During the lead-up to the November 7th midterm congressional election, the Republican Party has appeared to be in serious trouble. George W. Bush’s approval ratings have been so consistently low (they’re currently hovering around the mid-30s) that most Republican candidates for seats in the Senate and the House of Representatives have been about as eager to be seen in his company as to fall into the embrace of a carrier of bubonic plague. The Democrats have led by growing margins in every one of the 110 generic opinion polls taken since September 2005, and currently hold a more than 14 percent lead over the Republicans in the “5-poll moving average” used by pollsters as the most reliable guide to trends in public opinion.1
On the reasonable assumption that the Democrats could expect to receive 60 percent of the undecided vote, the noted polling and exit-poll analyst who posts at the Progressive Independent website under the name ‘TruthIsAll’ has calculated their average anticipated share of the November 7th vote, as of October 28th, to be 57.8 percent. He estimates that in an election free from fraud, there is a 97.5 percent probability that Democratic candidates should garner, on average, more that 56.4 percent of the votes cast. Even if the Democrats were to win only half of the undecided vote, they would quite certainly—in a fraud-free election—recover control of the House of Representatives, gaining at least 25 seats. Whether or not they win control of the Senate as well would depend—again assuming a clean election—upon the share of the undecided vote that they receive: the probability that with two-thirds of the undecided vote the Democrats would win control of the Senate is calculated by ‘TruthIsAll’ as 78 percent.2
But it might be premature to get excited over the prospect of the United States ceasing to be a one-party state. For if the Republican party is in trouble with the electorate, American democracy is in a much more parlous condition—thanks largely to the devious machinations of the Bush Republicans. Given the accumulating evidence of large-scale and systematic preparations by the Republicans and their corporate allies for suppression of the Democratic vote, for mis- or non-counting of the vote in Democratic strongholds, and for an unprecedented level of electronic vote-tabulation fraud, the likelihood of these midterm elections being clean is approximately zero.
In the 2000 election, it was only through a combination of Jim Crow vote suppression tactics and a rich array of different methods of vote-count fraud that George W. Bush was able to arrive at a point at which his father’s Supreme Court appointees could push through what has been appropriately described as a judicial coup d’état. His party won control of the Senate in 2002 through what was almost certainly vote-tabulation fraud.3 The 2004 presidential election was marked by fraud on a gigantic scale, not just in Ohio, which ended up being the deciding state, but in many other states as well: by January 2005 there was compelling evidence to show that had the votes been honestly counted, John Kerry would have defeated Bush by a commanding margin.4
My purpose here is not to review yet again the evidence on which these observations are based, but rather to provide a very selective list of recent books, articles and documentary films which assess and analyze the evidence of flagrant Republican breaches of the most fundamental principles of democracy, together with the prospects for a repetition and extension of these fraudulent practices in the 2006 and subsequent elections.
These items are divided into three categories. The first category, “Critical Studies,” includes exemplary work by Steven Freeman (the book he co-authored with Joel Bleifuss is, in my opinion, the single most important of these studies), as well as work by other major contributors to an emerging understanding of the theft of the 2004 election.
In the second section I have listed films, including one by the prize-winning director Dorothy Fadiman, which bring together documentary footage and illuminating interviews with election analysts.
And finally, the short list of items anticipating Republican fraud in the midterm election offers a representative cross-section of current concerns—including evidence of further massive purges of voters’ lists, and evidence from unimpeachable sources that the touch-screen machines manufactured by two of the major suppliers of voting machines, Diebold and Sequoia, have been designed to facilitate electoral fraud.
It’s worth noting, by way of coda, that these skewed machines were hard at work well before election day. According to a report published in the Miami Herald on October 28th, voting machines in Democratic-leaning Broward and Miami-Dade counties in southern Florida had already during the preceding week been detected flipping the choices of early voters from Democratic candidates to Republicans. The problem, as the corporate press likes to insist, must be understood as one of “glitches”—or, more strangely, of a kind of computer fatigue that supposedly induces the video screen “on heavily used machines to slip out of sync” with “the electronics inside.”
Only “conspiracy theorists” or voters rendered “particularly skittish” by “a history of problems at the polls”5 would want to go so far as to suspect that electronic voting machines made by Republican-leaning corporations might be inclined to behave in this way, not because they’re tired or having bad hair days or hissy fits, but because they’ve been programmed to do so.
1. Critical Studies
Baiman, Ron, Kathy Dopp et al. “The Gun is Smoking: 2004 Ohio Precinct-Level Exit Poll Data Show Virtually Irrefutable Evidence of Vote Miscount.” US Count Votes / National Election Data Archive (17 January 2006, revised 23 January 2006), http://www.electionarchive.org/ucvAnalysis/OH/Ohio-Exit-Polls-2004.pdf.
DeLozier, Abbe Waldman, and Vickie Karp, eds. Hacked! High Tech Election Theft in America. Austin, Texas: Truth Enterprises, 2006.
Fitrakis, Bob, and Harvey Wasserman. How the GOP Stole America’s 2004 Election & Is Rigging 2008. Columbus, Ohio: CICJ Books / www.Freepress.org, 2006.
—-, eds. What Happened in Ohio. Columbus, Ohio: CICJ Books / www.Freepress.org, 2006.
Fitrakis, Bob, Steve Rosenfeld and Harvey Wasserman, eds. Did George W. Bush Steal America’s 2004 Election? Essential Documents. Columbus, Ohio: CICJ Books / www.Freepress.org, 2006.
Freeman, Steven F., and Joel Bleifuss. Was the 2004 Presidential Election Stolen? New York: Seven Stories Press, 2006.
Freeman, Steven F. “Who Really Won—and Lost—the 2004 US Presidential Election?” 61st Annual Conference of the American Association for Public Opinion Research, Montréal, 19 May 2006. http://www.appliedresearch.us/sf/Documents/AAPOR060519.pdf.
—-. “Illegitimate election. A key source for Robert F. Kennedy Jr. responds to criticism of his analysis of the 2004 election.” Salon.com (12 June 2006), http://www.salon.com/opinion/feature/2006/06/12/freeman/print.html.
Kennedy, Robert F., Jr. “Was the 2004 Election Stolen?” Rolling Stone (June 2006), http://www.rollingstone.com/news/story/10432334/was_the_2004_election_stolen/Print.
—-. “Will the Next Election Be Hacked?” Rolling Stone (October 2006), http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/story/11717105/robert_f_kennedy_jr_will_the_next_election_be_hacked/print.
Miller, Mark Crispin. Fooled Again: How the Right Stole the 2004 Election & Why They’ll Steal the Next One Too (Unless We Stop Them). New York: Basic Books, 2005.
Palast, Greg. The Best Democracy Money Can Buy. 2nd ed.; New York: Plume, 2004.
—-. Armed Madhouse: Who’s Afraid of Osama Wolf?, China Floats, Bush Sinks, The Scheme to Steal ’08, No Child’s Behind Left, and Other Dispatches from the Front Lines of the Class War. New York: Dutton, 2006.
—-. “Greg Palast Uncovers the ‘Armed Madhouse’ of the Bush Reign of Greed, Fear and Stolen Elections.” A Buzzflash Interview. Buzzflash.com (13 June 2006), http://www.buzzflash.com/interviews/06/06/int06022.html.
Peckarsky, Peter, Ron Baiman, and Robert Fitrakis. “Official States Electronic Voting System Added Votes Never Cast In 2004 Presidential Election: Audit Log Missing.” The Free Press (1 November 2006), http://www.freepress.org/images/departments/2209.pdf.
‘TruthIsAll’. TruthIsAll. The Unanswered Question: Who Really Won in 2004? With an Introduction by Democratic Underground Poster Autorank. http://www.truthisall.net.
2. Documentary Films
Unprecedented: the 2000 Presidential Election. Directed by Richard Ray Pérez and Joan Sekler. http://www.unprecedented.org/UnprecedentedFirstPage.html.
Hacking Democracy. Directed by Simon Ardizzone and Russell Michaels. HBO Documentary Films. http://www.hbo.com/docs/programs/hackingdemocracy/index,html.
Eternal Vigilance: The Fight to Save Our Election System. Directed by David Earnhardt. http://eternalvigilance.us/index.html.
Stealing America: Vote by Vote. Directed by Dorothy Fadiman. http://stealingamerica.org/screenings.html.
Invisible Ballots: A Temptation for Electronic Vote Fraud. Directed by William Gazecki. http://www.realityzone.com/ballots.html.
American Blackout. Directed by Ian Inaba. http://theconnextion.com/american_index.cfm?ArtistID=400.
No Umbrella: Election Day in the City. Directed by Laura Paglin. http://www.noumbrella.org/index.htm.
3. The Next Stolen Election?
Feldman, Ariel J., J. Alex Halderman, and Edward W. Felten. “Security Analysis of the Diebold AccuVote-TS Voting Machine.” Center for Information Technology Policy and Dept. of Computer Science, Princeton University (13 September 2006), http://itpolicy.princeton.edu/voting/ts-paper.pdf.
Fitrakis, Bob, and Harvey Wasserman. “A Loaves & Fishes / Holy Ghost Victory for the GOP in November?” Common Dreams News Center (18 October 2006), http://www.commondreams.org/views06/1018-26.htm.
—-. “Will a shocking new court victory and Karl Rove’s attack on Ohio doom the Democrats nationwide?” The Free Press (2 November 2006); reproduced online at the Centre for Research on Globalization, http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=viewArticle&code=FIT20061102&articleid=3681.
Friedman, Brad. “HERE WE GO AGAIN: ‘Just Push the Yellow Button and Vote as Many Times as You Want’ on Sequoia Touch-Screen Voting Machines!” The Brad Blog (2 November 2006), http://www.bradblog.com/?p=3714.
Harris, Bev. “10-31-06: Reports from the front line… Anyone who can get at the yellow button can ruin the election. It takes no password, no computer knowledge, no equipment.” BlackBoxVoting.org (31 October 2006), http://www.bbvforums.org/cgi-bin/forums/board-auth.cgi?file=/1954/44823.html.
Jones, Doug. Voting and Elections. http://www.cs.uiowa.edu/%7Ejones/voting/.
Kuttner, Robert. “Hampering the Vote.” The Boston Globe (28 October 2006); reproduced online by Common Dreams News Center (29 October 2006), http://www.commondreams.org/views06/1028-20.htm.
Miller, Mark Crispin. “Our Rigged Elections, Part I: The Elephant in the Polling Booth.” The Washington Spectator (1 October 2006); reproduced online at Truthout.org, http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/101906O.shtml.
—-. “Our Rigged Elections, Part II: The GOP Playbook: How to steal the vote.” The Washington Spectator (15 October 2006); reproduced online at Truthout.org, http://www.treuthout.org/docs_2006/101906O.shtml.
Solar Bus Election Justice Center. http://election.solarbus.org.
Stokes, Jon “Hannibal”. “How to steal an election by hacking the vote.” Arstechnica.com (25 October 2006), http://arstechnica.com/articles/culture/evoting.ars.
Warren, Kenneth F., and Steve Freeman. “Instructions for Conducting an Election Verification Exit Poll.” ElectionIntegrity.org (29 October 2006), http://www.electionintegrity.org/Do_Your_Own_Exit_Poll.pdf.
Michael Keefer is Professor of English at the University of Guelph, and a Contributing Editor to the Centre for Research on Globalization.
1 See ‘TruthIsAll’, “Quantifying the Risk: 2006 Polling Analysis (10/28 Update),” Progressive Independent (28 October 2006), http://www.progressiveindependent.com/dc/dcboard.php?az=show_topicv&forum=120&topic_id=3264.
3 One of the more notorious Senate upsets in 2002, Max Cleland’s defeat in Georgia by the chicken-hawk Republican Saxby Chambliss, appeared at the time to be highly suspect. Pre-election polls gave Cleland a 5 percent lead, but Chambliss won by 7 percent in an election that was entirely conducted by Diebold Corporation. In the more recent of his two articles cited below, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. provides evidence from a Diebold insider that immediately prior to the election Diebold’s CEO illegally altered the software in the touch-screen machines which counted the votes.
4 I summarized much of this evidence in my article “The Strange Death of American Democracy: Endgame in Ohio,” Centre for Research on Globalization (24 January 2005), http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=viewArticle&code=KEE20050124&articleid=389. (The opening section of that article contains two small errors: the Scioto Country Club at which Kenneth Blackwell spoke is in Columbus, Ohio, not in Scioto County; and Congressman King’s indiscretion dates not from the day of the election, but from a White House barbecue in 2003—a fact that makes it if anything more incriminating.)
5 Charles Rabin and Darran Simon, “Glitches cited in early voting,” The Miami Herald (28 October 2006), http://www.miami.com/mid/miamiherald/news/state/15869924.htm.