The Continuing Saga of Voting in Ohio
Bob Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman wrote about the Ohio Election Debacle of 2004 and have been vigilent ever since to insure that Ohio elections are fair and honest. However, in a recent article in Counterpunch, the dynamic election integrity duo wrote an article, “Four Ways Ohio Republicans Are Already Stealing the 2012 Elections,” sounding alarm bells that the Ohio Republican Party operatives may already be stealing the 2012 election.
Fitrakis and Wasserman remind the American public that Republicans used similar multiple strategies in 2000 and 2004 to block the vote and possibly even change the vote tallies through computer manipulation of electronic voting machines.
1. Purging the Vote
At least 1,250,000 citizens have been purged from Ohio voting rolls since 2009 by the GOP. According to the above article, the purge mostly affects citizens in urban and Democratic leaning counties.
2. Republican-Connected Firms Own & Maintain Electronic Voting Machines in Ohio
Those who are eligible to vote in Ohio have another hurdle to insure their votes are properly counted. The voting machines they vote on are owned, operated, programmed and maintained “and will be tallied” by “Republican-connected firms, including Diebold (now Premier), ES&S and Triad.“ The firm, Triad, has a troublesome past in how they mishandled the 2004 election. Will they mishandle the 2012 election using similar tactics? Smartech, located in Chattanooga, Tennessee, owned by Averbeck, played a major role in the 2004 Ohio elections.
3. One-Party Rule in Ohio
The GOP controls “both houses of the Ohio Legislature, the governorship, the secretary of state’s office, and the state supreme court.” Without independent election monitors many voters may be incorrectly asked to show photo ID even though voters can use 17 different types of ID to prove who they are. Will groups like “True the Vote” who have vowed to question people to stop “voter fraud” disenfranchise American citizens in Ohio?
4. Early Voting
10.6% of the votes cast in Ohio in 2004 were “early votes” “via absentee ballots.” However, at that time a person could only cast an absentee ballot if they were actually “absent.” Meanwhile in-person voting “at the 42 predominantly black inner-city precincts in Columbus voters waited between 3-7 hours to vote.”
Republicans in 2012 tried to allow early-voting for the GOP on week-ends in Republican counties while restricting early voting in Democratic leaning counties. Ohio Secretary of State Husted claimed he was “leveling the playing field” by restricting early voting on all weekends, including the week-end before the November 6 election for everyone. However, there was a backlash from Democrats like State Representative Charleta Tavares. She claimed blocking the vote the weekend before the election was designed to “suppress Democratic voters,” particularly African-American voters who voted “95% for Obama in 2008.”
Threat to Democracy:
What separates the United States from dictatorships is that we pride ourselves on having free, fair, honest and accurate elections. However, if partisan electronic voting companies own the machines, program the machines, maintain the machines and tally the votes, will they do so in a way that upholds the integrity of the vote?
It is worrisome that the same partisan-leaning firms, Smartech and Triad, that botched the Ohio 2004 election are once again major players in managing and counting the votes in Ohio. Here is an article with a summary of the GAO report: “Elections: Federal Efforts to Improve Security and Reliability of Electronic Voting Systems Are Under Way, but Key Activities Need to Be Completed”.
In the important King Lincoln Bronzeville v. Blackwell case, a detailed computer configuration is included which shows how the 2004 Election in Ohio was hacked by a Man-In-The Middle attack. It shows how computerized votes went to SmarTech’s computers in Chatanooga TN before reaching the former GOP Ohio Sec. of State’s Office, Ken Blackwell’s website where tallies from throughout the state were tabulated in the 2004 Presidential Election.
Here is a letter from lead Attorney Cliff Arnebeck for the King Lincoln Case where he exchanged emails with GOP IT security expert Stephen Spoonamore.
In the letter IT Security Expert Stephen Spoonamore states:
“Yes. They would have had data input capacities. The system might have been set up to log which source generated the data, but probably did not.”
“They [SmarTech] had full access and could change things when and if they wants.”
“SmarTech was a man in the middle. In my opinion they were not designed as a mirror, they were designed specifically to be a man in the middle.”
Stephen Spoonamore, Computer Security Guru, Election Theft with Voting Machines
A Man-In-The-Middle computer attack is when someone can intercept communications and change data through the configuration of the computer architecture. Stephen Spoonamore explained to Arnebeck that SmarTech and now deceased Mike Connell from GovTech Solutions arranged a special type of computer set-up that would be a Man In The Middle setup where electronic information including ballot tallies could be manipulated. Is that what happened in 2004 when suddenly overnight ballots shifted from John Kerry to G. W. Bush?
We must be vigilent and insure that our elections are properly administered and that our votes are properly counted as we cast them, not as others want them to be for their own political purposes. Protect the 2012 Vote.
Let’s Monitor the Vote Counting and the Voting Machines