Elections News StoriesExcerpts of Key Elections News Stories in Major Media
Note: This comprehensive list of elections news stories is usually updated once a week. Explore our full index to revealing excerpts of key major media news stories on several dozen engaging topics. And don't miss amazing excerpts from 20 of the most revealing news articles ever published.
The [electronic voting] machines used in Hamilton County, Ohio — the county home of Cincinnati — are supplied by Hart Intercivic, a national provider of voting systems in use in a wide variety of counties scattered throughout the states of Texas, Oklahoma, Hawaii, Colorado and Ohio. A test conducted in 2007 by the Ohio Secretary of State revealed that five of the electronic voting systems the state was looking to use in the upcoming 2008 presidential election had failed badly, each easily susceptible to chicanery that could alter the results of an election. As reported in the New York Times, “At polling stations, teams working on the study were able to pick locks to access memory cards and use hand-held devices to plug false vote counts into machines. At boards of election, they were able to introduce malignant software into servers.” It turns out that Hart Intercivic is owned, in large part, by H.I.G. Capital — a large investment fund with billions of dollars under management — that was founded by a fellow named Tony Tamer. H.I.G. employees hold at least two of the five Hart Intercivic board seats. Tony Tamer, H.I.G.’s founder, turns out to be a major bundler for the Mitt Romney campaign, along with three other directors of H.I.G. who are also big-time money raisers for Romney. Two of those directors — Douglas Berman and Brian Schwartz — were actually in attendance at the now infamous “47 percent” fundraiser in Boca Raton, Florida. Two members of the Hart Intercivic board of directors, Neil Tuch and Jeff Bohl, have made direct contributions to the Romney campaign.
Note: The author of this article was attacked by National Review Online for this piece. To see his rebuttal, click here. To sign a petition to launch an investigation on this critical matter, click here. For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on serious problems with the US elections system, click here.
Rapid advances in the development of cyberweapons and malicious software mean that electronic-voting machines used in the 2012 election could be hacked, potentially tipping the presidential election or a number of other races. [A University of Pennsylvania] study concluded "virtually every important software security mechanism is vulnerable." Most at risk are paperless e-voting machines, which don’t print out any record of votes. Four swing states – Pennsylvania, Virginia, Colorado, and Florida – rely to varying degrees on paperless machines. Alex Halderman, a researcher at the University of Michigan, and a colleague at Princeton University hacked into a paperless touch-screen voting machine in 2010 and installed the video game Pac-Man. Similarly, he and Princeton researchers in 2006 demonstrated that if someone could get a few minutes’ unattended access to a paperless machine, that person could install a software virus that could spread to other machines and switch those machines’ votes before deleting all traces of itself. Among the 23 states that use touch-screen Direct-Recording Electronic (DREs) machines ... only California, Indiana, and Ohio were rated excellent in a national report this summer by Verified Voting. For a savvy hacker, the time and access needed to infect a machine is so small that it could be done while in a voting booth. A hacker could in theory use the Internet to target an e-voting machine company, which would then unknowingly infect its own machines when it serviced them. It's impossible to know if newer machines and software are really secure because their source code is largely unavailable for analysis. Voting-equipment makers frequently say their software is a trade secret.
Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on serious problems with the US elections system, click here.
[The] liberal political magazine In These Times obtained and published a packet of voting information sent to 45,000 employees of Koch Industries paper subsidiary Georgia-Pacific. The materials include a list of Koch-endorsed candidates — those who “have received support from a Koch company or Koch PAC”, the company’s political action committee. For Oregon staffers, that list is comprised solely of Republicans: 14 of them at state level, plus the Romney/Ryan presidential ticket. Koch Industries’ Koch PAC has indeed supported Democrats this election, but only to the tune of $23,500, backing four Democrats in Congressional races. By contrast, Koch PAC has spent $1.162 million on Republican candidates for the House, plus another $152,000 on GOP Senate hopefuls. FEC disclosures show that the Koch Industries group donated $25,000 to the the official Romney/Ryan fundraising committee in August, as well as $30,000 each to the National Republican Congressional Committee, National Republican Senatorial Committee and Republican National Committee. In fact, Koch PAC’s giving has become increasingly partisan over the years. The group’s donations to Democratic candidates make up 1.7% of their federal expenditure so far this election cycle, versus just over 15% in 2008 and just under 22% in 2004.
Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on electoral corruption, click here.
A television spot opposing Proposition 37, the genetically engineered food labeling initiative, was pulled briefly this week to better identify a think-tank researcher attacking the ballot issue. The controversy came as the opponents of the ballot measure, with $35 million in contributions from the food industry and biochemical firms, expanded a week-old television advertising blitz. [The] No on 37 spot ... featured an academic, identified on screen as “Dr. Henry I. Miller M.D., Stanford University, founding dir. FDA Office of Technology.” He is standing in an ornately vaulted campus walkway. Lawyers for the Proposition 37 campaign complained to Stanford’s general counsel, noting that the Stanford ID on the screen appeared to violate the university’s policy against use of the Stanford name by consultants. What’s more, Miller is not a Stanford professor but, rather, a research fellow at the Hoover Institution, a conservative think tank housed on the Stanford campus, the letter said. Stanford agreed. The university, spokeswoman Lisa Lapin said, “doesn’t take any positions on candidates or ballot measures, and we do not allow political filming on campus.” The filmmakers also are removing “the campus from the background of the video," she said. Stanford’s request to edit the Miller video "is proof positive of the lack of credibility and lack of integrity of the No on 37 campaign,” said Yes on 37 spokeswoman Stacy Malkan.
Note: This Henry Miller is the same scientist who, according to Forbes, stated that some people could benefit from the low levels of radiation released by the Fukushima meltdowns, and has argued strongly for the reintroduction of DDT. Do you think he might be a little biased towards big business? For lots more questionable behavior by this supposed expert, click here.
Breaking from two decades of tradition, this year’s election exit poll is set to include surveys of voters in 31 states, not all 50 as it has for the past five presidential elections, according to multiple people involved in the planning. The decision by the National Election Pool — a joint venture of the major television networks and The Associated Press — is sure to cause some pain to election watchers across the country. Voters in the excluded states will still be interviewed as part of a national exit poll, but state-level estimates of the partisan, age or racial makeups of electorates won’t be available as they have been since 1992. The lack of data may hamper election night analyses in some states, and it will almost certainly limit post-election research for years to come. Here is a list of the states that will be excluded from coverage: Alaska, Arkansas, Delaware, District of Columbia, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Kentucky, Louisiana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, West Virginia and Wyoming.
Note: How sad that the one poll considered to be the most reliable is being cancelled in 19 states. This opens the door wide to elections manipulation. For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on the flawed electoral system in the US, click here.
The new stealth campaign against three Florida Supreme Court justices is being backed by those meddling right-wing billionaires from Wichita, Charles and David Koch. Last week they uncorked the first of a series of commercials from their political action committee, Americans for Prosperity. The targets are Justices R. Fred Lewis, Barbara Pariente and Peggy Quince. They were three of the five-vote majority that in 2010 knocked down a half-baked amendment slapped together by state lawmakers seeking to nullify the federal Affordable Health Care Act. The Florida Supreme Court upheld lower court decisions in finding that the proposed amendment contained “misleading and ambiguous language,” the hallmark of practically everything produced by this Legislature. On the November ballot, Lewis, Pariente and Quince are up for merit retention, meaning voters can choose to retain them or not. This simple system was put in place to keep the state’s high court above the sleaze of political races. The mission of the Kochs, hiding as always behind their super PAC, is to get the three justices dumped at the polls so that Gov. Rick Scott can appoint replacements. The last thing these guys want is fair judges who know the law; they want partisan judges who’ll obediently support their political agenda. It’s worse than just trying to buy an election. It’s trying to hijack Florida’s justice system at the highest levels.
Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on the control of elections by corporations and rich individuals, 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.
Voter fraud has a shocking new meaning in eastern Kentucky [where] major cocaine and marijuana dealers admitted to buying votes to steal elections. "We believe that drug money did buy votes," Kerry B. Harvey, U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Kentucky, said. He described a stunning vote-buying scheme that includes "very extensive, organized criminal activity, involving hundreds of thousands of dollars, and in many cases that involves drug money." He says the problem is rooted in economic woes, which is why votes are routinely for sale. In that part of the state, jobs are scarce and poverty is high. Controlling local government means controlling jobs. â€śThese folks go out and hijack the local elections for their own purposes and then they use those jobs to enrich themselves and their confederates. It really is a terrible problem and it has to be stopped,â€ť Harvey explains. In Clay County, according to court testimony, some of the funds to purchase votes came from massive cocaine and marijuana drug trafficking operations. â€I always bought votes,â€ť Kenneth Day testified. The 60-year-old was serving 18 years in federal prison for multimillion-dollar drug trafficking. Prosecutors say he dealt in "millions of dollars in drugs, marijuana, cocaine, and methamphetamineâ€ť and â€śhad developed one of the most successful drug trafficking businesses in the whole entire region.â€ť He also dealt in votes. Day was not only an admitted drug trafficker, but he also had served as the longtime Clay County Republican commissioner of the Board of Elections.
Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on serious problems with the US elections process, click here.
Nate Silver, one of the nation's pre-eminent poll interpreters, voiced the exasperation of many when he tweeted: "The. Polls. Have. Stopped. Making. Any. Sense." At this time of year, the difference between poll results can be explained by everything from who is being surveyed (are they "likely" voters or just "registered") to how many cell phone users (who are generally younger and from more diverse backgrounds) are contacted to how the questions are worded. And while top pollsters try to adhere to common standards and best practices, there is a lot of room for interpretation in the way each constructs their universe of respondents. Pollsters have realized that the days of interviewing voters purely via landline telephones are long gone. The future, like many industries, is heading online and onto mobile devices. For now, the most daunting question involves how to integrate cell phone users. At least 25 percent of Americans use only cell phones. But it is illegal to place robocalls to cell phones. So pollsters who conduct surveys using automated telephone dialing must use a human dialer to conduct live interviews with cell phone respondents. Why make such an effort? Because experts say cell phone users are not only demographically different from landline-only users, but they also tend to have different attitudes. And within another decade, a majority of the U.S. population could be using only cell phones.
Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on serious problems with the US elections process, click here.
Former President Jimmy Carter issued a blistering indictment of the U.S. electoral process ..., saying it is shot through with "financial corruption" that threatens American democracy. Carter said "we have one of the worst election processes in the world right in the United States of America, and it's almost entirely because of the excessive influx of money." The 39th president lamented a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision that allows unlimited contributions to third-party groups that don't have to disclose their donors. The dynamic is fed, Carter said, by an income tax code that exacerbates the gap between the wealthiest Americans and the rest of the electorate, allowing the rich even greater influence over public discourse and electioneering. He added that he hopes the "Supreme Court will reverse that stupid ruling," referring to the case known as Citizens United. He said the United States should return to publicly financed elections for president. The system technically is still in place, but it is voluntary and both President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney have chosen to bypass the taxpayer money because they can amass far more on their own. "You know how much I raised to run against Gerald Ford? Zero," Carter said, referring to his 1976 general election opponent. "You know how much I raised to run against Ronald Reagan? Zero. You know how much will be raised this year by all presidential, Senate and House campaigns? $6 billion. That's 6,000 millions."
Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on our dysfunctional electoral system, click here.
Who's buying our democracy? Wall Street financiers, the Koch brothers, and casino magnates Sheldon Adelson and Steve Wynn, among others. And they're doing much of it in secret. It's a perfect storm - the combination of three waves that are about to drown government as we know it. The first is the greatest concentration of wealth in America in more than a century. The 400 richest Americans are richer than the bottom 150 million Americans put together. The trend started 30 years ago, and it's related to globalization and technological changes that have stymied wage growth for most people, "trickle-down economics," ... tax cuts and the steady decline in the bargaining power of organized labor. The second is the wave of unlimited political contributions, courtesy of ... one of the worst decisions in Supreme Court history, Citizens United vs. Federal Election Commission, the 2010 ruling that held that corporations are people under the First Amendment, [meaning] that virtually any billionaire can contribute as much to a political campaign as he wants. The third is complete secrecy about who's contributing how much to whom. Political fronts posing as charitable, nonprofit "social welfare" organizations ... don't have to disclose their donors. As a result, outfits like the Chamber of Commerce and Karl Rove's Crossroads GPS are taking in hundreds of millions from corporations that don't even tell their own shareholders what political payments they're making. Separately, any one of these three would be bad enough. Put the three together, and our democracy is being sold down the drain.
Note: The author of this article, Robert Reich, is a professor of public policy at UC Berkeley and former U.S. secretary of labor, and author of the newly released Beyond Outrage: What Has Gone Wrong With Our Economy and Our Democracy, and How to Fix It.
For all the superheated rhetoric of yet another election cycle, it's as clear as ever that the Republican and Democratic parties in Washington pretty much support the same economic policies. Indeed, any honest perusal of congressional votes proves that the party establishments are roughly the same when it comes to financial deregulation (less of it), job-killing free trade (more of it), bailouts (more of them) and corporate taxes (less of them). Politicians and partisan media outlets deny this obvious reality, of course. But they do so because they have a vested interest in the red-versus-blue "polarization" narrative from which they generate campaign contributions and ratings, respectively. It's also why more Americans are tuning out of politics. Pretending this is some big divide is a farce. Both parties are proposing to enrich the already rich while hiding the two-headed monster behind a mask of conflict.
Note: For a powerful essay revealing the deeper agenda behind largely fabricated polarizations, click here.
Nearly 70 percent of voters think super PACs should be outlawed, and more than half “strongly” do. We can hardly believe that the billionaire brothers David and Charles Koch will spend more this year than John McCain’s entire presidential campaign raised in 2008. We can’t stand the constant flood of negative ads on every channel or the ominous anonymity of the interests behind them. The Roberts Court sees all this and refuses to acknowledge that it “give[s] rise to corruption or the appearance of corruption.” Fortunately, if on the question of campaign finance the Supreme Court is immune to the court of public opinion, progressives are fighting through other avenues to transform today’s corrupt system into one that is fair, transparent and participatory. In [the] state of New York, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has launched a path-breaking investigation of tax-exempt groups that might be fraudulently funneling funds into politics, including a “charitable foundation” affiliated with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Meanwhile, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is partnering with Protect Our Democracy ... to apply the same successful, grass-roots pressure they used in getting same-sex marriage passed to our campaign finance system. They have joined with citizen activists who are looking to New York City’s successful, multiple-match public financing system. A Brennan Center for Justice study showed that this system promoted diversity among candidates and donors and reduced the influence of corporate money.
Note: For key reports from major media sources on problems with US elections, click here.
President Barack Obama's campaign has recruited a legion of lawyers to be on standby for this year's election as legal disputes surrounding the voting process escalate. Thousands of attorneys and support staffers have agreed to aid in the effort, providing a mass of legal support that appears to be unrivaled by Republicans or precedent. Obama's campaign says it is particularly concerned about the implementation of new voter ID laws across the country, the possibility of anti-fraud activists challenging legitimate voters and the handling of voter registrations in the most competitive states. Republicans are building their own legal teams for the election. They say they're focused on preventing fraud -- making sure people don't vote unless they're eligible -- rather than turning away qualified voters. Since the disputed 2000 presidential election, both parties have increasingly concentrated on building legal teams -- including high-priced lawyers who are well-known in political circles -- for the Election Day run-up. The Bush-Gore election demonstrated to both sides the importance of every vote and the fact that the rules for voting and counting might actually determine the outcome. The Florida count in 2000 was decided by just 537 votes and ultimately landed in the Supreme Court.
Note: For key reports from major media sources on serious dysfunctions in the US elections process, click here.
Few states in the union have done more in recent years to restrict and suppress voting — particularly by groups who lean Democratic, such as young people, the poor and minorities — than Florida. In May 2011, the state’s Republican-led Legislature passed and the Republican governor, Rick Scott, signed a sweeping election law that cut early voting short and imposed onerous burdens on voter registration groups by requiring them to turn in registration applications within 48 hours of the time they are signed or face fines. The threat of fines has meant that many groups that traditionally registered voters in the state have abandoned the effort, and it appears to be contributing to fewer new registrations. According to a March analysis of registration data by The Times, “in the months since its new law took effect in May, 81,471 fewer Floridians have registered to vote than during the same period before the 2008 presidential election.” Recently, the state announced that it would begin another round of voter purging to ensure that no ineligible voters were mistakenly on the voter rolls. As the New York University School of Law’s Brennan Center for Justice pointed out last week: “In 2000, Florida’s efforts to purge persons with criminal convictions from the rolls led to, by conservative estimates, close to 12,000 eligible voters being removed” from the rolls. As most of us remember, George W. Bush beat Al Gore in the state of Florida that year, after the recounts and the Supreme Court stepped in, by 537 votes.
Note: For key reports from major media sources on serious problems within the US electoral process, click here.
With Ron Paul forces at the reins, the Maine Republican Convention elected nearly all of the slate supporting the Texas congressman at the GOP national convention during a chaotic, two-day state convention that ended Sunday. In a series of votes highlighting the deep division within the state GOP, at least 21 of 24 delegates from Maine going to the GOP nominating convention in Tampa, Fla., will support Paul, and not the presumptive nominee, Mitt Romney. In addition, Paul supporters captured most of the seats on the state Republican committee, party officials said, making their takeover virtually complete. Paul supporters, who took over the convention Saturday after electing a convention chairman, say Maine would become the sixth state to elect a majority of Paul backers to the national convention, assuring the libertarian-leaning congressman a prime-time podium at the Tampa gathering. Paul finished a close second behind Romney in Maine's GOP caucuses in February but those results were nonbinding. The announcement of Maine's at-large delegates came in the wake of charges and counter-charges of ballot tampering and other indiscretions leading to the election of a Paul slate and the mainstream faction's efforts to block it. The state convention was one of the best attended, with nearly 2,800 delegates, party leaders said.
The surprising retirement of moderate Republican Sen. Olympia Snowe of Maine moves congressional centrists a step closer to extinction and highlights the great paradox of American politics. Even with her party standing a good chance to regain the Senate majority, Snowe wanted no more of the endless gridlock that has rendered Congress barely able to carry out the most basic functions, such as keeping the federal government’s doors open. She expressed frustration “that an atmosphere of polarization and ‘my way or the highway’ ideologies has become pervasive in campaigns and in our governing institutions.” Snowe is one of the few remaining moderate Republicans, a group that once dominated the Northeast and vied for control of the national GOP under leaders such as Nelson Rockefeller. She was instrumental in forcing President George W. Bush to limit the size of his 2001 tax cut. She was one of three Senate Republicans who backed President Barack Obama’s 2009 stimulus plan. “She just quit in disgust,” even though she easily could have won a fourth term this fall, said Matt Bennett of the centrist-Democratic group Third Way. By some measures, Snowe is the Senate’s most liberal Republican and Ben Nelson of Nebraska is its most conservative Democrat. Both are retiring this year, raising serious possibilities they will be replaced by less moderate members of the opposite party, further widening the chamber’s partisan divide.
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is back on track after winning the Maine caucuses. What the headlines haven't told you is that what happened in Maine is the messiest caucus Republicans have had so far, and it may not be over yet. Maine is not a major state during national primaries. Only 24 delegates come out of Maine to the national convention. But what happened there over the weekend does more than raise eyebrows. It is enough to make you question, was the caucus fixed? Saturday night, February 11, the head of the Maine GOP, Charlie Webster, announced that Governor Mitt Romney won the Maine caucus by a slim margin. Official totals read Romney barely winning the caucus by less than 200 votes. The only problem, the governor was declared the winner with only 84 percent of precincts counted. Two counties, Washington County and Hancock County had not yet held their caucuses. In Hancock, County Republicans had decided to hold their caucus this Saturday on February 18. In Washington County, the state GOP canceled the caucus because of snow concerns. Turns out, the area only got a light dusting. The big problem here, Mr. Webster says even when those caucuses are held this Saturday, the votes won't count. And that is just the beginning of the problems in Maine.
Note: For a great series of diagrams showing the strong links and revolving door between US Government and big business, click here.
What if Democrats and Republicans were two wings of the same bird of prey? What if elections were actually useful tools of social control? What if they just provided the populace with meaningless participation in a process that validates an establishment that never meaningfully changes? What if that establishment doesn’t want and doesn’t have the consent of the governed? What if the two-party system were actually a mechanism used to limit so-called public opinion? What if there were more than two sides to every issue, but the two parties wanted to box you in to one of their corners? What if there’s no such thing as public opinion, because every thinking person has opinions that are uniquely his own? What if public opinion were just a manufactured narrative that makes it easier to convince people that if their views are different, there’s something wrong with that – or something wrong with them? What if the whole purpose of the Democratic and Republican parties was not to expand voters’ choices, but to limit them? What if the widely perceived differences between the two parties were just an illusion? What if the heart of government policy remains the same, no matter who’s in the White House? What if the heart of government policy remains the same, no matter what the people want? What if both parties just want power and are willing to have young people fight meaningless wars to enhance that power?
Note: The speaker on this Fox news clip, Andrew P. Napolitano, is a former judge of the Superior Court of New Jersey. His most recent book is It Is Dangerous to Be Right When the Government Is Wrong: The Case for Personal Freedom.
The truly decisive element [in Republican presidential debates] has been ... money. Lots of it. This is not new. But since a 2010 supreme court ruling allowing unlimited campaign contributions by corporations and unions, it has become particularly acute. Moreover, the contributors can remain anonymous. The organisations that are taking advantage of this new law are known as Super Pacs. In 2008 election spending doubled compared with 2004. This year industry analysts believe the money spent just on television ads is set to leap by almost 80% compared with four years ago. Money in American politics was already an elephant in the room. Now the supreme court has given it a laxative, taken away the shovel, and asked us to ignore both the sight and the stench. This is not a partisan point. Almost two-thirds of Americans believe the government should limit individual contributions – with a majority among Republicans, Democrats and independents. The trend towards oligarchy in the polity is already clear. There are 250 millionaires in Congress. As a whole, the polity's median net worth is $891,506, nine times the typical US household. The influence of money at this level corrupts an entire political culture and in no small part explains the depth of cynicism, alienation and mistrust Americans now have for their politicians.
Note: For lots more from reliable sources on the control of the US electoral system by corporate money, click here.
Important Note: Explore our full index to revealing excerpts of key major media news stories on several dozen engaging topics. And don't miss amazing excerpts from 20 of the most revealing news articles ever published.