Radio personality Thom Hartmann spoke to the importance of NOT letting ANY private programmers or corporations be involved in the voting process. He pointed to the history of power and the need to have the "commons" represented by a voting process that can't be given to anyone but the commons (meaning the people themselves). Transparency, accountability, and public participation in the entire process were mentioned.
Ohio journalist, political scientist, election observer, and author Bob Fitrakis gave the nights main lecture to a large and receptive audience. He detailed a score Ohio "irregularities" illiciting head shakes and shock from the audience. The most glaring examples were seen in the actions of Sectretary of State Blackwell. Fitrakis called the "recount" Ohio more corrupt than the election itself, pointing to its blatant selectiveness, which some of the counting to the private companies who were responsible for shady practices in the first place. Interestingly, Fitrakis wasn't afriad to make the connection between his work in El Salvador monitoring elections as an international observer. He said (paraphrased) "if in El Salvador, they were going to tell me that in one of the major parties was going to take the boxes, go away, count them, and come back and release the results, I would have stamped 'Fraud' on that election. And that's exactly what happened here." Fitrakis didn't hold back in mentioning that he witnessed those same security agencies in the US that have admittedly rigged elections abroad here at work in the last two national elections and that they were directly connected to the Bush family! Fitrakis wasn't afraid to raise his voice towards the end of his lecture and speak to the gravity of the implications of elections fraud in our country.
I didn't stay for all the Q&A, but great questions were met with thoughtful answers. One woman claimed to have been friends with Congressman Paul Welstone, stating he had been killed. Though neither speaker chose to address this statement, Fitrakis spoke to her question about Minnesota elections fraud by pointing out fraud in Virginia's processes (I think). Another woman spoke her mind by asking "what are you doing other than saying 'look there's this big machine in motion'?" This question seemed like a challenge at first, answered by Fitrakis as "I've done all this work, wrote this book and lectured with it, my question now is what is anybody else doing" but then was picked up by Hartmann who was able to speak to it more as "what are people doing to change this?" It was great for people to speak there minds and make the broader connections to deep corruption in gov't. It was great to hear Fitrakis and others mention outright the military and intelligence industrial complex.
Excellent lecture from a hardworking and honorable researcher and journalist! Thanks to the speakers, those who attended, the Oregon Voter Rights Coalition, the PSU greens and Demcracy Matters for such an important lecture at PSU. A a student at PSU, I say let's have more like it!