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When the righteous triumph, there is great elation; but when the wicked rise to power, men go into hiding. Proverbs 28:12
Will Kerry fund real probe if House member seeks Ohio elector challenge?
by Tom Flocco
WashingtonDecember 13, 2004TomFlocco.comAfter listening to unofficial but stunning testimony concerning evidence of state-wide vote fraud during a House Judiciary Committee hearing on 2004 election irregularities in Ohio, ranking Democrat John Conyers (D-14-MI) was asked whether he would consider challenging the seating of Buckeye state electors on January 6 when Congress opens the presidential electoral college vote certifying the election of George W. Bush.
Conyers, a Michigan Democrat and senior committee member who convened the Ohio voting aberrations hearing held last Wednesday in the House Rayburn office building, replied, "We are now."
Many Democrats now consider John Kerry's premature concession to George Bush a costly mistake which constitutional scholars say could ultimately affect the rigor, intensity and thoroughness of state and federal judges adjudicating the ongoing Ohio election litigation--a series of unpublicized lawsuits which could augur potential criminal prosecutions.
Except for some post-election reporting by MSNBC Countdown cable TV host Keith Olbermann--who has ceased covering the story in recent days--there has been a curious mainstream television and radio news black-out regarding the state's explosive and expanding electoral conundrum since November 2.
Conyers had expressed concern to Olbermann that "evidence can be moved or changed if it's not kept properly until we can get the Government Accounting Office to investigate," referring specifically to Canton, Ohio's Diebold Corporation--a major flashpoint in the vote scandal, while further emphasizing the necessity for proper and immediate impounding of Ohio machines.
Stanford computer science professor David Dill also told Olbermann "I know there are a lot of different ways to hack the machines, and the auditing we ought to be doing to catch it is...not being done," adding "...those exit poll companies owe an explanation to the American people. And they owe us the release of the data, so that independent experts can check their claims.
Conyers' group of colleagues heard testimony on election anomalies pointing primarily to important issues of equal protection under the law, federal Voting Rights Act violations and manipulation of voting machines--all of which could predict a potential constitutional crisis involving the Supreme Court prior to Mr. Bush's presidential inauguration, with even more litigation to be filed within days.
Representative Melvin Watt (D-12-NC) pointed out to other Democrat House members and attendees--but also a live C-Span national cable audience, that Conyers had asked House Judiciary Chairman James Sensenbrenner (R-5-WI) to sponsor the hearing thus making it official; however, the Wisconsin Republican declined to do so and no other GOP caucus members attended.
Kerry's recount cash
The allegations in Ohio but also in Florida are significant because a change in the election results in either state would cause a new slate of Democrat electors to shift the final electoral college count in Kerry's favor; and there is still time for a full recount before Congress certifies the electoral results on January 6, 2005.
"Evidence can be moved or changed if it's not kept properly until we can get the Government Accounting Office to investigate" Rep. John Conyers
But the senator's failure to forcefully seek legal redress to investigate the allegations will make Conyers' position that much more problematic in front of the House and the Senate in January.
According to George Washington University constitutional law professor Jonathan Turley, "On December 7, the electors are certified under federal law and on December 13, the electors actually vote...but those votes are not opened by Congress until January 6. Now, if there are controversies such as some disclosure that a state actually went for Kerry, there is the ability of members of Congress to challenge."
Turley continued: "It requires a written objection from one House member and one senator. If that objection is recorded, then both Houses separate again and they vote by majority vote as to whether to accept the slate of electoral votes from the state in question."
Turley said "over 70% of Ohio's votes were done with punch cards. We know that when you challenge those, they tend to turn over. So there is still room for challenge in Ohio...but without the [major] candidate [the one who suffers the most irreparable harm], judges don't really work that hard."
A post-election Associated Press (AP) report provided evidence that Kerry did not intend to fully use his massive campaign war-chest, as an inner-circle campaign aide said the cash should have been spent in late July to build political organizations in Ohio and Florida--the key states where voting irregularities may have been employed to win enough electoral votes to tip the balance.
Other senior campaign aides told AP reporter Ron Fournier that Kerry wanted to save the money in the event of a recount, legal challenges or other unforeseen bills. Investigative analysis of electronic voting machines and central tabulators was not mentioned by the AP.
"There is still room for a challenge in Ohio...but without the [major] candidate, judges don't really work that hard." Constitutional Law Professor Jonathan Turley
Conyers never mentioned whether he would attempt to hear testimony from CBS producers and senior executives regarding evidence their reporters may have uncovered, reports that the news media may be in a "lock-down" on voting irregularities, why there is no media coverage of Ohio's major election day anomalies and complaints, and that employees may have been forbidden to discuss election evidence discoveries with anyone according to voting activists.
Kerry has drawn the ire of a significant portion of the Democratic and Independent electorate despite a recent request made to an Ohio judge to join independent presidential candidates in seeking a full recount in Ohio.
The Democratic candidate stands to suffer the most irreparable harm caused by vote fraud rather than independents; but the Massachusetts senator has retreated from exposing the severe conflicts of interest involving the state election supervisor with oversight over the irregularities--Ohio chairman of Bush-Cheney 2004 and Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell.
On election night, Blackwell's state website had been curiously delaying state-wide results almost into the next morning, listing final tallies for only nine of Ohio's 88 counties by 11:30 PM--with Kerry leading Bush 294,648 to 267,771 at the time.
Blackwell originally estimated the number of provisional ballots cast by those whose eligibility was unclear on election day at 175,000 after saying earlier that it could be 250,000 votes--while now placing it at 155,000. This, while Ohio voters were still standing in line at 2:30 AM with the race ultimately decided by just 136,000 votes--not even taking into consideration the number of other fraud allegations throughout the state involving large numbers of votes.
In Cleveland's Cayahoga County alone, 29 separate voting precincts show 93,000 more votes than registered voters
|Many Democrats think John Kerry's concession to George Bush at 11:00 AM on November 3 was a mistake--given the pre-election indications and signals that Ohio's Republican state election supervisor Kenneth Blackwell was going to play hard-ball by issuing massive vote challenges. Al Gore "un-conceded" in 2000 after he saw less evidence of "irregularities" in Florida than current Buckeye vote fraud lawsuits have turned up in Ohio.
Significantly, the U.S. Supreme Court found in the Bush v. Gore Florida 2000 recount that equal protection rights had been violated because votes were tallied differently; thus similar arguments could be made regarding the manner in which Ohio counties review and/or count provisional ballots.
The testimony Conyers heard represented more disputed votes than Bush's 136,000 margin and the House Ranking Member promised to hold congressional hearings in Ohio to question the election's legitimacy and whether President Bush was entitled to the state's 20 electoral votes from 5.8 million ballots cast--the closest winning margin by a sitting president since Woodrow Wilson
Kerry also declined to forcefully promulgate state-wide evidence of vote fraud before the American people which would have magnified the importance of a full and thorough Buckeye recount while also forcing television coverage, thus convincing Ohio judges--but also Supreme Court Justices watching from the sidelines--that Kerry was dead serious about exposing voting machine technical secrecy and corporate privatization of the American election process.
Kerry's curious recalcitrance
The Democrat standard-bearer has also received much criticism from party faithful for allowing independent candidates to struggle to accumulate a few hundred thousand dollars in small contributions for state-wide recounts from many of the same voters who originally financed the Kerry-Edwards campaign.
With substantial evidence pointing to stolen Buckeye electoral votes, Kerry has failed to marshal his substantial election recount war-chest for the purpose of financing battleground state lawsuits, impounding electronic voting machines and county-wide central tabulators, employing computer experts for forensic analysis of computer hard-drives and software, hiring expert courtroom witnesses, researchers and investigators, and seeking the initiation of a criminal investigation for credible evidence of vote fraud and denial of equal protection under the law.
One (Cleveland) precinct with 558 registered voters cast nearly 9,000 ballots Zogby.com
A large portion of Kerry's funds were diverted for the fully expected purpose of litigating recounts and voting irregularities which were nearly guaranteed in a close presidential election.
Given the relatively close vote count and massive evidence, Kerry has not been asked to explain why he was unwilling to use the rest of his campaign contributions to ascertain with legal certainty that enough votes could not be shifted into his Ohio column--awarding him the presidency in the same way Florida alone decided the 2000 election for President Bush.
Congressional testimony and evidence of vote fraud
There was a great deal of testimony regarding evidence pointing to constitutional equal protection issues involving a variety of techniques to suppress the Ohio election turnout, particularly the questionable lack of voting machines in predominantly Democratic minority precincts and college campuses where students were statistically more prone to vote for Democrats.
Hearing panelist Matthew Siegel, a Kenyon College student, testified that there were only two voting machines for the 1,300 voters on his campus and one machine was broken for more than two hours while a student fainted and others got sick from standing in line for up to nine hours when suburban precincts would have had 8-10 machines for the same number of voters.
Panelist Ralph Neas, President of People for the American Way, told congressmen that there were less voting machines in Cayahoga County, Ohio on election day than there were during the county's earlier primary election; but Secretary Blackwell has never been required to explain why machines were withheld when minority voters had to wait for hours to cast ballots on election day.
The usually placid Conyers tried valiantly to maintain order and control the flow of testimony as each new piece of evidence ramped up the electricity in the hearing room; nevertheless, the elderly legislator went so far as to say that he would also hold congressional hearings in Ohio in the near future.
Professor Bob Fitrakis of Columbus, Ohio's State Community College, also an editor of the Free Press, testified to a number of serious issues: 25,000 negative (lost) votes in Mahoning County, ballot boxes locked in a school principal's office in Toledo, 70% of voting machines breaking down on election day in Franklin County, Diebold Corporation's voting machine Chairman and CEO Walden O'dell's contributions to Bush-Cheney 2004 and his "committment to deliver Ohio's electoral votes to the president...," and election supervisor Kenneth Blackwell's conflicted and dual partisan role as state chairman of the Bush-Cheney campaign.
Panelist Reverand William Moss, a Columbus, Ohio Board of Education member whose wife was a judge and teacher, told Conyers that he and his spouse were lead plaintiffs in a suit seeking relief from the suppression of the minority vote due to the lack of machines which caused long lines for more than 3 1/2 hours.
|President Bush, receiving a concession phone call in the Oval Office from Senator
Kerry. Bush won Ohio by 136,000 votes out of 5.8 million cast; but multiple lawsuits in Ohio regarding evidence of vote fraud may prove otherwise.
Moss added, "the world has viewed with suspicion and disgust our last two elections," so my wife and I "will seek judgment against Mr. Blackwell for intimidation, disenfranchisement and conflicts of interest."
Jon Greenbaum, voting rights project director for Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights, expanded on Moss' assertions by outlining specific areas of legal consideration in Ohio that Kerry has ignored: registration problems, provisional and absentee ballot issues, multiple machine break-downs and purposeful shortfalls in the number of machines used at polling places, voter suppression techniques involving wrong voting day flyers--all of which caused long lines and delays affecting disenfranchisement while being overseen by partisan political officials who permitted fraud to advance President Bush's electoral college interests.
Susan Truitt, an attorney and co-founder of Citizens Alliance for Secure Elections-Ohio told Conyers that "private corporations have taken over the U.S. election system," and "there was intentional vote suppression in minority wards."
Steve Rosenfeld, producer for the liberal Air America radio network, referred to the vote anomalies as "old school thuggery and new school manipulation," adding that techniques such as "shorting the number of voting machines" and having electronic central tabulators rigged so that "minor candidates received 8-10 times the number of votes as major candidates when they were outspent seven-to-one" were typical on election day in Ohio.
Lynn Landis, an independent journalist and voting activist, told Conyers "our votes are being (optically) scanned--not counted," which drew a nod of agreement from the elder legislator.
Shawnta Walcott, communications director for Zogby Polling International talked about "uncharacteristically inaccurate exit polls" which stymied Zogby analysts on election day, while recommending a "blue ribbon, non-partisan panel to investigate the exit polling issue."
Conyers heard a highly articulate legal summary by John Bonifaz, founder and general counsel for the National Voting Institute, who is seeking a complete state-wide recount before any Ohio electoral votes are cast--one of the primary legal conundrums sure to face the U.S. Supreme Court prior to the presidential inauguration.
The voting activist-attorney represents Libertarian presidential candidate David Cobb and Green Party presidential candidate Michael Badnarik in their Ohio election litigation.
Bonifaz filed suit on November 21 against Kenneth Blackwell to finish the recount in time for the December 13 electoral college meeting; but on November 22, Ohio federal district court ruled against the motion saying "Cobb and Badnarik would not suffer irreparable harm from a slow or delayed recount"--thus emphasizing the importance of Senator Kerry's lengthy legal recalcitrance.
Cobb and Badnarik's lawyer said that Blackwell "actively engaged in thwarting the timely Ohio recount," waiting 34 days before certifying the election on December 6; then Blackwell certified the Republican slate of electors the very next day on December 7--"pushing through a slate of Bush electors before a complete recount."
No federal or state official has testified
Conyers' hearings in Ohio will undoubtedly hear testimony about Cincinnati Enquirer reports that Warren County election officials locked down their administration building during its late-night vote count due to "terrorism threats," which was unique among Ohio's 88 counties since it was among the last in Ohio to close.
Warren County emergency services director Frank Young has not been required to testify why he recommended closing off the tabulation, refusing to have the vote count observed by reporters based upon threat information received from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the FBI who have also never been required to testify about their knowledge of the events.
Interestingly, both FBI and DHS officials deny ever having given Young information which allowed Warren County's clandestine counting of ballots in the wee hours before Kerry's concession--without any outsiders watching.
County prosecutor Rachel Hutzel defended closing off the vote-count from observers, saying Warren County commissioners "were within their rights to lock the building down--even though no other Ohio county did so--because having photographers or reporters present could have interfered with the count."
Blackwell also reported that 92,000 Ohio presidential votes did not count because some votes were "cast improperly or were improperly counted." In Cleveland's Cayahoga County alone, some 29 separate voting precincts show more that 93,000 more votes than registered voters--indicating more potential evidence of prosecutable vote fraud--and the town of Gahanna outside Columbus (Franklin County) had a district with 800 registered voters but 3,893 votes were cast and added to George Bush's total.
Conyers' congressional hearing never heard testimony regarding how Republican officials issued unprecedented mass voter registration challenges for thousands of Ohio State students in the state's largest city, Columbus (Franklin County). This, at a time when immigration officials permit millions of illegal aliens to walk into the country--and even eight of the 9-11 hijackers were registered to vote in the U.S. before the attacks.
The congressmen were also not apprised as to how Columbus city officials rigged the absentee ballot forms where Kerry is listed third on the presidential list; but a voter had to punch in # 4 to vote for Kerry; and if the voter punched in # 3, he voted for Bush--in a manner similar to Florida in 2000.
According to reports, Franklin County's Republican elections director insisted on electronic machines that malfunctioned in at least two congressional elections and have no paper trail--making vote recounts a virtual impossibility. Diebold's CEO Walden O'Dell lives in a Columbus suburb and is a major Bush donor.
Sure enough, in Franklin County's Precinct 1B, Bush received 4,258 votes to Kerry's 260--thus Bush received a whopping 96% of the vote--a sure sign of massive and systematic vote fraud. And even more curiously, public county records show that only 638 voters cast ballots--all this in just one small precinct! Yet Mr. Kerry and his Democratic colleagues are not crying foul.
Given these astonishing statistics, the only question remaining is whether Democratic legislators will start facing the media in public press conferences with their own lawsuits--or bow their heads and run to the nearest House or Senate cloak room to hide the facts from the public.
Wild variances: optical scan machines v. touch screens
At 1:00 AM after the polls closed, John Zogby's widely respected polling firm called the election for Kerry since he was winning both Ohio and Florida and he only needed one of those states at the time to win, according to Colin Shea on Zogby.com.
Shea, who works with statistics and polling data every day, said CNN's results indicated a Kerry win: turnout matched voter registration and independents had broken 59% to 41% for Kerry. Analysis revealed that certain Florida counties voted for Bush far in excess of what one would expect based on the share of Republican registrations in those counties.
The voting research of internet activist Kathy Dopp revealed that all those counties using optically scanned electronic voting had the extreme variance, while counties using touch-screen voting had results in line with expected results. Shea said the intimation is fraud: Ballots are scanned, results fed into computers and sent to a county-wide database and then to statewide totals; but after physical ballots become databases, the system is vulnerable to external hackers.
Shea also found that Bush received 2% fewer votes in Florida counties with electronic touch-screen voting that expected; but in counties with controversial electronic optical scanning, he received 16% more.
In 13 counties, Bush had final vote tallies 50-100% higher than expected; but in one county where 88% of voters are registered Democrats, Bush got nearly two-thirds of the vote--300% more than Shea's model had predicted.
In widespread analysis of AP exit polls by internet activists--particularly EarlG at DemocraticUnderground.com who saved screen-captures of earlier posted exit polls for comparison--there is not one exit poll off by more than a few percentage points in any semi-competitive state--except for Ohio and Florida.
In Florida, Bush led exit polling by CNN of more than 3 million voters by just 5,355 votes; but he led by 325,000 in the final tally. And the day after the election, CNN changed their exit polling to favor Bush--blaming the mistake on over-weighting the African-American vote.
Fox News Channel's Dick Morris, President Clinton's former campaign strategist, said "Exit polls are almost never wrong," adding "they eliminate the two major potential fallacies in survey research by correctly separating actual voters from those who pretend they will cast ballots but never do, and by substituting actual observation for guesswork in judging the relative turnout of different parts of the state."
DemocraticUnderground's analysis of the the final national vote count also revealed that Bush showed a curious 5% advantage only in those states using electronic voting machines.
In a national CNBC prime-time cable show, BlackBoxVoting's Beverly Harris taught Howard Dean how to hack Diebold's Global Election Management System (GEMS) electronic central tabulator software to steal votes. Incredibly, Dean was able to steal votes in a "practice election" in just 90 seconds, indicating that such machines should have never been used by any state in America.
During his hearing, Conyers did not remind the other congressmen that George W. Bush won the Texas governorship from incumbent Ann Richards when she had a 70% approval rating.
After the election, news reports said 22% of the population voted on "morality" issues and George W. Bush won 80% of that issue; but reports never mentioned how the remaining 78% of the population voted on the other issues, most of which Kerry polled strongly.
Voter turnout exceeds number of registered voters
In Cuyahoga County, home of Cleveland, Ohio's huge minority population, 30 precincts recorded over 100,000 more votes cast than the County's 251,946 registrations--equaling a 39% over-vote, an incredibly shocking statistic deserving a serious investigation for fraud by any fair-minded legislator. In a few of the precincts the over-vote was 100%, as one precinct with 558 registered voters cast nearly 9,000 ballots, according to Zogby.com.
At present there are no indications whether or not Conyers will hold public press conferences and then seek to subpoena emails, phone records, letters and other records from Ohio and Florida public officials and Diebold electronic voting machine executives like Bush contributors Walden O'Dell and Board member W. R. Timken for possible grand jury testimony.
The conflicts of interest in the American election system are stunning, if not outrageous (Research by internet activist Alicia):
1) Republican Senator Chuck Hagel (R-NE) was chairman and still owns a stake in Election Systems and Software (ES&S), the largest U.S. voting manufacturer counting 60% of U.S. votes--but also counted 80% of the votes in both of Hagel's landslide senate wins; and Hagel was caught lying about his ownership of ES&S by the Senate Ethics Committee.
2) The vice-president of Diebold and the president of ES&S are brothers.
3) Canton, Ohio's Diebold and ES&S together count 80% of all votes cast in America.
4) There is no federal agency with regulatory authority or oversight of the U.S. voting machine industry.
5) While Diebold's new touch screen machines have no paper trail to verify data for a recount, the electronic voting machine corporation makes ATMs, checkout scanners and ticket machines, all of which log each transaction and can generate paper trails.
6) Diebold employed five convicted felons as senior managers and developers to help write the central tabulator computer code that counted 50% of the votes in 30 states.
7) Jeff Dean, Diebold's Senior Vice-President and senior programmer on its central vote compiling tabulator code, was convicted of 23 counts of felony theft in the first degree.
8) None of the international election observers were allowed into the polls in Ohio.
9) California banned the use of Diebold machines because the security was so bad. Despite Diebold's claims that the audit logs could not be hacked, BlackBoxVoting activists Beverly Harris and Andy Stephenson taught and filmed a chimpanzee hacking Diebold software.
10) 30% of all U.S. votes are carried out on unverifiable touch screen voting machines with no paper trail for a recount.
11) Virtually all--not some--but all voting machine errors detected and reported in Florida went in favor of Bush or Republican candidates.
12) The governor of Florida is George Bush's brother Jeb Bush; and serious voting anomalies in Florida--again always favoring Bush--have been mathematically demonstrated and experts are recommending further investigation.
In getting to the bottom of the evidence presented, House Judiciary Ranking Member John Conyers will have to deal with the problematic issue that private corporations with secret, proprietary vote tabulation software have moved public election ballot tabulation out the hands of the people and into "electronic servers" which are subject to election theft which erodes the legitimacy of the election and the confidence of the American people.
In other words, the electronic voting machines were designed to bypass the inconvenient problem of verifiable ballot recounts because they are a virtual impossibility since there is no paper trail. But Democrats everywhere are wondering why Kerry saw all the fraud evidence and caved--leading many to question whether the whole system is rigged on both sides of the aisle.
The evidence of fraud is so obvious--so blatant, one would think that if Kerry and Democratic legislators refuse to press for a criminal investigation, they would at least divert some of the senator's enormous sock of leftover campaign cash toward a down payment to purchase their own electronic voting machine corporation.
They could start to compete with machines and software owned or controlled by Republican backers, Bush "Ranger" and "Pioneer" contributors--and incredibly, U.S. Senator Chuck Hagel.
No wonder Senator Kerry has "gone into hiding."