Stolen Election 2004
By Carol Sterritt
On November 2, 2004, for the second time in 48 months, George W. Bush and his minions illegally altered the Presidential election results by enough of a count that he will again illegally occupy the White House for another four years.
How did this happen? Due to the new machinery purchased under the "Help America Vote Act," at least 29% of the American electorate had their vote counted on equipment that is tamper-friendly and that leaves no auditable paper trail. According to some observers, that statistic is shy of the actual reality-they say sixty to sixty-one million votes were counted on such machinery. This would mean that more than HALF the vote was counted by defective machinery.
Although Bev Harris and Andy Stephenson of Black Box Voting (blackboxvoting.org) had been patiently making the rounds of radio talk shows, and demonstrating to the press, to college campuses and to various Secretaries of State all across the nation, their pleas for the citizenry to demand a paper trail before November elections seemingly went unheard. Even MoveOn directors did not get it. A full year before the election, Harris tried to explain it to them: they could hold all the garage sales, and have all the voter registration drives that they wanted, but if it was left possible for the Dark Side to play around with a pool of 61 million votes, well, you don't need to be a rocket scientist to figure out the sad result.
Additionally, the Republicans utilized every trick in the book. First of all, they continued to purge voter registration rolls. According to Greg Palest, who I must admit it, is as funny as any pundit, but this man works it, folks, he finds out where the records are, he goes in with subpoenas or cameras, whichever will be most effective, throws Secretaries of State on the floor and Xeroxes those documents that are needed to prove what he says, and this is what he emailed in October: one million voters would have their names wiped out of registration banks before the polls ever opened the morning of November 2nd. ONE MILLION VOTERS. PURGED.
Just as importantly, Republicans have seen to it that Republicans hold almost every Chief Precinct Inspector position (the CPI, aka polling place judge) in polling precincts all across the country. This is significant for several reasons. It is the CPI who can stare down a person or persons who are causing trouble inside a polling place. Should someone appoint themselves as a "challenger" to other voters, the CPI can make a call to the County Registrar Office (or to the police) and have that person removed. They have much to say about the number of voting machines and needed equipment. They are the person entrusted with bringing the hard physical proof, in these days special memory cards, from the polling place to the County Registrar of Voters. They can challenge a voter's right to vote. Also, polling place official observers are often Republicans. Additionally, it is Republicans who most often develop and distribute the training tapes that show what a polling place workers duties would be during an election.
Let's discuss an occurrence here in Marin City on November 2nd that illustrates this. Jessamyn Sabbag has given me an account of her election day experiences. Sabbag is with Grassroots Leadership Network here in the County. Their group had printed up voter guides to help people make decisions about various propositions. The entire group had studied thoroughly all the particulars of State of California election day law. They knew that they were within their rights to be at 100 feet of the polling place. There they planned to hand out their materials. And they could encourage those who took the guides to mark them up and then use them when they were in the voting station. (I myself used such a guide to help keep various propositions clear in my mind.)
Her group was approached by "Charlotte," a woman in perhaps her late 60's who told them that they needed to be 300 feet away (essentially down the block and out of view of that polling place.) She also told them that no one could bring the guides with them into the polling station. She also told them (Get this!) that they could hand out the guides, but only to people who had already voted!!
She claimed to be in charge of 27 polling places. The group used their cell phone to call the local attorney, Larry Organ, making his time free to those having problems. When "Charlotte" saw him getting out of his car, she immediately addressed Sabbag with words to the effect, "I'm gonna' be nice and make an exception and let you do what you asked to do earlier." But without Attorney Organ's presence, it is not clear what would have happened.
Sabbag's group did a survey that data-banked 350 some respondents and their experiences on election day. Thirty-eight of those so polled had bad experiences. One bad experience involved one of her Mill Valley friends. When he could not locate his absentee ballot, he went to a polling place in Mill Valley and asked for a provisional ballot. It was about 7:30 election night. The workers there told him that he must go to a different polling place, i.e. the one assigned him based on his address. But based on state law, any polling place in your home city is fine. The workers refused to give him the provisional ballot and he lost his right to vote.
Ironically, Sabbag's group had worked closely with the League of Women Voters here in Marin County when they first developed their materials. But even so, they were still badgered and harassed by this "Charlotte." To this day, no one seems to know her last name.
Section 245, Chapter 18 of the US Code stipulates that anyone who injures, intimidates or interferes with any other citizen(s) in their undertaking their right to vote, shall by fined under this section of law, or imprisoned for A YEAR, or BOTH. (This section also reserves the same privileges for thoseÉ participating lawfully in speech or peaceful assemblyÉ)
I definitely hope, "Charlotte," that this is the last year that you are "put in charge of 27 polling places." So, "Charlotte," who are you and where are you? I would like to see you charged with your crimes, imprisoned or at least coughing up your duly appointed fine. And that goes for many such intimidators in the state of Ohio as well. There, Kenneth Blackwell, Secretary of State, oversaw a huge re-writing of the State of Ohio's election laws. He needed to strong arm the state's rules and regulations to overcome disturbing reports: this fall, in Ohio, 90,000 new voters would make up more than 10 percent of the electorate in just one county where Democrat Al Gore won by only 5,000 votes in 2000. Reports coming out of other counties were just as disturbing.
Now Blackwell has political aspirations, including some say, to run for president himself someday. As a Republican, his delivering the vote for George W. would help further his cause and curry his party's favor. But he needed to switch a state that went Democratic in 2000 into the Republican column. Not an easy task if you play by the rules. Bush was headed into the election with his polling number at 50% or below - and no incumbent President has ever won with such numbers. The American people were polled to death, especially in Ohio, and they were sick of the pollsters. However they were even more sick and tired of a president disinterested in a failing economy, and who was continuing with policies that had turned Iraq into a bloodbath for both sides. So the Ohio survey numbers rang out loud and clear and scary if there was a ¨ by your name: 53% of the Ohio women were voting for Kerry and 51% of the men. Like Palast tells it, unless there was a third gender operating in Ohio, a legally held, fairly played out election should have won it for the man from Massachusetts by a landslide.
Perhaps for that reason, Blackwell issued a decree in October that only 80 weight paper would be acceptable for voter registration forms. Although officials in some counties ignored the directive, in other counties, it was followed. Those persons attempting registration in counties where his directive was adhered to probably lost their right to vote. Blackwell also directed election officials to issue provisional ballots only to voters who went to the correct polling location. Democrats say federal law gives voters the right to obtain a provisional ballot and have it counted if they mistakenly go to the wrong precinct.
On Election Day itself, poorer counties in Ohio opened their doors to long lines of people. But inside the polling place there stood simply too few machines to accommodate the crowds. Often these polling places seemed to deliberately have fewer machines than they had four years earlier. Despite this, Ohio citizens determinedly stood and waited their turn, in lines that went out the polling place door and into the intemperate weather. Newscasters caught the tired, wet and distressed faces of those forced outside in a drizzle. Republican challengers knocked college-aged newly registered voters out of the process. Although some students knew how to finagle the local County Registrar's office into validating their right to enfranchisement, it was too much for others. Even if you knew what to do and where to go when challenged, you still needed to cut classes or your part time job in order to regain your right.
In one Ohio polling place, machines were not working when the doors opened at 7 AM. By the time they were up and running, fifty would-be voters had left. Then the place ran out of the pencils needed to mark in the selected candidates. A young polling worker finally went and bought pencils out of his own pocket, when he realized that the CPI was not that interested in doing anything about it. And so innumerable stories came out of that mass of election corruption. The last polling place open in America was a rain-drenched Ohio precinct, where lights finally went out after 3 AM November 3rd. You better believe that it was not in one of Ohio's wealthier, more Republican strongholds.
When Blackwell's office released the final vote count for Ohio, it gave the state to George W Bush by 136,00 votes. However, at least 125,000 and some say as many as 250,000 absentee, provisional and military ballots had been left uncounted. Also, tens of thousands of discrepancies, intimidations, and suppressions of the right to enfranchisement were also in need of examination. Blackwells' Office of the Secretary of State simply REFUSED to allow claimants to cite the polling officials who had disallowed the casting of their ballots. It seemed that ON ALL LEVELS, much needed to be sorted out. This sorting out was essential because victory in the State of Ohio decided electoral votes for a presidential victory as well.
During the morning and early afternoon, the Internet was wild with rumor. Stories from Florida, from Colorado, and from New Mexico indicated that perhaps recounts would be demanded in those states as well. In New Mexico, some voting districts reported 185% of all Republicans voting, perhaps as a result of their serious patriotism and godliness? This report turned out to be true-I later had the final vote count faxed to me from that state, and voting district after voting district had numbers greater than 100% with regards to the final Republican tally.
But still, on the third of November, the problem in Ohio was that the vote had not even been finished yet. Then to make matters worse, John Kerry conceded at 2 PM, less than 24 hours after the final voters had left the polls. By evening of November 3rd, crowds of angry Ohio citizens stormed the State Capital. To the chant of "O-H-I-O! Suppressed Democracy Has Got To Go", they interlinked arms and faced down police in riot gear. They were joined by compatriots in as many as forty towns and cities across America, who needed to voice what the gut-wrenching sickness inside them had them feeling: something had gone terribly wrong, and not in the state of Ukraine.
Meanwhile, the media, both national and local, issued a lockdown on the truth. Both Bev Harris and Peter Coyote have claimed that close journalistic friends have told them that their careers are over if they should attempt to write about this election being stolen. Instead, the irregularities and outright corruption that indicate that this election was so fraudulent that it should not be considered a true election of anything, let alone the Office of the President of the United States, these accounts are going unreported in the mainstream press. It is the alternate media that is shedding light on this: handing out flyers, holding church basement meetings, setting up web blogs, and continuing to harass the "real" media with letters to the editor, letters that despite their eloquence usually go in the trash. From such a flyer, I offer these Ten Indications that the 2004 Election Was Stolen:
Systematic Voting Machine Irregularities 2) Highly Irregular Intervention by Federal Authorities; 3) Impossible Vote Totals; 4) Unfair Election Supervisors; 5) Untrustworthy Vendors of Election Machinery 6) Unexplained Exit Poll Discrepancies; 7) Unreliable or Nonexistent Voting Machinery in Poor or Ethnic Areas; 8) Atypical Voting Changes from 2000 to 2004; 9) Uncounted Ballots; 10) Illegal Voter Suppression Activities
The list leaves out the most important-having the operatives from only one party occupy positions in all of the most important election positions, from lowly poll worker to Secretary of State, having the operatives from one party develop the machinery that will be used for the elections, and in essence, having a one party state.
And if you have been following the rest of the news, that means that the military-industrial Hydra that Eisenhower warned against is now snapping its fiercest of heads in places everywhere above the heads of the common citizenry.
As I put this article for December 2004 to bed, I receive a late breaking report from Wayne Madsen that Saudis and Enron bankrolled the expense of stealing this election. "According to informed sources in Washington and Houston, the Bush campaign spent some $29 million to pay polling place operatives around the country to rig the election for Bush. The operatives were posing as Homeland Security and FBI agents but were actually technicians familiar with Diebold, Sequoia, ES&S, Triad, Unilect, and Danaher Controls voting machines. These technicians reportedly hacked the systems to skew the results in favor of Bush." Madsen is a Washington DC based investigative reporter. The article can be read in full at "onlinejournal.com"