19 October 2014

On Tuesday, Oct 7th, I attended a Cuyahoga County Board of Elections (CCBOE) meeting. I wanted to make sure absentee-vote totals were going to be separated from election-day vote totals. What I observed was a witch hunt.

This is what I, and many others, believe:

The GOP is applying pressure to the county board of elections to "sniff out" questionable voter-registration cards, especially those by very effective and successful voter-registration projects, and call it "Voter Fraud." Probably like the pressure on 9 fired U.S. Attorneys (Google "Iglesias Voter Fraud").

ACORN, a highly respected community organizing agency, was called in to answer questions about "fishy" and duplicate voter-registration cards. During the increasingly hostile interrogation, ACORN admitted "we don't have the resources to catch every fraudulent voter-registration card". (Brings back memories of Bob Bennett's "No election is perfect!" as he and Vu pushed e-voting down our throats!)

The next day's Plain Dealer: "ACORN: Possible Fraud"--"ACORN admitted to the BOE they can't eliminate fraud from their operation."

Fox News and the conveyor-belt media ran with it, adding to the "ACORN bonfire" being stoked around the country.

Within minutes, blogs and GOP sites were linking Obama (e.g. "Obama ACORN Truths Proven") and Ohio Secretary of State, Jennifer Brunner (e.g. "Activist Group Advising Brunner Admits to Ohio Election Fraud") to this "shady organization."

The Truth

ACORN is required, by law, to turn in all registration forms, lest they be accused of partisan filtering.

Of the tens of thousands (65,000 to 80,000) new registrations in Cuyahoga, the occurrence of duplications is marginal.

ACORN's quality control process involves calling voters, to try to assess the legitimacy of the cards. They evaluate the cards, and group them into "verified", "unable to verify", and "problematic registrations". ACORN employs many canvassers. They do not have a sophisticated voter-registration database that tracks change transactions, nor signature-recognition technology.

During the "interrogation", ACORN described the response from one man submitting multiple voter-registration cards: "I was only trying to help the kids!" (At first I thought he meant the Iraq veterans who are fighting an unnecessary war, but later concluded that he was probably referring to the young canvassers who are engaging in a meaningful civic activity.)

I heard ACORN say numerous times that they wanted to work WITH the BOE--who HAS the resources, to catch questionable registration cards. CCBOE's Diebold DIMS voter-registration is supposed to catch those duplicates!

The Irony

The hostile board members (not you, InaJo) demanded ACORN eliminate duplicate voter-registration cards and turn over suspect employees to the county prosecutor, without benefit of the board's resources. Mr. Frost even suggested ACORN's attorney was "in contempt." It was extremely unsettling, given the "questionable things" CCBOE did, or important things they did NOT do over the past four years.

Voter-registration/DIMS problems are documented in a slew of reports, by a number of people, including myself. Researchers found "an error rate of 6.2%, 5.1% of which was due to apparent BOE clerical errors, and 1.1% to apparent voter error" and projected "19,000 voter registrations ... at low to high or absolute risk of disqualification, mostly due to BOE entry errors." (http://www.clevelandvotes.org/news/reports/Report_to_ElectionComm.pdf) I recall DIMS permitted entry of bad addresses, e.g. misspelled street name, yet later, kicked out the voter as "fatal pending", thus unable to vote."

DIMS was implemented TWO MONTHS prior to that historic election of Nov 2004. Could that explain the hundreds of un-entered, "gone missing", erroneously entered registrations? Or was it the people in the data-entry department that were RIF'd before that election? Can anyone remember the bogus "Recount of 2004", in which hundreds of people, many coming in from other states, THOUGHT they were participating in Democracy?

Does anyone remember the recent primary election, March 2008, in which hundreds of Republicans "crossed over" to vote against Dennis Kucinich and Hillary Clinton? Apparently, Limbaugh-sanctioned tomfoolery is okay.

Does it bother people that Bob Bennett and Michael Vu are walking the streets after clearly committing fraud, orders of magnitude more serious than some poor kind-hearted guy, trying to "help out the kids!" Does anyone remember the mocking tone exhibited by the board when concerned citizens, trying to make sense of the strange happenings at the board, brought issue after issue to the board's attention?

Will the Real Fraud stand up!

Just think about it. Who, in their right mind, would vote twice, risking severe punishment, to change the election outcome by one? The more likely possibility, one that voters do worry about, is one programmer, without detection, changing the outcome of an entire election through e-voting technology. Why wouldn't they? People "get it", but some organizations: both political parties and virtually all of the media, even the "left" media, are in denial. (Google "RoveCyberGate")

There are OVERT and serious efforts to subvert the will of the people: voter purging, caging, and suppression abound. (http://www.truthout.org/) If for no other reason, these REAL problems will serve as rational for another middle-of-the-night surprise.

Shock Doctrine and Ohio House Bill 3

Those familiar with Naomi Klein's book, The Shock Doctrine and Ohio's "infamous" House Bill 3, know how "Voter Fraud" hysteria was used to usher in draconian regulations, most notably, Ohio's restrictive Voter ID Laws. The LWV letter to Republican legislative leaders stated "the purported purpose (of House Bill 3) of preventing voting fraud is based on the fallacy that there was widespread fraud perpetrated by voters in Ohio. In fact, the fraud was committed against Ohio voters by inadequate preparation that suppressed the votes of those whose registrations were not recorded correctly, those who could not wait for hours to vote or those whose votes were not counted because of misdirection or mishandling." Kevin Coughlin, the main proponent of H.B. 3, could only cite a few cartoon characters and celebrities on voting registration forms' that were easily weeded out by county election boards, as the reason for his repressive legislation. (In fact, several "fake" voting rights organizations, including the American Center for Voting Rights (ACVR), were created specifically to spread the disinformation about the extent of voter fraud.) (http://www.freepress.org/columns/display/3/2005/1289)

I was there on that sad day, and, though I was forbidden from bringing into the chamber hall my camera, I did take a picture of a sign placed in the rotunda saying, simply, "Democracy Died Today."

Do your own research

Check out "The Politics of Voter Fraud" (http://www.projectvote.org) ...at the federal level, records show that only 24 people were convicted of or pleaded guilty to illegal voting between 2002 and 2005. ... The available state-level evidence of voter fraud, culled from interviews, reviews of newspaper coverage and court proceedings, while not definitive, is also negligible.

and

There is a long history in America of elites using voter fraud allegations to restrict and shape the electorate....Today, the success of voter registration drives among minorities and low income people in recent years threatens Republicans. Consequently, the use of baseless voter fraud allegations for partisan advantage has become the exclusive domain of Republican party activists.

Cuyahoga Stamping out "Fraud"

Today, the board interrogated several young black men, shaming them publicly for trying to "help the kids". I'm sure they will be smeared, along with ACORN. And along with me...for I had the nerve to follow the first "victim" out into the hall and tell him, "Don't worry. This is a witch hunt. They're going after ACORN", while a white man told him not to listen to me. The rest...well you'll see on Fox News, I'm sure. I'll tell my son to "brace himself" when he walks in the door today.

I think the only thing being held in contempt here is our democracy!