Republican Lawmaker to Asian-Americans: I’m Not Gonna Learn Chinese, So Can’t You Change Your Funny Names? April 9, 2009Posted by rogerhollander in Electoral Fraud, Race, Racism.
Tags: betty brown, minority voters, racism, Republican racism, roger hollander, tanya ganeva, texas legislature, voter fraud, voter id
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During a hearing on voter ID legislation, Texas Republican Betty Brown said Americans of Asian descent should “simplify” their names
On Tuesday, the Texas legislature heard arguments on voter ID legislation that would require photo ID — or two non-photo IDs — at the polls. An obvious necessity, of course, since everyone in the U.S. loves voting so much that there are scores of people clamoring to do it illegally. (In fact, there is no evidence of voter ID fraud in Texas).
Democratic lawmakers and several voting experts brought up the good — and oft-repeated — points that a) voter ID laws are a fake solution to a non-existent problem, and b) they disenfranchise poor, minority voters. (You know, the ones that tend to NOT vote Republican.)
Republicans, in turn, kept pushing the möbius strip argument that while there is a) no evidence of voter fraud b)voter fraud is a serious problem that needs to be addressed.
Then, Rep. Betty Brown from Terrell, Texas turned the Republican position from absurd and subtly racist to really absurd and overtly racist. Following a presentation on the voting difficulties faced by Americans of Asian descent, whose legal names don’t always match their everyday names, Brown said the following:
Rather than everyone here having to learn Chinese — I understand it’s a rather difficult language — do you think that it would behoove you and your citizens to adopt a name that we could deal with more readily here?
Can’t you see that this is something that would make it a lot easier for you and the people who are poll workers if you could adopt a name just for identification purposes that’s easier for Americans to deal with?
Yep. That’s what she said. You know what’s fun? Thinking of Brown’s statement as one of those “What’s Wrong With This Picture” puzzles. I have this so far: 1) “learn Chinese” — actually, at issue are Americans of Asian — not just Chinese — descent 2) “you and your citizens” — in fact, the people under discussion are American citizens 3) The assumption that descendants of immigrants should accommodate the ignorance of some Americans by changing their names!
Asked to issue an apology by Democrats excited that Republicans are doing their work for them, Brown responded by … saying something else that was racially insensitive. A spokesperson for the Rep. grumbled that Democrats are making too big a deal of the issue and the Rep. was merely trying to resolve an ID problem. “They want this to just be about race,” the flack said, according to the Houston Chronicle.
Republican IT Specialist Dies in Plane Crash December 24, 2008Posted by rogerhollander in Electoral Fraud, U.S. Election 2008.
Tags: amy goodman, arnebeck, chattanooga, Democracy Now, Dick Cheney, don seilegman, Electoral Fraud, fitrakis, florida 2000, Florida voter fraud, geogria 2002, George Bush, govtech solutions, harvey wasserman, Karl Rove, ken blackwell, mark crispin miller, michael connell, michael mukasey, nancy rogers, ohio, ohio 2004, Ohio voter fraud, republican strategist, rico, roger hollander, smartech, spoonamore, triad, velvet revolution
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Democracy Now! December 22, 2008 (www.democracynow.org)
A top Republican internet strategist who was set to testify in a case alleging election tampering in 2004 in Ohio has died in a plane crash. Michael Connell was the chief IT consultant to Karl Rove and created websites for the Bush and McCain electoral campaigns. Michael Connell was deposed one day before the election this year by attorneys Cliff Arnebeck and Bob Fitrakis about his actions during the 2004 vote count in Ohio and his access to Karl Rove’s email files and how they went missing.
AMY GOODMAN: A top Republican internet strategist who was set to testify in a case alleging election tampering in 2004 in Ohio has died in a plane crash. Mike Connell was the chief IT consultant to Karl Rove and created websites for the Bush and McCain electoral campaigns. He also set up the official Ohio state election website reporting the 2004 presidential election returns.
Connell was reportedly an experienced pilot. He died instantly Friday night when his private plane crashed in a residential neighborhood near Akron, Ohio.
Michael Connell was deposed one day before the election this year by attorneys Cliff Arnebeck and Bob Fitrakis about his actions during the 2004 vote count and his access to Karl Rove’s email files and how they went missing.
Velvet Revolution, a non-profit investigating Connell’s activities, revealed this weekend that Connell had recently said he was afraid George Bush and Dick Cheney would “throw [him] under the bus.” Cliff Arnebeck had also previously alerted Attorney General Michael Mukasey to alleged threats from Karl Rove to Connell if he refused to “take the fall.”
Well, Mark Crispin Miller joins us now, a professor of media culture and communication at New York University, the author of several books, including Loser Take All: Election Fraud and the Subversion of Democracy, 2000-2008 and Fooled Again: How the Right Stole the 2004 Election & Why They’ll Steal the Next One Too. Mark Crispin Miller us now in our firehouse studio.
Welcome to Democracy Now!
MARK CRISPIN MILLER: It’s good to be here, Amy. Thank you.
AMY GOODMAN: Alright, well, we had you on right before the election, because that’s when Mike Connell was being deposed. This news that came out of his death in a plane crash on Friday night, talk about what you understand has happened.
MARK CRISPIN MILLER: Well, I cannot assert with perfect confidence that this was no accident, but I will say that the circumstances are so suspicious and so convenient for Rove and the White House that I think we’re obliged to investigate this thing very, very thoroughly. And that means, first of all, taking a close look at some of the stories that were immediately circulated to account for what happened, that it was bad weather. That was the line they used when Wellstone’s plane went down. There had been bad weather, but it had passed two hours before. And this comes from a woman at the airport information desk in Akron. We’re told that his plane was running out of gas, which is a little bit odd for a highly experienced pilot like Connell, but apparently, when the plane went down, there was an explosion, a fireball that actually charred and pocked some of the house fronts in the neighborhood. People can go online and see the footage that news crews took. But beyond the, you know, dubiousness of the official story, we have to take a close look at—and a serious look at all the charges that Connell was set to make.
AMY GOODMAN: Now, he had asked the Attorney General Mukasey for protective custody, because of threats to him and his wife?
MARK CRISPIN MILLER: He reported threats to his lawyer, Cliff Arnebeck, and Arnebeck—also, Velvet Revolution heard from tipsters, as well, tipsters who also claimed that Connell’s life was at risk. Stephen Spoonamore, the whistleblower who was the first—who was the one to name Connell in the first place, also had an ear to the inside. He’s also very connected. And all these people were saying Rove is making threats, the White House is very worried about this case.
Having heard all this, Arnebeck contacted Mukasey, he contacted Nancy Rogers, who is the Ohio Attorney General, and he wrote a letter to the court, telling all of them that “This man should be in protective custody. He is an important witness in a RICO case. Please do something to look after him.” And they didn’t respond to this.
AMY GOODMAN: So, explain what this case is all about and exactly what Mike Connell has been doing over these last years. What does it mean to be Karl Rove’s IT guru?
MARK CRISPIN MILLER: Well, the lawyers in the case refer to him as a high-IQ Forrest Gump, by which they mean that he seems to have been present at the scene of every dubious election of the last eight years. We’re talking about Florida in 2000. We’re talking about Ohio in 2004. We’re talking about Alabama in 2002. He seems to have been involved in the theft of Don Siegelman’s re-election for governor. There’s some evidence that links him with the Saxby Chambliss-Max Cleland Senate race in Georgia in 2002. To be Karl Rove’s IT guru seems to have meant basically setting it up so that votes could be electronically shaved to the disadvantage of the Democrats and the advantage of Republicans.
AMY GOODMAN: What do you mean, “electronically shaved”? I mean, you’ve got all these precincts all over Ohio. They’re counting up their votes. What does he have to do with this?
MARK CRISPIN MILLER: Well, specifically, there’s a computer architecture setup called “Man in the Middle,” which involves shunting the election returns from, you know, the state in question—in this case, Ohio—shunting them to a separate computer elsewhere. All of the election returns in Ohio in 2004 went from the Secretary of State’s website—this is Ken Blackwell—to a separate computer in a basement in Chattanooga, Tennessee, which was under the control of another private company called SMARTech.
So we have now two private companies: GovTech Solutions, which is Connell’s company, SMARTech, which is run by a guy named [Jeff] Averbeck. And the company—the third private company that managed the voting tabulators in Ohio was called Triad. All three of these companies worked closely together on election night in Ohio in 2004. It turns out that the state’s own IT person was sent home at 9:00 p.m. They said, “Go ahead. Go home. We’ll take care of this.” So that this trio of highly partisan and, let me add, Christianist companies basically took over the whole—
AMY GOODMAN: What do you mean, “Christianist”?
MARK CRISPIN MILLER: Well, they’re radical theocratic activists, particularly—particularly Triad and SMARTech. You know, they are fervently anti-choice.
AMY GOODMAN: Well, Mike Connell was, in fact—many said that’s what motivated him through all of this, his fierce anti-abortion stance.
MARK CRISPIN MILLER: He told—Connell told Spoonamore that one of the primary reasons why he helped Bush-Cheney steal elections was to save the babies. I do think, though, that we have to draw a distinction between Connell, on the one hand, and the Averbeck and the Rapp family, on the other hand, because Connell was far less ferocious in his political views. He was an ardent anti-abortionist, it’s true, but he wasn’t quite as hardcore as the others. And in fact, you know, he was a little bit alienated from the others, and that’s one of the reasons why he was inclined to talk, and so on.
But the fact is, to answer your question, that on election night in 2004, it had been Connell, with these other two companies working with him, who had managed the computer setup, enabling Ken Blackwell to study the maps of precincts and voter turnout very carefully and figure out how many votes they need. By shunting the data to Chattanooga, they kind of slowed down the data stream.
AMY GOODMAN: Wasn’t Karl Rove’s email also there in Chattanooga on some of these servers?
MARK CRISPIN MILLER: Yes, yes. The same servers were used to host a whole bunch of highly partisan websites. And also, indeed, Karl Rove’s emails were on that server, too.
AMY GOODMAN: That have gone missing.
MARK CRISPIN MILLER: That have gone missing. Incidentally, Stephen Spoonamore, again, the whistleblower who’s the one who named Connell, has told us—and I’ve seen his own contemporary notes—
AMY GOODMAN: And explain again who he was. Why was he in a position to whistleblow?
MARK CRISPIN MILLER: Stephen Spoonamore is a conservative Republican, a former McCain supporter and a very prominent expert at the detection of computer fraud. He’s the star witness in the Ohio lawsuit, right, in which Connell was involved. He has done extensive work of this kind, involving computer security, and had therefore worked with Connell, knew Connell personally and knew a lot of the people who were involved in the sort of cyber-security end of the Bush operation.
Despite his conservatism—or I suppose some would say because of it—he’s a man of principle—I mean, believes in the Constitution. He believes elections should be honest. He’s the one who came forward and named Connell.
And I have seen his notes of a conversation in which Connell asked Spoonamore how one would go about destroying White House emails. To this, Spoonamore said, “This conversation is over. You’re asking me to do something illegal.” But clearly, clearly—this is the important point—Mike Connell was up past his eyeballs in the most sensitive and explosive aspects of this crime family that, you know, has been masquerading as a political party.
AMY GOODMAN: And what did Fitrakis, the attorney who has brought the suit with Harvey Wasserman, the Ohio lawsuit, learn in the deposition of Mike Connell in the day before the election, which hardly got attention, considering it was the day before this historic election?
MARK CRISPIN MILLER: Yeah. Harvey wasn’t part of it. Harvey writes articles with Bob. It’s Bob Fitrakis and Cliff Arnebeck are the attorneys. They learned very little. What they learned was that Bush-Cheney lawyer who accompanied Connell to the deposition was watching the whole thing like a hawk, repeatedly objected to questions. Connell was stonewalling like crazy at this deposition.
They only learned one thing. And that was, they got confirmation that it was Connell who brought these other private companies into the arrangement, in addition to his own GovTech Solutions. Again, there was Triad and SMARTech. It was Connell who brought those three companies into one unit, so that the three of them were, in effect, handling Ohio’s election returns on election night under Connell’s supervision. That’s what we learned.
We also know, Amy, that since the deposition—I want to make this clear; we said it before, I want to repeat it—that Connell has indicated very clearly a desire to talk further, to tell more, whether it’s his conscience bothering him or whether it’s fear of some kind of a perjury charge because of how vigorously he stonewalled at the deposition. He made it known to the lawyers, he made it known to reporter Larisa Alexandrovna of Raw Story, that he wanted to talk. He was scared. He wanted to talk. And I say that he had pretty good reason to be scared.
AMY GOODMAN: So why did he fly in—why did he pilot his own plane when he was so afraid?
MARK CRISPIN MILLER: Well, that’s a good question. We can’t ask him, unfortunately. I mean, this is kind of a grisly thought, but, I mean, I think we should be asking where the body is? We’re told that a trooper on the scene immediately identified Connell. But then we read elsewhere that there was nothing left but debris and that the fireball was enormous. So maybe he wasn’t on the plane. I mean, who knows, when you’re dealing with people as deep as these?
But the point is—I can’t stress this strongly enough—we’re dealing not just with a shocking accident, if that’s what it was, and a convenient one. We’re dealing not even just with a particular lawsuit that, you know, really requires vigorous promotion. The important point here is that this is all about our elections. That’s what this is about. This is about democratic self-government.
The fact that Obama won so handily has caused a lot of us to sit back and relax. There’s been a lot of popping of champagne corks and people drawing the conclusion that the system must work, because our guy won. Well, this is not a sports event. This is self-government.
In fact, the evidence strongly suggests—and we haven’t had a chance to talk about this since Election Day—that Obama probably won by twice as many votes as we think. Probably a good seven million votes for Obama were undone through vote suppression and fraud, because the stuff was extensive and pervasive, in places where you wouldn’t expect it.
The Illinois Ballot Integrity Project was monitoring the vote in DuPage County, right next door to Obama’s, you know, backyard, Cook County. And two of them, in only two precincts on Election Day, saw with their own eyes 350 voters show up, only to be turned away, told, “You’re not registered,” people who were registered, who voted in the primary. All but one of these people was black. That’s in Illinois.
People at the Election Defense Alliance have discovered, from sifting through the numbers, an eleven-point red shift in New Hampshire. That means that there’s a discrepancy in Obama’s disfavor, primarily through use of the optical scan machines, an eleven-point discrepancy in the Republicans’ favor, OK?
You start to combine this with all the vote suppression, all the disenfranchisement, all the vote machine flipping that went on in this election, you realize, OK, Obama won, but millions of Americans, most of them African American and students, you know, were not able to participate in any civic sense, ironically, a lot of the same people, you know, who would have been disenfranchised and were disenfranchised before the civil rights movement. So the fact that a black president was elected, while cause for jubilation, see, ought not to take place at the expense of a whole lot of our fellow citizens who seem to have been disenfranchised on racial grounds. My point is very simply this: We’ve got to get past the victory of Obama and look seriously at what our election system is like, or else, I promise you, see, the setup that was put in place in this last election, in 2004 and in 2000, OK, will still be there in 2010, still be there in 2012. So we’ve got to take steps to do something about it now.
AMY GOODMAN: Mark Crispin Miller, I want to thank you very much for being with us, professor of media culture and communication at New York University, most recent book Loser Take All: Election Fraud and the Subversion of Democracy, 2000-2008.
Tags: amy goodman, Democracy Now, disenfranchising voters, early voting, Electoral Fraud, Republican voter fraud, roger hollander, steal election, voter disqualification, voter intimidation, voter rights, voter rolls, voting machine malfunction
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Amy Goodman, Democracy, Now!
Early Voting Sees Reports of Voter Intimidation, Machine Malfunctions
Early voting has begun, and problems are already emerging at the polls. In West Virginia, voters using touchscreen machines have claimed their votes were switched from Democrat to Republican. In North Carolina, a group of McCain supporters heckled a group of mostly black supporters of Barack Obama. In Ohio, Republicans are being accused of trying to scare newly registered voters by filing lawsuits that question their eligibility. We speak to NYU professor Mark Crispin Miller, author of Loser Take All: Election Fraud and the Subversion of Democracy. [includes rush transcript]
Mark Crispin Miller, professor of media culture and communication at New York University. He is the author of several books, most recently Loser Take All: Election Fraud and the Subversion of Democracy, 2000-2008. His previous book is called Fooled Again: How the Right Stole the 2004 Election and Why They’ll Steal the Next One Too.
This transcript is available free of charge. However, donations help us provide closed captioning for the deaf and hard of hearing on our TV broadcast. Thank you for your generous contribution.
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AMY GOODMAN: Just days after reports that six early voters in at least two West Virginia counties claimed their votes were switched from Democrat to Republican, a couple in Nashville, Tennessee reported similar problems with paperless voting machines. In West Virginia, one voter said, “I hit Obama, and it switched to McCain. I am really concerned about that. If McCain wins, there was something wrong with the machines.”
In Tennessee, a filmmaker couple also had difficulties casting their vote for the Democratic candidate, the Brad Blog reports. They had to hit the Obama button several times before it actually registered, and in one case it momentarily flipped from Obama to Green Party candidate Cynthia McKinney. Patricia Earnhardt said, “The McKinney button was located five rows below the Obama button.” The couple in Nashville were using machines made by the same company as those in the counties in West Virginia—by Election Systems and Software.
Meanwhile, there are reports of long lines at early voting sites in several other states, including some counties in Texas, Florida, Nevada and New Mexico.
Mark Crispin Miller is a media critic who’s been focused on voter problems and election fraud in this country. He’s a professor at New York University, author of several books. Most recently he edited Loser Take All: Election Fraud and the Subversion of Democracy, 2000-2008. His previous book, Fooled Again: How the Right Stole the 2004 Election and Why They’ll Steal the Next One Too.
Mark Crispin Miller now joins us in the firehouse studio. Welcome to Democracy Now!
MARK CRISPIN MILLER: Great to be here.
AMY GOODMAN: What are your concerns right now, Mark?
MARK CRISPIN MILLER: Well, you’ve referred to a couple of them already. We now see a burst of vote flipping by machines, electronic voting machines in a couple of states. This is something that we saw in at least eleven states in the 2004 election, hundreds and hundreds of people coming forward to say, “I pushed the button for Kerry, and the button for Bush lit up.” So, clearly, this was a systematic programming decision by the people in charge of the machines, which in that case and this one is the Republican Party. We’re also seeing systematic shortages of working voting machines in Democratic precincts only. This is also something that did not happen only in Ohio in 2004, but happened nationwide. That election was, in fact, stolen.
AMY GOODMAN: How do you know that?
MARK CRISPIN MILLER: Well, I know because there’s been an audit of the vote in eighteen counties of Ohio by a researcher named Richard Hayes Phillips, who had his team literally scrutinize every single ballot that was warehoused in eighteen Ohio counties. They took over 30,000 digital photographs. This is not speculation, Amy. This is a meticulous, careful, specific and conclusive demonstration that John Kerry actually won some 200,000 votes in those eighteen counties only that were taken away from him. Bush’s official victory margin, you may recall, was about 118,000. So there is no question about it. Ohio was stolen.
AMY GOODMAN: When they—OK, so they have the pictures of all these—
MARK CRISPIN MILLER: Pictures, there’s a CD with this book that you can—
AMY GOODMAN: But they have the pictures of the ballots.
MARK CRISPIN MILLER: Of the variously altered, mutilated ballots, yes. Ballots with stickers placed over the square that people had blacked in for Kerry/Edwards; somebody else blacks in Bush/Cheney. Thousands and thousands of ballots that were pre-marked before they were distributed, so that people would mark different boxes on them, and then they would be invalidated.
Even more chilling is the fact that after Phillips did his research, the boards of elections in fifty-five Ohio counties destroyed all or some of their ballots in defiance of a court order. So we have criminal behavior here of a kind of grand and systematic kind. But the point is—not to engage in what Sarah Palin calls finger-pointing backwards, the point here is to note that we’re dealing with a consistent pattern of subversive behavior by the Republican Party since 2000 and extending all the way up to the present. What we’re seeing now is an especially brazen and diverse range of dirty tricks and tactics that are being used both to suppress the vote and also to enable election fraud.
AMY GOODMAN: Ohio has been very much in the news this past week, not around the issue of voter suppression, but around the issue of fraudulent registration forms, the concern about them being handed in by the organization ACORN.
MARK CRISPIN MILLER: Yeah, the whole ACORN thing is a first-class propaganda drive. ACORN has done nothing wrong. ACORN has, however, been guilty of trying to register low-income citizens to vote. Because they’ve been in the sights of the Republican Party for several years now, they’ve always been extremely scrupulous about checking the registration forms that they garner from their volunteers.
You know, they pay people, basically, to register other voters. So, naturally, from time to time, some volunteer who wants the money will fill out a registration form, you know, with Mickey Mouse or the names of the Dallas Cowboys, something like that. Precisely because that is an ever-present possibility, the people at ACORN have always scrupulously checked the forms before submitting them.
And ten days ago, what they did was, in Las Vegas, their office in Las Vegas, they found a number of these suspicious forms, handed them over directly to the Secretary of State in Nevada, and his response was to turn around and say, “Aha! Here is evidence that you’re conspiring to commit voter fraud.” Now, that effort, that drive went from Nevada to Missouri to Ohio, and now we hear that the FBI is investigating ACORN.
The important point here, Amy, is that voter fraud is practically nonexistent. Several studies have taken a close look at this and found that there really is no voter fraud of this kind.
AMY GOODMAN: Robert Greenwald of Brave New Films has put out a new short film about ACORN and the attacks against them. Let me play an excerpt.
- SEN. JOHN McCAIN: We need to know the full extent of Senator Obama’s relationship with ACORN, who is now on the verge of maybe perpetrating one of the greatest frauds in voter history in this country, maybe destroying the fabric of democracy.
GOV. SARAH PALIN: John and I are calling on the Obama campaign to release communications it has had with this group and to do so immediately.
CARMEN ARIAS: These attacks on ACORN are part of a pattern of voter suppression that the GOP has been carrying on for a long time.
PAUL WEYRICH: They want everybody to vote. I don’t want everybody to vote. Elections are not won by a majority of people. They never have been, from the beginning of our country, and they are not now. As a matter of fact, our leverage in the elections, quite candidly, goes up as the voting populace goes down.
ANDREW SULLIVAN: The McCain campaign has now two camps. And one of them is already assuming that he’s lost, and he’s aiming for the post-election warfare in the Republican Party, and part of that is the ACORN strategy, which is trying to delegitimize the result in advance, if Obama were to win, by saying it was rigged by minority voters. That’s what this is about.
SEN. JOHN McCAIN: Someone here keeps yelling “ACORN, ACORN.” Now, let me just say to you, there are serious allegations of voter fraud in the battleground states across America. They must be investigated.
NATHAN HENDERSON-JAMES: Let’s look at North Carolina. We turned in 28,000 applications in North Carolina, and there are investigations into four of them right now. Over 95 percent of the cards we turned in were error-free. So we’re talking about an extremely small percentage of the overall 1.3 million cards collected. To suggest that this is some kind of widespread criminal conspiracy is just absurd.
MONTAGE OF NEWSCASTERS: ACORN. ACORN. ACORN—is a left-wing—radical—extremist community group.
CARMEN ARIAS: This is hardly the first time that these Rove-style tactics have been used to suppress low-income minorities.
NATHAN HENDERSON-JAMES: They did it in 2000.
GREG PALAST: Voters were being removed from the registries by the Secretary of State, Katherine Harris.
NATHAN HENDERSON-JAMES: They did it in 2004.
UNIDENTIFIED: Evidence has emerged that in the last presidential election the Republican Party organized efforts to suppress the votes of active-duty military, low-income and minority voters by challenging their registrations. The Republicans put in motion a plan to hold down the Democratic vote in key battleground states. Many are convinced that Republican officials broke the law.
NATHAN HENDERSON-JAMES: And they’re doing it again right now.
CARMEN ARIAS: Suppressing the low-income minority voters can swing an entire election. A handful of improperly filled-out voter registration cards cannot.
AMY GOODMAN: That, an excerpt of a piece by Robert Greenwald and Brave New Films. Professor Mark Crispin Miller?
MARK CRISPIN MILLER: Yeah, well, I think he hit the nail right on the head. The important point to get here is that the party that is itself engaging in disenfranchisement on a massive scale, the deliberate, systematic disenfranchisement of arguably millions of Americans, is clouding the issue by accusing—essentially accusing its victims of doing the same thing. OK?
Voter fraud—I want to repeat this—is virtually nonexistent. There have been several academic studies of this notion of whether individuals actually stuffed ballot boxes or show up at polling places pretending to be somebody else. There’s actually not a single known case of any such type of voter fraud being prosecuted by the Department of Justice. And yet, that notion of voter fraud is used as the pretext for taking steps that do demonstrably result in tens of thousands of people being unable to vote, you see? It’s a really masterful strategy. And I only wish that the Democratic Party had all this time been aggressive in pointing out that the Republicans are the party engaged in disenfranchisement.
AMY GOODMAN: Mark Crispin Miller, we have to break. When we come back, I want to ask you about a man named Stephen Spoonamore—
MARK CRISPIN MILLER: Right.
AMY GOODMAN: —a prominent expert, supposedly, on computer fraud, and what he has to say. Stay with us.
AMY GOODMAN: Mark Crispin Miller, professor of media, culture and communication at New York University is our guest. His most recent book, Loser Take All. Who is Stephen Spoonamore?
MARK CRISPIN MILLER: Stephen Spoonamore is a conservative Republican, a former McCain supporter and, most importantly, a renowned and highly successful expert at the detection of computer fraud. That’s his profession. He works for major banks. He works for foreign governments. He works for the Secret Service. Those are his clients.
He knows personally the principal players in Bush-Cheney’s conspiracy to subvert our elections through electronic means since 2000, and he has named these principal players. Specifically, he has named a man named Mike Connell. Mike Connell, according to Spoonamore, is Karl Rove’s computer guru. This is the guy who has helped Bush-Cheney fix election results through computers since Florida 2000, in Ohio in 2004, also in the stolen re-election of Governor Don Siegelman in Alabama in 2002, also in the stolen re-election of Senator Max Cleland in Georgia in 2002.
AMY GOODMAN: How?
MARK CRISPIN MILLER: Well, basically, they use a kind of architecture that’s called Man in the Middle, and it involves shunting election returns data through a separate computer somewhere else. This is something that computer criminals do all the time with banks. Spoonamore explains that the Man in the Middle setup is extremely effective and basically undetectable as a way to change election results.
Now, the scariest thing is that Connell told Spoonamore that the reason why he has helped Bush-Cheney steal these elections for the last eight years has been to save the babies. See? We have to understand that there’s a very powerful component of religious fanaticism at work in the election fraud conspiracy. We saw a little bit of that in Greenswald’s film, where Paul Weyrich was talking about how we don’t want people voting.
AMY GOODMAN: The conservative activist.
MARK CRISPIN MILLER: Well, because the majority is a majority of unbelievers. They’re pro-choice. They’re corrupt. They’re evil. They don’t get it. It’s therefore necessary to fix election results in order to prevent the unjust and the unrighteous from taking over.
AMY GOODMAN: Professor Mark Crispin Miller, you keep saying the election was clearly stolen in 2004. This is not a widely held belief. Why do you think more information is not known about this?
MARK CRISPIN MILLER: Because the press and the Democratic Party have steadfastly refused simply to mention, much less discuss, the evidence.
AMY GOODMAN: You talked to John Kerry.
MARK CRISPIN MILLER: I talked to John Kerry. In fact, the last time I was with you, I was here to talk about that conversation with him. On October 28th, 2005, we met. I gave him a copy of my book Fooled Again, and we discussed the last election, and he told me, with some vehemence, that he believed it was stolen.
AMY GOODMAN: In Ohio in 2004—and Ohio, key battleground state right now—
MARK CRISPIN MILLER: Right.
AMY GOODMAN: And we remember at Kenyon, for example, those long, long lines in 2004, people waiting for hours.
MARK CRISPIN MILLER: Right.
AMY GOODMAN: When you talk about the computer setup for 2004, explain further.
MARK CRISPIN MILLER: Well, what happened was, with the election results that were coming into Ken Blackwell’s website, right, in real time—
AMY GOODMAN: The former Secretary of State of Ohio.
MARK CRISPIN MILLER: The former Secretary of State.
AMY GOODMAN: The former chair of the Bush-Cheney campaign there.
MARK CRISPIN MILLER: And co-chair of Bush-Cheney and a big-time election thief and an ardent theocrat, by the way. The election returns went basically from his website to another computer that was in a basement in Chattanooga, Tennessee, under the control of Spoonamore and a guy with another private company, another evangelical. The data was shunted through that computer and then back to the Secretary of State’s website.
Spoonamore says that this Man in the Middle setup has only one purpose, and that is fraud. There’s no other reason to do it. And he believes that such a system is still in place in Ohio, it’s in place in a number of other states. And the crucial fact to bear in mind here, since we’re talking about John McCain attacking ACORN and so on, is that Mike Connell is now working for John McCain.
Now, on the strength of Spoonamore’s testimony, right, it’s driving a RICO lawsuit in Ohio. On the strength of his testimony, Connell has been subpoenaed. He was subpoenaed last week for a deposition, so that he can answer questions on the record, under oath, about what he’s been up to. He and a bevy of Republican lawyers have been very, very vigorously fighting this subpoena, because, of course, they don’t want him to testify ’til after Election Day.
AMY GOODMAN: Professor Mark Crispin Miller, the Bradley Effect that is being discussed, explain what it is and how you feel it’s being used.
MARK CRISPIN MILLER: The Bradley Effect is a theory which holds that African American candidates do better in pre-election polls than they do in elections, because white racists are shy about admitting to pollsters that they wouldn’t vote for a black man. So they will tell pollsters, “Sure, I’ll vote for him.” Then they sneak into the polling booth and listen to the inner Klansman, you know, they vote as racists.
Now, the problem with this theory is that there are almost no examples of its having happened. It’s named for Tom Bradley, the mayor of Los Angeles, who ran for the governor of California and did much better in polls beforehand than he did on Election Day. Well, it turns out, if you study that race, that the reason why he lost was that a lot of bad news about his tenure in Los Angeles came out just before the election. That’s the reason why people often lose elections. There are only two races that we know of where the Bradley Effect may arguably have obtained, both in 1989: Doug Wilder’s run for the governor of Virginia and David Dinkins’s first run for the mayor of New York, where Dinkins didn’t do as well as we thought he would. Well, in his second run, the polls were dead on.
The point is, we’re talking about two races that may form the basis for this idea that Barack Obama, with his enormous lead, may lose because of millions and millions of closet racists, you know, who will say one thing to pollsters, out of a fear of not seeming politically correct, and then vote a different way. I’ll tell you why I worry about this. Something that you very, very badly need to steal elections, aside from the apparatus and the volunteers and all the money and everything, is a narrative. You have to have a convincing rationale to explain an upset victory. Four years ago, the rationale was millions of values voters materialized on the horizon at the end of the day, and like Jesus with loaves and fishes, they suddenly multiplied and voted for Bush, and then they disappeared. Well, there’s no evidence that that actually happened. But it served as a narrative. This time, I’m afraid the primary narrative will be racism: Barack Obama actually lost, despite all predictions, because so many Americans are racist.
I think that this is, first of all, unverifiable. We don’t know that it’s true, whereas we do know all the stuff about vote suppression and election fraud. But I’m afraid that people will be encouraged to accept this line to prevent them from taking a hard look at the real reasons why Obama may have “lost”—and I put “lost” in quotation marks.
AMY GOODMAN: Mark Crispin Miller, I want to thank you for being with us. Mark Crispin Miller is a professor at New York University and author of, well, the latest book he edited, this came out just this summer, Loser Take All: Election Fraud and the Subversion of Democracy, 2000-2008.
ACORN Has Long Been in Republicans’ Cross Hairs October 24, 2008Posted by rogerhollander in Barack Obama, Electoral Fraud, John McCain, U.S. Election 2008.
Tags: ACORN, duplicate voter registrations, election 2008, John McCain, Republican hypocrisy, Republican voter fraud, roger hollander, U.S. Election 2008, voter fraud, voter registration
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Peter Overby, NPR
Morning Edition, October 15, 2008 · Republicans continued the drumbeat of allegations against ACORN on Tuesday. Sen. John McCain’s presidential campaign, the Republican National Committee and others accuse the grassroots group of widespread voter registration fraud. It’s the latest, and most bitter, battle in a long conflict between conservatives and ACORN.
ACORN, which stands for the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, makes no secret of its progressive tilt. Its top job isn’t CEO, it’s chief organizer.
“We’re like a community union,” says Bertha Lewis, the interim chief organizer. “Our folks are low and moderate income. And we’ve been doing the fight on bread-and-butter issues for 38 years.”
Those bread-and-butter issues have recently included predatory lending and mortgages. Not long ago, ACORN forced Countrywide Financial into an agreement to help homeowners trapped in their subprime loans. In 1996, it led a campaign in Philadelphia to stop Pennsylvania from selling liquor stores to raise money for sports arenas.
“We have huge needs around education, around housing, around jobs programs, around social services,” Bruce Dorpalen of ACORN Housing said at the time. “And to devote that kind of money to sports stadiums is just wrong.”
At a 2006 rally in Miami, ACORN featured a friend who now seems surprising: McCain. As a senator, he was pushing an immigration reform bill supported by ACORN and other progressive groups. ACORN members waved “McCain ’08″ signs at the rally as McCain said, “What makes America special is what’s in this room tonight. That’s what makes America special.”
Now, McCain’s campaign has accused ACORN of flooding America’s polling places with illegal voters. The campaign and the RNC also have played up Democratic Sen. Barack Obama’s ties to ACORN.
Obama responded Tuesday, calling his relationship to the group “pretty straightforward.”
In 1995, Obama said, he represented ACORN in a lawsuit against the state of Illinois. “My partner in that representation was the U.S. Justice Department, in having Illinois implement what was called the motor voter law, to make sure that people could go to DMVs and driver’s license facilities to get registered. It wasn’t being implemented,” he said.
There are other connections that conservatives have highlighted. Obama ran a voter-registration project in Chicago in 1992 under the banner of Project Vote, and years later, the national Project Vote affiliated with ACORN. Earlier this year, his presidential campaign indirectly paid ACORN more than $800,000 for campaign work in the primaries. And ACORN’s political action committee has endorsed Obama.
But conservatives have been after ACORN for years.
“It is an organization that has a very outsized role in the democratic process,” says Tim Miller of the business-backed Employment Policies Institute, which produced a 2006 report titled “Rotten ACORN, America’s Bad Seed.”
Miller points to the ouster of ACORN’s founder earlier this year after the controller, the founder’s brother, had embezzled nearly a million dollars.
“When you think about a truly transparent organization, there would never be any way somebody could embezzle such a large amount,” he says.
The Employment Policies Institute also criticizes ACORN’s organizational structure. ACORN has dozens of subsidiaries. Some get federal funds. Some get money from charities such as the liberal Charles Stewart Mott Foundation and the not-so-liberal Bank of America Charitable Foundation.
Miller says ACORN moves money around among the subsidiaries. He says it “essentially gives them a cloak that prevents people from seeing really how they’re spending money that comes, in some cases, from the taxpayers, in other cases, comes from members of their organization who pay dues.”
But right now, voter fraud is the GOP’s top campaign message. The Republican National Committee produced an online ad called “ACORN Chicago” that reads: “Nationwide voter fraud. Barack Obama. Bad judgment. Blind ambition. Too risky for America.”
Lewis, ACORN’s chief organizer, says the group’s profile has never been so high. “This election, this linking us to Obama in order to try to damage him, that’s a great opportunity,” she says.
Will Evans of the Center for Investigative Reporting contributed to this piece.
Sorry, I Can’t Find Your Name October 24, 2008Posted by rogerhollander in Barack Obama, Electoral Fraud, John McCain, U.S. Election 2008.
Tags: Add new tag, disenfranchising voters, duplicate voter registrations, election 2008, election officials, Electoral Fraud, Florida voter fraud, Ohio voter fraud, Pennsylvania voter fraud, Republican voter fraud, roger hollander, U.S. Election 2008, voter fraud, voter registrations, voter roll purge, voter rolls
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Wednesday 22 October 2008
by: The New York Times | Editorial
Before Mississippi’s March presidential primary, one county election official improperly removed more than 8,000 voters from the eligible-voter rolls, including a Republican Congressional candidate. Fortunately, the secretary of state’s office learned of the purge in time and restored the voters.
It’s disturbing that a single official (who acted after mailings to voters were returned) could come so close to disenfranchising thousands of voters. But voting rolls, which are maintained by local election officials, are one of the weakest links in American democracy and problems are growing.
Some of these problems are no doubt the result of honest mistakes, but in far too many cases they appear to be driven by partisanship. While there are almost no examples in recent memory of serious fraud at the polls, Republicans have been pressing for sweeping voter purges in many states. They have also fought to make it harder to enroll new voters. Voting experts say there could be serious problems at the polls on Nov. 4.
When voters die or move to a new address, or when duplicate registrations are found, a purge is necessary to uphold the integrity of the rolls. New registrations must also be properly screened so only eligible voters get added. The trouble is that these tasks generally occur in secret, with no chance for voters or their advocates to observe or protest when mistakes are made.
A number of states – including the battleground state of Florida – have adopted no match, no vote rules. Voters can be removed from the rolls if their names do not match a second list, such as a Social Security or driver’s license database. But (like the U.S. mail) lists of this kind are notoriously mistake-filled, and one typo can cause a no match. In Ohio, Republicans recently sued the secretary of state, demanding that she provide local officials with a dubious match list. As many as 200,000 new voters could have been blocked from casting ballots. The Supreme Court rejected the suit, but Republicans are still looking for ways to use the list on Election Day.
Congress and the states need to develop clear and accurate rules for purges and new-voter verification that ensure that eligible voters remain on the rolls – and make it much harder for partisans to game the system. These rules should be public, and voters who are disqualified should be notified and given ample time before Election Day to reverse the decision.
For this election, voters need to be prepared to fight for their right to cast a ballot. They should try to confirm before Nov. 4 that they are on the rolls – something that in many states can be done on a secretary of state or board of elections Web site. If their state permits it, they should vote early. Any voter who finds that their name has disappeared from the rolls will then have time to challenge mistakes.
If voters find on Election Day that their names are not on the rolls, they should contact a voters’ rights group like Election Protection, at 1-866-OUR-VOTE, or a political campaign, which can advocate for them. They should not, except as a last resort, cast a provisional ballot, since it is less likely to be counted.
There is a desperate need for reform of the way voting rolls are kept. Until then, election officials, voting rights advocates and voters must do everything they can to ensure that all eligible voters are allowed to vote.
A Mighty Hoax from ACORN Grows October 18, 2008Posted by rogerhollander in Barack Obama, Electoral Fraud, John McCain, U.S. Election 2008.
Tags: ACORN, Add new tag, Democrat voter registration, Electoral Fraud, minority voters, Republican voter tactics, voter disqualification
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by: Michael Winship, t r u t h o u t | Perspective
Michael Winship sees the ACORN “election fraud” story as one of the urban legends that come up every election cycle.
ACORN and election fraud. Hang on. As soon as I can get the alligator that crawled out of my toilet back into the New York City sewers where it belongs, I can turn my attention to this very important topic.
You see, the ACORN “election fraud” story is one of those urban legends, like fake moon landings and alligators in the sewers, and it appears three or four weeks before every recent national election with the regularity of the swallows returning to Capistrano. First, the basics: ACORN, which stands for the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, is an activist group working with low- and moderate-income families to, among many other things, register voters. To do this, they hire people to go around signing up the unregistered, killing two birds with one stone – giving employment to people who need it (some with criminal records) and providing the opportunity to vote to members of minority communities whose voices all too often go unheard.
What happens is that some of those hired to do the registering, who are paid by the name, make people up. As a result, you’ll discover that among the registrants are such obvious fakes as Mickey Mouse and the starting line-up of the Dallas Cowboys, among others.
This is where the Republican meme kicks in. As they have in past elections (although now louder and more angrily than ever), the G.O.P. has made ACORN the red flag du jour as the party tries to mobilize its conservative base and, allegedly, attempts to suppress the vote and distract attention from accusations of election tampering made against them, too.
The charge is that these fake registrations will create havoc at the polls. On Tuesday morning, former Republican Sens. John Danforth and Warren Rudman, chairs of Senator McCain’s Honest and Open Elections Committee, held a press conference and described the results of the bad seeds in ACORN’s registration program as “a potential nightmare.” Danforth said he was concerned “that this election night and the days that follow will be a rerun of 2000, and even worse than 2000.”
John McCain raised it at Wednesday night’s final debate and went further, adding, “We need to know the full extent of Senator Obama’s relationship with ACORN, who [sic] is now on the verge of maybe perpetrating one of the greatest frauds in voter history in this country, maybe destroying the fabric of democracy É”
Obama replied, “ACORN is a community organization. Apparently, what they have done is they were paying people to go out and register folks. And apparently, some of the people who were out there didn’t really register people; they just filled out a bunch of names. Had nothing to do with us. We were not involved.”
Which is not to say Obama has not been associated with ACORN in the recent past. He has. As he said in the debate, as a lawyer, he joined with the group in partnership with the US Justice Department to implement a motor voter registration law in Illinois – allowing folks to register to vote at their local DMV. His work as a community organizer bought him into contact with ACORN, the organization received money from the Woods Fund while he was a board member there, and his presidential campaign gave ACORN more than $800,000 to help with get-out-the-vote campaigns during the primary season – but not, apparently, for registration drives.
All of this distracts from several important points. ACORN has registered 1.3 million voters and maintains that in virtually every instance it is ACORN that has reported the incidents of fraud.
As the organization asserted in a response to Senator McCain, “ACORN hired 13,000 field workers to register people to vote. In any endeavor of this size, some people will engage in inappropriate conduct. ACORN has a zero tolerance policy and terminated any field workers caught engaging in questionable activity. At the end of the day, as ACORN is paying these people to register voters, it is ACORN that is defrauded.”
Arrests have been made, as well they should be.
Add to this the simple fact that registration fraud is not election fraud. Seventy-five made-up people who are registered as, say, “Brad Pitt,” are not likely going to show up at some polling place on November 4 to vote in the election. Because they don’t exist. (Besides, Angelina would never give them time off from babysitting duties.)
Granted, there are ways to mail in an absentee ballot under a fake name and, too, from time to time some joker is going to come to the polls and try to bluff his or her way in. But despite the charge that thousands and thousands of fakes will flood the machines and throw off the count, it does not happen very often. And according to ACORN, “Even RNC [Republican National Committee] General Counsel Sean Cairncross has recently acknowledged he is not aware of a single improper vote cast as a result of bad cards submitted in the course of an organized voter registration effort.”
Not that this has stopped the G.O.P. from banging the same drum every national election. And amnesiac members of the media and some government agencies from buying into it every time. Last year, The New York Times reported that the federal Election Assistance Commission, created by the Help America Vote Act, legislation enacted after the Florida debacle, was told by a pair of experts – one Republican, the other described as having “liberal leanings” – that there was not that much fraud to be found. But their conclusions were downplayed.
As per the Times, “Though the original report said that among experts ‘there is widespread but not unanimous agreement that there is little polling place fraud,’ the final version of the report released to the public concluded in its executive summary that ‘there is a great deal of debate on the pervasiveness of fraud.’”
Which raises the ongoing investigation of the Justice Department’s firing of those eight US attorneys shortly after President Bush’s re-election. It shouldn’t be forgotten that despite official explanations, half of them were let go after refusing to prosecute vote fraud charges demanded by Republicans. The attorneys had determined there was little or no evidence of skullduggery; certainly not enough to prosecute.
(In an interview with Talking Points Memo on Thursday, one of those fired attorneys, David Iglesias, reacted to reports that the FBI has launched an investigation of ACORN: “I’m astounded that this issue is being trotted out again. Based on what I saw in 2004 and 2006, it’s a scare tactic.”)
What’s equally if not more scary are continued allegations of Republican attempts at “caging” minority voters – making challenge lists of African- and Hispanic-Americans registered in heavily Democratic districts. Just this week, a federal judge in Michigan ruled that voters could not be purged from the rolls in that state simply because their mailing address was invalid – this followed a failed attempt by a Michigan Republican county chairman to use a list of foreclosed homes as the basis of voter challenges.
This comes on the heels of a recent report from the Brennan Center at New York University documenting how state officials – often with the best of intentions – purge huge numbers of perfectly legal voters from the rolls.
As my colleague Bill Moyers reported, “Hundreds of thousands of legal voters may have been dumped in recent years, many without ever being notified.” The report describes a “process that is shrouded in secrecy, prone to error, and vulnerable to manipulation.”
Hardly reassuring words if you want democracy to work, and sadly, not an urban legend, but the simple truth.
Who Gets to Vote? October 17, 2008Posted by rogerhollander in Barack Obama, Electoral Fraud, John McCain, Sarah Palin, U.S. Election 2008.
Tags: ACORN, amy goodman, Democrat voter registration, Electoral Fraud, fraudulent registrations, McCain, minority voters, Obama, Palin, Republican voter fraud, roger hollander, voter fraud, voter registration
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By Amy Goodman
October 16, 2008/truthdig.com
The 2008 presidential election may see the highest participation in U.S. history. Voter-registration organizations and local election boards have been overwhelmed by enthusiastic people eager to vote. But not everyone is happy about this blossoming of democracy.
ACORN, the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, has become a lightning rod for the right wing. ACORN’s Web site notes that “the electorate does not reflect the citizenry of the United States of America. It skews whiter, older, more educated and more affluent than the citizenry as a whole.” Bertha Lewis, ACORN’s lead organizer, told me: “We organize low- and moderate-income people, usually folks who are minorities—African-Americans, Latinos, Asians and working-class white people. And most of these folks have always been disenfranchised out of the electoral process. … We’ve registered 1.3 million new voters across the country over an 18-month period of time. We had over 13,000 hard-working voter-registration workers. And we may have had a few bad apples, but I don’t know any organization that didn’t.”
Barack Obama himself was questioned about ACORN’s problematic registrations. He said: “Having run a voter-registration drive, I know how problems arise. This is typically a situation where ACORN probably paid people to get registrations, and these folks, not wanting to actually register people, because that’s actually hard work, just went into a phone book or made up names and submitted false registrations to get paid. So there’s been fraud perpetrated on probably ACORN, if they paid these individuals and they actually didn’t do registrations. But this isn’t a situation where there’s actually people who are going to try to vote, because these are phony names.”
ACORN has seen some clearly fraudulent registrations submitted, with names like “Mickey Mouse” turned in. ACORN says it reviews all the registration forms. However, it does not serve as the ultimate arbiter of which registrations are fraudulent. In fact, ACORN cannot legally throw away any voter-registration cards. It flags suspicious cards and submits them to the appropriate state election authority to make the judgment.
Republicans are increasingly alarmed at the shifting demographics of the United States. Minorities tend to vote Democratic, and the United States is slowly becoming a majority minority country—by 2050, whites will no longer represent a majority in the U.S. As right-wing commentator Patrick Buchanan lamented in 2004: “In 1960, when JFK defeated Nixon, America was a nation of 160 million, 90 percent white and 10 percent black, with a few million Hispanics and Asians sprinkled among us. We were one nation, one people. We worshiped the same God, spoke the same English language.” Buchanan’s xenophobia highlights a political reality: Immigration and mobilization of the urban poor are shifting the electorate to the Democrats, especially in key swing states like New Mexico, Colorado, Florida and Ohio.
The federal Help America Vote Act was passed in 2002 in response to the electoral crisis of 2000. But it requires new voters to present identification at the polling place, which critics allege is a modern-day Jim Crow law. Robert F. Kennedy Jr. (the son of the assassinated 1968 presidential candidate) said recently: “I have an ID, and most Americans have an ID. But one out of every 10 Americans don’t have a government-issued ID, because they don’t travel abroad, so they don’t have passports, and they don’t drive a car, so they don’t have driver’s licenses. The number rises to one in five when you’re dealing with the African-American community.” The online Michigan Messenger revealed that Michigan Republicans were planning to use a list of people with foreclosed homes to purge voter rolls. And a federal judge in Detroit has just ordered that 1,500 people be restored to the Michigan voter rolls, based on “voter caging”—purging people if mail to them is returned as undeliverable. The scandal around the firing of U.S. attorneys, which ultimately led to the resignation of U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, was based largely on the refusal of the Republican prosecutors to pursue unfounded voter-fraud cases.
Citizen groups like Election Protection and Video the Vote are organizing to document and report problems at the polls on Nov. 4. It is more likely that they will see honest people denied the right to vote, purged from the voter rolls, than an attempt by Mickey Mouse to vote Obama.
Denis Moynihan contributed research to this column.
© 2008 Amy Goodman
Amy Goodman is the host of “Democracy Now!” a daily international TV/radio news hour airing on more than 700 stations in North America. She has been awarded the 2008 Right Livelihood Award, dubbed the “Alternative Nobel” prize, and will receive the award in the Swedish Parliament in December.
Justices Rules Against Ohio G.O.P. in Voting Case October 17, 2008Posted by rogerhollander in Electoral Fraud, John McCain, U.S. Election 2008.
Tags: Democrat voter registration, Electoral Fraud, Help America Vote Act (HAVA), Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner, Ohio vote, Republican voter fraud, roger hollander, Supreme Court decision Ohio vote, voter disqualification, voter fraud, voter registration Ohio, voter rights
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by: Adam Liptak and Ian Urbina, The New York Times
Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner attends a hearing in Columbus. (Photo: Kiichiro Sato/AP)
Washington – The Supreme Court on Friday overturned a lower court’s order requiring state officials in Ohio to supply information that would have made it easier to challenge prospective voters. The decision was a setback for Ohio Republicans, who had sued to force the Ohio secretary of state, a Democrat, to provide information about database mismatches to county officials.
The decision has the potential to affect as many as 200,000 of the 660,000 new voters who have been registered in Ohio since Jan. 1, according Social Security Administration and state election officials.
The Supreme Court, in a brief, unsigned decision, said lower federal courts in Ohio should not have ordered the secretary of state, Jennifer Brunner, to turn over the information. The court acted just before a deadline requiring Ms. Brunner to act set by a federal judge in Columbus.
A 2002 federal law, the Help America Vote Act, or HAVA, requires states to check voter registration applications against government databases like those for driver’s license records. Names that do not match are flagged. Ohio Republicans sought to require Ms. Brunner to provide information about mismatches to local officials.
Those officials could use information to require voters to cast provisional ballots rather than regular ones. They could also allow partisan poll workers to challenge people on the lists. Given Democratic success in registering new voters this year, those actions would probably affect that party’s supporters disproportionately.
The court said it expressed “no opinion on the question whether HAVA is being properly implemented.” But it said that Congress probably had not intended to allow private litigants like political parties to sue to enforce the part of the law concerning databases.
Ms. Brunner welcomed Friday’s ruling from the Supreme Court.
“Our nation’s highest court has protected the voting rights of all Ohioans, allowing our bipartisan elections officials to continue preparing for a successful November election,” Ms. Brunner said. “We filed this appeal to protect all Ohio voters from illegal challenges and barriers that unfairly silence the votes of some to the advantage of others.”
Edward B. Foley, a law professor at Ohio State, said the Supreme Court’s action in letting state authorities handle matters in the face of a late challenge was consistent with a general premise of election law. “Federal court intervention is a last resort, even if it’s not at the last minute,” Professor Foley said.
A federal judge in Columbus ordered Ms. Brunner to supply the information on Oct. 9, and the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, in Cincinnati, affirmed that decision on Tuesday by a vote of 10-to-6.
The majority decision in the Sixth Circuit acknowledged that the question about whether private parties may sue under the 2002 law was a close one. But Judge Jeffrey S. Sutton said that question could be deferred, as what the Republican party sought was just information.
No one argues, Judge Sutton wrote, “that a mismatch necessarily requires a voter to be removed from the rolls.” A mismatch may merely prompt further investigation, he said, one that may be satisfied with an explanation as simple as a recent address change.
Voting experts and state election officials added that many voters were likely to be flagged erroneously because the databases used to check voter registrations were prone to errors. Most non-matches are the result of typographical errors by government officials, computer errors, use of nicknames or middle initials, not voter ineligibility, they said.
In one audit of match failures in 2004 by New York City election officials, more than 80 percent of the failures were found to have resulted from errors by government officials; most of the remaining failures were because of immaterial discrepancies between the two records.
Ms. Brunner had also argued that requiring so many voters to cast provisional ballots would raise tensions at the polls and worsen lines and confusion on Election Day in a year when she is expecting unprecedented turnout.
The state Republican Party rejected those arguments.
“Secretary Brunner has fought every effort to validate hundreds of thousands of questionable registrations,” said Ohio Republican Party Chairman Robert Bennett. “As far as I’m concerned, Secretary Brunner is actively working to conceal fraudulent activity in this election.”
The Ohio Republican Party had said it wanted the list so that local election officials could clear up any discrepancies before Election Day and in cases where that was not possible, those voters should vote using a provision ballot. Provisional ballots in Ohio are held for 10 days before being counted while workers check eligibility, and they are often subject to partisan wrangling and legal fights.
Friday’s decision also means that the Ohio Republican Party will not be able to make public information requests to get the data so that poll workers can raise voter challenges at the polls.
In 2004, President George W. Bush won Ohio by a margin of about 118,000 votes. During that race, litigation over Republican plans to challenge about 35,000 voters went to Justice John Paul Stevens on the eve of the election. Justice Stevens said it was too close to the election to intervene, but he added that he expected both sides to act in good faith. The Republicans dropped plans for their challenges.
Polling in the state shows Senator Barack Obama, the Democratic presidential nominee, with a slight lead on his Republican challenger, Senator John McCain.
RFK Jr., Mike Papantonio: “Is Your Vote Safe” September 30, 2008Posted by rogerhollander in Electoral Fraud.
Tags: Electoral Fraud, HAVA, Kennedy on vote fraud, Mike Papantonio, Republicans vote fraud, RFK Jr., roger hollander, Stealing Elections, vote fraud, voter disqulification
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Robert F. Kennedy Jr., Ring of Fire
Robert F. Kennedy Jr. has expressed concern for the safety of the vote in the 2008 election. (Photo: wikimedia.org)
Transcript from Ring of Fire on Air America Radio
Bobby: “There are about 30 scams the Republicans are deliberately using, particularly in the swing states to get Democratic voters off the rolls. These scams originate in the so-called Help America Vote Act which was passed after the Florida debacle in the year 2000. It was originally suggested by Democrats and Republicans but it was passed by a Republican congress with a Republican senate and a Republican president. And instead of reforming what happened in Florida it basically institutionalized all the problems that happened in Florida. And institutionalized a series of impediments that make it very difficult for Democrats to register, for Democrats to vote and then for Democrats to have their vote counted.
“One of these requirements under HAVA is called “the perfect match” and what that does is little known but it is devastating. A quarter of the voters in Colorado have just been removed from the rolls because of this – just this one scam. And what it does is they use a computer system to compare your registration application to all other government records of you in the state. So they’ll look at your social security records, your motor vehicle records and any time you’ve had any interaction with the government and if there is any information on your voter registration that is different than the information on another government record that they find they remove you from the voting rolls.
“For example, if I registered as Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and yet my motor vehicle license said Robert Frances Kennedy Jr. I’d be removed from the rolls. If your initial is different, if you leave an initial out, if you leave a “Jr.” out, if you leave a hyphen out in your name. And what they’ve done is a study in New York that said 80% of the errors are errors that were done by state clerks who are taking down this information. And particularly immigrant communities that people tend to vote Democratic, people have names … spell Muhammad with an “o” instead of a “u” (crosstalk)
Pap: “Are the Democrats Suing to Stop This?”
Bobby: “No, the Democrats are doing nothing to stop it. In New Jersey, which is a swing state, 300,000 voters in New Jersey were just sent letters saying that they are now ineligible to vote. New jersey is nice enough to actually notify them – most states will not even notify them. And New Jersey intends to send out 870,000 letters so that is three quarters of a million people off the voting rolls in a state that could decide this vote by 50,000 votes. And these are Democrats that are being pushed off the rolls.
Bobby: “Let me tell you about one other of these scams people should know about. If you’re a newly registered voter – and of course the Democrats have done these gigantic registration drives – 12 million people on registration – if you’re a new voter you MUST include your license or some other state I.D. when you come to vote. What that means is that if you’re a college kid (and college kids now – they’re sending in absentee ballots – they’re not going to the voting place, they do everything online or they do everything remotely – they don’t dream of going to the precinct house voting on election day and waiting in a long line) so if they send in the absentee ballot and they don’t include a color copy of their license their vote is going to be thrown into a trash can. And none of these people know this because you have had to read the law in order to know it. So there is no notification for when you fill out your registration form, so all of those 12 million people that the Democrats have registered: those ballots are going to be just thrown out.
Pap: “And if Democrats won’t talk about this how the hell’s anybody gonna know about it? I’m involved with this kind of thing every day – I didn’t know that until you just told me. The media is not talking about it. How in the hell is somebody gonna find this out? It’s just incredible.
Bobby: “Hopefully – Obama is getting 66 million dollars a month – hopefully somebody in the Democratic organization is going to pay some attention to this before election day.