GOP Theft of Our Election Is Under Way.
This country's democracy was hijacked and stolen in 2000 and we cannot allow it to happen again.
(From OpEd News http://www.opednews.com/wade_101504_election_theft.htm)
GOP Theft of Our Election Is Under Way.
By Anthony Wade
John Kerry is poised to finally wrest back this country which has been hijacked for the past four years from extreme ideologues who have driven us to the brink on nearly every front imaginable. After decisive victories in every debate and surging poll numbers from those debates, it is becoming apparent that the only way George W. Bush may be able to win, is to steal the election. This would seem so cynical if not for the fact that the GOP machine has already done it once.
With 19 days to go, we are already seeing the "voting irregularities" popping up all across this country. Every time we hear the GOP react with astonishment and assuring statements issued about how they do not tolerate such behavior. Please. They are coordinating it, pure and simple. This country's democracy was hijacked and stolen in 2000 and we cannot allow it to happen again. John Kerry has made his case to the country, now it is our job to make sure that EVERY vote is counted, and counted fairly. The following stories will set the stage so that America understands that we are not only talking about something that might happen in 19 days, we are talking about what has already happened, and is happening right now.
Nevada - Just this week, employees of a private voter registration company have revealed that hundreds, if not thousands of democratic registrations were thrown in the trash. Did you get that America ? A company that registered voters in a crucial swing state, kept the republican registrations but threw away the democratic registrations. Now, when these people show up to vote, they will not be eligible because they will not be on the rolls. The company responsible, Voters Outreach of America (VOA), is largely if not exclusively funded by the Republican National Committee. So in essence, the RNC has collaborated to defraud the upcoming election.
Employees of the company say they were given special training in how to identify potential GOP voters, and how to avoid signing up any Democrats. Workers were told that if they signed up as many Democrats as Republicans, they would not be paid for the hours they spent in front of shopping malls, grocery stores or government offices.
Two employees said they witnessed the managers of VOA removing and destroying the voter registration forms of those who signed up as Democrats. These democratic forms were ripped into shreds and discarded. The employees managed to retrieve some of the shredded papers from the garbage and handed them over to a reporter. The forms were completely filled out and were signed by people who thought their registrations would be filed with the county Election Department. The reporter confirmed that didn't happen.
Oregon - Apparently, when VOA was done defrauding Nevada voters, they packed up and moved on to disenfranchise Oregon voters. In Oregon , the same policy of pay only if the registrations were republican was implemented. A paid-per-registration canvasser said that he had been instructed to accept registrations only from Republicans and that he "might" destroy those from Democrats. The Douglas County Clerk had complaints from voters that they were pressured into registering as republicans. Additional voter complaints stated that they were told that their voter registration cards would not be turned in if they registered as democrats.
The company has been traced back to an Arizona group called Sproul and Associates. This company is run by Nathan Sproul, a former head of the Republican Party and Christian Coalition in Arizona who has subcontracted with the Republican National Committee to do voter outreach. A spokesman for the Republican National Committee said the party has "a zero-tolerance policy for anything that smacks of impropriety in registering voters." Sure, we believe that don't we?
Additionally, Sproul's company represented themselves as a "non-partisan voter registration company" when they tried to set up shop in local Oregon libraries. When the investigation revealed their partisan backing, they were denied.
Pennsylvania - Similar complaints have now surfaced in Pennsylvania , where one temp worker claims that they were trained to ask people how they were going to vote. If the person said "Bush" they were given a voter registration form. If they said "Kerry" they were just told thank you and no form was given. The company? Sproul and Associates.
West Virginia - The Charleston Gazette reported that the same company was running voter registration drives in West Virginia . A temp worker revealed that they were trained to pretend they were conducting a research poll to see who potential voters may vote for. If the respondent said Kerry, they were thanked and dismissed. If the person said Bush, they were provided with a voter registration card and registered. The worker continued, revealing that they were told to quietly listen to any person who becomes angry and to remember, "The goal is to register Republicans and to remain positive."
When a confused worker asked a question about the company they were told, "the less you know about the company, the better off you are, especially if the media would come asking questions". Well Nathan, we are asking now.
The Internet advertisement in these swing states seeking the temp employees had this caveat at the bottom:
"Paid for by the Republican National Committee. www.gop.com. Not authorized by any candidate or candidate's committee."
More damning evidence:
Sproul's organization also recruited registrars by fraudulently telling recruits that they would be working for America Votes, a legitimate nonpartisan GOTV operation.
Sproul has received $600,000 for his "efforts". What the GOP call "efforts", we all call fraud. His efforts have also seen voter fraud in Maine , Michigan , Missouri , and Ohio . This is completely unacceptable in America and we must make a stand now. All disenfranchised voters need to be assured that they will be able to vote. America should be outraged, democrats and republicans alike. Even if you honestly feel that George Bush is the better man, you cannot condone this fascist campaign to undermine the very fabric of our democracy.
I can hear the mantra already. The GOP will blame the temp workers and say, "it was just a few bad apples". Anyone remember Abu Ghraib? Collectively, we must stand up and say no. Sproul has received a kickback of $600,000. Do you honestly believe that was just to provide a get-out-the-vote campaign? This represents the absolute worst of American politics and we need to band together as Americans, not democrats or republicans and say, NO.
This however is not the only story of voter irregularities.
South Dakota - This week, six people connected with the South Dakota Republican Party have resigned over questions surrounding absentee ballot applications. Essentially, the notary who signed and sealed the applications was not even present when students from KELOLAND college students were signed up. The state director of the Republican Victory Program, Larry Russell and state Republican Party employee Eric Fahrendorf were the two prominent resignations accepted.
Wisconsin - The Mayor of Milwaukee, Tom Barrett has revealed that a request made for extra ballots has been rejected by the County Executive . Barrett correctly pointed out that the 679,000 ballots the county agreed to print were less than the number prepared for elections in 2000 and 2002. He asked for almost 260,000 additional ballots, expecting a large turnout next month. The County representative, who is republican, cited erroneous voter fraud concerns. Clearly, everyone agrees that this election will see a far greater voter turnout than we have seen in many years so the concerns from the republican are transparent.
City officials said the request for additional ballots was an effort to prevent shortages because some wards have run out in the past. They say some ballots will be ``spoiled'' by voters' mistakes, and Wisconsin 's same-day voter registration makes turnout unpredictable.
Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker, who denied the extra ballots, is a state co-chairman of President Bush's campaign. Imagine my surprise. The strategy is to create the possibility of running out of ballots for a mostly democratic city such as Milwaukee . This is despicable.
Nevada , Again - Former state Republican Party Chair Dan Burdish tried to purge 17,000 democratic voters from the rolls last week, claiming they were "inactive". Thankfully, his request was denied.
Iowa - Hundreds of voter registration forms were rejected by mail this week because of a technicality involving auditors being able to access the Social Security database to verify the numbers provided. The solution underway is for the voters to come in person to verify who they are. The auditors have admitted that the voters did nothing wrong. Students feel this is an intentional effort to make it difficult for them to vote. The elderly, some who are handicapped, are angered because they're unable to leave the house. Not surprisingly, these blocks of voters are expected to vote democratic. Additionally, the situation is having a big impact on out-of-state students living in Iowa who do not have an Iowa driver's license or non-driver ID card but who want to register to vote in Iowa . The officials say they are moving to correct this disenfranchisement, but possibly only because it was discovered and reported.
Ohio - In 2003, the head of one of the biggest manufacturers of voting machines wrote a fundraising letter saying he is "committed to helping Ohio deliver its electoral votes to the president next year." According to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Walden O'Dell, CEO of Diebold INC., also attended a strategy session with wealthy Bush benefactors—known as Rangers and Pioneers—at the president's Crawford , Texas , ranch. The next week, he invited guests to a $1,000-a-plate fundraiser for the Ohio GOP at his mansion in the Cleveland suburbs. O'Dell is the man whose machines have no paper trail and will be used by at least 8 million voters in the upcoming election.
Michigan - A top GOP official in Michigan was quoted as supporting minority voter suppression. State Representative John Pappageorge was quoted as saying, "If we do not suppress the Detroit vote, we're going to have a tough time in this election." Let's set the context of the significance of this quote. While Michigan is predominantly white (78 percent), Detroit has an overwhelmingly minority population (88 percent). This strategy is no accident: Polls show that more than four in five blacks believe Bush did not legitimately win the election in 2000 and two-thirds think deliberate attempts were made to prevent black voters' ballots from being counted. Apparently, the GOP plans on continuing the disenfranchisement they started in 2000.
Hawaii - The 50th state could play an important role in this election because of the time difference. Fraud here could steal the deal for Bush. Hawaii election officials chose to go with computer voting machines this year made by Hart InterCivic, a Texas-based supplier. Normally, government procurement practices require open bidding with the sale going to the lowest bidder who meets specifications. Those specifications are set forth in some form of Request for Quotation or Request for Proposal. These are assumed to be open documents. In this instance, they were not. It has been reported that Hart's Director, John G. Farmer, is "Co-Managing Partner of Stratford Capital Partners, affiliated with the Hicks, Tate and Furst organization". The "Hicks" is Thomas Hicks. Hicks and the firm's employees rank nineteenth as Bush's career patrons, having given him at least $233,000. In 1998, Hicks helped provide Bush with an even greater boon when he bought the Texas Rangers for $250,000,000, three times what Bush and his partners had paid ten years earlier. Bush's take from the proceeds of the sale was $14.9 million, nearly a 25 fold return on his investment. Hmmm, something stinks.
And the Winner is... Florida - Of course I saved the worst and the most convoluted for last. You would think that Florida officials would have straightened out their mess from 2000. Ahh, but you forgot who the Governor is didn't you. Brother Jeb has displayed no intent whatsoever to do anything different. Jeb Bush intends to deliver Florida for his brother personally, unless the American people can stand up and demand some form of recusal given the enormous conflict of interest and past history.
Where do we start? In June of this year, Florida Governor Jeb Bush and his political appointees used the guise of clearing felons off voter rolls AGAIN to hide an attempt to disenfranchise 48,000 traditionally Democratic voters. The list, which was disproportionately African-American, was rife with inaccuracies. Additionally, in a state with a heavily Republican Cuban population, a technical error caused the names of thousands of Hispanic felons to be excluded from the list. The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights has asked the Department of Justice to investigate.
In July, the Miami Herald found the Republican Party staking out naturalization ceremonies for new immigrants to trick them into registering Republican. Specifically, GOP operatives have been handing out voter registration forms to new citizens just moments after being sworn in by the U.S. government with the party affiliation box already checked Republican. Once registered, the GOP can target mailing and other campaign outreach to those voters.
U.S. Rep. Robert Wexler filed a lawsuit demanding a paper trail for the new computer voting machines in the upcoming election. Sound reasonable to you? Well, not to Jeb and the new Katherine Harris, Glenda Hood. They actually fought the lawsuit, and won. Did you get that America ? Wexler simply wanted the new computer machines, made and programmed by companies that are all supporting Bush, to have a paper trail in case of irregularities. How in the world can anyone sensibly fight that concept? Now, if staunch democratic counties suddenly vote for Bush, we will have no way of assessing the authenticity of the votes. It is an election fraud nightmare, handed to you by the ones who brought you the 2000 debacle. The situation is so dire that Jimmy Carter recently weighed in and said,
"The disturbing fact is that a repetition of the problems of 2000 now seems likely"
"Some basic international requirements for a fair election are missing in Florida ."
The response from the president's brother and his appointed flunkies? Trust us. How in the world can we? A routine test of Palm Beach County 's electronic voting machines just this week was canceled because the computer network at the elections office malfunctioned hours before the public exercise. The machines should at least have a verifiable paper trail but the powers that be have denied Floridians and this nation of that security.
This year also exposed the testing procedures for Sequoia computer voting machines were biased and essentially fraudulently based. The details are very involved and instead of going into them directly, I will direct you to this link:
All of these stories have a common thread. The operatives of George W. Bush desperately want to ensure that their power is retained and are willing to go to any lengths to ensure that. Disenfranchisement of voters is the weapon they wield. This is not an isolated incident here or there, it is a pervasive plan. It is a conscious effort. These are only some of the stories that have come up recently. There are certainly more out there. They represent the very worst of our democratic process. The states listed above, where the majority of these illegalities are occurring, are swing states that will ultimately determine our president this year. Do you honestly think this is not being orchestrated? This kind of targeted fraud does not happen by chance. It is a deliberate scheme to steal your election.
The solution is not easy. It requires as many of us as possible to monitor polling sites, especially in swing states. It requires a concerted effort by all Americans to not allow this criminality to stand, regardless of party. There needs to be an outcry that Jeb Bush recuse himself from any involvement in his state's election activities and that a truly independent person be appointed to oversee the entire process. There needs to be swift reporting of ANY irregularities on Election Day and the days left leading up to it. Then there needs to be a defiant stand if there is proof of impropriety. In 2000 we were told to get over it. Not this time. Our entire system of democracy is at stake. Thomas Jefferson once said:
"Through their right of suffrage, the people exercise their sovereign power over government. If things are not going right, they can throw one set of interests out and elect another that promises a revision of the course that government has taken. Thus, elective government is an essential part of the process of control by the people."
Don't let anyone take your sovereign power over your government away.
Anthony Wade is co-administrator of www.ibtp.org, a website devoted to educating the populace to the ongoing lies of President George W. Bush and seeking his removal from office. He is a 37-year-old independent writer from New York with political commentary articles seen on multiple websites. A Christian progressive and professional Rehabilitation Counselor working with the poor and disabled, Mr. Wade believes that you can have faith and hold elected officials accountable for lies and excess.
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