting ballots or did not have their votes counted in 2004(12) — more than enough to shift the results of an election decided by 118,601 votes.(13) (See Ohio’s Missing Votes) In what may be the single most astounding fact from the election, one in every four Ohio citizens who registered to vote in 2004 showed up at the polls only to discover that they were not listed on the rolls, thanks to GOP efforts to stem the unprecedented flood of Democrats eager to cast ballots.(14) And that doesn’t even take into account the troubling evidence of outright fraud, which indicates that upwards of 80,000 votes for Kerry were counted instead for Bush. That alone is a swing of more than 160,000 votes — enough to have put John Kerry in the White House.(15)
(emphasis added; numbers are citations attached to the original article)
The article produced something of a firestorm, with the Bush Admin hunkering down in fervent denial and the mainstream conservative press largely ignoring the survey that provided the evidence.
In this week’s RS (not online yet), Kennedy reports that Ohio’s new Sec of State, Jennifer Brunner, ordered an audit of the state’s e-voting machines by two independent teams of specialists. The results were even worse than she expected.
[The] teams…found that the terminals are so insecure they simply cannot be trusted. “There is the ability,” concludes Brunner, “to mount a wholesale attack on our voting system.”
Researchers were able to alter election results using only a magnet and a personal digital assistant. Forty percent of touchscreen machines manufactured by Diebold – now known as Premier – flipped votes [overwhelmingly from Democrat to Republican as shown by the ’06 survey-MA], and one of the company’s machines erased votes without warning once its memory card was full. Even more alarming, electronic ballot counters could be rigged by poll workers to disregard votes without anyone knowing. “If that were done for just a few minutes every hour, you will have a vote total that doesn’t look too far off,” Brunner says. “Unless you did a hand count of every ballot, you’d never know it.”
All of which would pretty much explain the massive discrepancies Kennedy uncovered in ’06.
Nearly half of the 6 million American voters living abroad(3) never received their ballots — or received them too late to vote(4) — after the Pentagon unaccountably shut down a state-of-the-art Web site used to file overseas registrations.(5) A consulting firm called Sproul & Associates, which was hired by the Republican National Committee to register voters in six battleground states,(6) was discovered shredding Democratic registrations.(7) In New Mexico, which was decided by 5,988 votes,(8) malfunctioning machines mysteriously failed to properly register a presidential vote on more than 20,000 ballots.(9) Nationwide, according to the federal commission charged with implementing election reforms, as many as 1 million ballots were spoiled by faulty voting equipment — roughly one for every 100 cast.(10)
The reports were especially disturbing in Ohio, the critical battleground state that clinched Bush’s victory in the electoral college. Officials there purged tens of thousands of eligible voters from the rolls, neglected to process registration cards generated by Democratic voter drives, shortchanged Democratic precincts when they allocated voting machines and illegally derailed a recount that could have given Kerry the presidency. A precinct in an evangelical church in Miami County recorded an impossibly high turnout of ninety-eight percent, while a polling place in inner-city Cleveland recorded an equally impossible turnout of only seven percent. In Warren County, GOP election officials even invented a nonexistent terrorist threat to bar the media from monitoring the official vote count.(11)
Put what the audit discovered could be done with the machines together with what GOP operatives were actually caught doing – shredding Dem registrations, purging Dem voters, obstructing the vote in Dem districts, and the like – and a clear picture emerges of a stolen election, and stolen on a nationwide scale. Every battleground state seems to have had its Republican ops ready and willing to “play hardball” by breaking election laws wholesale on behalf of George W Bush and his Cult. With a GOP hack like Ken Blackwell Sec of State in Ohio in ’04, there seems to have been no check whatever on Republican dirty tricks.
For those who may say, “This is ancient history. The election is over. Why dig it all up now?” I say, “Neither party can be trusted and all those machines are still out there. If one side can rig an election, so can the other side. If one side goes unaccountable and unpunished, they will both be emboldened to do it again. Our democracy is on the ropes as it is. Do you want to kill it for good?”
Diebold changing its name is like a tiger pretending to be a zebra by adding a pair of pointy ears – a superficial disguise that will only fool the dumbest antelopes in the herd. If we are going to use evoting machines, we MUST have machines that leave a paper trail so ballots can be hand-counted if necessary (as bad as these machines are even when they aren’t being hacked, verified hand counts probably ought to be a regular part of the process).
Until and unless we do, our elections are not safe or reliable in the hands of either party.