Yeah, it may be too late to change this, but you should know anyway...
Sunday May 04, 2003
I get a lot of flak here and elsewhere about not accepting that Bush is the legally elected President. Yes, in my opinion he stole the election. Yes, in my opinion it was a bloodless coup. Yes, in my opinion it was engineered. Yes, in my opinion his brother Jeb was part of the conspiracy. Sounds crazy right? Wrong. History will prove it.
It's a good thing there was no SKBlog in November 2000, or you would be really sick of hearing about it. But since there wasn't, here's a recap. I'm only going to say this once, so pay attention.
There is overwhelming evidence of problems and irregularities with the voting in Florida. Anyone who cannot or will not acknowledge this is delusional. Here are just some of the basic "technical problems".
Illegal (disputed as to legality depending on interpretation) and confusing (no dispute) ballots caused thousands of voters to vote for the wrong candidate. Example: Pat Buchanan winning elderly Jewish precincts (even Pat Buchanan conceded they were not his votes).
Technical problems with voting equipment. Example: A "programming error" in Volusia county gave the Socialist Party candidate nearly 10,000 votes. He received about 500 votes in the entire rest of the state. The initial count also had Gore with minus 16,000 votes.
A company was hired by Katherine Harris to scrub the voter registration databases and bump them against convicted felon databases from other states. Due to "bad programming and design" which resulted in "errors", thousands of legitimate, law-abiding, non-felons were denied the right to vote. Subsequent investigations revealed that a disproportionate number of these people were minorities.
In four of the counties in the state with the largest black populations (Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach and Duval) some 100,000 spoiled punch-card ballots were discarded, more than half the discards in the state. Eighteen out of the nineteen precincts in the state with the highest rate of discards were majority-black precincts.
Sure, these could all just be unrelated, coincidental "mistakes". Nobody's perfect. As evidenced by some of the "procedural problems":
Hundreds of voters in Broward County were unable to vote because the Supervisor of Elections did not have enough staff to verify changes of address.
Many polling places with predominantly black or student precincts ran out of ballots, closed early, or refused to allow people in line at closing time to vote.
The Duval County Supervisor of Elections issued a sample ballot that was different from the official ballot in violation of state election laws.
Unknown numbers, possibly thousands, of "motor voter" registrations were "lost" or not processed. The problem seemed particularly prevalent with first time black voters, prompting an NAACP lawsuit. The problems were known eighteen months prior to the election, but nothing was done to fix them. Evidence of a systematic problem can be seen in the statistics. In heavily Democratic Broward County the numbers of motor-voter registrations fell off dramatically as compared to the 1996 election, in many cases by more than half.
Bags containing hundreds of uncounted Volusia County ballots (where the Socialist Party candidate got 10,000 votes and Gore got minus 16,000) were found in a poll worker's trunk days after the election. Two days after that, several other bags of uncounted ballots were found in a county vault without their "tamper proof" seals.
A law clerk in Pensacola requested an absentee ballot but never received it. He complained to his father, a U.S. District Judge. An investigation revealed that this ballot was received by a third party, filled out with a forged signature, and then sent in. The Assistant State Attorney was asked if it was possible that other absentee ballots were intercepted. He said, "I agree there may well be many more than just this one."
Students at a predominantly black college in Leon County participated in a massive voter registration effort. Large numbers of students had problems voting, including one student who had two voter registration cards with two different precincts (personallly, I have three with three different precincts, one moved without notice), some students who received no voter registration cards, switching of precincts without prior notification, missing information at precincts, and students who had attempted to register numerous times and never received registration cards and were never entered into the system.
A 75-year-old Cuban American woman, went to vote at the same precinct in Miami-Dade County where she had always voted since becoming a citizen in 1966. When she showed her registration card she was told that her name was not on the roll. It took a long time for the poll worker to reach the supervisor of elections because the phone line was busy. When they finally got through, she was told that according to their records, she had called in 1998 and "erased herself" from the voterís list. She insisted that she had not called and showed the poll worker her registration card, but the poll worker refused to allow her to vote.
A black woman and former poll worker had changed her address prior to the election. Based on her familiarity with election procedures, she went to vote and completed a change of address affidavit. When a poll worker tried to call the office of the supervisor of elections to verify her registration status, she was unable to get through. The phone lines remained busy for three and one-half hours. Ultimately, the poll workers refused to allow her to vote because they could not verify her voter status.
A poll worker in Broward County observed mostly black and Hispanic voters being turned away because their names did not appear on the roll. The precinct clerk at her site was not able to get through to the central election office to give affidavits to those voters whose names did not appear. According to the poll worker, the clerk did not communicate with the voters and did nothing to encourage them to vote. In fact, she noticed later that afternoon that the sign informing voters where they should call if they experienced problems had never been posted. She brought this to the attention of the precinct clerk, who explained, "I didnít have time to put it up." The poll worker recalled that in past elections, only about ten minutes were required to reach the elections supervisor, but in this election she turned away approximately 40 or 50 people because she could not reach the supervisor of elections.
A black woman and first-time voter went to her polling place to vote, She was told by a white poll worker standing outside that the poll was closed. As she turned to leave, the poll worker allowed a white man to walk in and get in line to vote.
Polling places were closed or moved without notice. One voter went to four different places looking for her place to vote. The polling place at the high school where she had voted in the primary had been closed and there was no notice.
Charles Kane, a former CIA agent, suspected of involvement in the Bay of Pigs and a variety of overseas coups and covert political operations, was caught altering absentee ballot applications in Martin County. Without the alterations, the applications would not have been legal or acceptable. He testified to this in open court and said there was nothing wrong with what he did because he was simply correcting a printing error. He also testified that he was given unsupervised access to the applications and computerized voter registration databases contrary to election laws. His operatives also testified that they were allowed to remove applications from the election office and take them to GOP headquarters to be "fixed" (as I recall because they had a better database there or something).
In Seminole county, a "technical problem" resulted in thousands of absentee ballot applications being sent out without the required voter registration number printed on them. The Republican county election commissioner in this heavily Republican county (I lived there for eighteen years and am familiar with heavy-handed GOP tactics there) noticed this when the applications started coming in and put the incorrect Republican applications in a separate box. She then invited GOP officials to "fix" the applications. They, too, were given unsupervised access and use of office space (and possibly computer databases, although this is disputed) to "fix" the applications. Some of the applications were incorrectly "fixed" with the wrong voter registration IDs. The election supervisor ordered her staff to accept the applications without verifying them. She did not notify local Democrats this was occurring. Incorrect Democrat applications were simply discarded.
On Wednesday morning after election day, the Governor of Florida said the margin of victory was less than one half of one percent, and as prescribed by state law in such situations, the Florida Secretary of State had ordered a state wide machine tabulation recount as mandated by state law. She set a deadline of end of business Thursday. In the wee hours of Friday morning (way past the Thursday end of business deadline), Republican dominated Seminole County Florida submitted a manual recount, which was not requested by any candidate yet gave Bush 98 additional votes. These results were accepted and certified by Katherine Harris.
The Florida Secretary of State requested court intervention to stop the manual counting prescribed by Florida law, and refused to extend any deadlines to permit filing of these manual counts prescribed by state law, claiming no discretion. (Florida statute 102.112 clearly gives discretion, as later decided by various courts). Ironically, she had previously allowed manual recounts to be included after the deadline for a machine recount she had ordered when the manual recounts resulted in an additional 98 votes for Bush.
The Florida State Legislature resolved to convene a special session to "protect" the appointment of Bush electors from Democratic court challenges by arbitrarily naming electors for Bush without awaiting the outcome of recounts or court cases. Florida Statute 103.011 (2), says that electors shall be appointed by a statewide election on a certain date, and that the Department of State shall (not "may") "certify as elected the electors of the candidates for President and Vice President who receive the highest number of votes". State law clearly does not provide for the State Legislature to arbitrarily appoint whatever electors they want.
Sure, things like this go on all the time in every election. There are always going to be "mistakes" and instances "poor judgment". But then there's voter intimidation:
The Director of the Florida Highway Patrol testified that the FHP established a "checkpoint" on a road leading to a Leon County polling place with several predominantly black precincts. Approximately 150 vehicles were stopped at the checkpoint. FHP received notice of a complaint to the Attorney Generalís office that FHP troopers had hindered people of color from arriving at polling places at the checkpoint. FHP conceded that "policy violations" had occurred and "disciplinary action" was taken.
Unoccupied FHP vehicles were parked at a number of predominantly black polling places in violation of FHP policy.
There were other reports of roadblocks and police presence at minority precincts, and even outright police intimidation of minority voters in Duval County.
There were reports that carpools of black voters were being stopped by police, who demanded they produce "taxi licenses".
Some minority voters said they were turned away because they did not have photo identification, even though Florida law provides that registered voters without photo IDs may cast "affidavit ballots". Reports indicate that in some counties, minority voters were asked for a photo ID while white voters were not.
Some minority voters told of being sent from polling place to polling place, with no real effort to determine where they actually would be permitted to vote. Some claimed to have been turned away from not just one, but three or four polling places.
The REAL Problems
Are we starting to see a pattern yet? And we haven't even gotten to the recounts, court challenges, Supreme Court, etc. etc. etc. But that's not really necessary, because that part of the election has been rehashed over and over in the media.
But see, that, too, was part of the strategy. That made it all seem fair, above board, and legitimate, while directing attention away from the systematic, comprehensive, and coordinated operation that covered all the bases to ensure Bush got Florida's electoral votes.
Even the so-called "media coalition" recount played along. Using various court interpretations and counting only the counties requested by the Gore campaign, recounts showed Bush won by a very narrow margin. If they recounted the entire state, however, according to strict interpretation of state law with regard to "hanging chads", overvotes, undervotes, etc. (which they did), Gore would have won (and he did, but that part of the report is consistently ignored by the GOP and the "liberal" media).
That was Gore's biggest mistake, by the way (other than not winning his own state). Being the nice guy that he is, in trying to be reasonable he focused only on the counties where serious problems had been reported. Many of the other irregularities were not being reported or were being ignored. If he had requested a state-wide recount, which would have been his right under Florida state law, he would have won the election.
Anyway, to put the recounts into perspective, Bush won Florida by 537 popular votes out of nearly six million. By any standard that is statistically even and would trigger an automatic run-off in just about any local election. And the GOP continues to ridicule Democrats by claiming that Gore wanted to keep counting until it came out his way. I would challenge anyone to count a truckload of six million apples and oranges and come up with the same count twice in a row. Especially with busloads of GOP operatives and "Team Leaders" harassing and intimidating you and screaming at you to "shut it down".
Regardless, the recount controversy is irrelevant. The real issue is the systematic and coordinated plan to rig the election in Florida. There was a reason exit polls showed Gore winning in Florida, and why every major network called Florida for Gore. Gore was winning, at least according to the people who voted but didn't know their votes weren't being counted. What the media didn't know about were all the irregularities that would affect the final outcome.
Preventing or correcting any one of the numerous voting irregularities could have given Gore the victory. And don't forget that Gore won the popular vote by 340,000 votes nationwide. If defendants could be identified there is enough circumstantial evidence that any jury in any court in the land would convict them. Election observers from South America would laugh at our process and the outcome.
And if you think it's crying over spilt milk and that us Democrat whiners should just shut up and move on, just remember that it could happen again 18 months from now. In fact, with "black box" electronic voting all the other shenanigans wouldn't even be necessary.
Any good American should be concerned, and would be derelict in not working to prevent rigged elections. Fair elections are the foundation of our freedom. If we are willing to ignore the problems (which still exist right here in my own county) and write them off along with the rest of our civil rights and liberties then we don't deserve freedom and democracy.
Or, as George W. Bush himself ironically put it, "Every registered voter deserves to have confidence that the system is fair and elections are honest, that every vote is recorded, and that the rules are consistently applied."
[Link] Sun May 04 06:16 by SK Bubba
Comments: 43 (Last: 05/06/03 05:23 by Melissa)
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