Back when “tin soldiers and Nixon” were “cutting us down” in 1970, a group of Ohio State University students and campus activists started an underground newspaper in Columbus. Driven mostly by the murder of four students at Kent State – Allison Krause, Jeff Miller, Sandy Scheuer and Bill Schroeder – shot during a demonstration that was opposing President Nixon’s illegal attack on Cambodia and the Vietnam War, the Columbus Free Press was born.
Not surprisingly, the Free Press was the first western newspaper to expose Cambodia’s killing fields thanks to international law professor John Quigley’s reporting from Southeast Asia. In the first issue of the Free Press, the October 11, 1970 issue, a Free Press opinion attacked a special grand jury’s decision not to indict Ohio National Guardsmen for the Kent State killings.
The Free Press wrote at the time: “The jury conveniently disregarded the FBI report which stated that the guardsmen were not ‘surrounded,’ that they had tear gas, contrary to claims of guardsmen following the shooting.” The Free Press went on to point out the obvious facts: “…a film of the shootings shown on a northern Ohio TV station on the night of May 4th the slope, then turning, kneeling, firing a volley, and rising to fire a few more scattered shots before regrouping and going over the hill. Panic may have aided in the shootings, but it was not the cause.
THE GUARDSMEN FIRED ON ORDER, and the men who gave the order and the others who carried it out are free.” Of course, the same could be said of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney who waged an illegal war against the people of Iraq and murdered over a million civilians, yet still walk free. And the war endured under President Obama. The Kent State precedent of letting known murderers move among us set the stage for the smiley-face pro-torture policies of the Bush years.
Former Free Press Editor Steve Conliff did his best to bring Governor James Rhodes to justice for inciting the National Guard to violence against peace demonstrators. At the 1977 Ohio State Fair, Conliff pied Big Jim, exemplifying the underground press motto – If you don’t like the news, go out and make some of your own. Hardly the people’s tribunal longed for by the Free Press staff, but nevertheless, great political theater. Local Free Clinic physician Pete Howison performed an experiment at Conliff’s trial, proving that pie-ing did not constitute a violent assault. Conliff was found not guilty.
Rhodes was pied by proxy again in 1990 on the 20th when his statute, then on the Ohio Statehouse grounds, took a direct hit to the face by a strawberry cream pie, thrown by Howison. A photo of the red goop symbolically dripping down Rhodes’ face appeared in the next Free Press issue. In 1992, the Free Press moved into an East Broad Street office that had an unusual wall in the back erected only three-quarters of the way up to the ceiling. When the office started leaking after a rainstorm, I climbed over the wall to determine the damage. Ironically, I found the original ACLU legal files containing documents from their lawsuit against the National Guardsmen at Kent State. The morgue photos of the dead students are seared into my brain.
When Jim Rhodes died, the Free Press made a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request from his FBI file. Here we learned the dirty truth of Rhodes’ ties to the mob and the FBI’s use of that information, some would call it blackmail, to win concessions from the governor. As the Free Press wrote in 2003, a January 14, 1963 memo noted that: “He [Rhodes] is completely controlled by an SAC [Special Agent in Charge] contact, and we have full assurances that everything we need will be made available promptly. Our experience proves this assertion.”
The FOIA file revealed that the SAC contact was none other than Robert H. Wolfe, publisher of the Columbus Dispatch. Dispatch reporter Bob Ruth had earlier disclosed to the Free Press that Rhodes had run a gambling operation in the OSU campus area. His headquarters during the 1930s was allegedly Gussie’s State Tavern, across the street from the law school. Serendipitously, the building would later house the shop Tradewinds, one of the early headquarters of the Free Press.
The FBI would cut the corrupt numbers man Rhodes all the slack he needed because: “He is a friend of law enforcement and believes in honest, hard-hitting law enforcement. He respects and admires [the] FBI.” In 2007, the Free Press decried “The lethal media silence on Kent State’s smoking guns” in an article I co-wrote with Harvey Wasserman. When tape-recorded evidence surfaced 37 years after the fact proving the original Free Press editorial to be correct, the mainstream for-profit corporate media, including the Dispatch, ignored it.
Rhodes’ good friends in the FBI had in their possession a tape that documented that the guardsmen were ordered to fire. Prior to the shootings, Terry Strubbe, a Kent State student had hung a microphone out of his dorm window and captured 20 seconds of sound, including the gunfire. In an amplified version of the tape, a Guard officer is heard shouting: “Right here! Get set! Point! Fire!” Those, like the Free Press, who argued that there was an order to shoot the students were dismissed per standard mainstream media protocol as “conspiracy theorists.” It’s never too late to embrace the truth.
Rhodes was a mobster being blackmailed by the FBI who agitated his guardsmen against the students and was in the middle of a heated primary campaign for U.S. Senate. The day before the shootings, Rhodes is on record stating that student peace demonstrators were the “strongest, well-trained militant revolutionary group that has ever assembled in America. They’re worse than the brown shirts and the Communists and the night riders and the vigilantes. They are the worst type of people that we harbor in America.”
The Free Press demands a Truth Commission on the Kent State shootings. Let all sides present their evidence, even the well-trained propagandists and coincidence theorists who specialize in blaming the victims, usually for political or monetary gain. Four remain dead in Ohio and justice remains unserved.
https://fitrakis.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/Kent-State-e1526496638995.jpg293374Fitrakishttps://fitrakis.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/fitrakisprocedit_340-3-300x78.pngFitrakis2018-05-16 13:53:462018-05-16 15:07:32Four Still Dead in Ohio
Angst, fear and loathing are the overwhelming emotions six months into the disastrous Trump presidency. Just exactly who, or what, do we have at the helm of the United States Ship of State, and the little red button that could end life as we know it? This month’s Free Press cover depicts a Trump regime floundering in rough sea waters, with the Don confident, but clueless.
The planet and its leaders are watching in horror as the ship appears to be capsizing. Trump and his fools enrich themselves, all the while gleefully decimating domestic social programs, dooming the environment and destroying our nation’s relationships around the world.
Charles Wince, the artist, is asking: just who is steering this ship of fools?
A buffoon? A bully? An oft-bankrupt billionaire businessman? A Benito Mussolini in the making?
Simply put, what we have is an international criminal hell-bent on continuing his crime spree within and without his corrupt administration. Making the world safe for oligarchy.
Casinos, luxury hotels equals Money laundering
Let’s see, casinos, pricey real estate, the Russian mob, the U.S. mafia…hmmm. One plus one plus one equals money laundering.
The notorious meeting between Donald Trump, Jr., Jared Kushner, Paul Manafort and assorted Russian operatives spawned new allegations and suspicions that the Trump family colluded with Russian intelligence to try to gain electoral victory over Hillary Clinton. The details remain murky but the truth is likely more diabolical.
Not that Clinton wasn’t busy demonizing the Russians and using the Clinton Foundation for political pay-offs.
The meetings with Putin’s comrades and Trump’s entourage, may indicate the President may merely be a bagman and money washer for the Russian mafia.
This perception is magnified by Trump’s unprecedented refusal to release his tax forms, which may indicate his net worth to be largely in rubles.
Trump has a long history of involvement with the Russian government. Trump’s first visit Russia was in 1987 at Soviet Ambassador Yuri Dubin’s invitation.
Craig Unger’s New Republic article, Trump’s Russian Laundromat essentially argues that Trump’s money laundering for Russian mobsters is what propelled his worldwide real estate empire.
Trump’s closely-held private real estate holdings, according to Unger, provide the perfect resources for illegal money laundering. Unger cites “…a flow of highly suspicious money from Russia.” He points out that, “Over the past three decades at least 13 people with known or alleged links to Russian mobsters or oligarchs have owned, lived in, and even run criminal activities out of the Trump Tower and other Trump properties. Many used his apartments and casinos to launder untold millions in dirty money.”
Business Insider noted that U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions and the Department Of Justice (DOJ) recently settled a major money laundering case involving a real estate company owned by the son of powerful Russian government official Pyotr Katsyz, former Vice Governor of the Moscow region. Katsyz’s son Dennis owns the real estate company Prebezon, that was accused of laundering millions of dollars through New York City real estate when the case was “unexpectedly settled two days before going to trial in May,” according to Business Insider.
The attorney representing the Katsyz family was none other than Natalia Beselnitskaya, who met with Donald Trump, Jr. on June 9, 2016, to allegedly disclose damaging information concerning Hillary Clinton. She was described as a “Russian government attorney” in Trump Junior’s emails. Democratic House Judiciary Committee members sent a letter to Sessions inquiring about Beselnitskaya’s involvement in the settlement.
Also in attendance on June 9 was Renat Akhmetshin, described by CNN as “a U.S. citizen lobbyist promoting Russian interests and a former Soviet military officer” and Aras Agalarov, owner of the Crocus Group, a Moscow-based property company .
The mystery man, or 8th person who emerged at Donald Trump Jr.’s meeting with Russians, turned out to be Irakly “Ike” Kaveladze, a Crocus Group Vice President accused of laundering more than $1.4 billion into the U.S. from Eastern Europe. Kaveladze allegedly used 2,000 shell companies to launder money into the U.S..
Essentially, Trump, Jr.’s meeting was a perfect Russian triumvirate representing an alleged money launderer, the Russian military and and a pro-Putin oligarch.
If Trump is to be impeached and his clumsy cover-up of Russian ties revealed, it will be because the laundered money was easy to follow from the election tampering to Putin meddling.
Forget about the Russians, Trump supports American-made election riggers
While Trump’s apparent law-breaking focuses on the Russians, his primary anti-American assault is his bogus Election Integrity Commission led by Kris Kobach, whose Crosscheck program stripped countless non-millionaire citizens from the voter rolls in at least 30 states, critical to putting Trump in the White House. The man who rigged Ohio’s 2004 election, Ken Blackwell also serves on the Commission.
As Americans we cannot allow this high-tech Jim Crow destruction of the electoral process to lead to a permanent, one-party dictatorship.
This official lynch mob must be replaced by a national commission to promote universal hand-counted paper ballots and universal automatic voter registration, with legally protected, transparent voter rolls.
At least now the media and establishment have to admit U.S. election systems can be, and have been, hacked — a fact the Free Press has investigated and reported for over 15 years.
Resign or be convicted
All of this raises the blackmail issue. Which foreign entities, including crime syndicates, have information to compromise Trump and his close personal entourage?
It’s not just the Russian connections we should be investigating. As The New Yorker pointed out, “Throughout the Presidential campaign, Trump was in business with someone that his company knew was likely a partner with the Iranian Revolutionary Guard.”
Trump’s “Trump Tower Baku” was a failed luxury hotel project in Azerbaijan, considered one of the world’s most corrupt nations. His partner was Zaya Mammadov, a billionaire oligarch tied to Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, who worked as the Azerbaijan Transportation Minister for $12,000 a year.
The Guardian reported in mid-June that “Donald Trump — like Richard Nixon” is now “under investigation for obstruction of justice.” There is already speculation that Special Counsel Robert Mueller is also investigating Trump’s alleged money laundering.
Trump has questioned Mueller impartiality regarding the Russian investigation and has contemplated firing Mueller in perhaps his own version of Nixon’s infamous “Saturday Night Massacre” when he fired Watergate Special Prosecutor Archibald Cox.
Donald Trump must resign the presidency by August 9, the anniversary of the bombing of Nagasaki and the resignation of Richard Nixon.
In Trump’s brief tenure, he’s already fired James Comey, the FBI Director, for failing to pledge personal loyalty. Trump went on to try to intimidate Comey by suggesting he might have “tapes” of their conversations. The Washington Post reported that Trump then tried to get CIA director Mike Pompeo and Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats to kill the FBI investigation into Trump’s Russian connections.
Trump’s coverups must stop. If, by the time this issue comes out, he hasn’t resigned, he needs to resign or be convicted.
Demand Trump Resign on National Nagasaki/Nixon Day
To prevent nuclear war, ecological collapse, economic ruin and the Jim Crow destruction of our democracy, August 9 has been designated for demonstrations to demand Trump’s resignation.
Rallies are already in the planning stages in California and Ohio. Demonstrators are encouraged to wear orange jump suits and t-shirts, and yellow wigs or hats, in solemn evocation of the likely upcoming indictments of Trump and his mafia family, Russian and otherwise.
A demonstration at the “mushroom cloud” peace statue in Santa Monica, California, to be broadcast and/or podcast on Pacifica/KPFK radio, will highlight a national call for Trump to step down in the face of his proven, highly destructive inability to lead the country, and amidst his alien, illegal assault on American democracy.
Group photos with a “RESIGN” signs are also encouraged.
https://fitrakis.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/The20Don21.jpg319240Fitrakishttps://fitrakis.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/fitrakisprocedit_340-3-300x78.pngFitrakis2017-07-31 12:20:402017-07-31 12:23:49ORANGE IS THE NEW ORANGE: The President should be behind bars
Like Hillary branding Trump supporters as “deplorables,” Bill tells American grassroots activists to “go f*** yourselves with a locally grown organic cucumber.”
Hillary says she was “on her way to victory” when FBI Director James Comey and “the Russians” intervened. Maher and others say Stein caused her defeat, as they blamed Ralph Nader for George W. Bush in 2000.
Hillary now pledges to “resist” Trump Fascism. Maher and other liberal pundits have been relentless in their attacks on him.
And the rest of us struggle with the keys to nonviolent resistance in the Dark Age now upon us.
But one thing is clear: what won’t work is another 16 years of liberals like Maher scapegoating left activists without facing the basic realities of where Trump came from:
Like Al Gore in 2000, Hillary Clinton won the popular vote.
Counting 2004, which was stolen from John Kerry in Ohio, the Democrats have won every presidential election since 1992.
Gore and the Democrats have had 16 years to fight the Electoral College, a racist anachronism designed to enhance the power of slaveowners.
The EC has put six popular vote losers in the White House, nearly 15% of our presidents.
Rather than work to end the EC and win electoral reform, liberal bloviators and corporate Democrats have spent 16 years whining about Nader, one of America’s greatest activists.
Had they instead abolished the EC, Trump would not be president.
With the Electoral College in place, still more candidates who lose the popular vote will win the White House.
Had Nader NOT run in 2000, George W. Bush still would have become president.
Had Stein NOT run in 2016, Donald Trump still would have become president.
In Florida 2000, Gov. Jeb Bush used the Jim Crow ChoicePoint program (as reported by Greg Palast) to strip more than 90,000 black and Hispanic voters from registration rolls in a tally allegedly decided by 537 votes.
In Ohio 2004, Jim Crow GOP election boards stripped more than 300,000 primarily urban black voters from registration rolls in a tally decided by 118,775.
In 2016 nationwide, 29 GOP Secretaries of State used the Jim Crow CrossCheck program (as reported in Greg’s “Best Democracy Money Can Buy”) to strip countless thousands of black and Hispanic voters from registration rolls in states that decided the Electoral College.
In Florida 2000, electronic flipping in Volusia and Brevard Counties (as reported by Bev Harris) allowing Fox “reporter” John Ellis (a Bush cousin) to flip the network narrative from a Gore to a Bush victory.
In Ohio 2004, between 12:20 and 2 a.m. election night, a “glitch” in the state’s computerized vote count (as run under a no-bid contract by a Bush family operative in a Chattanooga bank basement) was used as cover to flip a 4.2% Kerry victory to a 2.4% Bush victory, giving Bush a second term.
Nationwide in 2016, electronic “irregularities” continually flipped Clinton exit poll victories to Trump official victories, including in Florida, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin, which gave Trump the Electoral College and the presidency.
As in New Mexico 2004 and elsewhere in both 2004 and 2016, thousands of ballots in heavily Democratic areas were allegedly missing a presidential preference, including some 75,395 in Michigan, which was decided by less than 11,000.
All this and more fits a clear historic pattern which we outline in our new “Strip & Flip Disaster of America’s Stolen Elections.”
Clinton Democrats and liberal pundits like Maher call this “conspiracy theory.” They refuse to deal with either the stripping of voter rolls or the flipping of electronic vote counts. Instead they attack grassroots activists who do.
Jill Stein, for example, attempted recounts in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania. She fought corrupt officials in all three states (Pennsylvania has a Democratic governor) and hit nothing but brick walls.
Clinton sent “legal observers” but no financial or other meaningful help. Liberal pundits continually attacked Jill for her efforts. Despite the horrors of Trump fascism, the Democrats have said and done nothing about the total fraud that put him in the White House.
Al Gore essentially disappeared immediately after losing 5-4 in the US Supreme Court. So did Kerry and Clinton immediately after their own losses. Not one of them is working to abolish the Electoral College, or for a reliable election system. But the corporate Democrats and liberal pundits have plenty of energy to scream at the grassroots left.
Of course, in 2008 and 2012, that’s precisely who put Barack Obama in the White House. We have reported widespread electoral fraud in both years. But a powerful and diligent grassroots upheaval curbed enough abuses to save Obama from what doomed Gore, Kerry and Clinton.
Obama also used that grassroots energy to build a popular vote margin too big to steal.
In 2016, Bernie Sanders again unleashed that grassroots power. As an avowed socialist, he inspired millions of precisely the activists a legitimate Democratic Party should have welcomed — young, committed, energetic, idealistic, ready to work for a social democratic future.
We believe Bernie was the rightful Democratic nominee. We also believe that had she chosen Bernie for VP, Hillary could have walked into the White House.
Despite her miserable campaign, locking into the Sandernista movement would have allowed us to thoroughly monitor this election, curb some of the worst abuses and build a grassroots constituency that could have overwhelmed Trump’s fascism and put this country on the road to real social change.
In these dark days we must recall that in the spring of 2016 we enjoyed the HUGEST social democratic movement in a century, with tens of millions of optimistic Americans ready to work and win a bright and fair future.
Instead we face the grim realities of tangible fascism. It doesn’t help when liberal pundits and corporate Democats attack the grassroots activists who are on the frontline of the resistance.
The Democrats will stay out of power until they can convince the American public (even us “deplorables”) they can deliver on civil liberties, social justice, ecological sanity, and more. And that they can construct an electoral system that actually reflects the popular will.
Clinton, Kerry, Gore and the liberal punditocracy must finally deal with how they lost these three presidencies. And then DO something about it, so it doesn’t happen again.
They could start by demanding universal automatic voter registration; transparent registration rolls immune to Jim Crow stripping by programs like ChoicePoint and Crosscheck; universal hand-counted paper ballots; a four-day natonal holiday for voting; an end to gerrymandering, the Electoral College, and the corporate purchase of campaigns.
They might also THANK rather than scapegoat what was once the Democratic Party’s energetic base, including activists like Nader, Stein, Bernie and the rest of the grassroots movements that form our last and strongest barrier against the harsh realities of Trump Fascism.
Bob Fitrakis & Harvey Wasserman are co-authors of THE STRIP & FLIP SELECTION OF 2016: FIVE JIM CROWS & ELECTRONIC ELECTION THEFT at www.freepress.org, where Bob’s FITRAKIS FILES are available. Harvey’s SOLARTOPIA! OUR GREEN-POWERED EARTH is at www.solartopia.org.
Reader Supported News is the Publication of Origin for this work. Permission to republish is freely granted with credit and a link back to Reader Supported News.
https://fitrakis.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/fitrakisprocedit_340-3-300x78.png00Fitrakishttps://fitrakis.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/fitrakisprocedit_340-3-300x78.pngFitrakis2017-05-09 19:09:582017-05-09 19:09:58Bill Maher and the Corporate Democrats Need to Stop Scapegoating the Grassroots Resistance
(Photo: Rama)Donald Trump’s relentless insistence that three million “aliens” voted for Hillary Clinton and cost him a popular majority in November’s presidential election cuts far beyond what the corporate media is willing to report. When it comes to undermining democracy in the US, Trump is once again proving that the best defense is a total attack, even if it relies on “alternative facts.”
Trump’s Big Lie on voter fraud has been as widely scorned as his fantasies about the size of the turnout at his inauguration. Even the normally restrained New York Times has editorialized that “what once seemed like another harebrained claim by a president with little regard for the truth must now be recognized as a real threat to American democracy.”
It seems to be dawning on The Times and others that by claiming so many non-citizens voted more than once, Trump re-loads America’s Jim Crow lynch laws against Black people voting. Based on these assertions, we can expect more and more aggressive attacks by the administration against the rights of non-whites and non-millionaires to a fair and honest ballot.
Indeed, the corporate media has not yet faced the devastation of mass disenfranchisement in 2016. As reported by Greg Palast (www.gregpalast.com) and others, some thirty GOP Secretaries of State across the US used a computer program called Crosscheck to strip thousands of mostly black, Hispanic, Asian-American and Muslim voters from the registration rolls. These mass disenfranchisements could well have made the difference in key swing states like Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Florida that allowed Trump to win in the Electoral College while so thoroughly losing the popular vote.
Trump’s carping about voter fraud has first and foremost has helped divert the public’s attention from this defining reality.
But unfortunately, there is far more.
Let’s start with the Electoral College. For the sixth time in US history, the candidate who lost among eligible voters has entered the White House. Last was 2000, when Al Gore beat George W. Bush nationwide by more than a half-million votes. Neither Gore nor the Democratic Party followed this stunning election theft (which had such dire consequences) by launching any kind of movement to abolish the Electoral College. Instead, many Democrats have spent 16 years screaming at Ralph Nader for daring to run for president. Had they instead recruited him to help organize the abolition of the Electoral College, Trump might not now be in the White House.
In 2016, the attack on Nader has morphed into a fixation on Russian hacking and anger at the FBI. So barring a miracle (or a Constitutional Amendment) in 2020 and the foreseeable future beyond, the curse of the Electoral College will still be there to serve the popular minority.
Trump has also fought hard against any meaningful recounts, And for good reason. As many as 28 states this election showed statistically significant variations between exit polls and official vote counts. In 25 of those states, the “Red Shift” went in Trump’s direction. Among statisticians this is known as a “virtual statistical impossibility.”
In Michigan, which officially went to Trump by about 10,000 votes, some 75,000 ballots came in without a presidential preference, mostly in heavily Democratic urban areas. The idea that 75,000 citizens would take the trouble to vote but not to make a preference among at least four presidential candidates has yet to be explained by the media or the Democrats.
Major problems with electronic voting machines, precinct access, ballot chain of custody and vote count issues also surfaced throughout the swing states. But when the Green Party’s Jill Stein dared to attempt a recount, Trump launched an all-out attack. High-priced attorneys in Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania and elsewhere did all they could to prevent any realistic examination of what actually happened in the states that gave him the presidency.
Meanwhile, rather than doing the work themselves, the corporate media heaped scorn on Stein for daring to examine exactly how Trump became president. The Democrats and the Clinton campaign offered no help beyond sending a few attorneys to “observe” the assault on greens uppity enough to challenge the system that had flipped the presidency, the Congress, the Supreme Court and innumerable state and local governments.
The bottom line here is that our entire electoral process is broken. Donald Trump became president because massive disenfranchisements kept thousands of citizen from voting, because electronic “black box” voting machines cannot be monitored or accounted for by the general public, and because the Electoral College remains in place, ready to swing the next loser into the White House.
Trump’s screaming assertion of entirely the opposite is a brilliant strategy that can only work in a country where the media refuse to face the realities of a thoroughly broken system, and an “opposition” Democratic Party that won’t fight for elections it actually wins.
Our survival demands an actual democracy. That means universal automatic voter registration, with voter rolls transparent and readily accessible for verification. It means a four-day national holiday for voting, universal hand-counted paper ballots, and automatic recounts at no cost to the candidates. It also demands an end to gerrymandering, a ban on corporate money in our campaigns and, of course, the abolition of the Electoral College.
Trump’s rantings about voter fraud are a brilliant diversion away from all that. So is the media and Democrats’ obsession with the Russians.
Our stripped and flipped elections are home-grown poison. Donald Trump is the ultimate outcome. Until we reject the current electoral system, we will all be living in a world of hurt.
Bob Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman have co-authored six books on election protection, including The Strip & Flip Selection of 2016, at www.freepress.org, where Bob’s Fitrakis Files also reside. Harvey’s Solartopia! Our Green-Powered Earth is at www.solartopia.org.
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Harvey Wasserman interviews investigative reporting partner Bob Fitrakis about the rigged 2016 selection and the inside story of the attempted recount for his weekly radio program, the Solartopia Green Power and Wellness Hour. EON photo
The Woodward and Bernstein of Election Integrity
Every presidential election since 2004, we have traveled to Columbus, in key swing state of Ohio, to video document election protection efforts by Harvey Wasserman, Bob Fitrakis and the Columbus Free Press team (FreePress.org). We made the trip again this year and have just returned from filming post-recount interviews with both of them in Columbus last week.
Harvey Wasserman – an author, historian, celebrated journalist and lifelong activist, and Bob Fitrakis – a practicing attorney who holds doctorates in both political science and law – are also both popular professors in Columbus colleges.
Dubbed by admirer Jesse Jackson as ‘the Woodward and Bernstein of election integrity’ – after the Washington Post reporters that famously broke the Watergate story in the Nixon era – Fitrakis and Wasserman’s research and reporting on election theft has twice won Project Censored awards.
The Free Press and its sponsoring organization the Columbus Institute of Contemporary Journalism (CICJ) has been in operation since 1970 and run since the ‘90s by life-partners Bob Fitrakis and Suzanne Patzer and their colleague Harvey Wasserman. Their work has been a vital epicenter not only of local community organizing and investigative reporting, but also of the national US Election Protection movement.
At the same time, they have either been consistently ignored or repeatedly denounced by mainstream media as “conspiracy theorists.”
For more than a decade, from their unique vantage point in one of the country’s main ground zero’s of vote rigging, they‘ve documented the multiple methods by which America’s elections have been stolen…and helped to galvanize grassroots awareness and resistance not only in Ohio, but across the country.
EON is proud to help give their important work wider exposure. Here are four recent video interviews done as the election saga unfolded, and links to recent articles.
[ In the works: A report from inside the recount saga and post-Electoral College analysis. ]
Losers Win, Winners Lose
Bob Fritakis and Harvey Wasserman on the seriously flawed US voting and electoral college system and the outcome of the 2016 election. The FreePress.org reporting team that Jesse Jackson dubbed the Woodward and Bernstein of Election Protection comment on the outcome of the 2016 presidential election and why the American election system needs a total overhaul from top to bottom.
The Illegitimate Election 2016
What are the legitimate grounds for calling the recent election awarding the Presidency to Donald Trump illegitimate? Political scientist and attorney Dr. Robert Fitrakis and investigative historian Harvey Wasserman – editors of FreePress.org – summarize the evidence in this exclusive EON interview.
They are the co-authors of the book STRIP & FLIP SELECTION OF 2016 – Five Jim Crows & Electronic Election Theft, available here – http://freepress.org/store.php
Greg Palast interviews Bob Fitrakis on Voter Purges
How did the Ohio Republican Sec. of State purge and disenfranchise so many voters from the voter rolls? A conversation between Bob Fitrakis and Greg Palast, two of the leading investigative reporters on the many vote rigging methods at work in US elections.
Palast Interviews Fitrakis on Election Theft
Why before the Nov. 8, 2016 election, did Republican authorities in key swing state Ohio turn off the safety features for ballot records even though this security measure is already programmed into their electronic voting machine software?
A conversation between Bob Fitrakis and Greg Palast, two of the leading investigative reporters on the many vote rigging methods at work in US elections.
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by Bob Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman
NOVEMBER 18, 2016
Hillary Clinton’s margin of victory in the 2016 vote count continues to climb, at this point well over a million.
But her impending defeat in the Electoral College comes with familiar signs that the election was stripped and flipped.
These indicators include the realities of pre- and post-election polling; the massive stripping of primarily black, Hispanic and Asian-American voters from computer generated registration rolls mostly maintained by private partisan companies; unverifiable “black box” electronic voting machines and central tabulators, also mostly manufactured and maintained by private corporations, and much more.
Were this election held in any other country, the US State Department and independent monitors from around the world would denounce it as a fraud, and contemplate international intervention.
The Electoral College
Much is finally being said about the Electoral College, with new popular demands for its abolition. Clinton is about to become the sixth presidential candidate to win a traditional majority but lose the presidency. It also happen ed in 1800, 1824, 1876, 1888 and 2000. Nearly 15% of our 45 presidents have been “selected” with the denial of the public will through an institution established in large part to enhance the power of slave owners.
In February, 2013, at progressive.org, we joined the multitudes throughout our history in calling for the EC’s abolition:
It will take a Constitutional Amendment, and a hell of a lot of work, to abolish this corrupt anachronism. But unless we want to see an endless succession of George W. Bushes in the White House, something better be done — and quick.
The consequences of inaction are all too clear.
Computerized Jim Crow Stripping of Voter Registration Rolls
US history has been defined throughout by a divide-and-conquer strategy of racial manipulation. As we outline in our new Strip & Flip Death of American Democracy (freepress.org / solartopia.org): chattel slavery, the Constitution’s “three-fifths bonus,” Jim Crow segregation, third world imperial conquest and the Drug War have all played a role in denying African-American/Hispanic/Asian-American citizens their right to vote. From the foundation of the Republic, this disenfranchisement has defined the balance of power.
In recent years, the disenfranchisement has been most importantly done by the Republican Party, and by computer. As investigative reporter Greg Palast has shown in his book/movie The Best Democracy Money Can Buy (www.gregpalast.com) in 2000 Florida Governor Jeb Bush used a program called ChoicePoint to strip more than 90,000 predominantly black and Hispanic citizens from the voter registration rolls in an election decided by 537 votes. The pretext was alleged felony convictions. The selection was “won” by Bush’s brother George W although a full recount (which was stopped by the US Supreme Court by one vote) would have given Al Gore the majority in Florida, and in the Electoral College.
As we have reported from Columbus, in 2004 more than 300,000 predominantly urban citizens were stripped from the voter registration rolls in an election the GOP won by 118,775. A quarter of all voters in heavily Democratic Cleveland were de-registered. Ohio’s ill-got electoral votes gave George W. Bush a second term. This became the only time in US history an entire state’s Electoral College delegation was challenged on the floor of the US Congress.
This year, Palast has reported that a new program called Crosscheck has been used by some 30 GOP Secretaries of State to strip more than 1.1 million predominantly black, Hispanic, Islamic and Asian-American citizens from the voter rolls.
Originating with far-right Republican Kris Kobach, Kansas’s Secretary of State, Crosscheck eliminated more than enough minority voters in at least three swing states to flip the entire presidential election.
Palast has reported Ohio’s GOP Secretary of State Jon Husted also used Crosscheck to eliminate some 497,000 mostly black, Latino and African-American citizens from the voter rolls in Ohio, falsely accusing them of registering in more than one state. Such eliminations went on throughout the US and may have involved more than a million legitimate voters.
According to Reuters, over the past five years Husted himself stripped some two million citizens from the voter rolls in Ohio without Crosscheck, with Democratic areas twice as likely to be striped as Republicans. Reuters points out that the neighborhoods that most heavily backed President Obama lost the most voters. (JUNE 2, 2016, USE IT OR LOSE IT; OCCASIONAL OHIO VOTERS MAY BE SHUT OUT IN NOVEMBER, Reuters, June 2, 2016).
The mass disenfranchisement also impacted races for the US Senate. At least four Democrats would likely have won seats (in Florida, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Missouri) that they officially lost (www.tdmsresearch.com. Similar results are evident from 2014 Senate races in North Carolina, Colorado and Alaska. Thus in the past two years, mass disenfranchisement and computerized vote stripping may well have stripped seven Upper House seats from the Democrats to the GOP.
Thus the electronic race-based stripping of voter rolls in the GOP’s favor has probably on its own taken to the far right the presidency, control of the US Senate and ultimately the US Supreme Court.
It should be noted that out of disgust with Donald Trump, the GOP multi-billionaire Koch Brothers shifted much of their massive financial weight from the presidential race to Congressional and other “down-ballot contests,” where these key Senate seats and others in the US House and state governments were almost certainly impacted.
Traditional Jim Crow Stripping of Voter Registration Rolls
Alongside computerized techniques, the Republicans have effectively deployed still more traditional Jim Crow tactics to strip black/Hispanic/Asian-American citizens of their ability to vote. In part these include: demands for photo ID, elimination of polling places, narrowing time frames in which citizens can vote, deliberate distribution of misinformation about voting requirements, non-counting of provisional ballots, failure to send out absentee ballots, intimidation and widespread confusion at polling places [Google voting map] and much more.
In its 2013 Shelby County vs. Holder decision, the US Supreme Court gutted protections provided by the 1965 Voting Rights Act, opening the floodgates for Jim Crow abuse throughout the electoral system.
Numerous reports indicate that citizens were often confronted with photo ID requirements even where they were voided by the courts. As in Ohio 2004, reports indicate many citizens were directed by official websites to polling places that did not actually exist. This year Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted failed to distribute more than 1,050,000 absentee ballot applications to citizens entitled to them.
On Election Day, media throughout the US reported the kinds of mass delays and confusion that defined the elections of 2000 and 2004. Said the New York Times: “Voters nationwide endured long waits in line, malfunctioning voting machines, ill-informed poll workers and a litany of lesser annoyances on Tuesday with scattered reports that some voters gave up trying to cast ballots.”
David Becker, the Executive Director of the Center for Election Innovation, told the Times, “There are scattered indications of machine breakdowns that are being addressed.”
In an editorial the day after the election, the Times lamented that in North Carolina “The state’s Republican Party issued a news release boasting that cutbacks in early voting hours reduced black turnout by 8.5% below 2012 levels, even as the numbers of white early voters increased by 22.5%.” Fourteen states put in new voting restrictions including some states that were never under federal supervision like Indiana, Ohio and Wisconsin.
Throughout the US, voters with “problems” in their registration are routinely given provisional ballots, allegedly to be counted later. But the forms are often impossibly complex, with poll workers often failing to count them at the sight of a single minor error, such as writing below a line, omitting a middle initial, failing to include a birthday and much more. Ohio Secretary of State Husted won the right from the US Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals to not count prevision ballots that contain a minor mistake. Thus tens of thousands of provisional ballots are thus routinely left uncounted, unbeknownst to the voters. More than 115,000 provisional and “spoiled” ballots from the Ohio 2004 election remain uncounted.
In the lead-up to November 8, pre-election polls strongly indicated a Clinton victory. Post-Election exit polls showed her winning as well, most critically in the swing states whose Electoral College votes could give her the presidency.
Exit polls are the accepted international standard for indications of election fraud and vote tampering. Eric Bjornlund and Glenn Cowan’s 2011 pamphlet “Vote Count Verification: a User’s Guide for Funders, Implementers and Stakeholders.” Their work, done under the auspices of Democracy International for the US Agency for International Development (USAID), outlines how exit polling is used to ensure free and fair elections.
It adds that “U.S-funded organizations have sponsored exit polls as part of democracy assistance programs in Macedonia (2005), Afghanistan (2004), Ukraine (2004), Azerbaijan (2005), the West Bank and Gaza Strip (2005), Lebanon (2005), Kazakhstan (2005), Kenya (2005, 2007), and Bangladesh (2009), among other places.”
In countries like Germany and Switzerland, which use hand-counted paper ballots, exit polls are accurate to a margin error of less than 1%.
Here the 2016 exit polls were paid for by a major corporate media consortium, as has been standard practice for years. Here they are designed to reflect the actual vote count within a 2% margin of error nationally.
But in the US, if exit polls don’t agree with official vote counts, they are regularly “adjusted” to conform to official results, no matter how implausible. This makes fraudulent elections appear legitimate.
During this year’s Republican primaries, unadjusted exit polls confirmed official vote counts in all cases. In the Democratic primaries, unadjusted exit polls significantly varied from the official outcome in 12 of 26 primaries. All the errors went in Hillary Clinton’s favor in her race against Bernie Sanders. This is a virtual statistical impossibility and suggests a rigged vote count.
In the general election against Donald Trump, things went the other way. In 24 of 28 states, unadjusted exit polls also showed Clinton with vote counts significantly higher than the final official outcome. The likelihood of this happening in an election that is not rigged are in the realm of virtual statistical impossibility.
In fact, based on the exit polls, the odds against such an unexplained “Trump Shift” are one in 13,110 presidential elections.
For example, Ohio’s exit polls showed Trump and Clinton in a dead heat – 47 percent for Clinton to 47.1 for Trump. Officially, Trump won with 52.1 percent of the vote to Clinton’s 43.5 percent. This unexplained and unexpected 8.5 percent shift for Trump is mathematically impossible. (See attached chart. (PLEASE POST CHART & PROVIDE LINK)
The exit polls also showed Clinton winning in Florida. But an unaccounted for 2.5 percent shift to Trump gave him a statistical long-shot victory that might occur in one of every 167 presidential elections. The odds that Trump won in Pennsylvania are even more absurd – one in 188,360. In North Carolina, the odds that Trump won are one in 186,938,411.
Given the prevalence of other Jim Crow tactics, it’s likely the exit polls were impacted by non-white voters in all the key swing states who were given provisional ballots (or they voted electronically) leading them to believe their votes were being counted, even though they were not.
In key Senate races in Florida, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Missouri, exit polls also showed Democratic candidates winning by statistically significant margins, but then losing the official vote count.
In 2014, Senate races in North Carolina, Colorado and Alaska ended with exit polls also showing Democratic Senate candidates winning the popular vote, while ultimately losing the official vote count. The odds against this happening in two consecutive elections that are not rigged are also astronomical. [PLEASE POST AT FREEP & PROVIDE LINK See chart below.]
The vast majority of the popular votes in this election nationwide were cast on either computerized touch-screen electronic machines, or on scantron ballots that are counted by computer. In neither case are there public monitoring capabilities or legal recourse for vote counts that are flipped.
In 2016, as in all previous US elections at least since 2000, the electronic vote count remains anyone’s guess. In states with a governor and Secretary of State from the same party, the final tally can be whatever they want it to be.
Such techniques were used in Florida 2000 and Ohio 2004 to strip voter rolls and flip George W. Bush into the White House. More than 90,000 black/Hispanic voters were disenfranchised by Gov. Jeb Bush (George’s brother) in a Florida election officially decided by 537 votes. More than 300,000 primarily black/Hispanic voters were stripped from voter rolls in an Ohio 2004 election officially decided by 118,775.
In Florida’s 2000 presidential election, in Volusia County 16,000 votes cast for Gore were electronically subtracted and 4,000 were added to Bush, giving him a leg up on the evening’s vote count. This caused a Fox News commentator John Ellis (who was Bush’s first cousin) to call the election for George W. Bush.
In Ohio 2004, John Kerry was shown winning the election by 4.2%, more than 200,000 votes, at 12:20am. Then the electronic vote count ceased. At 2 a.m. a Bush lead began to emerge, somehow reaching 2.5%. The 6.7% flip is a virtual statistical impossibility.
All of this was done by private contractors working for the company SmarTech, based in Chattanooga, Tennessee. The key information technology specialist in charge of the vote count was Michael Connell, an Akron-based associate of the Bush family, who was hired by the Ohio Secretary of state with a no-bid contract to supervise the state’s official vote count. Connell later died in a mysterious plane crash after being deposed in federal court.
Computer “Black Box Voting” specialist Bev Harris, who uncovered the electronic vote flipping in Florida 2000, has warned this year that a method of “fractionated voting” could have been easily used to manipulate electronic vote counts. The manipulation could be done by Secretaries of State in conjunction with partisan for-profit corporations in ways that are virtually impossible to detect, and simply not open to legal challenge. According to Harris, this “fraction magic,” used in county central tabulators, could have flipped hundreds of thousands of votes.
In Ohio this year, a new generation of electronic vote scanning machines makes it possible to retrieve electronic images of ballots that have been cast on paper in the order that they were cast. These machines come with an audit log that would detect any illegitimate vote changes by central tabulators. But Secretary of State Husted opted to allow local election boards to leave both security functions—-the audit log and the image scanners—turned off. Co-author Bob Fitrakis sued in the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas, to have the monitoring functions turned on. But Judge David Cain ruled on Election Day that the election officials need not turn on those security features.
While in the US this year voter turnout dropped to a 20-year low of 55 percent, Wisconsin, which has Election Day registration, experienced an 82.74 percent statewide turnout. However, Dr. Richard Hayes Phillips found five municipalities in Wisconsin that had 100 percent voter turnout, or more. In 11 other towns and villages, the turnout is alleged to be “95 percent or higher.” In 80 more municipalities in Wisconsin, voter turnout topped 90 percent or higher. Phillips concluded that, “Either these voter turnout percentages are a historic achievement, unparalled in my experience, or the unofficial results are not true or correct.”
Throughout the US, including the swing states that will decide the presidential outcome in the Electoral College, and in those that have increased the GOP margin in the US Senate, the entire vote count remains an electronic mystery. Millions of dollars would be required to do meaningful recounts in states like Wisconsin, which may well have legitimately gone for Clinton and chosen a Democratic US Senator. Huge sums of money would be required to fund independent investigators to confirm who actually won these public offices as cast, recorded—and possibly manipulated—on these electronic machines.
So did the GOP strip and flip the 2016 election?
Let’s count the ways:
There is no doubt that Hillary Clinton won America’s popular vote by more than a million votes.
That popular vote victory will be reversed in an Electoral College originally designed to enhance the power of slaveowners, now being used for the sixth time to deny the White House to the rightful winner.
There is no doubt that more than enough black, Hispanic, Islamic and Asian-Americans were electronically stripped from the voter registration rolls by Crosscheck and other means to have given Clinton victories in those swing states that would have swung the Electoral College in her favor.
There is no doubt additional Jim Crow tactics meant to further disenfranchise black/Hispanic/Asian-American—such as stripping away voting times and precincts, denial of absentee ballots, non-counting of provisional ballots and much more—stripped Clinton of hundreds of thousands of additional legitimate votes.
There is no doubt exit polls showed her winning in more than enough states to have given her a victory in the Electoral College.
There is no doubt that the election was largely conducted on electronic machines, and with electronically counted scantron ballots, that are completely beyond public accountability. These voting machines are run on secret corporate proprietary software to which the public is not allowed access.
As in 2000 and 2004, the actual final vote count once again resides in black box machines controlled by GOP governors and Secretaries of State whose easy ability to hack and flip the official outcome cannot be monitored or brought to accountability. In at least one state (Ohio) the GOP took legal action to prevent the public from gaining potential access to the electronic vote count….and won!
There is also no doubt that had this election been conducted as it was in virtually any other country, the civilized world would have denounced it as completely unreliable and almost certainly false. Had it been in our “national interest” to do so, American troops would have poured in to “restore democracy” after such an obviously rigged charade.
Throughout the campaign GOP candidate Trump cleverly complained of a “rigged election.” He continually warned of innumerable non-whites and Muslims voting multiple times for Hillary Clinton.
Of course the opposite happened. Hundreds of thousands of non-white citizens were systematically denied their right to vote. Since even that wasn’t enough to elect Donald Trump, the Electoral College will once again deny democracy. And thanks to the dark magic of electronic voting machines, we will never really know 2016’s true vote count.
Today’s most tangible tragedy is what may soon unfold in this country.
But the underlying nightmare is that this has been done before. That we’ve known about stripped and flipped elections for at least sixteen years. And that nothing has been done.
If anything, due to the spread of electronic voting machines, our electoral system is more corrupt and less accountable than it was in 2000, when the GOP first stripped and flipped George W. Bush into the White House.
We advocate universal automatic voter registration, transparent voter rolls, a four-day national holiday for voting, universal hand-counted paper ballots, abolition of the Electoral College, an end to gerrymandering, a ban on corporate money in politics.
There’s much more. But until we win those basics, democracy in America is an illusion….as is our chance to survive on this planet.
Bob Fitrakis & Harvey Wasserman are co-authors of THE STRIP & FLIP DEATH OF AMERICAN DEMOCRACY: FIVE JIM CROWS & ELECTRONIC ELECTION THEFT (www.freepress.org/www.solartopia.org). Bob’s FITRAKIS FILES and Harvey’s AMERICA AT THE BRINK OF REBIRTH also abide.
Charts courtesy of Rob Baiman, Assistant Professor, Benedictine University, and member of the Chicago Political Economy Group. The charts are a preliminary draft subject to revision as the data comes in.
https://fitrakis.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/strip-flip-cover-e1479184214607.png400264Fitrakishttps://fitrakis.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/fitrakisprocedit_340-3-300x78.pngFitrakis2016-11-14 23:11:422016-11-14 23:37:35The Other Side of the News November 14, 2016 - 2016 Election Roundup with Bob and Harvey
Donald Trump’s demand for “monitors” at polling places to prevent a “rigged election” is an old and ugly story.
It’s obviously aimed—-KKK style—-at stopping black and Hispanic citizens from voting. But in fact both major parties have used such terror tactics—- and updated electronic ones—-since the birth of the nation.
The cure—-we call it “the Ohio Plan”—- is scorned by both corporate parties: universal automatic voter registration, transparent registration rolls that can be easily monitored, a national holiday for voting, and universal hand-counted paper ballots that stay in one place and are tallied (and re-tallied) in full public view.
The “rigged election” story dates back to the Constitution. Its Electoral College gave a three-fifths “bonus” to slave owners for blacks who could not actually vote. The race card carried through Jim Crow segregation and the KKK terror unleashed against post-Emancipation blacks who dared try to vote. It continues through the Drug War and the tens of millions of African-American and Hispanic citizens stripped of their freedom and franchise.
Today it’s being done by computer programs that quietly eliminate millions of black and Hispanic voters from the registration rolls.
In Florida 2000 Gov. Jeb Bush stripped some 90,000 mostly black and Hispanic citizens off the registration rolls in an election decided for his brother by 537 votes. In 2004 GOP operatives did it again to some 300,000 Ohioans in a state Bush won by 118,775.
In moves that Trump should love, between the 2004 and 2008 elections, in a state with about 5.5 million eligible voters,1.25 million Ohioans were de-registered. In 2012, the number purged was 1.1 million. So far this year, Republican Secretary of State Jon Husted has de-registered over a million Ohio voters, more than 600,000 clearly eligible to vote and on the rolls of their county boards of elections.
Photo ID, limited polling station access, machines that break down, provisional ballots that don’t get counted, absentee ballots that don’t get sent, elimination of days to vote, deliberate official misinformation and intimidation—-all do exactly what Trump wants. They eliminate the “threat” of non-white voters.
In reporting on Trump’s assertions, the New York Times quotes Ohio’s GOP Secretary of State Husted as the “voice of reason.” But like other Republican Secretaries of State across the US, Husted is aggressively stripping millions of black and Hispanic voters from the registration books. Nationwide, tens of millions of exactly the kinds of people Trump doesn’t want to vote will have been stripped off the voter rolls come November. Much of this is explained in Greg Palast’s new film The Best Democracy Money Can Buy.
As Michelle Alexander has explained in her New Jim Crow, tens of millions of blacks and Hispanics have been stripped of their votes since Richard Nixon declared the War on Drugs in 1971. Alongside filling history’s biggest gulag with about 2.2 million prisoners, America’s Drug War has anchored the GOP’s Southern Strategy by stripping blacks and Hispanics from the rolls in southern states where they comprise some 40% of the potential electorate.
Neither Trump nor his mainstream critics mention mass incarceration’s “twin” means of election rigging: electronic voting machines. Some 80% of this year’s votes may be cast on touchscreen and other computerized devices that are absurdly easy to flip. The courts say the corporate-owned source code is proprietary. So there’s no meaningful accountability. Allegedly safe Scantron paper ballots are easily manipulated with corrupted tallying machines.
Significant computer manipulations helped rig GOP presidential victories in Florida 2000 and Ohio 2004, and critical down-ballot elections elsewhere. These include 2014 US Senate races in North Carolina, Colorado and Alaska that now loom large in terms of who might or might not be confirming new Supreme Court appointments.
Corporate-sponsored critics brand this “conspiracy theory”. But neither they nor Trump can answer this most basic question: “how, in fact, do we verify the legitimate tally of votes cast on electronic machines with no effective paper trail, i.e. the vast majority of those that will be cast this November?”
If we’re to have meaningful elections in the future, they must be conducted on paper ballots that are held at their precincts in transparent containers that do not move. Those ballots must be counted in public, by hand. Voter registration should be open automatically to all citizens, with registration rolls open to the public and easily monitored. Voting should be open to all on the basis of a signature. And we need a national holiday for voting so working people do not have to pay with their jobs for exercising their democratic rights.
The “Ohio Plan” would also eliminate corporate money from our elections, end gerrymandering and abolish the Electoral College.
This coming election, up and down the ballot, could indeed be “rigged”. But it will happen exactly counter to what Trump says. Rather than eliminating millions of black and Hispanic voters, as he wants, we need to guarantee their franchise. We must be able to verify their presence on registration rolls. We need to make sure they have reasonable time and place to cast their ballots—-free from KKK/Trump-style thugs intimidating us all.
Above all, as they now do in Ireland, Switzerland, Germany, Romania, Japan and Canada, we need to cast our votes on paper ballots that are safety stored and counted by hand, preferably by our nation’s high school and college students, and our elders.
Maybe then, Trump or otherwise, we can begin to think of America as a country where elections really aren’t rigged or stolen, stripped or flipped.
https://fitrakis.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/Donald_Trump_by_Gage_Skidmore_5_cut.jpg772620Fitrakishttps://fitrakis.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/fitrakisprocedit_340-3-300x78.pngFitrakis2016-10-25 21:09:322016-10-25 21:10:10Trump’s Racist “Rigged Election” Attack is as Old as America
Sunday, October 2, 2016, the Columbus Dispatch reported that Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted refused to mail absentee ballot applications to over one million Ohio voters.
Husted refused to mail to 1,035,795 registered voters. Those left off Husted’s mailing list include 650,730 registered voters who had changed their address. Of these, 568,456 moved within the Buckeye State and are still eligible to vote. The other 82,274 moved out of state and are presumably ineligible to vote.
The key target of Husted’s deregulation scheme are the remaining 385,065 voters who are registered at their current residence but simply failed to vote in the 2012 or 2014 federal elections.
Husted has had these voters harassed by their local Boards of Elections sending them letters demanding they verify their address. Failure to do so could lead to the voters’ deregistration and has led to them not being offered an absentee ballot. Social science data shows that the crux of Democratic Party voters move more often and vote less often than Republicans. Husted’s strategy is to purge poor and minority voters from Ohio rolls.
A U.S. federal court had recently blocked Husted’s strategy of just outright mass purging minority, young and mostly Democratic voters. A recent 2-1 ruling by the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals halted various Husted practices including the removal of any voter who hadn’t voted in six years in Ohio, even if they remained at the same address.
However, the ruling did not block Husted from doing an end-run by using the absentee ballot application mailing to eventually deregister voters.
Husted has never been able to explain why, in a state that requires ID at the polls to verify a voter’s address, any voter would be removed from the computerized voting rolls. There’s no logical reason other than partisan politics to purge a registered voter in a computer era.
Overall, Republican Husted has targeted 13 percent of Ohio’s registered voters for absentee ballot disenfranchisement.
Also, voters who received Husted’s absentee ballot application mailing may have noticed the specific instructions on the envelope to the post office not to forward the mail to a new address, although the post office can return it to the sender. Husted’s office has used the return of two pieces of mail intended for the same voter to the secretary of state’s office or county board of elections as a reason to purge that voter.
Husted also admitted to the Dispatch that some of his absentee ballot applications got lost in the mail. Husted, who claims to be a fiscal conservative and has in the past refused to have backup paper ballots at polling sites because of the cost, cannot seem to explain why he is mailing more than 6.5 million absentee voting applications anyway.
Husted has allowed his office and the county boards of elections, without explanation, to disable their electronic audit logs that are built into central tabulators as well as certain county ballot scanning machines.