by Bob Fitrakis & Harvey Wasserman
October 27, 2012
Electronically, this election is over. Mitt Romney has won.
The big loser is not Barack Obama, or the corporate Democratic Party. It is democracy itself.
Unless YOU act now, and are prepared to fight this out for years to come, whatever remains of American democracy is done.
No nation that suffers the theft of three out of four consecutive national elections can harbor the illusion that it is run by the will of its people.
Those who would have it otherwise must work from now to Election Day and beyond, to:
• Check your registration -- millions of us need to confirm that we are still registered voters and haven’t been purged from the polls. You can do this by checking with your county board of elections either by phone or online, or by contacting you secretary of state’s office;
• Occupy the polling sites – come out in droves on Election Day to guarantee that EVERY citizen can fairly vote. Make sure there is no voter intimidation or other repression of voting. Look for broken machines, proliferation of voters forced to vote provisionally, and other irregularities. If something happens to your vote, report it to us;
• Document the vote count – help implement a national network of precinct-by-precinct monitoring systems to track as closely as possible the voter turnout as a check against the final tabulated electronic vote count. Take photos or video of the final precinct voting results posted at polling sites;
• Stop voting machine rigging – Observe the polling stations to monitor which technicians come to “service” the electronic voting machines and how they do it. Take photos or video of them and their vehicles;
• Gear up now for post-election legal and direct action strategies to resist an electronic tally almost certain to be rigged on election night in at least nine swing states...or however many it may take.
Though all the pieces are in place, the GOP theft is not inevitable. But the realities are harsh and demanding:
There are no meaningful, legally binding public checks and balances on the tabulation of votes cast electronically.
• Exit polling has proven accurate to within 1% of the vote – the gold standard for detecting vote tampering in other countries such as Germany, which uses paper ballots. In the U.S., when exit polls don’t match the vote count, there’s no investigation into tampering. Exit polls are always “adjusted” late election night to conform to the ultimate “official” vote count, even though shifts in Ohio 2004 and elsewhere were virtually statistically impossible. This election, exit polling will not happen in 19 states.
• Despite an almost total blackout from the corporate media, the Romney family has a personal ownership (through the investment firms Solamere and H.I.G. Capital) in Hart Intercivic, which owns, maintains, programs and will tabulate alleged votes on machines in the critical swing states of Ohio, Florida, Virginia and Colorado. Despite various official disclaimers, the election could be decided on Hart machines producing "vote counts" with little connection to how 18 million people actually voted.
• It is inconceivable that the Romney chain of ownership in Hart Intercivic will not influence how that goes. The story has gotten widespread circulation on the internet, but has been ignored or dismissed by most of the corporate media and attacked by the Democratic Party. Petitions at Moveon.org and elsewhere call for a Department of Justice investigation. Tens of thousands of citizens have signed on. But there is no legally binding way by which a professionally rigged electronic vote count can be overturned or even definitively discovered except through the use of unabridged but legally inconsequential exit polling.
• Scytl, a Barcelona-based e-voting company, has been contracted to count votes in 26 states through the easily rigged Federal Overseas Voting Program. FVAP is ostensibly geared to let military and other overseas Americans vote absentee by electronic means. But Scytl is positioned to intercept and redistribute such overseas electronic votes as needed through its spyware sister company, CarrierIQ. In a close race, these "votes" can be distributed at will to make the difference in critical swing states.
• Other key voting machine companies, such as ES&S, Dominion, Command Central and more, are controlled by major corporations, some of whose owners are outspoken in their support for the Republican Party. Such support is reminiscent of Diebold owner Walden O’Dell, whose election software and machines helped give George W. Bush a second term in 2004, as O’Dell promised.
• Republicans hold the governorships in the nine critical swing states of Florida, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, Iowa, New Mexico and Arizona. They also hold the secretaries of state offices in all of those states but Wisconsin. Electronically flipping the vote count in any or all of them, with Hart Intercivic, Scytl, Dominion or other technologies, can be done quickly, simply and invisibly, with no public recourse.
• The GOP’s systematic “high-tech Jim and Juan Crow” disenfranchisement of millions of Americans continues to lengthen the odds against a Democratic victory, with millions of citizens being deprived of their right to vote. These voter ID and other laws have been focused on disenfranchising Hispanics, African-Americans and others suspected of leaning to the Democrats.
• Though some of these laws have been turned back by the courts, Tea Party activists, True-the-Vote zealots and other Republicans will be at the polls to challenge voters they suspect of being likely Democrats. Many of these challenges will be illegal, but effective unless countered by the physical presence of election protection activists.
• At least one Virginia GOP operative has already been arrested for destroying voter registration forms in a tactic that would deprive citizens of their right to vote, as reported at BradBlog.com. Also, there is a criminal prosecution underway in Florida over the destruction of voter registrations.
• Republican-controlled election boards in Ohio are already deceiving potential voters with mailed misinformation about dates and locations for casting a vote. Such mailings were used throughout Ohio 2004 and elsewhere. Also, phone calls are being made to voters in order to mislead them on the day, time and location of voting
There is much more. The idea that the Chamber of Commerce and the GOP's horde of billionaire backers would spend hundreds of millions of dollars to capture the White House and Congress but stop short of a few electronic key strokes is nonsensical.
Unfortunately, we cannot count on the Democratic Party to do much about this. Al Gore and John Kerry have said nothing about the stolen elections of 2000 and 2004. When the Free Press first broke many of the stories about the theft of the 2004 election, we were attacked first and most consistently by the Democratic Party, which hired a lawyer from the state's leading Republican law firm to attack our reporting.
This year the Free Press is coordinating an on-the-ground monitoring of the vote in Hamilton County, where the election could be decided on Romney's own Hart Intercivic machines. Please contact us at freepress.org if you'd like to help or contribute.
In the meantime, wherever you are, do all you can to turn the electronic tide. As Rev. Jesse Jackson has put it, "We can afford to lose an election. We can't afford to lose our democracy."
Bob Fitrakis & Harvey Wasserman have co-authored five books on election protection, including the new e-book WILL THE GOP STEAL AMERICA'S 2012 ELECTION? Freepress.org