Cutting Through Vote Fraud Claims, Hypocrisy
Recent events show why election theft deserves much more scrutiny than it receives from either government officials or news reporters.
Most dramatically, a federal judge has released the 2008 testimony of GOP IT guru Michael Connell, above. The Ohio resident died in a mysterious plane crash that year after anonymous warnings he would be killed if he testified about his work with Karl Rove and others helping the Bush-Cheney ticket win in 2000 and 2004.
Other recent news includes claims by both major parties of irregularities in last week's Wisconsin state senate recall elections. In a pattern familiar nationally, Democrats suspect vote hiding by a partisan GOP elections supervisor and Republicans allege illegal inducements by Democrats to encourage voting. Elsewhere, Fox News played up a report about how a county judge in Nevada called the community-organizing group ACORN "reprehensible" on Aug. 10 and ordered a $5,000 fine for the defunct group because it paid a bonus to workers who registered voters.
To cut through the confusion on such disputes, the Justice Integrity Project I lead created a research guide with excerpts and hot links to dozens of important recent articles, books and films by election fraud researchers with diverse views. But it is weighted to materials provided by status quo critics because they face the burden of challenging authority and are typically ignored by corporate-controlled media. Our guide includes also commentaries by Fox News, and polemicists Andrew Breitbart and John Fund. They have been leaders in fostering unwarranted public fears that election fraud largely involves ineligible, poor and largely Democratic voters who may distort results.
Instead, the evidence shows that electronic voting fraud, voter suppression and similar dirty tricks by public officials pose a serious threat to the democratic process.
Yet this research is difficult for reporters and activists alike because officials control the information. Also, research into official wrongdoing tends to be sporadic, under-funded and so controversial as to be career-threatening for researchers. Major news organizations are reluctant to report even allegations of official fraud and other wrongdoing, especially in the most important elections. So, reporters and other researchers need courage and skill, as well as management support.
Statistics professor Steven Freeman and In These Times editor Joel Bleifuss devote an entire chapter to journalistic cover-up in their book, Was the 2004 Presidential Election Stolen? The book argues that exit polls and other clues prove massive election fraud that flipped the election -- and that leading news organizations not only downplayed the evidence but suppressed much of it outright or misreported results.
The paperback edition of New York University professor Mark Crispin Miller's book, Fooled Again, contains a 100-page Afterword summarizing how the mainstream media avoids the issue.
One prominent national reporter assigned to such matters privately explained to me recently the thinking of his editors: They want rock-solid proof of conspiracy before even mentioning claims of misconduct for fear of ruining public confidence in the campaign and elections process. Yet by that standard, readers would learn little about any public issue. The Washington Post's 1970s Watergate investigation, for example, was a series of reports that incrementally moved the story forward.
Ohio's 2004 Election
The big case in the field of electronic elections fraud involves Ohio returns in the 2004 Presidential race between incumbent Republican George W. Bush and Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts, the Democrat. Joan Brunwasser recently published on OpEd News an illuminating interview on recent developments. But this is a story that deserves revisiting at least as much as the MSM's daily and largely inconsequential updates on the horse race between 2012 contenders.
Connell's testimony on Nov. 3, 2008 was a pre-trial deposition in a suit by Ohio voters alleging an election fraud conspiracy led by Republicans running the state government and the election.
Defendants in the King Lincoln Bronzeville v. Blackwell case include then-Ohio Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell, below, Rove and other officials and contractors. Defendants deny impropriety in the Ohio voting, where Bush's reported margin was 118,775 votes. This enabled him to win the state's 20 electoral votes and the presidency by an electoral vote of 286 to 251.
Connell described a mind-boggling electronic system whereby Blackwell -- who counted the votes as Secretary of State but also chaired the Ohio Bush-Cheney campaign -- hired Connell's company, GovTech Solutions. GovTech then linked Ohio's 2004 Presidential election returns on Election Day to the computers of the partisan GOP contractor called SmarTech in Tennessee. Connell denied any wrongdoing.
But Bob Fitrakis and Clifford Arnebeck, two of the most prominent attorneys for the plaintiffs, held a press conference in July 2008, three months before their deposition, to say that supporters of the suit had received multiple anonymous warnings that Connell would be killed if he proceeded with his deposition. They released a letter to then-Attorney Gen. Michael Mukasey, other authorities and the news media asking for protection for Connell.