If we had a responsible media it would be reminding us daily that a republic can only survive as long as the open market place of ideas is protected. People must be well-informed in order to make decisions about those they're entrusting to represent their interests. Our ability to exercise control over our government is dependent upon our ability to consent, or to withhold consent, through our vote. Once we lose control of our vote, the very essence of our republic is undermined:

"Unless the mass retains sufficient control over those entrusted with the powers of their government, these will be perverted to their own oppression, and to the perpetuation of wealth and power in the individuals and their families selected for the trust." -Thomas Jefferson

"Governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed." - The Declaration of Independence

Millions of Americans have already lost control of their ability to cast a vote for the candidates of their choice, and we no longer have a government elected by the majority of the people. No one voting on an electronic voting machine knows whether the computer cast their vote as selected or altered it, intentionally or unintentionally. In the past 6 years, the evidence is staggering that millions of votes were not cast as intended. We have already witnessed the devastating consequences of having lost our vote:  Despite evidence that voters intended the opposite, the Legislative and Executive branches of the govenrment are now in the hands of the right wing, with the result that the Judiciary is now also being packed to the right.  Such consequences were predictable and were, indeed, predicted:

"[We] should look forward to a time, and that not a distant one, when corruption in this as in the country from which we derive our origin will have seized the heads of government and be spread by them through the body of the people; when they will purchase the voices of the people and make them pay the price. Human nature is the same on every side of the Atlantic and will be alike influenced by the same causes." - Thomas Jefferson, 1782

As the press has become increasingly less "independent," we've become largely uninformed about the loss of control of our vote.  As Bill Moyers put it:  "Never has there been an administration so disciplined in secrecy, so precisely in lockstep in keeping information from the people at large.....Never has so powerful a media oligopoly ....been so unabashed in reaching, like Caesar, for still more wealth and power. Never have hand and glove fitted together so comfortably to manipulate free political debate, sow contempt for the idea of government itself, and trivialize the people's need to know." - Bill Moyers, The Future of the Media

If we had responsible media we would have been able to connect the dots and see the emerging pattern: First Florida in 200; then the 2002 senatorial races delivering the Legislature to the Republicans; then the 2004 election. The increased use of electronic voting systems, curiously, is proportional to the declining reliability of exit polls (which are still viewed as highly reliable everywhere but here.)  Electronic voting is part of a larger plan to secure one party rule permanently. Facilitating the process has been the loss of our constitutionally guaranteed free press. Still not there? Consider this:

The 2002 Congressional Elections:

With Republican control only two seats away, the 2002 senate races were hard fought; the "upsets" extraordinary. Right up to election day public opinion polls (Zogby and Harris, for eg. were within a ^% point margin of error in 2000 and previous elections) had predicted Democrats winning in numerous key battleground states. But then unexplained last minute swings resulted in all of those races going to the Republicans. The polls were somehow all "wrong". Remarkably these last minute improbable swings appear to have been concentrated in critical senate races (Georgia and Minnesota), thus sealing Republican control of the Senate.

-In Minnesota, Senator Paul Wellstone, was leading by 5 points when he was killed in a small plane crash less than two weeks before the election. The situation was eerily reminiscent of the fatal plane crash that killed senate candidate Gov. Mel Carnahan, also within a few weeks of that election. The Republicans still couldn't get their man in though; Ashcroft lost to the deceased Carnahan. But that was in 2000. Two years later we have more electronic machines counting the vote (Diebold and ES&S machines were used in 2/3s of the counties in the state) and Norm Coleman (with his100% approval rating from the Christian Coalition) beats Wellstone's replacement, former VP Walter Mondale, even though Mondale had retained the 5 point lead going into the election. When the computerized machines were done counting the vote a few days later, Coleman somehow had beat Mondale by 50 to 47 percent, a statistically remarkable 8 point swing!

- In Georgia, polls going into the election showed Dem. Senator Max Cleland with a 5% lead over Rep. Saxby Chambliss (who also had a 100% approval rating from the Christian Coalition). Cleland lost to Chambliss 46 to 53 %, an incredible last-minute 12 point swing . And in the governorship race, polls right up to the election showed Roy Barnes, the incumbent Democratic governor, leading by 11 points. Amazingly Barnes lost the governorship to the Republican, Sonny Perdue, 46 to 51 per cent, a swing of 16 percentage points! The press failed to point out that Georgia had became the first state in the country to conduct an election entirely with touch screen voting machines and that the entire election was run, not by the government, but by Diebold.

- In Colorado, a Zogby poll just before the election put Democrat Tom Strickland leading Republican Wayne Allard with a comfortable 5 point lead. Allard, who also happened to have one of those 100% approval rating from the Christian Coalition, experienced another miracle come from behind victory, winning by 70,000 votes. Diebold touch-screen machines were used in a number of counties, collectively accounting for over 750,000 votes.

-In Alabama, Democratic incumbent Gov. Don Siegelman had won the governor's race, but the Republican National Committee's regional director determined that a faulty chip was at issue. After a new chip arrived, the Republicans were the victors. Governor Siegelman claimed the results were changed on the electronic machines after poll watchers left.

- In Nebraska, Republican U.S. Senator Chuck Hagel ran against Democrat Charlie Matulka and won in a landslide. As his Website says, Hagel "was re-elected to his second term in the United States Senate on November 5, 2002 with 83% of the vote. That represents the biggest political victory in the history of Nebraska." What the media had neglected to point out is that in both 2002, as well as 1996, 80% of the votes in Nebraska were counted confidentially not by the government, but by computer-controlled voting machines supplied, controlled and purchased from Hagel's own company, ES&S. Said the Democratic challenger Matulka, "They can take over our country without firing a shot, just by taking over our election systems."

Random anomalies? Remarkable coincidences?

Consider these facts:

- When Hagel first ran for the U.S. Senate in 1996, his own company's computer-controlled voting machines showed he'd won stunning and unexpected victories in both the primaries and the general election. The Washington Post said Hagel's "Senate victory against an incumbent Democratic governor was the major Republican upset in the November election." A Gallop Poll had put Hagel in a dead heat with Democratic Ben Nelson, but unexpected popularity with African-American and Native American precincts, communities that had never before voted Republican, accounted for the first Republican in 24 years to win a Senate seat in Nebraska.

- Not only Senator Hagel's ES&S, but all electronic voting is done by Republican-controlled machines. Diebold and Sequoia are both owned by prominent Republican Party donors and a smaller company, Triad, also a Republican contributor, was responsible for counting half of Ohio's 88 counties in 2004 and was found in the Conyers report to have been involved in fraudulent activity)

- In August, 2003 Wally O'Dell, the CEO of Diebold and a major donor to the to the Bush campaign invited friends to a Bush/Cheney fundraiser at his home in Ohio with an invitation that read: "I am committed to helping Ohio deliver its electoral votes to the president next year".

- In the summer of 2003, more than a year before the 2004 election, Representative Peter King (R., N.Y.) stated in an interview: "It's already over. The election's over. We won". Asked how he knew that Bush would win, he answered, "It's all over but the counting. And we'll take care of the counting."

- In Florida in 2000, a life long Republican computer programmer swore in an affidavit that he'd been asked by GOP legislator Tom Feeny to create a computer program that would undetectably alter vote totals. His employer told him the program was needed to control the vote in south Florida and that therefore he needed to conceal the source code.

As Thom Hartmann queried in his piece, The Theft of Your Vote is Just a Chip Away, 7/30/03: Maybe it's true that the citizens of Georgia simply decided that incumbent Democratic Senator Max Cleland, a wildly popular war veteran, was, as Republican TV ads suggested, too unpatriotic to remain in the Senate, even though his Republican challenger, Saxby Chambliss, had sat out the Vietnam war with a medical deferment.

Maybe, in the final two days of the race, those voters who'd pledged themselves to Georgia's popular incumbent Governor Roy Barnes suddenly and inexplicably decided to switch to Republican challenger Sonny Perdue.

Maybe George W. and Jeb Bush, Alabama's new Republican governor Bob Riley, and a small but congressionally decisive handful of other long-shot Republican candidates around the country really did win those states where conventional wisdom and straw polls showed them losing in the last few election cycles, but computer controlled voting or ballot-reading machines showed them winning.

Perhaps, after a half-century of fine-tuning exit polling to such a science that it's now used to verify if elections are clean in Third World countries, it really did suddenly become inaccurate in the United States in the past few years and just won't work here anymore. Perhaps it's just a coincidence that the sudden rise of inaccurate exit polls happened around the same time corporate-programmed, computer-controlled, modem-capable voting machines began recording and tabulating ballots.


The 2004 Presidential Election

Bush went into this election with extremely high disapproval ratings. The national turnout in 2004 was the highest since 1968, when another unpopular war had swept the ruling party from the White House (the high turn out, which historically favors Democrats, in fact was reflected in many elections, for eg. the Democrats took back the statehouses in Montana, Colorado and North Carolina, all three of which Bush miraculously won). Throughout the nation statistical improbabilities became commonplace.

Rather than investigate and report to us, the media conglomerates suppressed evidence, ridiculed those who raised questions and dutifully served the interests of the government, much as a state-run media system would have behaved. There's a reason so many of us believed that Bush, against impossible odds, did in fact win all these races Kerry was predicted to win. But what if instead the media had told us about the vocal anti-Bush front of eminent Republicans who came out before the election: that included anti-Clinton warrior Bob Barr of Georgia; Ike's son John Eisenhower; Ronald Reagan's chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, William J. Crowe Jr.; former Air Force Chief of Staff and onetime "Veteran for Bush" General Merrill "Tony" McPeak; founding neocon Francis Fukuyama; Doug Bandow of the Cato Institute, and various large alliances of military officers, diplomats, and business professors. And what if the media had reported that at least fifty-nine daily newspapers which had backed Bush in the previous election endorsed Kerry (or no one) in this election.

If we'd had a responsible media we would have known that something was very wrong. Rep. Conyers, the ranking Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee, was determined to investigate and on January 5, 2005 the committee released Preserving Democracy: What Went Wrong in Ohio. The Conyers Report found "massive unprecedented voter irregularities"...."which affected hundreds of thousands of votes and voters in Ohio. Among the broad range of irregularities and anomalies, "not one of which resulted in a loss for Bush", Mark Crispin Miller, Fooled Again.

The 2004 election saw a massive effort to disenfranchise the more vulnerable Democrats in key states. The usual dirty tricks were employed with a particular ferocity, but electronic voting machines brought disenfranchisement to a whole other level. In October, 2005 the non-partisan Government Accountability Office (GAO), known for its general incorruptibility, released its report confirming that concerns of electronic voting unreliability, previously dismissed as "conspiracy theories", were legitimate and "have been realized and have caused problems with recent elections, resulting in the loss and miscount of votes". The GAO's findings made it clear that there is a lack of transparency and accountability in electronic voting systems and underscored the urgency to address the inadequacy, insecurity and unreliability of these machines. The report's recommendations for improving the security of electronic systems have been ignored. This extremely powerful and critical confirmation of the unreliability of electronic voting systems, begging the question of the legitimacy of the 2004 election, was largely suppressed by our media.

Paul Krugman of the New York Times wrote: "It's election night, and early returns suggest trouble for the incumbent. Then, mysteriously, the vote count stops and observers from the challenger's campaign see employees of a voting-machine company, one wearing a badge that identifies him as a county official, typing instructions at computers with access to the vote-tabulating software. When the count resumes, the incumbent pulls ahead. The challenger demands an investigation. But there are no ballots to recount, and election officials allied with the incumbent refuse to release data that could shed light on whether there was tampering with the electronic records. ...This isn't a paranoid fantasy. It's a true account of a recent election in Riverside County, California..."

Such accounts along with machine failures and unexplainable glitches occurred throughout the country, but Ohio, where Bush is said to have won by 118,000 votes, was the focus of much post-election attention. In Ohio more than 35 counties used Diebold electronic voting machines, accounting for 800,000 votes, all of which were tabulated using Diebold's proprietary "secret" software and therefore cannot be verified. The GAO report confirmed that the electronic network on which 800,000 votes were cast in Ohio, was vulnerable enough to permit a few people to alter the outcome. Thus Republican-controlled machines, over which neither the state government nor any independent persons had oversight, accounted for seven times the number of votes by which Bush took Ohio. How can it be legal to permit a private partisan company to control the votes in an election with no accountability? What rational reason would anyone have to believe that votes were in fact cast as citizens had intended?

Consider the following facts from Ohio which our media might have informed us of, but didn't:

- In Warren County voters pressing Kerry's name on electronic screens repeatedly saw Bush's name light up. When it came time to count the votes, public observers and the press were locked out allegedly because of an FBI warning of a major terrorist attack. This lockdown (or lockout), which permitted the votes to be tallied in secret, occurred twice. The second lockdown to recount the votes resulted in an even greater Bush margin. Not only did the FBI deny giving any such warning, but one local paper later reported, email correspondence between election officials and the county's building services director indicated that lockdown plans-"down to the wording of the signs that would be posted on the locked doors"-had been in the works for at least a week!

- In Butler County an underfunded Democratic candidate for State Supreme Court implausibly took in 5,347 more votes than the best funded Democratic Presidential candidate in history.

- In Franklin County, Bush received nearly 4,000 extra votes from one computer.

- In Miami County voter turn out was an improbable and highly suspect 98.55% and after 100% of the precincts were reported, an additional19,000 extra votes were recorded for Bush.

- In Perry County the number of Bush votes exceeded the number of registered votes, leading to voter turnout rates as high as 124 percent.

- In Mahong County 25 DREs transferred an unknown number of Kerry votes to Bush.

Election results in Ohio were not only hidden by virtue of the use of electronic machines and the media's suppression of and refusal to investigate evidence, but Ohio's Republican Secretary of State Blackwell, who also served as Ohio's co-chair for the Bush-Cheney campaign, refused to allow non-partisan international and United Nations observers access to monitor the Ohio vote.

Exit polls funded by six major news organizations showed Kerry comfortably leading Bush in Ohio, Iowa, New Mexico and Nevada as late as 12:20 am on Wednesday morning. These same exit polls, seen worldwide as so reliable that they're used to ensure against fraud, had just been used to overturn the Ukranian election and have until 2000 been a bedrock of reliability in the US (significant, inexplicable discrepancies between exit polls and official tallies only started showing up in the U.S. in 2000 and only in Florida). And yet a few hours after the exit polls were showing a clear Kerry sweep, as the computerized vote numbers began to come in the vote count mysteriously turns and the election is called for Bush. The odds on one state switching the next morning from Kerry to Bush "are about one in one hundred. For four, it's a virtual statistical impossibility. Add the fact that not one, not four, but TEN of eleven swing states showed drastic shifts from Kerry to Bush and you enter the realm of, well, a stolen election." Fitrakis and Wasserman, 10/18/05, Why Can't the Left Face the Stolen Elections of 2004 & 2008

The media, lacking the responsibility and the curiosity of your average second grader, reported that all the exit polls were somehow mistaken or just wrong. Dick Morris, the infamous political consultant to the first Clinton campaign who became a Republican consultant and Fox News regular, wrote an article for the Hill on 11/04/2004 in which he noted:

"Exit Polls are almost never wrong.....This was no mere mistake. Exit polls cannot be as wrong across the board as they were on election night. I suspect foul play."

University of Pennsylvania statistician Steve Freeman, Ph.D., analysed the exit polls of the swing states of Pennsylvania, Ohio and Florida in 2004 and concluded that the odds of the exit polls being as far off as they were are 250 million to one.

The media also failed to get back to us on the inexplicable discrepancies in Florida in the 2000 election. Turns out the "mainstream" media's projections had been right all along. The problem wasn't the exit polls, but the official tallies themselves. In analyses conducted by the National Opinion Research Center in Florida after the U.S. Supreme Court aborted the vote recount, Gore emerged the winner over Bush, no matter what criteria for counting votes was applied.

How could our media not have investigated the correlation, if any, between the increased use of electronic voting systems, with their non-transparent secret software, and the sudden demise of a half century's experience with highly reliable exit polls? The rest of the world still considers exit polls as the gold standard of accuracy so how is it that this phenomenon only exists in the United States? Not only did our media fail to question such a remarkable coincidence, but ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, Fox and the Associated Press have all refused to release the raw exit poll data, requested by Rep. Conyers on behalf of the Judiciary Committee. In his request Conyers stated that the information in the media's possession was needed because "the American citizenry has voiced a collective lack of faith in government to carry out fair election procedures". Ironically, this very need to protect its citizens against a government not accountable to the people was what caused the founders to include protections in the Constitution so that the press would be free to provide to the people this very information it's now withholding. "Our liberty cannot be guarded but by the freedom of the press". - Thomas Jefferson

The Ohio Recount which followed the 2004 election, aside from being successfully thwarted, continued the electronic nightmare. In a nutshell: in an interview a former employee of Triad confessed to having altered tabulating software in a great number of counties in Ohio. The Conyers Report, stated that it strongly appeared Triad was engaged in a course of behavior to provide "cheat sheets" to those counting the ballots so that the machines would correlate with the recount and appear to be operating fairly and effectively.

See the pattern? Still think we'll just "vote them out" in 2006 or 2008? We've lost the means to hold our government accountable. We've lost our constitutionally guaranteed free press - in service to we the people. We've lost our vote that so many Americans gave their lives for. We are all we have left if we are to save this republic. It is therefore every person's responsibility to take this on.

In New York there's something you can do if you act immediately. You still have time to prevent the touchscreen machines (DREs) from being forced upon us. While Paper Ballot Optical Scan machines (PBOS), which take your paper ballot and just do the counting, can also be hacked they are not as open to fraud as the DREs and at least there's an actual paper ballot to recount. So PBOS s are the lesser evil. At least it will allow us to retain our own handwritten paper ballots and if this people's movement takes hold, maybe we'll be privileged enough one day to count them ourselves.

Join us.  Do it for your children.  Do it for yourself.  If you won't fight for your birthright, who do you think should?

The liberties of our country, the freedom of our civil Constitution, are worth defending at all hazards; and it is our duty to defend them against all attacks. We have received them as a fair inheritance from our worthy ancestors: they purchased them for us with toil and danger and expense of treasure and blood, and transmitted them to us with care and diligence. It will bring an everlasting mark of infamy on the present generation, enlightened as it is, if we should suffer them to be wrested from us by violence without a struggle, or to be cheated out of them by the artifices of false and designing men." - Samuel Adams