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In the final weeks before the 2012 election, cries of GOP voter suppression from social justice groups such as the ACLU and the NAACP have intensified as attempted voter fraud appears to be linked to the Republican National Committee itself.  It has gotten so bad that the United Nations may be needed to monitor the U.S. election.  

The U.N., in fact, agrees with this sense of urgency and has agreed to send international officials to monitor the almost inevitable suppression tactics that could call into question yet another U.S. Presidential election. Via The Hill:

United Nations-affiliated election monitors from Europe and central Asia will be at polling places around the U.S. looking for voter suppression activities by conservative groups, a concern raised by civil rights groups during a meeting this week. The intervention has drawn criticism from a prominent conservative-leaning group combating election fraud.

The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), a United Nations partner on democratization and human rights projects, will deploy 44 observers from its human rights office around the country on Election Day to monitor an array of activities, including potential disputes at polling places. It’s part of a broader observation mission that will send out an additional 80 to 90 members of parliament from nearly 30 countries. . . .

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, the NAACP and the ACLU, among other groups, warned this month in a letter to Daan Everts, a senior official with OSCE, of “a coordinated political effort to disenfranchise millions of Americans — particularly traditionally disenfranchised groups like minorities.”

This reaction comes following a year of Republican attempts to implement strict voter ID guidelines without just cause.  But suppressive laws may not end up being the most dubious matter in the 2012 Presidential election's battle for authenticity.  A series of investigative reports have found that Mitt Romney's family has invested heavily in a company that owns electronic voting machines in the swing states of Ohio, Texas, Oklahoma, Washington and Colorado:

"Late last month, Gerry Bello and Bob Fitrakis at FreePress.org broke the story of the Mitt Romney/Bain Capital investment team involved in H.I.G. Capital which, in July of 2011, completed a "strategic investment" to take over a fair share of the Austin-based e-voting machine company Hart Intercivic,"
In July!?  For an election in November!?  Come, come now.

An article by one independent journalist does not make something true, even if that independent journalist is as respected as Brad Friedman of The Brad Blog.   Heck, left-leaning site Think Progress was quick to write this off as conspiracy theory, but other progressive sites such as Truthout, The Nation and, most surprisingly, The New York Times, decided to investigate further.  They have all now connected the same dots and concluded that Romney may, in the end, own your eVote.

From Truth Out:

Through a closely held equity fund called Solamere, Mitt Romney and his wife, son and brother are major investors in an investment firm called H.I.G. Capital. H.I.G. in turn holds a majority share and three out of five board members in Hart Intercivic, a company that owns the notoriously faulty electronic voting machines that will count the ballots in swing state Ohio November 7. Hart machines will also be used elsewhere in the United States.

In other words, a candidate for the presidency of the United States, and his brother, wife and son, have a straight-line financial interest in the voting machines that could decide this fall's election. These machines cannot be monitored by the public. But they will help decide who "owns" the White House."


If it's possible to pick a "worst" part of something this awful it may be the implication that Romney-owned voting machines appear in Ohio, the state where the legitimacy of George W. Bush's 2004 win was a, um...delicate matter:

They are especially crucial in Ohio, without which no Republican candidate has ever won the White House. In 2004, in the dead of election night, an electronic swing of more than 300,000 votes switched Ohio from the John Kerry column to George W. Bush, giving him a second term. A virtual statistical impossibility, the 6-plus% shift occurred between 12:20 and 2am election night as votes were being tallied by a GOP-controlled information technology firm on servers in a basement in Chattanooga, Tennessee. In defiance of a federal injunction, 56 of Ohio's 88 counties destroyed all election records, making a recount impossible. Ohio's governor and secretary of state in 2004 were both Republicans, as are the governors and secretaries of state in nine key swing states this year.
The tactics used by the GOP during this election cycle have not been limited to slanted attack ads paid for with dark money or oh-so-pedestrian workplace intimidation.  No, laws suddenly needed some altering to make sure this thing went their way.  Better yet, let's just Diebolt this sumbitch.  

If only there were a system in place to sound some kind of national alarm that let John Q. Public know one of the two candidates owns voting machines that cannot be monitored by anybody.

So what now?  If Romney wins -- especially if more information on these elicit voting machine purchases surfaces -- it will undoubtedly be a tarnished election.  Lawsuits are already being predicted and pursued. For those (not) keeping score at home this will mean three of the past four U.S. Presidential elections will have been viewed suspiciously or wind up in court.

The idea that American elections are "free and open," something we have tried to fashion ourselves as a policeman for overseas, is in danger of becoming illegitimate.

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Comment Preferences

  •  This has been diary'd and rebutted (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    elmo, BlueStateRedhead

    A number of times.

    •  Has not been rebutted. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cotterperson

      Just people with no information or relying on Snopes saying there is nothing to this.
      All the facts are correct though! The Romney family has a controlling interest in this voting machine company.
      Believe what you will, but I have not seen any guarantee that the machines are locked down from outside influence.
      Just a lot of people saying 'nothing will happen'.

      Remember, no one in the public is allowed to see the code that counts or transmits the votes.

      The Dem party is afraid of this news because they think people would not vote if they thought there was any vote tampering.

      Again, where is the proof that nothing can go wrong?

      The only foes that threaten America are the enemies at home, and those are ignorance, superstition, and incompetence. - Elbert Hubbard -9.62/-8.15

      by GustavMahler on Thu Oct 25, 2012 at 12:57:08 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  get injunctions where machine is used and pull (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Catkin, cotterperson

    out the old machines or hand written ballots

    •  That's a pretty good take down by Snopes. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      elmo, BlueStateRedhead, cotterperson

      This whole issue appears to be pot stirring smoke and mirrors.

      Fuck me! He made it. Will Scarlet

      by dagolfnut on Thu Oct 25, 2012 at 11:25:43 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Conclusion from your fine link: (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      GustavMahler
      In other words, a candidate for the presidency of the United States, and his brother, wife and son, have a straight-line financial interest in the voting machines that could decide this fall's election. These machines cannot be monitored by the public. But they will help decide who "owns" the White House.

      "Let each unique song be sung and the spell of differentiation be broken" - Winter Rabbit

      by cotterperson on Thu Oct 25, 2012 at 12:35:16 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  that isn't the "conclusion" (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        cotterperson

        That is the premise being rebutted. The article concludes that there is no evidence to establish any direct ownership link between Tagg Romney and Hart -- and, also, that the potential for vote-tampering through manipulation of Hart equipment is quite low.

        You can disagree with the conclusion, but at least state it first.

        Election protection: there's an app for that! -- and a toll-free hotline: 866-OUR-VOTE
        Better Know Your Voting System with the Verifier!

        by HudsonValleyMark on Thu Oct 25, 2012 at 01:10:39 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  LOL! (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          HudsonValleyMark

          Now I see, scroll down. Just a brain fart, sorry. However, I do reject the Weekly Standard as a source (period), and reject the Election Boards' denial (how would they know?). Snopes' conclusion really doesn't debunk:

          The real conclusion:

          It is true that H.I.G. Capital's co-founder, Anthony Tamer, and several of H.I.G.'s managing directors once worked at Bain & Company (whose CEO was Mitt Romney); that Anthony Tamer and his wife are donors to the Romney campaign; and that H.I.G. Capital is the sixth-largest financial contributor to Romney fundraising committees; and it is true that Tagg Romney's firm, Solamere, has investments in other H.I.G. funds that are run by partners who are former Romney colleagues and current Romney fundraisers, and those partners also manage the fund invested in Hart Intercivic. That close a connection between the Romney family, Romney campaign contributors, and a provider of voting systems may raise some eyebrows, but it doesn't establish any direct ownership link between Tagg Romney and a provider of voting systems.

          "Let each unique song be sung and the spell of differentiation be broken" - Winter Rabbit

          by cotterperson on Thu Oct 25, 2012 at 02:25:03 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  let's rewind (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            cotterperson

            First let me say: the formatting on that page is more subtle than I am accustomed to, and I can see why you misread it. I'm pretty used to the format, but there is no reason why you should be.

            According to the diary title, "ROMNEY'S FAMILY OWNS VOTING MACHINES IN SWING STATES."

            True?

            snopes.com says: FALSE. (It addresses a slightly different claim: "Mitt Romney's son Tagg owns a company that manufactures voting machines." But I think it would find the diary title's claim at least equally false.)

            But there are other claims about connections between Romney and Hart that would be TRUE.

            I don't really know why people who basically are trying to do the right thing make FALSE claims when they could make TRUE claims instead. Seems like it would save a lot of time.

            Election protection: there's an app for that! -- and a toll-free hotline: 866-OUR-VOTE
            Better Know Your Voting System with the Verifier!

            by HudsonValleyMark on Thu Oct 25, 2012 at 03:24:12 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Agree, it's a wrong headline. (0+ / 0-)

              However, an important, well-sourced diary shouldn't be side-tracked by that, imho. A comment suggesting an alternative title would have been more constructive, imho.

              All the best to you.

              "Let each unique song be sung and the spell of differentiation be broken" - Winter Rabbit

              by cotterperson on Thu Oct 25, 2012 at 04:49:13 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

  •  My guess. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cotterperson

    I doubt that Obama is going to just hand over the keys to the White House if there are any irregularities in the vote count that show Romney winning, esp. if polling/exit polling suggests a reason to be skeptical.

    In 2000 there was no incumbent and the SUSA got involved, in '04 Kerry was the challenger and didn't want to make a fuss but this time if things look screwy you can almost bet that the F.B.I. and the Justice Dept will get involved.

    I'm going to bed now, so there's not much  point in yelling at me if you disagree. :)

    "The human eye is a wonderful device. With a little effort, it can fail to see even the most glaring injustice." Richard K. Morgan

    by sceptical observer on Thu Oct 25, 2012 at 11:22:14 AM PDT

  •  Not this crap again (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BlueStateRedhead

    Please, do a search before you diary, ok?

    And it's not "elicit," it's "illicit."

  •  again with the "electronic swing"!? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    GustavMahler
    In 2004, in the dead of election night, an electronic swing of more than 300,000 votes switched Ohio from the John Kerry column to George W. Bush, giving him a second term. A virtual statistical impossibility, the 6-plus% shift occurred between 12:20 and 2am election night as votes were being tallied by a GOP-controlled information technology firm on servers in a basement in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
    "Virtual statistical impossibility," hell. Anyone who was watching the vote count come in on election night ought to know that there was no 6% shift between 12:20 and 2 am.

    I'm glad the Hart machines -- and all the other machines in Ohio -- have a paper trail. I'm not glad that we've moved from highly dubious arguments that the 2004 election was stolen, to obviously false arguments.

    Now, someone tell me why this is all my fault.

    Election protection: there's an app for that! -- and a toll-free hotline: 866-OUR-VOTE
    Better Know Your Voting System with the Verifier!

    by HudsonValleyMark on Thu Oct 25, 2012 at 11:49:41 AM PDT

  •  Word surfaced long enough to have been sunk (0+ / 0-)

    Try searching before announcing what has been
    announced
    as new
    innumerable times
    only to be
    refuted
    innumerable times
    and if you need one more
    here is a refutation from
    Meteor Blade's recommended election law blog
    Rick Hasen sinks HIC

    "Are you bluish? You don't look bluish," attributed to poet Roger Joseph McGough, for the Beatles' Yellow Submarine (1968).

    by BlueStateRedhead on Thu Oct 25, 2012 at 12:04:36 PM PDT

    •  You mean H.I.G., I know. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      GustavMahler
      Two Directors that work for H.I.G., Neil Tuch and Jeff Bohl, have made direct contributions to the Romney campaign in the 2012 US presidential election, and as of October 2012, H.I.G. is the 11th largest of all the contributors to the Romney effort.[4]

      One of the investors in H.I.G. is Solamere Capital, an investment firm founded by Mitt Romney's, son, Tagg Romney, and Spencer Zwick, Mitt Romney's campaign finance chair,[5] and in which Mitt Romney's brother, Scott, and Mitt Romney's wife, Anne, and Mitt Romney himself has invested, and which is run by Tagg Romney

      As of July 2011, Hart was acquired by H.I.G. Capital.

      Here's Hart:
      Hart InterCivic Inc. is a privately held United States company that provides elections, and print solutions to jurisdictions nationwide. While headquartered in Austin, Texas, Hart products are used by hundreds of jurisdictions nationwide, including as of October 2012, all counties of Texas, the entire states of Hawaii and Oklahoma, half of Washington and Colorado, and certain counties in Ohio, California, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia and Washington.
      From a well-referenced Wikipedia article, but there's much more at The Nation and at the old bricks-and-mortar business magazine, Forbes.

      "Let each unique song be sung and the spell of differentiation be broken" - Winter Rabbit

      by cotterperson on Thu Oct 25, 2012 at 12:49:14 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Not new, true, and creates false equivalencies (0+ / 0-)

    The HIC contributes to vote trutherism on the left which parallels that on the right about a non-existent link between G. Soros and voting machine companies.
    Please let it go.

    "Are you bluish? You don't look bluish," attributed to poet Roger Joseph McGough, for the Beatles' Yellow Submarine (1968).

    by BlueStateRedhead on Thu Oct 25, 2012 at 12:06:34 PM PDT

  •  More concern troll lies (0+ / 0-)

    Good little democrats.... if you live in Ohio please stay home. Your vote will not be counted. Don't bother voting at all.

    Wrong. Your vote will be counted. It counted 2006 when the democrats swept congress, and it counted in 2008 when we finally woke our country from its long national nightmare. It will count in 2012.

    •  No one is saying that. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cotterperson

      People want to know why there is this appearance of conflict of interest and what is being done to insure there is no rigging of these votes.
      I don't care what Snopes says, I want to see what safeguards are in affect.

      The only foes that threaten America are the enemies at home, and those are ignorance, superstition, and incompetence. - Elbert Hubbard -9.62/-8.15

      by GustavMahler on Thu Oct 25, 2012 at 01:00:35 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Don't vote using machines, Vote Early at... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cotterperson

    ...city clerks office or mail it in asap!!!!

    Our nations quality of life is based on the rightousness of its people.

    by kalihikane on Thu Oct 25, 2012 at 12:35:27 PM PDT

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