Elections News ArticlesExcerpts of Key Elections News Articles in Media
The Montana Supreme Court restored the state’s century-old ban on direct spending by corporations on political candidates or committees in a ruling ... that interest groups say bucks a high-profile U.S. Supreme Court decision granting political speech rights to corporations. The corporation that brought the case, and is also fighting accusations that it illegally gathers anonymous donations to fuel political attacks, said the state Supreme Court got it wrong. The lawsuit was prompted by the U.S. Supreme Court Citizens United decision from last year granting political speech rights to corporations. A lower court then ruled the state ban was unconstitutional in the wake of the high court’s decision. But the Montana Supreme Court on Friday reversed the lower state court’s analysis and application of the Citizen United case. The Montana Supreme Court said Montana has a “compelling interest” to uphold its rationally tailored campaign finance laws that include a combination of restrictions and disclosure requirements. A group seeking to undo the Citizen United decision lauded the Montana high court, with its co-founder saying it was a “huge victory for democracy.” “With this ruling, the Montana Supreme Court now sets up the first test case for the U.S. Supreme Court to revisit its Citizens United decision, a decision which poses a direct and serious threat to our democracy,” John Bonifaz, of Free Speech For People, said in a statement.
Note: For revealing reports from major media sources on corporate influence on the electoral process, click here.
A former judge has been sentenced to more than 26 years in federal prison for his role in a conspiracy to gain power and control politics in an eastern Kentucky county. U.S. District Judge Danny Reeves said 67-year-old former Clay County Circuit Judge R. Cletus Maricle headed the conspiracy and therefore got the longest sentence so far. Maricle and seven others were convicted in March 2010 of multiple charges, including racketeering, money laundering and voter fraud. Prosecutors say more than 8,000 people were paid $50 each for their votes in one election and 150 votes were stolen by changing voting machines.
Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on electoral fraud, click here.
The Supreme Court has handed lobbyists a new weapon. A lobbyist can now tell any elected official: if you vote wrong, my company ... will spend unlimited sums explicitly advertising against your re-election. “We have got a million we can spend advertising for you or against you — whichever one you want,’ ”a lobbyist can tell lawmakers, said Lawrence M. Noble, ... former general counsel of the Federal Election Commission. It is expected to unleash a torrent of attack advertisements from outside groups aiming to sway voters, without any candidate having to take the criticism for dirty campaigning. The biggest beneficiaries might be well-placed incumbents whose favor companies and interests groups are eager to court. It could also have a big impact on state and local governments, where a few million dollars can have more influence on elections. Fred Wertheimer, a longtime advocate of campaign finance laws, said the decision “wipes out a hundred years of history” during which American laws have sought to tamp down corporate power to influence elections.
Note: If you want to voice your opinion about this recent Supreme Court ruling, click here. For many key articles from reliable sources on serious flaws in the electoral process in the US, click here.
Mystery surrounds the death of a Republican pollster, recently compelled to give evidence about alleged election fraud in the 2004 election in Ohio, after he was killed in a plane crash. Top internet strategist Michael Connell, 45, was the only person in his single-engine private plane that crashed three miles short of the Akron-Canton airport on Friday night as he prepared to land. He had worked on Mr Bush's two presidential campaigns, advised John McCain this year and was also linked to allegedly missing White House emails in the 2006 controversy over a string of firings of US attorneys. The death of the married father of four immediately triggered conspiracy theories amid speculation that he had been about to reveal embarrassing details of the complicity of senior members of the Bush administration in fixing an election and destroying incriminating emails. In a blog posting entitled "One of my sources died in a plane crash last night...", Larisa Alexandrovna of The Raw Story revealed that Mr Connell had been talking to her about the Ohio case alleging that vote-tampering during the 2004 presidential election resulted in civil rights violations. "Mike was getting ready to talk. He was frightened... I am not saying that this was a hit nor am I resigned to this being simply an accident either. I am no expert on aviation and cannot provide an opinion on the matter. What I am saying, however, is that given the context, this event needs to be examined carefully."
Important Note: This death becomes even stranger considering that attorneys had sought protection for Connell against threats from Karl Rove in late July (click here). He also was apparently warned not to fly.
Disclosure of an election computer glitch that could drop ballot totals for entire precincts is stirring new worries that an unofficial laboratory testing system failed for years to detect an array of flaws in $1.5 billion worth of voting equipment sold nationwide since 2003. Texas-based Premier Elections Solutions [formerly Diebold Inc.] last week alerted at least 1,750 jurisdictions across the country that special precautions are needed to address the problem in tabulation software affecting all 19 of its models dating back a decade. Voting experts reacted skeptically to the company's assertion that election workers' routine crosschecks of ballot totals would have spotted any instances where its servers failed to register some precinct vote totals when receiving data from multiple memory cards. Like nearly all of the nation's modern voting equipment, Premier's products were declared "qualified" under a voluntary testing process overseen from the mid 1990s until 2005 by the National Association of State Election Directors. Computer scientists, some state officials and election watchdog groups allege that the NASED-sponsored testing system was a recipe for disaster, shrouded in secrecy, and allowing equipment makers to help design the tests. As a result, charged Susan Greenhalgh, a spokeswoman for watchdog group Voter Action, the systems on which Americans will decide the race between Barack Obama and John McCain in November are "scandalously flawed"' and "the integrity of this election is in question."
Note: Why isn't this important news being picked up by other major media?
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 Princeton University computer science professor added new fuel Wednesday to claims that electronic voting machines used across much of the country are vulnerable to hacking that could alter vote totals or disable machines. In a paper posted on the university's Web site, Edward Felten and two graduate students described how they had tested a Diebold AccuVote-TS machine they obtained, found ways to quickly upload malicious programs and even developed a computer virus able to spread such programs between machines. About 80 percent of American voters are expected to use some form of electronic voting in the upcoming election. The AccuVote-TS is commonly used across the country, along with a newer model, the AccuVote-TSx. The machine Felten tested, obtained in May from an undisclosed source, was the same type used across Maryland in its primary election Tuesday, according to Ross Goldstein, a deputy administrator with the state's Board of Elections. Felten and graduate students Ariel Feldman and Alex Halderman...say they designed software capable of modifying all records, audit logs and counters kept by the voting machine, ensuring that a careful forensic examination would find nothing wrong. The programs were able to modify vote totals or cause machines to break down, something that could alter the course of an election if machines were located in crucial polling stations.
Note: To see the full paper on Princeton's website along with an excellent video demonstrating how election results can easily be corrupted: http://itpolicy.princeton.edu/voting. These machines have been used in several previous elections. As there was no paper trail for most of the electronic machines, we have no way of knowing if votes were manipulated. For more on this topic vital to our democracy, see our Elections Information Center at http://www.WantToKnow.info/electionsinformation.
A a report by Finnish security expert Harri Hursti analyzed Diebold voting machines for an organization called Black Box Voting. Hursti found unheralded vulnerabilities in the machines. Experts are calling them the most serious voting-machine flaws ever documented. It requires only a few minutes of pre-election access to a Diebold machine to open the machine and insert a PC card that, if it contained malicious code, could reprogram the machine to give control to the violator. The machine could go dead on Election Day or throw votes to the wrong candidate. Worse, it's even possible for such ballot-tampering software to trick authorized technicians into thinking that everything is working fine, an illusion you couldn't pull off with pre-electronic systems. If it so happens that someone not supposed to use the machine—or an election official who wants to put his or her thumb on the scale of democracy—takes advantage of this fast track to fraud, that's not Diebold's problem. "When you're using a paperless voting system, there is no security," says David Dill, a Stanford professor who founded the election-reform organization Verified Voting.
With primary election dates fast approaching in many states, officials in Pennsylvania and California issued urgent directives in recent days about a potential security risk in their Diebold Election Systems touch-screen voting machines, while other states with similar equipment hurried to assess the seriousness of the problem. "It's the most severe security flaw ever discovered in a voting system," said Michael I. Shamos, a professor of computer science at Carnegie Mellon University. "This is the barn door being wide open," said Douglas W. Jones, a professor of computer science at the University of Iowa. The new concerns about Diebold's equipment were discovered by Harri Hursti, a Finnish computer expert who was working at the request of Black Box Voting. As word of Mr. Hursti's findings spread, Diebold issued a warning to recipients of thousands of its machines, saying that it had found a "theoretical security vulnerability" that "could potentially allow unauthorized software to be loaded onto the system." Aviel Rubin, a professor of computer science at Johns Hopkins University, did the first in-depth analysis of the security flaws in the source code for Diebold touch-screen machines in 2003. After studying the latest problem, he said: "I almost had a heart attack. The implications of this are pretty astounding."
Note: For a recent Wall Street Journal article with more serious concerns, click here. No mention is made that these same problems existed in all recent elections using these machines. For key articles from other major media showing a major problem with electronic machines, click here.
Diebold, the controversial electronic voting machine manufacturer, is coming off a tumultuous week. Its chief executive, Walden O'Dell, resigned. It was hit with a pair of class-action lawsuits charging insider trading and misrepresentation, and a county in Florida concluded that Diebold's voting machines could be hacked. The counting of votes is a public trust. Diebold, whose machines count many votes, has never acted as if it understood this. Mr. O'Dell made national headlines when he wrote a fund-raising letter before the 2004 election expressing his commitment to help deliver the electoral votes of Ohio - where Diebold is based, and where its machines are used - to President Bush. Under pressure, Diebold barred its top officials from contributing to campaigns. But this month, The Plain Dealer in Cleveland reported that three executives not covered by the ban continued to make contributions. Diebold's voting machines have a troubled history. The company was accused of installing improperly certified software, which is illegal, in a 2002 governor's race in Georgia. Across the country, it reached a multimillion-dollar settlement with the California attorney general last year of a lawsuit alleging that it made false claims about the security of its machines.
Note: Kevin Shelley, the California attorney general mentioned here, was eventually forced out of office by an aggressive media campaign accusing him of things we know are done by almost all politicians. For reliable information on this, see http://www.wanttoknow.info/050207kevinshelleysresignation.
A political operative with hacking skills could alter the results of any election on Diebold-made voting machines -- and possibly other new voting systems in Florida -- according to the state capital's election supervisor, who said Diebold software has failed repeated tests. "That's kind of scary. If there's no paper trail, you have to rely solely on electronic results. And now we know that they can be manipulated under the right conditions, without a person even leaving a fingerprint," said Sancho, who once headed the state's elections supervisors association. Sancho said Diebold isn't the only one to blame for hacker-prone equipment. The Florida secretary of state's office should have caught these problems early on, he said. A spokeswoman for the secretary of state's office said any faults Sancho found were between him and Diebold. A nonprofit election-monitoring group called BlackBoxVoting.org...hired Herbert Thompson, a computer-science professor and strategist at Security Innovation, which tests software for companies such as Google and Microsoft. Thompson told The Herald he was "shocked" at how easy it was to get in, make the loser the winner and leave without a trace. He typed five lines of computer code -- and switched 5,000 votes from one candidate to another."I am positive an eighth grader could do this," Thompson said.
The story of Cambridge Analytica is one of the most profoundly unsettling of our time. SCL/Cambridge Analytica [is] effectively part of the ... defence establishment. This is not just a story about social psychology and data analytics. It has to be understood in terms of a military contractor using military strategies on a civilian population. David Miller, a professor of sociology ... and an authority in psyops and propaganda, says it is “an extraordinary scandal that this should be anywhere near a democracy.” David, [an] ex-Cambridge Analytica employee, [was] working at the firm when it introduced mass data-harvesting to its psychological warfare techniques. “It brought psychology, propaganda and technology together in this powerful new way,” David [said]. Facebook was the source of the psychological insights that enabled Cambridge Analytica to target individuals. The company ... bought consumer datasets – on everything from magazine subscriptions to airline travel – and uniquely it appended these with the psych data to voter files. “The goal is to capture every single aspect of every voter’s information environment,” said David. “And the personality data enabled Cambridge Analytica to craft individual messages.” Cambridge Analytica could target people high in neuroticism, for example, with images of immigrants “swamping” the country. Brexit came down to ... just over 1% of registered voters. It’s not a stretch to believe that ... the global 1% found a way to influence this crucial 1% of British voters.
Note: Another Guardian article recently exposed how billionaire Robert Mercer used new technology to build a corporate empire capable of swinging elections. The above article further details how mass media is being combined with Big Data to produce powerful new forms of mind control.
[Cameron] Harris started by crafting the headline: “BREAKING: ‘Tens of thousands’ of fraudulent Clinton votes found in Ohio warehouse.” In a raucous election year defined by made-up stories, Mr. Harris ... and his ersatz-news website, ChristianTimesNewspaper.com, make for an illuminating tale. Contacted by a reporter who had discovered an electronic clue that revealed his secret authorship of ChristianTimesNewspaper.com, he was wary at first. “This topic is rather sensitive,” Mr. Harris said, noting that he was trying to build a political consulting business. But eventually he agreed to tell the story of his foray into fake news, a very part-time gig that ... paid him about $1,000 an hour in web advertising revenue. He seemed to regard his experience with a combination of guilt about having spread falsehoods and pride at doing it so skillfully. He pushed the button and the story was launched on Sept. 30, blazing across the web like some kind of counterfeit comet. “Even before I posted it, I knew it would take off,” Mr. Harris recalled. He was correct. The ballot box story, promoted by a half-dozen Facebook pages Mr. Harris had created for the purpose, flew around the web, fueled by indignant comments from people who were certain that Mrs. Clinton was going to cheat Mr. Trump of victory and who welcomed the proof. It was eventually shared with six million people. The money, not the politics, was the point, he insisted. Mr. Harris said he would have been willing to promote Mrs. Clinton and smear Mr. Trump had those tactics been lucrative.
The U.S. agency charged with ensuring that voting machines meet security standards was itself penetrated by a hacker after the November elections, according to a security firm working with law enforcement on the matter. The security firm, Recorded Future, was monitoring underground electronic markets where hackers buy and sell wares and discovered someone offering log-on credentials for access to computers at the U.S. Election Assistance Commission. Posing as a potential buyer, the researchers ... discovered that the Russian-speaking hacker had obtained the credentials of more than 100 people at the election commission after exploiting a common database vulnerability. The hacker was trying to sell information about the vulnerability to a Middle Eastern government for several thousand dollars. The election commission certifies voting systems and develops standards for technical guidelines and best practices for election officials across the country. The researchers said the hacker had an unusual business model, scanning for ways to break into all manner of businesses and other entities and then moving rapidly to sell that access. “We don’t think he actually works for any government or is super sophisticated,” Barysevich said. In the case of the election commission, the hacker used methods including an SQL injection, a well known and preventable flaw, obtaining a list of user names and obfuscated passwords, which he was then able to crack.
Note: The security firm Recorded Future was launched by the investment arms of the CIA and Google. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing elections corruption news articles from reliable major media sources. Then explore the excellent, reliable resources provided in our Elections Information Center.
Former House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers has formed a new pressure group ... to serve as the “premiere national security and foreign policy organization during the 2016 debate” and to “help elect a president who supports American engagement and a strong foreign policy.” Roger’s group, Americans for Peace, Prosperity, and Security, is hosting candidate events and intends to host a candidate forum later this year. A look at the business executives helping APPS steer presidential candidates towards more hawkish positions reveals that many are defense contractors who stand to gain financially from continued militarism. Rogers may have a conflict of interest as well. Explaining the goals of his group to a news outlet in Indiana, Rogers lamented the lack of “surveillance capabilities” and warned of increasing threat of cyberwarfare. “It’s not unusual for the arms industry to use front groups to press for a more aggressive foreign policy,” says William Hartung, director of the Arms & Security Project at the Center for International Policy. “It sounds a lot more credible when a group called ‘Americans for Peace, Prosperity and Security’ calls for a policy shift than if the same argument comes out of the mouth of an arms executive or lobbyist whose livelihood is tied to the spread of tension and conflict,” Hartung said.
Note: Read a powerful essay by a top US general exposing the war machine titled "War is a Racket." For more, see concise summaries of deeply revealing electoral process corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
Republicans and Democrats, and groups sympathetic to each, spend millions on sophisticated technology to gain an advantage. But sometimes, a simple coding mistake can lay bare documents and data that were supposed to be concealed from the prying eyes of the public. Such an error by the Republican Governors Association recently resulted in the disclosure of exactly the kind of information that political committees given tax-exempt status usually keep secret, namely their corporate donors and the size of their checks. The documents, many of which the Republican officials have since removed from their website, showed that many of America’s most prominent companies, from Aetna to Walmart, had poured millions of dollars into the campaigns of Republican governors since 2008. “This is a classic example of how corporations are trying to use secret money, hidden from the American people, to buy influence, and how the governors association is selling it,” said Fred Wertheimer, the president of Democracy 21. The trove of documents, discovered by watchdogs at the Democrat-aligned Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, or CREW, sheds light on the secretive world of 501(c)(4) political groups, just as the battle over their future intensifies. The tax-exempt Republican Governors Public Policy Committee is not required to disclose anything, even as donors hit the links, rub shoulders and trade policy talk with governors and their top staff members. In a tit for tat, the Republican association unearthed documents from the Democratic Governors Association that also name corporate donors and the benefits.
Note: For more on this, see concise summaries of deeply revealing elections corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
Money is flooding into federal elections in the post-Citizens United era. And yet the agency tasked with monitoring and regulating all of that activity is close to crippled due to staff cuts and partisan bickering. That’s according to Dave Levinthal of the Center for Public Integrity, which released a massive analysis on the Federal Election Commission and its problems earlier this week. Among the problems with the agency Levinthal identified include: * The commission over the past year has reached a paralyzing all-time low in its ability to reach consensus, stalling action on dozens of rulemaking, audit and enforcement matters, some of which are years old. * Despite an explosion in political spending hastened by key Supreme Court decisions, the agency’s funding has remained flat for five years and staffing levels have fallen to a 15-year low. * Analysts charged with scouring disclosure reports to ensure candidates and political committees are complying with laws have a nearly quarter-million-page backlog. This is the rule-making and rule-enforcing entity for all federal money in politics. We live in an age in which public financing of presidential elections is a thing of the past — 2012 is the first election since Watergate where neither major party nominee accepted public funds for the general election – and, thanks to super PACs, wealthy individuals have more power than ever. The price tag for the 2012 election topped $6 billion, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. As Levinthal puts it: “As the nation heads into what will undoubtedly be the most expensive midterm election in history and a 2016 presidential election that, in no small way, has already begun, the FEC is rotting from the inside out.”
Note: For more on deep problems in the US electoral system, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
A proposal to require labeling of genetically engineered foods and seeds in Washington state enjoyed broad public support in polls this summer. That was before some of the largest food companies swooped in to spend more so consumers would know less about what they are eating. The Grocery Manufacturers Association, a Washington-based trade group that represents companies such as ConAgra Foods and Kraft Foods, was responsible for $11 million of the $22 million campaign against the initiative, compared with about $9 million by pro-labeling advocates. The GMA's campaign made the difference. The initiative, which had 66 percent support in a September survey, was defeated by 51 percent to 49 percent. The grocers, who opposed the proposal as arbitrary and costly for businesses, raised more than $2.3 million from PepsiCo Inc. and about $1.5 million each from Coca-Cola Co., [and] Nestle USA. Those groups also were part of a $45 million campaign that defeated a labeling initiative in California last year. "Spending is not a problem" for organizations opposed to labeling requirements, said Colin O'Neil, director of government affairs for the Center for Food Safety, which backed the Washington state initiative. "These companies will spend whatever it takes to defeat labeling at the state level." If that's the case, the trade associations and their members will be issuing a lot more checks as fights over labeling food are breaking out in other states and advocates are pressing the matter in Congress with proposed legislation from both sides awaiting action.
Note: For more on the risks from genetically-modified organisms in food and the environment, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
Declassified tapes of President Lyndon Johnson's telephone calls provide a fresh insight into his world. Among the revelations - he caught Richard Nixon sabotaging the Vietnam peace talks... but said nothing. By the time of the election in November 1968, LBJ had evidence Nixon had sabotaged the Vietnam war peace talks - or, as he put it, that Nixon was guilty of treason and had "blood on his hands". Now, for the first time, the whole story can be told. It begins in the summer of 1968. Nixon feared a breakthrough at the Paris Peace talks designed to find a negotiated settlement to the Vietnam war, and he knew this would derail his campaign. He therefore set up a clandestine back-channel involving Anna Chennault, a senior campaign adviser. At a July meeting in Nixon's New York apartment, the South Vietnamese ambassador was told Chennault represented Nixon and spoke for the campaign. If any message needed to be passed to the South Vietnamese president, Nguyen Van Thieu, it would come via Chennault. In late October 1968 there were major concessions from Hanoi which promised to allow meaningful talks to get underway in Paris - concessions that would justify Johnson calling for a complete bombing halt of North Vietnam. This was exactly what Nixon feared. Chennault was despatched to the South Vietnamese embassy with a clear message: the South Vietnamese government should withdraw from the talks, refuse to deal with Johnson, and if Nixon was elected, they would get a much better deal. So on the eve of his planned announcement of a halt to the bombing, Johnson learned the South Vietnamese were pulling out.
Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on government corruption, click here.
After working a 10-hour shift on Election Day, painter Richard Jordan headed to his east Orange County polling place at about 4:30 p.m. Based on more than a decade of voting, he expected to be in and out in minutes. Three hours later, Jordan's back ached, he was hungry, thirsty — and nowhere near a voting booth. So he left. As it turned out, his Goldenrod Road precinct didn't close until 11 p.m. Like Jordan, as many as 49,000 people across Central Florida were discouraged from voting because of long lines on Election Day, according to a researcher at Ohio State University who analyzed election data compiled by the Orlando Sentinel. About 30,000 of those discouraged voters — most of them in Orange and Osceola counties — likely would have backed Democratic President Barack Obama, according to Theodore Allen, an associate professor of industrial engineering at OSU. Allen's first analysis of the impact of long lines at the polls was done in 2004, when he estimated that more than 20,000 voters in Franklin County, Ohio, where Ohio State is located, were discouraged from casting ballots in the razor-close contest between President George W. Bush and Democrat John Kerry. His review indicated that for every additional hour that a precinct stayed open past 7 p.m. — a good indicator of line length throughout the day — turnout dropped by as much as 4.8 percent. The precincts with the longest lines, he found, had some of the lowest turnouts.
Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on major problems with the US electoral system, click here.
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