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How the 2004 Presidential ‘Election’ Was Stolen by George W. Bush

Tuesday, October 25, 2016 9:55
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(Before It's News)

Eric Zuesse

In 2006, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. headlined at Rolling Stone “Was the 2004 Election Stolen?” and he presented an argument that it had been — by George W. Bush. Below is the argument that I had already prepared to the same effect but never (until now) sought to publish:

Of course, Ohio was the critical state in the 2004 U.S. Presidential election. Concerning specifically the theft of the Ohio election, such articles as www.freepress.org/departments/display/19/2004/914 “Stealing Votes in Columbus,” by Richard Hayes Phillips, Ph.D., on November 23rd, made manifestly clear just how much the U.S. major media were lying to say that the 2004 U.S. Presidential election was honest and fair. A detailed analysis was presented there of the politicized allocation by Republicans of voting machines in one Ohio city. Phillips found such things as: “Of the 60 precincts with the fewest voting machines per registered voter, only 5 were won by Bush, and 55 were won by Kerry.” In other words, people in Kerry precincts were shortchanged on voting machines; the votes were suppressed there, but not in Bush precincts. Was this supposed to be coincidence? Statistical studies had already been performed of some of 2004’s electoral anomalies and found that they almost certainly weren’t coincidence. The U.S. major media simply ignored them anyway. In his summation at the end, Phillips said: “Thus I conclude that the withholding of voting machines from predominantly Democratic wards in the City of Columbus cost John Kerry upwards of 17,000 votes.” Other articles at the same freepress.org website provided first-person testimony as to how this politicized allocation of voting machines might very well have thrown the “election” to Bush. For example, www.freepress.org/departments/display/19/2004/886 “Hearings on Ohio Voting Put 2004 Election in Doubt,” by Bob Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman, includes such testimony as this from a voter in Columbus:

“What I saw was voter intimidation in the form of city employees that were sent in to stop illegal parking. Now, in Driving Park Rec Center there are less than 50 legal parking spots, and there were literally hundreds and hundreds of voters there, and I estimated at least 70 percent of the people were illegally parked in the grass around the perimeter, … and two city employees drove up in a city truck and said that they had been sent there to stop illegal parking, and they went so far as to harass at least a couple of voters that I saw. … I saw 15 people who left because the line was too long. The lines inside were anywhere from 2½ to 5 hours.” Frustrated Democratic election officials presented testimony at http://freepress.org/images/departments/4254PublicHearing “Public Hearing, New Faith Baptist Church … November 13, 2004.” One speaker was Joe Popich, Kerry/Edwards field organizer in Fairfield and Perry Counties. On November 4th, he had visited the Perry County Board of Elections to audit the count, and found “a total of 393 votes that should be attributed to that precinct. However, the Board of Elections is attributing 96 more votes to that precinct than what this log book reflects.”

Richard Hayes Phillips posted to the internet an “AFFIDAVIT December 10, 2004,” summarizing the evidence which his statistical analyses, thus far, of the vote-counts in Ohio, had provided indicating systematic fraud. The eighth item listed was as follows:

“8. There are still 92,672 uncounted votes in Ohio, exclusive of any uncounted provisional ballots. According to unofficial results provided by the Ohio Secretary of State, there were 5,574,476 ballots cast, and 5,481,804 votes counted, which leaves 92,672 regular ballots (1.66%) still uncounted. The official results, now certified, do not include these ballots, but differ from the unofficial results only in the addition of provisional ballots and some absentee ballots to the tally. In Montgomery and Hamilton counties, these uncounted votes come disproportionately from precincts that voted overwhelmingly for John Kerry. In Montgomery County there are 47 precincts, all of them in Dayton, where the percentage of uncounted ballots is 4% or more. Kerry won all 47 of these precincts, by a margin of 7 to 1 in the aggregate. County wide in Montgomery County, the percentage of uncounted ballots was 1.70%. In Hamilton County there are 26 precincts, 22 of them in Cincinnati, where the percentage of uncounted ballots is 8% or more. Kerry won all 26 of these precincts, by a margin of 10 to 1 in the aggregate. Altogether there are 86 precincts in Cincinnati where the percentage of uncounted ballots is 4% or more. Kerry won 85 of these precincts, by a margin of 5 to 1 in the aggregate. County wide in Hamilton County, the percentage of uncounted ballots was 2.34%. Although I have not yet had time to examine similar data for Cleveland, Columbus, Toledo, Akron, Youngstown, Canton, or elsewhere, it is possible that the same pattern will emerge in these cities as well. If these 92,672 uncounted votes were cast for Kerry by a 5 to 1 margin, this would reduce the statewide margin between the candidates by another 61,781 votes.”

The national news media ignored all of Dr. Phillips’s analyses and findings.

Ohio’s electors in the electoral college met on December 13th to vote George W. Bush into a second term.

A story that finally did receive some slight national coverage in the major media appeared just two days later, on December 15th, in The New York Times, where Tom Zeller Jr., headlined “Lawmaker Seeks Inquiry into Ohio Vote.” He reported that, “The ranking Democratic member of the House Judiciary Committee, Representative John Conyers Jr. of Michigan, plans to ask the Federal Bureau of Investigation and a county prosecutor in Ohio today to explore ‘inappropriate and likely illegal election tampering’ in at least one and perhaps several Ohio counties.” The key documents and more details of the story were simultaneously posted on the internet at www.truthout.org/docs_04/121604Z.shtml#1, http://rawstory.com/exclusives/kerry_ohio_suit_1215.php, http://web.archive.org/web/20080725103331/http://rawstory.com/exclusives/programmer_1215.php, http://moritzlaw.osu/electionlaw/key-recounts.html, and a few other places. Most important was a sworn affidavit from Sherole Eaton, a Deputy Director of the Hocking County, Ohio, Board of Elections. She had filed it on December 13th in support of an ongoing lawsuit for an Ohio vote recount. Her affidavit is part of http://moritzlaw.osu.edu/electionlaw/docs/Yost/notice2.pdf. She described there how a technician from Triad Election Systems, which had written the software and manufactured the computers that counted the votes — they made the “tabulators” — for 41 of the state’s 88 counties, entered her office on December 10th, “to check out your tabulator.” She followed him to the tabulator, and, “He said that the battery in the computer was dead and that the stored information was gone. He said that he could put a patch on it and fix it.” She saw him disassemble the computer. He then advised her “how to post a ‘cheat sheet’ on the wall so that only the board members and staff would know about it and what the codes meant so the count would come out perfect and we wouldn’t have to do a full hand recount of the county.”

Rep. Conyers on the 15th delivered to both the FBI special agent in charge in Ohio, and the Hocking County Prosecutor, a letter requesting an investigation into Eaton’s allegations. In this letter, posted at http://moritzlaw.osu.edu/electionlaw/docs/Yost/notice2.pdf, he noted that, “Triad is controlled by the Rapp family, and its founder Tod A. Rapp has been a constant contributor to Republican causes.” Congressman Conyers also alleged that, “Triad officials have been, or are in the process of” manipulating tabulators “in several other counties in Ohio.” This letter, furthermore, listed numerous Ohio and federal laws prohibiting what the Triad technician was alleged by Ms. Eaton to have done.

The same day, December 15th, the Washington Post headlined “Several Factors Contributed to ‘Lost’ Voters in Ohio,” and offered the first-ever American major-media coverage of the rigging of the election in Ohio, including: “After the election, local political activists seeking a recount analyzed how Franklin County officials distributed voting machines. They found that 27 of the 30 wards with the most machines per registered voter showed majorities for Bush. At the other end of the spectrum, six of the seven wards with the fewest machines delivered large margins for Kerry.” The Republican Secretary of State, Ken Blackwell (who was also the co-chairman of the Bush/Cheney campaign in Ohio) had arranged for voting machines to be allocated throughout the state so as to produce short lines in Republican precincts and long lines in Democratic ones; and he introduced, in addition, other rules that similarly discouraged or disallowed far more votes in Democratic than in Republican districts. One Democrat on voting-day who had waited out her line for long enough a time to vote was here quoted as saying, “A lot of people left in the four hours I waited. … A lot of them were young black men who were saying over and over: ‘We knew this would happen.’”

The best summary of the electoral irregularities in Ohio was provided on December 17th by Marshall Helmenberger of the Timberjay News, a weekly newspaper serving northern Minnesota. At www.timberjay.com/current.php?article=1365, he headlined “Election Lawsuit Gathering Steam in Mainstream Media,” and reported that until Congressman Conyers’s hearings on the electoral irregularities in Ohio, “Questions about the vote in Ohio and elsewhere have been rampant on the Internet ever since Nov. 2, but the mainstream media has been slow to pick up on this story — until this week.” He went on to note:

“The questions about Ohio have only been exacerbated by the reaction of that state’s Secretary of State Ken Blackwell, who, like Katherine Harris in Florida four years ago, headed Bush’s re-election effort in Ohio. Blackwell has stonewalled Conyers’ investigation and has failed to respond to inquiries from Kerry campaign lawyers. Blackwell may have also violated Ohio law last week when he ordered that voting records in one Ohio county be locked down, preventing citizen investigators from examining them. Ohio law is explicit that such records are open to public inspection.”

The same day as that summary, December 17th, the Green Party, which had initiated and paid for the recount of votes in Ohio, issued a press release headlined “Ohio Election Officials Obstruct Recount,” and listed several ways in which, as they alleged, “Ohio election officials are violating both the spirit and the letter of the law governing the recount.” For example, “In the vast majority of counties, election officials have pre-selected precincts to be sampled, rather than choose them randomly as required by law.”

Two days later, www.freepress.org/departments/display/19/2004/997 posted “The United States of Ukraine? Exit Polls Leave Little Doubt that in a Free and Fair Election John Kerry Would Have Won both the Electoral College and the Popular Vote.” This detailed statistical analysis, by Ron Baiman, from the University of Illinois, concluded, as did the November 11th study by Steven F. Freeman, that the vote-count variances from the exit polls were astronomically unlikely in any other scenario  than “election fraud and/or discriminatory voter suppression … that is contrary to what would have occurred in a free and fair election.”

Three days after this, on December 22nd, www.freepress.org/departments/display/19/2004/1015 reported that Ohio Secretary of State Blackwell’s “office told the attorneys issuing the notice of deposition and subpoena that Blackwell will not testify under oath” about his actions.

On Christmas Eve, Werner Lange at www.freepress.org/departments/display/19/2004/1032 headlined about “Kerry Votes Switched to Bush and Ballots pre-Punched for Bush,” and also quoted testimony from a public hearing held on December 21st at the Warren-Trumbull Public Library in the Mahoning Valley. Among the irregularities noted were these:

“The unusually high number of Ohio votes discarded for double-punching remains unexplained. A possible reason was shared at this hearing by a voter from Cuyahoga County who stated that she inspected her paper ballot prior to voting and was shocked to notice that it was pre-punched for Bush.  She also noticed another ballot had the same tampering problem. A voter from Niles came to the polls and noticed someone else had signed their name into her signature box. A voter in Precinct D of Warren Township came to the polls and discovered that someone else had already voted in her name. John Williams of Niles stated that after the election officials in Mahoning County refused to give him a precinct breakdown of the vote. Russ Buckbee noted that there seems to have been a pattern of expunging inactive registered voters from inner-city precincts but not the suburbs. Several testifiers complained about long lines at the polls causing many voters to leave in frustration. Maureen Lauer-Gatta, who observed the vote recount in Trumbull County, wondered how many votes where lost due to a last-minute change of voting sites on Election Day itself. She said there were ‘several’ such voting site changes on November 2. Ariel Vegosan, who observed the vote recount in Mahoning County, noticed baskets full of votes not counted and wondered if there were ‘missing baskets of votes’ in Mahoning County. She called this to the attention of election officials who seemed unconcerned about this irregularity. … 

“In Westlake the general climate of the roving bands of partisan police officers backed by Republican public officials who were threatening Democratic supporters and poll workers, removing legally posted Democratic messages, and chasing Democratic supporters from the polling places with the threat of arrest, all of this amounted to a fraud. The process was also tainted at the poll with militant Bush supporters serving as the Board of Election Poll Judges.

“Finally, note was taken at the hearing of the curious fact that exit polls showed Kerry with a 4.2% lead over Bush in Ohio, but the vote results gave Bush an alleged 2.5% victory over Kerry, a 6.7% final vote tally percentage shift toward Bush. The chances of this enormous shift being legitimate and the exit polls so wrong are infinitesimal. Another explanation is much more likely, plausible and real. It was clearly expressed well before this rigged election by the CEO of Diebold, Walden O’Dell, brother of the top executive at ES&S [another electronic voting-machine manufacturer]: ‘I am committed to helping Ohio deliver its electoral vote to the President next year.’”

The same day, December 24th, The New York Times bannered on its front page “Voting Problems in Ohio Call for Overhaul.” This story described “problems,” definitely excluding anything that might indicate fraud. It closed by quoting a “spokesman for the Ohio Democratic Party” as saying, “Irregularities that are normally overlooked have become the focal point of attention this year. I just can’t see those people walking away satisfied.” These non-Republicans who were complaining of the need for investigations of the election’s irregularities were being blamed by this Democrat, as if they were cranks, and as if the irregularities they reported were necessarily inconsequential or non-existent. The impression the mainstream U.S. press communicated was that this election had been a democratic, thoroughly honest, but somewhat chaotic, electoral process, which was simply overwhelmed by too many voters coming to the polls.

On Christmas day, Richard Hayes Phillips, at http://www.freepress.org/departments/display/19/2004/1037, headlined about “Another Third Rate Burglary,” hearkening back to Watergate. He had now noticed for the first time that a story that was reported in the Toledo Blade months earlier, on October 13th, might help explain the stunningly low Democratic turnout that Phillips previously noted to have occurred in Lucas County. This Blade story was headlined “Thieves Hit Democratic Party Offices; Computers Containing Sensitive Data Removed.” These thieves had shattered a window during the night, and they stole a computer that contained all the information for the county’s crucial Democratic get-out-the-vote operation. Registered Democrats had to be informed, for example, of such things as the location of their polling places, because the Republican officials were changing the locations of polling places in predominantly Democratic precincts. The lists and phone numbers of these voters were now gone. The thieves left untouched other computers, the petty cash box, and other valuables. The only discernable motive was to suppress this county’s Democratic vote, which they succeeded at doing, stunningly well, to judge by the extraordinarily low Democratic turnouts in these precincts.

Probably those thieves were paid by the Republican Party and therefore had no particular interest in stealing anything else. Their work was part of a nationwide operation. For example, on 1 July 2004, the AP headlined “Former GOP Consultant Pleads Guilty to Jamming Democratic Phones on Election Day,” and reported, “The former head of a Republican consulting group has pleaded guilty to jamming Democratic telephone lines in several New Hampshire cities on Election Day two years ago.” This man’s operatives had flooded Democratic Party phone lines. “The lines that were jammed were set up so voters could call for rides to the polls. Democrats say the jamming was an organized statewide effort that may even have affected the outcome of some local races.” In fact, it might have tipped the tight important race between Democratic “Gov. Jeanne Shaheen and GOP Rep. John E. Sununu, who won by fewer than 20,000 votes,” so that Sununu was now New Hampshire’s new Senator (just as his father — CNP’er John H. Sununu — had previously been the state’s Governor, prior to his becoming George H.W. Bush’s Chief of Staff in the White House). Furthermore, “Republicans acknowledged last year that they hired” this consultant “for telemarketing services in 2002.” Then, on 9 February 2005, the Washington Post headlined “Former GOP Consultant Sentenced to Prison,” and reported that this consultant “was the first to be sentenced of three men charged after the revelation that Democratic get-out-the-vote efforts in Manchester, Nashua, Rochester and Claremont were peppered with more than 800 computer-generated calls over a period of 90 minutes on the morning of Nov. 5, 2002. Firefighters in Manchester, who were offering rides to the polls independently of the two parties, were also targeted, prosecutors said.” The state Democratic chairman explained, “They were trying to make it difficult for seniors and people who were economically depressed to get to vote.” This operation had itself been organized on a national level, and involved people in Virginia, Idaho, and other states. “Jim Tobin of Bangor, Maine, who resigned in October as New England regional chairman of President Bush’s 2004 reelection campaign, has been charged.” The man convicted on that particular day was Allen Raymond, and his lawyer was quoted: “‘This was not Allen Raymond’s idea,’ he said, according to AP. ‘Tobin called on Raymond to do this.’” Although the specific tactic used in this “dirty trick” was different than was employed in Lucas County Ohio, the objective was the same, and in both instances paid thugs were hired by the Republican Party, so as to prevent enough Democrats from voting, to throw the political race to the Republican candidate. In fact, on 16 December 2005, the AP reported that, “A jury yesterday convicted a former national Republican official … for his role in a phone-jamming plot against New Hampshire Democrats on Election Day 2002.” This official was Tobin. On 6 February 2006, John DiStaso of the Manchester Union-Leader headlined “Tobin Legal Defense May Total $2.5 million” and DiStasio reported that apparently this entire huge legal bill was being paid by the Republican National Committee in Washington DC. The following month, on March 23rd, DiStaso reported that, “In the days before and after the state Republican Party’s 2002 Election Day phone-jamming scheme, the man who now chairs the Republican National Committee was the White House director of political affairs. … Court records show Ken Mehlman’s office [that very office in the White House] received more than 75 telephone calls from now-convicted phone-jam conspirator James Tobin from Sept. 30 to Nov. 22 of that year.” Then, on April 10th, the AP headlined “Phone-Jamming Records Point to White House,” and reported that, “Key figures in a phone-jamming scheme to keep New Hampshire Democrats from voting in 2002 had regular contact with the White House.” A week later, on April 17th, Adam Cohen’s “Editorial Observer” column in The New York Times headlined “A Small-Time Crime With Hints of Big-Time Connections Lights Up the Net,” and summarized this case’s “eerie parallels” to the 1972 Watergate burglary case which brought down Richard Nixon. Among the factors Cohen discussed was “3. The Return of ‘follow the money.’ (As if it ever left.) New Hampshire Democrats pored over the filings of the New Hampshire Republican Party and found three contributions for $5,000 each, all shortly before the election. One was from Americans for a Republican Majority, Tom DeLay’s political action committee. The other two were from the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians and the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians, tribes that were clients of Jack Abramoff. Those checks add up almost exactly to the cost of the phone jamming.” On 17 May 2006, Tobin ended up being sentenced to prison for only 10 months, for “harassment by telephone.” But actually, he had stolen an election, for John E. Sununu, to the U.S. Senate. As the AP reported, on the day of Tobin’s sentencing, “Republican John Sununu defeated then-Gov. Jeanne Shaheen for the Senate that day in what had been considered a cliffhanger.” One of the reasons George W. Bush had cared so much about pulling off a victory for the young Sununu was that George H.W. Bush’s Chief of Staff had been “E.’s” father, John H. Sununu. It’s an aristocratic club up there, and it hits hard.

On 7 July 2006, rawstory.com headlined “Man Indicted in Phone Jamming Case Will Argue Administration Approved Election Scheme,” and John Byrne reported that, “The fourth man indicted in a New Hampshire phone-jamming scheme … will argue at trial that the Bush Administration and the national Republican Party gave their approval to the plan, according to a motion filed by his attorney.” This defendant, Shaun Hansen, had been the owner of the company which placed the hang-up calls. His “Notice of Affirmative Defenses” stated “that the government, or an agent thereof, actually induced the offenses with which Mr. Hansen is charged, and which Mr. Hansen was not otherwise predisposed to commit.” Hansen alleged “‘derivative entrapment’ in which the government uses a private party as its agent.” He alleged that “he relied in good faith upon the advice of counsel” that these acts were legal, and he said “that he had been assured by Messrs. Allen Raymond [the President of GOP Marketplace] and Chris Cupit [the VP of GOP Marketplace] that these acts had been vetted by an attorney and were completely legal.” He referred to “a conference call in which Messrs. Raymond and Cupit and an unknown ‘attorney’ provided further assurances that the acts which they and their business were contracted to perform in November 2002 were completely legal.” So, allegedly, Tobin had used Raymond as a shield from legal liability, and Raymond had used Hansen as a shield. But both Tobin and Raymond received short prison sentences for their participation in a “conspiracy.” Hansen was now saying that he had been duped, and that he had not participated willingly in this conspiracy. www.talkingpointsmemo.com/phonejamming.php presents a “TPM NH Phone Jamming Timeline,” which details the evolution of this operation, starting with a request, in October 2002, by Charles McGee, the Executive Director of the New Hampshire Republican State Committee, to the Party’s New England Regional Director James Tobin, “to hire a phone services company to jam Democratic phone banks on Election Day.” Since Tobin was also the Bush-Cheney New England Chairman, and since John E. Sununu was a close friend of both Bush and Cheney, it’s highly likely that Tobin communicated this request to the White House before acting upon it. Furthermore, Tobin was a major fundraiser for George W. Bush — a Bush “Ranger.” Perhaps if Tobin had testified against the President — or even against the President’s aides — Tobin would have received a stiffer sentence than just the ten months in prison and $10,000 fine he got. Tobin had faced up to 7 years in prison and a $500,000 fine, and so he was treated very leniently for what he had done. The judge who gave out that light sentence was a Republican: Steven McAuliffe, of the U.S. District Court for the District of New Hampshire. He had been appointed to this court in 1992 by President George Herbert Walker Bush. The husband of Challenger-disaster astronaut Christa McAuliffe, he had earlier been appointed (in 1986) by John H. Sununu as a trustee of the University of New Hampshire. He owed his political career to the two families who benefited from Tobin’s crimes. In justifying the light sentence, this gangster judge said to Tobin, in court, “You’ve led an otherwise exemplary life” — as if that criminal sentence were for the man, and not for the crimes which had been committed. Furthermore, only friends, no enemies, of Tobin were brought into court to testify as to Tobin’s supposedly “exemplary character.” Of course, none of the Democratic voters whose participation in a supposed “democracy” was stolen from them by him, nor any of their Democratic candidates such as John E. Sununu’s opponent Jean Shaheen, testified about this tyrant-enabler’s “character.” (In fact, Tobin was actually on record as demanding that his victims must have no role in his trial. On 17 May 2005, the AP headlined, from Concord, “Former GOP Official Says Grand Jury Included Democrats,” and reported: “The grand jury ‘included purported victims of the alleged scheme — Democrats,’ said a motion filed by Tobin. … ‘The government must demonstrate that it properly screened the grand jury to prevent bias, and if it cannot or will not do so, the indictment must be dismissed,’ the motion said.” He demanded that only Republicans and independents be seated in judgment of his crimes. His “jury of peers” could include his fellow criminals, but none of his victims. This outrageous demand was dismissed. Such was this man the judge considered to be of “exemplary character.”) And Tobin’s supposed “prosecutor,” in Republican New Hampshire, requested only a one-year sentence for these crimes. The entire proceedings were rigged, and all that Tobin had to do in order to keep them rigged in his favor was to stay mum about the White House’s involvement. Shortly before Tobin’s brief sentence was set to begin, an all-Republican three-judge panel ordered the sentence suspended until Tobin’s appeals were completed; they ordered this, despite Judge McAuliffe’s having rejected those appeals as presenting no “substantial question of law or fact.” McAuliffe wasn’t enough of a gangster judge to suit this White House. Lower-class criminals, who commit crimes against only a single person instead of against millions and even against democracy, enjoy no such special favors, but Republicans grant such privileges to only their colleagues in crime.

George W. Bush’s aristocratic thugs long operated mostly out of the limelight of America’s major “news” media, which, in fact, right after the 2004 “election,” prominently parroted Bush’s “electoral mandate,” rather than reporting at all on how he had stolen the 2004 election. Americans were fooled into thinking that a stolen “election” can occur only in places such as Ukraine.

On 27 December 2004, as reported by Andrew Welsh-Huggins of the AP, “Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell has requested a protective order to prevent him from being interviewed as part of an unusual court challenge of the presidential vote.” This action by Blackwell followed up his promise on the 22nd to refuse testifying under oath about the election. Also on the 27th, William Rivers Pitt, at www.truthout.org/docs_04/printer_122804V.shtml, headlined “Kerry Files Motion to Protect Ohio Vote Evidence,” and reported that, “This afternoon, an attorney representing the Kerry/Edwards presidential campaign filed two important motions to preserve and augment evidence of alleged election fraud in the November election.” The purpose of these legal actions was to increase the likelihood of honesty in a total recount of Ohio’s votes, in the event that such a hand-recount were to be authorized by the Ohio Supreme Court.

The following day, the Ohio hand recount of the votes in just a few sample precincts (which were supposed to have been randomly selected for these hand recounts, but weren’t) confirmed Bush’s “electoral victory.” As Albert Salvato noted in The New York Times on the 29th, a spokesman for the Ohio Democratic Party said, of this hand recount, “that county elections officials sometimes ignored requests by recount observers to see rejected absentee and provisional ballots, and were not informed about procedures used to recount and reject ballots,” and, “that in one county, Clermont County, in southwest Ohio, numerous complaints were filed by Democrats and the two independent parties when access to recount procedures was ignored.” The important deception in this “news” report was its repeated fallacious implication that all of the millions of votes in Ohio were hand recounted. For example, it said: “The recount of Ohio’s 88 counties showed that Senator John Kerry gained 734 votes,” out of the 5.7 million votes that were recorded in Ohio. However, in fact, only approximately 3% of Ohio’s votes were hand recounted; and, because this was not a random recount as required, few of those machine-recounted votes had been wrongly recorded by these machines, and so there was no complete hand recount. In other words, the efforts by Triad Governmental Systems, and by the other Republicans, to avoid a complete hand recount of the vote in Ohio, were successful. For all intents and purposes, this “recount” of the entire state consisted of little more than running the ballots once again through the same possibly rigged voting machines that had previously produced Bush’s “Ohio victory.” Thus, there was no hand-count of the state’s 5.7 million votes. And, it’s important to note, no review was performed of the misallocation of voting machines, away from Democratic, and toward Republican, precincts, nor of the numerous other election-rigging activities. So, the “recount” that was performed was actually a show, like the old-time Soviet “show trials,” put on just to fool the faithful — which it did. However, the Libertarian and Green Parties, which had jointly financed the $113,600 official cost of the “recount,” were outraged that the state had ripped them off.

Also on the 29th, Ohio Supreme Court Chief Justice Thomas J. Moyer, who had run as a Republican on the same 2004 Ohio ballot as did George W. Bush, crucially threw out the affidavit by Sherole Eaton, and claimed that its allegations were mere “hearsay.” He ignored the fact that Eaton there asserted she had personally witnessed the Triad computer technician recommend a “cheat sheet” and change the hard drive on the voting tabulator, both in violation of Ohio law. Moyer could have brought Eaton and the technician into court to testify under oath, but chose to simply dismiss the case, which also effectively eliminated Senator Kerry’s motion which had been filed on the 27th.

http://cannonfire.blogspot.com/2004_12_26_cannonfire_archive.html critiqued Moyer’s decision in detail. However, any Democratic politician who would have publicly questioned the judge’s decision would have been jeered by the press: that would have been political suicide.

On 3 January 2005, David Swanson of the International Labor Communications Association, at www.ilcaonline.org/print.php?sid=1398, headlined “Media Whites Out Vote Fraud,” and documented the lockstep performance of the U.S. “news” media, who were deceiving the American public to hide the fraudulence of Bush’s 2004 “election.” Anyone who believes that the United States possesses a free press should read Swanson’s article, so as to become disabused of that faith-based lie. His article rips the propaganda mask right off of America’s new, fascist, government.

Typical of this deception was the editorial on January 7th by the Las Vegas Review-Journal. It was headlined, contemptuous of the millions of Democrats whose opportunity to vote, or else to have their vote registered, had been robbed from them, “‘Stolen Election’ Lives.” This editorial said: “Democrats used the ceremonial congressional count of the country’s electoral votes Thursday as a chance to rise and complain about missing voting machines, unusually long lines and other problems they insist plagued some Ohio voting districts (many in minority neighborhoods) on Nov. 2. In the end, Mr. Bush carried Ohio by 118,000 votes, far more than even the most inspired hallucinator could argue had been ‘stolen’ through any of the listed inconveniences.” To which a scientist might respond, noting that word “any”: “ — But hardly to all of the listed ‘inconveniences,’ as the statistical analyses, by Ron Baiman, by Steven F. Freeman, and by Richard Hayes Phillips, had clearly shown.  And why should electoral fraud be called merely ‘inconvenient,’ and each of its many thousands of individual instances only a ‘problem’ instead of a ‘crime’? Is such propagandistic ‘journalism’ not itself a participation in fascism? And, even if this editorialist were right, then, still, what would have been wrong with the appointment of an independent investigation of these matters, which is all that the petitioners were requesting?”

Because the Republican thugs blocked a fair election, and then blocked an independent investigation of the election, historians will never know whether George W. Bush was elected President on 2 November 2004, and the only scientific assumption we can make on the question is that he and his loyal Republican operatives rigged the election so pervasively that his second term of office was illegitimate and criminal, regardless of whether or not most voters attempted on November 2nd to register their votes for him. The crime consisted of what Bush and his Republican Party did to rig the election, not of its outcome — which was simply a tragedy. Whether or not the crime caused the tragedy, the crime was nonetheless a crime. Any historian who would assert that Bush legitimately won the U.S. Presidency in 2004 would be a religionist, not a scientist — there’s no evidence supporting that view, and numerous laws were undoubtedly broken in order for Bush to achieve his victory. The only basis upon which one could assert that Bush did it legitimately would be faith — lots of faith, about lots of things. Moreover, this would be faith in a President who routinely lied and distorted, and whose 2004 campaign was unquestionably riddled with abuse of power in order to prevent a fair and honest election from occurring. This would therefore be faith in assumptions that have already been proven false.

On 5 January 2005, Congressman John Conyers, the Ranking Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee, issued a 102-page report, “Preserving Democracy: What Went Wrong in Ohio,” which was linked, and well summarized and reviewed, by Joseph Cannon at http://cannonfire.blogspot.com/2005_01_02_cannonfire_archive.html. Conyers’s report www.house.gov/judiciary_democrats/ohiostatusrept1505.pdf cited numerous violations of both federal and Ohio laws by Ohio Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell and by other Republican officials in this election. Sometimes, the cited official had violated laws or directives from other Republican officials, such as from Blackwell himself, or else the 2000 Bush v. Gore decision by the Republican U.S. Supreme Court. Sometimes, Blackwell himself violated his own directives, such as his 7 September 2004 directive to county boards of elections mandating rejection of voter-registration forms that weren’t printed on uncoated thick 80-pound paper. Despite his order, “An Ohio lawyer, John Stopa, noted that voter registration forms obtained at Blackwell’s office were printed on 60-pound paper. An election board official stated he obtained 70-pound weight forms from Blackwell’s office.” This Blackwell directive resulted in rejections of unknown thousands of voter registrations. However, some counties ignored the directive, and the Bush v. Gore decision had ruled that such non-uniformity violates the Equal Protection provision of the U.S. Constitution. Conyers’s report said, “Secretary of State Blackwell has refused to answer any questions concerning these matters posed to him by Ranking Member Conyers and 11 other Members of the Judiciary Committee on December 2, 2004.”

The team of international observers of America’s 2004 Presidential election weren’t more sanguine about what had occurred. On 31 March 2005, these international electoral observers, the OSCE’s Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, issued their “Election Observation Mission Final Report,” and said that, “Lack of observer access to the election process, both international and domestic, including at polling station level, is contrary to OSCE commitments [by the U.S. and all member governments], and limited the possibility of the OSCE EOM to comment more fully on the election process.” In other words: The U.S. had failed to meet the basic conditions of a democracy.

In August 2005, the Democratic Party issued a study it had commissioned from Dr. Walter Mebane Jr. of Cornell University, “Voting Machine Allocation in Franklin County, Ohio, 2004,” and this study found: “The allocation of voting machines in Franklin County was clearly biased against voters in precincts with high proportions of African Americans when measured against the standard of the November, 2004, electorate. … Using the April measure of the size of the active electorate, 5,023 working voting machines were needed, not 2,800 machines as data supplied by the county indicate were actually deployed on election day.” Furthermore, “Between April and November, the active voter population in the county increased by more than 15 percent. If nothing else, the surge of new registrants should have indicated that their plans made in mid-summer would prove woefully insufficient.” More like 6,000 machines were needed, though Kenneth Blackwell’s operation supplied only 2,800 on Election Day. Bush’s “Justice” Department said that Democrats had no cause for complaint. On that precedent, Democrats, if they ever again win power, can say that Republicans have no cause for complaint if voting machines are prejudicially allocated to favor only Democratic voters, etcetera. However, coing that would violate what the Democratic Party stands for; Democrats oppose fascism.

The anomalies in the 2004 U.S. Presidential election overflowed, wherever one looked. On 29 July 2005, http://billmon.org/archives/002067.html pointed out that two counties in Ohio, “Warren and Clermont … went for Cheneybush last year by margins of 72% and 71%, respectively. They could fairly be said to have played a pivotal role in keeping the Rovians in the White House, given that the combined GOP margin — almost 80,000 votes — accounted for two-thirds of Cheneybush’s entire statewide edge over Kerry. The ability of the Rovians to pull fresh GOP votes out of those two counties certainly challenged plausibility, and, in Clermont’s case, almost defied mathematics. Consider the fact that according to the Census Bureau, Clermont’s population rose only 4.4% (about 7,800 souls) between 2000 and 2003, while reported GOP turnout increased by roughly 31% (about 14,600 votes) from 2000 to 2004. This in a county that only had about 122,000 registered voters last year.” If such anomalies were unusual in the 2004 election, or else went both ways — equally for both Bush and Kerry — then one might reasonably conclude that this election had not been stolen by Bush. However, these anomalies were common, and they were astoundingly one-sided.

On 14 October 2005, Steve Freeman and Warren Mitofsky had a public face-off at the American Statistical Association, and Freeman’s presentation, “Polling Bias or Electoral Fraud?” was subsequently posted to the internet at www.appliedresearch.us/sf/ASA-P.htm, which linked to a stunning single-page “tabulation” giving a 50-state, state-by-state, breakdown of the “Official Vote” and the “Exit Poll,” where the discrepancies were stark: Each state that was switched, was switched from Kerry to Bush, as follows (showing percentages first for Bush and then for Kerry):

Colorado: (Exit Poll) 48.6% to 50.1%, (Official Vote) 51.7% to 47.0%.

Florida: 48.3% to 50.9%, 52.1% to 47.1%.

Iowa: 48.4% to 50.7%, 49.9% to 49.2%.

Nevada: 45.4% to 52.9%, 50.5% to 47.9%.

New Mexico: 45.9% to 52.9%, 49.8% to 49.0%.

Ohio: 45.4% to 54.2%, 50.8% to 48.7%.

The Exit Polls, in each state, if they had produced the Electoral College results, would have produced a 309 to 174 win by Kerry, instead of the Official Vote results, which were a 286 to 251 win by Bush.

The “Exit Poll” figures which Freeman provided there for many of the states were different from the “screen shot” figures which had been the basis of the debate up to that time, and these new figures exhibited almost uniformly higher discrepancies between the “Exit Poll” and the “Official Vote”; and so Freeman’s new figures indicated an even more egregious likely manipulation of the 2004 U.S. Presidential election.

(The figures from the screen shots, which were taken on Election Day, were shown in “Appendix C: Jonathan Simon Exit Poll Data” starting on page 28 of www.electionarchive.org/ucvAnalysis/US/Exit_Polls_2004_Edison-Mitofsky.pdf “Analysis of the 2004 Presidential Election Exit Poll Discrepancies”; and the single-page 50-state final table which was calculated by Freeman was www.appliedresearch.us/sf/Documents/2004ElectionOutcomeExitPolls.pdf “The Election Outcome Based on Exit Poll Reported Voting.”)

So, I asked Dr. Freeman, via e-mail: “The Ohio Exit Polls [the ones which were originally made available] in 2004 indicated a 52%/48% Kerry win in Ohio, but your ‘handout’ or ‘tabulation’ at ASA-P Fall Meeting, October 14, 2005, shows the Exit Polls in Ohio in 2004 as a 54.2%/45.4% Kerry Ohio win. How did you calculate that, and why does your figure vary so much from those screen shots?” His answer was simply: “The screen shots were election night estimates of the result based on incomplete exit poll data, telephone polls, early voting results and bellweather [sp.] precincts. The ASA-P Fall Meeting data [his final calculations] was [sic.] pure exit poll survey results.” Unsatisfied, I wrote to a prominent critic of Freeman’s work on this subject, Mark Lindeman, to ask whether he thought that Freeman was perhaps going overboard with these new figures. Dr. Lindeman replied, “No, I don’t think he faked those numbers.” Lindeman explained that, since the Exit-Polling organization refused to make public their final data, a complicated set of calculations had to be performed in order to adjust the preliminary (screen-shot) figures, and that this is all that Freeman did: “In effect he was using his own formula to calculate what he thought the exit poll results must have been or should have been.” Moreover, Dr. Lindeman, continued: “For what it’s worth, the archived Ohio data set is 53.9% Kerry, 45.6% Bush, so Freeman [whose final adjusted figures, as indicated above, were 54.2% and 45.4% respectively] wasn’t far off that particular ‘raw’ result for Ohio.”

In other words, the situation in Ohio was actually far worse than had previously been recognized. (Anyone who wants to see how vast the discrepancies were between the Exit Poll and the Official Vote in each of the 50 states should do a web-search for “The Election Outcome Based on Exit Poll Reported Voting” where everything is shown clearly on a single page. It’s simply shocking: this is not what one would see from a democracy; this country at that time was not a democracy — it was a gangland. Discrepancies like this might be expected in Russia, etc., but not in the United States.)*

Similarly, in July 2006 (and subsequently refined), statistician and polymath James Q. Jacobs posted to the internet at http://jqjacobs.net/politics/ohio.html, his painstakingly thorough analysis of Ohio punch-card-voting-machine results, in “The 2004 Ohio Presidential Election: Cuyahoga County Analysis. How Kerry Votes Were Switched to Bush Votes.” He opened: “Simply put, Ohio votes were NOT counted as cast. Many votes were miscounted, and Kerry votes were counted for Bush.” In his conclusion, he stated: “At precincts with the highest Kerry support, the percentage of uncounted votes is inexplicably high.” Furthermore, “Many individual ballots resulted in a vote-switch, a two-vote margin difference from the intended result. Switched-votes cast for Kerry and counted for Bush had twice the impact as their actual occurrence.” Moreover, “The fact that the irregularities discussed herein are known, and yet no official inquiry into the election has occurred, illustrates the broader failure of the current election process.”

The 2004 Republican Party campaign for President might as well have been operated by the Mafia, except that the Mafia were a smaller outfit, with resources that were tiny by comparison.

On 22 October 2005, at http://electionarchive.org/ucvAnalysis/US/Presidential-Election-2004.pdf appeared “History of the Debate Surrounding the 2004 Election,” in which Kathy Dopp provided the back story describing how the main researchers in this saga came to be involved in it. For example, Dopp described the series of flukes by which an Edison/Mitofsky computer glitch caused the actual Exit Poll numbers to be posted on the internet for several hours longer than E/M had intended, and the fluke by which Jonathan Simon managed to save those figures onto his computer during those hours. “As ultimately acknowledged by Edison/Mitofsky as their ‘Call 3 Weighted’ data, these ‘Simon’ exit poll results revealed discrepancies between the exit poll results and vote counts both in key states and in the national popular vote, giving rise to the critical debate over the cause.” Were it not for such flukes, the only evidence which would exist of the Republican Party’s manipulation of the 2004 U.S. Presidential election would have been individual complaints from voters in key states around the country. 

That’s how Bush became empowered to do the things he did in his second term. It was, pure and simple, a rape of the nation.

Another way of describing this is as the theft of a country, or at least of its government. In this case, the government that was stolen happened to be the most powerful on earth. This wasn’t Italy; this was a far bigger heist than any the Mafia ever attempted.

On 6 January 2005, the San Francisco Chronicle, which had previously contributed nothing significant to the journalism concerning this heist of the nation, published, after-the-fact, a remarkable op-ed from Steve Freeman, the U. Penn. Researcher who had done the best analysis of the discrepancies between the exit polls and the vote counts. Headlining “Keeping Our Democracy Alive: Did voters really count in U.S. election?” he noted that the discrepancy nationwide was a statistically virtually impossible 5.5%. (Whereas the national exit poll showed Kerry winning by 3.0%, the national vote-count showed Bush winning by 2.5%.) He observed that, because of exit polls in other countries, “The citizens of Georgia and Ukraine refused to accept the official tallies, protested vigorously and, with international support, overturned the election, but U.S. voters have passively accepted the results of their election and gone back to business, oblivious to the discrepancy and blind to the implications.” Freeman continued: “A 5 percent shift in a poll like this is extraordinary. Exit pollsters do not have to guess about who is actually going to vote, or whether they might change their mind. Exit polls can achieve larger samples cost-effectively: the national election-day sample had more than 13,000 respondents, meaning that it should have accurately forecast the result within plus or minus 1 percent.” However, in the U.S. case, unlike in other nations, there were no mass demonstrations in the streets; there was only unquestioning media and public acceptance of Bush’s “mandate from the people.” Freeman closed: “The absence of questions does not make a democracy function; democratic processes do. It has been a long time since this country has paid a price for liberty. It seems clear now that a large payment of vigilance is long overdue.” He had in mind here, of course, the old adage, “Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.”

On January 8th, the AP reported from Ohio, that, “The state’s chief elections officer [Blackwell], accused of mishandling the presidential vote in Ohio, sent a fund-raising letter for his own 2006 gubernatorial campaign that was accompanied by a request for illegal contributions.” Blackwell’s letter solicited personal contributions, which were legal, but also “corporate” contributions, which the AP noted “are illegal in Ohio.” His letterhead, furthermore, displayed a facsimile of the Great Seal of the United States, showing the eagle holding the arrows. Federal law made that a felony. He was not prosecuted.

On January 11th, http://rawstory.rawprint.com/105/blackwell_campaign_letter2_105.php reported that, “Ohio’s Republican Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell boasted of helping ‘deliver’ Ohio for President Bush and said he was ‘truly pleased’ to announce Bush had won Ohio even before all of the state’s votes had been counted.” Blackwell’s national letter to Republicans, raising funds now for his upcoming race for the Ohio Governorship, was posted. It opened: “As the Co-Chairman of Bush/Cheney ’04 in Ohio, I want to thank you for helping deliver the great Buckeye State for George W. Bush. Without your enthusiasm, generous support and vote, I’m afraid the President would have lost … and an unapologetic liberal Democrat named John Kerry would have won. Thankfully, you and I stopped that disaster from happening!” All of Blackwell’s public pretenses to his having adhered to the legally mandated nonpartisan execution of his duties as the Ohio Secretary of State were admitted, in this letter to wealthy Republicans, to have been fraudulent, and to have been intended only to deceive the broader public. Blackwell even indirectly admitted that his having led the push in Ohio to ban gay marriage was part of his role as Bush/Cheney co-chairman, not strictly a part of his duties as the State’s Secretary of State.

He went on: “I have no doubt the strong campaign we helped the President run in Ohio — coupled with a similar effort I helped deliver for State Issue One (the Marriage Protection Amendment) — can easily be credited with turning out record numbers of conservatives and evangelicals on Election Day. … And I draw great satisfaction in hearing liberal members of the media credit the Marriage Protection Amendment as [the] single most important factor that drove President Bush over the top in Ohio.”

Finally, he arrived at his personal request, delivered here baldly as from the “Ohio Secretary of State,” and even under the official United States Government seal, which was illegal to do: “After much thought and prayer, I am asking for your personal support in my campaign to become the next Governor of Ohio.” He also said, in implicit emphasis of his partisan religious political intentions and aims, appealing now to the specific Christian biases of the funders of this campaign, “My Christian parents taught me that if I did what was right, nobody could ever deny me the success I strived for.” The first thing that he was implicitly hinting here was that if he had been born and raised, for example, as a Muslim, then he wouldn’t qualify to run to become Ohio’s Governor. The second was that he was a successful man because God was on his side. This bigoted appeal was in implicit violation of Article VI, Section 3, of the U.S. Constitution: “No religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.” His implicit message was that his supporters were free to violate this provision, and that he encouraged them to do so. He then bragged directly about his having defeated in courts (though, he conveniently avoided mentioning, always with the help of fellow Republican judges) the legal efforts by “the ACLU and the other members of the radical left,” which had been attempting to protect the Constitutional rights of Blacks and poor people, in heavily Democratic precincts, to vote and to have their votes counted. Again: God was on his side.

The “Washington Whispers” column in the 23 May 2005 U.S. News & World Report mentioned speculation that Blackwell would become the 2008 Republican nominee for the Vice Presidency if he won Ohio’s statehouse in 2006: “With him as No. 2, it creates a dream ticket,’ said a GOP strategist.” The Party was hoping to be able to express its gratitude — and also to add to its winning coalition some votes from racist Blacks for whom a politician’s actions and policies are less important than his skin color. Blackwell’s fundraising letter thus represented for him the next step ascending through the ranks of today’s slavemasters — to become the #2 lord in today’s neo-Confederate U.S. plantation.

This fundraising letter had been forwarded by one of its recipients on to rawstory.com. It constituted a virtual admission by Blackwell of his leading role in a successful criminal conspiracy to steal the 2004 U.S. Presidential election for Bush.

The spirit and the fundamental beliefs that were reflected in this baldly multi-illegal letter were boiled down nearly three years earlier by Antonin Scalia’s statement, which he made on 25 January 2002, which belief of his has broad applicability to conservative politics, and which is especially germane here:

“It is easy to see the hand of Almighty God behind rulers whose forebears, deep in the mists of history, were mythically anointed by God, or who at least obtained their thrones in awful and unpredictable battle whose outcome was determined by the Lord of Hosts; that is, the Lord of Armies. It is much more difficult to see the hand of God or of any higher moral authority behind the fools and rogues — as the losers would have it — whom we ourselves elect to do our own will.”     

On 9 June 2006, www.bradblog.com/archives/00002933.htm headlined “Blackwell Refuses to Recuse Himself From Administering His Own Election,” and reported that the Democratic “Ohio gubernatorial candidate Ted Strickland held a presser yesterday demanding that his opponent, J. Kenneth Blackwell recuse himself from administering his own election this November. Predictably, the rule-of-law-impaired Blackwell declined to do so.” The same day’s Cleveland Plain Dealer reported that Strickland suggested that this election be overseen instead by “Republican Attorney General Jim Petro, whom Blackwell savaged on the campaign trail before handily defeating him in last month’s GOP gubernatorial primary” (which Blackwell also oversaw). Ohio’s Republican Party stood behind Blackwell’s refereeing his own election contests, and a Republican spokesman said that Blackwell “has a personal responsibility under Ohio law” to run Ohio’s elections, “and his personal involvement is the key to making it work.” At bradblog.com, “A Concerned Citizen” commented, “Are we supposed to go vote this November? I see Deibold [sp.] trucks driving around and I always just cringe, It’s all so out in the open, I don’t understand how all this can continue to happen, November is getting close!!” The next day, June 10th, WTOL in Toledo headlined “Diebold’s Lobbyist Donates $10,000 to Blackwell Campaign,” and reported that, “The maximum-donor [$10,000] list also includes Mitch Given, who is a registered lobbyist for Diebold Election Systems. … Blackwell’s office approved Diebold’s selection.”

Today’s United States gives more lip service to democratic values than any other nation on earth; but now we know, beyond any reasonable doubt, that it’s no longer honest; it is now simply a fraud. The actual democratic standard in the U.S. today would be an embarrassment to almost any nation on earth.

However, Blackwell was becoming desperate for voters, because his tactics were so transparently evil that he was driving voters away. His right-wing base tended to be highly racist, and he became increasingly desperate to hold onto his base. Thus, on 9 October 2006, freepress.org headlined “Why Is the Man Who Stole Ohio Campaigning with a White Racist?” and Bob Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman reported that, “J. Kenneth Blackwell, the man who stole Ohio’s 2004 presidential election, was out campaigning October 4, 2006 with a man widely viewed as one of America’s leading white supremacists. Blackwell is an Afro-American. … Blackwell toured the state with Larry Pratt, author of ARMED PEOPLE VICTORIOUS, which advocates the creation of militant right-wing militias. Pratt has spoken and shared platforms in the past with Ku Klux Klan and neo-Nazi Aryan Nation members. He was forced to take a leave of absence from Pat Buchanan’s 1996 presidential campaign over charges of white supremacist and anti-semitic views. … ‘We’re happy to have his support,’ says a campaign spokesman.” Religion (if not ideology generally) was even thicker than race. J. Kenneth Blackwell needed this affirmation from a renowned anti-Black racist telling his followers that this Black man, Kenneth Blackwell, was right to vote for in this election. This is the kind of political base Blackwell had. And Blackwell’s calling upon a person like Pratt indicates how desperate he was for votes — even though Blackwell would be controlling the vote-count in his own election.

What a change this was! Blackwell’s campaign had started out by claiming to be a test of how far Ohio had come in accepting Blacks. On 10 January 2005, a columnist at National Review Online had heralded Blackwell’s upcoming run for Ohio’s statehouse by headlining (with a clear implication that Blackwell’s becoming the first Black Governor would show how unbiased Ohio’s voters were) “Paint It Blackwell.” This commentary opened with a put-down of Black civil-rights leaders, all of whom were Democrats, “Unlike the Jesse Jackson-led Democratic convulsions after the 2000 election was settled [by Antonin Scalia], …” He went on by saying: “With no black Republicans in the House, Senate, or any governorships, Blackwell is one of the highest-ranking elected African Americans in the GOP. On top of that, he is a true conservative. … He is skilled, conservative, and on his way up. He could be governor in a couple of years and who knows where he could go from there. So Democrats have an interest in sullying his name before it gets big. … The attack dogs of personal destruction succeeded with their preemptive strike on [Miguel] Estrada [appointed by Bush to a high court but so far-Right that he wasn’t able to be approved even in a Republican-controlled Washington], and now they’ll try with Blackwell.” In other words, he was saying that Democrats are racist. “The presumption behind this attack is that while whites can believe anything they want, Blacks and Hispanics” can’t. Fortunately, this time, the fascist propaganda-machine failed.

On the eve of the President’s second inauguration, Edison/Mitofsky, the organization that had carried out the exit polls, came forth, on 19 January 2005, with a pallid attempt to “explain” the 5.5% nationwide discrepancy between their polls and “the actual vote count.” Essentially, Edison/Mitofsky dismissed the outrageous improbability of this, by assuming that Kerry voters must have been more willing to answer their pollsters’ questions than were Bush voters. No evidence was presented for that — only the bare assumption. Their report is linked at www.appliedresearch.us/sf/epidiscrep, along with rebuttals. On February 15th, Steve Freeman and Josh Mitteldorf produced, at www.inthesetimes.com/site/main/article/1970/, an excellent summary of the bottom line after all was said and done: “A Corrupted Election: Despite what you may have heard, the exit polls were right.” This article links to a devastating critique, by a group of statisticians, “US Count Votes,” (http://uscountvotes.org) of the Edison/Mitofsky report: “Response to Edison/Mitofsky Election System 2004 Report.” Signed by nine professional statisticians and mathematicians, and never since refuted, this analysis proved that the official Edison/Mitofsky hypothesis was not just demonstrably false; it was the exact opposite of the provable reality, which is even worse: “In precincts with higher numbers of Bush voters, response rates [to the exit polls] were slightly higher than in precincts with higher number[s] of Kerry voters.” In other words, Bush voters were likely oversampled, Kerry voters were likely undersampled, and this was the exact opposite of the Edison/Mitofsky assumption. This consensus study eschewed strong conclusions, in order to achieve its consensus. However, it still couldn’t avoid one damning observation about the Edison/Mitofsky report: “They do not [even so much as] consider the hypothesis of election fraud.” The unspoken conclusion here was that no other hypothesis for the enormous discrepancy can stand up to a statistical analysis. On March 10th, the Social Science Research Council (SSRC) issued a report by three authors titled, “A Review of Recent Controversies Concerning the 2004 Presidential Election Exit Polls,” which accepted uncritically the Edison/Mitofsky report, and which ignored the critique of it by US Count Votes. Instead of dealing with that critique, it referred only once, in its 33rd footnote, to the US Count Votes study, while failing even to mention that this study was critical of the Edison/Mitofsky report. It furthermore made no reference at all to the astounding US Count Votes finding that, “in precincts with higher numbers of Bush voters, response rates were slightly higher than in precincts with higher number of Kerry voters,” and it instead repeated uncritically the undocumented mere speculation to the exact contrary from the Edison/Mitofsky report. In other words, both the Edison/Mitofsky report, and the SSRC hack job reiterating it, “explained” the 5.5% discrepancy by an unfounded, and now even proven counter-factual, assumption, that fewer Bush voters than Kerry voters had opted to participate in the exit polls on election day.

This “Let sleeping dogs lie” crowd, defending the vote “count,” were much like the “moderate” Southerners during the Civil Rights Era around 1960, who were opposed to campaigners for civil rights, because those campaigners were laying bare an ugly underside of American society, which these “moderates” didn’t want to see, or even to acknowledge. The analogy to the 1960’s was even closer than this, however: On March 10th, Jesse Jackson Sr., who had been an aide to Martin Luther King in that earlier struggle, headlined at www.freepress.org/departments/display/19/2005/1197 “Republican Maneuvering to Get Voting Rights Act Killed,” and asked: “Will the Republican Congress reauthorize the Voting Rights Act? When asked in a meeting with the Black Caucus of the Congress, President Bush said he didn’t know anything about the question. … Now some GOP leaders are suggesting that the law be made ‘national and permanent.’ That sounds good. … But beware. This plan, hatched in right-wing think tanks, sounds good, but is designed to gut the Voting Rights Act. By making it ‘national and permanent,’ divorced from the record of discrimination that requires special review, the act could well be deemed unconstitutional. Republicans will have used the court to murder the Voting Rights Act while pretending to have clean hands.” The only reason the Voting Rights Act had withstood Constitutional muster as long as it had, was that it was designed to rectify discrimination in those areas (mainly the South) where discrimination had been proven to exist; it did not activate or apply in the absence of such discrimination; Republicans now wanted to change this. Already, Republican majorities on the U.S. Supreme Court had ruled (in 2000, Reno v. Bosier Parish) that even an intentionally discriminatory change in voting regulations is legally okay so long as it makes its victims no worse off (or produces no more “retrogression” of their voting rights) than they had previously suffered, and the Supremes had also ruled (in 2003, Georgia v. Ashcroft) to soften their new (“retrogression”) standard, so as to allow still more blatant discrimination.  President Bush and other Republicans were doing everything they possibly could to disenfranchise Blacks and the poor of all ethnicities, and their latest effort was just one more sly tactic in a long campaign which was as old as the post-Lincoln Republican Party, to disenfranchise the weak and the poor. Republicans were now gearing up for a big battle about whether to re-authorize the Voting Rights Act or let it expire in 2007 — and whether to cripple it, in the event that it would be reauthorized.

On March 30th, US Count Votes issued an “Executive Summary” of a more extensive new study of the discrepancy, and the following day issued their full 27-page report. Both documents are linked at http://scoop.co.nz/stories/WO0504/S00001.htm?mode=print. The 27-page complete report, titled “Analysis of the 2004 Presidential Election Exit Poll Discrepancies,” was signed by twelve professional statisticians. Its chief new contribution was a tabulation “Exit Poll Discrepancy Rises with % of Bush Voters,” which pretty much sealed into a stone coffin the unsupported Edison/Mitofsky hypothesis that more Democrats than Republicans must have cooperated with the exit-pollsters. In other words, yet again, Edison/Mitofsky’s data actually indicated the exact opposite of E/M’s hypothesis “explaining” the discrepancy. The only remaining credible explanation for the discrepancy was that there was a systematically false vote-count in Bush’s favor.

Further confirming this likelihood that rigging of the vote count was behind Bush’s victory, was the odd finding that the exit polls were accurate on the Senate races: the skewing occurred only in the Presidential vote-count. Unless there was historically unprecedented ticket-splitting in 2004, this finding, too, indicated that the Presidential vote-count was fraudulent.

On April 2nd, Joseph Cannon at http://cannonfire.blogspot.com/2005_03_27_cannonfire_archive.html headlined “Science Proves That Vote Fraud Is Real!” (and notice that he wasn’t alleging that ‘voter fraud’ is real; this is something very different).  His was by far the best summary anywhere of the evidence that the Edison/Mitofsky analysis of the 5.5% discrepancy was not believable. Cannon even noted a terribly important factor that US Count Votes had overlooked, and which had first been pointed out only shortly after the election, on 6 November 2004, at www.nicedoggie.net/back/archives/2004/11/the_missing_gor.php. Here is how Mr. Cannon summarized it: “On November 2, 2004, pollsters did not restrict inquiries to the votes cast on that date. They also asked voters about the 2000 election. 43% of the respondents said they had chosen Bush on that previous occasion, while 37% reported having cast a ballot for Al Gore. But Gore WON the popular vote. This simple fact — which even math illiterates should be able to comprehend easily — proves that the exit poll[ing] favored Republicans, not Democrats.” Consequently, here was yet another indicator buried in Edison/Mitofsky’s raw data showing that the exit polls probably overestimated President Bush’s 2004 vote, and underestimated Senator Kerry’s. This factor was perhaps the most powerful evidence of all, which proved, virtually to a certainty, the non-feasibility of the explanation that Edison/Mitofsky offered. Fortunately, when Edison/Mitofsky had “adjusted” their exit-poll results at around 1 AM on November 3rd, this anomaly was not “adjusted”: perhaps by some oversight, they left unchanged their figures showing that 43% of their 2004 respondents had voted for Bush in 2000; 37% had voted for Gore in 2000. (17% had not voted in 2000; and 3% had voted for other Presidential candidates.) Edison/Mitofsky in 2004, thus, far oversampled people who had voted for Bush in 2000, and far undersampled people who had voted for Gore in 2000. Then, when they prepared their analysis of the 5.5% discrepancy in the 2004 Bush/Kerry voting results, E/M conveniently ignored this powerful evidence discrediting/disproving their explanation, which said that in 2004 they had oversampled Democrats and undersampled Republicans — exactly the opposite of what their evidence actually showed.

Every indication, within Edison/Mitofsky’s own data, contradicts E/M’s hypothesis that the reason their exit polls on 2 November 2004 were off by a historically unprecedented high 5.5%, as compared to the subsequent “actual” vote count, was that their exit-poll sample had contained far more Democrats than Republicans. This “chatty Democrat” theory (as some called it) could now be credited only by ignoramuses and outright liars.

Moreover, of the 17% of 2004 voters who hadn’t voted in 2000, 54% went to Kerry; only 45% to Bush. That, too, contradicted common Republican “explanations,” which alleged that Bush “won” by bringing out the larger number of new voters. Although Edison/Mitofsky had doctored the final poll-percentage, there was enough remaining undoctored, so that the fraudulence of the “actual vote-count” remained clear.   

Chicago Tribune columnist Robert Koehler believed that the press itself was partly responsible for having turned off the lights on democracy and permitted Bush’s legitimacy to be unquestioned even half a year after the election. He wrote a commentary, “Citizens in the Rain: Maybe we can’t have election reform without media reform,” — a commentary which was supposed to have been published on 5 May 2005, but which was rejected for publication and which he then courageously posted on his own website, http://commonwonders.com/archives/col1293.htm. He asked there, “Isn’t our democracy at stake? Doesn’t that matter?” It turned out to matter not only to him, but to another commentator who likewise obtained no mainstream media outlet for his opinion despite his being part of the mainstream media himself: five days later, the ABC, NBC and CBS sports writer and producer, Jim Lampley, headlined at www.huffingtonpost.com/theblog/archive/2005/05/biggest-story-of-our-live.html

“The Biggest Story of Our Lives,” referring to what he powerfully argued that this story actually was. With incredulity, he challenged his mainstream media colleagues: “Karl Rove isn’t capable of conceiving and executing such a grandiose crime? Wake up. They did it.” Lampley, who possessed a deep knowledge and respect for professional sports bettors and for the scientific approach they take toward their job, noted that at 5 PM EST on Election Day, professional bettors had waged two-to-one odds on a Kerry victory, because exit polls showed Kerry strongly leading, and because exit polls had never been off by a big enough margin for Kerry not to become then the next U.S. President.

Besides the undocumented assumption by Edison/Mitofsky, saying that more Democrats than Republicans were willing to answer exit-pollsters’ questions on election day, the only other prominent reason provided by Republicans arguing that the 2004 U.S. Presidential election wasn’t rigged, was that rigging would supposedly have been impossible to do.

Usually, this argument pointed to the supposed “bipartisanship” of local boards of elections, as one reason rigging wouldn’t have worked. However, in some jurisdictions, this “bipartisanship” was purely fictional. Robert Fitrakis of freepress.org pointed this out in his 2 July 2005 “Open Letter to John Tanner, Chief, Voting Section, U.S. Department of Justice,” debunking the DOJ’s conclusion, which had asserted that the election in Franklin County, Ohio, was honest. Fitrakis said there:

“You praise the bipartisan nature of the Franklin County Board of Elections (BOE). But you fail to mention that the Director, Matt Damschroder, is the former Chair of the Franklin County Republican Party, and that J. Kenneth Blackwell, Ohio’s Secretary of State and the Co-Chair of the Bush-Cheney Re-election Committee appoints all board members as well as officers, and they serve at his pleasure. Blackwell’s actions throughout the election year were openly partisan and obviously unethical. For example, I was at a meeting prior to the election where Mr. Damschroder informed a delegation of esteemed international election observers that he would have them arrested based on the orders of Blackwell if they crossed the 100-foot line outside the polls to observe closer to the voting site. Is that what you refer to by ‘the spirit of cooperation’? Or is it the fact that both Republicans and Democrats get paid well to be officers and directors of the BOE, and if they are fired, they lose their paycheck?”

Fitrakis cited several examples where Blackwell had written to threaten Boards of Election with “official action, which may include removal,” in the event of “failure to comply with my lawful directives.”

The Bush “Justice” Department, in a letter by John Tanner, Chief of the Voting Section of the Civil Rights Division, dated 29 June 2005, had cited the supposed bipartisanship of election boards as “proof” that the vote count in Ohio was honest. On account of such ruses by political appointees at “Justice,” Ari Shapiro of NPR’s “Morning Edition” headlined on 6 October 2005, “Career Lawyers Leaving Justice Department,” and reported: “Tension has been growing between career lawyers and political appointees in the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. … Some career professionals who have left the division recently say they left because they were shut out of the decision making process in a way that did not occur under previous administrations.”

On 13 November 2005, the Washington Post headlined “Civil Rights Focus Shift Roils Staff at Justice,” and Dan Eggen reported that, “The Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, which has enforced the nation’s anti-discrimination laws for nearly half a century, is in the midst of an upheaval that has driven away dozens of veteran lawyers and has damaged morale for many of those who remain.” One fifth of the Division’s lawyers had departed in just the latest fiscal year, 2005; and, “Longtime litigators complain that political appointees have cut them out of hiring and major policy decisions.” Moreover, “prosecutions for the kinds of racial and gender discrimination crimes traditionally handled by the division have declined 40 percent” since George W. Bush entered office, and those assets were shifted to other duties, especially deportation orders. Four days after that WP news story, Mr. Eggen further headlined “Criticism of Voting Law Was Overruled,” and reported: “A team of Justice Department lawyers and analysts who reviewed a Georgia voter-identification law recommended rejecting it because it was likely to discriminate against black voters, but they were overruled the next day by higher-ranking [politically appointed] officials at Justice, according to department documents.” Then, the very next day, November 18th, Cox News Service and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution headlined “Georgia Voter ID Memo Stirs Tension,” and revealed that, “The chief sponsor of Georgia’s voter identification law told the Justice Department that if black people in her district ‘are not paid to vote, they don’t go to the polls,’ and that if fewer blacks vote as a result of the new law, it is only because it would end such voting fraud.” No evidence of such alleged “voting fraud” was cited by this Republican Georgia politician.

By contrast, the evidence of criminal intent on the part of the Bush Administration to rig elections in favor of Republicans could hardly have been made clearer. And that intent had long historical heritage within America’s conservative politics. As Tova Andrea Wang of The Century Foundation wrote, on 22 November 2005, “In so many ways, the right to vote is under national attack by conservatives today.” She especially cited a coordinated Republican campaign to cripple the 1965 Voting Rights Act. On 30 October 2006, she also headlined “Fraud, Reform and Political Power,” and quoted from Alexander Keyssar’s 2000 The Right to Vote:

“In 1836, Pennsylvania passed its first voter registration law. … Although the proclaimed goal of the law was to reduce fraud, opponents insisted [and documented that] its real intent was to reduce the participation of the poor.” This law, rammed through by conservatives, was specifically targeted against Philadelphia’s teeming lower classes, who were one of the greatest strengths of the Northern Democratic Party in national and Pennsylvania elections.

So, the will was definitely there to manipulate American democracy into fascism, and the historical origins of this fascistic plan went all the way back to the feudal origins of America’s conservative movement. As regards the sheer technological feasibility of changing vote-results, the Tallahassee Democrat headlined on 4 June 2005, “Test Shows Voter Fraud Is Possible.” This newspaper employed the Republican phrase “voter fraud,” which applies to fraud by voters. But the actual issue here wasn’t that at all. The newspaper continued by reporting: “All it takes is the right access. Get that, and an election worker could manipulate voting results in the computers that read paper ballots — without leaving any digital fingerprints. That was the verdict after Leon County Elections Supervisor Ion Sancho invited a team of researchers to look for holes in election software. The group wasn’t able to crack the Diebold system from the outside office. [Diebold, a Republican company, hadn’t provided them the code.] But at the computer itself, they changed vote tallies, completely unrecorded. Sancho said it illustrates the need for tight physical security, as well as a paper trail that can verify results, which the Legislature has rejected.” This test, carried out by Finnish investigator Harri Hursti, broke new ground in proving how unacceptable these black-box voting machines were for use in any democracy. Subsequently, a team of computer scientists from the University of California at Berkeley headlined, on 14 February 2006, “Security Analysis of the Diebold AccuBasic Interpreter,” and opened: “This report summarizes the results of our review of some of the source code for the Diebold AV-OS optical scan (version 1.96.6) and Diebold AV-TSx touchscreen (version 4.6.4) voting machines.” Their analysis concluded: “Harri Hursti’s attack does work. … He was indeed able to change the election results by doing nothing more than modifying the contents of a memory card. He needed no passwords, no cryptographic keys, and no access to any other part of the voting system. … However, there is another category of more serious vulnerabilities we discovered that go well beyond what Mr. Hursti demonstrated. …” Furthermore, on 5 May 2006, Bev Harris posted at www.bbvforums.org/cgi-bin/forums/board-auth.cgi?file=1954/27634.html a report on another test by Hursti, which Diebold machines again failed. This time, the “security testing by Harri Hursti and Security Innovation, Inc.” was performed in Emery County, Utah, as requested by the county’s director of elections, Bruce Funk. Despite the test-failure, and though “Diebold refused to provide a letter in writing indicating that machines it sold weren’t used or loaded with inappropriate software,” Harris reported that, “County commissioners told him [Funk] he was going to be required to use the machines.” Also as had happened with Ion Sancho in Florida, Diebold and Republican politicians promptly commenced actions to remove Funk from office.

On 12 May 2006, The New York Times headlined “New Fears of Security Risks In Electronic Voting Systems,” and reported that, “With primary election dates fast approaching in many states, officials in Pennsylvania and California issued urgent directives in recent days about a security risk in their Diebold Election Systems touch-screen voting machines, while other states with similar equipment hurried to assess the seriousness of the problem. ‘It’s the most severe security flaw ever discovered in a voting system,’ said Michael I. Shamos, a professor of computer science at Carnegie Mellon University. … ‘This is the barn door being wide open, while people were arguing over the lock on the front door,’ said Douglas W. Jones, a professor of computer science at the University of Iowa. … David Bear, a spokesman for Diebold Election Systems, said … ‘For there to be a problem here, you’re basically assuming a premise where you have some evil and nefarious election officials who would sneak in and introduce a piece of software,’ he said. ‘I don’t believe these evil elections people exist.’ … Aviel Rubin, a professor of computer science at Johns Hopkins University, did the first in-depth analysis of the security flaws in the source code for Diebold touch-screen machines in 2003. After studying the latest problem, he said: ‘I almost had a heart attack. The implications of this are pretty astounding.’ … The new concerns about Diebold’s equipment were discovered by Harri Hursti, a Finnish computer expert who was working at the request of Black Box Voting Inc.”     

The same New York Times that had previously ignored the rigging of the vote-count (except when it ridiculed the very idea) was now, finally, starting to cover this, the most important news story in the United States at the time. As had earlier happened with regard to the false “news” reported in the Times about WMD in Iraq, the NYT switched to reporting the truth, when continuing to promote the lie was no longer viable for a major ‘news’ medium.

—————

Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of  They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of  CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.

How the 2004 Presidential ‘Election’ Was Stolen by George W. Bush was originally published on Washington's Blog

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