Can We Transform Labor’s Buckeye Victory Into A New Era Of Election Protection?

by Bob Fitrakis & Harvey Wasserman
November 12, 2011

The crushing defeat Ohio’s working people dealt 1% politicians this week has critical implications for a whole other issue—election protection.

In a voting process that might otherwise have been stolen, a concerted effort by citizens committed to democracy—NOT the Democratic Party—guaranteed an official Ohio tally that finally squares with reality. The defeat of millionaire Republican Governor John Kasich’s union-busting Issue 2 by more than 20% actually squared with exit polling and other reliable political indicators.

In the 2008 election, Richard Charnin has demonstrated how there was a more than 5% shift towards the Republican presidential candidates John McCain than predicted by the highly accurate exit polls, the gold standard for detecting election fraud. In Ohio’s 2010 election, exit polls revealed a 5.4% unexplained “red shift” towards the Republican Party. The shift led to the defeat of Democratic Governor Ted Strickland as well as Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray.

But both of those elections were administered under a Democratic governor and secretary of state. This year’s reasonable vote count on Issue 2 came under Republican Secretary of State John Husted and Republican Governor John Kasich who had a strong interest in seeing the opposite outcome. For those of us in Ohio, that was the REAL groundshaker of Issue 2’s defeat.

The most shocking news from Ohio’s 2011 election was the inability of Franklin County Board of Elections officials to post election results at the precinct level due to faulty software programming. In a close election, this could have been pivotal in allowing electronic election fraud. See: Election night computer software meltdown in Franklin County

Can we now build on this to bring reliable vote counts to the entire nation? See the proposal below.

But first understand: Since 2004, Ohio has been the poster chlld for the art and science of stealing elections. When Karl Rove and then-Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell flipped a 4%-plus victory for John Kerry into a 2%-plus victory for George W. Bush, they forged overnight a new frontier of high-tech election thievery. See New court filing reveals how the 2004 Ohio presidential election was hacked

The fraud was carried out with a stunning array of techniques. More than 300,000 likely Democratic voters were knocked off the registration rolls. Grassroots registration efforts were intimidated and shredded. Voting machines were shorted, manipulated and flipped. Voters were misled and misguided. Whole bags of ballots disappeared. Electronic screen tallies jumped from Kerry to Bush. Polls closed illegally and often. You name it, the GOP did it….and then some. In our HOW THE GOP STOLE AMERICA’S 2004 ELECTION….we documented well over a hundred different ways the Republicans robbed the process to give George W. Bush a second term.

Not only did John Kerry and the Democrats said nothing about it. Kerry conceded with nearly a quarter-million votes uncounted, then used a Republican law firm to attack election rights activists’ attempts to reveal what had been done.

Then, in 2005, Blackwell and Rove outdid themselves. A grassroots-based election reform referendum ran right up to voting day with a 25-plus margin of victory. It mandated extended voting access for all Ohio citizens and a range of other reforms. With clear benefit to the vast majority of Ohio voters, all major polls showed that year’s Issue 2 passing with ease. See Has American Democracy died an electronic death in Ohio 2005’s referenda defeats?

But somehow, on election day, it went down in flames. Ohio’s electoral process remained a thieves’ paradise.

In 2006, amidst massive GOP scandals and Blackwell’s impossible run for the statehouse, the Democrats swept in. They oversaw Obama’s victory in the Buckeye state, a key to all presidential elections.

They did virtually nothing to reform the structure of Ohio’s electoral process. But the grassroots strength of those committed to democracy became established.

This year, democracy advocates were again out in force. Independent monitors showed up at polling stations throughout the state, sponsored by the Free Press’ Election Protection project and Green Party observers were active as well. A careful eye was kept on electronic voting machines. Ballot custody was tracked and potential fraud was challenged. Numerous pollworkers contacted the Free Press when they were unable to post precinct-level results.

And thus this critical election was not stolen, as well it might have been. Labor’s critical victory was preserved, and perhaps a new era has opened in our national politics, aimed at rolling back the reactionary tide of corporate personhood and its minions of mammon.

But it cannot proceed without election protection. Our voting process is non-transparent, inherently corrupt, unfair and prone to theft by the highest briber.

So we are now in the process of drafting a constitutional amendment. It can go state by state, and nationwide. Language will vary and evolve. We hope you will join the process and use it to define the electoral process in years to come:


1. All citizens shall be automatically registered to vote upon turning 18 years old. Registration is lost only upon revocation of citizenship or death.

2. A legal signature, accurately provided under penalty of felony law, shall be sufficient to procure a ballot.

3. Voting shall take place by mail, as prescribed by local officials, and at voting stations open on a designated four-day period including Saturday, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday.

4. All ballots shall be printed on recycled paper.

5. All ballots shall be hand counted, and preserved for at least ten years after every election.

6. All polling places shall host exit polls conducted by independent agencies under the supervision of an independent non-partisan agency.

An informed, committed citizenry will still be needed to guarantee fair elections. Reform of the financial aspects of election campaigns also needs to be addressed.

But in terms of guaranteeing an accurate vote count, we believe these six measures are key. We are sure these reforms will come over a long, difficult process.

But paper ballots are used in Germany, where vote counts square to within 0.1% of exit polls, and in Japan, Switzerland, Canada and elsewhere. Elections on paper can certainly be stolen, but it’s a lot harder to do than with the absurdly corruptible electronic voting machines and non-transparent hardware and software manufactured by partisan corporations.

No system is flawless. But think about where America would be right now if the 1% had stolen Ohio’s labor law and destroyed its public unions.

Our survival as a nation depends on establishing a fair, reliable voting process. We believe this is a start. Won’t you join us?

Bob Fitrakis & Harvey Wasserman have co-authored four books about election protection. Bob’s Fitrakis Files are at, where this article was first published. Harvey Wasserman’s History of the US is at, along with Solartopia! Our Green-powered Earth.

Election Night Computer Software Meltdown In Franklin County

Dr. Robert Fitrakis
November 11, 2011

On election night 2011 during the evening and into the next morning, Franklin County pollworkers contacted the Free Press telling the paper that they were unable to make the electronic voting machines print out precinct-level results as required by law. This prevented pollworkers from posting election totals at the polling sites at the end of the night.

One pollworker of 35 years reported that “programming errors” had prevented “many precincts” in Franklin County from being able to print their totals for display on the windows of the voting locations.”

A concerned citizen also wrote that he was aware of “an unknown number of Franklin County precincts which could not print out their precinct totals last night, due to a ‘glitch.’ These precincts included mine, where the results were not posted inside the window of the shelter house, as has been customary every preceding election I’ve lived here.”

The Free Press has obtained a Veteran’s Day email to polling officials, including precinct judges in Franklin County. In the email, the Franklin County Board of Elections admits to programming software problems that made it impossible to print out precinct result tallies at the end of election night.

The email explained that “In error the programmers for this election inadvertently specified two (2) ‘Zero Tapes’ and zero (0) ‘Results Tapes.'”

[The entire email is posted below this article]

Were this a close presidential election, Ohio’s largest city would have lacked any way to verify precinct level tallies. Official vote totals are electronic and come from the memory cards collected from each voting machines, sent to five regional county centers and run through central tabulators to determine the results. The voting machine print-outs provide the only way to check if the county central tabulators are reflecting the actual precinct-level vote by the people. Without exit polls in this year’s election, there is no way to know in many Franklin County precincts that the county vote totals are correct.

By posting and storing the printed election results, the Board of Elections provides checks and balances on the election results. If electronic computer votes are being tampered with at a county or state level, the precinct level print-outs serve as a check as to their accuracy.

A pollworker also noted that “The “programming errors” at the Windermere Elementary School went well beyond not being able to print the totals at the end of the day. We also had problems opening the machines at the beginning of the day and closing the machines at the end of the day. The “master” Personal Electronic Ballots [PEBs] [an electronic device about the size of a hockey puck that is inserted into the machines only when opening them at the beginning of the day and when closing them at the end of the day] been not been “recognized” by several of the machines that we had been attempting to open and close.”

The pollworker went on to write: ‘We had been able to open all machines in the morning after having figured out which of the machines would recognize which “master” PEB; at the end of the day, however, we had been unable to close three of the machines because they would no longer “recognize” the “master” PEB that had opened them.”

One Green Party election observer also found that at the Columbus City Preparatory School the pollworkers had trouble with their PEB’s when opening the polls in the morning.

The Franklin County Board of Elections needs to explain to their voters why this electronic computer “glitch” occurred and what they plan to do to guarantee that the necessary checks and balances on the vote totals are in place to prevent electronic theft of the 2012 presidential election.

An electronic voting machine programming “glitch” of this magnitude should give voters pause over the upcoming presidential election. As we know from the 2000 presidential election results in Florida, in a close election those who claim victory first – or are projected the winner regardless of the actual vote count – end up winning the election.

It was a so-called “computer glitch” shifting an estimated 20,000 votes from Gore to Bush that allowed Fox TV News to proclaim George W. Bush the winner of Florida’s electoral votes and hence, the U.S. presidential election. ——————————–

Bob Fitrakis led the Election Observer project this year in Ohio, and in the years 2005-2010.

If you have any information about voting irregularities or voting machine glitches this Election Day, please contact the Free Press at or 614-253-2571.



November 11, 2011

Dear Polling Official:

On Tuesday, November 8, 2011 at about 7:45 p.m. the machine trouble phone bank suddenly became overwhelmed with calls reporting that you, our poll workers were unable to print results tapes from the last voting machine for the voting locations once all voting machines had been closed. Once we started taking the calls about being unable to print results tapes it took several minutes (an eternity) to determine the cause of the problem, discuss how to most efficiently address the problem to get results reporting and get all operators informed on a backup plan so they could better answer your calls and relay the information. The next problem was that while we were trying to assess the issue, the calls in the queue grew and unfortunately many of you were still waiting for answers.

In the hour from 7:45 to 8:45 p.m. over six hundred calls came to the machine trouble call center and many of the locations probably tried multiple times to get their call through. Our thirteen operators were able to answer three hundred sixty calls and inform the polling officials to pack up their supplies and deliver them to the warehouse without results tapes. In that same period two hundred seventy two calls were abandoned. A robo call was made to all of the Board’s PEO cell phones about an hour into this situation.

Let us explain the reason for the problem. As each election is begun there is an election preferences page where the programmers define how voting machines will function for the current election. There are choices on this page for each jurisdiction using the voting system to define. Two of the items on that page that the programmer are to address is whether “Zero Tapes” and “Results Tapes” are to be printed for the election. To have a tape or tapes printed the programmer insert the number of tapes needed in the space provided next to the tape type. Some of you may remember that in past history, the board required two “Zero Tapes” printed as the polls were opened in the morning and two “Results Tapes” as the polls were closed. We eliminated the opening zero tape several years ago and retain the practice of printing results tapes (one to post and one to be returned) with supplies. In error the programmers for this election inadvertently specified two (2) “Zero Tapes” and zero (0) “Results Tapes”. The values entered should have been reversed. During the programming and testing of our database settings we open polls on a few machines, put test votes on machines and print results tapes to insure all aspects of the system work. However because we do this testing up to five weeks prior to election day, we use an override pass code rather than the actual process a poll worker would follow to generate the results tape since the date and time on the voting machine is set to a date and time other than 7:30 p.m. (polls closing time) on the date of the election.

We apologize for the mistake that caused this frustration as the end of a very long day. Let me assure you that additional procedures will be implemented to insure that these setting are set properly for future elections. Let me also commend you on the exemplary way you dealt with this challenge and finished out your duties the best that you could. All Franklin County election returns had been checked in, were processed and unofficial results for 324,515 voters were posted by 12:21 a.m.

We thank you for your service to the voters of the county and your understanding in this matter.

William A. Anthony, Jr., Director
Nathan D. Burd, Deputy Director
Karen S. Cotton, Manager of Election Operations

Article originally published by The Columbus Free Press,


Bob Fitrakis on “Fight Back”: Culture Jam

Bob Fitrakis on “Fight Back”: Culture Jam
Live broadcast from Columbus State Community College
Columbus State student performances – music, poetry, and more!
Listen and call in this Wednesday, November 9
7 – 8 PM
Call 877-932-9766
Here’s how to call in to the LIVE INTERNET radio show:
(on your computer – not on your broadcast radio dial)
On Wednesday nights at 7:00 pm
Go to:
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Three important events for you from the Free Press

ELECTION DAY – if you have any problems, call 614-253-2571 or 614-374-2448. Suzanne will be at 1021 E. Broad Street all day, if you want to help with Election Protection, Video the Vote, or you have a problem at the polls.

MOVE TO AMEND HOUSE PARTY: November 9th, 2011, 7:00 PM. Move to Amend Democracy House Party. Conference call with Bernie Sanders. Friends and neighbors will come together to plan local actions for the January 21 anniversary of the Citizens United ruling. Move to Amend’s goal for these house parties is to orchestrate massive collective action on January 21 to educate our communities about the negative impacts of Citizens United and Corporate Personhood and to demand a decisive end to corporate rule with a Constitutional amendment that clearly states that a corporation is NOT a person and money is NOT speech! Hosted by the Free Press. Location: 1021 E. Broad Street, side door, parking in front or rear. RSVP to or call 614-253-2571.

FREE PRESS SECOND SATURDAY SALON: Saturday, November 12th, 2011, 6:30 PM – Midnight. Second Saturday Salon at the Free Press. Special screening and discussion of the 30-minute video “The Response” on Guantanamo. More information at Enjoy food, drink, music, art, good friends and acquaintances for socializing, networking, and just relaxing and having fun. Location: 1021 E. Broad St., east side door, parking in rear. Contacts: or call 614-253-2571.

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Minor Parties To Storm Ohio’s 2012 Ballot

By Bob Fitrakis
Nov. 7, 2011

The Green, Libertarian, Socialist, Constitution and Americans Elect Parties are all designated as official parties on the ballot for the 2012 presidential election in Ohio. On October 18, 2011 the Federal District Court in Columbus ordered Secretary of State John Husted to recognize the Libertarian Party, As a result of that order, Husted issued Directive 2011-38 on November 1, 2011 which placed the four other minor parties on the Ohio ballot.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit found Ohio’s minor party election laws unconstitutional in September 2006. In the case Libertarian Party of Ohio v. Blackwell, the court held that both Ohio’s laws involving minor party formation as well as ballot access were unconstitutionally restrictive.

In 2008, in the Green Party of Ohio v. Brunner, then Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner entered into a consent decree with the Green Party that allowed both the Green and the Constitution Party on the ballot. The federal judge set as a standard that the minor parties had to show a “modicum” of support in Ohio to stay on the ballot. The judge set the standard at 1% of the statewide vote.

Early in 2011, the Republican-dominated legislature passed House Bill 194 essentially tossing the minor parties off the ballot and adopting similar standards for minor party ballot access that had already been determined unconstitutional.

The main thrust of HB 194 however, was to disenfranchise hundreds of thousands of Ohio voters that tended to vote Democratic. A vast coalition led by the Democratic Party with the assistance of the minor parties filed signatures to repeal the law at the end of September.

The filing of the repeal petitions for HB 194 put the controversial law on hold until voters go to the polls in November 2012.

The Green Party of Ohio threatened to file a contempt motion against the Ohio Secretary of State’s office and force them to show cause why the 2008 agreement was not being honored. Minor parties were also planning to file suits similar to the Libertarian Party to be placed on the ballot.

Consequently, the Secretary of State’s new directive requires only that minor parties need only “…one-half the minimum number of signatures required for candidates of major political parties.”

The only minor party not previously deemed as an officially recognized minor party on the ballot in Ohio is the “virtual third-party” Americans Elect Party. The Party is registered as a nonprofit social welfare organization and it is attempting to secure ballot status in all 50 states. It gathered nearly 2 million signatures from supporters of the idea. As a nonprofit social welfare organization, it is allowed by law to keep its donors secret, according to McClatchy Newspapers’ Washington bureau.

Americans Elect is associated with Peter Ackerman, the investment banker who was the founding chair of the International Center on Nonviolent Conflict.

The Green Party is planning to run candidates for U.S. Senate, President, and various Congressional seats in 2012.
Bob Fitrakis is general counsel for the Ohio Green Party and filed the suit against Jennifer Brunner in 2008 that placed the Green Party on the ballot.


Will The 1% Steal Ohio’s Labor Rights Referendum?

Will the 1% steal Ohio’s labor rights referendum?
by Bob Fitrakis & Harvey Wasserman
November 6, 2011

Tuesday’s most important vote is the repeal of Ohio’s vicious anti-labor Issue 2.

Polls show the repeal winning by 25% or more. But will it—like the 2004 presidential election—be stolen by the 1% intent on crushing working people and stealing huge sums of money?

Like Wisconsin’s millionaire assault on the bargaining rights of public unions, the thoroughly bought Ohio legislature has passed a draconian law aimed at crippling the organizing ability of working people.

The attack has the loud, persistent support of Wall Street’s hand-picked Governor John Kasich, who made millions as a Foxist commentator and Lehman bond dealer. Among other things, Kasich helped pawn $400 million in Lehman’s junk bonds onto the Ohio teacher’s pension fund, making him a multi-millionaire. Control of that money would be directly affected by the outcome of this referendum.

The legislature’s original passage of the anti-labor bill drew thousands of demonstrators to the statehouse lawn and key locations throughout the Buckeye State. The pre-occupy rallies got ardent support from progressive, union and working people across Ohio’s political spectrum.

But the vast, apparently virtually limitless resources of corporate America have been polluting the Ohio media, distorting the nature of the vote, aiming to thoroughly confuse the voters, who must vote no on this issue to defeat the bill. Since corporations are now considered “people,” with no real limits on what can be spent, the corporate anti-labor deluge has been horrific.

But that’s only the beginning. In 2004, the Ohio’s GOP control of the governorship and Secretary of State’s office made possible the theft of the presidency for George W. Bush. Though highly sophisticated exit polls showed John Kerry winning the state by more than 4%, the “official” outcome had him losing Ohio’s 20 electoral votes—and thus the White House—by more than 2%.

By all credible estimates such a shift of more than 6% was a statistical impossibility. It was primarily engineered by Bush consigliore Karl Rove and Republican Secretary of J. Kenneth Blackwell.

Rove and Blackwell helped knock more than 300,000 primarily Democratic voters off Ohio’s registration rolls prior to election day 2004. Despite the obvious irregularities that defined the registration process, voting procedures, ballot tabulations and final electronic manipulations, John Kerry conceded Ohio—and the election—with nearly 250,000 votes left uncounted.

In July of this year, posted the architectural maps used in Blackwell’s 2004 voting operation in Ohio. His electronic reporting operation was designed by a partisan Republican firm, GovTech and linked directly to servers at the premier Republican and right-wing tech company SmarTech in Chattanooga, Tennessee. See New court filing reveals how the 2004 Ohio presidential election was hacked

In the 2005 election, a corporate coalition parallel to the one fighting to crush worker rights this year worked on a comparable Issue 2. In reaction to the theft of the vote in 2004, a popular uprising had designed that Issue 2 to make it easier for Ohioans to vote early by mail or in person.

Two days before the 2005 vote, the Republican-leaning Columbus Dispatch poll showed that Issue 2 passing by 26 points, 59% to 33%.

But, on that November 8 (the same day as this year’s vote), Blackwell oversaw the defeat of Issue 2 with the utterly implausible support of 63.5%. Once again, the shift from pre-election polling to final “official” vote count was a virtual statistical impossibility.

For Blackwell’s official vote tally to square with the pre-election Dispatch poll, there would have to have been an unprecedented 22% shift in the last days of the election cycle. Given the ability of the Ohio Secretary of State to easily manipulate voter registration and ballot counting, American democracy was severely crippled in that 2005 outcome, a defeat that may again come into play this Tuesday. (See Has American Democracy died an electronic death in Ohio 2005’s referenda defeats?)

This time around, the Republican-dominated Ohio legislature has already attempted to disenfranchise 900,000 Ohio voters—nearly 20% of the overall electorate. The vast majority of these newly disenfranchised citizens come from demographics indicating they are progressive voters who would vote to defeat Issue 2. Republican efforts came through HB 194, designed to make it difficult for the elderly, disabled, poor, and students to vote. Thankfully, a separate petition drive has temporarily blocked this latest reincarnaton of Jim Crow in the north.

But the GOP did kill early voting on the weekend before the election. This hugely successful expansion of the effective franchise had allowed tens of thousands of Ohioans to vote at public locations the Saturday and Sunday prior to the 2008 presidential election. This “excess of democracy” proved too much for the 1%, which got rid of it this year on the back of one of the legislature’s many anti-voter rights bills.

Greg Moore, head of the NAACP’s voting rights campaign, has said on Bob Fitrakis’s FIGHT BACK radio show ( that Ohio’s Issue 2 may be the most important vote in the entire US this year. He also points out that in 2004 the right wing used a vote against gay marriage to attract conservative voters to the polls. This year the Republicans have put a symbolic anti-Obamacare Issue 3 on the ballot to draw out the same reactionary elements.

But the polling indicates that many of those who hate Obamacare also happen to be public employees, or friends and family of public employees – the targets of Issue 2.

Why is passing Issue 2 so important to these Republicans? If it passes, it will destroy the power of the public employee unions in the state. These unions remain the last base of money in Ohio politics for moderate, liberal and progressive candidates. The 1% has already been successful in destroying grassroots organizations that registered lower income voter, like ACORN.

Also, the pension funds the targeted unions protect contain hundreds of billions of dollars in workers assets. Defanged unions would be easy prey for the likes of Kasich, the former Lehman Brothers Uber-Vulture who got rich with the sale of over $400 million of junk assets to the teacher’s pension before becoming governor.

Essentially the weakened unions could lose control of the pension boards and the looting would begin anew.

Thus, even though the forces of democracy and unionization seem to have a substantial lead going into Tuesday’s vote, no electoral tally in Ohio is a safe bet. The theft of the presidency in 2004, and the huge reversal of the pro-democracy margin for Issue 2 in 2005—more than 20%—should remind us all that where billions of dollars and the rights of working people are concerned, the 1% will stop at nothing to steal an election.

It has been done repeatedly in Ohio. It could be done again on Tuesday. Let’s do all in our power to make sure Buckeye history does not repeat itself as both tragedy and farce.

Bob Fitrakis & Harvey Wasserman have co-authored four books on election protection. Bob’s Fitrakis Files are at, where this article was first published. Harvey Wasserman’s History of the United States is at, along with Solartopia! Our Green-Powered Earth.

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Fight Back Podcast : NAACP’s Greg Moore On The Upcoming November 8 elections

Bob Fitrakis on “Fight Back”:
NAACP’s Greg Moore on the upcoming November 8 elections
Bob and Greg will discuss the Issues on the ballot in Ohio, voter suppression and politics.
Listen and call in this Wednesday November 2
7 – 8 PM
Call 877-932-9766

Here’s how to call in to the LIVE INTERNET radio show:
(on your computer – not on your broadcast radio dial)
On Wednesday nights at 7:00 pm
Go to:
Click on “Listen Live”
Call 877-932-9766

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Free Press Reporter Tom Over From Washington DC Protests Podcast

Bob Fitrakis “Fight Back”: Free Press reporter Tom Over from Washington DC protests
Listen and call in this Wednesday October 26
7 – 8 PM
Call 877-932-9766
Here’s how to call in to the LIVE INTERNET radio show:
(on your computer – not on your broadcast radio dial)
On Wednesday nights at 7:00 pm
Go to:
Click on “Listen Live”
Call 877-932-9766

Halloween at the Haunted Hanna House – a Free Press Party

Join us for:

“Halloween at the Haunted Hanna House – a Free Press Party”

Saturday, October 29 from 7-11pm

Featuring tricks and tasty treats —
Brought to you by the be-witch-ing Connie Harris, Prissy Patriot, Juanita Brown, Connie Hammond, and Suzanne Patzer.
Costumes encouraged but not required.

Join us @ 1021 East Broad Street, east side door, parking in rear.
253-2571 —

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Bob Fitrakis On “Fight Back”: David Cobb Talking About Corporate Personhood

Bob Fitrakis on “Fight Back”: David Cobb talking about corporate personhood
Cobb is a former Green Party Presidential candidate and emphasized efforts to limit excessive corporate power. David Cobb will be in Columbus on Saturday October 22 speaking on “Corporations are not Persons and Money is not Speech.” It will be issues of citizen rights to corporations and Citizens United.

Listen and call in this Wednesday October 19
7 – 8 PM
Call 877-932-9766

Here’s how to call in to the LIVE INTERNET radio show:
(on your computer – not on your broadcast radio dial)
On Wednesday nights at 7:00 pm
Go to:
Click on “Listen Live”
Call 877-932-9766