Thursday, October 25, 2012

Is the GOP Planning to Steal the 2012 Election?

by Nomad

The Fixing and The Flip
Bob Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman,  co-authors of five books on election protection, have investigated the very real possibility of a stolen presidential election in 2012. 
Writing for FreePress.org, the journalists have uncovered evidence that things are looking rather grim when it comes to  a conspiracy to overthrow the election process. 
Nine Republican governors have the power to put Mitt Romney in the White House, even if Barack Obama wins the popular vote.
With their secretaries of state, they control the electronic vote count in nine key swing states: Florida, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Iowa, Arizona, and New Mexico. Wisconsin elections are under the control of the state's Government Accountability Board, appointed by the governor.

In tandem with the GOP's massive nation-wide disenfranchisement campaign, they could---in the dead of election night---flip their states' electronic votes to Romney and give him a victory in the Electoral College.
Those governors came into power under the banner of the Tea Party, which has been heavily supported by the Koch brothers through the conservative political advocacy group  Americans for Prosperity.

Writer Sheila Parks in her recently-published book While We Still Have Time: The Perils Of Electronic Voting Machines And Democracy's Solution: explains the theory:
"In 2010, ultra-right-wing Republican governors were elected in Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Maine, Michigan, New Jersey, Ohio, South Carolina, Texas, and Wisconsin. In several of these states, these governors were not part of a long line of Republican governors. In fact, in some of these states, these governors interrupted a long line of Democratic governors."
FreePress suggests that this is where the fixing begins.
So this year Rick Scott is governor in Florida, Tom Corbett in Pennsylvania, John Kasich in Ohio, Rick Snyder in Michigan, Scott Walker in Wisconsin and Jan Brewer is in Arizona. All are seen as hard-right Republicans unlikely to agonize over flipping a Barack Obama majority into a victory for Mitt Romney.
"Flipping" would entail electronically altering the vote count. It's easier than you might think. 
According to the CIA, electronic voting systems have allowed apparent vote-rigging schemes in Venezuela, Macedonia and Ukraine. (And perhaps even closer to home.)
Another report states:

Germany has joined 11 U.S. states, the Netherlands, and other countries which have banned electronic voting of one form or another. Dozens of professors and hundreds of computer experts around the country have shown that electronic voting machines can easily be manipulated and elections results changed.
Germany's reasoning for banning the voting method is worth a closer look. It was a unacceptable to the German constitution, it was decided, because electronic voting is a clear violation of human rights. How so?  
“The use of voting machines which electronically record the voters’ votes and electronically ascertain the election result only meets the constitutional requirements if the essential steps of the voting and of the ascertainment of the result can be examined reliably and without any specialist knowledge of the subject. “
Meaning every citizen must have the right and the ability to judge, along with the authorities,  the fairness of the election results.  This is clearly not the case with electronic voting. 
“The use of electronic voting machines requires that the essential steps of the voting and of the determination of the result [the count] can be examined by the citizen reliably and without any specialist knowledge of the subject. This requirement results from the principle of the public nature of elections”
With a paper ballot, any voter (that can count) can determine to his or her own satisfaction what the results were. No cyber-security expert has to submit his stamp of approval. 
Apart from the problems with the electronic voting system, there is also the problem with other aspects of the system. In those problems, governors have an important role to play in the validation of the results.

The Truth about Elections
One of the great enduring myths of the American Republic- something that most voters believe is that the american voters decide directly who the next President and the vice-president will be on election day. It would nice if that were true. 
Actually, upon closer investigation, the real selection process is mind-numbingly more complicated than most voters know and far less democratic. Voters are actually voting "for a slate of candidates for the office of elector nominated by a party or other political group, and pledged to support the candidates of that party."  

So every poll supporting one or the other candidate is really pretty meaningless. The people who are surveyed are certainly not the people who decide. As we shall see, the polls may or may not give a hint at how the electoral college will vote. 
Of course, biased polls also serve to paint an election closer than it actually is in order to hide any widespread rigging of the popular vote. Only in a close election can there be any plausibility to a questionable result. 

So, to review,  when you vote for president you are actually voting to give electors, pledged to a certain candidate, one of the seats in a body called the Electoral College. The Constitution gives each state a number of electoral votes equal to the number of representatives and senators it has. Therefore, every state has at least three electoral votes because even the smallest states have one representative and two senators. The total number of all electors in the Electoral College is 538.
Although candidates for elector may be well known persons, such as governors, state legislators, or other state and local officials, they generally receive little recognition as electors. In fact, in most states, the names of individual electors do not appear anywhere on the ballot;
So how are these people actually selected?
The electors are generally chosen by the candidate’s political party, but state laws vary on how the electors are selected and what their responsibilities are. (You can read more about the qualifications of the Electors and restrictions on who the Electors may vote for.)
These presidential electors are supposed to vote for the candidates of the party that nominated them. There has always been some debate, however, whether these electors were independent, free to decide for themselves or  whether they were obliged to follow the will of the people.  
Individual electors have sometimes broken their commitment, voting for a different candidate or candidates than those to whom they were pledged; they are known as “faithless” or “unfaithful” electors.  In fact, most constitutional scholars believe that electors, once chosen, remain constitutionally free agents, able to vote for any candidate who meets the requirements for President and Vice President.
It is not a theoretical problem either.  While the votes of the faithless elector has not actually affected the outcome of any election, in the 20th  century,  one faithless elector has appeared in the elections of 1948, 1956, 1960, 1968, 1972, 1976, and 1988, and one blank ballot cast in 2000.)
There is no Constitutional provision or Federal law requiring electors to vote in accordance with the popular vote in their States. .. But some state laws require electors to cast their votes according to the popular vote and provide that so-called "faithless electors" may be subject to fines or may be disqualified for casting an invalid vote and be replaced by a substitute elector.
So it would be up to state officials to disqualify and replace any faithless elector.
If one were willing to take the risk, the position of governor in key states would be the place to start. Following the election, the governor gives a stamp of approval to the process in the form of a “Certificate of Ascertainment.” This is a list the candidates who ran for President in the state and the names of their respective electors and how they voted. It also declares the winning presidential candidate. Therefore, on a state level, the governor decides whether there was any corruption of the process. 
And yes, there have been instances in American history when the candidate with the greater popular vote lost to the vote of the electoral college. That alone should have led to the dissolution or at least the reform of this system.

Many have argued against the need for any Electoral College and support those objections with a list of valid points. For example, besides the very real and very serious problem of misrepresenting the will of the people by electing the less popular candidate there is also the problem of certain states having undue influence over the outcome of the national election. (Further objections can be found here.)

About the Doubts
Of course, it would not be the first time there were questions about the legitimacy of the process. Questions were raised in both 2000 and 2004 elections, especially when it came to electronic voting. Now imagine what would happen if we had a repeat of what happened in Florida in 2000 and 2004 but in nine different states?

It is hard to imagine that Obama- as a popular incumbent-  would not vigorously contest any suspect election result. After three similar instances of accepting possibly manipulated outcomes, the Democratic Party would lose all legitimacy in the eyes of its supporters. 
Moreover, the Supreme Court, after its highly-controversial decision in Citizens United, and two of its leading conservative judges had private meetings with the Koch brothers, has, for most Americans lost its position as a fair and unbiased arbitrator in any contested election. What it  boils down to is a catastrophe waiting to happen.

As I have reported in another series, there was compelling and detailed evidence of a conspiracy, reportedly engineered Karl Rove with the help of other insiders, to rig the count in Ohio, a key swing state. Evidence for this allegation, however, came well after the fact. In the case of the 2012, evidence is now emerging prior to the election. 

According to FreePress.org,  the ties to attempt to subvert to process seem to lead directly back to Romney through Bain Capital.
The FreePress.org has found that Hamilton County’s Board of Elections (BOE) will be utilizing electronic voting machines owned by a company whose directors are former Bain alumni. The company is Hart InterCivic, whose machines failed in Tarrant County (Fort Worth, TX) back in 2006, when they added nearly 100,000 votes to result totals during a primary.
Fitrakis says 11 men working for Hart InterCivic were formerly employed at Bain and Company, and two of those men, John P. Bolduc and Douglas Berman are Romney “bundlers.”
Rigging an election is not exclusively a GOP scheme, says Fitrakis. “The reality is, nobody wants to think that people would cheat at American politics, the most powerful nation on earth. … [U]nless you put procedures in place, of course both sides will cheat because so much power is at stake.”
Other media outlets have also implicated Tagg Romney, son of the candidate. The claim runs like this:
Solamere Capital, an investment fund founded and run by Tagg Romney, is a financial partner with HIG Capital, a private equity firm that manages a whole range of investments. HIG also invests in Hart Intercivic, a polling machine company that operates machines at polling places in Hamilton County, Ohio.
However, The Weekly Standard, a neoconservative opinion magazine (described as "the neo-con bible"),  has thrown those allegations into some doubt. 
“Not only does Solamere have no direct or indirect interest in this company [Hart Intercivic], Solamere and its partners have no ownership in this company, nor do they have any ownership in nor have made any investments in the fund that invested in the voting machine company,” the spokesman said.
So while Solamere does partner with HIG on investments, none of those investments involve Hart Intercivic. HIG may be simultaneously managing investments with both companies, but the investments are kept separate, as required by law. Put simply, Tagg Romney is not an “investor in a voting machine company.”
For a more balanced analysis of the story, you can try this article. The verdict of Business Insider?
Solamere may not have a direct or indirect investment in the voting machine company. But its partner H.I.G. does. And the partner, H.I.G., is run by executives who actively support the Romney campaign.
Even the appearance of conflicts of interest can be lethal to principles of a fair election.
*    *    *    *

The doubts about the fairness of the 2012 elections pose some far-reaching challenges to prospect of democracy in the US. Reforms to this impractical and overly-complicated system are needed if it is not too late. The bottomline is that Americans must have a reasonable amount of trust in their election system. Without it, democracy becomes- even as an ideal- nothing more than a very bitter joke on an enslaved public. 



Any party that attempts to steal an election is playing with fire. The main purpose of legitimate elections is not only to abolish tyranny but to prevent chaos and bloody revolutions. Therefore, election rigging- whether proved or strongly suspected- undermines the legitimacy of every administration in the short term and destroys representative government in the long.
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Here's a graphic that shows the many alleged connections which could cast doubt on any election result in 2012. It's called Karl Rove's Empire of Election Fraud.

http://www.sweetremedy.tv/media/npcmap.gif

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