Tag Archive for: Wisconsin
How the GOP could steal America’s 2012 election: corporate vote theft and the future of American democracy PART ONE
by Bob Fitrakis & Harvey Wasserman
July 24, 2012
The Republican Party could steal the 2012 US Presidential election with relative ease.
Four major factors make it possible: the continued existence of the Electoral College, the systematic disenfranchisement of millions of American voters over the past decade, the widespread and growing use of electronic voting machines, and GOP control of the governorships and secretary of state offices in the key swing states that will once again decide the election.
To this we must add the likelihood that the core of the activist community that came out to protect the vote for Barack Obama in 2008 may not do so again in 2012.
Towering over it all, of course, is the reality that corporate money has come to totally dominate the American electoral process. The John Roberts US Supreme Court has definitively opened the floodgates with its infamous Citizens United decision. But for well over a century, at least since the 1880s, corporations have ruled American politics. Back then the courts began to confer on corporations the privileges of human rights without the responsibilities of human decency.
Citizens United has taken that reality to a whole new level. As the 2012 election approaches we are watching gargantuan waves of unrestricted capital pouring into political campaigns at all levels. The June recall election in Wisconsin saw at least 8 times as much money being spent on protecting Republican governor Scott Walker as was spent trying to oust him.
Nationwide this year, the corporate largess vastly favors Republicans over Democrats. But since both parties are essentially corporate in nature, that could change in coming elections, and may even vary in certain races in 2012.
We do not believe that once given the chance, the Republicans are any more prone to stealing elections than the Democrats.
And that is a major point of this book. On its surface, the prime focus of our nation’s sorry history of stolen elections has to do with Democrats stealing elections from Republicans and vice-versa. In 2012 it will be primarily Republicans using gargantuan sums of corporate money to take control of the government from Democrats, and democracy be damned.
But in the longer view, the more important reality is that the corruption of our electoral system is perfectly geared toward crushing third and other parties whose focus is challenging a corporate status quo deeply entrenched in war, inequality, and ecological destruction.
So as we trace the stories of election theft dating all the way back to John Adams and Tom Jefferson, we do fret over the corruption that defines so much of the back-and-forth between Democrats and Republicans. But we hope that you, the reader, will always remember that whatever the corporate parties do to each other separately pales before what they will do together to crush non-corporate forces like the Populist Party, the Socialist movement and the grassroots campaigns for peace, justice and ecological preservation. This applies to both candidates running for office and referenda aimed at directly changing policy.
Yes, we are concerned with the injustice and corrupting nature of the reality that corporate money could fund a series of anti-democratic tricks that will steal the 2012 election away from the intent of the American electorate. Given the choices facing us, this means Mitt Romney could well become president despite the possibility of a legitimate victory by Barack Obama.
But far more important in the long run is that the ability to do this by either corporate party (or both of them) means no third party will be allowed to break through in future elections to make meaningful change in this country—at least not through the ballot box.
No reality could be more grim for a nation that long-ago pioneered modern democracy and seemed to bring to the world the possibility of a society in which the possibility of continually making meaningful, life-giving change was guaranteed along with the right to vote.
American history is chock full of election abuse from both parties, dating at least back to 1800, when the Democrat-Republican Thomas Jefferson wrested the presidency from Federalist John Adams based on the “votes” of African-American slaves who were allowed nowhere near a ballot box.
That Adams spent the next six years muttering about that theft before he opened a legendary exchange of letters with his former friend and rival did nothing to rid the country of the Electoral College that made it possible. Nor did it prevent his son, John Quincy, from using it to steal the 1824 election from a very angry slaveowner named Andrew Jackson, who then formed the Democratic Party that now claims Barack Obama.
But in 2012, the GOP controls the registration rolls and the swing state vote count in ways that the Democrats do not.
It will be the Republicans’ choice as to how far they are willing to go to put Mitt Romney in the White House. But as this book will show, they have the power to do it if they’re willing to use it.
They did not have that option in 2008, when Barack Obama and Joe Biden defeated John McCain and Sarah Palin. Ohio had a Democratic governor and secretary of state that year. Obama safely carried the usually decisive Buckeye State in 2008, along with enough additional swing states to put him in the White House.
But when John Kerry failed in Ohio 2004, he handed George W. Bush a second term in ways that paralleled Bush’s initial coming to power in the bitterly disputed election of 2000. In both elections, the defeated Democrat refused to raise the issue of widespread corporate-sponsored fraud. This book lays out much of the evidence that both elections were, in fact, stolen, and shows how the same means used to do it back then are likely to be repeated this year.
The difference in Ohio 2008, as in much of the nation, was that candidate Barack Obama inspired millions of young, committed, active supporters to work overtime for his election. They came out in droves to promote and protect voter registration, monitor polling places, challenge faulty and discriminatory ballot procedures, scrutinize voting machines and otherwise guarantee a more fair and balanced vote count.
In his four years as President, Barack Obama has alienated much of the grassroots activist community that put him in the White House. Due to his stances on nuclear power, bank bailouts, social justice, civil liberties, medical marijuana and other issues that are near and dear to grassroots activists, Obama has prompted the progressive press to be filled with “disappointment” at the very least. As usual, the left community—infamous for its circular firing squads—has already begun tearing itself apart over whether to vote for Obama’s re-election.
But that debate is beside the point. Given the delicate corporate balance on the US Supreme Court, and a wide range of tipping point issues that include women’s rights and the environment, many or even most of those who worked for Obama in 2008 are likely to vote for him again this year.
But just their votes will not make the difference, any more than they did in 2008.
What was decisive in that election was the presence of tens of thousands of committed activists who were willing to devote hours, days, weeks to registering voters, getting them to the polls, making sure they survived challenges to their right to vote, watching over the ballots, doing exit polling, monitoring electronic voting machines and the counts they rendered, making sure the media was aware of resulting abuses—or spreading them through the internet—and otherwise guaranteeing that what had happened in 2000 and 2004 did not happen again in 2008.
Their presence is what put Barack Obama in the White House. But his policies there have done little to encourage those activists to come back to work for him in 2012. Their ballots will probably go his way, but the ardent commitment that defined the 2008 election is clearly missing. So is ACORN, a key long-standing grassroots voter advocacy organization that was destroyed by a concerted GOP attack that succeeded through the cynical but highly effective use of entrapment and disinformation that succeeded in its purpose while Obama stood silent.
Without that activist core to protect the voter rolls, balloting procedures and vote counts this year, Obama and the Democrats are highly vulnerable to a re-run of what was done to Al Gore and John Kerry in 2000 and 2004.
We do not yet know if Obama’s policies, so widely perceived as pro-corporate, will yield him enough corporate cash to match what Mitt Romney will raise. That both parties are dominated by corporations is a forgone conclusion. In 2008 Obama managed to balance that reality with a hugely successful portrayal of himself as a man of and for the grassroots.
At least among the activist community, that perception is long gone. It remains to be seen whether Obama’s decision to court the corporations at the expense of the grassroots will yield him a financial war chest larger than what Mitt Romney can raise.
We also can’t pinpoint the exact advantages—if any—the additional corporate dollars might yield Obama and the Democrats in their attempt to keep the White House.
But simply put: even if he succeeds in winning a legitimate majority of the American electorate, there are not likely to be enough grassroots activists inspired by the hard realities of Barack Obama’s presidency to put in the grueling work that will be needed to guarantee a voter turnout and ensure a vote count fair enough to give him a second term.
In this book, we show why such a national grassroots effort to guarantee a fair election will be necessary to Barack Obama’s re-election. And why without it the GOP is virtually certain to put Mitt Romney in the White House come January, 2013.
That such an effort would also be key to what happens in the races for the US Senate and House of Representatives goes without saying, and we’ll discuss that after we deal with the presidency.
Carried along by the tsunami of corporate cash now pouring into American politics, there are four key factors that could allow the Republican Party to steal the 2012 presidential election:
The continued presence of the Electoral College;
The systematic disenfranchisement of millions of legitimate American voters, most of them likely Democrats;
The widespread use of electronic voting machines.
The Republican control of the governorships and secretary of state offices in the key swing states should decide the 2012 election for Romneys.
Originally published by The Free Press, https://freepress.org
Wisconsin: None dare call it vote rigging
Wisconsin: None dare call it vote rigging
June 14, 2012
If vote-rigging prospers, none may call it vote-rigging. It simply becomes the new norm. Once again, the universal laws of statistics apply only outside U.S. borders. The recall vote in Wisconsin produced another significant 7% discrepancy between the unadjusted exit poll and the so-called “recorded vote.” In actual social science, this level of discrepancy, with the results being so far outside the expected margin of error would not be accepted.
When I took Ph.D. statistics to secure my doctorate in political science, we were taught to work through the rubric, sometime referred to as HISMISTER. The “H” stood for an explanation of the discrepancy rooted in some historical intervention, such as one of the candidates being caught in a public restroom with his pants down and a “wide stance” soliciting an undercover cop. The “I” that came next suggested we should check our instrumentation, that is, are the devices adequately reporting the data?
Here’s where U.S. elections become laughable. A couple of private companies, count our votes with secret proprietary hardware and software, the most notable being ES&S. Every standard of election transparency is routinely violated in the U.S. electronic version of faith-based voting. How the corporate-dominated media deals with the issue is by “adjusting the exit polls.” They simply assume the recorded vote on easily hacked and programmed private machines are correct and that the international gold standard for detecting election fraud – exit polls – must be wrong.
They are not going to go through the rest of the acronym and check to see if the Sample makes sense, that the right Measurements are being taken, or whether or not there’s been a breakdown in Implementing the exit polling. They won’t check to see if the representative Size of the polling numbers are accurate, or if there are problems with the pollster’s Technique, or if there was human Error, or if there’s just bad Recording going on.
Of course, the machines could be recording wrong because they are programmed for an incorrect outcome. The easiest people to convince regarding the absurdity of electronic voting with private proprietary hardware and software are the computer programmers across the political spectrum. Statisticians and mathematicians also readily comprehend the obvious nature of rigged elections.
One of my favorite mathematicians is Richard Charnin, who on his website using readily available public information, calculates the odds of the so-called ‘red shift” occurring from the 1988 to 2008 presidential elections. The red shift refers to the overwhelming pick up of votes by the Republican Party in recorded votes over what actual voters report to exit pollsters.
In Charnin’s analysis of exit poll data, we can say with a 95% confidence level – that means in 95 out of 100 elections – that the exit polls will fall within a statistically predictable margin of error. Charnin looked at 300 presidential state exit polls from 1988 to 2008, 15 state elections would be expected to fall outside the margin of error. Shockingly, 137 of the 300 state presidential exit polls fell outside the margin of error.
What is the probability of this happening?
“One in one million trillion trillion trlllion trillion trillion trillion,” said Charnin.
More proof of Republican operatives and sympathizers is found in the fact that 132 of the elections fell outside the margin in favor of the GOP. We would expect eight.
Say you have a fair coin to flip. We would expect that if we flip that coin there would be an even split between heads and tails – or in this case, Republicans and Democrats. Election results falling outside the margin of error should be equally split between both parties. Yet, only five times, less than expected, did the extra votes fall in the direction of the Democratic Party.
So what are the odds? According to Charnin, of 132 out of 300 state presidential elections exceeding the margin of error in the direction of the Republicans – one in 600 trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion.
The corporate-owned media does not want to mention that the problems with the exit polls began with the ascendancy of the former CIA Director George Herbert Walker Bush to the presidency in 1988. It is also that year when the non-transparent push-and-pray voting machines were introduced in the New Hampshire primary by Bush ally John Sununu. Bush, who rigged elections for the CIA throughout the Third World did unexpectedly well where the voting machines were brought in.
In any other election outside the U.S., the U.S. State Department would condemn the use of the these highly riggable machines based on the discrepancy in the exit polls. It’s predictable what would happen if an anti-U.S. KGB agent in some former Soviet Central Asian republic picked up an unexplained 5% of the votes at odds with the exit polls. A new election would be called for, as it was in the Ukraine in 2004. We would not have accepted the reported vote from the corrupt intelligence officer.
The CIA Director’s son wins with laughable exit poll discrepancies in 2000 and 2004 and the mainstream media sees no evil. The media’s perspective is to discredit the exit polls, which they sponsor, and call any who point to the polls “conspiracy theorists.”
In 2004, 22 states had a red shift to the CIA Director’s son, George W. Bush. Usually such improbably results are signs of a Banana Republic. Now we have a too-close-to-call neck and neck recall race in Wisconsin that show an obvious red shift for a right-wing red governor. Nobody wants to look at the non-transparent black box machines. Electronic election rigging has prospered. Long live the “adjusted” vote totals.
Originally published by The Free Press, https://freepress.org
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, www.freepress.org 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 (www.talktainmentradio.com) 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 â€“ 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 www.freepress.org, where this article was first published. Harvey Wasserman’s History of the United States is at www.harveywasserman.com, along with Solartopia! Our Green-Powered Earth.