By Sheila Parks, Ed.D.
In the 2000 presidential election, Florida needed Katherine Harris (then Florida Secretary of State), Jeb Bush, the Supreme Court justices – and the connections between them – to put George W. Bush in the White House. See John Nichols, Jews For Buchanan (Image: Jobs with Justice)
The optical scan machines in Volusia County, product of Diebold Corporation, were also key in this election. Alastair Thompson wrote a detailed analysis of the election fraud that occurred in Volusia Country on optical scans. His account relies heavily on the original work of Bev Harris in Chapter 13, Security Breaches, in her book BLACK BOX VOTING: Ballot-tampering in the 21st century. Read the entire book online.
The Emmy-nominated documentary Hacking Democracy shows Finnish computer expert Harri Hursti hacking the same kind of machines as those used in Volusia County. Harris, who arranged the hacks, stars in the film. So does Kathleen Wynne, one of the first people in the country to call for publicly observed secure hand-counted paper ballots (HCPB) elections.
The Election Assistance Commission (EAC) issued a warning in December 2011 about ES&S DS200 IntElect optical scan electronic voting machines errors during voting. These machines were used in Florida, Ohio, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, and New York. Read more details here and here.
Nevertheless, the machines will not be decertified. Said Brian Hancock of the EAC: “Our goal is not to decertify systems. We never want to be in a situation of putting counties in a position where they cannot run an election.”
In the 2004 presidential election, George W. Bush needed Kenneth Blackwell (then Ohio Secretary of State and also honorary co-chair of the Committee to Re-elect George W. Bush) to stay in the White House. John Conyers (Democratic representative from Michigan), in Preserving Democracy: What Went Wrong in Ohio, had scathing comments about Blackwell’s role. Conyers stated that many of the problems in Ohio involved “intentional misconduct and illegal behavior,” with Blackwell playing a major role. Read the Conyers Report here. What Went Wrong In Ohio can be purchased at Academy Chicago Publishers.
Wally O’Dell, president, chair and CEO of Diebold Corporation at the time and also huge fund-raiser for the election of Bush, said he would help deliver Ohio’s votes to Bush. Although no Diebold touchscreens were used in Ohio in the 2004 general election, touchscreens from other corporations were used: ES&S iVotronic and Infinity DRE from MicroVote. Both of these touchscreens were paperless. Huge thanks to the generosity and knowledge of Wisconsinite John Washburn, historian and computer expert, for his help about touchscreens in Ohio in 2004.
Here is a Who’s Who guide of public figures and organizations to watch among ultra right-wing operatives, who are manipulating, or trying to manipulate, the electoral process in both state and federal government in Wisconsin and elsewhere. The question remains:
- Are any of these players the new Harris and/or Blackwell?
Jocelyn Webster (coverage by Joe Vittie) is a protégé of Karl Rove and is the new Director of Communications at Wisconsin Department of Administration (DOA). Take a look at her appointment letter and resume and more about her shenanigans here and here. Some questions remain:
- How and why did she get this job?
- Did Rove or the Koch Brothers or one of their emissaries tell, oops, ask Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, now on recall with over one million signatures gathered, to appoint her?
Karl Rove is known as The Architect of George W. Bush’s presidential campaigns in 2000 and 2004. Bush’s nicknames for Rove are Boy Genius and Turd Blossom – a flower that grows out of dung. The question remains:
- Besides Jocelyn Webster, what tentacles of Rove are in Wisconsin now?
The Koch Brothers, ultra right-wing businessmen, starring especially in oil, recently convened a “super secret meeting” of billionaires to discuss the 2012 elections. In the 2010 gubernatorial elections, the brothers gave $43,000 (p.18) to ultra right Republican Scott Walker and $87,000 (p. 18) to Democrat Andrew Cuomo (now governor of New York). See the Koch Brothers’ top policy issues in which they outline strategies for “repealing health reform, denying climate change, fighting Wall Street reform, dismantling collective bargaining rights, fighting reductions in carbon emissions, keeping corporate money in elections, fighting Internet neutrality” (p.2). The questions remain:
- What kind of relationship do Mayor Bloomberg of New York City (who ordered police to evict Occupy Wall Street [OWS]from Zuccotti Park) and Andrew Cuomo have?
- Does Bloomberg also have a relationship with the Koch Brothers?
Scott Walker must be watched also, to put it mildly. Many of his top aides have been charged in a John Doe investigation and one of them, Darlene Wink, is going to spill the beans. How many remains to be seen. Here is the criminal complaint against Wink.
The timing of a Walker email in the “secret email system” might be suspicious. Walker himself is “willingly”, he says, talking with the investigators. Attorney Mike Pampatonio, host of Ring of Fire radio show, thinks it is extremely risky for him [Walker] to go in there and act like he is going to hustle them …”Oh, now Walker says he “voluntarily” agreed to talk with the investigation when asked to do so.
Ernest Canning on bradblog has written a detailed account of all the goings on. Mary Bottari of the Center for Media and Democracy’s PR Watch writes about Walker and his relationships with realtors.
Looking back at Walker almost a year ago, on February 23, 2011, here is the story by Jason Linkins about the prank phone call when Walker thinks he is talking with David Koch. Here is the transcript of the call. The questions remain:
- What is Walker’s relationship with the Koch Brothers?
- Who is Walker taking orders from?
The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), founded by the Koch Brothers, advocates for limited government, free markets and federalism. On its Task and Policy task force web page, ALEC says, “A recent survey of members indicated that tax policy was their top concern. In the most recent legislative session, over 500 bills to lower the tax burden and curb excessive government spending were introduced by ALEC members.” ALEC writes boiler plate legislation that states adopt. The questions remain:
- Has Wisconsin adopted, under Scott Walker, any of ALEC’s boiler plate legislation?
- And if so, which ones?
Kathy Nickolaus, who in 2002 received immunity in a criminal investigation into illegal activity, is the Waukesha county clerk who was investigated in 2011 for her activities around the Supreme Court election and recount in Wisconsin, but she was not prosecuted. See BRADBLOG and Wisconsin Government Accountability Board GAB. The questions remain:
- What role will Nickolaus play in the Scott Walker recall?
- What role will Nickolaus play in the 2012 General Election?
During 2011, Minnesota-based Command Central first offered to sell EDGE reconditioned touchscreens (with VVPAT, voter-verified paper audit trail) and INSIGHT optical scan machines to municipalities in Wisconsin. No payment was due until January, 2012. Then, when perhaps Command Central did not have enough takers, the company offered to trade two touchscreens for free in exchange for having the municipality returning to Command Central one optical scan machine that they already owned.
Here is a Customer Database from Command Central that lists their electronic voting machines transactions in Wisconsin in 2011. I obtained this database through a request to Ross Hein and Kevin Kennedy of the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board (GAB). Hein, Campaign Finance and Elections Supervisor at the GAB, sent me the chart. In a phone conversation with him on February 16, 2012, Hein told me that the GAB had requested this information from Command Central. I learned a lot from Hein: The information Command Central sent appears to be incomplete. Very worthy of note and not necessarily obvious in the chart, Hein said that Command Central sold to other municipalities the same INSIGHT optical scan machines that were returned to them by some municipalities in exchange for two free EDGE touchscreens. These machines would be about five to seven years old. The Won Eagle machines are from the nineties. “HMA” after “Won Eagle” stands for hardware maintenance agreement. Imagine the money Command Central will be making from maintaining these old machines. According to John Washburn, electronic voting machines companies make most of their money in maintaining the machines, not in selling them.
Optical scan machines are bad enough. These machines lull people into thinking that because there is a paper trail, the paper ballots can always be counted by hand if something is suspect about the machine count of the election. But with many touchscreens, there is no paper trail at all, and therefore no way ever to count the votes again. And often the paper trail that the touchscreens have is worthless and small and fades.
Wisconsin law statutes require a voter-verified paper audit trail (VVPAT) Â§5.91 (18), “If the device consists of an electronic voting machine, it generates a complete, permanent paper record showing all votes cast by each elector, that is verifiable by the elector, by either visual or nonvisual means as appropriate, before the elector leaves the voting area, and that enables a manual count or recount of each vote cast by the elector.” Some questions remain:
- Why and when did Command Central approach Wisconsin?
- Did Command Central also approach other states?
- If so, what other states and when?
- Were the offers the same as those given to Wisconsin municipalities?
- How did they decide which municipalities in Wisconsin to approach?
- When and why did they change from offering touchscreens to sell to offering a free exchange?
- What are the municipalities who paid saying about their neighbors who paid nothing?
- Are there connections between the burning issue of a huge open-pit iron mine on the shores of Lake Superior and the electronic voting machines offers of Command Central? As the Bad River Band of the Lake Superior Tribe of Chippewa Indians and other Wisconsin activists protest the proposed mine, police take Sam Morris of the Bad River Band out of the Capitol for drumming. Here is a press release by the Bad River Band about the International Ecological Treasure that would be destroyed by the proposed mine. Barbara With reports on the hearing about mining bill AB 426 on February 18, 2012. With’s report includes the video by Nicole Desautels Schulte of geologist Jason Huberty and geochemist Joseph Skulan testifying. A press release linked at the bottom of the report helped me understand the scientific evidence presented.
- Are there connections between the municipalities that accepted for free or bought Command Central offer and the iron mines?
- Is there no connection to the iron mines issue of those municipalities that refused the offer?
- Why did some of the municipalities refuse the deal?
More questions, these from attorney Jim Mueller of Wisconsin Citizens for Election Protection, a Facebook group you can join.
- What are the specific municipalities Command Central contracts with?
- Who are the principals of Command Central and what are their political, financial and criminal backgrounds?
- Who are the programmers and what are their political, financial and criminal backgrounds?
- Where did Command Central get the machines? From some state banning them out?
- How can Command Central give two machines in exchange for one twenty-year-old machine?
- What is their fee structure for programming, supplying and maintaining the machines?
- What operating instructions do they give to election officials?
- Who owns the owner of Command Central?
Bottom line, who is Command Central? In private Facebook communications and on the telephone in February 2012, in response to questions I had asked him, John Washburn told me that Command Central has been in Wisconsin for 20 years and is the exclusive distributor for Dominion Voting Systems in Wisconsin, Minnesota, the Dakotas, and Michigan. The question remains:
- Is there a connection between the offers of Command Central and the desire to rig the upcoming Scott Walker recall and also the 2012 General Election?
Electronic voting machines and the rigged elections coming from them are pushing this country not only to the right, but to the ultra right. I do not believe the people of the USA, the 99%, are ultra right. Since the passage of the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) – a well thought out and planned strategy to steal our elections – most jurisdictions/municipalities across the country use electronic voting machines for voting. Verified Voting periodically publishes a fantastically helpful listing of all election equipment used in jurisdictions in the USA; see Election Equipment 2010.
Whether Direct Recording Electronic (DRE)/touchscreens or optical scans, all electronic voting machines can be, and have been, hacked. Many states are still using touchscreen that do not even have a paper trail. Paper ballots, as used with optical scan electronic voting machines, of themselves are not enough. Paper ballots are not very valuable unless they are hand-counted in publicly observed secure elections. How many recounts have their been? And how many changed the result of the election?
There have been only two notable hand-recounts. The first was the hand-recount in Washington state in 2004, which overturned the machine election results and gave Christine Gregoire the governor’s seat. The second was the hand-recount in Minnesota in 2008, when the electronic voting machines count was overturned and Al Franken won the Senate seat in the hand-recount. Several years ago, in a telephone conversation with voting rights activist Paul Lehto,he stated that in both cases the recounts were for Democratic candidates and both states had a sympathetic Democratic governor who supported the recount.
The words “paper ballots” obfuscate the issue to the uninitiated. The solution to the fraud and error associated with all the electronic voting machines, is elections counted and decided by publicly observed, secure hand-counted paper ballots (HCPB). With that kind of HCPB elections, we have the fairest and most transparent opportunity to know that our votes are counted as cast. See Center for Hand-Counted Paper Ballots for extensive readings about hacking and the solution.
The Scott Walker recall election must not be rigged.
The Senate race between Scott Brown and Elizabeth Warren in Massachusetts must not be rigged.
The 2012 General Election must not be rigged.
The bandwagon: Please, get on it with us to struggle for elections decided by publicly observed, secure hand-counted paper ballots (HCPB). If you “like” this Facebook page, Center for Hand-Counted Paper Ballots, you will be able to keep current with information on this endeavor and actions to take. You can also suggest to all of us what you think we can do about this dire situation. We cannot let the 1%, owners of the privatized electronic voting machine industry, continue to rig elections that belong to us, the 99%.
Non-violent resistance: The hard-won victories of the Civil Rights, Women’s Suffrage and GLBTQ movements came about not only when people lobbied Congress (local or federal), wrote letters to the editor, held rallies and marches, signed petitions, and donated money. It took much more than that. Non-violent resistance was an integral and vital part of these movements.
We must pay close attention to the Occupies and what they are doing. Do mic checks everywhere. Do everything else you can think of to bring attention to the rigging of our elections and to help change the hearts, minds and souls of people everywhere.
Watch: Cameras: Fantastic You Tube instructions for taking pictures of the revolution, via extraordinary videographer, Nicole Desautels Schulte, on the ground in Wisconsin.
Thank you: Tunisia, Egypt, Wisconsin, Occupies, Deborah Sirotkin Butler, Stephen Caruso, Lucius Chiaraviglio, Michael Collins, Bob Fleischer, Mindy Fried, Brad Friedman, Janet Jesberg, Mary Magnuson, Nina Moliver, Marianne Moonhouse, Jim Mueller, Marguerite Rosenthal, Nicole Desautels Schulte, Joseph Skulan, John Washburn
I am completely responsible for the text and any errors in it. This article may be reproduced in whole or part, with attribution of authorship given and link to this article.
Sheila Parks, Ed.D., is active in Occupy Boston and the Founder of the Center for Hand-Counted Paper Ballots, http://www.handcountedpaperballots.org. An ardent feminist, long time peace and justice activist and internationalist, she defended the abortion clinics with her body for a long time. Sheila spent a year in prison for the 13th non-violent Plowshares resistance against first strike nuclear weapons.
February 17, 2012. Updated February 19, 2012.