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What Voting Can Look Like

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By lambert strether

Last week in Quebec, they held a provincial election. Quebec Liberal Charest lost and claims to have left politics, and Parti Quebecois Pauline Marois won, and formed a minority government. But although the election may turn out to be important to the fortunes of the carré rouge movement, it’s not the subject of this post. Instead, I want to talk about the dry topic of voting systems. You see, in Canada, they use hand-marked paper ballots, hand counted in public. Among other things, that process means that we can actually be sure who won. And if the elections of 2000 and 2008 are any guide, and the race stays as close as the pollsters sat it is, we might, on Wednesday, November 7, not be sure who won.

Hand marked, hand counted paper ballots are “the gold standard* of democracy.” Brad Friedman of Brad Blog writes:

Paul Lehto, a U.S. election attorney and Constitutional rights expert, summarized the German court’s unambiguous, landmark finding:

  • “No ‘specialized technical knowledge’ can be required of citizens to vote or to monitor vote counts.”
  • There is a “constitutional requirement of a publicly observed count.”
  • “[T]he government substitution of its own check or what we’d probably call an ‘audit’ is no substitute at all for public observation.”
  • “A paper trail simply does not suffice to meet the above standards.
  • “As a result of these principles,…’all independent observers’ conclude that ‘electronic voting machines are totally banned in Germany’ because no conceivable computerized voting system can cast and count votes that meet the twin requirements of…being both ‘observable’ and also not requiring specialized technical knowledge.

After the verdict in the case — filed by a computer expert and his political scientist son — Lehto wondered how it could be that open, observable democracy is seemingly an inviolable right for “conquered Nazis,” but not, apparently, for citizens of the United States…

It was the fully public counting of hand-marked paper ballots that gave evidence that the unofficial, electronically-scanned election night results in Minnesota’s recent U.S. Senate race were wrong. A hand-count settled the results of Washington State’s Gubernatorial contest in 2004. And in the 2006 Republican Primary election in Pottawatomie County, Iowa, a hand-count found that seven races had been tallied incorrectly by the county’s optical-scan system. Unfortunately, that sort of publicly observable counting has become the exception rather than the rule in this country, and it happens only rarely, in elections where the candidates can afford the extraordinarily high legal costs of a contest, or when the results are so obviously twisted that officials are left with little choice but to count the ballots by hand.

“Hand-counting paper ballots is recognized as the gold standard in state laws across the country,” Ellen Theisen of the non-partisan election watchdog organization VotersUnite.org told me. “Why settle for anything less?”

Theisen’s thoughts echoed Lehto’s interpretation of the findings of the High Court in Germany. “By letting software count our votes,” she said, “we give software control over our government.”

She’s right.

Here are some Montreal bloggers discussing how their paper-based hand-counted system works after last week’s vote was taken. They seem to be voting geeks, but maybe that’s a consequence of a minority (Anglos) being very conscious of the effects that an election can have. I like geekery, so I’m going to quote the detail:

KATE I just spent 14 hours scrutineering in a school gym like a sauna: at one point my glasses just slid off my face onto the table.

A “scrutineer” observes the counting of ballot papers, in order to check that election rules are followed.

STEPH I’m curious to know more about the voting & scrutineering process. Are ballots secret? It seems like after they vet your attendance based on ID and address, then give you a ballot with a serial#, but they take note of that # which is also on your ballot. What is it they tear off your ballot after you vote? They didn’t tear mine off before I put my ballot in the box myself and the scrutineer threw his arms in the air like I broke all the rules and they weren’t sure what to do. I hope they didn’t throw out the entire box of ballots because of me.

JOSH Steph, the thing they tear off your ballot is called a counterfoil. The people who run elections keep track of how many votes are cast by keeping these separate from the ballot box. This helps ensure that no one deposits multiple ballots into a ballot box. It serves as a check that the number of ballots actually deposited in the box is the same number that were handed out by elections officials.

I can’t find the relevant regulation in Quebec, but here is a section of the Elections Canada Act indicating that federal elections scrutineers, at least, are instructed not to throw out a ballot box for the reason you describe.

Now comes the really keen geekery where they explain how the keep the ballots anonymous (your vote secret) while still being able to count them and avoid fraud!

JOSH Oh, and as for the “secret ballot” part of the equation, here’s how it works:

An official hands you a ballot, with the counterfoil portion intact. There is a number on the counterfoil only. They hand the ballot back to you. You mark your vote in private and fold your ballot up the way they told you to. That obscures who it is that you actually voted for. Without unfolding your ballot (leaving your privacy intact), the official takes the ballot back from you and tears off the counterfoil. Now, your ballot is free of any identifying marks, because the only number is on the counterfoil. You (or they) deposit your ballot in the box. the counterfoil is deposited elsewhere. There is now no way to trace which person deposited which ballot.

KATE Steph, Josh is correct. We did not record any connection between the voter and the number on their ballot. We simply recorded on the list that the person had voted by checking them off.

The counterfoils are part of the system that guarantees voting fraud has not taken place. After the doors closed, we had to account for every ballot we received, adding up the used ballots, the unused ones, any ballots damaged and replaced (one, in the course of the whole day). The counterfoils are kept in a separate envelope so that if a recount were needed, it could be verified that the number of counterfoils matches the recorded number of ballots cast.

It’s really a very good system, because everything is solidly witnessed by two people who don’t know each other plus in most cases others as well [but see NOTE below], but great care is taken to make sure nobody knows how any one else voted. In the case of a damaged ballot (one voter managed to tear off the non-counterfoil end of the paper in our instance), the first instruction is for the person to go back behind the booth and mark EVERY candidate with the same mark before we write NUL all over it and give them a new one. So even in the case of this mistake, we didn’t know how the voter initially marked the ballot.

JEATHER Though Kate didn’t mention it, they also seal up all the spare ballots, so you can also count that my polling station was given, for example, 400 ballots, and we used about 220 of them, so we should have had about 180 left over.

KATE jeather, I did mention the unused ballots. Basically you get N ballots, and at the end you count everything to make sure the used, unused and damaged ballots all add back up to N. There’s an additional check in that the scrutineer initials every ballot handed out, so that nobody could smuggle in a faux ballot and use that instead (I don’t see what advantage that would create for anyone, but it’s enough of a concern that every ballot’s authenticated by the initials).

I was very firm with my voters that they needed to refold the ballot before bringing it back out of the booth, and never saw a single result in anyone’s hand. But people did joke about keeping the pictures, yes. This was the first election in which small black and white photos of the candidates were included on the counterfoil.
"I was very firm with my voters" I love that part.

It could be that more of a “public” is needed than “two people.” Perhaps everthing should be videotaped. Or perhaps a lot more people could be involved, so that counting ballots turned into a convivial, commmunity-building exercise.

So, summing up:

  • In a democracy, election integrity should matter.
  • Hand-marked paper ballots counted in public are the gold standard of democracy because they make the vote observable without special technical expertise
  • Quebec uses a gold standard voting system successfully

We have an election coming up, and hence potential for wrongly counted votes, or even election fraud. It’s not only the Presidential election that matters, but all the Congressional races, the state races, and the local elections, including referenda, recalls, and charter changes.

Your jurisdiction is going to be counting all those elections in the same way, whether through touch-screen voting, optical scanners, mechanical devices, or even still on paper (don’t change, though maybe you should consider the Canadian “counterfoil” system). So, if your jurisdiction is thinking about buying electronic voting machine, you might consider using the information in this post as a starting point to dissuade them. And if your jurisdiction already uses e-voting, perhaps you can roll back that decision. If you or your committee don’t have the budget to travel to Quebec to observe a working system, here’s a good book on how paper-based voting is done.

NOTE * Sorry for the metaphor.

NOTE The referendum on Quebec sovereignty in 1995 was the exception that proves the rule:

After the vote, at each polling station, a scrutineer counted the ballots while a secretary recorded the result of the count. According to the referendum legislation, the scrutineer was appointed by the “Yes” [pro-sovereignty] committee, while the secretary was appointed by the “No” [anti-sovereignty] committee. When the counting was completed, approximately 86,000 ballots were rejected by scrutineers as “spoiled ballots”, meaning that they had not been marked properly by the voter.

Controversy arose over whether the scrutineers of the Chomedey, Marguerite-Bourgeois and Laurier-Dorion ridings had rejected numerous ballots without valid reasons, mostly by being overly strict on what marks voters could use to indicate their choices (for instance, rejecting ballots with check-marks or “X”s that were crooked, too large, made with a pen instead of a pencil, etc.). In these ridings the “No” vote was dominant, and the proportion of rejected ballots was 12%, 5.5% and 3.6%. In the riding of Chomedey, an average of 1 of every 9 ballots were rejected. Thomas Mulcair, member of the Quebec National Assembly for Chomedey, told reporters after the vote that there was “an orchestrated attempt to steal the vote” in his riding.

Yes, even when hand marked, hand counted paper ballots are counted in public, humans can attempt to game the system. In Quebec, however, that the voting system was robust enough to withstand the attack. (If Mulcair was correct that the Parti Quebecois was out to steal the referendum to win sovereignty, we should also assume they gave it their best shot. Secessionists don’t win by taking half measures.) Further, the record was clear, because the paper ballots were the vote, and not a (software-driven, therefore vulnerable) paper trail of the vote, so if the results of the election bad been contested, the evidence would have been solid.

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73 comments

  1. Fred

    Very interesting. Im from Australia and we only use handcounting of handmarked balots at all levels of govt and usually know who has won a federal election in a few hours. There would be hell to pay if someone tried to bring in electronic voting. Nobody has to show id at the polling station. Your name is just marked off a roll.
    We also have compulsory voting, thank god.

    1. Apj

      Exactly right, there would be hell to pay if there was a sniff of a computer voting system down under, and tooany questions about why it was being done. It is just too simple to ‘game’. Australian voting is very simple, and very transparent. Get your name marked off an electoral role, get the (non marked) ballot, and write some numbers. Even voters can understand it, and unless some plonker submits a blank form into the barrel, no chance to ‘influence’ the result.

    2. Borsabil

      There is no ‘compulsory voting’ in Australia, in fact over 5% of ballot papers at the last election were spoiled, folks scribbling on em or just handing them in blank. Writing none of the above or even writing in the name of your preferred candidate be that Ron Paul or Ronald McDonald should be the right of all citizens. I can think of nothing more nauseating than real compulsory voting, which in US terms means choosing between twiddle dumb and twiddle even dumber. Yuck no thanks.

      1. Jason Ozolins

        In Australia, at elections each eligible voter is obliged to turn up to a polling station, accept a paper, and put the paper into a box. I think the scrutineers might not accept you just walking straight from collecting the paper to putting it in the box without any sign that you marked the paper… not sure about that.

        However, it is not compulsory in any practical sense for you to cast a valid vote. Nobody knows what, if anything, you write on the paper when you’re standing in the booth.

        It was, for a time, illegal to encourage people to vote informally. There was a test case against that law in the High Court, by an activist who wanted the right to encourage people to “game” preferential voting in Federal elections: http://www.abc.net.au/elections/federal/2010/guide/glossary.htm#langer_voting
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albert_Langer#Conviction_for_political_advocacy

        The law was eventually repealed, in the same act that explicitly stated Langer’s style of voting would produce an informal [invalid] vote – so the gag was removed once the speech was no longer capable of making a difference.

        Score one for democracy… sort of.

        1. Mozzie

          You just have to present yourself, and get your name crossed out. This is done with pen and ruler. You don’t have to take any voting slips, but can refuse them and walk out.

    3. Glenn Condell

      Voted in Sydney local elections yesterday. Ran the usual gauntlet of party spruikers out the front of the church, went in and got my name ticked off and was handed the ballot. Go to a booth and complete with a 1,2, etc for candidates in order of preference. You can just put 1 under the party of your choice of you wish, thereby sending your preferences where they wish.

      It is one thing we do better, the whole voting and election set-up. What I can’t get my head around is the fact that you have to register as a voter with one party or other! And that your judges and public servants have to reveal who they vote for in order to be appointed. What if they change their mind?

      1. Travis

        The fact that voting is compulsory stops it – if you try to vote with someone else’s name, a fuss will be raised when that person shows up and their name is already checked off. They’ll know that voting fraud happened. They’ll also know how many fraudulent votes were cast, which can help in figuring out how much impact the fraud had.

        Of course, you and someone else could trade votes, each giving each other’s name… but that will have zero net effect, so who cares?

        A bigger deal, though, is the fact that Australia uses proportional representation, rather than a winner-take-all system. For commissions, congress, etc., you don’t vote for a person – you vote for a party. That party gets to seat a number of representatives, depending on what portion of the votes were for them. So if, say, the town council has ten seats, and 30% of the votes were for Party X, Party X gets to choose who occupies three of those seats.

        In the US system, in a close race, managing to throw 1% of the votes the other way can result in a completely different outcome. In Australia, for most positions, it wouldn’t have any real effect at all.

        1. Chris Miller

          Proportional representation? NO!

          Australia most emphatically does NOT use proportional representation. It uses the preferential ballot, otherwise known as the alternative vote or instant runoff voting. And this only for the Senate: the House of Representatives is elected by the single member plurality (“first past the post” system also used in Britain, Canada, and in US national elections.

          This means a voter has the chance to rank candidates on the Senate elections ballot by preference. If their preferred candidate does poorly, their second choice will then be counted (and if that one does poorly, their third choice and so on), until one candidate on the ballot for the seat finally has more than 50% of the votes.

          Proportional representation is something quite different, and preferential balloting has at times led to results even less proportional to the overall national vote than single member plurality does. (Don’t forget that Australia, like most countries other than the United States, does not have a bipolar party system, but more than two important parties in Parliament.

          Proportional representation is a family of related voting systems that ensure that the number of seats won by a given party in Parliament or a legislature corresponds fairly closely to the overall vote for each party across all electoral districts. Proportional representation systems can integrate some kind of preferential ballot (like Single Transferrable Vote or the P3 scheme being advocated by the Stéphane Dion, former leader of the Canadian Liberal Party), but preferential balloting on its own most emphatically doesn’t give you a proportional result in and of itself.

  2. kevinearick

    You don’ want Soros to determine the election results?

    step aside and the “democracy” implodes, because the majority will always vote to enslave the minority, with nothing more than a false crisis of insecurity as the excuse, until a tiny band of thieves is the “majority,” replicating robots.

    wake up and the system crashes. Liberty is enemy #1. Break up the family and send little johnny to school…

    1. ambrit

      Dear K;
      Jeeze Louiese! Are you on Snarkium? George Soros determine the election? Add in Peterson, the Kochs, “Furry Little Grover” Norquist, “Bubba” Clinton and that sharp little filly he got hitched to, and maybe then we can talk stolen elections. As for the “Tyranny of the Majority,” well, ain’t that what the Courts, bless ‘em, were supposed to counterbalance? [And yes, we could see the present reactionary trend in the Supremes as a feature of the system. After all, who's going to stand up for the rights of the poor downtrodden billionaires which those uppity middle class folks keep trying to 'tyrannize' them?]
      Well, rereading your post, at the insistence of my wife, I must accept that your physician did indeed up your Snarkium dosage. Kudos Kodos.

      1. kevinearick

        Where did you and your wife go to university?

        how did you meet?

        which is asset and which is income?

        Which is the horse and which is the cart?

        1. kevinearick

          The poor, downtrodden middle class consumer of free lunches, enabled by the likes of soros, sufferogettes of reverence to equal opportunity despotism in a few short generations, and no one coming to the rescue but the fed, with more of the same.

          it’s been quite an education for Bernanke.

          1. Kunst

            Kevin, you’re not making any sense. Go sleep it off. String together random words doesn’t make you profound; am lost is more like it.

    2. Borsabil

      Very well said. Tyranny of the majority has been the curse of democracies. It’s why, in historical terms, real democracies or majority rule, have been short lived affairs. Athenian citizen slave owning kind collapsed. The Roman bread and circuses mob rule anarcho kind collapsed. The current welfare queen, President Obama gonna pay my mortgage kind on the verge of collapse. Politicians will always promise free stuff to get elected, and will always look to pass the bill on to the next guy. It’s why the geniuses who founded the American Republic shackled democratic rule to a written constitution. The USA was not set up as a democracy, unfortunately that’s where we’ve ended up, the constitution being little more than an historical curiosity taught to school children these days.

      1. Roland

        Roman “bread and circuses” were NOT a result of “tyranny of the majority.” Not at all.

        “Bread and circuses” was not a policy brought about a majority vote. Rather, it was the policy of a small elite, in an attempt pacify and distract the landless and disenfranchised Roman citizenry.

        The majority, when they had a chance to vote, supported land redistribution and debt relief–i.e. they wanted to get back to work. The elite, however, preferred foreign wars, tax farming, and large estates worked by slaves.

        Athens didn’t have a “tyranny of the majority,” either. Instead, Athens was proff of the inherent logistical defects of direct government. Since it was difficult for most working Athenian citizens to regularly attend the assembly (especially for the rural citizenry of Attica), over time the Athenian assembly tended to get gamed by factions that were able to organize a continuous presence in the Assembly.

        That’s how Pericles got elected strategos over and over again. The profits of his imperialist policies kept his political machine going at home, even as it plunged Athens into a completely ruinous conflict against almost all of the other Greeks.

        Once Athens was under more or less constant siege, everyone could attend the Assembly, but so what? By then the practical choices were few. An enemy army was at the gates, and the farms of Attica had been ravaged anyway. The only way to get by was to hire out for service as oarsmen in the fleet. In this way the victims of a stupid imperial policy were forced to go on supporting it.

        Luckily Pericles dropped dead during the epidemic that his policies had helped bring about, but unfortunately most of the damage was already done.

        Anyhow, definitely not a case of “tyranny of the majority.” We’ll never know what most of the citizens of Athens really wanted.

        Finally, bear in mind that the enfranchised portion of the Attican population was not large (perhaps a quarter of the whole) since it excluded women, slaves, and residents of non-Athenian origin. By comparison, the enfranchised share of Lacedaemon’s population was not much smaller (about one fifth). The contrast between Athenian and Spartan bodies politic was much more apparent to the politicians of that time and place, than it should be to observers today, who have the benefit of a longer view.

    1. citalopram

      The American people just got ripped off to the tune of trillions, and the only reaction was Occupy which has been pretty much snuffed.

      Americans aren’t going to fight this.

      1. Borsabil

        OWS? A ‘movement’ set up and funded by foundation billionaires, attempting to scare the bankers into funding Obamas election. In other words, one group of the mega rich vying with another to see whose guy would win in November.

        The fact so many were sucked in never ceases to amaze. Once the anarcho black shirts attached themselves and it all became an annoying embarrassment the money tap was turned off, oh and look all those ‘highly motivated and committed political activists’ inexplicably vanished. If OWS was a real thing they’d still be at it, it’s not like the country’s economy improved and millions suddenly found work. Give credit to the tea party, they actually got sh#t done and are still hanging around.

        1. Brad Friedman

          Borsabil said:

          “OWS? A ‘movement’ set up and funded by foundation billionaires, attempting to scare the bankers into funding Obamas election. … Give credit to the tea party, they actually got sh#t done and are still hanging around.”

          Um, your evidence that OWS was funded by billionaires??? Got any? Or ya just making that up, while implying that the Tea Party, which actually WAS funded by billionaires, wasn’t.

        2. Rob

          Bors,
          You obviously know nothing of the occupy movement,because you have confused it with the tea party.The tea party was the creation of republican billionaires,and republican hacks like dick Armey and the Koch bros….that is why those know nothing rabble get all the press coverage,and referred to as something real that people are listening to….that is why the regular republicans pretend to give them creedence.It is not as though what they have to say stands up to any scrutiny.that movement was created in a vacuum,and makes no sense outside of the echo chamber you have to live in to think they have a clue.
          Whereas,
          The occupy movement was an organic thing….just another version of that which has been happening for a long time…..the wall st.movement was another group that took examples from the likes of MLK and Gandhi ,to hold peaceful vigils, and are part of the chain of human history that includes the occupy production movement from Argentina in the late nineties,and the Spanish example from earlier this century.and I’m sure there are others….these people were at it for a month or two before they even had the press reluctantly acknowledge their existence in mass media.and that only happened when they marched on the Brooklyn bridge.since then they have been completely mischaracterized by people like you and those in the media who either don’t have a clue or have some ulterior motive.
          The movement that spread across the country was just local people doing things locally……and all of this with either no press coverage,or worse,press coverage that put words in their mouths and took them out.the lack of a particular complaint and focus,is purposeful so as not to be tied to any one problem,considering there are so many.when people are gathered there is a mix of people trying to get their word out.Yes,part of their problem is a lack of unanimity,but it is also a strength.because at this point the consciousness of the public is just being prepared.and I’m willing to bet the powers that be are working very hard to co-opt the movement,like they always do,but the fact is ,It still remains…..
          The occupy movement isn’t what it is all about,it is about the crimes against the people of this country.that which everyone can see.Hell,right on this blog,there is a never ending stream of points where things are not as they should be.In particular points of fact and even ,every once in a while,people are asserting what should be done about it.In a real sense.
          The tea party just stands up and says stop, with no actual way to keep the world from spinning,yet they get coverage up the wazoo.and no one asks any real questions of them or their candidates who are quite willing to exploit the un/mis-informed for votes…and excuses as to why they won’t do what is right and good for the people…
          The occupy movement really is a bunch of people,some are just young and feel unfairness,without really knowing why,or are even a little entitled…. But then there are plenty of serious people who really do seek a forum on every subject you will see on this blog and more….

          Personally I say everyone needs to get seriious about monetary reform.our money creation apparatus is seriously flawed and much of the root of many of our problems and excesses.
          To see what some occupies are about,look at movies like:the inside job,the take,zeitgeist,the corporation,…. There are plenty more…..if anyone is interested

          1. Borsabil

            So why has this grassroots, organic protest movement up and vanished? Could it have something to do with the sudden withdrawal of funding? None of the conditions which supposedly motivated OWS have changed, in fact since last year things are demonstrably worse. The occupy thing served a purpose for a bunch of very rich and powerful people. The corporate media hyped it up, and fellow travelers latched on. Once that purpose was served, poof it was gone. Note the amorphous non existent agenda, with no effort to engage, let alone threaten sitting Democrat politicians, which should have been any left wing protest movements bread and butter. And while I agree that the tea party movement was infiltrated by corporate interests there was enough of a genuine base for it to carry on.

          2. Brad Friedman

            This is actually a reply to Borsabil BELOW, rather than above (but there is no Reply button below it, so using this one instead.)

            He/she asked:

            “So why has this grassroots, organic protest movement up and vanished? Could it have something to do with the sudden withdrawal of funding?”

            It couldn’t. But it doesn’t. It has more to do with the sudden appearance of pepper spray, rubber bullets, sound cannons, other violent police tactics, inappropriate arrests, new “rules” disallowing tent camping public spaces, and lengthy and costly jail sentences (before all charges were dropped, in almost every case.)

            That, and the inability of the corporate mainstream media to report on a leaderless movement, even now, and their partnership with the establishment politicos of both major political parties.

            “None of the conditions which supposedly motivated OWS have changed, in fact since last year things are demonstrably worse.”

            Correct. But see that whole tyranny thing described above. Kinda takes away some of the incentive for peaceful protest.

            “Note the amorphous non existent agenda, with no effort to engage, let alone threaten sitting Democrat politicians, which should have been any left wing protest movements bread and butter”

            Yeah, see that whole media thing described above. If you’re unfamiliar with their demonstrations against “Democrat” [sic] politicians, I have a feeling you’ve been watching a bit too much Fox “News”.

            “And while I agree that the tea party movement was infiltrated by corporate interests there was enough of a genuine base for it to carry on.”

            Uh, yeah…or enough of the billionaires *money* that you pretend wasn’t there in the first place, for it to carry on. But whatevs.

  3. Paul

    True, hand counting of ballots may be better but it does not ensure democracy.

    In Canada, it is well known and proven that both provincial and federal governments who receive only a minority of the popular vote, i.e. less than 50%, will win a majority of the seats necessary to govern. This happens with disturbing frequency. The present federal Conservative government won 40% of the popular vote but took a majority of the seats, 166 out of 308 which means they took a whopping undemocratic 54% of the seats. So, a vote for them is worth 14% more than a vote against them. Even on Wall Street, that would be considered a savage haircut.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canadian_federal_election,_2011

    And in Canada, where the Senate is powerless, that means the government is much more powerful and unconstrained. There are no plans in Canada to reform this unjust and undemocratic voting system.

    Further to the 1995 Quebec referendum, it is proven fact that the referendum was illegally interfered with by the Federal Government.

    http://www.cbc.ca/news/background/groupaction/timeline.html

    So, yes, hand counting ballots may be better. However, there are multiple ways to rig and counterfeit democracy.
    They always seem to find one way or the other; they certainly have in Canada.

    1. alex

      “hand counting of ballots may be better but it does not ensure democracy”

      It is a necessary but not a sufficient condition.

      Your point about a parliamentary system where a minority of votes determines who has a majority is interesting. I’ve wondered about that. The flaw in our presidential elections where the plurality of votes does not determine the winner is not a unique problem.

      Germany has a good system for dealing with that issue. From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bundestag_%28Germany%29#Distribution_of_seats_in_the_Bundestag

      “Half of the Members of the Bundestag are elected directly from 299 constituencies (first-past-the-post system), the other half are elected from the parties’ Land lists in such a way as to achieve proportional representation for the total Bundestag (if possible).”

      There is also interest in proportional representation in Canada: http://www.fairvote.ca/

      1. Paul

        Here in NZ we also hand count ballots – we use a system pretty close to the German system of proportional representation – to govern you need enough seats to represent at least half the voters (with some exceptions due to rounding and a 5% minimum rule) – any party that can get 5% of the vote or more gets 5% of the seats or more

        Our scrutineers are partisan, they represent parties – they sit in the polling place and watch, check the ballot and each other – they’re not allowed to open their mouths unless they see an error

        1. Bev

          How wonderful for the people of NZ. And, Germany.

          We need this too:

          http://markcrispinmiller.com/2012/09/while-we-still-have-time-new-book-on-the-peril-of-computerized-voting-systems/

          “While We Still Have Time”—new book on the peril of computerized voting systems!

          While We Still Have Time: The Perils Of Electronic Voting Machines And Democracy’s Solution: Publicly Observed, Secure Hand-Counted Paper Ballots (HCPB) Elections [Paperback]

          by Sheila Parks Ed.D.
          Publication Date: September 6, 2012

          Book Description:

          Electronic voting machines have caused and exacerbated many of the crises we face today. Simply and starkly stated: elections using electronic voting machines are often rigged by deliberately not counting the votes as cast. As a result, men and women who have not legitimately received a majority of the vote are put into office.

          Read more.

          http://www.amazon.com/While-Still-Have-Time-Hand-Counted/dp/1479156531/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1347310545&sr=1-1&keywords=WHILE+WE+STILL+HAVE+TIME

  4. kevinearick

    If vote fraud doesn’work…
    if importing voters doesn’t work…
    if redistricting doesn’t work…
    if bribery doesm’t work…
    if arbitrary electoral college rules doesn’t work…

    ..
    .
    if make-work gdp doesn’t work…
    have the fed top up pension accounts, one day earlier each month.

    MADness

  5. bmeisen

    Once again it seems the determinant in US Presidential elections is being ignored: voter fraud in the form of voter intimidation, voter registration manipulation, absentee ballot fraud, in addition to the innovations in non-paper ballotting. Hear a lot about Romney’s wealth and Obama’s seriousness. It’ll come down to corruption in the end – the hallmark of American democracy.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Sure. Paper ballots have their effect inside the polling booth, and can’t make sure that the polls are open to all citizens at all times, and not just the military, for example.

  6. Rob

    There was a moment when the new electronic voting machines were a topic.the republican party closeness to die bold and the only other two makers of these new machines,was a blip on the radar.the fact that the software was proprietary,and the general population and watchdog groups weren’t allowed to see the code,caused a st ir for a moment…Then the tests where it was shown by university students that all of them were very easily hacked….was a point on the timetable…then the election results in various states that showed when republicans were getting thousands of more votes in precincts ,than there were actual voters …this happened a number of times and places…..
    Despite the showing up of a system that has been proven to be absolutely unreliable,we are left to have faith that our political class will look out for our best. Interests and be honest….
    Seriously?
    The reality is we don’t know who actually won any election in the last 12 years… We just know what we have been told….we are living Stalin’s dream,”It doesn’t matter who votes or how,just who counts the votes.”
    And now with the pretense of a choice we march boldly on…….to oblivion

    1. Susan the other

      It’s discouraging when citizenshiip is subject to such arbitrary and secretive disenfranchisement. Our disenfranchisement should be made public! I can see 5 million jobs right there. And not just the diebolding of elections (for which Canada has created a new occupation of Scrutineering!) – making them electistic and so much more efficient; but the diebolding of our society in toto – making it: morgagistic, debtistic, financistic, corporatistic, markektistic, educatistic, employistic, environmentistic, etc.

      I have a very serious question: Can we please outsource our entire judicial system and do a new social contract with the German judicial system? I mean, ours really is toast.

  7. polistra

    BRAVO.

    Observable physical measurements are always better.

    Another example is the ‘smart meter’ for utilities, now being introduced in many states. Because it’s all digital it’s easy for the central office to alter the numbers, and it’s impossible to check. The old turning-disk meter takes more labor, but you can check it yourself if you get suspicious.

    I’d like to see a digital voting system where you could search out your own vote in the final count, to insure that your vote got added into the correct side. Since most ballots are already numbered, this would be easy to implement without destroying privacy.

    I don’t think privacy is all that important anyway. Privacy laws protect evil far more often than they protect good.

    1. Brad Friedman

      Polistra:

      I was with ya, until you said:

      “I’d like to see a digital voting system where you could search out your own vote in the final count, to insure that your vote got added into the correct side. Since most ballots are already numbered, this would be easy to implement without destroying privacy.”

      Two problems there. One, that would allow for the buying and selling of votes. That’s why we don’t (and shouldn’t) do something like the scheme you suggest above. Second, it wouldn’t matter what you were TOLD (by a computer) your computer was counted as. You can be told anything, while the final results reflect another.

      That’s why it’s important for us all to be able to oversee not how our OWN vote was counted, but how EVERYONE’s vote was counted, and to know that it was counted accurately, as per EVERY voter’s intent.

      “I don’t think privacy is all that important anyway. Privacy laws protect evil far more often than they protect good.”

      Well, that’s a separate issue. Right now, we have a secret ballot system, and it should remain that way. (Which is just one reason why the push by the political parties towards Vote-by-Mail is such a terrible idea: http://www.bradblog.com/?p=6003 )

      1. Bev

        So thrilled at this topic here and the top, top people you are quoting. Just in time….

        How do we do the paper ballots hand counted this year?

        And, Election Defense Alliance needs help to replace the “official media polls” which are adjusted after the election to match the corporate desired results.

        ……..

        via:
        http://markcrispinmiller.com/2012/09/help-the-eda-keep-romneyryan-from-winning-the-election/

        Help the EDA keep Romney/Ryan from “winning” the election!

        United We Count!

        ElectionDefenseAlliance.org
        http://electiondefensealliance.org/

        Dear Supporter of Honest Elections:

        We are happy to share our good news that Threshold Foundation has awarded a grant to Election Defense Alliance to cover part of the cost of the forensic work we hope to conduct in November. It is the SUSA method, with which we have had great success demonstrating in past elections a red-flag pattern of disparities nationwide.

        Your part is to help us come up with the rest of the needed funding! We are in need of an additional $25,000 just for this SUSA operation, and we have only two weeks more to secure it. These funds cover the services of the pollster, Survey USA. Our work–determining beforehand the appropriate sites for investigation, analyzing the data on election night, and then writing it up and “getting it out there”–will be, as in the past, pro bono.

        With the disappearance of the funds IHCenter was holding for us (and 200+ other non-profit organizations), built up and earmarked for this election, our election integrity work is especially in need of your support.

        There is a strong shared sense that this must be the election that breaks things open for all to see and puts an end to the Alice-In-Wonderland nightmare that American politics have become.

        With your help.

        As we have reported before, we have a new fiscal sponsor, so that contributions are still tax-deductible, and the funds now go directly and safely into our own EDA account.

        Contributions can be made by checks made out to

        Columbus Institute of Contemporary Journalism — EDA

        and mailed to Election Defense Alliance
        PO Box 3152
        Culver City, CA 90231-3152

        Thank you for as much support as you can give for SUSA and our related work. The more funds we have, the more definitive our results from SUSA can be.

        Please get back to us quickly. After you have mailed your check, please notify Jonathan directly so we can keep an up-to-date running total and know how much polling data we can purchase: verifiedvote2004@aol.com. Also feel free to call him if you have questions about the SUSA methodology: 617-538-6012.

        We hope it has been a good summer for you and that working together now we can help turn our electoral system around.

        Jonathan Simon, Executive Director

        Sally Castleman, National Chairperson

        Time is short – we have but 2 weeks to solidify our plan with SUSA.

        Please respond immediately.

        ……….

        1. Jill

          Bev,

          If you are from verified voting thank you for exposing many things that have gone wrong with the voting machines.

          I’m curious why you think the machines would only be put in service to “help” Romney win. I’m guessing they will “help” Obama this time!

          To me, that letter should read, let’s make certain whomever people vote for actually wins the election. I would feel better about supporting that mission because it isn’t partisan.

          1. Bev

            The letter above says that it is being stolen by the GOP who also tried to steal it last time too. The democrats just go along with it, isn’t that so strange…until you realize that mainly only politicians (GOP and Democrats, both having to move further and further extreme right wing) who support the machines are elected by the machines…then you know.

            So unless everyone, and I mean everyone rebukes these machines that hide or remove real physical evidence, and also the efforts to prevent all people from voting, well, then tptb will further consolidate their power, and we will know who is who.

            ……….

            Proof that even a republican can be a wonderful whistleblower:

            Clinton Curtis, Riveting testimony followed from Clinton Curtis, a Tallahassee-based computer programmer who told the hearing he had been hired by (GOP) US Rep Tom Feeney, then Speaker of the Florida House, to write a program that would conceal the theft of an election. Curtis said Feeney was then a lobbyist for a major computer company as well as Speaker. Curtis said Feeney wanted a program that could use voting machines to “flip an election” without being detected. Curtis said he wrote a prototype program, then quit.

            snip

            “One person in a simple tab machine can affect thousands of votes,” Curtis testified. “There is absolutely no assurance of anything on those machines.”

            from: http://www.freepress.org/departments/display/19/2004/986

            …………..

            Also, another former republican Kevin Phillips–wonderful whistleblower:

            

from:


            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kevin_Phillips_%28political_commentator%29



            Formerly a Republican Party strategist, Phillips has become disaffected with his former party over the last two decades, and is now one of its most scathing critics. 



            American Theocracy (2006)

            

Allen Dwight Callahan[1] states the book’s theme is that the Republican Party (GOP), religious fundamentalism, petroleum, and borrowed money are an “Unholy Alliance.”[2] The last chapter, in a nod to his first major work, is titled “The Erring Republican Majority.” American Theocracy “presents a nightmarish vision of ideological extremism, catastrophic fiscal irresponsibility, rampant greed and dangerous shortsightedness.”


            which is the same as:

            http://home.cc.umanitoba.ca/~altemey/

            Bob Altemeyer’s – The Authoritarians

            The whole book:
            http://members.shaw.ca/jeanaltemeyer/drbob/TheAuthoritarians.pdf

            which is the same as:

            http://www.alternet.org/print/story/156071/conservative_southern_values_revived%3A_how_a_brutal_strain_of_american_aristocrats_have_come_to_rule_america

            Conservative Southern Values Revived: How a Brutal Strain of American Aristocrats Have Come to Rule America

            ………….

          2. Bev

            And this:

            http://www.gregpalast.com/billionaires-ballot-bandits/

            Billionaires & Ballot Bandits

            by Greg Palast

            It’s called Billionaires & Ballot Bandits: How to Steal an Election in 9 Easy Steps.

            An investigation of Karl Rove, the Koch Gang and their billionaire Buck-Buddies. The guys who bought Ryan.

            snip

            I cry. I scream. I retch. Then I make jokes — but I give you the inside info on the Koch Brothers (“Target 67C” as federal prosecutors called Charles Koch) that will make your eyes pop.

            Fact: The 2012 election’s been stolen. Already. Stolen by billionaires who’ve created data bases called “Themis” (the Kochs own that) and “DataTrust” (Karl Rove’s satanic machine).

            The election has not been stolen from Barack Obama — it’s been stolen from you. From We the People who march to the polls believing America is still a democracy, the land of the Brave, home of The Free, and that our votes count.

            The Rove-bots and the monsters behind the data bases have figured out how to fiddle, finagle and ultimately throw your vote in the garbage.

            America is on the line. ON THE LINE. I have two kids and God forbid I stand here silent with my hands in my pockets whistling at my shoes.

            snip

            With a foreword by Robert F. Kennedy Jr., “The Hostile Takeover of America”. RFK is as outraged as I am but a lot calmer.

            snip

            Don’t be fooled again. This election is about a bunch of madly dangerous financiers — “The Vulture,” the “Ice Man,” and guys so evil they don’t even have nicknames — who can’t tolerate the idea that Americans have a right to choose our leaders, our destinies.

            ………….

          3. Bev

            Crime is worse than covering up the crime.

            But, if by covering up the crime, you allow the criminals to rule….well….

            I worry about Obama when I see articles like this:

            http://markcrispinmiller.com/2012/08/as-rightist-terror-surges-obamas-dhs-shuts-down-its-rightist-terrorism-unit/

            As rightist terror surges, Obama’s DHS shuts down its rightist terrorism unit

            Daryl Johnson: I tried to warn them

            I wrote the infamous report that led Homeland Security to gut its right-wing terrorism unit

            By Daryl Johnson

            ……….

            Why would that be? Who is Obama helping? Who would they run into?

            ……….

            Read a few articles (also needing verification by historians, journalists, professors) by Dan at

            http://bigdanblogger.blogspot.com/

            He says Romney has hired the Bush 911 “national security” people.

            …………

            And, the problem about that would be:

            http://existentialistcowboy.blogspot.com/2012/01/aa-exposes-bushs-big-lie-flight-11-did.html

            AA Exposes Bush’s ‘Big Lie’: Flight 11 DID NOT FLY on 911!

            by Len Hart, The Existentialist Cowboy

            American Airlines is the source for information that AA Flights 11 (North Tower) and 77 (Pentagon) did not fly on 911. If neither flew on 911, the Bush ‘theory’ is a lie. If the Bush ‘theory’ is a lie, there remains only one explanation and that is: 911 was an inside job given a green-light by Bush himself.

            These flights are critical to the the government’s crumbling cover up! Conan Doyle, the brilliant creator of the character Sherlock Holmes, said: “When you have eliminated the impossible whatever remains however implausible must be the truth!” Bush’s official conspiracy theory of 911 is not only impossible, it’s absurd and insulting to intelligent people!

            The Bush Conspiracy Theory is impossible! And it’s a Lie.

            ……..

            Greed, power and sociopathy.

            The following is Darryl Schoon’s article, and it is brave and good. It will need to be reviewed by historians, professors, but, may provide the motive to so much gone wrong in our country’s recent history–starting with money and elections.

            Darryl Robert Schoon
            http://www.drschoon.com
            http://www.drschoon.com/members/images/911GoldMoneAndPower.pdf

            Excerpt from Light In A Dark Place, 2nd ed. 2012)

            9/11 & Gold, Money and Power

            With the rise of central banking, gold as money began a three century decline. Gold as power, however, continued on as usual.

            In 1971, when the US cut the ties between money and gold, gold as money ceased to exist. Gold as power, however, continued. But because gold is power there is little real information on the connection between the two; and that information is often misleading as the powerful prefer secrecy and the true movements of gold are no exception.

            snip

            .. a vast international criminal conspiracy at the heart of the American government … [beginning] with the criminal prosecution of former Reagan intelligence coordinator, Lee Wanta…Charges allege that the 9/11 attacks were planned and executed in order to cover financial crimes.

            ………..

          4. Bev

            Palast was interviewed today at firedoglake:

            http://my.firedoglake.com/elliott/2012/09/09/billionaires-ballot-bandits-how-to-steal-an-election-in-9-easy-steps-book-salon-preview/

            FDL Book Salon Welcomes Greg Palast and Ted Rall, Billionaires & Ballot Bandits: How to Steal an Election in 9 Easy Steps

            Author: Watertiger
            Sunday, September 9, 2012 12:55 pm Pacific time

            Welcome Greg Palast (GregPalast.com), Ted Rall (Rall/RallBlog.com) and Host Watertiger (Dependable Renegade)

            Billionaires & Ballot Bandits: How to Steal an Election in 9 Easy Steps

            Because Americans aren’t anxious enough forced to digest anemic monthly jobs numbers, an economy teetering on the precipice, the steady stream of illegal home foreclosures, a Democratic President poised to shiv Social Security and Medicare, and the country’s insidious metamorphosis into a security state, they also have to worry about something so basic as the right to vote. That’s because über-bully Karl Rove, not content to have put the Dauphin of Dumbfuckistan in the White House, decided that controlling the Executive Branch wasn’t enough. Like his Machiavellian comrade and patron, Charles Koch, he “want[ed] his fair share–and that’s all of it.” Hey, if that means depriving American citizens of their civil rights, well, so be it. There are always going to be winners and losers, amirite? Whaddya gonna do about it?

            Enter Greg Palast. Let me rephrase: ENTER Greg Palast. Many of you may already be familiar with Palast’s investigative reports on everything from our decaying democracy to the looting of African economies that have appeared in The Guardian, the BBC, Rolling Stone, Harper’s and The Nation, among others. The author of New York Times bestsellers, he’s a muckraker of the best sort, nonpartisan and intrepid, digging for information while our lazy, turgid American media gets its information from PR flaks and cocktail weenie gossip.

            Palast recognizes that the greatest threat to the survival of the American Experiment is the silencing of our collective voice. So he set out to follow the money behind the Koch-and-Rove Show’s organized effort to “shut it down”–if I may paraphrase Todd Akin [R-Ignorant Dipshit]. The result? Billionaires & Ballot Bandits: How to Steal an Election in 9 Easy Steps. With comics by the irrepressible Ted Rall, Palast’s latest outlines precisely how these sociopaths (I know, I use that word a lot, but hey, shoes that fit…) have begun to dismantle the voting process and what we, the people, can do to repair the damage and take back our country from these arrogant plutocrats. And yes, it’s up to us, because we can’t rely on the bought-and-paid-for government to do it for us.

          5. Bev

            IMPORTANT UPDATE:

            President of Italy’s Supreme Court to Refer 9/11 Crimes To International Criminal Court

            http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2012/09/president-of-the-supreme-court-of-italy-to-refer-911-crimes-to-international-criminal-court.html

            Posted on September 9, 2012 by WashingtonsBlog

            Says that 9/11 was “False Flag” Terror, Just Like the Strategy of Tension in Italy

            Ferdinando Imposimato is the honorary President of the Supreme Court of Italy, and former Senior Investigative Judge, Italy.

            Imposimato presided over several terrorism-related cases, including the kidnapping and ultimate assassination of President Aldo Moro, the attempted assassination of Pope John Paul II, other political assassinations and kidnapping cases and several cases against the Mafia. He is a former Senator who served on the Anti-Mafia Commission in three administrations.

            Imposimato is also a former legal consultant to the United Nations regarding institution of laws to control drug trafficking.

            This week, Judge Imposimato stated publicly in writing that 9/11 was just like the “strategy of tension” carried out in Italy.

            Specifically, the former Italian Prime Minister, Italian judges, and the former head of Italian counterintelligence admit that NATO, with the help of the Pentagon and CIA, carried out terror bombings in Italy and other European countries in the 1950s and blamed the communists, in order to rally people’s support for their governments in Europe in their fight against communism.

            As one participant in this formerly-secret program stated: “You had to attack civilians, people, women, children, innocent people, unknown people far removed from any political game. The reason was quite simple. They were supposed to force these people, the Italian public, to turn to the state to ask for greater security” (and see this)(Italy and other European countries subject to the terror campaign had joined NATO before the bombings occurred).

            snip

            Judge Imposimato writes that 9/11 was the exact same type of attack: an act of false flag terror.

            Judge Imposimato announced that he is going to recommend that the International Criminal Court hold a criminal trial into 9/11.

            Imposimato noted that the International Criminal Court was set up to protect the world from criminal acts of war, and that it is the perfect judicial body to hear such a case.

            more

          6. Bev

            Still Evil after All These Years: The Franklin Scandal and Pedophilia in High Places

            “The World-Herald Company is co-owner of Election Software and Systems, which counts half the election ballots in the United States.”

            http://www.opednews.com/articles/Still-Evil-after-All-These-by-Charles-M-Young-120910-472.html

            By Charles M. Young Posted by Dave Lindorff

            I have known Nick Bryant since 1995. He was new to New York from Minnesota then, and looking to make a jump from science reporting in technical journals to writing for a mass audience. I noticed that he was persistent and ethically motivated and I thought, “He might be a good reporter.” We got to be friends, and had many long discussions about the nature of evil, which was his preferred subject matter as he tried to make a move into general circulation magazines. When he wasn’t chasing doctors at AIDS conferences, he was chasing outlaw bikers and Satanists.

            On one such foray in 2002, he stumbled on a scandal that I had never heard of. The scandal centered around the Franklin Community Federal Credit Union, which was created to serve a poor black neighborhood in Omaha, Nebraska. During the 70s and 80s, its manager, a man named Larry King (not the talk show host), ran the Franklin as a Ponzi scheme and looted over $40 million, which he spent on an opulent lifestyle and Republican fundraising. King sang the National Anthem at the Republican convention in 1984 and served on several committees of the National Black Republican Council. He had a townhouse in Washington, DC, where he threw parties with many prominent guests. In August 1988, he threw a $100,000 party at the Republican convention, and appeared in a video in which he and Jack Kemp urged blacks to vote for George H. W. Bush. In November 1988, his Ponzi scheme crashed and the Franklin was shut down by the National Credit Union Association and the FBI.

            All run-of-the-mill scandal stuff, and uncontroversial in the basic facts, except that as King was climbing into the upper levels of the national Republican hierarchy, Omaha was boiling over with rumors that he was also running a pedophile ring, pandering children out to rich and powerful men in Omaha, even flying the children to Washington, Los Angeles and New York for orgiastic, abusive parties with even richer and more powerful men.

            snip

            The FBI has had a reputation for dirty tricks and blackmail for its entire history. The revelations about COINTELPRO, the campaign of harassment against the left during the 60s, were shocking to anyone with a concern for freedom of speech. If it became known that the FBI covered up a pedophile ring of the rich and powerful, I think most Americans would react as they reacted to the Penn State scandal, and the FBI would be drastically reorganized. Minimally, a number of agents in the Omaha office in the late 80s and 90s are guilty of the worst sort of malfeasance.

            If it’s bad for quack psychotherapists “implant” false memories in their patients, how much worse is it when the FBI does the implanting with threats, beatings and perjury trials?

            The Omaha World-Herald was the foremost local cheerleader for persecuting teenagers instead of investigating their claims. One of its own columnists, Peter Citron, had a long history of arrests for pedophilia and child porn and was implicated by two witnesses at Larry King’s sex parties. The long-time publisher of the World-Herald, Harold Anderson, was a big supporter of Larry King and had raised money for the Franklin. During the 18 years that King presided over the Franklin, the newspaper never noticed that King was living a hugely expensive lifestyle when he was supposedly making $17,000 a year in salary. The World-Herald Company is co-owner of Election Software and Systems, which counts half the election ballots in the United States.

            Americans have plenty of obvious reasons to hate the rich and powerful. Wars for oil, rampant pollution, the destruction of individual rights, the constant lying about everything. It’s all on the front page, and it’s like old furniture in the living room. It’s hard for most people to notice. Boutique evil of the Gerry Sandusky sort affects fewer victims, but is more easily understood once the initial denial breaks down. If the denial of the Franklin Credit Union scandal ever breaks down, the consequences will reverberate far higher than happened at Penn State. Except for all those who died in suspicious accidents and suicides, the witnesses are still out there. Some might even talk about it. They talked to Nick Bryant.

            Until the paperback version of The Franklin Scandal: A Story of Powerbrokers, Child Abuse and Betrayal comes out in October, you can read more at Franklinscandal.com.

            CHARLES M. YOUNG is a founding member of ThisCantBeHappening!, the new independent Project Censored Award-winning online alternative newspaper. His work, and that of colleagues JOHN GRANT, DAVE LINDORFF, LORI SPENCER and LINN WA

          7. Bev

            credits were incomplete:

            CHARLES M. YOUNG is a founding member of ThisCantBeHappening!, the new independent Project Censored Award-winning online alternative newspaper. His work, and that of colleagues JOHN GRANT, DAVE LINDORFF, LORI SPENCER and LINN WASHINGTON, JR., can be found at http://www.thiscantbehappening.net

          8. Bev

            http://markcrispinmiller.com/2012/09/nytimes-repeats-an-old-canard-about-the-1960-presidential-race-and-wont-run-a-correction/comment-page-1/#comment-14565

            NYTimes repeats an old canard about the 1960 presidential race, and won’t run a correction

            As the Times chose not to run this letter, we’re running it here.

            MCM

            To the editors:

            Defending the voter ID laws pushed by the GOP from coast to coast, James P. Tuthill claims that he is “old enough to remember the credible view that voter fraud in Chicago delivered Illinois and the presidency to John F. Kennedy.” (“Letters: Using Voter ID Law to Protect Our Democracy,” Aug. 21, 2012)*

            That legend might be “credible” if JFK’s election depended on his winning Illinois, but it did not. Even if he’d lost that state, his win in Texas would have given him enough electoral votes to take the White House.

            And while there surely was a lot of “voter fraud in Chicago,” the GOP could find no evidence that it helped Kennedy. (It definitely swept the Democratic candidate for State’s Attorney into office.) The party hunted for such evidence aggressively not just in Illinois but in ten other states as well, and came up empty.

            And yet their bitter “view” of that race seems “credible” today, and not just to Republicans—a propaganda win for Richard Nixon. Kennedy’s defeated rival never stopped insisting he was robbed, but that he chose to let it go, for the good of the country. Despite that lofty pose (“I simply did the right thing”), Nixon quietly oversaw his party’s search for proof that Democrats had stuffed the ballot box.

            They couldn’t find it then—and they can’t find it now, as every study reconfirms that rampant “voter fraud” is just a myth. It is a myth that the Republicans now use to disenfranchise countless voters, which is one way to steal elections for themselves.

            Mark Crispin Miller

            The writer, a Professor of Media, Culture and Communication at New York University, is the author of Fooled Again: The Real Case for Electoral Reform.

            *LETTER

            To the Editor:

            Re “Missed Chance to Reject Voting Barriers” (editorial, Aug. 16):

            I struggle to understand your position on voter verification laws. There is nothing more important to our democracy than the integrity of the vote. If too many citizens believe that the vote is tainted, then so is our democracy.

            As a registered Democrat, I don’t see any substantive basis for objecting to a reasonable verification requirement, given that we require photos for driver’s licenses, passports, credit cards and so on. With citizenship goes some modest amount of responsibility. Is it really too much to ask that a person who wants to vote get reasonable verification of who he or she is?

            I am old enough to remember the credible view that voter fraud in Chicago delivered Illinois and the presidency to John F. Kennedy.

            Suspicion about election results must be avoided to maintain our confidence in our democracy. Could it be that those opposed to reasonable verification laws have another agenda and are using the discrimination argument as a foil for other goals?

            JAMES P. TUTHILL
            Lafayette, Calif., Aug. 18, 2012

            …….

            And comment by

            Richard Charnin, Truth Is All:

            http://richardcharnin.com/

            In Illinois, Kennedy squeeked to victory while Otto Kerner, the Democratic candidate for Governor, and Paul Douglas, the Democratic candidate for Senate were winning by huge margins. The House Delegation was also Democratic by 14 to 11. So, 1960 was a Democratic year in Illinois.

            In Cook County, Kennedy got 1,378,343 to Nixon’s 1,059,607. Kerner got 1,455,674 to his Republican opponent’s 937,625; and Douglas received 1,407,775 to his opponent’s 970,050 votes. So, in Cook County, Nixon was running as much as 100,000 votes ahead of other Republicans, while Kennedy was trailing the other Democrats by 30,000 to 50,000. How could votes be stolen for Kennedy which result in his running behind the other Democrats while Nixon was running far ahead of other Republicans? How many votes did Nixon steal downstate?

            In the 1968-2004 elections there were 80 million uncounted votes, the vast majority Democratic.

            In 1968, there were nearly 6 million uncounted votes. Bush (I believe he meant Nixon) won by 600,000 votes nationally. If 2/3 of uncounted votes are allocated to Humphrey, he had 4 of 6 million and won by a net 1.4 million votes.

            I do not have the number of votes that were uncounted in 1960. But if we assume there were 6 million, JFK won by at least 2 million votes.

            Democrats do much better EVERY election than the recorded vote indicates. Consider that approximately 80 million votes were uncounted in the 11 elections from 1968-2004.The Democrats lost a net 40 MILLION votes, or nearly 4 million in each election.

            In 1988, Bush Sr. won the recorded vote by 7 million, but there were 11 million uncounted votes. Dukakis won the state exit polls by 51-47%. He won the National Exit Poll by 50-49%. Was the discrepancy mostly the result of 11 million uncounted votes?

            https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AjAk1JUWDMyRdFIzSTJtMTJZekNBWUdtbWp3bHlpWGc#gid=13

            In1992, approximately 9 million votes were uncounted. Clinton defeated Bush by 5.8 million (44.9-39.1) or 43.0-37.5%. But he won the unadjusted state exit poll aggregate by 17 million (48-33%).

            https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AjAk1JUWDMyRdFIzSTJtMTJZekNBWUdtbWp3bHlpWGc#gid=17

            ……….

            Richard Charnin:

            Election Fraud (1968-2012)
            Quantitative Analysis and True Vote Models

            Richard Charnin’s Blog
            https://twitter.com/RichardCharnin

            Proving Election Fraud: Phantom Voters, Uncounted Votes and the National Exit Poll

            Aug. 22 Interview: Bob Fitrakis “Fight Back”

            The Election Fraud Quiz

            1988-2008 EXIT POLL DATA, TRUE VOTE AND ELECTION FRAUD MODELS

            Perspectives on an Exit Poll Reference Text

            Election Fraud: An Introduction to Exit Poll Probability Analysis

            Unadjusted Exit Poll Probability Analysis Links

            Links to True Vote Spreadsheet Models and Databases

            1988-2008 Election Database (html): Unadjusted State and National Exit Polls vs. Recorded Vote

            1988-2008 Election Database (blog): Unadjusted State & National Exit Polls vs. Recorded Vote

            The 2012 Presidential True Vote and Election Fraud Simulation Model

            2012: Obama May Win the True Vote and Still Lose the Election

            Fixing the Exit Polls to Match the Policy

            Avoiding the Election Fraud Factor: Forecasters. Political Scientists, Academics and the Media

            Footprints of Election Fraud: 1988-2008 State Exit Poll Discrepancies

          9. Bev

            Political prisoner # 1 Don Seigelman goes to jail today, Sept. 11. His supporters say his only “crime” was belonging to the Democratic Party in a state with a Republican majority.

            http://www.change.org/petitions/president-obama-please-restore-justice-and-pardon-my-dad

            President Obama: Please restore justice and pardon my dad!
            by Dana Siegelman

            ……………

            http://legalschnauzer.blogspot.com/2012/09/did-judge-on-siegelman-appellate-panel.html

            Did Judge on Siegelman Appellate Panel Act Out of Fear From a Failed Attempt on his Life?

            Former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman is due to report to federal custody today in Oakdale, Louisiana, providing absolute proof that large chunks of Americans are perfectly willing to accept the idea of political prisoners in our “democracy,” circa 2012.

            We have written probably several hundred posts about the Siegelman travesty, and you might think that we wouldn’t have anything left to say at this point. But you would be wrong, and that’s largely because the case was so profoundly screwed up on so many levels that the news just keeps on coming.

            In fact, the following question is on our mind today: Was the appeal in the Siegelman case botched in part because one member of the three-judge panel operates out of fear from being the target of a failed assassination attempt more than 20 years ago?

            …………….

            http://www.democracynow.org/2012/9/11/former_alabama_gov_don_siegelman_speaks

            Ex-Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman Speaks Out on Karl Rove, Witch Hunt Hours Before Returning to Jail

            AMY GOODMAN: We begin our show with the man who the American Trial Lawyer magazine calls America’s “Political Prisoner #1.” That’s Don Siegelman, the former governor of Alabama, who returns to federal prison today to resume his six-and-a-half-year sentence. He was convicted on bribery charges stemming from his appointment of a campaign donor to a non-paying government board.

            However, his supporters say his only “crime” was belonging to the Democratic Party in a state with a Republican majority. Siegelman’s supporters say he was the target of a political witch hunt, in part orchestrated by former Bush administration deputy Karl Rove. They claim the federal prosecutors and presiding judge decided to destroy Siegelman’s career.

            Siegelman was once touted as a possible Democratic presidential candidate. In Alabama, he served in four of the state’s top elected offices. He was governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general and secretary of state.

            Siegelman’s supporters already include 100 former states’ attorneys general—both Republicans and Democrat—as well as former presidential candidates Al Gore and John Kerry. Last week, he actually attended the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, not as a politician or candidate but as a man seeking a presidential pardon.

            Pace Law Professor Bennett Gershman says Siegelman’s case is, quote, “one of the most egregiously bad faith prosecutions by the Justice Department ever.”

            Siegelman has already served over nine months in prison, a month in solitary confinement, three weeks in a maximum security prison. He now has to report back to federal prison in Oakdale, Louisiana, by this afternoon.

            For more, we’re joined by Democracy Now! video stream by former Governor Don Siegelman. He’s joining us from a hotel room in New Orleans on his way to jail.

            Governor Siegelman, welcome to Democracy Now!

            DON SIEGELMAN: Thanks, Amy. I’m delighted to be with you this morning.

            AMY GOODMAN: It’s hard to believe you’d use the word “delighted” today, but can you talk about why you’re headed to jail today?

            DON SIEGELMAN: Well, no one wants to go to prison for something that is not a crime, and especially one orchestrated by Karl Rove. Everyone remembers the eight attorney—the eight U.S. attorneys who were fired by Rove during the Bush administration because they would not pursue political prosecutions. Well, the U.S. attorney in Alabama, appointed by Bush, vetted by Rove, pursued a political prosecution, and this is the flip side of that congressional investigation that stirred up a stink about how Rove was using the Department of Justice as a political weapon.

            AMY GOODMAN: Explain exactly what happened. Talk about your time as governor, though you served in many different official capacities, elected positions in Alabama, and then exactly what happened to you.

            DON SIEGELMAN: Well, I was raising money to get a state referendum passed that would establish a lottery so Alabama’s less fortunate kids would have a chance to go to college for free. Jack Abramoff, in his book, admits that he put $20 million of Indian casino money in Alabama, first to defeat me in 1998 and to defeat the lottery campaign in 1999 and then to defeat me again in 2002. There was a confluence of both the casino interests to get rid of me, to target me and to stop me, as well as Karl Rove and his best friend and his best friend’s wife, who was the U.S. attorney, as well as Karl Rove’s client, who was the state attorney general.

            I was raising money, and I had asked a gentleman to raise money for this state referendum. He did, and later I appointed him to the same board on which he had served through three previous governors. And it’s interesting to note that all three of these previous governors had received contributions directly from this CEO. I received a contribution, but it went to a referendum campaign, yet I was targeted and convicted with—for bribery.

            The other interesting note here is that the judge lowered the standard by which juries can convict to not an expressed quid pro quo or an explicitly asserted quid pro quo, but, in my case, an implied quid pro quo. So, now we have a standard in Alabama where people can be convicted not on evidence that they actually got together and decided to swap money for favors, but to allow the jury to assume or to imply that there was such a deal.

            more

          10. Bev

            from:
            http://legalschnauzer.blogspot.com/2012/08/siegelman-prosecution-has-ties-to-911.html

            Siegelman Prosecution Has Ties to 9/11 and Ugly Activities at an Alabama Air Force Base

            The prosecution of former Alabama governor Don Siegelman was driven in part by a desire to cover up activity related to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, according to a new report from a Washington, D.C.-based investigative journalist.

            Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery was a hotbed of 9/11 activity, according to the Wayne Madsen Report (WMR), and forces close to the Bush family were concerned that a Democratic governor might get wind of the misconduct and expose it.

            …………

            http://existentialistcowboy.blogspot.com/2012/09/lies-bushco-told-about-911.html

            Lies Bushco Told About 911

            by Len Hart, The Existentialist Cowboy

            snip

            Here’s a very, very short list of 911 anomolies anyone of which brings down the whole rotten edifice…

            NO airliner crashed at the alleged site in PA. Flight 93, we were expected to believe, managed to bury itself upon impact. It’s a convenient lie designed to cover up the fact that no airliner wreckage was ever visible at the alleged ‘crash’ site. The myths and lies can be put to rest with a simple excavation which is sure to turn up nothing because there is not now nor was there ever any wreckage at the Pentagon that was traceable to any airliner whatsoever. .

            WTC 7 was ‘pulled’. Silverstein himself said so and every demolition expert in the world knows that that is, indeed, the case. The building had been prepped.

            The laws of the CONSERVATON OF MATTER and ENERGY were not repealed. See any phsycist at M.I.T. to confirm that; ERGO –no airliner struck the PENTAGON and no wreckage traceable to an airliner WAS EVER recovered.

            KEROSENE –jet fuel is kerosene –will NEVER burn hot enough to melt or weaken steel. In addition, THERMITE was found and confirmed by experts and published in peer-reviewed papers.

            The BBC interviewed several ‘said’ hijackers though they were said by Bush partisans to have died in the attacks. Dead men don’t give interviews. Another fatal flaw in the official conspiracy theory.

            . American Airlines is the source for information that AA Flights 11 (North Tower) and 77 (Pentagon) did not fly on 911.

            My approach is the A. Conan Doyle approach…

            When you have eliminated the impossible whatever remains, however implausible, must be the truth!

            The Bush ‘theory’ is the only ‘conspiracy’ theory of 911 that meets the definition of the term –conspiracy –most precisely.

            Bush’s critics, however, rarely advance a theory at all. They are most often labeled ‘conspiracy theorists’ for merely shooting holes in the Bush conspiracy theory. But for reasons unknown to me, millions have a mental blind spot that prevents or short-circuits rational dialogue about 911.

            Also see: AA Exposes Bush’s ‘Big Lie’: Flight 11 DID NOT FLY on 911!

            http://existentialistcowboy.blogspot.ch/2012/01/aa-exposes-bushs-big-lie-flight-11-did.html

          11. Bev

            http://jamesfetzer.blogspot.com/2012/08/twilight-of-psychopaths.html

            Twilight of the Psychopaths
            by Dr. Kevin Barrett

            “Our society is run by insane people for insane objectives. I think we’re being run by maniacs for maniacal ends and I think I’m liable to be put away as insane for expressing that. That’s what’s insane about it.” – John Lennon, before his murder by CIA mind-control subject Mark David Chapman

            When Gandhi was asked his opinion of Western civilization he said it would be a good idea. But that oft-cited quote, is misleading, assuming as it does that civilization is an unmitigated blessing.

            Civilized people, we are told, live peacefully and cooperatively with their fellows, sharing the necessary labour in order to obtain the leisure to develop arts and sciences. And while that would be a good idea, it is not a good description of what has been going on in the so-called advanced cultures during the past 8,000 years.

            Civilization, as we know it, is largely the creation of psychopaths. All civilizations, our own included, have been based on slavery and “warfare.” Incidentally, the latter term is a euphemism for mass murder.

            The prevailing recipe for civilization is simple:

            1) Use lies and brainwashing to create an army of controlled, systematic mass murderers;
            2) Use that army to enslave large numbers of people (i.e. seize control of their labour power and its fruits);
            3) Use that slave labour power to improve the brainwashing process (by using the economic surplus to employ scribes, priests, and PR men). Then go back to step one and repeat the process.

            Psychopaths have played a disproportionate role in the development of civilization, because they are hard-wired to lie, kill, injure, and generally inflict great suffering on other humans without feeling any remorse. The inventor of civilization — the first tribal chieftain who successfully brainwashed an army of controlled mass murderers—was almost certainly a genetic psychopath. Since that momentous discovery, psychopaths have enjoyed a significant advantage over non-psychopaths in the struggle for power in civilizational hierarchies — especially military hierarchies.

            Military institutions are tailor-made for psychopathic killers. The 5% or so of human males who feel no remorse about killing their fellow human beings make the best soldiers. And the 95% who are extremely reluctant to kill make terrible soldiers — unless they are brainwashed with highly sophisticated modern techniques that turn them (temporarily it is hoped) into functional psychopaths.

            In On Killing, Lt. Col. Dave Grossman has re-written military history, to highlight what other histories hide: The fact that military science is less about strategy and technology, than about overcoming the instinctive human reluctance to kill members of our own species. The true “Revolution in Military Affairs” was not Donald Rumsfeld’s move to high-tech in 2001, but Brigadier Gen. S.L.A. Marshall’s discovery in the 1940s that only 15-20% of World War II soldiers along the line of fire would use their weapons: “Those (80-85%) who did not fire did not run or hide (in many cases they were willing to risk great danger to rescue comrades, get ammunition, or run messages), but they simply would not fire their weapons at the enemy, even when faced with repeated waves of banzai charges” (Grossman, p. 4).

            Marshall’s discovery and subsequent research, proved that in all previous wars, a tiny minority of soldiers — the 5% who are natural-born psychopaths, and perhaps a few temporarily-insane imitators—did almost all the killing. Normal men just went through the motions and, if at all possible, refused to take the life of an enemy soldier, even if that meant giving up their own. The implication: Wars are ritualized mass murders by psychopaths of non-psychopaths. (This cannot be good for humanity’s genetic endowment!)

            Marshall’s work, brought a Copernican revolution to military science. In the past, everyone believed that the soldier willing to kill for his country was the (heroic) norm, while one who refused to fight was a (cowardly) aberration. The truth, as it turned out, was that the normative soldier hailed from the psychopathic five percent. The sane majority, would rather die than fight.

            The implication, too frightening for even the likes of Marshall and Grossman to fully digest, was that the norms for soldiers’ behaviour in battle had been set by psychopaths. That meant that psychopaths were in control of the military as an institution. Worse, it meant that psychopaths were in control of society’s perception of military affairs. Evidently, psychopaths exercised an enormous amount of power in seemingly sane, normal society.

            How could that be? In Political Ponerology, Andrzej Lobaczewski explains that clinical psychopaths enjoy advantages even in non-violent competitions to climb the ranks of social hierarchies. Because they can lie without remorse (and without the telltale physiological stress that is measured by lie detector tests) psychopaths can always say whatever is necessary to get what they want. In court, for example, psychopaths can tell extreme bald-faced lies in a plausible manner, while their sane opponents are handicapped by an emotional predisposition to remain within hailing distance of the truth. Too often, the judge or jury imagines that the truth must be somewhere in the middle, and then issues decisions that benefit the psychopath. As with judges and juries, so too with those charged with decisions concerning who to promote and who not to promote in corporate, military and governmental hierarchies. The result is that all hierarchies inevitably become top-heavy with psychopaths.

            So-called conspiracy theorists, some of whom deserve the pejorative connotation of that much-abused term, often imagine that secret societies of Jews, Jesuits, bankers, communists, Bilderbergers, Muslim extremists, papists, and so on, are secretly controlling history, doing dastardly deeds, and/or threatening to take over the world. As a leading “conspiracy theorist” according to Wikipedia, I feel eminently qualified to offer an alternative conspiracy theory which, like the alternative conspiracy theory of 9/11, is both simpler and more accurate than the prevailing wisdom: The only conspiracy that matters is the conspiracy of the psychopaths against the rest of us.

            Behind the apparent insanity of contemporary history, is the actual insanity of psychopaths fighting to preserve their disproportionate power. And as that power grows ever-more-threatened, the psychopaths grow ever-more-desperate. We are witnessing the apotheosis of the overworld—the criminal syndicate or overlapping set of syndicates that lurks above ordinary society and law just as the underworld lurks below it. In 9/11 and the 9/11 wars, we are seeing the final desperate power-grab or “endgame” (Alex Jones) of brutal, cunning gangs of CIA drug-runners and President-killers; money-laundering international bankers and their hit-men, economic and otherwise; corrupt military contractors and gung-ho generals; corporate predators and their political enablers; brainwashers and mind-rapists euphemistically known as psy-ops experts and PR specialists—in short, the whole sick crew of certifiable psychopaths running our so-called civilization. And they are running scared. It was their terror of losing control that they projected onto the rest of us by blowing up the Twin Towers and inciting temporary psychopathic terror-rage in the American public.

            Why does the pathocracy fear it is losing control? Because it is threatened by the spread of knowledge. The greatest fear of any psychopath is of being found out. As George H. W. Bush said to journalist Sarah McClendon, December 1992, “If the people knew what we had done, they would chase us down the street and lynch us.” Given that Bush is reported to have participated in parties where child prostitutes were sodomized and otherwise abused, among his many other crimes, his statement to McClendon should be taken seriously.

            Psychopaths go through life knowing that they are completely different from other people. They quickly learn to hide their lack of empathy, while carefully studying others’ emotions so as to mimic normalcy while cold-bloodedly manipulating the normals.

            Today, thanks to new information technologies, we are on the brink of unmasking the psychopaths and building a civilization of, by and for the normal human being — a civilization without war, a civilization based on truth, a civilization in which the saintly few rather than the diabolical few would gravitate to positions of power. We already have the knowledge necessary to diagnose psychopathic personalities and keep them out of power. We have the knowledge necessary to dismantle the institutions in which psychopaths especially flourish — militaries, intelligence agencies, large corporations, and secret societies. We simply need to disseminate this knowledge, and the will to use it, as widely as possible.

            Above all, we need to inform the public about how psychopaths co-opt and corrupt normal human beings. One way they do this, is by manipulating shame and denial — emotions foreign to psychopaths but common and easily-induced among normals.

            Consider how gangs and secret societies (psychopaths’ guilds in disguise) recruit new members. Some criminal gangs and satanist covens demand that candidates for admission commit a murder to “earn their stripes.” Skull and Bones, the Yale-based secret society that supplies the CIA with drug-runners, mind-rapists, child abusers and professional killers, requires neophytes to lie naked in a coffin and masturbate in front of older members while reciting the candidate’s entire sexual history. By forcing the neophyte to engage in ritualized behaviour that would be horrendously shameful in normal society, the psychopaths’ guild destroys the candidate’s normal personality, assuming he had one in the first place, and turns the individual into a co-opted, corrupt, degraded shadow of his former self — a manufactured psychopath or psychopath’s apprentice.

            This manipulation of shame has the added benefit of making psychopathic organizations effectively invisible to normal society. Despite easily available media reports, American voters in 2004 simply refused to see that the two major-party presidential candidates had lain naked in a coffin masturbating in front of older Bonesmen in order to gain admission to Skull and Bones and thus become members of the criminal overworld. Likewise, many Americans have long refused to see that hawkish elements of the overworld, operating through the CIA, had obviously been the murderers of JFK, MLK, RFK, JFK Jr., Malcolm X, ChÈ, AllendÈ, Wellstone, Lumumba, Aguilera, Diem, and countless other relatively non-psychopathic leaders. They refuse to see the continuing murders of millions of people around the world in what amounts to an American holocaust.

            They refuse to see the evidence that the psychopaths’ guilds running America’s most powerful institutions use the most horrific forms of sexualized abuse imaginable to induce multiple-personality-disorder in child victims, then use the resulting mind-control slaves as disposable drug-runners, prostitutes, Manchurian candidates, and even diplomatic envoys. And of course they refuse to see that 9/11 was a transparently obvious inside job, and that their own psychopath-dominated military-intelligence apparatus is behind almost every major terrorist outrage of recent decades.

            snip

            Truly, we are witnessing the twilight of the psychopaths. Whether in their death throes they succeed in pulling down the curtain of eternal night on all of us, or whether we resist them and survive to see the dawn of a civilization worthy of the name, is the great decision in which all of us others, however humbly, are now participating.

          12. Bev

            Len Hart has fixed the “Web Ring” highjacking of his site during the anniversary of 911. Try again the site of a real reporter:

            Lies Bushco Told About 911
            by Len Hart, The Existentialist Cowboy

            http://existentialistcowboy.blogspot.com/2012/09/lies-bushco-told-about-911.html

            Also see:

            AA Exposes Bush’s ‘Big Lie’: Flight 11 DID NOT FLY on 911!
            by Len Hart, The Existentialist Cowboy

            http://existentialistcowboy.blogspot.ch/2012/01/aa-exposes-bushs-big-lie-flight-11-did.html

            …..

          13. Bev

            Update by Richard Charnin in comment at:

            http://markcrispinmiller.com/2012/09/why-obama-is-likely-to-lose/

            Why Obama is likely to “lose”

            “Why Obama Is Likely to Lose in 2012”
            by Greg Palast | For Nation of Change
            Friday, September 14, 2012

            An excerpt from Billionaires & Ballot Bandits: How to Steal an Election in 9 Easy Steps.

            “Why Obama Is Likely to Lose in 2012” is the title of a column Karl Rove wrote in the Wall Street Journal in June 2011.

            It’s not Rove’s prediction: this is his plan to make sure Obama will lose. That’s fine with me—if Rove prefers vanilla to chocolate, hey, it’s a free country. But how Rove plans to take Obama down is contained in the subhead, and it gives me the chills:

            “even a small drop in the share of black voters would wipe out [Obama’s] winning margin in North Carolina.”

            Comment
            September 19, 2012 at 6:27 pm
            Richard Charnin says:

            It’s silly for anyone to say Obama will surely lose – especially the great Greg Palast. Obama has been gaining in the pre-election and approval polls. Romney and Ryan are constantly projecting themselves as the most incompetent ticket ever.

            But we may not know the winner of the recorded vote will be until Election Eve. The final Likely Voter polls will have silently discounted the election fraud factor which will cut Obama’s True Vote vote share by 5%.

            Obama will surely be winner of the True Vote. But he had better have 55%. In 2008, his 58% unadjusted state exit poll share (82,000 respondents) exactly matched the True Vote Model – and exceeded his recorded 53% by the 5% fraud factor.

            But how many know this astounding factoid: Obama had SIXTY ONE PERCENT in the unadjusted 2008 National Exit Poll (17,836 respondents). Did the corporate media ever tell you that?

            The ONLY question is: will Obama be able to overcome the systemic fraud or will the GOP be able to pull off another stolen election? They are very good at that, especially since they know the Democrats will do nothing to stop it.

            John Kerry will tell you in private that Bush stole it and so will Al Gore. But they won’t say it in public. In fact they will promote the GOP party line that the exit polls are often wrong. And the Dems will echo the bogus canard that Democratic voters are more anxious to speak to the exit pollsters than the shy Republicans – even though exit pollster data shows just the opposite occurred in 2000, 2004, 2008.

            But the Dems really do care. They care each time they send you an e-mail asking for a $3 contribution. After all, they need the cash to keep up with the GOP corporates. They are selling us Lotto tickets with the chance of having lunch with Obama. But what good is the $3 when 10% of Obama’s votes are flipped in cyberspace.

            In any case, the 2010 Election Fraud Forecast model indicates that if the election were held today, it’s a near certainty that Obama would win – based on the latest state polls.

            If Obama is leading the FINAL likely voter polls by 51-49% on Election Eve, it means the media knows that the Romney fix was not enough. It also means that Obama won the True Vote in a landslide by with 55-45%.

            I can say this with full confidence, the 2004 Election Model having matched the 2004 unadjusated exit polls to within 0.2% and projecting 337 EV for Kerry.

            The 2008 Election Model was within 0.2% of Obama’s recorded 52.9% share – and exactly matched his 365 EV. But the recorded vote was bogus; The 2008 post-election True Vote Model shows that Obama actually had 58% and 420 EV.

            So I was right in 2004 (exit) and 2008 (recorded), but wrong in 2004 (recorded) and 2008 (exit).

            I learned my lesson for 2012. Now I forecast the both a bogus recorded vote based on bogus LV polls and the True Vote (based on wishful thinking that we live in a democracy)

            http://richardcharnin.wordpress.com/2012/04/26/the-2012-presidential-true-vote-and-election-fraud-simulation-model/

            ……

            http://richardcharnin.com/

            …….

          14. Bev

            PAPER BALLOTS ONLY THIS ELECTION DAY! (emergency petition)

            Real physical evidence returned to elections:

            http://markcrispinmiller.com/2012/09/paper-ballots-only-this-election-day-emergency-petition/

            PAPER BALLOTS ONLY THIS ELECTION DAY! (emergency petition)

            Petition for immediate emergency action to withdraw all electronic voting technology and replace with paper ballots for the November 6, 2012 election

            Sign the petition: http://signon.org/sign/petition-for-immediate?source=s.icn.tw&r_by=5568825

            ……

            and

            http://markcrispinmiller.com/2012/10/rove-others-floating-skewed-polls-theory-to-explain-away-a-romney-win-or-make-obamas-look-suspicious/

            Rove & others floating “skewed polls” theory to explain away a Romney “win” (or make Obama’s look suspicious)

            Why Right-Wingers Need ‘Skewed Polls’ Conspiracy Theory for Romney to Win—And Even More If He Loses

            It’s an all-bases-covered false narrative, one that could explain away either voter suppression or a devastating loss.
            September 28, 2012

            Karl Rove uses white board on ‘The O’Reilly Factor’ to illustrate his polling theory.

            If you listen to right-wing pundits, the entire political science establishment, in cahoots with mainstream media, are circling their wagons around their favored candidate, and obscuring either the inevitability of his failure or a more sinister outcome behind a font of false information. The current polling numbers that show President Barack Obama pulling ahead of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney are cooked, they say.

            …….

            http://www.freepress.org/departments/display/19/2012/4725

            Vote counting company tied to Romney
            by Gerry Bello & Bob Fitrakis
            September 27, 2012

            Several Tanker trucks full of political ink have been spilled on Mitt Romney’s tenure as a vulture capitalist at Bain Capital. A more important story, however, is the fact that Bain alumni, now raising big money as Romney bundlers are also in the electronic voting machine business. This appears to be a repeat of the the infamous former CEO of Diebold Wally O’Dell, who raised money for Bush while his company supplied voting machines and election management software in the 2004 election.

            In all 234 counties of Texas, the entire states of Hawaii and Oklahoma, half of Washington and Colorado, and certain counties in swing state Ohio, votes will be cast on eSlate and ePollbook machines made by Hart Intercivic. Hart Intercivic machines have famously failed in Tarrant County (Ft. Worth), adding 10,000 non-existent votes. The EVEREST study, commissioned by the Ohio secretary of state in 2007, found serious security flaws with Hart Intercivic products.

            Looking beyond the well-documented Google choking laundry list of apparent fraud, failure and seeming corruption that is associated with Hart Intercivic, an ongoing Free Press investigation turned its attention to the key question of who owns the voting machine companies. The majority of the directors of Hart come from the private equity firm H.I.G. Capital. H.I.G. has been heavily invested in Hart Intercivic since July 2011, just in time for the current presidential election cycle. But who is H.I.G Capital?

            Out of 49 partners and directors, 48 are men, and 47 are white. Eleven of these men, including H.I.G. Founder Tony Tamer, were formerly employed at Bain and Company, and two of those men, John P. Bolduc and Douglas Berman are Romney bundlers along with former Bain and H.I.G. manager Brian Shortsleeve.

            Additionally, four of these men were formerly employed at Booz Allen Hamilton. Bush family friendly Carlyle group is an owner of Booz Allen which also made voting machines for the United States military. Booz Allen was also the key subcontractor for the controversial PioneerGroundbreaker program, an NSA data mining operation that gathered information on American citizens until it was shut down and replaced with even more invasive successor programs like MATRIX and Total Information Awareness.

            snip

            In our first investigative article Who owns Scytl? George Soros isn’t in the voting machines, but the intelligence community is,

            the Free Press revealed that Scytl, a Spanish-based company now contracted to count 25% of the U.S. presidential vote, has ties to Booz Allen. Scytl’s start up funding comes from three European Venture Capital Firms, Balderton Capital, Nauta Capital, and Spinnaker SCR. The director of Nauta’s American operations is Dominic Endicott, who went from Cluster Consulting to Booz Allen Hamilton (NYSE: BAH) where he oversaw wireless practice. He then rejoined his former colleagues from Cluster Consulting at Nauta. In his capacity as a Nauta partner Endicott also sits on the board of CarrierIQ.

            Scytl has emerged as the most mysterious election counting company in this presidential election. Scytl claims to have a Scytl USA division located in Glen Allen, Virginia. The following is a photo of the Scytl USA national corporate offices at 6012 Glen Allen Drive. The land deed records show that the owner of the property at that address is Hugh Gallagher, now listed as the managing director of Scytl USA. The deed, which was prepared in Ohio by a relocation firm in 2002, pre-dates the creation of Scytl USA. A Scytl USA sales office is located in Baltimore, Maryland, and appears to be a Rent-an-Office, often referred to as a “virtual” office which has a shared secretary and serves as a mail drop.

            The ties of Hart Intercivic to Romney fund-raisers and Bain alumni should cause concern in the Obama re-election campaign. So, should the mysterious Spanish owned company, Scytl, with a U.S operation that seems to be an front.

            ……….

  8. JEHR

    Yes, the Canadian system has flaws and we did get a majority federal Conservative government with 40% of the popular vote. But the provincial election in Quebec shows how this system can work well to reflect the wishes of the people; that is, the PQ got a minority government which means they have to work with the opposition parties if they wish to stay in power. That vote really showed how the Quebec population felt about their parties: they didn’t want to have a Liberal government in power, they gave the new CAQ party a few votes to spur them on and the PQ has the power but must share it. That seems like the perfect solution for the problems presented by the election.

    As for our federal Conservative party now ruling the country: just wait until the next election. They may yet share the oblivian we gave the federal Liberals!

    1. drupi

      funniest election result in Canadian history saw the federal Conservatives reduced to a measly 2 seats in the 1993 election; there were 360plus seats in the House of Commons at the time.
      Why is this relevant?
      None other than Jean Charest was one of the “lucky” winners. Brian Mulroney had recently bailed out as leader, as had mny of the other high placed rats.

      Charest eventually left the Federal level & joined the provincial Liberals… the rest is history

  9. Chris Rogers

    Lambert Sir,

    I think you are putting the cart before the horse on this topic – first and foremost, it does not matter what type of system you utilise for counting cast votes if the voters themselves are not even allowed to get near a ballot box to begin with.

    So, in a systemic manner both to uphold the principles of democracy and ensure a fair ballot, you first need to ensure all those who are elegible to vote are actually allowed to vote, and this means any one over 18 years of age who is a US citizen.

    Once you have achieved the goal of actually making sure the electorate can cast its vote to begin with, then you should scrutinise the actual voting method utilised – in the UK instance, this means a paper ballot is cast with numerous officials overseeing the vote.

    Once you have cast a vote and placed your ballot paper in a box, a box with seals on it I add, siad box is then removed from the voting station – again accompanied by volunteers, and moved to the official count station.

    At the counting station you have representatives from the actual political grouping and numerous volunteers overseeing both the count and those volunteers doing the counting.

    Only when the Electorial Officer is satisfied that the count has been undertaken in a fair and impartial manner can a result be given – if the count is close, political parties can request a recount – in some instances, especially when postan votes are highly involved, it can take quite a duration to do the count and then give a verdict from that count.

    this is what one would expect in a ‘free’ democratic society – however, as I’ve suggested in many posts, the USA is neither free, or democratic for that matter – still, your legacy parties and their financial backers are happy with the process and that’s all that really matters – well unless you happen to believe in plurality and fair elections, in which case you are no doubt a malcontent or communist!

    1. Brad Friedman

      Chris Rogers said:

      “I think you are putting the cart before the horse on this topic – first and foremost, it does not matter what type of system you utilise for counting cast votes if the voters themselves are not even allowed to get near a ballot box to begin with.”

      There is another side to your argument. Namely, what good is ensuring those who wish to vote get to vote, if their ballots are not counted accurately and transparently, and in a way that we can KNOW they’ve been counted accurately?

      I hear the above argument from voting rights folks all the time — or at least I used to, years ago. Access to the ballot box and the accurate, transparent tallying of ballots is two sides of the same coin. You can’t have one without the other. Well, you can’t, but it doesn’t do much good.

      I’m sorry to say that the fight for real democratic elections requires fighting for *both* of those things! Giving up one until the other is solved is pointless. It’s a two pronged fight, and it’s shameful, in the supposedly “greatest democracy on earth”, we’re still fighting for either of them!

  10. Jill

    There are many aspects to achieving democracy in the US. An simple, verifiable voting process is one thing that needs doing. Understanding one point in detail is not excluding other wrongs.

    Each aspect of a wrong needs explanation and a way to correct it. Every article cannot address everything that is wrong with the US or that article is going to be longer than “War and Peace”!

    Voting machines can make an election be whatever the state wants it to be. That must stop. Is this the only way the state controls the election’s outcome? No. But it is an important, often last ditch way to achieve the state’s desired outcome.

  11. Jill

    One thing always struck me about the arguments for instituting electronic voting machines in Ohio. I heard it was done for the sake of people who are handicapped, who wanted to vote on their own and with a secret ballot. This is a worthy goal but I never for a moment believed that was the actual reasoning behind electronic voting.

    Just as the US is not going to war to protect women in Afghanistan, etc, just as powerful Democrats don’t give a crap about women’s reproductive rights, these important needs of those involved are twisted to serve the powerful.

    It’s quite cynical to say that a person who has a handicap can now vote and have it count whatever way the powerful desire. The use of people’s legitimate desire for their rights against those very people is truly disgusting.

    1. Susan the other

      I remember being transfixed in the 60s by the cover of a magazine from the 20s (can’t remember which one) showing crunchy cereals sprinkled on top of blueberries and strawberries like a few croutons.

    2. Brad Friedman

      Very astute observations, Jill, re: the exploitation of the blind and disabled as a front for bringing in un-transparent electronic voting systems (and the disparaging of anyone who was against un-transparent e-voting systems as “people who hate the disabled!”)

      Watch for the similar con now in the works as a cover for (good god) Internet Voting! It’s currently been approved, for pilot projects, for use with overseas Military voters. Are you against even MORE un-transparent, even EASIER hacked Internet Voting? Well, then I guess you hate our military!

      Hey, the scam worked the first time, didn’t it?

      Sigh…

      1. Jill

        Yes Brad,

        You hate our men and women in uniform!!! And I bet you don’t like Obama’s policies because he’s black. You are a very bad person! And so am I!

        Legitimate needs have become weapons against the people. Didn’t Karl Rove or Atwater? say use their strengths (in this case,caring about others) to take them down? I’m not certain who said it, but clearly whoever said that knew how to implement it.

  12. Anders Ingemann

    It is actually possible to have an electronic voting with all the parts still being observable. You still need human observers to verify that everything went according to procedure:
    Use voting machines to register votes. Each vote comes with a paper confirmation with a unique code printed on it.
    Every citizen can go check online whether their vote was registered properly with the right party or candidate (an analogue equivalent is also conceivable).
    This way fraud can be detected if a majority of voters speak up about a wrongly registered vote (they can’t prove they voted for who they say they voted, but that’s besides the point. enough voices is key here).
    There is however a flaw with this, you could inject bogus votes into the system with unique codes no citizen has. To prevent this you need people/vote counters. At every voting booth, there should be a (human+electronic) counter to register how many people have voted, this way no votes can be injected, removed or changed.

    1. Brad Friedman

      Anders -

      Please see my reply on this same matter to Polistra above. You do NOT want folks to be able to check their own votes afterward, as it leads to buying and selling of votes.

  13. Roland

    Aren’t people here aware of the fact that many gov’ts in Canada are trying to phase out paper ballots? Already at municipal level here in Vancouver, ballots are fed into a machine that does all the counting. The British Columbia provincial gov’t has plans to eventually replace paper ballots with a computerized voting system. The federal government is entertaining proposals as well.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electronic_voting_in_Canada

    All this happens notwithstanding the myriad problems with voting machines of every kind, online voting, and so forth. Elites simply love complex, opaque systems that can be relied upon to fail when required, for their best advantage.

  14. Lyle

    Actually one can get the effect with the technology used where I live. Essentially the ballot is the equivalent of an SAT or GRE form. You use a pencil to fill in the forms as desired. A machine reads them, but if need be they could be counted by hand. A further benefit is if the line gets long it just takes more tables and pieces of cardboard to make an additional voting station, if there were to be a power failure during an election the voting can continue. It is a simple tech to use. For the handicapped an electronic voting machine could print out the form as well.

    1. Brad Friedman

      I think you didn’t read Lambert’s stories, or its links, very closely. The type of optical scan computer system you are describing is still an unobservable computer tallying system.

      If you need to count the ballots by hand to determine if the computer tallied them correctly (and you do!) then, um, why not just count them by hand in the first place *before* you’ve risked losting the secure chain of custody by sending them away from the precinct?

      If you’re unfamiliar with how optical-scan computer systems can be gamed, see this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xIAzCM3OYYc . If you’re unfamiliar of elections in which the optical scan computer named losers to be “winners”, see this, from this past March: http://www.bradblog.com/?p=9221 .

      If you’d like more example of any of the above, just let me konw. Got a million of ‘em…unfortunately.

  15. Andy

    “how it could be that open, observable democracy is seemingly an inviolable right for “conquered Nazis,” but not, apparently, for citizens of the United States…”

    Because Germany, wanting to solve its Nazi problem once and for all, cleverly exported all Nazis of any significance to the US as part of the ostensibly-US-initiated Operation Paperclip (and the politically hot ones elsewhere via ODESSA).

    Explains a lot when you think about it.

  16. Claude Boucher

    The description of the voting process you quoted in this article is pretty accurate but a few details (probably too obvious for a a local audience) have been left out. As a poll clerk in Quebec City during advance polling (held 8 and 7 days before D-day), let me give you some more information for international audiences.

    In Quebec, voter registration is carried out by the independent Directeur général des élections (nominated by unanimous vote of the National Assembly). The list is permanent and updated with data coming from 2 main sources: universal health care records and income tax statements. Accuracy and comprehensiveness is pretty good, but we had some problems with this particular election held, since a number of people move on July 1 (a long standing tradition). We carried out revisions for 2 weeks in mid-August. Special polls for retirement homes and long-term care facilities are set up on location to help people with limited mobility. In some cases, a scrutineer and poll clerk will visit sick people at home with a ballot and a ballot box!

    Size of polling stations: By law, a polling station maximum size includes 450 voters to avoid lineups on voting day. You don’t see long line-ups at closing time. Most polling stations serve between 300 and 350 voters. On September 4, there were over 22,000 polls serving an eligible voting population of 6 million.

    Staffing: Each polling station is staffed by two or three people. The Deputy returning officer (or scrutineer) in charge of the ballots, the poll clerk in charge of checking the voter’s name on the electoral list and of the poll registrer and a PAL (préposé aux listes) in charge of providing hourly reports, the so-called “bingo sheet”, picked up by political parties to help them get their supporters to vote.

    Another interesting detail. The appointments of polling staff are made by the returning officer from lists submitted by candidates. The previous winner recommends scrutineers (paid $17/hr), the one who came 2nd picks tthe polling clerks ($15.50/hr) while the guy who came 3rd selects the PAL. This way, the scrutineer and the poll clerk check each other throughout the day keeping the process honest.

    The count is quite fast. My ballot box contained 350 ballots, which we counted in 2 hours flat, including the time it took to fill the report, seal the envelopes and the ballot box. We rejected 2 votes marked for all 10 candidates and that was it. My guy won the poll by 5 but lost the district by 651, on 33,000 ballot cast. Hey, that’s life!

  17. Fazal Majid

    Here’s a great article on how the Athenians did it:
    http://alamut.com/subj/artiface/deadMedia/agoraMuseum.html

    low-tech, but effective, and incredibly well designed to prevent fraud. The US system is so naive in comparison that it seems specifically designed to permit fraud.

    Here’s the protocol in France:

    You get in the polling station, show your ID, get handed an envelope. There is one piece of paper for each candidate. You take one of each, go into a booth, insert the paper for your chosen candidate in the envelope and close it, and toss the remaining papers in the trash can. You then go to the urn, where you place the envelope under the watch of the poll supervisor. Your name is read to you, you confirm it, the poll director actuates the lever that drops the bulletin into the transparent urn. There will usually be volunteers from each major party observing the proceedings. At the end of the allotted time, the urn is opened, the envelopes are collected in packs of 10 with rubber bands, and distributed to tables of volunteers doing the counting (map/reduce for the cognoscenti). Each table has 4 peopole: one supervisor who hands out the envelopes, 2 people who read the ballots and have to agree, and one who tallies the results. Empty envelopes, envelopes with ballots that have annotations put on them or envelopes with multiple ballots are all invalid, but accounted for under separate categories. At the end, all 4 volunteers sign their table’s results, they are brought to the voting supervisor and signed again. The most important part of the process is the transparent urn and the fact that it is never removed from the premises of the voting station, and is always in plain sight, i.e. it is impossible to stuff.

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