Fitrakis And Lehto, 2006 Election
See audio here and get archives from www.freepress.org/podcasts
See audio here and get archives from www.freepress.org/podcasts
The Republican Party is on the brink of seizing another seat in the U.S. Congress. The key race is the central Ohio 15th District Congressional House seat held by Deborah Pryce, the fourth most powerful Republican in Congress.
On election night the preliminary vote count showed Pryce beating Franklin County Commissioner Mary Jo Kilroy by 3717 votes out of more than 200,000 cast. Nearly 20,000 votes remained uncounted after Election Day. Kilroy refused to concede and demanded a full accounting of provisional, absentee and uncounted machine votes.
On Monday, November 27, the final tally was announced. Kilroy officially picked up 2482 votes, leaving Pryce ahead by 1054. The Franklin County Board of Elections could have certified the results earlier, but chose instead to wait until after the Big Ten championship football game between Ohio State and the University of Michigan.
Because the margin is within 1/2% of the votes cast, Franklin County Board of Elections Director Matt Damschroder says this will trigger an automatic recount within ten days.
By all rights, Kilroy would seem to be an obvious winner, except for a number of suspect statistics. For example, an analysis by the Columbus Dispatch shows that wards with more than 90% African-American voters in Franklin County had just a 24% turnout in the Columbus area. But in Cleveland and Cincinnati, similar wards had a 34% and 33% turnout respectively.
The low voter turnout in Franklin County may be the lingering effect of the 4-7 hour waits that the black community suffered in the 2004 presidential election due to the lack of voting machines. The average voter turnout in the Columbus area overall was slightly over 50%.
BUT THERE MAY ALSO BE THEFT INVOLVED.
The Franklin County Board of Elections rejected 2600 provisional ballots, many of them from registered voters who voted in the wrong precinct. A 2004 directive from Ohio Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell for the first time disallowed the votes of registered voters in the county if they voted out of their precinct. Historically, all voters registered in the county had their votes counted from the county races up to the statewide and federal races.
In another new development introduced in the 2006 election as a result of House Bill 3, voters were flagged with a stop sign symbol by their name in the pollbook. Free Press reporters saw some flagged voters turned away from the polls in violation of laws and others being allowed to vote in the wrong precinct, which would nullify their vote.
Both Pryce and Kilroy anticipate a recount, but voting rights activists question whether an actual “random” recount will occur. While Ohio law requires a random recount, with every ballot having an equal chance of inclusion, Blackwell has, in the past, allowed local Boards of Elections to determine their own methods for selection of ballots to be recounted. A sample by the Free Press and reports from recount observers in the 2004 presidential election, found non-random methods of selection predominated.
If the 3% recount of the paper ballots matches the official certified tally, the results will stand. If they don’t, then all of the ballots will have to be recounted by hand. This would mean counting the paper trail from the ES&S electronic voting machines in Franklin County.
When Election Science Institute recounted the ballots in Cuyahoga County following the 2006 spring primary meltdown, they found a 5% discrepancy between the electronic votes recorded on the Diebold personal electronic ballots (PEBs) and hard drives and the actual paper trails.
An audit sponsored by the Free Press in Miami County of Opti-scan machines found a similar discrepancy of 5% between the paper ballots and the results as scanned and centrally tabulated by a computer. The Free Press found that the Miami County results were not discovered during the 2004 presidential election recount because of flawed recounting methodology. Miami County officials unsealed the Opti-scan ballots, ran them through the counting machine, got a total, and then recounted by hand. The problem was that the results were not compared back to the officially certified results, but only to the machine counted results.
Numerous irregularities occurred, not just in the Kilroy-Pryce district that includes the western portion of Franklin County and parts of Union and Madison counties, but throughout Franklin County, which is the heart of Kilroy’s support in the district.
• The Free Press witnessed voters being unlawfully sent home for identification and unable to vote – in violation of a federal court order that entitled them to vote a provisional ballot with the last four digits of their Social Security number. In a race this close, this widespread practice may have resulted in the narrow margin of victory.
• An estimated 1,800 votes from more than 13 electronic machines that weren’t shut down properly by poll workers were also added in to the November 27 total. The problem remains as to the chain of custody regarding these machines and why so many failed to be handled correctly on Election Day.
• The Dispatch reported that nine Franklin County pollworkers “accidentally” took cartridges home that had to be later retrieved by deputy sheriffs.
• Charles R. Morrison II, a conservative Republican, was stopped by Secretary of State Blackwell’s office from running as an independent in the race. Had he remained in the race, his presence would have aided Kilroy. He later lost in his attempt to be placed on the ballot in federal court. Morrison had denounced the Pryce-Kilroy contest as the choice between “the lesser of two liberals.”
In a related case, Franklin County Judge Carol Squire also asked for a recount of 35 precincts where there was documented incidents where pollworkers incorrectly downloaded vote totals or shut down machines improperly. The Dispatch reported 26 different precincts suffered “mechanical” errors during the election and that “there were pollworker errors in nine precincts, including five in which results were downloaded onto two removable cartridges instead of one.”
The 2006 mid-term election problems are a continuation of the 2004 presidential election debacle in Franklin County. Election Protection activists repeatedly warned that problems were endemic to the electronic voting machines and that House Bill 3 was a “voter suppression” bill. Franklin Democratic Party officials have frequently denounced the Election Protection movement since 2004.
Ironically, Kilroy, who initially supported the election protection movement after the 2004 presidential election, reversed her position early on. After first calling for an independent investigation of the Franklin County Board of Elections, she allowed the Franklin County Board of Elections to conduct and direct its own investigation. Kilroy, currently a Franklin County Commissioner, is responsible for funding and overseeing the operations of the Franklin County Board of Elections (BOE). An investigative report by Mother Jones magazine designated Franklin County, Ohio one of the worst places to vote in the country.
Franklin County BOE Deputy Director Democrat Michael Hackett ended up resigning in 2006 after a contract-steering scandal involving storage carts for the new DRE machines. Former Ohio Democratic Party Chair Denny White was selected to replace Hackett after White resigned from state leadership following the 2004 Ohio election fiasco. Election Protection activists have charged that the Democratic Party treats the BOEs as patronage positions to reward Party insiders rather than as the key positions to preserve voting rights for the people. Franklin County BOE Director was suspended without pay for a month after he received a $10,000 check from a Diebold lobbyist made out to the Republican Party. His job was saved by William Anthony, who serves simultaneously as the Franklin County Democratic Party Chair and the BOE Chair.
Pressure from local activists forced the BOE to adopt a more visible and larger paper trail for its ES&S DRE machines. Under Ohio law, the paper trail is the actual ballot of record for an electronic voting machine, which will make the impending recount in the Pryce-Kilroy race easier.
Also, under House Bill 3, Kilroy, as a federal candidate, has no right to legally challenge her loss in Ohio state courts. After the 2004 Moss v. Bush case that challenged the results of that presidential election, the Republican-dominated state legislature passed the draconian House Bill 3 including a provision barring federal candidates from legally challenging election results in state court.
There is still indication that a truly random recount along with other revelations uncovered by the Free Press team could result in a Kilroy victory. To her credit, Kilroy has refused to concede. There is ample indication that she was, in fact, the rightful winner. Let’s hope she searches out every possible avenue and makes absolutely certain every vote is properly counted before a final verdict is reached in this crucial race.
Bob Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman are co-authors, with Steve Rosenfeld, of WHAT HAPPENED IN OHIO, just published by the New Press and editors of the Free Press and https://freepress.org. Fitrakis was an independent candidate, endorsed by the Green Party for Governor of Ohio in 2006.
Original article found at https://freepress.org/columns/display/3/2006/1470
by Bob Fitrakis, Harvey Wasserman and Ron Baiman
November 14, 2006
Original Article @ https://freepress.org/departments/display/19/2006/2250
The percentage of uncounted votes in the allegedly “fraud free” 2006 Ohio election is actually higher than the fraud-ridden 2004 election, when the presidency was stolen here. A flawed voting process that allowed voters to be illegally turned away throughout the morning on Election Day may have cost the Dems at least two Congressional seats and a state auditor’s seat.
The evidence comes directly from the official website of GOP Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell Blackwell website. But researchers wishing to verify the number of uncounted ballots from that web site should do so immediately, as Blackwell is known for quickly deleting embarrassing evidence. In 2004, Blackwell deleted the evidence of excessive uncounted votes after the final results were tallied.
Despite Democratic victories in five of six statewide partisan offices, an analysis by the Free Press shows a statistically implausible shift of votes away from the Democratic Party statewide candidates on Election Day, contrasted with the results of the Columbus Dispatch’s final poll. The Dispatch poll predicted Democratic gubernatorial candidate Ted Strickland winning with 67% of the vote. His actual percentage was 60%. The odds of this occurring are one in 604 million.
(Freepress has numbers matrix/chart in this area)
The final Columbus Dispatch poll wrapped up on Friday before the Tuesday election. This poll was based on 1541 registered Ohio voters, with a margin of error at plus/minus 2.2 percentage points and a 95% confidence interval. The Dispatch noted “The survey’s 7-point variance from Democrat Ted Strickland’s actual percentage total broke a string of five straight gubernatorial elections in which the poll exactly matched the victor’s share of the vote.” Read more →
Wow! The campaign is now over. Congratulate yourselves for a job well done.
Thanks to all of you who participated in and supported our historical and inaugural statewide campaign for the Green Party in Ohio. The approximately 40,000 votes that Anita Rios and I received in the Governor/Lt. Governor race and the more than 70,000 votes Tim Kettler received in the Secretary of State’s race only came a result of many hours of tireless work by numerous volunteers.
In many ways, the campaign was key in defeating Ken Blackwell. For two years, often while the Democrats ducked and covered, our independent and tenacious army of election rights activists unflinchingly attacked Blackwell and his corrupt cronies. I’m not sure Ted Strickland ever said anything negative about Blackwell. Well, we did and more importantly, it was fact-based. We were the fraudbusters. Blackwell and Bush, the fraudsters. Bye, Bye, Blackwell.
The campaign was also historically significant because of the continued role of the Green Party in taking on the great moral issues of the day in Ohio.
First and foremost, I want to thank Phil Nash and Emi Ireland – the webmaster and webmistress extraordinaire. Their work is rapidly passing into the realm of legend. I also want to thank Steve Caruso, who tirelessly updated and monitored the website and blogsite. He is humble and worked quietly in the background, but his efforts made a great impact on public debate in Ohio.
Paul Dumouchelle dutifully kept track of our limited funds and filed the time-consuming al often boring financial reports. I would not have run if he hadn’t agreed to serve as Treasurer. Thank you, Paul! I also want to thank Dorri Steinhoff, who stepped forward to manage the campaign in its early stages and throws some of the best parties I’ve ever attended.
Thanks also go out to the Cincinnati supporters my favorite blogger Andrew Warner, event organizer and mighty emcee Justin Jeffre, the Dean of Cincinnati fighting for truth-justice-and the American Way even when his ballot is eaten by a machine, and to Josh – the fearless leader of the Cincinnati Greens.
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention my loyal and blunt-speaking running mate Anita Rios. I think we would have gotten more votes if her name was at the top of the ticket! She was a joy to campaign with and sings a mean version of “White Rabbit.” Thanks to her husband, Robert, for being loyal, as well.
Tim Kettler, Roberta his wife and son Malcolm campaigned steadfastly with us throughout the year – even marching in the Gay Pride parade and were the fixtures behind our Ohio State Fair booth. Tim and his family were always there, at every event, bringing food and good cheer to everyone! We will miss hanging around with them.
Finally, I have to express my heartfelt appreciation to my two top campaign staffers.
Paddy Shaffer worked night and day as the campaign manager. She was the dynamo behind the “Five Candidate Election Observer Project 2006” and even accompanied me to my Gore Vidal fundraiser in California. She has earned some well-deserved sleep and the thanks from voting rights activists everywhere.
Judith Powell was there from the beginning. She’s the key reason we ended up on the ballot. Between her and Margie Daffey, the greatest petitioner of all time, we got more than12,000 signatures. While she often told me how proud she was of the work I was doing and the words I was speaking, she never seemed to understand how I was equally proud of her rele
by Bob Fitrakis & Harvey Wasserman
November 8, 2006
The real winner in the November 7 election is the grassroots voter protection movement.
That the well-oiled, well-funded Rove/Bush theft machine lost control of the US House with the Senate as close as it is says just one thing: somebody was watching. In 2006, that would be thousands of volunteer grassroots activists who left no stone unturned to expose rigged voting machines, Jim Crow registration roadblocks, trashed provisional ballots, manipulated absentee voting processes, and much more.
A nationwide movement has been born to apply the lessons of the stolen elections of 2000, 2002 and 2004. In the lead-up to 2006, activists and independent experts scrutinized voting machines and electoral processes as never before. Mainstream media reports from the New York Times to CNN’s Lou Dobbs to hundreds of radio talk shows finally paid attention to “glitches” and “problems” and “long lines” and “disputes” that just an election cycle ago were dismissed as “business as usual” or the stuff of conspiracy theory. Read more →
Blackwell is fighting desperately to keep the GOP ship of state afloat. But it looks like a remake of the Titanic.
Just recently, Vicki Lovegren reported from Cleveland that the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections was threatening her with arrest for obstructing official business. Blackwell issued a directive last week refusing to allow amendments for Party and independent candidate observers at the polls and boards of elections. This is another indicator that theft is at hand.
Also, there are reports of tens of thousands of absentee ballots being held at the airport post office in Columbus, Ohio because there’s only one stamp on the envelope instead of two.
Moreover, it’s now confirmed that the Republicans have flagged an estimated million or more people in hopes of forcing them to vote provisionally. They did this by sending out 60-day notices to voters about bringing ID to the polls and other changes from H.B. 3 from the BOEs and, if they were returned, the voters are now “flagged.”
Nevertheless, if everyone stays strong and vigilant – and turn out and vote – there’s nothing the Republicans can do to beat the power of the people. Go to sleep tonight with a positive dream. Representative John Conyers with a subpoena chasing Bush, Cheney and Rove.
Check Out Dr. Bob, Peter Peckarsky and Harvey Wasserman on Lou Dobbs!!!!!!
From CNN Monday, Nov 6, 2006 6:30 P.M.
FYI, Free Press Publisher BOB FITRAKIS & Senior Editor HARVEY
WASSERMAN are scheduled to appear on CNN’s LOU DOBBS Show
TONIGHT at 6:30pm EST. They will be discussing possible
irregularities in the upcoming election. [As always, these
appearances are subject to last-minute changes at the networks.]
See Bob & Harvey’s latest articles on the election at
Here, below, are a couple of Dr. Fitrakis’ commercials airing locally in Ohio as well. (One player for multiple tunes)
The following from http://www.cnn.com/CNN/Programs/lou.dobbs.tonight/
The battle for Congress enters its final day. Three leading political analysts give their final predictions on who will win.
Then, a new study says e-voting machines counted votes in the 2004 Ohio election that were never actually cast. Three experts tell us why this could pose a grave threat to Tuesday’s elections.
by Bob Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman
November 5, 2006
On Election Day 2006, the American people will almost certainly vote to give the Democratic Party one or both houses of Congress.
We will vote to restore at least some of the checks and balances written into the Constitution of the United States. We will vote to end the reign of terror and error imposed on the nation and world since the stolen election of 2000. State by state, governorships and legislatures should return to the opposition party.
All the polls, and all the instincts of credible students of American politics, indicate this will happen. Anyone familiar with the history of the American electorate can be reasonably certain that the issues of war, deficits, economy, environment, scandal, sexual imposition and more will overwhelmingly favor a traditional rejection of the party in power.
But in 2006, the party in power has installed a nationwide system of election theft. And the outcome of Tuesday’s election may depend on the ability of the grassroots American citizenry to overcome this infernal machine.
The GOP engine of vote theft is built primarily on two pillars:
First is the massive disenfranchisement of mostly urban Democrats, including millions of people of color. Second is the simultaneous inflation of mostly rural and suburban Republican votes, including the mythological influx of “last-minute evangelicals” who may well exist primarily in the memory cards of rigged electronic machines.
Throughout the country, a concerted effort by the Republican Party has crippled voter registration drives. In Ohio some 500,000 citizens who were already registered –some ten percent of the electorate—have been deleted (many without notification) in the Democratic strongholds of Cuyahoga, Franklin, Hamilton and Lucas Counties. With easily manipulated electronic registration books now in place, or private partisan vendors controlling registration rolls, throughout the US, millions more may have been deleted or flagged in other largely Democratic urban areas.
Based on what we know from Florida 2000, stolen Senatorial races in 2002, and Ohio 2004, here are some of the things we can expect from the GOP on Tuesday:
Disenfranchisement of alleged “ex-felons,” even in states where it is not illegal for ex-felons to vote, or their intimidation through anonymous phone calls; denial, misprinting and failure to send absentee ballots; denial of voting rights at polling stations through unreasonable or illegal demands for identification; insufficient numbers of voting machines and/or paper ballots at inner city and college town precincts; malfunctioning of those machines and misprinting of those ballots, rendering them erroneous or deliberately confusing; misrepresentation of requirements to obtain regular or provisional ballots; outright trashing of ballots at the voting stations; declaration of phony Homeland Security alerts to remove ballot counting from public scrutiny; outright refusal to count ballots (as in Ohio, where more than 100,000 cast in 2004 have yet to be tallied); termination of the traditional posting of outcomes at precincts; subversion of the recount process.
All this and more was used to steal the elections of 2000 and 2004, and has been documented and broadcast through the internet, at sites such as blackboxvoting.com, freepress.org, bradblog.com and many more. Despite a mainstream media blackout and the unwillingness of the Democratic Party to face this issue, there is no reason to be surprised on Tuesday.
It will not be enough to rely on polls indicating victory, or to call voters to turn out, or to merely vote on Election Day.
No citizen should be turned away without an election protection monitor documenting it. No monitor should be turned away without full documentation and a call to the police. No ballot should be trashed without sworn affidavits as to why. No recount should be conducted without total public scrutiny.
In all cases, we ask anyone involved to send a report to firstname.lastname@example.org, with at least your publishable e-mail address included.
We further urge that throughout the states, public post-election hearings be convened in the presence of a court stenographer, so that sworn testimony and affidavits can be available for later litigation.
Such documentation has proven crucial in the lawsuits that have preserved the Ohio 2004 ballots and other voting rights here. It will be at the core of continued efforts to restore American democracy.
Electronic voting machines remain problematic. There is no magic bullet except for absolute scrutiny, persistence, and a willingness to fight it out over every electron. Even with high tech thievery, if the People are vigilant, the Truth can eventually win out. The higher the voter turnout, and the greater the vigilence by voters, the more difficult for Bush and Rove to steal the election, and the more likely we are to catch them if they try.
We expect more tricks we’ve not yet seen. Even as we write this, Ohio’s Republican Secretary of State, J. Kenneth Blackwell, is imposing new regulations for obtaining a ballot.
But there is no excuse for throwing up one’s hands in despair. Or for doing nothing in the face of the obvious.
As with the recent rise of the movements for civil rights, peace, social justice and ecological survival, the public campaign for election protection has exploded from the handful to the many to the multitudes.
The power of pro-active grassroots democracy will be sorely tested on Tuesday. The stakes could not be higher.
Bob Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman are co-authors, with Steve Rosenfeld, of WHAT HAPPENED IN OHIO?, just published by the New Press. They are of counsel and plaintiff in the King Lincoln voter protection lawsuit in Ohio. Bob is an independent candidate for governor of Ohio, endorsed by the Green Party. Harvey’s SOLARTOPIA! OUR GREEN-POWERED EARTH, A.D. 2030, is available at www.solartopia.org.
The power of a social movement can beat the GOP double Chickenhawks
by Bob Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman
November 2, 2006
It’s never been more true that the one thing we Americans can say with pride about George W. Bush is that we have never elected him president of the United States.
The regime is even more despised than ever, in part because the derogatory term “chickenhawk” now applies in all its worst double meanings.
And while Bush and Karl Rove crow that they’re about to “win” again, we think they are about to run into their worst nightmare: a full-blown grassroots social movement.
The GOP strategy for stealing 2006 is much the same as in the presidential elections of 2000 and 2004, and in key Senatorial elections in 2002: mass disenfranchisement of mostly urban Democratic voters, combined with mass inflation of mostly rural Republican votes.
The primary tools for disenfranchisement include the decimation of voter registration lists and outright harassment of would-be Democratic voters. In Ohio alone, there has been the electronic disenfranchisement of some ten percent of the state’s registered voters, along with the virtual abolition of the recount process. The attack also includes trashing ballots once cast, combined with fraudulent tabulations and rigged electronic voting machines whose software is kept secret.
The theft is hidden behind the escalating abolition of public reporting mechanisms. In 2006, this will include the virtual elimination of major media support for exit polling. Other staples of public reporting will also be crippled, as is now happening in Cuyahoga County (Cleveland), Ohio, and elsewhere around the US. Needless to say, there is much much more.
The GOP cover line is familiar. Bush/Rove now claim published pre-election polls are inaccurate. As they push/pull the vote count they will explain away unlikely Republican margins in rural areas by conjuring up mythological hordes of “evangelical voters.” America hosts, to be sure, many millions of right-wing Christian voters. But as we have seen in our preliminary examinations of the 2004 ballots, the decisive numbers attributed to them may well exist only in the minds of the corporate media, in rigged loaves & fishes ballot counts, and in the Holy Ghost memory cards of electronic voting machines that cannot be monitored.
The GOP is desperate to keep control of both the Senate and the House. The realest terrors the Republicans face are public investigations into the astounding sinkhole of military, financial, insider theft, predatory sex, educational, ecological and other catastrophes they have wrought. Rarely in U.S. history has a single scrum of dirty tricksters evoked such widespread, abject hatred, for such good reason.
Part of the public ferocity is now doubly bound in the epithet “chickenhawk.”
In the Vietnam era, it referred to war hawks like Bush, Rove, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and other dubious draft dodgers who preached patriotism and war while chickening out on their own military service. In the public mind, there is no hotter place in hell than for hypocrites who send others to die in battles they won’t fight themselves.
Chickenhawk is also nasty street slang for despicable sex offenders who prey on children. The exposure of Republican Congressman Mark Foley’s ghastly pursuit of Congressional pages reveals an astonishing streak of personal and political hypocrisy. Like so many of his fellow sex-obsessed neo-puritan GOP gay-bashers, Foley is gay himself. He is the ultimate poster boy for “moral values” conservatism.
Now we face the question of whether the Democrats will carry one or both houses of Congress. Immoderate, intemperate and incompetent at everything except stealing elections, the GOP has ruled the executive, judicial and legislative branches, as well as the corporate media, with an iron fist. The checks and balances so carefully crafted by the Founders have been obliterated. The consequences have been predictable.
From Iraq to the deficits, from insider theft to pompous theocrats, from the decimation of the environment to the destruction of our educational system, from the dictatorial shredding of our Constitution to the smug arrogance of the sanctimoniously ignorant., the US has never been saddled with a more thoroughly rapacious national regime.
Other US elections have been stolen. But none with such organized thuggery, or such a clear eye to permanent Rovian domination. These were not meant to be one-time thefts. The hacked voting machines, ex-felon disenfranchisement, Jim Crow intimidation, deliberately confusing butterfly ballots and other sinister tricks from Jeb Bush’s Florida 2000 have morphed and multiplied. In our on-the-ground studies of Ohio 2004, we have documented scores of distinct tactics used to steal our state’s electoral votes. More become obvious every day. Like a cancer, they’ve spread nationwide.
At bottom, this regime has updated and expanded for use against the people of the United States the covert tactics used by George H.W. Bush and other stealth operatives to overthrow inconvenient elected leaders throughout the Third World. As in countless targets for covert US takeover, the candidate’s brother took Florida 2000, with the help of a secretary of state simultaneously serving as his campaign chair.
In Ohio 2004, Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell, again the Bush-Cheney campaign co-chair, also ran the election that gave George W. Bush a second term. This year he will count the votes in his own run for governor, and will manipulate the outcome of elections that could tip the balance in both the US Senate and House.
It is, to update an infamous phrase from Malcolm X, the chickenhawks come home to roost.
But the solution is now everywhere to be seen. It is in the birth of a social movement.
There’s been a virtual blackout by the major media, plus indifference and even hostility from the Democratic Party about the subversion of our electoral process.
But the reality that two consecutive presidential elections have been stolen has pierced hearts and minds deep inside the American mainstream. Powerful reports from the Conyers Congressional Committee, the Government Accountability Office, the Carter-Baker Commission, the Brennan Center, Princeton University and others have all come to the same conclusion: it can take just a few keystrokes to steal an election.
After mercilessly attacking those of us who broke this story through the internet—as well as Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.’s definitive articles in Rolling Stone—major media outlets such as the New York Times, Lou Dobbs, HBO and others have suddenly discovered that our electoral system is more than just broken. Bobby’s father’s admonition to “fear not the path of truth for the lack of people walking on it” has finally turned that path into a highway for the saviors of our democracy.
Throughout the US, millions of citizens despair that the GOP will, in fact, steal this election. And well they might.
But the solution is now everywhere to be seen. It is in the birth of a full-fledged social movement, this time for the restoration of American democracy.
In the past half-century, we’ve seen a social movement for civil rights arise out of a single woman’s refusal to get out of her seat on a public bus. The mass movement to stop the war in Vietnam grew out of the early refusal of a very few individuals to submit to the military draft. Two reporters turned a “third rate burglary” into the resignation of a president who’d just carried the electoral votes of 49 states. Scattered “no nukes” protests in conservative rural communities stopped an atomic power industry that promised a thousand reactors in the US by the year 2000, but was able to deliver less than 150.
Today the movement for green power—solar, wind, biofuel and other natural energy sources—once considered marginal and powerless, has birthed a multi-billion-dollar industry destined to deliver a “Solartopia” powered by clean, cheap, reliable and very profitable renewables.
But election protection remains the wellspring from which all future social movements will flow. So far, we have won the preservation of the ballots from both Florida 2000 and Ohio 2004. In New Mexico and Maryland, a Democratic and a Republican governor respectively are calling for a return to paper ballots. In Ohio and throughout the US, citizen lawsuits are forcing concessions on voter ID, ballot access and other issues critical to the restoration of democracy.
On Tuesday, thousands of fiercely committed activists and everyday citizens will go to the polls not just to vote, but to monitor, to double-check, to facilitate, to protect, to inquire, to film, to investigate, to persist, to prevent, and to not give up. They are bound and determined to make sure that another GOP theft either does not happen, or at least does not go unnoticed this time around.
Toward that end, we now urge any election activist who observes any irregularity or problem with Tuesday’s voting to write us at: email@example.com. Your report will be published there for all to see, as part of an on-going national record that needs to be compiled, studied and acted upon.
No social movement succeeds immediately. The campaign to save the American electoral system has hung on by a thin thread. Its concerns are just barely hitting the mainstream. This Tuesday, it’s everyone’s duty to do more than just vote. And no matter what the outcome, this issue will be with us for years to come….for as long as it takes.
We have taken our democracy for granted for too long. Merely voting is no longer enough.
It won’t be easy to restore and update the free election process that is our legacy. But we have seen the consequences of two consecutive un-elected presidencies. We know what we’re up against.
And we know there is no alternative to winning, however long it might take.
Bob Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman are co-authors, with Steve Rosenfeld, of WHAT HAPPENED IN OHIO , just published by the New Press. They are of counsel and plaintiff in the King Lincoln lawsuit challenging the administration of elections in Ohio. Fitrakis is an independent candidate for governor of Ohio, endorsed by the Green Party. Wasserman is author of SOLARTOPIA! OUR GREEN-POWERED EARTH, A.D. 2030, available at www.solartopia.org.
Original article published @
This show was recorded 10-31-2006.
Green Party candidate Bob Fitrakis.
WOSU podcasts available @
The audio on this page has been re-mastered for low bandwidth dial-up connections.
For better audio quality go to Open Line site and look for 10-31-06 archive.