Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Green Party Alleges Vote Machine Tampering During Recount

Green Party presidential candidate David Cobb, testifying before an informal hearing by Demos on the House Judiciary Committee investigating the Ohio elections, related a story that should be front page news on every major city newspaper: He says a technician from one of the electronic voting machine companies tampered with a machine last week and apparently instructed election officials on how to rig the recount. Here's the relevant text of his testimony, taken from the Cobb Web site:

Mr. Chairman, though our time is limited, I must bring to the committee's attention the most recent and perhaps most troubling incident that was related to my campaign on Sunday, December 12, about a shocking event that occurred last Friday, December 10.

A representative from Triad Systems came into a county board of elections office un-announced. He said he was just stopping by to see if they had any questions about the up-coming recount. He then headed into the back room where the Triad supplied Tabulator (a card reader and older PC with custom software) is kept. He told them there was a problem and the system had a bad battery and had "lost all of its data". He then took the computer apart and started swapping parts in and out of it and another "spare" tower type PC also in the room. He may have had spare parts in his coat as one of the BOE people moved it and remarked as to how very heavy it was. He finally re-assembled everything and said it was working but to not turn it off.

He then asked which precinct would be counted for the 3% recount test, and the one which had been selected as it had the right number of votes, was relayed to him. He then went back and did something else to the tabulator computer.

The Triad Systems representative suggested that since the hand count had to match the machine count exactly, and since it would be hard to memorize the several numbers which would be needed to get the count to come out exactly right, that they should post this series of numbers on the wall where they would not be noticed by observers. He suggested making them look like employee information or something similar. The people doing the hand count could then just report these numbers no matter what the actual count of the ballots revealed. This would then "match" the tabulator report for this precinct exactly. The numbers were apparently the final certified counts for the selected precinct.

Triad is contracted to do much of the elections work in this county and elsewhere in Ohio. This included programming the candidates into the tabulator, and coming up with the rotation of candidates in the various precincts (that is, the order of which candidate is first changes between precincts). They also have a technician in the office on election night to actually run the tabulator itself.

Triad also supplies the network computers on which all of the voter registration information and processing is kept for the county.

It was unusual for the computers to be taken apart. At least one member of the Board of Elections was told the tabulator was in pieces when he called to check on the office.

The source of this report believes that the Triad representative was "making the rounds" of visiting other counties also before the recount. This person also stated they would not pass on the suggestion of the "posted" hidden totals, and would refuse to go along with it if it were suggested by the others in the office at the

The source of this information believes they could lose their job if
they come forward.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Recounts R Us, Continued

Heard a funny story on the radio this morning. Yesterday, North Carolina cast its 16 electoral votes for George W. Bush. Trouble is, NC only has 15 electoral votes. Yet another case of vote fraud favoring the Republicans! The Raleigh News & Observer has a story on it here.

The Ohio recount is underway in Cincinnatti. The Cinn City Enquirer has a brief but illuminating story about how the process will work -- 3 percent of ballots will be chosen at random and recounted in each precinct, and if the totals don't match up, all the ballots will be recounted. If the latter occurs, don't expect any results before xmas. By 10 am yesterday, they'd already found two (minor) discrepancies. Tune in next week for "The Return of the Hanging Chad."

In Washington state, election officials have discovered 561 absentee ballots that were erroneously rejected and will now be added to the recount totals. For those of you keeping score at home, Republican candidate Dino Rossi lead Demo Christine Gregoire by 261 votes at the end of regulation, and by just 42 votes after a mandatory mechanical recount. In the ongoing manual recount, Rossi has so far gained votes and leads by 88. The missing 561 ballots are all from Demo-centric Kings county, which went for Gregoire by 57 to 43 percent. Don't bother whipping out your calculators, the Seattle Post Intelligencer has already done the math: If that ratio holds, Gregoire will gain 79 votes, giving Rossi just a 9 vote lead as we head into the fourth quarter. However, the Demos failed to persuade the referees (aka the state supreme court) to allow the counting of some 2000 additional rejected absentee ballots. This one looks like it's coming down to the wire folks. And look--the crowd is doing The Wave!

Monday, December 06, 2004

Tune In Tomorrow for Ohio Vote Fraud Hearings

At least some members of Congress haven't rolled over with all four feet sticking into the air. Several Demo members of the House Judiciary Committee are holding an informal hearing on allegations of vote fraud and other shenanigans in Ohio on Wednesday morning. Toward that end they've invited Ohio Secty of State (and fashion doyenne) Mr. Blackwell to attend and, just in case he's stumped for something to talk about, sent him a list of 36 questions to address. Don't hold your breath waiting for that to happen.

Conyers to Hold Hearings on Ohio Vote Fraud
By William Rivers Pitt
t r u t h o u t | Report

Friday 03 December 2004

Democratic Representative John Conyers, Jr. of Michigan, ranking Minority member of the House Judiciary Committee, will hold a hearing on Wednesday 08 December 2004 to investigate allegations of vote fraud and irregularities in Ohio during the 2004 Presidential election. The hearing is slated to begin at 10:00 a.m. EST in the Rayburn House Office Building in Washington DC....

VotersUnite is using a Web campaign to urge C-Span to televise the hearings. (No indication of what they plan to show at that time on the C-Span Web site, though it couldn't hurt to tune in just in case.) I say let's try to get C-Span's ratings up at least as high as The Real Gilligan's Island....

Saturday, December 04, 2004

Today's Word Is: Malversation

Word of the Day for Friday December 3, 2004

malversation \mal-vur-SAY-shun\, noun:
Misconduct, corruption, or extortion in public office.

Technically, this was yesterday's word of the day, but ... close enough. Appropos of that comes this entry from Andy B's Amish Rabbit blog:

Election Fallout: Bush Admin Appointee Indicted
James Tobin, President Bush's former New England campaign chairman, was indicted December 1, 2004 by a federal grand jury on four counts related to jamming phone lines on Election Day, 2002.
Tobin allegedly conspired to jam five telephone numbers run by the New Hampshire Democratic Party, and one associated with a local Professional Firefighters Association, in an attempt to stop opponents' voting drive efforts.
Charming. There's nothing like Free and Fair elections, eh? And it seems in this country we do have nothing like them.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Recounts 'R Us

After an extended holiday hiatus The WitList returns, still snarky and pissed off but somewhat chubbier, with an update on how recounts in places other than the Ukraine are progressing.

The Other Washington: Democratic gubernatorial candidate Christine Gregoire is pleading for a recount after the finally tally in the Starbucks State had her losing by 42 votes out of nearly 3 million cast. But she needs moola, and fast – at least $750K by 5 pm on Friday. If you’re not all tapped out, you can contribute here (me, I’m planning to list as a dependent on my 2004 taxes). Gregoire has a solid history of backing pro-consumer issues as state attorney general, and Lord knows we need fewer Republicrats in state houses. Note: The Kerry campaign has just kicked in $250K to the recount effort in WA. Only a half mill more to go.

New Hampshire Redux: It took weeks to recount votes in 11 New Hampshire precincts (apparently they had only one abacus and were forced to share) but final results show little change from the original vote totals. Thus vindicating the manufacturer of the ancient voting machines used in that state (which has since been acquired by Diebold). Nader campaign officials were quick to note this tally should have no bearing on recounts in Ohio or Florida, which used machines of a more recent vintage. I guess we’ll have to keep that state in Kerry’s column after all.

Recount Southwestern Style: Green and Liberal Party candidates (aka the “Glibs” – a truly wonderful moniker) have been granted a manual recount in New Mexico. But a voter-driven suit demanding a recount in Nevada was turned down by a county judge who declared the plaintiffs couldn’t prove that a recount would change the outcome of the election. In other words, if you don’t already know the answer, you can’t ask the question. Sounds like the kind of logic you’d expect from a judge in Vegas.

More Dread in Ohio: The San Jose Mercury reports that Ohio counties have certified their results and sent them to the Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell’s office. His office is expected to certify statewide results on Monday, December 6, but a recount still wouldn’t begin until Dec 11 – leaving less than two days before the Electoral College meets to officially anoint Herr Bush as Fearless Leader.

As Keith Olbermann reports, once Jesse Jackson attached himself to the Ohio Vote Fraud issue, media-shy Mr. Blackwell has started popping up on TV. This once again illustrates the Republican’s “Alan Keyes Gambit”: If criticized by person with black skin, find black person to counterattack, even if he is a buffoon. Given that there are only about six black people in the Republican Party (seven if you count Colin Powell), this tactic should be easy to defeat. Eventually they have to run out of buffoons.

Meanwhile, even more statistical irregularities in Ohio voting are popping up, courtesy of Buzzflash. It appears the increase in turnout for heavily Democratic counties is strangely low, compared to other counties in the state. Maybe they were all just out visiting with their yokel cousins in Florida.

But Flo, She Don’t Know: The Miami Herald has done a manual recount in three Dixiecrat counties in Northern Florida and declared that all is well in the world of electoral politics. They confirm that Bush did indeed kick Kerry’s windsurfing, flip-flopping ass in counties where people would sooner shoot a liberal than spay their dogs. The three rural counties accounted for only 15,000 votes in total; Kathy Dopp, the statistician who originally raised questions about op-scan voting in Florida, automatically excluded small rural counties such as these in her analysis. Shockingly, such subtleties eluded media coverage of this ‘finding’.

Meanwhile, Battlin’ Bev Harris continues to barnstorm through Florida, serving subpoenas on election officials who fail to comply with her Freedom of Information Act requests. It’s still extremely unclear to me what Harris is doing or what she might ultimately accomplish. (I wrote and volunteered to help her clarify the posts on her Black Box Voting site, but never got an answer.) All I can tell is that she’s kicking ass and taking names, which puts her two steps ahead of the Demos. She’s also involved in some kind of spat with Olbermann. Now children, please, let’s stay focused on the real enemy: Those shameless hussies on Desperate Housewives.

Why Kerry Lost (#243 in a Series)

It’s been a month since Black Tuesday, aka the Dawn of the Fourth Reich, and my brain keeps TiVoing back to Kerry in the debates. It occurs to me the real reason Kerry lost is because “I have a plan” isn’t anywhere near as compelling as “I have a dream.” Worse, the statement reminds you of Dr. King, and the yawning chasm between a true man of the people and a manufactured one.

Yep, it’s the vision thing. Kerry didn’t have it. Gore didn’t have it. I’m not sure if Clinton had it, but he looked and acted like he had it, and that was good enough.

JFK had vision. When you think about it, that’s practically all he had. He thought big and talked big. (And he had fabulous hair—that always helps.) FDR had it. LBJ had something like it, though it sank in a rice paddie outside Da Nang. Maybe that’s what we need: candidates whose names can be easily reduced to three-letter-acronyms.

Vision is something the Republicans have in spades. The GOP displayed theirs with chilling clarity at their convention in New York. It was like something out of Star Trek: They beamed down onto a hostile alien landscape and erected a force field, where they could take in shows without fear of infection from liberal microbes. There was the President at the pulpit, preaching in code to a his disciples (“I am part of a larger world… I believe in a culture of life”), a sea of white heterosexuals writhing like geriatric bobby-soxers at a Pat Boone concert. Dissenters who braved the edges of the force field were tossed into Little Gitmo and left to rot. And there was the media, literally above it all, upstairs in the press room swilling margaritas and getting shoulder massages, wearing signs around their necks that say “I will shill for food.”

Get used to it. We’ve got at least four more years of this, and possibly a lot longer. And if that doesn’t scare you, how about this: Ralph Reed for President. It could happen.

Even with a lame and inarticulate candidate, the GOP got people to climb out of their pews and their trailers and haul their economy-sized asses down to the polling station. We could do the same. But not by relying on the Democratic Party, who believe the solution is to make Pepsi taste even more like Coke, or candidates who can’t see further than the next focus group.

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