Elections Media ArticlesExcerpts of Key Elections Media Articles in Major Media
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Like many people, Alan Dechert was outraged when the 2000 presidential election was thrown to the Supreme Court because nobody could figure out how Florida's voters had voted. An engineer who has designed and tested software for a living, he thinks the outcomes of elections should never be in doubt. So Dechert and a couple of colleagues founded the Open Voting Consortium, a nonprofit group dedicated to delivering "trustable and open voting systems." In addition to lobbying against proprietary voting machines, they have spent the last several years working with scientists and engineers around the world to design and build a voting machine of their own. On Tuesday their machine will be put to the test at LinuxWorld in San Francisco, where the 10,000 people who are expected to attend the conference will get to vote in a mock presidential election pitting Barack Obama against John McCain. "The voting system in the U.S. is still not sufficiently accurate to determine the winner in a very close election," said Dechert, who has worked at Borland International and Intel developing and testing software. "By the time we're done (with the mock election), nobody will have any doubt." The code that runs this voting machine is based on the work of a former [U.C.] Berkeley student, Ka-Ping Yee, who now works at Google. At a price of about $400, the new voting machine is a tenth of the cost of proprietary machines ... because it's simply designed and based on free software. Its workings are transparent, he said, unlike some of the electronic voting machines that California decertified for security problems.
Note: How could the U.S. government allow private companies to develop machines with secret codes the government can't access in the first place? For a summary of the many problems with proprietary electronic voting machines, click here.
Charlie Black, senior adviser to John McCain, caused a fluff by saying that a terrorist attack on U.S. soil would be a "big advantage" to his candidate. No one mentioned that eight years ago, the Project for a New American Century called for "a new Pearl Harbor" that could move the American people to accept the neoconservative vision of militarized global domination. Then 9/11 happened, lifting George W. Bush from the shadows of a disputed election to the heights of a "war presidency." Bush has taken on unprecedented powers since the events of 9/11. On that day, the president issued his "Declaration of Emergency by Reason of Certain Terrorist Attacks" under the authority of the National Emergencies Act. This declaration, which can be rescinded by joint resolution of Congress, has instead been extended six times. In 2007, the declaration was quietly strengthened with the issuance of National Security Presidential Directive 51, which gave the president the authority to do whatever he deems necessary in a vaguely defined "catastrophic emergency," including everything from canceling elections to suspending the Constitution to launching a nuclear attack. Not a single congressional hearing was held on this directive. Will Congress act decisively to remove the president's emergency powers, challenge the directive and defend the Constitution?
[California] Assemblywoman Mary Hayashi had no intention of voting for AB2818, a bill that the Castro Valley Democrat feared could undermine its stated goal of protecting affordable housing. But on May 28, she nearly approved it - without her knowledge, and without her presence on the Assembly floor. As the roll call began, Hayashi was engaged in a budget subcommittee meeting on the Capitol's fourth floor. Suddenly, two floors below, the light next to her name on the big electronic voting board in the Assembly chamber turned green, a "yes" vote. Seconds later, it turned red. Then green. Red. Green. Finally, after 22 seconds of alternating colors, the space next to Hayashi's name went blank. While there are conflicting accounts of exactly what caused this dizzying sequence, this much is clear: Two people had their hands on Hayashi's voting switches during the roll call on AB2818 - and one was acting against her will. "Ghost voting" was not the only disturbing episode as the Assembly took up 316 bills in the three days leading up to the deadline for measures to pass their house of origin. In the frenzied treadmill, there was little or no debate on most matters, important bills died when legislators failed to vote, and votes were being cast for members without their express consent. In the Hayashi case, eyewitnesses said her initial "yes" vote was cast by Assemblyman Kevin de León, D-Los Angeles, an assistant majority floor leader who colleagues said had taken the liberty of voting for other missing members as bills were being rushed to beat the deadline. "I don't recall it, but I don't deny it either," de León said.
Note: For lots more on problems with voting systems, click here.
Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama, who are running for president as economic populists, are benefiting handsomely from Wall Street donations, easily surpassing Republican John McCain in campaign contributions from the troubled financial services sector. It is part of a broader fundraising shift toward Democrats, compared to past campaigns when Republicans were the favorites of Wall Street. The flow of campaign cash is a measure of how open-fisted banks and other financial institutions have been to politicians of both parties. Concern is rising that "no matter who the Democratic nominee is and who wins in November, Wall Street will have a friend in the White House," said Massie Ritsch of the nonprofit Center for Responsive Politics, which tracks campaign donations. "The door will be open to these big banks." Sen. Clinton of New York is leading the way, bringing in at least $6.29 million from the securities and investment industry, compared with $6.03 million for Sen. Obama of Illinois and $2.59 million for McCain. Those figures include donations from the investment companies' employees and political action committees. The candidates' receipts reflect a broader trend that demonstrates how money follows power in Washington. It suggests that the nation's money managers are betting heavily that either Clinton or Obama will capture the White House and that Democrats will retain control of Congress. "What that Wall Street money means is that few people in Washington, including the leading presidential candidates, say a thing when the government moves to bail out Wall Street before it helps homeowners," said David Sirota, a liberal activist and former congressional aide.
Note: For more insight into the relationship between big finance and big government, click here.
The US, EU and other democracies are accepting flawed and unfair elections out of political expediency, Human Rights Watch says in its annual report. Allowing autocrats to pose as democrats without demanding they uphold civil and political rights risked undermining human rights worldwide, it warned. HRW said Pakistan, Thailand, Bahrain, Jordan, Nigeria, Kenya and Russia had been falsely claiming to be democratic. In the report, HRW said established democracies such as the US and members of the European Union were increasingly tolerating autocrats "claiming the mantle of democracy". "In 2007 too many governments ... acted as if simply holding a vote is enough to prove a nation 'democratic', and Washington, Brussels and European capitals played along. The Bush administration has spoken of its commitment to democracy abroad but often kept silent about the need for all governments to respect human rights." HRW Executive Director Kenneth Roth said it had become too easy for autocrats to get away with mounting a sham democracy "because too many Western governments insist on elections and leave it at that. They don't press governments on the key human rights issues that make democracy function - a free press, peaceful assembly, and a functioning civil society that can really challenge power. It seems Washington and European governments will accept even the most dubious election so long as the 'victor' is a strategic or commercial ally," Mr Roth said.
The Nevada Supreme Court's ruling allowing a cable network to exclude Rep. Dennis Kucinich from a Democratic presidential debate was barely a blip on the media radar screen. But in the long term, the court decision might prove to be [very] significant. It constituted the strongest judicial statement yet of news organizations' near-absolute power to control participation in pre-election forums. Kucinich, the Ohio congressman who polls in the low single digits but has a fervent following among his party's anti-war base, [charged] that the cable channel had promised to let him in when he met its standards, then abruptly changed those standards to keep him out. MSNBC said initially that the debate was open to Democrats who placed in the top four in a national poll. It invited Kucinich on Jan. 9 after a Gallup Poll a few days earlier ranked him fourth. But two days later, after New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson dropped out of the race, the channel narrowed its criteria to the top three candidates and withdrew Kucinich's invitation. The day before the debate, a Nevada judge ordered MSNBC to let Kucinich participate, saying the cable operator had entered into a binding contract that it couldn't rescind once the candidate accepted. The state's high court quickly granted review and, an hour before the debate, ruled 7-0 in the cable channel's favor. The bottom line: Debates, the public's sole opportunity to see competing candidates in a neutral setting, are the prerogative of the sponsoring organizations - typically, these days, the news media - which set the criteria and have free rein to alter them.
Note: For a summary of reliable reports on major problems with the electoral process, click here.
Well, new questions tonight about the electronic voting machines that will be used in the upcoming South Carolina primary. Those voting machines do not have a paper trail, and as Kitty Pilgrim now reports, that could leave this election vulnerable to fraud and a possibility of recounting. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) KITTY PILGRIM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Election activists warn the 11,400 ES&S voting machines used in the [South Carolina] primaries could malfunction. And without a paper trail, will not be able to be accurately recounted. This as New Hampshire begins recounting its results today. New Hampshire's recount [is] made possible by their paper trail. South Carolina's state attorney general defends its paperless system saying in the event of a botched election, "Our grand jury would investigate and we would prosecute any election fraud that goes on." But fraud isn't the only concern. HOLLY JACOBSON, VOTERACTION.ORG: It's not just that these systems can be tampered with, but also that the systems have been seemingly designed poorly, and they fail on Election Day. Fraud or intent for fraud aside, these systems just don't seem to work well. And that, we know. PILGRIM: In Sarasota County, Florida, in 2006, the congressional race tallied an alarmingly high number of missing votes, 18,000. In 2007, security concerns led Ohio to decommission a similar model to those that will be used in South Carolina. The South Carolina League of Women's Voters released a report this week, "This system has not been designed with security as a basic requirement and it should not be used for voting in South Carolina."(END VIDEOTAPE)
Note: For a summary of reliable reports on major problems with the new electronic voting machines, click here.
Democrat Dennis Kucinich, who won less than 2 percent of the vote in the New Hampshire primary, said Thursday he wants a recount to ensure that all ballots in his party's contest were counted. The Ohio congressman cited "serious and credible reports, allegations and rumors" about the integrity of Tuesday results. In a letter dated Thursday, Kucinich said he does not expect significant changes in his vote total, but wants assurance that "100 percent of the voters had 100 percent of their votes counted." Kucinich alluded to online reports alleging disparities around the state between hand-counted ballots, which tended to favor Sen. Barack Obama, and machine-counted ones that tended to favor Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton. He also noted the difference between pre-election polls, which indicated Obama would win, and Clinton's triumph by a 39 percent to 37 percent margin. [Deputy Secretary of State David] Scanlon said his office had received several phone calls since Tuesday, mostly from outside the state, questioning the results. New Hampshire's voting machines are not linked in any way, which Scanlon says reduces the likelihood of tampering with results on a statewide level. Also, the results can be checked against paper ballots. "I think people from out of state don't completely understand how our process works and they compare it to the system that might exist in Florida or Ohio, where they have had serious problems," he said. "Perhaps the best thing that could happen for us is to have a recount to show the people that ... the votes that were cast on election day were accurately reflected in the results."
Note: Except for this sparsely reported AP story, why didn't any media articles raise the question of voting machine manipulation? The SF Chronicle pointed out, "Pollster Mervin Field, a dean of American polling who has been measuring public opinion for more than six decades, notes that seven public and two private polls all reported on ... the day before the election that Obama was ahead of Clinton anywhere from 9 to 11 points." MSNBC's Chris Matthews stated: "Even our own exit polls, taken as people came out of voting, showed [Obama] ahead. So what's going on here?" For lots more on voting manipulation, click here.
For days, poll after poll showed Illinois Sen. Barack Obama opening a big lead heading into the New Hampshire Democratic primary. But when the votes were counted, New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton won. Even she seemed surprised. Were the polls all wrong? Did the pollsters misjudge how many women would vote? Did voters lie when pollsters called? Regardless of the answers, many analysts urged a post-mortem to figure out what the heck happened in New Hampshire. "It is simply unprecedented for so many polls to have been so wrong," said Gary Langer, the polling director for ABC News, in a memo posted at his Web site. "We need to know why." Pollsters accurately predicted John McCain's comeback win in the GOP race. They nailed John Edwards' third-place finish among Democrats. But at least a dozen polls had the senator from Illinois defeating Clinton, almost all showing Obama gaining and opening a lead on Clinton. One survey for C-SPAN and Reuters showed Obama up 42-29 percent over Clinton. Six public polls for news media and universities showed him with an average lead of 8.3 percentage points. None showed Clinton close, let alone ahead. Yet she beat Obama by 39-36 percent. So what happened? A number of bloggers Wednesday cited the "wildly inaccurate" polls as evidence that the vote was rigged. "Other folks that I've spoken to ... share my concern at this hour," wrote blogger Brad Friedman, a Los Angeles-based election-fraud watchdog, on bradblog.com. Bloggers across the nation keyed into the fact that 81 percent of New Hampshire votes were being counted on machines that an HBO documentary alleged are easily hacked.
Note: The Los Angeles Times exit poll showed Obama with 44% and Clinton with 35%. Many experts claim that polls can not be off that much. A Washington Post blog mentions the interesting fact "Vote tallies from the New Hampshire Secretary of State show that she won by 4.23 percentage points in the counties using Diebold optical scanners, but lost by 5.81 points in those where paper ballots are counted by hand." For lots more on voting manipulation, click here. The HBO documentary available here is also highly revealing.
In the last three election cycles, touch-screen machines have become one of the most mysterious and divisive elements in modern electoral politics. In hundreds of instances ... they [have failed] unpredictably, and in extremely strange ways; voters report that their choices “flip” from one candidate to another before their eyes; machines crash or begin to count backward; votes simply vanish. Most famously, in the November 2006 Congressional election in Sarasota, Fla., touch-screen machines recorded an 18,000-person “undervote” for a race decided by fewer than 400 votes. The earliest critiques of digital voting booths came from the fringe — disgruntled citizens and ... computer geeks — but the fears have now risen to the highest levels of government. One by one, states are renouncing the use of touch-screen voting machines. California and Florida decided to get rid of their electronic voting machines last spring, and last month, Colorado decertified about half of its touch-screen devices. Also last month, Jennifer Brunner, the Ohio secretary of state, released a report in the wake of the Cuyahoga crashes arguing that touch-screens “may jeopardize the integrity of the voting process.” She was so worried she is now forcing Cuyahoga to scrap its touch-screen machines and go back to paper-based voting — before the Ohio primary, scheduled for March 4. Michael Shamos, a computer scientist at Carnegie Mellon University who has examined voting-machine systems for more than 25 years, estimates that about 10 percent of the touch-screen machines “fail” in each election.
Note: 10% of the machines fail, yet many still believe the results from previous elections were accurate. For many revealing reports on the serious problems with electronic voting machines, click here.
On the day she died, Benazir Bhutto planned to hand over to visiting U.S. lawmakers a report accusing Pakistan's intelligence services of a plot to rig parliamentary elections, sources close to the slain former Pakistani prime minister told CNN Tuesday. Bhutto was assassinated Thursday, hours before a scheduled meeting with Rep. Patrick Kennedy, D-Rhode Island, and Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pennsylvania. "Where an opposing candidate is strong in an area, they [supporters of President Pervez Musharraf] have planned to create a conflict at the polling station, even killing people if necessary, to stop polls at least three to four hours," the document says. The report also accused the government of planning to tamper with ballots and voter lists, intimidate opposition candidates and misuse U.S.-made equipment to monitor communications of opponents. One Bhutto source said the document was compiled at her request and said the information came from sources inside the police and intelligence services. Sen. Latif Khosa ... accused the powerful Inter-Services Intelligence of operating a rigging cell from a safe house in the capital, Islamabad. The goal, he said, is to change voting results electronically on election day. "The ISI has set up a mega-computer system where they can hack any computer in Pakistan and connect with the Election Commission," he said. Media outlets in Pakistan, India and Bangladesh have run reports alleging that retired Brig. Gen. Ejaz Shah -- formerly an Inter-Services Intelligence officer and now head of the civilian Intelligence Bureau -- is involved in the vote rigging plans. Shah's name also turned up in a letter Bhutto wrote to Musharraf after the first attempt on her life on October 18, when she returned to Pakistan after eight years in exile. In the letter, the media reported, Shah was one of four Pakistani officials Bhutto named as people who wanted her dead.
Note: It is an extremely odd "coincidence" that Benazir Bhutto was planning to meet Senator Arlen Specter later in the day on which she was assassinated in Rawalpindi, headquarters of the Pakistani military dictatorship. Specter was the inventor of the official "magic bullet" theory of the John F. Kennedy assassination, which purported to explain the physical evidence of several bullets from different directions in the bodies of Kennedy and Texas Governor John Connally as having been caused by just one bullet from the rifle of Lee Harvey Oswald.
California Secretary of State Debra Bowen sued a Nebraska voting machine company on Monday, seeking fines and reimbursements of nearly $15 million from the firm for allegedly selling nearly 1,000 uncertified machines to San Francisco and ... Solano, Marin, Merced and Colusa counties. Bowen learned of the possible violation last July and ordered an investigation. "ES&S ignored the law over and over and over again, and it got caught," Bowen said in a statement after filing suit against the company. "I am not going to stand on the sidelines and watch a voting system vendor come into the state, ignore the laws and make millions of dollars from California's taxpayers in the process." Bowen's decision could be a windfall for the affected counties. In the suit, the secretary of state is seeking a $10,000 penalty for each of the uncertified machines sold in the state, with half that fine intended to go to the counties that bought them. ES&S also would have to reimburse the counties for the full cost of the machines, but the counties would be able to keep the AutoMARKs, which are now slated to receive full state certification in early December. The reimbursement rule was added to the state election code in 2004 in an effort to boost the penalties against companies that ignore the state's certification rules. "I was surprised to see this happen," Bowen said in a telephone conference call Monday afternoon. "I hope this will be the last time I have to use (the new penalties)." Bowen said there is no ambiguity in the law. "Changes ... must be submitted to the secretary of state before a voting machine can be sold or used in California," she said. "California law doesn't ask the manufacturer to decide whether the changes are small or large or medium-size." California only learned about the changes when an ES&S representative inadvertently mentioned the new version of the AutoMARK in a telephone conference call with state election officials. The company never even mentioned to the state or the five counties that changes had been made to the machines that were shipped, Bowen said.
Note: For many revealing articles on the serious problems with the new electronic voting machines, click here.
The college student who was told what question to ask at one of New York Sen. Hillary Clinton's campaign events said "voters have the right to know what happened" and she wasn't the only one who was planted. In an exclusive on-camera interview with CNN, Muriel Gallo-Chasanoff, a 19-year-old sophomore at Grinnell College in Grinnell, Iowa, said giving anyone specific questions to ask is "dishonest," and the whole incident has given her a negative outlook on politics. Gallo-Chasanoff ... said what happened was simple: She said a senior Clinton staffer asked if she'd like to ask the senator a question after an energy speech the Democratic presidential hopeful gave in Newton, Iowa, on November 6. "I sort of thought about it, and I said 'Yeah, can I ask how her energy plan compares to the other candidates' energy plans?'" Gallo-Chasanoff said Monday night. According to Gallo-Chasanoff, the staffer said, " 'I don't think that's a good idea, because I don't know how familiar she is with their plans.' " He then opened a binder to a page that, according to Gallo-Chasanoff, had about eight questions on it. "The top one was planned specifically for a college student," she added. "It said 'college student' in brackets and then the question." Topping that sheet of paper was the following: "As a young person, I'm worried about the long-term effects of global warming. How does your plan combat climate change?" And while she said she would have rather used her own question, Gallo-Chasanoff said she didn't have a problem asking the campaign's because she "likes to be agreeable," adding that since she told the staffer she'd ask their pre-typed question she "didn't want to go back on my word." Clinton campaign spokesman Mo Elleithee said ... Clinton had "no idea who she was calling on." Gallo-Chasanoff wasn't so sure. "It seemed like she knew to call on me because there were so many people, and ... I was the only college student in that area," she said. Gallo-Chasanoff said she wasn't the only person given a question.
Note: Click on the link above to watch videos of the student asking the planted question and of the full interview with CNN.
US cash dispenser and security company Diebold has admitted that it has failed to find a buyer for its troubled electronic voting machine business. Diebold and other manufacturers of such voting machines have been hit by criticism that they are unreliable and vulnerable to tampering. Growing unease about the machines in the US has led to a number of delayed orders from states. Diebold said that as a result, its 2007 revenues would fall $120m (Ł61m). It added that it would now allow the unit to operate more independently, with a separate board of directors and, possibly, a new management structure. Diebold said it had not ruled out another attempt at a full or partial sale. Some 50 million Americans, about 30% of registered voters, used electronic machines to cast their vote in the 2004 presidential election. The machines were introduced in the aftermath of the problems caused by antiquated punch-card systems in the 2000 presidential election. However, there has since been growing concern that electronic machines may be equally as unreliable.
Note: For more reliable information on the serious problems with the new electronic voting machines, click here.
Across California, bleary-eyed voting watchdogs, registrars and public officials spent the day trying to digest [Secretary of State Debra] Bowen's late Friday decision to limit electronic balloting and install various new safeguards. The former Democratic state senator, an electronic voting skeptic who fought in the Legislature to require a paper trail for digital ballots, [took action] after University of California researchers found security flaws in three electronic systems. Barring a legal challenge, Bowen's actions will force 21 counties to shutter most of their touch-screen machines. Those counties, who use machines made by Diebold Election Systems and Sequoia Voting Systems, will instead ask most voters to fill bubbles on paper ballots to make their selections, a method known as "optical scan." Dan Ashby, [an] electronic voting critic who heads the California Election Protection Network, praised Bowen for her actions. "Election officials are probably going to fight tooth and nail against the decertification order, but we think truth and logic are on our side," Ashby said. "The best use for the machines would be to melt them down for scrap. But before we can do that, we have to do a withdrawal in stages." Bowen estimated that more than two-thirds of California voters already cast paper ballots, a number she believes will continue to rise as more people vote absentee.
Note: The Sacramento Bee, within two days of its publication, restricted access to this story, requiring registration to read it. Secretary of State Bowen is under attack throughout the state for having proven the hackability of electronic voting machines. Many Registrars of Voters are threatening to ignore the new regulations, and they are getting a lot of press coverage as they attempt to reverse Bowen's decision. You can show support for Debra Bowen through contacting the media, writing letters to editors, or by signing this petition. For more reliable, verifiable information about the serious problems with new electronic voting machines, click here.
State-sanctioned teams of computer hackers were able to break through the security of virtually every model of California's voting machines and change results or take control of some of the systems' electronic functions, according to a University of California study. The researchers "were able to bypass physical and software security in every machine they tested,'' said Secretary of State Debra Bowen, who authorized the "top to bottom review" of every voting system certified by the state. Neither Bowen nor the investigators were willing to say exactly how vulnerable California elections are to computer hackers. The review included voting equipment from every company approved for use in the state. Bowen said ... that the report is only one piece of information she will use to decide which voting systems are secure enough to use in February's presidential primary election.
Note: For more reliable, verifiable information on the problems with new electronic voting machines, click here.
Was there a White House plot to illegally suppress votes in 2004? Is there a similar plan for the upcoming elections? This week NOW examines documents and evidence that points to a Republican Party plan designed to keep Democrats from voting, allegedly by targeting people based on their race and ethnicity with key battleground states like Ohio and Florida of particular interest. "It was a partisan, discriminatory attempt to challenge voters of color," Eddie Hailes, a senior attorney for The Advancement Project, a civil rights group, told NOW. Was the White House involved? David Iglesias, one of the fired U.S. Attorneys, thinks so: "It's reprehensible. It's unethical, it's unlawful. It may very well be criminal." Iglesias told NOW he was repeatedly urged by his superiors at the Justice Department to investigate allegations of false voter registrations. After his investigations came up short, Iglesias said Republican officials got angry and complained to White House aide Karl Rove. Soon after Iglesias lost his job. As a result of allegations by Iglesias and others, Congress is investigating whether the White House acted unlawfully. While Attorney General Alberto Gonzales refused to answer many questions about the controversy as he testified before the Senate this week, Iglesias told NOW he believes the White House is keeping documents from Congress to protect the Bush Administration. "That's why there has been such a circling of the wagons around Karl Rove and Harriet Miers and Sarah Taylor. I believe there to be incriminating, possibly criminally incriminating evidence contained in those e-mails and other memoranda," he said.
Note: To read further reports from the major media on the many serious problems in the US electoral process, click here.
A congressional task force called Thursday for a speedy resolution to a southwest Florida election dispute that questions the accuracy of ATM-style voting machines. Democrat Christine Jennings claims that touch-screen voting machines in Sarasota County failed to register up to 18,000 votes. Republican Vern Buchanan was declared the winner by 369 votes after two recounts and a state audit found no problems. GAO investigators will gather information on Sarasota County's voting systems, analyze the 18,000 so-called ''undervotes,'' review tests and audits done after the election and determine if more tests are needed. Jennings said Thursday the she was pleased even though the approach brings her no closer to gaining access to hardware and software that the machines' maker, Omaha, Neb.-based Election Systems & Software Inc., says is a trade secret.
Note: The software in electronic voting machines is considered proprietary information, kept secret from Congress, the courts and even the President. Yet any computer programmer will tell you that this software can be manipulated. To join in demanding transparency in our elections process, contact your political representatives by clicking here. For more reliable information on this issue vital to democracy, click here.
In an e-mail uncovered and released by the House Judiciary Committee last month, Tim Griffin, once Karl Rove's right-hand man, gloated that "no [U.S.] national press picked up" a BBC Television story reporting that the Rove team had developed an elaborate scheme to challenge the votes of thousands of African Americans in the 2004 election. Griffin wasn't exactly right. The Los Angeles Times did run a follow-up article. But ... most of the major U.S. newspapers and the vast majority of television news programs ignored the story even though it came at a critical moment just weeks before the election. In fact, not one U.S. newsperson even bothered to ask me or the BBC for the data and research we had painstakingly done. The truth is, I knew that a story like this one would never be reported in my own country [the U.S.], because investigative reporting ... is dying. Again and again, I see this pattern repeated. Back in December 2000, I received two computer disks from the office of Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris. Analysis of the data ... indicated that Harris' office had purged thousands of African Americans from Florida's voter rolls as "felons." Florida now admits that many of these voters were not in fact felons. Nevertheless, the blacklisting helped cost Al Gore the White House. I reported on the phony felon purge in Britain's Guardian and Observer and on the BBC while Gore was still in the race, while the count was still on. Yet the story of the Florida purge never appeared in the U.S. daily papers or on television ... until months later, that is, after the Supreme Court had decided the election.
Note: The American-born author of this article, BBC reporter Greg Palast, has repeatedly exposed major corruption in the British media, yet the U.S. press often ignores his well-researched stories. For possibly the most amazing story he wrote which got virtually no U.S. media coverage, click here.
An audit of last November’s general election in the Cleveland area has found that hundreds of votes were lost, that others were recorded twice and that software used to count the ballots was vulnerable to data problems. In a state that was pivotal to President Bush’s election and re-election, Cuyahoga County, which includes Cleveland, has seen more than its share of recent election troubles. Lines at polls there were hours long in the 2004 general election. And in the primaries last May, the county’s first experience with electronic voting, poll workers were absent or poorly trained, computer cards on which votes had been recorded were lost, and one polling place opened hours late. The audit found that some batches of ballots registered in optical scan machines had been scanned twice, producing a double count of those ballots. Other ballots were deleted because of flawed data and, owing to human error, were not rescanned, the committee found. The optical scan and touch-screen machines used in the county were made by Diebold Election Systems Inc. The audit committee said Microsoft’s JET file-sharing database system, which Diebold used, was known to have previously had problems that could result in corruption of the database. The audit committee was allowed only a limited review of the data collected by Diebold. The panel tried to gain access to the raw data, but Diebold claimed that the information was proprietary. Barbara Simons, a ... past president of the Association for Computing Machinery, said: “There is no excuse for Diebold’s having used such an insecure and unreliable database. There were far more reliable databases available over 20 years ago.” The committee called for extensive changes to ensure the integrity of future elections, among them streamlining the process by eliminating either optical scanner or touch-screen machines.
Note: For major media stories revealing the critical state of the US electoral system, click here.
Important Note: Explore our full index to key excerpts of revealing major media news articles on several dozen engaging topics. And don't miss amazing excerpts from 20 of the most revealing news articles ever published.