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Trump’s Big Lie About 3 Million “Alien Voters” Cuts Far Deeper Than You Think

BOB FITRAKIS AND HARVEY WASSERMAN FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

original article from: http://www.truth-out.org/buzzflash/commentary/trump-s-big-lie-about-three-million-alien-voters-cuts-far-deeper-than-you-think

Ballot 0206wrp opt(Photo: Rama)Donald Trump’s relentless insistence that three million “aliens” voted for Hillary Clinton and cost him a popular majority in November’s presidential election cuts far beyond what the corporate media is willing to report. When it comes to undermining democracy in the US, Trump is once again proving that the best defense is a total attack, even if it relies on “alternative facts.”

Trump’s Big Lie on voter fraud has been as widely scorned as his fantasies about the size of the turnout at his inauguration. Even the normally restrained New York Times has editorialized that “what once seemed like another harebrained claim by a president with little regard for the truth must now be recognized as a real threat to American democracy.”

It seems to be dawning on The Times and others that by claiming so many non-citizens voted more than once, Trump re-loads America’s Jim Crow lynch laws against Black people voting. Based on these assertions, we can expect more and more aggressive attacks by the administration against the rights of non-whites and non-millionaires to a fair and honest ballot.

Indeed, the corporate media has not yet faced the devastation of mass disenfranchisement in 2016. As reported by Greg Palast (www.gregpalast.com) and others, some thirty GOP Secretaries of State across the US used a computer program called Crosscheck to strip thousands of mostly black, Hispanic, Asian-American and Muslim voters from the registration rolls. These mass disenfranchisements could well have made the difference in key swing states like Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Florida that allowed Trump to win in the Electoral College while so thoroughly losing the popular vote.

Trump’s carping about voter fraud has first and foremost has helped divert the public’s attention from this defining reality.

But unfortunately, there is far more.

Let’s start with the Electoral College. For the sixth time in US history, the candidate who lost among eligible voters has entered the White House. Last was 2000, when Al Gore beat George W. Bush nationwide by more than a half-million votes. Neither Gore nor the Democratic Party followed this stunning election theft (which had such dire consequences) by launching any kind of movement to abolish the Electoral College. Instead, many Democrats have spent 16 years screaming at Ralph Nader for daring to run for president.  Had they instead recruited him to help organize the abolition of the Electoral College, Trump might not now be in the White House.

In 2016, the attack on Nader has morphed into a fixation on Russian hacking and anger at the FBI. So barring a miracle (or a Constitutional Amendment) in 2020 and the foreseeable future beyond, the curse of the Electoral College will still be there to serve the popular minority.

Trump has also fought hard against any meaningful recounts, And for good reason. As many as 28 states this election showed statistically significant variations between exit polls and official vote counts. In 25 of those states, the “Red Shift” went in Trump’s direction.  Among statisticians this is known as a “virtual statistical impossibility.”

In Michigan, which officially went to Trump by about 10,000 votes, some 75,000 ballots came in without a presidential preference, mostly in heavily Democratic urban areas. The idea that 75,000 citizens would take the trouble to vote but not to make a preference among at least four presidential candidates has yet to be explained by the media or the Democrats.

Major problems with electronic voting machines, precinct access, ballot chain of custody and vote count issues also surfaced throughout the swing states. But when the Green Party’s Jill Stein dared to attempt a recount, Trump launched an all-out attack. High-priced attorneys in Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania and elsewhere did all they could to prevent any realistic examination of what actually happened in the states that gave him the presidency.

Meanwhile, rather than doing the work themselves, the corporate media heaped scorn on Stein for daring to examine exactly how Trump became president. The Democrats and the Clinton campaign offered no help beyond sending a few attorneys to “observe” the assault on greens uppity enough to challenge the system that had flipped the presidency, the Congress, the Supreme Court and innumerable state and local governments.

The bottom line here is that our entire electoral process is broken. Donald Trump became president because massive disenfranchisements kept thousands of citizen from voting, because electronic “black box”  voting machines cannot be monitored or accounted for by the general public, and because the Electoral College remains in place, ready to swing the next loser into the White House.

Trump’s screaming assertion of entirely the opposite is a brilliant strategy that can only work in a country where the media refuse to face the realities of a thoroughly broken system, and an “opposition” Democratic Party that won’t fight for elections it actually wins.

Our survival demands an actual democracy. That means universal automatic voter registration, with voter rolls transparent and readily accessible for verification. It means a four-day national holiday for voting, universal hand-counted paper ballots, and automatic recounts at no cost to the candidates. It also demands an end to gerrymandering, a ban on corporate money in our campaigns and, of course, the abolition of the Electoral College.

Trump’s rantings about voter fraud are a brilliant diversion away from all that. So is the media and Democrats’ obsession with the Russians.

Our stripped and flipped elections are home-grown poison. Donald Trump is the ultimate outcome. Until we reject the current electoral system, we will all be living in a world of hurt.

Bob Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman have co-authored six books on election protection, including The Strip & Flip Selection of 2016, at www.freepress.org, where Bob’s Fitrakis Files also reside.  Harvey’s Solartopia! Our Green-Powered Earth is at www.solartopia.org.

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Solartopia Green Power and Wellness Hour – 01.12.17

THE DONALD TRUMP SHOW has now moved to prime time as The Donald turns his first press conference into a hilarious un-reality show of abject absurdity and terror.

Co-author BOB FITRAKIS join filmmakers JiM HEDDLE & MARY-BETH BRANGAN to review the data on why this is the product of yet another stolen election that had nothing to do with the Russians.

We’re then joined by the great investigative journalist KARL GROSSMAN to tell us about the SHUT-DOWN OF INDIAN POINT and other nuclear/Solartopian realities we can expect with The Donald.

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Unraveling A Rigged Election – Fitrakis & Wasserman

original site/link: http://planetarianperspectives.net/unraveling-a-rigged-election-fitrakis-wasserman/

Posted on December 20, 2016 by James Heddle

Harvey Wasserman interviews investigative reporting partner Bob Fitrakis about the rigged 2016 selection and the inside story of the attempted recount for his weekly radio program, the Solartopia Green Power and Wellness Hour. EON photo

The Woodward and Bernstein of Election Integrity
Every presidential election since 2004, we have traveled to Columbus, in key swing state of Ohio, to video document election protection efforts by Harvey Wasserman, Bob Fitrakis and the Columbus Free Press team (FreePress.org). We made the trip again this year and have just returned from filming post-recount interviews with both of them in Columbus last week.

Harvey Wasserman – an author, historian, celebrated journalist and lifelong activist, and Bob Fitrakis – a practicing attorney who holds doctorates in both political science and law – are also both popular professors in Columbus colleges.

Dubbed by admirer Jesse Jackson as ‘the Woodward and Bernstein of election integrity’ – after the Washington Post reporters that famously broke the Watergate story in the Nixon era – Fitrakis and Wasserman’s research and reporting on election theft has twice won Project Censored awards.

The Free Press and its sponsoring organization the Columbus Institute of Contemporary Journalism (CICJ) has been in operation since 1970 and run since the ‘90s by life-partners Bob Fitrakis and Suzanne Patzer and their colleague Harvey Wasserman. Their work has been a vital epicenter not only of local community organizing and investigative reporting, but also of the national US Election Protection movement.

At the same time, they have either been consistently ignored or repeatedly denounced by mainstream media as “conspiracy theorists.”

Nevertheless, their ground-breaking findings have consistently been validated by subsequent developments. They were unfortunately right on target with their prescient analysis of the 2016 election in their book “The Strip & Flip Selection of 2016: Five Jim Crows and Electronic Election Theft,” published in early 2016, months before the Nov. 8 vote.

For more than a decade, from their unique vantage point in one of the country’s main ground zero’s of vote rigging, they‘ve documented the multiple methods by which America’s elections have been stolen…and helped to galvanize grassroots awareness and resistance not only in Ohio, but across the country.

EON is proud to help give their important work wider exposure. Here are four recent video interviews done as the election saga unfolded, and links to recent articles.

[ In the works: A report from inside the recount saga and post-Electoral College analysis. ]

Interviews with the FreePress Team On EON’s YouTube Channel & Vimeo

Losers Win, Winners Lose
Bob Fritakis and Harvey Wasserman on the seriously flawed US voting and electoral college system and the outcome of the 2016 election. The FreePress.org reporting team that Jesse Jackson dubbed the Woodward and Bernstein of Election Protection comment on the outcome of the 2016 presidential election and why the American election system needs a total overhaul from top to bottom.

Losers Win, Winners Lose – Fitrakis & Wasserman on Election 2016 from Ecological Options Network on Vimeo.

The Illegitimate Election 2016
What are the legitimate grounds for calling the recent election awarding the Presidency to Donald Trump illegitimate? Political scientist and attorney Dr. Robert Fitrakis and investigative historian Harvey Wasserman – editors of FreePress.org – summarize the evidence in this exclusive EON interview.

They are the co-authors of the book STRIP & FLIP SELECTION OF 2016 – Five Jim Crows & Electronic Election Theft, available here –
http://freepress.org/store.php

Greg Palast interviews Bob Fitrakis on Voter Purges
How did the Ohio Republican Sec. of State purge and disenfranchise so many voters from the voter rolls? A conversation between Bob Fitrakis and Greg Palast, two of the leading investigative reporters on the many vote rigging methods at work in US elections.

Palast Interviews Fitrakis on Election Theft
Why before the Nov. 8, 2016 election, did Republican authorities in key swing state Ohio turn off the safety features for ballot records even though this security measure is already programmed into their electronic voting machine software?
A conversation between Bob Fitrakis and Greg Palast, two of the leading investigative reporters on the many vote rigging methods at work in US elections.

Clips from this interview were aired as part of Greg Palast’s report on Democracy Now

Election Coverage Links

Free Press Election Reporting

FreePress.org Articles

#4 Story at Project Censored

Greg Palast Reports

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If you like EON’s work, you can support it, whatever your budget level, here.

About James Heddle
James Heddle and Mary Beth Brangan administer this blog as well as eon3EMFblog.net. Award-winning media producers as well as educators and community organizers, they co-direct EON – the Ecological Options Network . The EON YouTube channel has over 400 posts and over 2,000 subscribers.
View all posts by James Heddle

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Did the GOP Strip & Flip the 2016 Selection?

by Bob Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman
NOVEMBER 18, 2016

Trump and Clinton each at a podium looking like they are yelling

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton during United States presidential election 2016

Hillary Clinton’s margin of victory in the 2016 vote count continues to climb, at this point well over a million.

But her impending defeat in the Electoral College comes with familiar signs that the election was stripped and flipped.

These indicators include the realities of pre- and post-election polling; the massive stripping of primarily black, Hispanic and Asian-American voters from computer generated registration rolls mostly maintained by private partisan companies; unverifiable “black box” electronic voting machines and central tabulators, also mostly manufactured and maintained by private corporations, and much more.

Were this election held in any other country, the US State Department and independent monitors from around the world would denounce it as a fraud, and contemplate international intervention.

The Electoral College

Much is finally being said about the Electoral College, with new popular demands for its abolition. Clinton is about to become the sixth presidential candidate to win a traditional majority but lose the presidency. It also happen ed in 1800, 1824, 1876, 1888 and 2000. Nearly 15% of our 45 presidents have been “selected” with the denial of the public will through an institution established in large part to enhance the power of slave owners.

In February, 2013, at progressive.org, we joined the multitudes throughout our history in calling for the EC’s abolition:

It will take a Constitutional Amendment, and a hell of a lot of work, to abolish this corrupt anachronism. But unless we want to see an endless succession of George W. Bushes in the White House, something better be done — and quick.

The consequences of inaction are all too clear.

Computerized Jim Crow Stripping of Voter Registration Rolls 

US history has been defined throughout by a divide-and-conquer strategy of racial manipulation. As we outline in our new Strip & Flip Death of American Democracy (freepress.org / solartopia.org): chattel slavery, the Constitution’s “three-fifths bonus,” Jim Crow segregation, third world imperial conquest and the Drug War have all played a role in denying African-American/Hispanic/Asian-American citizens their right to vote. From the foundation of the Republic, this disenfranchisement has defined the balance of power.

In recent years, the disenfranchisement has been most importantly done by the Republican Party, and by computer. As investigative reporter Greg Palast has shown in his book/movie The Best Democracy Money Can Buy (www.gregpalast.comin 2000 Florida Governor Jeb Bush used a program called ChoicePoint to strip more than 90,000 predominantly black and Hispanic citizens from the voter registration rolls in an election decided by 537 votes. The pretext was alleged felony convictions. The selection was “won” by Bush’s brother George W although a full recount (which was stopped by the US Supreme Court by one vote) would have given Al Gore the majority in Florida, and in the Electoral College.

As we have reported from Columbus, in 2004 more than 300,000 predominantly urban citizens were stripped from the voter registration rolls in an election the GOP won by 118,775. A quarter of all voters in heavily Democratic Cleveland were de-registered. Ohio’s ill-got electoral votes gave George W. Bush a second term. This became the only time in US history an entire state’s Electoral College delegation was challenged on the floor of the US Congress.

This year, Palast has reported that a new program called Crosscheck has been used by some 30 GOP Secretaries of State to strip more than 1.1 million predominantly black, Hispanic, Islamic and Asian-American citizens from the voter rolls.

Originating with far-right Republican Kris Kobach, Kansas’s Secretary of State, Crosscheck eliminated more than enough minority voters in at least three swing states to flip the entire presidential election.

Palast has reported Ohio’s GOP Secretary of State Jon Husted also used Crosscheck to eliminate some 497,000 mostly black, Latino and African-American citizens from the voter rolls in Ohio, falsely accusing them of registering in more than one state. Such eliminations went on throughout the US and may have involved more than a million legitimate voters.

According to Reuters, over the past five years Husted himself stripped some two million citizens from the voter rolls in Ohio without Crosscheck, with Democratic areas twice as likely to be striped as Republicans. Reuters points out that the neighborhoods that most heavily backed President Obama lost the most voters. (JUNE 2, 2016, USE IT OR LOSE IT; OCCASIONAL OHIO VOTERS MAY BE SHUT OUT IN NOVEMBER, Reuters, June 2, 2016).

The mass disenfranchisement also impacted races for the US Senate. At least four Democrats would likely have won seats (in Florida, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Missouri) that they officially lost (www.tdmsresearch.com. Similar results are evident from 2014 Senate races in North Carolina, Colorado and Alaska. Thus in the past two years, mass disenfranchisement and computerized vote stripping may well have stripped seven Upper House seats from the Democrats to the GOP.

Thus the electronic race-based stripping of voter rolls in the GOP’s favor has probably on its own taken to the far right the presidency, control of the US Senate and ultimately the US Supreme Court.

It should be noted that out of disgust with Donald Trump, the GOP multi-billionaire Koch Brothers shifted much of their massive financial weight from the presidential race to Congressional and other “down-ballot contests,” where these key Senate seats and others in the US House and state governments were almost certainly impacted.

Traditional Jim Crow Stripping of Voter Registration Rolls

Alongside computerized techniques, the Republicans have effectively deployed still more traditional Jim Crow tactics to strip black/Hispanic/Asian-American citizens of their ability to vote. In part these include: demands for photo ID, elimination of polling places, narrowing time frames in which citizens can vote, deliberate distribution of misinformation about voting requirements, non-counting of provisional ballots, failure to send out absentee ballots, intimidation and widespread confusion at polling places [Google voting map] and much more.

In its 2013 Shelby County vs. Holder decision, the US Supreme Court gutted protections provided by the 1965 Voting Rights Act, opening the floodgates for Jim Crow abuse throughout the electoral system.

Numerous reports indicate that citizens were often confronted with photo ID requirements even where they were voided by the courts. As in Ohio 2004, reports indicate many citizens were directed by official websites to polling places that did not actually exist.  This year Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted failed to distribute more than 1,050,000 absentee ballot applications to citizens entitled to them.

On Election Day, media throughout the US reported the kinds of mass delays and confusion that defined the elections of 2000 and 2004.  Said the New York Times: “Voters nationwide endured long waits in line, malfunctioning voting machines, ill-informed poll workers and a litany of lesser annoyances on Tuesday with scattered reports that some voters gave up trying to cast ballots.”

David Becker, the Executive Director of the Center for Election Innovation, told the Times, “There are scattered indications of machine breakdowns that are being addressed.”

In an editorial the day after the election, the Times lamented that in North Carolina “The state’s Republican Party issued a news release boasting that cutbacks in early voting hours reduced black turnout by 8.5% below 2012 levels, even as the numbers of white early voters increased by 22.5%.” Fourteen states put in new voting restrictions including some states that were never under federal supervision like Indiana, Ohio and Wisconsin.

Throughout the US, voters with “problems” in their registration are routinely given provisional ballots, allegedly to be counted later. But the forms are often impossibly complex, with poll workers often failing to count them at the sight of a single minor error, such as writing below a line, omitting a middle initial, failing to include a birthday and much more. Ohio Secretary of State Husted won the right from the US Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals to not count prevision ballots that contain a minor mistake. Thus tens of thousands of provisional ballots are thus routinely left uncounted, unbeknownst to the voters. More than 115,000 provisional and “spoiled” ballots from the Ohio 2004 election remain uncounted.

Polling Indicators

In the lead-up to November 8, pre-election polls strongly indicated a Clinton victory. Post-Election exit polls showed her winning as well, most critically in the swing states whose Electoral College votes could give her the presidency.

Exit polls are the accepted international standard for indications of election fraud and vote tampering. Eric Bjornlund and Glenn Cowan’s 2011 pamphlet “Vote Count Verification: a User’s Guide for Funders, Implementers and Stakeholders.” Their work, done under the auspices of Democracy International for the US Agency for International Development (USAID), outlines how exit polling is used to ensure free and fair elections.

It adds that “U.S-funded organizations have sponsored exit polls as part of democracy assistance programs in Macedonia (2005), Afghanistan (2004), Ukraine (2004), Azerbaijan (2005), the West Bank and Gaza Strip (2005), Lebanon (2005), Kazakhstan (2005), Kenya (2005, 2007), and Bangladesh (2009), among other places.”

In countries like Germany and Switzerland, which use hand-counted paper ballots, exit polls are accurate to a margin error of less than 1%.

Here the 2016 exit polls were paid for by a major corporate media consortium, as has been standard practice for years. Here they are designed to reflect the actual vote count within a 2% margin of error nationally.

But in the US, if exit polls don’t agree with official vote counts, they are regularly “adjusted” to conform to official results, no matter how implausible. This makes fraudulent elections appear legitimate.

During this year’s Republican primaries, unadjusted exit polls confirmed official vote counts in all cases. In the Democratic primaries, unadjusted exit polls significantly varied from the official outcome in 12 of 26 primaries. All the errors went in Hillary Clinton’s favor in her race against Bernie Sanders. This is a virtual statistical impossibility and suggests a rigged vote count.

In the general election against Donald Trump, things went the other way. In 24 of 28 states, unadjusted exit polls also showed Clinton with vote counts significantly higher than the final official outcome. The likelihood of this happening in an election that is not rigged are in the realm of virtual statistical impossibility.

In fact, based on the exit polls, the odds against such an unexplained “Trump Shift” are one in 13,110 presidential elections.

For example, Ohio’s exit polls showed Trump and Clinton in a dead heat – 47 percent for Clinton to 47.1 for Trump. Officially, Trump won with 52.1 percent of the vote to Clinton’s 43.5 percent. This unexplained and unexpected 8.5 percent shift for Trump is mathematically impossible. (See attached chart. (PLEASE POST CHART & PROVIDE LINK)

The exit polls also showed Clinton winning in Florida. But an unaccounted for 2.5 percent shift to Trump gave him a statistical long-shot victory that might occur in one of every 167 presidential elections. The odds that Trump won in Pennsylvania are even more absurd – one in 188,360. In North Carolina, the odds that Trump won are one in 186,938,411.

Given the prevalence of other Jim Crow tactics, it’s likely the exit polls were impacted by non-white voters in all the key swing states who were given provisional ballots (or they voted electronically) leading them to believe their votes were being counted, even though they were not.

In key Senate races in Florida, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Missouri, exit polls also showed Democratic candidates winning by statistically significant margins, but then losing the official vote count.

In 2014, Senate races in North Carolina, Colorado and Alaska ended with exit polls also showing Democratic Senate candidates winning the popular vote, while ultimately losing the official vote count. The odds against this happening in two consecutive elections that are not rigged are also astronomical. [PLEASE POST AT FREEP & PROVIDE LINK See chart below.]

Electronic Flipping

The vast majority of the popular votes in this election nationwide were cast on either computerized touch-screen electronic machines, or on scantron ballots that are counted by computer. In neither case are there public monitoring capabilities or legal recourse for vote counts that are flipped.

In 2016, as in all previous US elections at least since 2000, the electronic vote count remains anyone’s guess. In states with a governor and Secretary of State from the same party, the final tally can be whatever they want it to be.

Such techniques were used in Florida 2000 and Ohio 2004 to strip voter rolls and flip George W. Bush into the White House. More than 90,000 black/Hispanic voters were disenfranchised by Gov. Jeb Bush (George’s brother) in a Florida election officially decided by 537 votes. More than 300,000 primarily black/Hispanic voters were stripped from voter rolls in an Ohio 2004 election officially decided by 118,775.

In Florida’s 2000 presidential election, in Volusia County 16,000 votes cast for Gore were electronically subtracted and 4,000 were added to Bush, giving him a leg up on the evening’s vote count. This caused a Fox News commentator John Ellis (who was Bush’s first cousin) to call the election for George W. Bush.

In Ohio 2004, John Kerry was shown winning the election by 4.2%, more than 200,000 votes, at 12:20am. Then the electronic vote count ceased. At 2 a.m. a Bush lead began to emerge, somehow reaching 2.5%. The 6.7% flip is a virtual statistical impossibility.

All of this was done by private contractors working for the company SmarTech, based in Chattanooga, Tennessee. The key information technology specialist in charge of the vote count was Michael Connell, an Akron-based associate of the Bush family, who was hired by the Ohio Secretary of state with a no-bid contract to supervise the state’s official vote count. Connell later died in a mysterious plane crash after being deposed in federal court.

The fact that electronic voting machines cannot be monitored was voted a Most Censored story in 2016 with a key interview appearing on Amy Goodman’s DEMOCRACY NOW.

Computer “Black Box Voting” specialist Bev Harris, who uncovered the electronic vote flipping in Florida 2000, has warned this year that a method of “fractionated voting” could have been easily used to manipulate electronic vote counts. The manipulation could be done by Secretaries of State in conjunction with partisan for-profit corporations in ways that are virtually impossible to detect, and simply not open to legal challenge. According to Harris, this “fraction magic,” used in county central tabulators, could have flipped hundreds of thousands of votes.

In Ohio this year, a new generation of electronic vote scanning machines makes it possible to retrieve electronic images of ballots that have been cast on paper in the order that they were cast. These machines come with an audit log that would detect any illegitimate vote changes by central tabulators. But Secretary of State Husted opted to allow local election boards to leave both security functions—-the audit log and the image scanners—turned off. Co-author Bob Fitrakis sued in the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas, to have the monitoring functions turned on. But Judge David Cain ruled on Election Day that the election officials need not turn on those security features.

While in the US this year voter turnout dropped to a 20-year low of 55 percent, Wisconsin, which has Election Day registration, experienced an 82.74 percent statewide turnout. However, Dr. Richard Hayes Phillips found five municipalities in Wisconsin that had 100 percent voter turnout, or more. In 11 other towns and villages, the turnout is alleged to be “95 percent or higher.” In 80 more municipalities in Wisconsin, voter turnout topped 90 percent or higher. Phillips concluded that, “Either these voter turnout percentages are a historic achievement, unparalled in my experience, or the unofficial results are not true or correct.”

Throughout the US, including the swing states that will decide the presidential outcome in the Electoral College, and in those that have increased the GOP margin in the US Senate, the entire vote count remains an electronic mystery. Millions of dollars would be required to do meaningful recounts in states like Wisconsin, which may well have legitimately gone for Clinton and chosen a Democratic US Senator. Huge sums of money would be required to fund independent investigators to confirm who actually won these public offices as cast, recorded—and possibly manipulated—on these electronic machines.

So did the GOP strip and flip the 2016 election?

Let’s count the ways:

There is no doubt that Hillary Clinton won America’s popular vote by more than a million votes.

That popular vote victory will be reversed in an Electoral College originally designed to enhance the power of slaveowners, now being used for the sixth time to deny the White House to the rightful winner.

There is no doubt that more than enough black, Hispanic, Islamic and Asian-Americans were electronically stripped from the voter registration rolls by Crosscheck and other means to have given Clinton victories in those swing states that would have swung the Electoral College in her favor.

There is no doubt additional Jim Crow tactics meant to further disenfranchise black/Hispanic/Asian-American—such as stripping away voting times and precincts, denial of absentee ballots, non-counting of provisional ballots and much more—stripped Clinton of hundreds of thousands of additional legitimate votes.

There is no doubt exit polls showed her winning in more than enough states to have given her a victory in the Electoral College.

There is no doubt that the election was largely conducted on electronic machines, and with electronically counted scantron ballots, that are completely beyond public accountability. These voting machines are run on secret corporate proprietary software to which the public is not allowed access.

As in 2000 and 2004, the actual final vote count once again resides in black box machines controlled by GOP governors and Secretaries of State whose easy ability to hack and flip the official outcome cannot be monitored or brought to accountability. In at least one state (Ohio) the GOP took legal action to prevent the public from gaining potential access to the electronic vote count….and won!

There is also no doubt that had this election been conducted as it was in virtually any other country, the civilized world would have denounced it as completely unreliable and almost certainly false. Had it been in our “national interest” to do so, American troops would have poured in to “restore democracy” after such an obviously rigged charade.

Throughout the campaign GOP candidate Trump cleverly complained of a “rigged election.” He continually warned of innumerable non-whites and Muslims voting multiple times for Hillary Clinton.

Of course the opposite happened. Hundreds of thousands of non-white citizens were systematically denied their right to vote. Since even that wasn’t enough to elect Donald Trump, the Electoral College will once again deny democracy. And thanks to the dark magic of electronic voting machines, we will never really know 2016’s true vote count.

Today’s most tangible tragedy is what may soon unfold in this country.

But the underlying nightmare is that this has been done before. That we’ve known about stripped and flipped elections for at least sixteen years. And that nothing has been done.

If anything, due to the spread of electronic voting machines, our electoral system is more corrupt and less accountable than it was in 2000, when the GOP first stripped and flipped George W. Bush into the White House.

We advocate universal automatic voter registration, transparent voter rolls, a four-day national holiday for voting, universal hand-counted paper ballots, abolition of the Electoral College, an end to gerrymandering, a ban on corporate money in politics.

There’s much more. But until we win those basics, democracy in America is an illusion….as is our chance to survive on this planet.

——————

Bob Fitrakis & Harvey Wasserman are co-authors of THE STRIP & FLIP DEATH OF AMERICAN DEMOCRACY: FIVE JIM CROWS & ELECTRONIC ELECTION THEFT (www.freepress.org/www.solartopia.org). Bob’s FITRAKIS FILES and Harvey’s AMERICA AT THE BRINK OF REBIRTH also abide.

Charts courtesy of Rob Baiman, Assistant Professor, Benedictine University, and member of the Chicago Political Economy Group. The charts are a preliminary draft subject to revision as the data comes in.

Associated Files:

PDF icon 2016 Presidential exit poll – vote count comparative.pdf
PDF icon 2016 Senate exit poll – vote count comparative _13.EPNull.pdf

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Solartopia Green Power and Wellness Hour – 11.10.16

http://prn.fm/solartopia-green-power-wellness-hour-11-10-16/

ANOTHER STRIPPED FLIPPED ELECTION?  We’re joined by my election theft co-author BOB FITRAKIS to sort through the rubble of the 2016 election.

For the sixth time in US history, the ELECTORAL COLLEGE has allowed the losing candidate to become president.  It worked for George W. Bush in 2000 and now it will work for Donald Trump.

Once again exit polls show the alleged loser, this time Hillary Clinton, being in fact the likely victory.

But most importantly we see the likelihood that the stripping of voter rolls rendered more than enough voters ineligible to have shifted the final outcome.

We are joined late in the show by voting rights activist Lynn Landes and CODE RED author Jon Simon for more important comment, which will be continued
as we try to make sense of how to live and make change in a country ruled by a system that nowhere nearly represents a democracy.

Photo of government session

For the sixth time in our history, a candidate for President of the United States may have won the popular vote and lost the White House.

This must end.

While the nation—and much of the world—shudders at the thought of a Donald Trump presidency, our electoral system has once again failed to deliver a formal victory to the person who got the most votes.

Hillary Clinton appears to have won the nationwide popular vote. As of about 1 PM eastern time, the tally was roughly 58,909,774 votes (47.6%) for Clinton, versus 58,864,233 votes (47.5%) for Trump. (The exact numbers will change as the vote count continues.)

But Donald Trump’s Electoral College tally has exceeded the 270 Electoral College votes needed to take the White House.

There is much more to tell about this. This year’s vote has once again been stripped and flipped by GOP Jim Crow segregationist tactics that disenfranchised millions of primarily African-American and Hispanic citizens.

But if the current vote tallies continue roughly they way they are, Donald Trump will join Thomas Jefferson, John Quincy Adams, Rutherford B. Hayes, Benjamin Harrison, and George W. Bush as presidents who lost the popular vote but still took the nation’s highest office, in every case with huge impacts.

The Electoral College was established at the 1787 Constitutional Convention to prevent the public from voting directly on our national leader. Ostensibly, it was meant in part to protect small states from being bullied by bigger ones.

It also installed a “three-fifth bonus” that gave plantation owners a 60 percent headcount for their slaves. The ruse was counted into Congressional districting, giving the south a distinct advantage over the northern free states. That’s why every President from Jefferson to Lincoln either owned slaves or had a vice president who did.

In 1800, Jefferson beat the incumbent John Adams in an Electoral College swung by “bonus votes” that came from slaves who could not actually cast them. In 1824, John Quincy Adams made a deal with Kentucky slaveowner Henry Clay to steal the presidency from Andrew Jackson, who had beaten Adams by about 50,000 popular votes.

In 1876, Republican Rutherford B. Hayes lost to Democrat Samuel Tilden by about 250,000 votes. But the GOP used federal troops in the south to shift enough Electoral College votes to create a deadlock. Hayes then became president by agreeing to remove those troops and end Reconstruction, a catastrophe for southern blacks and a triumph for the Jim Crow segregation that has defined our national politics ever since.

In 1888, Republican Benjamin Harrison lost the popular vote to incumbent Democrat Grover Cleveland but became president anyway. Cleveland won back the White House in 1892.

In 2000, Democrat Al Gore beat Republican George W. Bush by a nationwide tally of about 500,000 votes. Gore was also ultimately shown to have won the popular vote in Florida. But Bush’s brother Jeb, then governor of Florida, used a computerized system to remove voters from the rolls, to steal Florida’s electoral votes and put George in the White House.

Much the same was done in Ohio 2004 to defeat John Kerry. Bush ultimately was credited with a victory in the nationwide popular vote.

This year, Donald Trump’s Electoral College victory will change history in unimaginable ways. But nationwide it appears he did not win the popular vote. Hillary Clinton did.

There is much more to this story. But one thing is clear: There is no useful function for the Electoral College, a vile 230-year-old holdover from the bad old days of the southern slaveocracy. It poisons our electoral process.

It will require a Constitutional Amendment to get rid of it. But if we are to have anything that resembles a democracy, the Electoral College must be abolished.

Bob Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman are co-authors of The Strip & Flip Selection of 2016: Five Jim Crows & Electronic Election Theft (www.freepress.org / www.solartopia.org) and six other books on election protection.  

 

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Democray Now Presents Bob Fitrakis And Greg Palast In Ohio, Speaking About Election And Security

“In an on-the-ground report from the battleground state of Ohio, investigative reporter Greg Palast has uncovered the latest in vote suppression tactics led by Republicans that could threaten the integrity of the vote in Ohio and North Carolina. On some polling machines, audit protection functions have been shut off, and African Americans and Hispanics are being scrubbed from the voter rolls through a system called Crosscheck. “It’s a brand-new Jim Crow,” Palast says. “Today, on Election Day, they’re not going to use white sheets to keep way black voters. Today, they’re using spreadsheets.”

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Report On Bob’s Debate And OH 18th Dist. Green, Connie Gadell-Newton

Graphic of state of Ohio with a flower growing in the middle

At the same time Green Party candidate for county prosecutor Bob Fitrakis was debating Democratic candidate Zach Klein, a Columbus police officer with a history of questionable shootings killed Tyre King, a 13-year-old African American. King’s shooting occurred less than a block away from Fitrakis’s Near East home.

In a sad and tragic way, the timing was fatefully surreal. The two candidates were sparring over what’s the best way to end police shootings of African-American men and children.

But it wasn’t fate at all. Bob Fitrakis has been fighting back against questionable police shootings of African-Americans for much of his working life, and if Columbus and the rest of the nation, for that matter, would have listened to Fitrakis a long, long time ago, Tyre King may be alive today.

On the other hand, career politician and current city council president Zach Klein, who’s jumped back and forth from Democrat to Republican so to further his ascension, has no record of denouncing questionable police shootings.

Fitrakis of course is also editor of The Columbus Free Press. During the debate Fitrakis argued what needs to be established so to investigate and hopefully end these needless deaths.

“I have no problem with an independent prosecutor,” Fitrakis told the crowd during a candidate’s forum at Mt. Olivet Baptist Church. “I just don’t think it goes far enough. I believe that there needs to be an independent civilian review board, with subpoena power, that is elected from the area commissions, and that is responsible in these shooting cases.

“Part of the problem is the tremendous hold the FOP has on elected officials,” Fitrakis said. “That has to stop. We need not only an independent prosecutor, we need a civilian review board with an auditor. We need real citizens from the high-crime neighborhoods. We should be able to elect people from those communities, because they’re the victims.”

As for his opponent that fateful night, it was more of the same, which is making some progressives seethe. Zach Klein not only opposes a civilian review board with subpoena power, but also an independent prosecutor to investigate fatal police shootings.

The left’s discontent with the Democratic Party has been building for some time and now hitting a boiling point with this election cycle. And it’s not just because of where candidates stand on issues; the Green Party isn’t backed by Super PACs or billionaires, and the mainstream media, either. Even aligning yourself with Democrats is making progressives go Green.

“We have been hit by this storm, this whirlwind of support that basically started on the day that Bernie endorsed Hillary,” Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein said at the party’s national convention. “Suddenly, the floodgates opened in our fundraising. Unsolicited money just started pouring in. So, in the last three weeks, we’ve actually raised as much money as we have in the entire year-and-a-half of the campaign until then. So it’s a whole new ball game.”

The Green Party storm is reverberating nationally and spreading locally.

Constance Gadell-Newton is the Green Party candidate for the Ohio House of State Representative 18th District race, which encompasses Columbus, Grandview Heights, German Village, Franklinton and the Near East. She’s a Near East resident and also Fitrakis’s law partner. When she decided to run she considered it an “experiment.” But after Bernie lost the nomination, it became much more than a chance to test the waters.

“Strangers were taking out their phones and donating on the spot,” says the 36-year-old Gadell-Newton. “I know how much $100 is in a personal budget. That could be coming right out of their grocery bill. As a candidate when someone gives me that amount of money I have to take this seriously and respect the people who are supporting me.”

Gadell-Newton says one of the biggest revelations during her candidacy was how easy it was to get on the ballot. Now when she’s out campaigning she’s telling as many people as she can that running as a Green Party candidate is “totally doable, especially in local small races.”

“That’s one thing I am surprised about,” she said. “I only needed 25 signatures. Major party candidates need 50 signatures. For people who are interested in change, running for office takes a lot less energy than passing a ballot issue, for instance, which takes thousands of signatures.”

She says victory this election cycle may be elusive, so she’s positioning herself for 2018 and 2020. But for now, running as a Green Party candidate during this election cycle of chaos is having serious influence on the overall debate.

“Even though we may not win, Green Party candidates are able to influence the political dialogue and that’s something I’ve seen with Bob’s (Fitrakis) prosecutor race. He’s very outspoken about the issues he cares about and he’s pushing the other candidates to the side of Black Lives Matter, for instance.”

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Breaking News: Our David v. Goliath battle begins in Ohio!

The Latest Update on Our California exit polls September 28, 2016

boblori

I am writing to inform you of an amazing opportunity available to you to possibly effect a major change in our system of reporting vote counts in the United States. For years, as we have reported to you. Edison Media Research has refused to release the raw data they gather during their exit polls. Raw data from exit polls is adjusted to fit the vote totals that come in from our vote tabulators across the country. The Media Consortium which hires Edison Media Research (EMR) uses the vote totals coming in from the tabulators as the real vote count. Normally, in other countries, exit poll data is supposed to show you what the real vote totals are. If the exit polls differ significantly from the computerized vote totals, the winning politician may be winning from electronic vote manipulation as opposed to the vote of the people.

As you may know, there was a highly significant, unexplainable difference reported in the exit polls in the Democratic primary for twelve states this year between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. Although Bernie appeared to be winning more votes than Hillary, based on the voters leaving the polls, at the end of the day there was a huge discrepancy in 12 states between the exit poll data and the official vote awarded Clinton. When attorney Cliff Arnebeck, an associate of attorney Robert Fitrakis requested that EMR release its raw data on the Democratic primary,EMR not only refused to release the raw data but canceled all further exit polls for the remaining primary elections. An emergency exit poll that TrustVote.org sponsored in three counties in California, Alameda county, Santa Clara county and Contra Costa County revealed thatBernie Sanders won over Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primary by 7.9% rather than 3.1% as shown in the California Secretary of State’s website. It appears that the votes in these counties were electronically manipulated.

Robert Fitrakis together with the support of many small donors associated with TrustVote.org was able to file a lawsuit against EMR.  Please click on the PDF links below to read a copy of our original lawsuit. Baker & Hostetler LLP, the law firm connected with Edison Media Research reports a company income of $650 million dollars a year. They have responded to our lawsuit with a motion to dismiss it.

The donation totals of TrustVote.org are only a tiny fraction of this amount. Battling Baker and Hostetler and Edison Media Research will be truly a David v.Goliath battle! If we win in this lawsuit, Bob Fitrakis has been willing to fight Baker and Hostetler’s motion to dismiss the TrustVote.org lawsuit for very little. Nonetheless, Bob estimates that still we will need at least $20,000 more to pursue this lawsuit against Edison Media Research all the way to the end.

If we prevail in this lawsuit, we will be able to see the raw data collected by EMR during the last primary. Bernie Sanders will be able to see the more accurate percentages of votes that he really received before the exit polls were edited. And both the USA and the rest of the world, will become aware of the editing of American exit polls  that happens routinely in the higher office elections in the US on a regular basis.

$4500 was already raised by TrustVote.org donors to start this lawsuit and maintain it up to this point. THANK YOU, THANK YOU for all of your donations thus far!! Can we count on you to contribute more to help us win this lawsuit? Many TrustVote.org donors have donated small amounts towards these very important issues. Whatever you can give, large or small will be DEEPLY appreciated! With many people donating $10 and $20 dollars, the total contribution amount begins to mount up. And, just yesterday, a TrustVote.org donor has agreed to match any of your donations dollar for dollar!

So the battle has really begun! Come help us transform elections in our country, have a voting system we can count on and  create a true democracy here in our country!

Very Sincerely,

Lori Grace

 

Here is what Robert Fitrakis writes about the lawsuit against Edison Media Research.

In the case of Johnson v. Edison Media Research (EMR), plaintiff, Pete Johnson and his counsel, Robert Fitrakis filed a motion on September 20, 2016 to keep the case from being dismissed.

The legal filing notes that, “Edison Research is the exclusive provider of election exit polls to the National Election Pool consisting of ABC, CBS, CNN, FOX, NBC, MSNBC and the Associated Press….” Johnson points out, “The results of the ‘exit polls’ that EMR conducted on March 15, 2016 during the Presidential Primary Elections in the State of Ohio did not match the actual election outcomes when the votes were counted.

Johnson’s Reply Brief goes into great detail to establish the cozy relationship between the Ohio Secretary of State and the monopoly exit poll provider for the media consortium. Edison admitted that “The information is delivered through a secure web application on Election Day.”

Lori’s note: A secure web application means an information feed that is not available to the public. In other words a secret information feed.

The Brief states: “The Ohio Secretary of State regularly provides EMR with detailed records of voter demographics and actual election outcomes after the votes are counted, and allows EMR to conduct ‘exit polls’ near polling places.”

Johnson v. Edison is all about the secret collusion between a government official, a monopoly entity that adjusts election results to match the official outcome without transparency, and a giant media consortium, that could also be called a cartel. The crux of the complaint against Edison is in page four of the Brief: “After the Ohio Secretary of State provided EMR with those voter demographics and actual election outcomes, EMR adjusted the results of its ‘exit polls’ to match them.”

The Brief argues that, “The information gathered and disseminated in ‘exit polls’ goes to the heart of the democratic process, the process of obtaining the information in ‘exit polls’ requires a significant discussion between pollster and voter, and “exit polls” provide a valued source of data about voter behavior.”

Many of the same concerns about exit polling were raised by U.S. Representative John Conyers, Jr. in a January 20, 2005 open letter to Edison Media Research. Conyers pointed out that the adjusted exit poll numbers provided by Edison in the 2004 presidential election were “virtually impossible as a statistical matter.” Conyers issued Edison a “…request to receive the actual raw exit poll data that you obtained.” Edison refused to cooperate with the Ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee.

Johnson v. Edison is another attempt to end the non-transparency in the U.S. voting process, one that allows private for-profit companies to secretly program the voting machines and tabulators with proprietary software, but also allows Edison to secretly adjust exit polls numbers to support the statistically impossible.

Bob Fitrakis, the attorney for Johson, argues that: “Edison needs to come clean and become transparent. These Democratic primary exit polls, had they occurred in another country, would have caused at least 12 of the 26 Democratic primary elections to be invalidated.”

Below are the three PDFs of the lawsuit. The first one is the original lawsuit against Edison Media Research by Bob Fitrakis, the second PDF is Edison Media Research’s response to our lawsuit. The third one below is our response to Baker and Hostetler’s motion to dismiss our lawsuit.

Complaint Exit Poll PDF

Edison Research Motion to Dismiss PDF

Filed Memo Opposing Edison Research Motion To Dismiss PDF

 

voteThe California Election Integrity Coalition and
The Institute for American Democracy and Election Integrity
present

Was your vote counted? Are you frustrated with the results of the California primary? Was your group’s efforts to observe the ballot count process suppressed by your county’s election office (aka Registrar of Voters)?

Maybe your experience was great. Either way, we want you to join us for our upcoming Take Back the Vote: An Emergency Conference to Prepare for Upcoming Election(s), happening October 8th and 9th, in Richmond, California.

Among many other election related topics, we will be training poll workers and precinct monitors on irregularities to watch out for, on Election Day. Our mission is to ensure every ballot is counted as cast. Let’s do the work to create a real Democracy!

The goals of this conference are the following:
1) Build a broader base of individuals who are aware of election issues
2) Train the next generation of poll workers and monitors
3) Encourage concerned citizens to organize statewide (to do 1 & 2)
4) Educate voters about their voting rights

The focus of the conference has recently been expanded to include issues around election integrity across the country which will possibly impact the outcome of both the 2016 Presidential election and senatorial and congressional election results for both parties across the United States.

If you can’t attend, please donate to sponsor the event and/or an individual’s participation.

WHEN
Saturday, October 8, 2016 at 9:30 AM – Sunday, October 9, 2016 at 5:00 PM (PDT) –

WHERE
Grace Lutheran Church – 2369 Barrett Avenue, Richmond, CA 94804

COST and REGISTER
Only $25 for the weekend.

Register Here

California Election Integrity Coalition
Organizer of Take Back the Vote: An Emergency Conference to Prepare for Upcoming Election(s)

Editorial note by Lori Grace: The final solution that we all would want is paper ballots that are counted ideally by people in elections that can be fully observed and audited.We know that this will not be our option for this year. We can only put out this intention. Hopefully, the United States will one day become more like Germany, Ireland, Iceland and Switzerland.

Learn More Here
Please stay tuned to trustvote.org and our up-coming articles and events, where we will be looking at what we can do to create more reliability in our November elections!
To Support the California and Ohio Lawsuits Please Donate Today!

Sincerely,

Lori Grace

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Franklin County Prosecutor candidates weigh in on police-involved shootings, diversion programs, equal protection

by Steve Palm-Houser
SEPTEMBER 20, 2016

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On September 14, two candidates for Franklin County Prosecutor answered questions about how they would respond to officer-involved shootings, if elected. As the candidates’ forum at Mt. Olivet Baptist Church proceeded, only one mile away 13-year-old Tyre King was pursued and shot multiple times by Columbus police. He was taken to Nationwide Children’s Hospital and pronounced dead a few minutes after the candidates’ forum ended.

Adrienne Hood spoke at the beginning of the forum. Her son Henry Green was killed by Columbus police on June 6. “It’s unfortunate that the person who can give me the justice that my son deserves is not here,” she said, indicating the empty chair reserved for Ron O’Brien, the incumbent County Prosecutor candidate. O’Brien has not responded to demands by Green’s family to indict the officers who shot him and appoint an independent prosecutor to oversee the case.

Diversion programs

People’s Justice Project organizer Tammy Alsaada posed the first question to Democratic candidate Zach Klein and Green Party candidate Bob Fitrakis. “Would you keep families together by expanding diversion programs for youth, for addiction, and for mental health issues in underserved and overlooked communities?” she asked. “And how would you help keep people out of the system and get the treatment they need?”

“Yes,” Zach Klein said. “I’m a firm believer that the cycle of incarceration breeds a cycle of poverty, which breeds a cycle of incarceration. I think we need to be aggressive in expanding our diversion program to ensure that there is treatment” for drug addiction and mental health issues. “We also need a diversion program that recognizes when some people turn to crime to make ends meet. It may be a small number of people, but there are people who lack opportunity. Jail is for people that we’re afraid of, not for people we don’t know what to do with.”

There is currently “no rhyme or reason or policy directive out of the prosecutor’s office for who is eligible for diversion,” Klein said. “It’s all at the whim of whether the prosecutor knows the defense attorney. That’s not fair, open, or transparent.”

Bob Fitrakis also responded “yes” to Alsaada’s question. “As prosecutor I will not arrest anyone for drug possession,” he said. “It’s a medical problem, and that’s how it will be handled.” Instead, he would go after the people involved in heavy drug trafficking. “Many of these are connected with legitimate businesses. The people who fueled the crack epidemic in this town in the 1990’s were Southern Air Transport. They were bringing heroin and other drugs into this country. Instead of going after someone with ten balloons in their stomach, let’s go after the large aircraft that are coming in by the planeload, contaminating these communities.”

Fitrakis cited the recently revealed admission by Richard Nixon’s domestic policy chief John Ehrlichman that the War on Drugs was started not to curb drug use, but to marginalize blacks and the hippies who opposed the Vietnam War. “This has been a systematic campaign against the poor community, against the black community,” he said. “We need to redefine the problem.”

Equal protection under the law

“Research shows that mass incarceration disproportionately affects low-income people, and people of color,” said Jasmine Ayres, field director for the Ohio Organizing Collaborative. “We need more information to make evidence-based decisions on policies and practices. For example, black people in Franklin County are 3.8 times more likely to be in jail than whites.

“Will you collect and share demographic data — including race, gender, and income level — on who is charged, what they are charged with, what plea is offered, and what bail is recommended? And how would you set alternative metrics to evaluate your staff?”

“Will I comply with the open records law? Yes,” Bob Fitrakis responded. “There needs to be full transparency. For many years, before the Free Press went after the judges, they were double-bonding people. The bondsmen were running the court until they were exposed.

“I’m going to remove the jump-out boys,” he said, referring to plainclothes police officers who patrol so-called “crime hot-spots,” a code word for neighborhoods with many poor, black, and Latino residents. “They post white police, walking around with money, pretending they’re on drugs, acting like bait. They should be removed or charged criminally, because they’re causing the violence. They need to get off the streets.”

Fitrakis recalled teaching police officers about the U.S. Constitution in 1980. “They weren’t really receptive to it, but we were able to work out certain things,” he said. “We should pay our police well, and we should make sure they know our fundamental principles.”

Zach Klein responded, “Yes, as someone who’s running for prosecutor, trying to get that information that you seek. It doesn’t exist. We should have an open, transparent system in the prosecutor’s office that uses the best practices and technology, that’s not only available, but easy to understand.

“In 2014, which is the last year this data was available, there were 12,000 criminal filings in Franklin County. 190 went to trial. Think about the 11,810 cases that never went to trial, that fall squarely within the programs and opportunities that you’re talking about. But outside of knowing they didn’t go to trial, we don’t know anything about the defendants, the pleas, or the cases.

“Having an open and transparent prosecutor’s office restores the community’s faith in the criminal justice system,” Klein said. “We need to have a prosecutor’s office that is outward-facing, that is engaged in the community, that doesn’t just go home to the suburbs, that looks like the community,” Klein said. “What do I know about Ron O’Brien’s office? Four percent of his lawyers are African American. I think that’s abysmal. We need to have a more aggressive approach to recruiting African American, Latino, LGBT, and female lawyers.”

Trying juveniles as adults

“Youth should not be tried as adults. Research shows that if you send youth to adult prison, they are more likely to re-offend. They are more likely to be sexually abused,” said Candice Williams-Bethea, a grassroots educator with the People’s Justice Project. “How will you handle the practice of trying minors in adult court? And how will you use developmentally-informed decision making appropriate to youth?

“Those statistics are real, which is why any prosecutor should be careful about charging any juvenile as an adult, or as a juvenile,” Zach Klein responded. “A prosecutor’s office should be working with faith and community leaders to play quarterback on this issue and others, to give juvenile offenders a chance to pull themselves out of the cycle. A proactive prosecutor will bring the parties together with a mentor program that can give kids an opportunity to make a difference, not just treat them like a number.”

“I’m not charging any juvenile as an adult if I am prosecutor,” said Bob Fitrakis. “Social science states the obvious: the amount of lawbreaking between affluent suburban white kids and inner-city kids is about the same. The only difference is who gets charged, who gets a record, and who ends up doing time and being profiled for the rest of their lives.”

As an attorney, Fitrakis sees “more justice when I go to mayor’s court in Worthington, Grandview, and Hilliard, when youth are charged with a minor misdemeanor because they’re good boys and girls and about to go off to a private school.” For the same offense a young person in Columbus might be given a first degree misdemeanor or a felony charge, he said. “That must end in the prosecutor’s office.”

Independent prosecutor for police-involved shootings

“Recently the Supreme Court of Ohio acknowledged the bias of the grand jury process when it comes to indicting police,” said Aramis Malachi-Ture Sundiata, statewide organizing director for the People’s Justice Project. “Will you appoint an independent prosecutor to investigate all police-involved shootings in Franklin County? And if not, how will you handle police-involved shootings?”

“If you appoint an independent prosecutor, who do you hold accountable?” Zach Klein responded. “When I am prosecutor, I want you to hold me accountable for decisions I make, not only in police-involved shootings, but in any issue of crime.”

Klein cited Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Tim McGinty, who lost a re-election campaign when he failed to indict police officers in the killing of Tamir Rice. “He was held accountable and got fired,” Klein said. “If we appoint independent prosecutors, I’m afraid that we might lose the accountability. You can’t vote an independent prosecutor out of office.”

“I have no problem with an independent prosecutor,” Bob Fitrakis said. “I just don’t think it goes far enough. I believe that there needs to be an independent civilian review board, with subpoena power, that is elected from the area commissions, and that is responsible in these shooting cases.

“Part of the problem is the tremendous hold the FOP has on elected officials,” Fitrakis said. “That has to stop. We need not only an independent prosecutor; we need a civilian review board with an auditor. We need real citizens from the high-crime neighborhoods. We should be able to elect people from those communities, because they’re the victims.”

At a Columbus City Council candidates’ forum last fall, Zach Klein went on record as opposing a civilian review board with subpoena power.

Both candidates agreed to meet with the groups who held the candidates forum’ 100 days after the election.

For each of the questions posed, the audience applause was consistently louder and longer for Bob Fitrakis than for Zach Klein.

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