Friday, March 16, 2007

Failure to Pursue "Voter Fraud" Is Not Plausible Reason for Purging Prosecutors

On March 14, the following headline in the Washington Post, White House Cites Lax Voter-Fraud Investigations in U.S. Attorneys' Firings, struck me as a totally implausible reason for purging the prosecutors: “The GOP allegation, repeated in several swing states where voting margins have been narrow, is that Democrats have illegally ratcheted up their tallies by permitting ballots to be cast by felons, by residents without proper identification, or by people who forged signatures on absentee ballots."

Because I’ve been involved in election integrity issues since 2003, I receive daily alerts related to this issue. On March 6, I received an alert that Claims of “Voter Fraud” Often Manufactured, Exaggerated for Political Purposes, Says New Report from Project Vote from ProtectVote.org.

The alert summarizes the report as follows: “Widespread 'voter fraud' is a myth promulgated to suppress voter participation, according to a new Project Vote report released this week: 'The Politics of Voter Fraud' finds that fraudulent voting, or the intentional corruption of the voting process by voters, is extremely rare. Yet, false or exaggerated claims of fraudulent voting are commonly made in close electoral contests, and later cited by proponents of laws that restrict voting."

Why do I believe the Project Vote report and not the White House? Easy answer: Because I’ve been so involved in election integrity for several years, I have countless folders and hundreds of files full of articles about where the real problem lies regarding voting. It’s not “voter fraud,” it’s “election fraud.”

One place I go for information is Election Data Services. It was hired in 1980 by the Federal Elections Commission to conduct studies of what voting equipment has been used in the U.S. They have conducted studies ever since, with the most recent study available here. As reported, in 2006, of the 170 million registered voters, 69 million had their votes counted on optical scan voting machines and 66 million used electronic equipment.

What the report doesn’t tell us you is that 79% of the votes in this country are counted on secret software. That’s the real problem with the elections, not voter fraud. Both optical scanners and “electronic equipment,” aka “touchscreen voting machines,” are in the hands of private vendors, primarily Diebold and ES&S. Secret software counts 135 million votes, which is 79% of the total of 170 million. Of course, not all 170 million registered voters vote, but the votes cast are counted by optical scans, touchscreens, etc., in roughly the same proportions.

A couple of days ago, I received an e-mail from Paul Lehto, an attorney in Everett, Washington. We are both working with ElectionDefenseAlliance.org, and his message is directed to EDA: "The chance here is to highlight how these nonexistent voter fraud issues emanate from the VISIBLE portion of our elections systems. But there is also a huge INVISIBLE portion of our elections systems that is unmonitored, and is where any reasonable criminal would operate. This is the realm of trade secret electronic vote counting by private vendors, where democracy itself has been outsourced, privatized and transparency eliminated."

Recently, even the mainstream media has been covering stories about the problems with electronic voting machines. Recently, the mainstream media has been reporting on the problems with privatizing vital services, like care of wounded soldiers at Walter Reed Hospital.

Privatizing public services, including vote counting, is the problem. "Voter fraud" is not the problem.

9 comments:

Paul said...

Good post. To add to or amplify a few things, in Washington state in 2004 the governor's race was subject to an election contest. Ultimately less than a hundred votes separated the two in a race of three million votes case. Millions were spent on each side to find the kind of dead voters, double voters and felon voters that might result in excluded votes. Despite scouring the state, nothing was found sufficient to change a race separated by less than a 100 votes. This was after an investigation by public, press and parties that was unprecedented in its size and scope and motivation, it was for the governorship.

The timing of the US Attorney pressure to investigate voter fraud was right after the 2004 election. This shifted the investigative and prosecutorial resources of our entire country away from ELECTION fraud, the real issue, to voter fraud, a trifling issue by comparison. ELECTION fraud focuses on the ones who have the power to deliver the desired result in an election: the Insiders.

As a result, perhaps of federal and state diversion, it was not until March of 2007 that two election officials in Ohio were sentenced to 18 months for rigging the presidential recounts in Ohio to come out "right", i.e. the same as the first count. This is the achilles heel of insiders, not only the power to deliver the (electronic) election result but the human tendency to engage in CYA above all else, to preserve their reputation and stay out of the media fishbowl. NOte this was a democratic county, and they were STILL screwing Kerry's chances. This also shows why the primary media reason for refusal to look further into OHio 2004 was bogus: they focused on the bipartisan board (2 D and 2R with Blackwell-R casting any tiebreakers). But note, not only is it futile for Democrats to object on a 2-2 board, but also those democrats already signed off on the first counts so they must be idiots if they didn't find anything wrong, or corrupt. (Well, it's easy not to find something, but that's what they are thinking while engaging in CYA)

As the New York Times today editorialized, following language previously printed in bradblog and a post of mine on DemocraticUnderground.com, the white House excuse for firing, namely that the prosecutors refused to investigate "voter fraud" actually makes things FAR FAR worse, because they were thereby unable to, or refusing to investigate the REAL CRIMES, to the extent they DID do the White House's bidding.

Here's the abuse of power that begins to show the White House engaged in a deliberate and abusive pattern of saying "HE WENT THAT A-WAY" and pointing in the wrong direction of voter fraud. Just as the election officials are starting to go to prison for screwing Kerry's recount (requested by the Greens and Libs) in Ohio in 2004, by spending literally two days with the full knowledge of many on the staff, going thru ballots to make sure it would come out "all right." That is, to make sure the true count would not emerge and things would stay the same instead.

THe judge in Ohio thinks there's more to this, and he called it a "conspiracy". I wonder if we'll have any followup now. are felony convictions enough to get the mainstream media to investigate and defend democracy itself? Or, are they STILL committed to rendering democracy defenseless?

Every time they try to shame "sore losers" into not investigating elections results, since winners can't sue themselves and only losers can sue, if they shame the "sore losers" into doing nothing, they DO leave democracy defenseless. Still, one hopes that one day our quisling media will wake up and rejoin the ranks of both real investigative reporting as well as the ranks of the minimally patriotic.

Paul said...

A couple links with more interesting information:

http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.php?az=view_all&address=389x410254

Republican reframe of "voter fraud" Makes situation Far Worse by Covering-Up/Smokescreening the Real Crimes

and

http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.php?az=view_all&address=389x431671

If Bush did not approve US attorney firings, They were NOT LEGAL (see link above)

John in Cincinnati said...

Ah yes, Gail, a good post.

In Ohio in 2004, there were something on the order of four cases of actual voter fraud successfully prosecuted. These were each single cases of fraud, i.e. one vote, for registrations such as "Minnie Mouse." As state Senator Teresa Fedor reminds us, Minnie's vote was not counted.

The real fraud--and under Ohio law any charges under Chapter XXXV (Elections) are prima facie cases of fraud--were operatives paid for by the RNC to misinform ex-felons they could not vote (they can), close to 200,000 voters forced to vote provisional ballots (22% did not count), and so forth. And that's all in addition to the potential invisible fraud of which our friend Paul Lehto writes.

Best,

John

Gail Jonas said...

Paul and John, my election integrity allies.

Thanks for adding some "meat" to the "bones" of my post.

Gail

Paul said...

VISIBLE AND INVISIBLE

WHen you consider what the Judicial branch did OUT IN THE OPEN (Bush v Gore, 2000), and you consider what the Legislative branch did OUT IN THE OPEN (CA 50th Cong.Dist 2006 swore in Republican Bilbray before first count was even finished and claimed no jurisdiction for recount, investigation or anything in CA courts)

THEN

If two separate branches in six years have clearly terminated elections in mid-stream, whether in recount phase in Bush v Gore, or counting phase in Busby/Bilbray,

WHAT MIGHT THEY DO UNDER CONDITIONS OF SECRECY LIKE THE SECRET VOTE COUNTING THAT OPTICAL SCAN MACHINES AND TOUCH SCREEN DREs MAKE POSSIBLE??

---Paul Lehto

Anonymous said...

Another thing to keep in mind is that the laws to protect against so-called "voter fraud" are mostly struck down by the courts as infringements on the fundamental right to vote guaranteed under the US Constitution, meaning that because those laws impose heavy burdens on voting, burdens disallowed under the Constitution, they are invalid.

Anyone who started looking into the discrepancies in the 2004 election soon realized that the only explanation for those discrepancies (e.g., precincts where 98% of the voters supposedly voted)was fraud. The problem was that only individuals who were unable to get the attention of the media looked into the discrepancies. The mainstream (and even the not so mainstream media just refused to take a look).

The issue remains how to get the prosecutors and the press to investigate the fraud.

A very thorough investigation of the vote count in the Florida 2000 debacle is the scholarly but completely readable account edited by Lance deHaven-Smith, entitled "The Battle for Florida." The publication of this book should have been front-page news, but it wasn't.

Now that Bush is regarded as a failed president by all but the most diehard loyalists, perhaps books like deHaven-Smith's will receive the attention they deserve. We have to hope so!

Anonymous said...

This is really great information. . . I'd run all of these comments on the front page, Gail! Thanks Paul and others for taking the time to discuss and share your information. If you think nary a soul is reading your exchange, you are mistaken!

Cheers,

Tod Brilliant

Ann Carranza said...

Gail, as Tod says, we are out here reading, agreeing, and thinking. Keep up the stream of important information.

Kudos to Paul and John for their posts, helping to educate those of us who care.

Anonymous said...

Gail, I am just getting familiar with your blog and like what you and your fellow posters are putting forth. The downside for me is that now I have more reading on top of my full schedule but I plan on making room for your information. I was not aware of so much going on between voter fraud and election fraud behind the scenes with you, Paul and others. Thanks and as I get up to speed with details on this issue I hope to find time to add comments.

Otis W.