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Bob interviews Jill Stein on www.WVKO1580.com

Podcast below pictures or click here!

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The Free Press confirms installation, secret justification of uncertified last minute election tabulation reporting software in Ohio


by Gerry Bello and Bob Fitrakis
November 2, 2012

The Free Press has obtained internal memos from the senior staff of the Ohio Secretary of State’s office confirming the installation of untested and uncertified election tabulation software. Yesterday, the Free Press reported that “experimental” software patches were installed on ES&S voting machines in 39 Ohio counties. (see Will “experimental” software patches affect the Ohio vote?).

Election Counsel Brandi Laser Seske circulated a memo dated November 1st renewing the already shaky justification for installing software made by Election Systems and Solutions on vote tabulation equipment used in 39 Ohio counties. The letter to Ohio Secretary of State personnel Matt Masterson, Danielle Sellars, Myra Hawkins, Betsy Schuster, and Ohio’s Director of Elections Matthew Damschroder, clarified the dubious justification for not complying with the legal requirements for the examination of all election related equipment.

Seske begins by explaining what she purports to be the purpose of the software patch: “Its function is to aid in the reporting of results that are already uploaded into the county’s system. The software formats results that have already been uploaded by the county into a format that can be read by the Secretary of State’s election night reporting system.”

According to the contract between the Ohio Secretary of State’s office and ES&S, this last minute “experimental” software update will supposedly transmit custom election night reports to the Secretary of State’s office from the county boards of elections, bypassing the normal election night reporting methods.

In order to justify this unusual parallel reporting method, Seske explains “It is not part of the certified Unity system, so it did not require federal testing.” This attempt to skirt federal and state law from one of the most partisan Secretary of State offices in the nation ignores basic facts of how modern information systems function.

Seske continues “Because the software is not 1) involved in the tabulation or casting of ballots (or in communicating between systems involved in the tabulation or casting of ballots) or 2) a modification to a certified system, the BVME [Board of Voting Machine Examiners] was not required to review the software.” These claims are factually unsound. The software, although not communicating actual ballot information, facilitates communication between systems upon which votes are tabulated and stored. Although the software purports to not modify the tabulation system software, it is itself a modification to the whole tabulation system. This is why certification and testing is required in all cases.

Just as in 2004, the Ohio Secretary of State’s office has enabled the possibility of a “man in the middle” attack. This software, functioning on a network through which votes are transmitted could act to intercept, alter or destroy votes from counties where it is not even installed, hence the “man in the middle” nickname.

On September 19, the last minute contract between ES&S and the Ohio Secretary of State’s office was inked. Within a week, Seske wrote “He [Matt Masterson] has reviewed and approved the changes.” Masterson is the Deputy Director of Elections. After Masterson’s approval, Seske acted to bypass the Ohio Board of Voting Machine Examiners required review.

“Pursuant to the board’s policy, each change will be approved unless three members of the BVME request a meeting to review a change within 15 days of today’s date. Given the proximately of the upcoming election, please let me know as soon as possible whether you will be requesting a meeting to review the changes,” wrote Seske.

Government reports such as Ohio’s Everest study document that any single change to the system could corrupt the whole voting process.

An unelected, partisan group of attorneys appears to have conspired to install election software without testing and certification that they are professionally unqualified to pass judgment upon. These types of last minute installations of software patches on voting machines are considered suspect by knowledgeable and experienced election protection attorneys, in light of all the voting machine irregularities exposed during the 2004 election in Ohio.

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Gerry Bello is the chief researcher at the Columbus Free Press. He holds a degree in computer security from Antioch College. Bob Fitrakis is the Editor of the Free Press. He holds Ph.D. in Political Science and a J.D. from the Moritz College of Law at Ohio State University.

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Romney family and friends will help tabulate the vote count in Cincinnati: Hart Intercivic holds maintenance contracts on their own machines

by Gerry Bello and Bob Fitrakis
October 24, 2012

Election officials lie to cover the facts
Since the Columbus Free Press broke the story of Tagg, Mitt, HIG Capital and your e-vote, there has been a bi-partisan effort on the internet to restore faith in system. There are Democrats who wish the Free Press would remain silent, fearing that exposure of these facts will demoralize their base and lead to low voter turn out. Pundits like Chuck Todd have used the phrase conspiracy theory and even gone so far as to say “The voting machine conspiracies belong in same category as the Trump birther garbage.” An industry shill, Michelle Shafer, who currently works as media director for Scytl and has worked for all but one of the major voting machine manufacturers, has replied via comment to our reportage and its derivatives with additional falsehoods and misrepresentations.

In Hamilton County, tabulation software which will be used to count the votes on Election Day, is also made and maintained by Hart.

The biggest current lie is that Hart Intercivic has little or nothing to do with its voting machines in the current election. That lie was recently told to the Washington Post by an official in Hamilton County “Hamilton County director of elections Amy Searcy said Tuesday that officials purchased the system five years ago and that Hart is not involved with its operations or maintenance.”

A statement that Hart has nothing to do with the machines Hamilton (Cincinnati) and Williams counties in the key swing state of Ohio and is simply incorrect. In April, as we geared up for the general election, the Free Press requested and received public records relating to hardware, software, contracts, serial numbers and voter registration record storage contracts for all 88 counties in Ohio. According to records given to us by Hamilton (read Hamilton County’s actual response email) and Williams counties, Hart Intercivic still has a contract to maintain and repair its equipment in each of those counties. In Williams county, Hart InterCivic also has the contract to write and maintain the tabulation software which runs on Dell-made computers.

A common practice during the 2004 presidential election in Ohio involved both Triad and ES&S voting machine technicians showing up unexpectedly with “software patches” to install in voting machines just prior to the election. Elect ion protection activists should be on the lookout for this behavior between now and November 6. With a maintenance contract, Hart’s technicians could add software patches right before Election Day that could possibly change the functionality of these machines. Adding patches without them being certified by the Secretary of State is illegal.

A software patch, ostensibly to fix some bug or increase functionality, inserted at the last minute, are one of the best ways to defraud an election. If a malicious attacker waits until the last minute, the software patch can be compiled with the latest poll numbers, thus assuring that votes will be flipped within an seemingly undetectable margin of error.

County election officials from around the country have taken to social media to claim that the machines were bought a long time ago, and Hart has nothing to do with them. Linda Thompson, for instance, wrote:

“I am an Election Authority in the State of Missouri. We use electronic voting equipment….
I can tell you, once we purchased those machines, the company that designed/built them has nothing to do with them. They are programmed by a third company not affiliated with their design.” Posted on ThinkProgress.org.

A former Board of Elections official from Greene County, Ohio posted this misleading statement on his Facebook page 2 days ago:
“Many of my Facebook friends have posted about voting machines being owned by Bain Capital and therefore by members of the Romney family. At least in Ohio that does not threaten the integrity of the vote counting. In Ohio, machines are owned by the individual county Boards of Elections. …The vote tabulations are done in each county, not on a computer in Columbus (or Chattanooga). Spreading fears and doubts about vote integrity may end up suppressing the turnout.”

Voting machines, once purchased, have maintenance contracts. In fact, as is common in the computer industry, most of the money in a contract is in the maintenance of the software, not the sale of the hardware.

Hart could potentially apply software patches in two Ohio counties. Additionally, in many counties these systems interface with voter registration systems maintained by Triad Governmental Services (Triad GSI). Triad, based in Xenia Ohio, is a small family run operation. The Rapp, family, who founded Triad, are hard-right evangelicals. While they have an ideological commitment to an overall Republican victory, Hart is majority owned by a private equity firm run by fundraisers for the Romney campaign.

The Democrats have it half right. The only way to ensure that election fraud will not happen is to have a massive voter turnout that makes cheating within the margin of error impossible. However, a citizens obligation to vote does not negate a citizen’s obligation to vigilantly defend the democratic franchise that lies at the center of our society.


Gerry Bello is the chief researcher at Columbus Free Press. He holds a degree in computer security from Antioch College. Bob Fitrakis is editor-in-chief of the Free Press. He holds PhD in Political Science and a JD.

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Police arrest US presidential candidate Jill Stein at debate site

http://rt.com/usa/news/police-jill-stein-debate-589/ ‘);

Edited: 17 October, 2012, 13:18

Video from Long Island Report http://longislandreport.org/ (3.3Mb) embed video

Police arrested Green Party Presidential candidate Jill Stein and her running mate, Cheri Honkala, after they tried to enter the site of tonight’s presidential debate at Hofstra University.
The two were protesting against the exclusion of all but the two major political parties from taking part in the debate.
“Jill Stein, Cheri Honkala arrested, call tonight’s #debate a “mockumentary”,” said a tweet posted on her account.

The presidential candidate and her vice-presidential nominee were arrested by local police when they tried to enter the grounds of Hofstra University, in Hempstead, New York, Stein’s campaign website says. The women were later released from police custody.
A video posted on YouTube shows police officers ushering Stein and Honkala away after they apparently tried to stage a sit-in.
The arrest comes after an announcement by the Green Party that the candidates will take “Occupy the Commission on Presidential Debates” action on the night of the debate.
“Stein and Honkala will walk from Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum at 2 PM to the debate perimeter at Hofstra, where they will then attempt to walk through security checkpoints and reach the debate hall,” read the release.
“This is a great day for democracy,” Stein told The Philadelphia Weekly by phone as she headed to the debate site. “It’s a great day for the politics of courage.”

The candidates claim that the Commission on Presidential Debates is an unfair entity formed by Democratic and Republican leaders designed to exclude any opposition.
Jill Stein is the Green Party’s nominee for President of the United States in the 2012 election. A Harvard-educated physician, she also stood for election for Governor of Massachusetts in both 2002 and 2010. A staple of her campaign is the “Green New Deal,” a plan to recharge the US by giving “every American willing and able to work” a job on renewable energy projects in the country. She is backed by American leftist icon Noam Chomsky and acclaimed journalist and harsh critic of unregulated capitalism Chris Hedges.

Screenshot from YouTube user LongIslandReport

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Writeindepenedent Pledge Taking Money Out Of Politics


Bob has signed the pledge, will you?

www.Writeindependent.org taking money out of politics and getting the office seekers pledge to do so!

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Protect the Vote! Election Protection & Video the Vote volunteers needed by Free Press Staff

Protect the Vote! Election Protection & Video the Vote volunteers needed
by Free Press Staff
October 5, 2012

Election Protection Observers
The Free Press (Freepress.org) in conjunction with the Green Party will be placing observers for the 2012 election. We need volunteers. All observers must be eligible voters in Ohio.
If you are new to this, you may not know that we can appoint one observer at the county level. County level observers can observe in a different county from their county of residence. County level observers can observe at any precinct throughout the day, and also can observe the vote counting* process in the evening of election day (approximately 7:30 to midnight) Our goal is to place one county level observer in 44 of the 88 Ohio counties, and have that county level observer spend the evening at the county BOE.

If you are willing to help, I need some feedback.

1. Can you observe at the county level outside of Franklin County and spend the evening at that Board of Elections? If so, which county would you prefer?

2. Can you observe at the county level outside of Franklin County but not able to observe in the evenings? If so, which county would you prefer?

3. If in Franklin County, please send me the precinct in which you live, or tell me in general, or specifically, which precincts/polling place you would like to be responsible for. A list of polling locations can be found by clicking the link here: http://vote.franklincountyohio.gov/voter/

4. If you are unsure if you can observe, that is OK, just tell me that but give me your polling place/precinct anyway.

Contact me at pete@caseohio.org or 614-946-0614
Pete Johnson, coordinator.

ALSO We need Video the Vote volunteers!

Those interested in videotaping on Election Day have two meetings to attend to learn what is expected and get training. Videocameras can be provided. We also need people to work in the office on Election Day to upload videos.

First workshop is Oct 9 at 7:30p at Whetstone Library branch in Clintonville.

Second is Oct 25 at 7:30p at the MLK Library branch just north of the Franklin Park Conservatory.

Both will cover the same content and are FREE.

JR McMillan

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Bob spoke at “The Other America”

Bob spoke at “The Other America” 50th anniversary event tonight on his exploits with the author Michael Harrington. It was an interesting and informative event on the persistence of poverty in our nation.

Original Event post:

“The Other America” and the Persistence of Poverty
Wednesday, October 3, 2012 at 7:00PM
It’s the 50th anniversary of Michael Harrington’s book The Other America today. The Democratic Socialists of Central Ohio will commemorate this event with an event featuring local activists to discuss how we deal with poverty as a community and as a country. Co-sponsored by Simply Living, the Free Press, Green Education Fund and Jobs with Justice. Speakers: Keith Kilty, producer, “Ain’t I a Person?”; Lisa Hamler-Fugitt, Director, Ohio Association of Second Harvest Foodbanks; Fadhel Kaboub, Assistant Professor, Economics Department, Denison University; Kevin Boyle, Professor, History Department, Ohio State University; Bob Fitrakis, Professor, Columbus State Community College, writer, publisher of the Free Press, and Linda Cook, Ohio Poverty Law Center.
ProgressOhio, 172 East State Street. Free parking.
For more information call 614-288-5738
smorgen@juno.com

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Bob Representing Madeline ffitch Arrested Protesting PA Toxic Frack Water In Ohio

Bob Fitrakis represents Madeline ffitch in Athens who was arrested and charged with a felony for chaining herself to cement barrels to protest toxic water brought into southern Ohio from Pennsylvania’s fracking industry. (btw Madeline prefers her last name spelled this way)

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National Disabilities Forum Columbus Protest


Bob and members of the Franklin County Green Party protest that Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein was left out of the National Disabilities Forum in Columbus. The Green Party position on disabilities is:
Rights of the Disabled
We support the full enforcement of the Americans with Disabilities Act to enable all people with disabilities to achieve independence and function at the highest possible level. Government should work to ensure that children with disabilities are provided with the same educational opportunities as those without disabilities.
The physically and mentally challenged are people who are differently abled from the majority, but who are nevertheless able to live independently. The mentally ill are people with serious mental problems who often need social support networks. Physically and mentally challenged people have the right to live independently in their communities. The mentally ill also have the right to live independently, circumscribed only by the limitations of their illness. These people are their own best advocates in securing their rights and for living in the social and economic mainstream.
Current Medicaid policy forces many challenged people to live in costly state-funded institutions. Excluding these people from society alienates them; excluding them from the work force denies them the chance to use their potentials.
The diminishing funds available to provide care for the growing number of the mentally ill often result in their homelessness, vagrancy and dependence on short-term crisis facilities. Lack of funding also increases the necessity of placing them in long-term, locked facilities.
The Green Party urges the government to:
a. Increase rehabilitation funding so that persons with disabilities can pursue education and training to reach their highest potential. The differently abled should participate fully in the allocation decisions of state rehabilitation departments’ funds.
b. Aggressively implement the Americans with Disabilities Act.
c. Fund in-home support services to allow the differently abled to hire personal care attendants while remaining at home.
d. Allocate adequate funding to support community-based programs that provide out-patient medical services, case management services and counseling programs. We should provide a residential setting within the community for those who do not need institutional care but who are unable to live independently.
e. Make it easier for the chronically mentally ill to apply for and receive Supplemental Security Income.
f. Mainstream the differently abled. Increase the training of teachers in regards to the needs of differently abled students.
g. Discourage stereotyping of the mentally and physically challenged by the entertainment industry and the media.
h. Fund programs to increase public sensitivity to the needs of the mentally ill and differently abled.

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Free Press Second Saturday Salon Sept. 8

Come join us!
Free Press Second Saturday Salon
Saturday, Sept. 8
6:30 – Midnight. Join progressive friends to socialize, network, eat, drink, dialog about social justice issues, and hear music.
1021 E. Broad St., Columbus. East side door, parking in front or rear
253-2571, truth@freepress.org