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New Book: Grassroots, Geeks, Pros, and Pols: The Election Integrity Movement’s Rise and Nonstop Battle to Win Back the People’s Vote, 2000-2008

Bob Fitrakis
October 5, 2012

CICJ Books has just released “Grassroots, Geeks, Pros, and Pols: The Election Integrity Movement’s Rise and Nonstop Battle to Win Back the People’s Vote, 2000-2008” by Marta Steele.

Marta Steele has done yeoman work for the election integrity movement. She has plowed through more websites and blogs than one can even imagine. She set out with the nearly impossible task of writing the definitive historical narrative of the folly of electronic voting in the United States between 1988 and 2008. More shockingly, she accomplished that task.

Electronic voting machines are perfectly designed to steal elections. That’s their principle purpose. Ireland has just gotten rid of them altogether. Germany, Japan, Canada, Switzerland all use paper ballots. Why? Because you can actually count them in public, and then count them again.

But here in the US, elections are corporate-owned and operated. Anyone who experienced pushing the e-spot for John Kerry and having the name George W. Bush light up—as happened so often in Ohio 2004—knows all too well that what Marta Steele documents in this remarkable book has become the defining reality in American election theft.

What she has done by way of documentation is truly impressive. Never again will those who question the validity of electronic voting be called “conspiracy theorists.” Through sheer tenacity, the author has scoured the vast morass of cyberspace and brought back all the essential data and assembled it in an understandable and analytical fashion. Readers can only draw one conclusion from her work – those who deny the death of democracy are foolish “coincidence theorists.”

She accumulated mountains of incidences that show the so-called “red shift” in favor of the Republican Party is not an anomaly or computer “glitch,” but evidence that there is systematic tampering of computerized voting machines by private companies connected to the Republican Party. Although our newspaper, the Columbus Free Press, and our website freepress.org published plenty on the flaws of electronic voting and election irregularities, we were nonetheless overwhelmed by the research documented in this volume. Those who read this book will no longer fall for the easy propaganda lines and talking points put forth by Karl Rove and his cohorts in explaining away impossible election results.

This book is important because its research is so detailed, its history so clear, and its analysis so convincing. The book destroys the mythology that “it can’t happen here” – that our system is an old and infallible democracy that can’t be corrupted. This powerful work will force all who read it to take a side, but more importantly, to take action, perhaps even direct action.

A key breakthrough that the book allows is to shatter the absurd notion that the empire of the United Stated may very well meddle in and steal election abroad, but would never use these tactics at home. The fact that the Bush family, with their patriarch George Herbert Walker Bush being the CIA director, is so inextricably linked to the rise of electronic voting and improbably election results, should be no surprise. That’s why it is no coincidence that she starts her history of election voting irregularities in the year that George H.W. Bush wins the New Hampshire and becomes president.

The Bush family ascendancy corresponds to black box, nontransparent voting in America. The more we’ve privatized our software and hardware and called it “trade secrets,” the better the Bush family candidates have done, against all odds. Their presidential victories, with the official exit polls falling well outside the margin of errors and predicting victories for their opponents, would easily be denounced by election observers in a Third World country.

Small wonder that when push came to shove, Ohio’s Republican Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell refused to allow United Nations observers into the Buckeye State polling places to check the veracity of the 2004 balloting.

We believe this book does more than any other to expose the evils of electronic voting. The endnotes alone amount to a giant step forward in revealing the crimes of privatized e-voting in our nation.

As Al Gore and John Kerry refused to do, we must now face the reality that as long as our balloting process is dominated by electronic machines, the outcome of any election can be flipped by a governor or secretary of state with a few late-night key strokes. Considering the hundreds of millions the rich and super-rich are willing to spend to control the government, would you ever doubt they would hesitate to buy an election?

What Marta Steele has done is to confirm far beyond any reasonable doubt that as long as electronic machines are at the core of our vote count, there is no such thing as democracy in the USA. What we have instead is an electronic corporatocracy….proprietary, secretive, anti-democratic and for sale (or lease) to the highest bidder. The real question is: now that Marta had made this all perfectly clear, what are we going to do about it?

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~ with Harvey Wasserman

Buy this book at the Free Press Online Store

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Protect the Vote! Election Protection & Video the Vote volunteers needed by Free Press Staff

Protect the Vote! Election Protection & Video the Vote volunteers needed
by Free Press Staff
October 5, 2012

Election Protection Observers
The Free Press (Freepress.org) in conjunction with the Green Party will be placing observers for the 2012 election. We need volunteers. All observers must be eligible voters in Ohio.
If you are new to this, you may not know that we can appoint one observer at the county level. County level observers can observe in a different county from their county of residence. County level observers can observe at any precinct throughout the day, and also can observe the vote counting* process in the evening of election day (approximately 7:30 to midnight) Our goal is to place one county level observer in 44 of the 88 Ohio counties, and have that county level observer spend the evening at the county BOE.

If you are willing to help, I need some feedback.

1. Can you observe at the county level outside of Franklin County and spend the evening at that Board of Elections? If so, which county would you prefer?

2. Can you observe at the county level outside of Franklin County but not able to observe in the evenings? If so, which county would you prefer?

3. If in Franklin County, please send me the precinct in which you live, or tell me in general, or specifically, which precincts/polling place you would like to be responsible for. A list of polling locations can be found by clicking the link here: http://vote.franklincountyohio.gov/voter/

4. If you are unsure if you can observe, that is OK, just tell me that but give me your polling place/precinct anyway.

Contact me at pete@caseohio.org or 614-946-0614
Pete Johnson, coordinator.

ALSO We need Video the Vote volunteers!

Those interested in videotaping on Election Day have two meetings to attend to learn what is expected and get training. Videocameras can be provided. We also need people to work in the office on Election Day to upload videos.

First workshop is Oct 9 at 7:30p at Whetstone Library branch in Clintonville.

Second is Oct 25 at 7:30p at the MLK Library branch just north of the Franklin Park Conservatory.

Both will cover the same content and are FREE.

JR McMillan

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Taking us back to 1851: Far Right Law Center seeks to bring SB5 battle to local Ohio governments

Bob Fitrakis
June 8, 2012
(listen to Fight Back below with Sean and also Donald Goldmacher, Director of Heist-TheMovie)

News Director Sean Gilbow of WVKO 1580AM recently outed an extreme right-wing organization that is behind the attempt by Taxpayers for Westerville Schools to repeal the Westerville Public School levy. Westerville Schools, considered one of the premier school districts in central Ohio is coming under heavy attack from a small group of anti-government zealots that are bringing the politics of Wisconsin governor Scott Walker and the Kochs to Ohio.

Under Ohio law, a temporary tax issue such as the 5-year levy passed by Westerville Schools cannot be repealed. So instead, the group is seeking to repeal the permanent 2009 tax issue instead, and have elicited the help of the 1851 Center for Constitutional Law.

Why do they call it the “1851 Center for Constitutional Law”? The date refers to the adoption of the current Ohio Constitution. But what their moniker doesn’t tell you is that the organization yearns to return to the “good old days” of pre-Civil War America. The Center is doing legal work for Right-to-Work anti-union so-called Ohio Workplace Freedom Amendment. Its Executive Director Maurice A. Thompson was the lead attorney in the 2008 Ohio Republican Party RICO (Racketeering, Influence and Corruption) suit against ACORN (Association of Communities Organizing for Reform Now).

Under the guise of “improving the business climate” in Ohio, the Center is pushing the agenda of the Koch brothers already defeated by Ohio voters by 25 points in the vote against Senate Bill 5 last year. The Center has printed a guide to show citizens how they can “roll back tax levies.”

On the 1851 Center website, they note that, “On May 7, 2012, taxpayers for Westerville Schools, with the representation of the 1851 Center, commenced circulation of an initiative petition to repeal the $6.71 mil tax increase narrowly approved in March….”

The Center goes on to claim that, “The Westerville effort marks the inaugural action of the 1851 Center in assisting taxpayers in using a previously obscure section of the Ohio Revised Code to lower their school district’s tax burdens, while forcing Ohio school districts to control spending and reign in labor costs rather than raising taxes.” The Center is also advocating that the government of Ohio “reduce the number of times per year school districts may place tax increases on the ballot from three to one.”

Bradley A. Smith serves as the chairman of the Center’s board. A law professor at Capital University, he’s perhaps the leading advocate in America for allowing the wealthy to contribute unlimited funds to candidates. His book, Unfree Speech: The Folly of Campaign Finance Reform, published in 2001, was a precursor to the Citizens United decision. He also has represented the Chamber of Commerce in litigation.

Historically, the public and scholars assume that 1% of the population giving unlimited funds to influence campaigns is inherently corrupt, elitist and undemocratic.

Smith was appointed to the Federal Elections Commission (FEC) where he argued that unlimited spending was simply a form of free speech. In 2004 he served as Chairman of the FEC. Not surprisingly, Unfree Speech was cited by the U.S. Supreme Court in its controversial Citizens United decision.

The 1851 Center for Constitutional Law is a throwback to the 19th century robber barons. It is anti-worker, pro-plutocrat, detests the idea of public schools, and works for the wealthiest 1% while cloaking their beliefs in the rhetoric of freedom.


Originally published by The Free Press, http://freepress.org