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Topic: The stench is unbearable

  1. #1

    The stench is unbearable

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    'Stinking Evidence' of Possible Election Fraud Found in Florida
    By Thom Hartmann

    Thursday 18 November 2004

    There was something odd about the poll tapes.

    A "poll tape" is the phrase used to describe a printout from an optical scan voting machine made the evening of an election, after the machine has read all the ballots and crunched the numbers on its internal computer. It shows the total results of the election in that location. The printout is signed by the polling officials present in that precinct/location, and then submitted to the county elections office as the official record of how the people in that particular precinct had voted. (Usually each location has only one single optical scanner/reader, and thus produces only one poll tape.)

    Bev Harris of www.blackboxvoting.org, the erstwhile investigator of electronic voting machines, along with people from Florida Fair Elections, showed up at Florida's Volusia County Elections Office on the afternoon of Tuesday, November 16, 2004, and asked to see, under a public records request, each of the poll tapes for the 100+ optical scanners in the precincts in that county. The elections workers - having been notified in advance of her request - handed her a set of printouts, oddly dated November 15 and lacking signatures.

    Bev pointed out that the printouts given her were not the original poll tapes and had no signatures, and thus were not what she'd requested. Obligingly, they told her that the originals were held in another location, the Elections Office's Warehouse, and that since it was the end of the day they should meet Bev the following morning to show them to her.

    Bev showed up bright and early the morning of Wednesday the 17th - well before the scheduled meeting - and discovered three of the elections officials in the Elections Warehouse standing over a table covered with what looked like poll tapes. When they saw Bev and her friends, Bev told me in a telephone interview less than an hour later, "They immediately shoved us out and slammed the door."

    In a way, that was a blessing, because it led to the stinking evidence.

    "On the porch was a garbage bag," Bev said, "and so I looked in it and, and lo and behold, there were public record tapes."

    Thrown away. Discarded. Waiting to be hauled off.

    "It was technically stinking, in fact," Bev added, "because what they had done was to have thrown some of their polling tapes, which are the official records of the election, into the garbage. These were the ones signed by the poll workers. These are something we had done an official public records request for."

    When the elections officials inside realized that the people outside were going through the trash, they called the police and one came out to challenge Bev.

    Kathleen Wynne, a www.blackboxvoting.org investigator, was there.

    "We caught the whole thing on videotape," she said. "I don't think you'll ever see anything like this - Bev Harris having a tug of war with an election worker over a bag of garbage, and he held onto it and she pulled on it, and it split right open, spilling out those poll tapes. They were throwing away our democracy, and Bev wasn't going to let them do it."

    As I was interviewing Bev just moments after the tussle, she had to get off the phone, because, "Two police cars just showed up."

    She told me later in the day, in an on-air interview, that when the police arrived, "We all had a vigorous debate on the merits of my public records request."

    The outcome of that debate was that they all went from the Elections Warehouse back to the Elections Office, to compare the original, November 2 dated and signed poll tapes with the November 15 printouts the Elections Office had submitted to the Secretary of State. A camera crew from www.votergate.tv met them there, as well.

    And then things got even odder.

    "We were sitting there comparing the real [signed, original] tapes with the [later printout] ones that were given us," Bev said, "and finding things missing and finding things not matching, when one of the elections employees took a bin full of things that looked like garbage - that looked like polling tapes, actually - and passed by and disappeared out the back of the building."

    This provoked investigator Ellen Brodsky to walk outside and check the garbage of the Elections Office itself. Sure enough - more original, signed poll tapes, freshly trashed.

    "And I must tell you," Bev said, "that whatever they had taken out [the back door] just came right back in the front door and we said, 'What are these polling place tapes doing in your dumpster?'"

    A November 18 call to the Volusia County Elections Office found that Elections Supervisor Deanie Lowe was unavailable and nobody was willing to speak on the record with an out-of-state reporter. However, The Daytona Beach News (in Volusia County), in a November 17th article by staff writer Christine Girardin, noted, "Harris went to the Department of Elections' warehouse on State Road 44 in DeLand on Tuesday to inspect original Nov. 2 polling place tapes, after being given a set of reprints dated Nov. 15. While there, Harris saw Nov. 2 polling place tapes in a garbage bag, heightening her concern about the integrity of voting records."

    The Daytona Beach News further noted that, "[Elections Supervisor] Lowe confirmed Wednesday some backup copies of tapes from the Nov. 2 election were destined for the shredder," but pointed out that, according to Lowe, that was simply because there were two sets of tapes produced on election night, each signed. "One tape is delivered in one car along with the ballots and a memory card," the News reported. "The backup tape is delivered to the elections office in a second car."

    Suggesting that duplicates don't need to be kept, Lowe claims that Harris didn't want to hear an explanation of why some signed poll tapes would be in the garbage. "She's not wanting to listen to an explanation," Lowe told the News of Harris. "She has her own ideas."

    But the Ollie North action in two locations on two days was only half of the surprise that awaited Bev and her associates. When they compared the discarded, signed, original tapes with the recent printouts submitted to the state and used to tabulate the Florida election winners, Harris says a disturbing pattern emerged.

    "The difference was hundreds of votes in each of the different places we examined," said Bev, "and most of those were in minority areas."

    When I asked Bev if the errors they were finding in precinct after precinct were random, as one would expect from technical, clerical, or computer errors, she became uncomfortable.

    "You have to understand that we are non-partisan," she said. "We're not trying to change the outcome of an election, just to find out if there was any voting fraud."

    That said, Bev added: "The pattern was very clear. The anomalies favored George W. Bush. Every single time."

    Of course finding possible voting "anomalies" in one Florida county doesn't mean they'll show up in all counties. It's even conceivable there are innocent explanations for both the mismatched counts and trashed original records; this story undoubtedly will continue to play out. And, unless further investigation demonstrates a pervasive and statewide trend toward "anomalous" election results in many of Florida's counties, odds are none of this will change the outcome of the election (which exit polls showed John Kerry winning in Florida).

    Nonetheless, Bev and her merry band are off to hit another county.

    As she told me on her cell phone while driving toward their next destination, "We just put Volusia County and their lawyers on notice that they need to continue to keep a number of documents under seal, including all of the memory cards to the ballot boxes, and all of the signed poll tapes."


    "Simple," she said. "Because we found anomalies indicative of fraud."

  2. #2

    Re: The stench is unbearable

    Let it go Nick. Not that it will matter...from another forum I read (which tends to be heavily democratic by the way)... the following was posted by one of our members.

    Quote Originally Posted by losercoop from SomethingAwful forums
    As I stated in the other thread, as you all know, I am adamantly pro Kerry and anti Bush and Bev's Volusia story is bull~~~~. I work with Deanie Lowe and Volusia is a Democratic County. There was no fraud on the part of employees, if there was any, it's in the machines. The tapes were duplicates of the originals made as a backup and were trashed because they were redundant. The differences in totals from the 2nd and the 15th were because the latter includes provisional ballots.

    Here are the two results Bev is looking through by precinct in pdf format for your viewing pleasure.

    http://volusia.org/elections/110204...PORT 111504.pdf
    Here is his profile there if you want to email him for yourself.

    Brian W. Ralston

    Check out my new FREE iPhone App! Click Here!

  3. #3

    Re: The stench is unbearable

    I'll let it go eventually, but not yet.

  4. #4

    Re: The stench is unbearable

    Until our voting process is demostrably secure, none of us should "let it go".

    If you found out that people could transfer funds out of your bank, would you tell the bank managers to "let it go"?

    If we can have secure banking without having to wait in line all day at the bank, we can have secure, convenient voting too.


  5. #5

    Re: The stench is unbearable

    Quote Originally Posted by JonFairhurst
    Until our voting process is demostrably secure, none of us should "let it go".

    If you found out that people could transfer funds out of your bank, would you tell the bank managers to "let it go"?

    If we can have secure banking without having to wait in line all day at the bank, we can have secure, convenient voting too.

    Yeah...but Jon...you guys are standing in the middle of the bank making unsubstantiated claims and continuing to yell CONSPIRACY! SOMEONE IS STEALING MY MONEY! SOMEONE HAS BROKEN INTO MY ACCOUNT AND TAKEN MY MONEY! Meanwhile...the other bank customers around you think you are crazy because the bank manager has come over for the third time to explain that no one has stolen your money...it is simply the bank service charge on your checking account because your balance was too low. But you still don't believe him despite the fact that he shows you an itemized listing of transactions on your account and the explaination and agreement of your monthly service charge.
    Brian W. Ralston

    Check out my new FREE iPhone App! Click Here!

  6. #6

    Re: The stench is unbearable

    Quote Originally Posted by Brian W. Ralston
    Yeah...but Jon...you guys are standing in the middle of the bank making unsubstantiated claims and continuing to yell CONSPIRACY! SOMEONE IS STEALING MY MONEY! SOMEONE HAS BROKEN INTO MY ACCOUNT AND TAKEN MY MONEY! ...
    I think it's more that we're saying, "We don't trust you, Mr. bank manager. Please show us the audits. Until the bank is can show us audits, we refuse to trust you. Too bad that this crappy, unaditable bank has a monopoly and treats its minority customers so poorly. I wonder how the banks treat people in Canada?"


  7. #7

    Re: The stench is unbearable

    the bank manager has come over for the third time to explain that no one has stolen your money...it is simply the bank service charge on your checking account because your balance was too low. But you still don't believe him despite the fact that he shows you an itemized listing of transactions on your account and the explaination and agreement of your monthly service charge.
    This assumes that you have complete trust of your money in someone else's hands. It's not good enough that Republican election supervisors are telling people that everything is regular and ok. There is a serious problem in this country where the people in charge of the elections are partisans. The system is flawed, other countries appoint independent commissions in charge of the election process, the US does not, and it does result in a sense of mistrust. Add to that formula the fact that the manufacturers of the equipment used for the elections are heavily right leaning and you have a formula for a lot of suspicion.

    I really don't understand why Republicans are so concerned about the idea of investigating the election process and make sure that all of the votes are counted....who cares? Why does it bug them so much? If everything is legit then they have nothing to worry about. It's a win-win situation for Republicans, they get to claim a clean victory, Democrats will be more open to accepting the decision and will realize that the country really does feel differently than they are.

    So why all of the upset retorts about doing recount and investigating to make sure no fraud was present? Why the put downs and the name calling?

    Once again, if everything was done regularly then you have nothing to worry about....simple!
    Music Composition for Feature Films, Television and Interactive Entertainment

  8. #8

    Re: The stench is unbearable

    Hearings on Ohio Voting Put 2004 Election in Doubt
    By Bob Fitrakis & Harvey Wasserman

    Thursday 18 November 2004

    Highly-charged, jam-packed hearings held here in Columbus have cast serious doubt on the true outcome of the presidential election.

    On Saturday, November 13, the Ohio Election Protection Coalition’s public hearings in Columbus solicited extensive sworn first-person testimony from 32 of Ohio voters, precinct judges, poll workers, legal observers, party challengers. An additional 66 people provided written affidavits of election irregularities. The unavoidable conclusion is that this year's election in Ohio was deeply flawed, that thousands of Ohioans were denied their right to vote, and that the ultimate vote count is very much in doubt.

    Most importantly, the testimony has revealed a widespread and concerted effort on the part of Republican Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell to deny primarily African-American and young voters the right to cast their ballots within a reasonable time. By depriving precincts of adequate numbers of functioning voting machines, Blackwell created waits of three to eleven hours, driving tens of thousands of likely Democratic voters away from the polls and very likely affecting the outcome of the Ohio vote count, which in turn decided the national election.

    On November 17, Blackwell wrote an op-ed piece for Rev. Sun Myung Moon's Washington Times, stating: "Every eligible voter who wanted to vote had the opportunity to vote. There was no widespread fraud, and there was no disenfranchisement. A half-million more Ohioans voted than ever before with fewer errors than four years ago, a sure sign on success by any measure," Blackwell wrote. Moon's extreme right wing Unification Church has long-standing ties to the Bush Family and the Central Intelligence Agency.

    Additional testimony also called into question the validity of the actual vote counts. There are thus serious doubts that the final official tally in Ohio, due December 1 to Blackwell’s office, will have any validity. Blackwell will certify the vote count on December 3.

    While Blackwell supervised the Ohio vote he also served as co-chair of the Ohio Bush-Cheney re-election campaign, a clear conflict of interest that casts further doubt on how the Ohio election and vote counts have been conducted.

    At the Columbus hearings, witness after witness under oath gave testimony to an election riddled with discrimination and disarray. Among them:

    Werner Lange, a pastor from Youngstown, Ohio, who said in part:
    "In precincts 1 A and 5 G, voting as Hillman Elementary School, which is a predominantly African American community, there were woefully insufficient number of voting machines in three precincts. I was told that the standard was to have one voting machine per 100 registered voters. Precinct A had 750 registered voters. Precinct G had 690. There should have been 14 voting machines at this site. There were only 6, three per precinct, less than 50 percent of the standard. This caused an enormous bottleneck among voters who had to wait a very, very long time to vote, many of them giving up in frustration and leaving. . . . I estimate, by the way, that an estimated loss of over 8,000 votes from the African American community in the City of Youngstown alone, with its 84 precincts, were lost due to insufficient voting machines, and that would translate to some 7,000 votes lost for John Kerry for President in Youngstown alone. . . ."

    "Just yesterday I went to the Trumbull Board of Elections in northeast Ohio, I wanted to review their precinct logs so I could continue my investigation. This was denied. I was told by the Board of Elections official that I could not see them until after the official vote was given."

    Marion Brown, Columbus:
    "I am here on behalf of a friend. My friend came to my home very upset while she was away standing four hours in the voting, her husband passed away. The funeral was on yesterday, November 13th, at 2:00. Perhaps had she not stood so long in the line, she may have been able to save her husband."

    Victoria Parks:
    "In Pickaway County, oh, my goodness, in Pickaway County, I entered there, I was shown a table, 53 poll books were plunked down in front of my. I noticed there were no signature on file in any of the poll books, in any of the poll books, and furthermore, a minute later the director of the Board of Elections of Pickaway County came into the room and snatched the books away from me and said you cannot look at these books. I said are you aware that what you are doing is against the law? She said I have been on the phone with the Secretary of State and he has instructed me to take these books away and you cannot see them. I paraphrase very slightly here. She took them away. I was persona non grata. I did not want to risk arrest, and I left. . . . There were no signatures, and furthermore, the writing in the book seemed to have been written in the same hand, because that is a requirement."

    Boyd Mitchell, Columbus:
    "What I saw was voter intimidation in the form of city employees that were sent in to stop illegal parking. Now, in Driving Park Rec Center there are less than 50 legal parking spots, and there were literally hundreds and hundreds of voters there, and I estimated at least 70 percent of the people were illegally parked in the grass around the perimeter of the Driving Park Rec Center, and two city employees drove up in a city truck and said that they had been sent there to stop illegal parking, and they went so far as to harass at least a couple of voters that I saw, and when they were talking to us, they were kind. But when they didn't realize we were overhearing them talking to voters, they were trying to keep people from parking where they were parking. They went so far as to set up some cones, trying to block people from getting into a grassy area..."

    "I calculated that I maybe saw about 20 percent of the people that left Driving Park D and C, I personally saw and talked to about 20 percent of them as they left the poll between 12:30 and 8 p.m. And I saw 15 people who left because the line was too long. The lines inside were anywhere from 2 1/2 to 5 hours. Most everybody said 4 hours, and I saw at least 15 people who did not vote, and I heard a gentleman who was earlier making some mathematical calculations, well, if this is going on across town, and, you know, in a precinct where it was going so heavily for Kerry, and me only seeing 20 percent of the people coming out, I saw 15. We could just do the math and extrapolate that out into a huge number of people who might have voted had they had a chance."

    Joe Popich (entered into the record copies of the Perry County Board of Election poll book):
    "There are a bunch of irregularities in this log book, but the most blatant irregularity would be the fact that there are 360 signatures in this book. There are 33 people who voted absentee ballot at this precinct, for a total of 393 votes that should be attributed to that precinct. However, the Board of Elections is attributing 96 more votes to that precinct than what this log book reflects."

    Derek Winsor, Columbus:
    "Out of the six total voting machines that were at 14 C, three of them showed some type of malfunction that at one point or another during the three our so hours that we were waiting, and between my wife and me, we had asked poll workers individually if they could explain what was going on and what kind of reassurances they could give us that, for one machine in particular that the votes had already been posted on, that machine would be counted, and the response was just, oh, they will be counted. And how can you be sure of that? What storage mechanism do they use to ensure that the votes are stored, and, again, the response was just, well, they just are. And that was a bit of a concern here."

    Carol Shelton, presiding judge, precinct 25 B at the Linden Branch of the Columbus Metropolitan Library:
    "The precinct is 95 to 99 percent black. . . . There were 1,500 persons on the precinct rolls. We received three machines. In my own precinct in Clintonville, 19E, we always received three machines for 700 to 730 voters. Voter turnout in my own precinct has reached as high as 70 percent while I worked there. I interviewed many voters in 25 B and asked how many machines they had had in the past. Everyone who had a recollection said five or six. I called to get more machines and ended up being connected with Matt Damschroder, the Director of the Board of Elections. After a real hassle -- and someone here has it on videotape, he sent me a fourth machine which did not dent the length of the line. Fewer than 700 voted, although the turnout at the beginning of the day would cause anyone to predict a turnout of over 80 percent. This was a clear case of voter suppression by making voting an impossibility for anyone who had to go to work or anyone who was stuck at home caring for children or the elderly while another family member voted."

    Allesondra Hernandez, Toledo:
    "What I witnessed when I had gotten there about 9 A.M. was a young African American woman who had come out nearly in tears. She was a new voter, very first registered, very excited to vote, and she had said that she had been bounced around to three different polling places, and this one had just turned her down again. People were there to help her out, and I was concerned. I started asking around to everyone else, and they had informed me earlier that day that she was not the only one, but there were at least three others who had been bounced around. Also earlier that day the polls had opened an hour late, did not open until about 7:30 A.M. The polling machines were locked in the principal's office. Hundreds of people were turned away, were forced to leave the line because they needed to be at school, they needed to be at work, or they needed to take their children to school. The people there who were assisting did the best they could to take down numbers and take down names, but I am assuming that a majority of those people could not come back because of work and/or because of school, because they had shown up to vote, and that was the time that they could vote, and that is why they were there. Also along the same lines, they ran out of pencils for those ballots."

    Erin Deignan, Columbus:
    "I was an official poll worker judge in precinct Columbus 25 F, at the East Linden School. We had between 1100 and 1200 people on the voter registry there. We had three voting machines. We did the math. I am sure lots of other people did too. With the five-minute limit, 13 hours the polls were open, three machines, that is 468 voters, that is less than half of the people we had on the registry. We stayed open three hours past 7:30 and got about 550 people through, but we had one Board of Elections worker come in the morning. We asked if he could bring more machines. He is said more machines had been delivered, but they didn't have any more. We had another Board of Elections official come later in the day, and he said that in Upper Arlington he had seen 12 machines."

    Matthew Segal, Gambier:
    "In this past election, Kenyon College students and the residents of Gambier, Ohio, had to endure some of the most extenuating voting circumstances in the entire country. As many of you may already know, because they had it on national media attention, Kenyon students and the residents of Gambier had to stand in line up to 10 to 12 hours in the rain, through a hot gym, and crowded narrow lines, making it extremely uncomfortable. As a result of this, voters were disenfranchised, having class to attend to, sports commitments, and midterms for the next day, which they had to study for. Obviously, it is a disgrace that kids who are being perpetually told the importance of voting, could not vote because they had other commitments and had to be put up with a 12-hour line."

    Blackwell characterized Ohio’s Election Day as "tremendously successful" in the Washington Times. Several people at Saturday’s hearing said they’d like to hear Mr. Blackwell testify under oath, preferably under a criminal indictment.

  9. #9

    Re: The stench is unbearable

    Quote Originally Posted by Brian W. Ralston
    Yeah...but Jon...you guys are standing in the middle of the bank making unsubstantiated claims and continuing to yell CONSPIRACY! SOMEONE IS STEALING MY MONEY! SOMEONE HAS BROKEN INTO MY ACCOUNT AND TAKEN MY MONEY!
    After what happened in Florida in 2000 when Jeb and Kathryn purged the "felons" from the voting lists (and then doing it AGAIN in 2004), can you BLAME any of us for thinking something might not be right here?

    Come on, Brian, we just want to see our votes counted. That's all we're asking.

  10. #10

    Re: The stench is unbearable

    Actually rob,
    If you are convicted of a felony you can loose your right to vote, among other things_like loosing the right to legally own a firearm, etc.

    People voting who aren't eligible to vote..is ALSO voter disenfranchisement to the voting public at large..and part of the problem as well. It's when you start trying to get "selective" with your issues here that it sort of looses sight of the actual goal.

    It's about "protecting" the vote and voting process to give it validity. That has to include not just the things you have discussed, voting apparatus issues, counting issues, etc...but protecting against ineligible voters, fraud on that end, etc..fake registrations, etc. That means..somewhere, somehow, a voters eligibility is challenged. Whether that list is the registered voter book, with your number, etc..or a felon list, etc...there has to be some process and way to validate that the people who DID vote, were eligible and registered properly to vote.

    Any discussion on ways to fix that to make it work better, etc..is a good thing. But, it "is" part of this. (not just counting and registering all votes cast).

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