The Gadfly Bytes --
January 3, 2006
In 2006, Election Fraud is the Keystone Issue
The Crisis Papers
The significance of the election fraud issue can not be overstated. The fate
of our republic turns on how this issue is dealt with and resolved in the
On the one hand, the Bush Administration, the Republican party and the
Republican Congress, with the continuing connivance of the corporate media
and the persistent indifference of the Democratic party, may successfully resist
public demands for electoral reform, and consequently the existing system of
unverifiable voting and secret software will remain in place. If so, then
the Republicans will surely retain control of the Congress, regardless of
the will of the American people.
On the other hand, if, at last, it becomes irrefutably clear to a large
portion of the general public that the 2000 and 2004 presidential elections
were stolen, along with key congressional races in 2002, and if indictments
follow and a fair election ensues, then public outrage will result in the
Democratic control of at least one, and more likely, both houses of
Congress. Still worse will then be in store for those who stole our
elections and our democracy, as the congressional Democrats gain the power
of subpoena and the threats of perjury and contempt of Congress. The likely
outcome will be the disintegration of the Republican conspiracy, and the
relegation of that party to minority status for the next generation.
The ballot is the heart of democracy. If one party “owns” the ballot box, it
owns the government, for that party is no longer answerable to the will of
the people; it rules without the “consent of the governed.” Thus it is no
wonder that the Bush regime and the GOP want to keep this issue off the
public agenda. We can’t allow them to succeed. It’s as simple as that.
The Busheviks, their Congressional toadies, and their fat-cat sponsors are
fully aware of the stakes. Not only do they want to remain in power and keep
their ill-gotten booty, many of them want desperately to stay out of the
federal slammer. Accordingly, there may virtually nothing that they might
not resort to in order to avoid this outcome. Things could get very nasty.
So it all comes down to this: election fraud is the keystone issue for this
year. If the keystone remains intact and in place, the structure will
endure, and the United States will continue along the road toward oligarchy
and despotism. Remove the keystone, and the structure will collapse, opening
the possibility for a restoration of the rule of law and of a government of,
by, and for the people.
At this moment the outcome of the struggle for ballot integrity is uncertain
and is, in no small part, in the hands of ordinary American citizens, for
our political establishment and our corporate media have forsaken us and our
republic, while the ostensible “opposition party” is AWOL. It is up to us in
our everyday, face-to-face-dealings with our fellow citizens, and through
our remaining mode of public communication, the internet, to force the issue
into the mainstream media, on to the agenda of a reluctant Democratic Party,
and into the criminal courts.
Despite the coordinated and so-far successful effort by the media and the
GOP to keep the election fraud issue contained, the pressure under the lid
of media and establishment silence is rising, as more and more evidence of
stolen elections and of the vulnerability of computerized voting seeps into
public awareness. This evidence includes: the report of the Congressional
General Accountability Office, the spectacular “hacking” demonstrations in
Florida, statistically impossible polling vs. voting discrepancies in the
2005 Ohio election, leaks from whistle blowers within the e-voting industry,
and the actual and pending decertification of paperless touch-screen
machines in a growing list of counties and states. Add to all this the
continuing output of articles and now books by
Mark Crispin Miller, by
Bob Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman, by
John Conyers and his congressional colleagues, and soon still another
book by the statistician, Steven Freeman.
As a consequence of growing public concern, stocks in the e-voting companies
have sharply declined and stockholder suits and criminal charges
against company officials. Diebold CEO, Walden O’Dell, who foolishly
released a letter in which he vowed to deliver Ohio to George Bush, has
resigned. All this upheaval suggests that the criminal and civil courts may
at last expose the racketeering in the private election industry, succeeding
where Congress and the media have failed.
Clearly, this is an issue that refuses to be starved from lack of feeding by
the mainstream media. The “keystone” is loose and it is disintegrating.
There is an overwhelming accumulation of statistical, anecdotal and
circumstantial evidence that paperless, secretly coded voting machines are
facilitators of massive fraud that have succeeded in stealing numerous
elections, most significantly the presidential elections of 2000 and 2004.
have discussed this evidence in several essays, and because The
Crisis Papers has collected links to hundreds of articles about
electoral integrity, I will not repeat that evidence here.
There is, however, little direct evidence of fraud, that is to say, evidence
obtained through examination of the machines and their software or of
controlled experiments with these machines. There is little direct evidence
simply because the manufacturers will not allow it, and no courts or
government agencies have successfully demanded such scrutiny. This refusal
by the e-voting companies brings to mind numerous troubling “how-come”
questions which, as long as they remain unanswered, must be added to the
weight of evidence of electoral fraud.. Among these questions:
1. Why must the software (“source codes”) in the machines be kept secret?
Diebold is so insistent that its codes be kept secret that, rather than
disclose them to North Carolina election officials as required by state law,
they withdrew their machines from that state. Why is this? The companies
reply that they keep these codes secret to prevent copyright infringement.
That defense is absurd on its face. Musical and written works are, by their
nature, intrinsically “open” – fully available to potential plagiarists. Yet
music and text are effectively protected by copyright. Likewise, publicly
sold and distributed software. Furthermore, the source codes could be
examined by independent software experts on condition that they remain
secret. No dice, say the companies. Because there is no conceivably benign
reason why e-voting software should be kept secret, even from the restricted
scrutiny of public officials, one is compelled to conclude that expert
examination of the software would give the game away.
2. Diebold and several other e-voting companies complain that paper records
of e-votes would be prohibitively expensive and impractical. Yet these same
companies manufacture the receipt-yielding ATM and fuel-pump machines with
which we are all familiar. Last year I happened to watch a CSPAN broadcast
of a congressional hearing on e-voting. In it a representative of one of the
e-voting companies produced a broadsheet approximately a foot wide and a
yard long, and told the committee that such a sheet would be required for
each vote. It was, of course, a damnable and desperate lie. In last year’s
local elections, I voted (most reluctantly) on a touch-screen machine, which
printed out for my inspection a record of my vote on a slip of paper about
two by six inches in size. A big improvement over a paperless machine, if
less than completely reassuring. The state of Nevada along with many local
jurisdictions around the country, requires paper printouts of e-votes. Yet
the companies continue to oppose legislation requiring paper validation.
What possible reason, both plausible and innocent, can explain this
resistance by the e-voting companies? If none, then a suspicious explanation
is readily at hand.
3. BlackBoxVoting.com, among other citizen groups,
has repeatedly requested access
to a randomly selected
touch-screen machine so that their experts might examine the reliability and
the security of the machines. They have routinely been refused. Diebold is
willing to supply a machine that it has pre-selected (and thus possibly
“fixed”). However a random selection of a machine actually in use is
prohibited and Diebold has even sent out letters to its customers demanding
that they not allow independent examination of their systems.
4. Finally, and perhaps most significantly, we ask: What possible advantage
to the Republicans and the e-voting companies is gained by their refusal to
publish their source codes and to allow independent expert examination of
the systems and effective validation of vote totals? What advantage, that is
to say, other than the ability to alter vote totals and steal elections at
will? This persisting issue of ballot integrity is causing the companies and
the GOP enormous problems. As noted above, bad publicity attending this
controversy is having a serious impact upon the value of Diebold stock,
prompting stockholder lawsuits. The same publicity is causing widespread and
growing public doubt about the legitimacy of the Bush Administration and the
Republican control of Congress. What is more important to a private company
than “the bottom line”? What is more important to a political party than the
public perception of its legitimacy? If, as the companies and the GOP
insist, e-voting is completely honest and reliable, why not allow definitive
proof thereof? If such exculpatory proof is forthcoming and widely
publicized (as it most assuredly would be), company profits and stock prices
would immediately soar, Republican political control would be solidified,
and its critics permanently discredited and silenced.
Come on, Diebold, ES&S, Sequoia and the Republican National Committee. Why
won’t you allow, indeed insist upon and promote, definitive validation of
the accuracy and security of e-voting? What conceivable advantage is gained
by this continuing resistance and secrecy? What advantage, other than the
continuing control of the ballot and thus of the government? Tell us – if
Faced with such challenges, the GOP and e-voting companies have offered no
cogent replies. Instead, they have attacked their critics: “Get over it!,”
“Sore losers,” “Paranoid fantasies.” Faced with the hundreds of
authenticated cases of vote anomalies, “lost” registrations, mis-allocation
of voting machines, etc., assembled by
the Conyers group and
and Wasserman, we hear refutations of a few particular anecdotes which,
even if valid, reduce the accumulated tons of evidence by ounces. Then there
is the pathetic hypothesis of “the reluctant GOP voter” to explain away the
exit poll/official tally discrepancy in the 2004 election – a phenomenon
which, as it turns out, was somehow confined to e-voting states and absent
in paper-ballot districts. The “reluctant voter” hypothesis is offered with
no independent evidence; it is ad hoc, like the creationist's
"explanation" that “Satan put dinosaur bones in the ground to lead us
Amazingly, the official Democratic Party, along with some prominent
progressive publications, websites and personalities have bought the GOP
line, refusing to face the evidence of vote fraud, much less deal with it.
Salon.com, TomPaine.com, Mother Jones, John Kerry, Bernie Sanders, Al
Franken, Paul Begala, Arianna Huffington, fearful of appearing as “sore
losers” and “paranoid nuts,” are all serving as “useful idiots” to the Great
GOP Fraud Machine. But why? Perhaps they simply can not bring themselves to
believe that a crime of such magnitude has been committed against our
republic and its citizens. Another intriguing explanation that I heard
somewhere from the Democratic establishment, is that if the party talks up
the election fraud issue, “the base” will not show up at the polls on election
day. Well, so what?! If the election is rigged so that the GOP can’t
lose, what does it matter whether or not the base shows up?
And so, ignoring the 800 pound gorilla in the room, the Democrats and
progressives prattle on about “taking back the Congress in November.” As
if...! Pathetic! Meanwhile, hearing all this, those of us who are
convinced that the fix is in, are consumed with silent, unavailing fury.
“Wait ‘till next time!” Well, 2000, 2002, and 2004 were “next time.” The
voters gave us those elections, and the damnable machines and conniving GOP
Secretaries of State took them away! And unless we clean up the election
process, and pronto!, they will surely do it again next November.
And as we strive to take back our elections, and thence our country, we must
not forget that problem is not confined to paperless touch-screen voting
machines and secret software. For as the 2004 Ohio fiasco vividly
demonstrated, even if touch-screen machines were made totally reliable, that
would not assure valid elections. Let us not forget Kathryn Harris’ infamous
purge list, Ken Blackwell’s myriad attempts to suppress Democratic
registration, and the misallocation of voting machines. There is evidence
that much of the switching and alteration of vote totals was accomplished,
not only by individual touch-screen machines, but also at regional
compilation centers. The theft of the 2004 election was a many-faceted
When Nixon resigned the Presidency in August, 1974, the would-be oligarchs
in the GOP had two options: henceforth play by the rules, or take control of
the three institutions that brought down Nixon – the media, the appellate
courts, and the threat of electoral defeat. Clearly, they chose to take
control of these institutions. So now they have the media and the courts on
their side, and they have neutralized the threat of the ballot.
It still might not suffice to give them permanent control of our government.
Many criminal and civil courts are still independent, as Tom DeLay, Jack
Abramoff, Randall “Duke” Cunningham and others are discovering to their
regret. In addition, elections are still administered on the state and
municipal level; thus prosecutorial investigation and indictments of
fraud are still feasible. It may be an uneven struggle, but the facts and
evidence are on the side of reform, and reality can be a formidable ally.
Aid in the coming struggle may come from unlikely sources. At last, a few
voices in the mainstream media are speaking out against the Bush regime with
a candor not heard in the past four years. The Republican monolith is
fracturing. Libertarians and authentic conservatives are finally coming to
realize that George Bush is not one of them. A few conspicuous Republican
Senators and Members of Congress are coming to the belated recognition that
when they took office, they swore allegiance not to Bush but to the
Constitution of the United States – a document that Bush is reported to have
dismissed as “just a goddam piece of paper.”
And finally, as
a recent Editorial in Barron's Magazine suggests, at long last
some important corporate and financial “movers and shakers” are waking up to
a grim realization that where the Busheviks are leading, they should not
wish to follow: that Bushenomics is leading to an economic tsunami that will
sink all boats, yachts included.
Following the publication of such jeremiads as this, I have often received
numerous letters telling me: “OK you’ve convinced me, we’re in a helluva
hole. Now what do you propose that we do about it?”
Here are some suggestions.
1. Light a fire under the Democrats. If you get a solicitation for donations
from the Democratic National Committee or the Senate and House Campaign
Committees, send them back with the message: tell them “no dice” unless they
address the voting issue. Instead, send your donations to the election
2. If your Senator or Congressperson is a republican-lite DINO (Democrat in
name only), urge someone to oppose the DINO in the primary and give that
alternative candidate your support. The challenger may lose, but even so the
“republicrat” on the Democratic ticket will still get the message.
3. Boycott the mainstream media and their sponsors – and let them know that
you are doing so, and why. Conversely, reward those rare journalists such as
Keith Olbermann who dare to report crucial issues, such as electoral
4. Demand that your state Attorney General or Secretary of State, and your
local district attorneys, investigate and prosecute election fraud.
5. Demonstrate, send letters to the state capitals and to Washington,
support election reform organizations, and talk-up the issue among friends
and associates whenever possible. Shout bloody murder, and raise Hell.
No doubt, many of you have more, perhaps better, ideas. By all means, send
them to me here and I will
share them with the readers of The Crisis Papers.
Tell the world that
“you're mad as Hell and you aren’t going to take it
Copyright 2006, by Ernest Partridge
Ernest Partridge's Internet Publications
Conscience of a Progressive:
Partridge's Scholarly Publications. (The Online Gadfly)
Dr. Ernest Partridge is a consultant, writer and lecturer in the field
of Environmental Ethics and Public Policy. He has taught Philosophy at
the University of California, and in Utah, Colorado and Wisconsin. He
publishes the website, "The Online
Gadfly" and co-edits the progressive website,
"The Crisis Papers".
His e-mail is: firstname.lastname@example.org .