note: this article was written shortly after election day 11/2. Since that time there have been more developments in this important story. Please see the "Stolen Election?" website for more articles and updates.
Since the US presidential election, accounts of voter fraud and malfunctioning voting machines have flooded into local US newspapers, to public-interest groups, to universities, and to weblogs.
This letter is an overview of those reports.
The stories are summarized here, with links to the original publications. After seeing this evidence - and there is more still to be rounded up - you will most probably suspect that Bush did not win the election.
Many accounts of election tampering are included, but a broad search has still to be done. The following is only what has been learned in the few days since the election. Clearly, an investigation is needed.
The following is a compilation of the initial research of one group of concerned US journalists.
It seems that there is enough evidence in the following to suggest that the electorate may have actually chosen Kerry for President. It cannot be known for sure unless there is a recount.
Bush has not yet been chosen by the Electoral College. The Electors meet and vote on Dec. 13. Questions need to be raised about the results (immediately and loudly) to get an investigation launched before that date.
So far, the mainstream media in not picking up the story. Remember that they moved very slowly after the anomalies of 2000 US election.
Here are the accounts of election tampering from four states, plus reports on multi-state problems.
(Please note: some of the newspaper links may expire soon. You may want to print out the stories so that later on, you don't have to buy them from the newspapers' archives.)
The most troubling news has come out of Florida. Throughout most of the state, new electronic voting machines were in use. These machines - many manufactured by a company called Diebold - are controversial because they don't leave a paper trail.
There is no way to double-check the results.
The final Florida tallies on Diebold machines from Tuesday are literally unbelievable.
In 29 counties where Diebold machines (an optical scanner) were used to count the ballots, large majorities of voters were registered Democrats. But the final results gave all the counties to Bush, sometimes by huge margins.
The individual county data shows how unlikely the machine results were.
In Calhoun County, 82% of registered voters are Democrats. But Diebold machines said 63% of the county voted for Bush.
In Lafayette County, 83% of voters are Democrats, but Diebold said 74% of the county voted for Bush.
In Liberty County, 88% of voters are Democrats, but Diebold said 64% voted for Bush.
In Washington County, 67% of voters are Democrats, but Diebold said 71% voted for Bush.
This same pattern appears in the results for 29 COUNTIES in Florida. In every one of those counties, the Diebold Optical Scanner produced the results.
The Optical Scanner has been called the voting machine that is most susceptible to tampering.
Many of you have been watching elections closely for years. Do you believe that in 29 Florida counties in which Democrats were in the majority - in some cases with 4 out of 5 registered voters being Democrats - they all voted strongly for Bush?
Here are the links.
You can find the voter registration/final result data here:
You can find a story analyzing these results here:
You can read about electronic voting machines - an untested phenomenon in American elections, here:
THE OTHER PROBLEM IN FLORIDA:
In 6 counties - again, they were all using electronic machines - more votes for President were recorded than there were actual voters in the counties.
Altogether, these six counties reported 188,885 more votes for President than there are voters living there.
Right now, no one knows whether those extra 188,000 votes were cast for Bush or for Kerry. But Bush won the state of Florida by a 5% margin - contrary to what all the polls were showing only days earlier.
In Glades County: 2,443 votes for Bush / 1,718 votes for Kerry / 27 votes for Other. Those add up to 4,188. But the machines recorded the official turnout as 3,446. That adds up to 742 more votes than voters.
In Highlands County: 25,874 for Bush / 15,346 for Kerry / 271 for Other. Official Turnout: 33,996. That adds up to 7,495 more votes than voters.
In Miami-Dade County: 358,613 for Bush / 406,099 for Kerry / 3,841 for Other. Official Turnout 716,574. That adds up to 51,979 more votes than voters.
In Osceola County: 43,108 for Bush / 38,617 for Kerry / 453 for Other. Official Turnout 63589. That adds up to 18,589 more votes than voters.
In Palm Beach County: 211,894 for Bush / 327,698 for Kerry / 3,243 for Other. Official Turnout: 452,061. That adds up to 90,774 more votes than voters.
In Volusia County: 111,544 for Bush / 115,319 for Kerry / 1,495 for Other. Official Turnout: 209,052. That adds up to 19,306 more votes than voters.
Use this link to get to the data:
STILL MORE PROBLEMS IN FLORIDA
This account comes from partisans. Four Kerry volunteers working in Broward County sent a letter detailing election tampering to one newspaper reporter. All four signed it and included their email addresses.
They report a wide, disturbing range of problems, from voters saying their electronic machines malfunctioned, poll workers denied them assistance, to police putting up roadblocks on the routes to polling places, and so on.
The entire text of the letter, along with the signatures, appears at the bottom of this letter.
In Ohio, there were problems in four counties and one city.
In Howard County, a judge ruled on Election Day that everyone standing in line to vote at 7:30 p.m. had to eventually be allowed inside.
The order said the ruling was good for the day of Nov. 2. (You can view the order at the website below.) But maybe it didn't occur to the judge that everybody might not make it inside by midnight.
At the stroke of midnight, when the calendar legally clicked over to Nov.3, Republican Ken Blackwell, the secretary of state, told all the waiting voters to go home. His workers gave them paper ballots (i.e., provisional ballots), told them to fill them out and bring them back later.
It was an improvised move that undercut the intent of the judge's ruling, and created chaos. Many people in Howard County still haven't turned in those ballots because they don't know where to take them or what the deadline is.
The only kind of ballot in a federal election that people can legally take home, fill out and turn in later is an absentee ballot, and those are marked as such. They're marked with clear rules concerning deadlines, postmarking, and so on.
So an uncounted number of people in Howard County - estimated in the thousands - couldn't get in and were turned away with what may be ruled an illegal procedure. The vast majority of those votes were expected to go to Kerry based on the heavily Democratic population of Howard County.
The Democrats have filed a lawsuit. You can click on the Ohio State University law school website to read about it. (Click here for the link.)
Meanwhile, in Warren County, election officials locked the doors to the County building and refused to allow bi-partisan observers to watch the vote-count. They also denied access to the AP reporter (it is standard procedure for the AP to observe vote-counting in counties all over the country.)
The Sheriff of the county said he did it for "homeland security" reasons. He never explained or specified what the security concerns were.
Here is the link to the story in the Cincinnati Enquirer:
Meanwhile, in a Columbus suburb called Gahanna, the same problem showed up with electronic machines that we saw in Florida: more votes were cast than there were voters to cast them. In this case, however, the problem was investigated and the extra 3,893 votes were shown to have been erroneously tallied for Bush.
Here is the link to the story on the Ohio Network News:
http://wwwonnnews.com/Global/story.asp?S=2524952 Meanwhile, in Mahoning and Mercer Counties, electronic machines again malfunctioned, but the effect that had on the vote count is not clear. The machines had to be re-set, and at one point showed votes of "negative 25 million," according to the head of the local board of elections.
Here is the story from the local Youngstown paper, called the Vindicator:
In Laporte County, electronic voting machines once again appear to have failed.
They tallied results for 22,200 voters, even though there are 79,000 registered voters in LaPorte County. Assuming the county actually had a 65% turnout rate (comparable to others in the area and its own track record), that means 29,000 votes were not counted.
Here is the link to the story in the Michigan City News-Dispatch:
This is one of several states where original exit polls (interviews with voters as they are leaving) do not jive with the results produced by electronic voting machines.
An administrator at Bev Harris's group, called BlackBoxVoting (more on this below) has said that they are urging Ralph Nader to press for a recount in New Hampshire. Nader was on the ballot there, so he is in a good position to ask for a re-count.
You can read about Harris and her work at www.blackboxvoting.org/ http://www.blackboxvoting.org/
In at least six states, there was a large difference between how people said they'd voted, and how officials said they'd voted.
In Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, New Hampshire and New Mexico, there was a large discrepancy between what voters said in the original exit polls, and the final results claimed by election officials.
In each of those six states, electronic voting machines were used in some or most of the counties.
In contrast, in states where paper ballots were the primary method of voting, there was little or no discrepancy between original exit polls and official results.
To see an easily viewable graph of this data, go to:
That graph was originally compiled by a website affiliated with The Raw Story, which often gets quoted in the major dailies. It is regarded as a reputable site.
You can see their original posting here:
MORE ON EXIT POLLS
These are routinely conducted in elections by major news organizations.
Accounts are surfacing that both the Associated Press and CNN (and perhaps others) later CHANGED their exit polling data to more closely resemble the official results.
None of the news organizations is believed to have offered an explanation. They may try to justify it on statistical grounds.
Here are two accounts. The first is very brief, the second is in- depth:
MORE ON ELECTRONIC VOTING MACHINES
Here is an except from the Moderate Independent website about Bev Harris's work. She is a freelance journalist who has been documenting how unreliable the machines are, and how vulnerable they are to tampering.
"Bev Harris, author of Black Box Voting and the blackboxvoting.org/ href="http://blackboxvoting.org/">BlackBoxVoting.org web site, has documented numerous cases of electronic disasters. One occurred in Volusia County, Fla., in 2000 in which county election officials hand recounted more than 184,000 paper ballots used to feed the computerized system, after the central ballot-counting computer showed a Socialist Party candidate receiving more than 9,000 votes and Al Gore getting minus 19,000. Another 4,000 votes were received for Bush that should not have been there.
"Election officials eventually tallied Gore beating Bush by 97,063 votes to 82,214. But the wrong numbers had already been sent to the media, which were used by FOX and other networks to erroneously call the election for Bush and swing the public relations part of the recount battle in his favor."
Three Members of Congress Have Asked the GAO to Investigate the Election Three Congressmen have asked the General Accounting Office, a federal agency, to investigate the election, citing questionable results in Ohio, Florida, North Carolina and California. Click here to see their letter to the GAO:
http://forum.therandirhodesshow.com/index.php?act=ST&f=87&t=34711 REMEMBER THESE FOUR POINTS:
A. Bush's approval numbers were CONSISTENTLY below 50% throughout the campaign.
B. New Democratic registrations in Ohio were 10 times that of Republicans, and in Florida, Democrats held a similar but somewhat smaller advantage.
C. All the polls that were still giving Bush leads after the debates were within the margin of error, and when the undecideds started making up their minds over the last weekend, Kerry's poll numbers were surging.
D. The $10 million exit-poll system, specifically designed not to fail this time, clearly showed, in the original reports, a Kerry victory.
OTHER VOICES TO HEAR:
Here are other voices which are beginning to question the legitimacy of the recent election. Here are some of them. (Reassemble any long links which have been broken by your browser's settings.)
Here is a report of voter complaints in 7 Southern states:
There may still be time to do something about this before the Electoral College meets on December 13th.
The first step is to immerse ourselves in the facts. The second step is to encourage the mainstream media to take the issue. They will only do that if they feel there is considerable popular concern. The local and regional press, and the alternative media, have been doing their jobs; now we need the national press to do its job, too.
If you are concerned about this election being stolen, please do two things:
1. Send your concerns to everyone you know, both inside and outside the United States.
2. Send your concerns to the major news organizations. A list of contacts appears at the end of this message. ***(this list not with message sent to me but you can get media contacts for your state at http://www.hometownnews.com )
THE LETTER FROM KERRY WORKERS IN BROWARD COUNTY, FLA.:
"Spurred by the unwillingness of the broadcast media to report voting problems during the 2004 election race, we want to alert others to the widespread voter suppression and disenfranchisement that occurred in Broward County, Florida. We staffed the emergency hotline for the Kerry Campaign Headquarters in Broward County from late October through the election.
All of us were devastated by the margin of Bush's win in Florida, particularly since polls predicted the race would be extremely close.
Many of the calls to our hotline were from voters who had pressed the Kerry button on their electronic voting screen, only to have Bush light up as the candidate they had chosen. In some cases, this would happen repeatedly until about the 5th or 6th time the voter pressed Kerry and eventually his name would light up. In other cases, the voters pushed Kerry but were later asked to confirm their Bush vote.
We had calls about a road block, put up by the police at 7am on Nov. 2, which blocked road access to two precinct locations in majority black districts. There was no justification for the road block no accident or crime scene or construction.
Many of our calls dealt with voter suppression, or manipulation, of the Haitian population, occurrences which seem too numerous, and their targets too indefensible, as primarily poor, first-time-voter, Creole-speaking refugees, to be anything but systemic. In one example, a voter whose hands were bandaged could not press the touch- screen himself; he asked the non-partisan election official to press Kerry for him, but the election official pressed Bush and sent his vote immediately into the machine.
Many, many others were denied the right to vote and were not given provisional ballots, while others were refused assistance at the polls, even though provisional ballots and voter assistance are legal rights.
Others were told they had already voted and were turned away, although they had never voted previously. This latter experience was a complaint not isolated to Haitians but also included other surprised voters with no recourse except their word against that of the Supervisor of Elections.
We spoke with hundreds of voters who were certain they had registered to vote in the past 6 months, well before the October 18 deadline, but were not on the rolls. And those were just the people who had the information to contact us.
The local paper, citing the Supervisor of Elections office as its source, told all people voting by absentee ballot that they could turn in ballots by hand to any of its seven offices by 5pm on Tuesday, Nov. 2.
Every single one of those offices except one was closed on Tuesday.
We had numerous calls from voters on Nov. 2 whose precincts had closed, yet the Supervisor of Elections office had given voters no notification of the closure, and no notification of where to go to vote.
Thousands of people were likely disenfranchised because of inexcusable mishaps such as this. We had many calls from people who had been harassed by poll workers, who were turned away without being allowed the right to vote provisionally (another breech of voter rights). Other people were turned away because the address on their drivers license did not match the address on their voter registration card; again, this is in direct violation of election law.
All of these problems do not even take into account the 58,000 absentee ballots that had been lost by the Supervisor of Elections, in perhaps the most democratic county in the state, disenfranchising thousands of people who were disabled, out of the country, or elderly and unable get to the polls. These events, and many others, have been documented and also reported to lawyers, but we fear they will not get the attention they deserve. This is what we witnessed in just one county. We believe that these "voting irregularities" raise serious concerns about the legitimacy of the results in Florida, and more broadly, about the health of democracy in this country."
note: I did not write this article; it came to me in an email and the author was not indicated. Most of what is written in this article is substaniated by many other published articles and reports, most of which are available on the "Stolen Election?" website.