Really, no kidding.
This really, really had better be the story of the year. If it is not, pray for democracy. The Repbulican machine is corrupt, and corrupting the US, and with it the world.
Published on Thursday, November 18, 2004 by CommonDreams.org
’Stinking Evidence’ of Possible Election Fraud Found in Florida
by Thom Hartmann
There was something odd about the poll tapes.
A “poll tape” is the phrase used to describe a printout from an optical scan voting machine made the evening of an election, after the machine has read all the ballots and crunched the numbers on its internal computer. It shows the total results of the election in that location. The printout is signed by the polling officials present in that precinct/location, and then submitted to the county elections office as the official record of how the people in that particular precinct had voted. (Usually each location has only one single optical scanner/reader, and thus produces only one poll tape.)
Bev Harris of www.blackboxvoting.org , the erstwhile investigator of electronic voting machines, along with people from Florida Fair Elections, showed up at Florida’s Volusia County Elections Office on the afternoon of Tuesday, November 16, 2004, and asked to see, under a public records request, each of the poll tapes for the 100+ optical scanners in the precincts in that county. The elections workers - having been notified in advance of her request - handed her a set of printouts, oddly dated November 15 and lacking signatures.
Bev pointed out that the printouts given her were not the original poll tapes and had no signatures, and thus were not what she’d requested. Obligingly, they told her that the originals were held in another location, the Elections Office’s Warehouse, and that since it was the end of the day they should meet Bev the following morning to show them to her.
Bev showed up bright and early the morning of Wednesday the 17th - well before the scheduled meeting - and discovered three of the elections officials in the Elections Warehouse standing over a table covered with what looked like poll tapes. When they saw Bev and her friends, Bev told me in a telephone interview less than an hour later, "They immediately shoved us out and slammed the door."
In a way, that was a blessing, because it led to the stinking evidence.
“On the porch was a garbage bag,” Bev said, "and so I looked in it and, and lo and behold, there were public record tapes."
Thrown away. Discarded. Waiting to be hauled off.
“It was technically stinking, in fact,” Bev added, "because what they had done was to have thrown some of their polling tapes, which are the official records of the election, into the garbage. These were the ones signed by the poll workers. These are something we had done an official public records request for."
When the elections officials inside realized that the people outside were going through the trash, they called the police and one came out to challenge Bev.
Kathleen Wynne, a www.blackboxvoting.org investigator, was there.
“We caught the whole thing on videotape,” she said. "I don’t think you’ll ever see anything like this - Bev Harris having a tug of war with an election worker over a bag of garbage, and he held onto it and she pulled on it, and it split right open, spilling out those poll tapes. They were throwing away our democracy, and Bev wasn’t going to let them do it."
As I was interviewing Bev just moments after the tussle, she had to get off the phone, because, "Two police cars just showed up."
She told me later in the day, in an on-air interview, that when the police arrived, "We all had a vigorous debate on the merits of my public records request."
The outcome of that debate was that they all went from the Elections Warehouse back to the Elections Office, to compare the original, November 2 dated and signed poll tapes with the November 15 printouts the Elections Office had submitted to the Secretary of State. A camera crew from www.votergate.tv met them there, as well.
And then things got even odder.
“We were sitting there comparing the real [signed, original] tapes with the [later printout] ones that were given us,” Bev said, "and finding things missing and finding things not matching, when one of the elections employees took a bin full of things that looked like garbage - that looked like polling tapes, actually - and passed by and disappeared out the back of the building."
This provoked investigator Ellen Brodsky to walk outside and check the garbage of the Elections Office itself. Sure enough - more original, signed poll tapes, freshly trashed.
“And I must tell you,” Bev said, "that whatever they had taken out [the back door] just came right back in the front door and we said, ‘What are these polling place tapes doing in your dumpster?’"
A November 18 call to the Volusia County Elections Office found that Elections Supervisor Deanie Lowe was unavailable and nobody was willing to speak on the record with an out-of-state reporter. However, The Daytona Beach News (in Volusia County), in a November 17th article by staff writer Christine Girardin, noted, "Harris went to the Department of Elections’ warehouse on State Road 44 in DeLand on Tuesday to inspect original Nov. 2 polling place tapes, after being given a set of reprints dated Nov. 15. While there, Harris saw Nov. 2 polling place tapes in a garbage bag, heightening her concern about the integrity of voting records."
The Daytona Beach News further noted that, “[Elections Supervisor] Lowe confirmed Wednesday some backup copies of tapes from the Nov. 2 election were destined for the shredder,” but pointed out that, according to Lowe, that was simply because there were two sets of tapes produced on election night, each signed. “One tape is delivered in one car along with the ballots and a memory card,” the News reported. "The backup tape is delivered to the elections office in a second car."
Suggesting that duplicates don’t need to be kept, Lowe claims that Harris didn’t want to hear an explanation of why some signed poll tapes would be in the garbage. “She’s not wanting to listen to an explanation,” Lowe told the News of Harris. "She has her own ideas."
But the Ollie North action in two locations on two days was only half of the surprise that awaited Bev and her associates. When they compared the discarded, signed, original tapes with the recent printouts submitted to the state and used to tabulate the Florida election winners, Harris says a disturbing pattern emerged.
“The difference was hundreds of votes in each of the different places we examined,” said Bev, "and most of those were in minority areas."
When I asked Bev if the errors they were finding in precinct after precinct were random, as one would expect from technical, clerical, or computer errors, she became uncomfortable.
“You have to understand that we are non-partisan,” she said. "We’re not trying to change the outcome of an election, just to find out if there was any voting fraud."
That said, Bev added: "The pattern was very clear. The anomalies favored George W. Bush. Every single time."
Of course finding possible voting “anomalies” in one Florida county doesn’t mean they’ll show up in all counties. It’s even conceivable there are innocent explanations for both the mismatched counts and trashed original records; this story undoubtedly will continue to play out. And, unless further investigation demonstrates a pervasive and statewide trend toward “anomalous” election results in many of Florida’s counties, odds are none of this will change the outcome of the election (which exit polls showed John Kerry winning in Florida).
Nonetheless, Bev and her merry band are off to hit another county.
As she told me on her cell phone while driving toward their next destination, "We just put Volusia County and their lawyers on notice that they need to continue to keep a number of documents under seal, including all of the memory cards to the ballot boxes, and all of the signed poll tapes."
“Simple,” she said. “Because we found anomalies indicative of fraud.”
There’s something fishy about this story, especially considering that Jo.Ke. won the county by about 3,500 votes. Not sure why they were looking for fraud here and, if someone were trying to make the votes favor Bush, why didn’t he win the county?
Pacifia Radio was talking about this story this morning. Franken’s been talking about www.blackboxvoting.org also. I’m not holding my breath but even if there was fraud, we’ll never know the truth there anyways.
Are you sure she’s not one of those medicated Kerry supporters ??
Paging Dr. Moe … Dr. Larry … Dr. Howard.
Sounds like an acute case of "post-election trauma"
Kerry supporters seek therapy in South Florida
Boca Raton trauma specialist has treated 15 patients
Boca Raton News
by Sean Salai
More than a dozen traumatized John Kerry supporters have sought and received therapy from a licensed Florida psychologist since their candidate lost to President Bush, the Boca Raton News learned Monday.
Boca Raton trauma specialist Douglas Schooler said he has treated 15 clients and friends with “intense hypnotherapy” since the Democratic nominee conceded last Wednesday.
“I had one friend tell me he’s never been so depressed and angry in his life,” Schooler said. “I observed patients threatening to leave the country or staring listlessly into space. They were emotionally paralyzed, shocked and devastated.”
Also in Boca, at least one counseling center and an emotional support group were preparing for an influx of Kerry supporters at their first post-election meetings today.
“We’ll let the Kerry voters talk about it and let off some steam, and by listening to other people’s stories, we’ll help them refocus and surrender to the things in their life which they can’t possibly change,” said a spokeswoman for Emotions Anonymous, a recovery group meeting tonight at Glades Presbyterian Church.
“We’re referring people with election-related stress to the Democratic National Committee,” said Karen Jacobs of the Center for Group Counseling. “We’ll do what we can for anyone who shows up for our support group programs this week, but we haven’t implemented a specific program for Kerry-related trauma.”
Schooler, practicing in Boca since 1984, said he treated his 15 patients last week with hypnosis-based rapid response trauma therapy. This week, he is charging a sliding fee to non-clients who feel they need the one-time “election therapy” session. South Floridians can contact him at 561-395-3033.
“A lot of Kerry voters don’t know what to do with their anger, because there was no recount, so they’ve kept it bottled up,” said Schooler, who also is a certified sex therapist. “I help them transform the anger into more positive emotions.”
Asked to describe symptoms of the post-election trauma, Schooler said, “They include feelings of extreme anger, despair, hopelessness, powerlessness, a failure to function behaviorally, a sense of disillusionment, of not wanting to vote anymore – that sort of thing. We’re talking about a deep, unhealthy personal suffering that can best be remedied by intensive short-term therapy.”
|Quote (MidnightToker @ Nov. 19 2004,18:28)|
|Pacifia Radio was talking about this story this morning. Franken’s been talking about www.blackboxvoting.org also.|
Pacifia Radio ?? Franken ?? Oh , OK …
|Quote (ksdb @ Nov. 19 2004,16:58)|
|There's something fishy about this story, especially considering that Jo.Ke. won the county by about 3,500 votes. Not sure why they were looking for fraud here and, if someone were trying to make the votes favor Bush, why didn't he win the county?|
The group that is looking at this is non-partisan.
So many things smell bad from this election, don't you want them investigated? I don't care if it shows that the democrats were getting out the tombstone vote. Thsi election was messed up, and there is so much evidence of fraud, that people ought to be outraged and demand a close look. Even if the fraud went your way, next time it might not.
Scary…but this is Florida. So there now seems to be potential fraud in the two key states. This is just as likely to see fruition as the Ohio stuation. In a legitimate democracy where fairness is paramount this would be just as an important issue to the ruling class as it would be to the ruled class. Of course we know that’s not how American Democracy works, because it’s not a true democracy.
THIS is a non-partisan problem. Would Republicans be just as satisfied to sweep problems like this under the rug if they had lost by a hair?
Agreed. Ask you wife - maybe she has the answer.
True Republicans would want to know the answer & would want an election system/process that was accurate and fair, just like Democrat's would want.
However, the right-wing media/smear machine doesn't want this. What they want is to categorize anything concern/issue a Democrat might have as lies & propaganda. We are living in a dangerous time IMO but we can't agreed on the facts or problems, much less the solutions.
The thing that bothers me is that the evidence is not of the “NASA and Hollywood staged the lunar landings” sort, not even of the “somebody helped Oswald” sort - this is the kind of evidence that would (will?) hold up in court, yet only alternative outlets like pacifica are reporting it. Last nigth Paula Zahn spent most of her time on whether Clinton’s presidency was nearly as bad morally as Nixon’s. Yeesh, what a waste of primetime…
well, there are always music lists.