Marc Morano | Senior Staff Writer | Thursday, November 11, 2004
But the controversy isn't confined to bloggers and activists.
Greg Palast, a contributing editor to Harper's magazine, conducted an investigation into voter fraud for BBC television's Newsnight.
"I know you don't want to hear it. You can't face one more hung chad. But I don't have a choice. As a journalist examining that messy sausage called American democracy, it's my job to tell you who got the most votes in the deciding states. Tuesday, in Ohio and New Mexico, it was John Kerry, Palast said in his investigation reprinted at TomPaine.com.
Palast's assessment is echoed by U.S. Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.), five other Democratic congressmen and liberal groups such as Common Cause and People for the American Way. They are demanding action on what they see as election fraud in key states including Ohio and Florida. Conyers has asked the General Accounting Office to probe the election results and hopes to get congressional hearings on the subject. Kerry's brother Cam Kerry has also weighed in on the allegations of voter fraud, assuring those concerned that "we are not ignoring it."
Noticeably missing from the accusers is the George Soros-funded group, MoveOn.org, and liberal film-maker Michael Moore, whose "Fahrenheit 9/11" alleged voter fraud on the part of Republicans in Florida in 2000. Both have opted to stay on the sidelines so far in the current dispute.
Palast, the liberal author of the New York Times' best selling book, "The Best Democracy Money Can Buy," explained that "Although the exit polls show that most voters in Ohio punched cards for Kerry-Edwards, thousands of these votes were simply not recorded.
"So what's going on here?" Palast asked his readers, before following up with the answer. "[T]he exit polls are accurate. Pollsters ask, 'Who did you vote for?' Unfortunately, they don't ask the crucial, question, 'Was your vote counted?' The voters don't know."
Palast is critical of the Democratic Party for not contesting the 2004 election results.
"So here we go again. Or, here we don't go again. Because unlike last time, (2000 election) Democrats aren't even asking Ohio to count these cards with the not-quite-punched holes (called 'undervotes' in the voting biz). Nor are they demanding we look at the 'overvotes' where voter intent may be discerned," Palast explained.
"Despite the Democratic Party's pledge, the leadership this time gave in to racial disenfranchisement once again," he added.
Activists alleging massive Election Day voter fraud, point to Warren County Ohio, a suburb of Cincinnati, where the vote count was conducted in secret. Warren County officials reportedly barred the press and other observers from entering their administration building during the vote tally, citing concerns about terrorism.
The liberal activists also point to Bush's better than expected vote tallies in some heavily Democratic precincts in Florida as evidence that the results were rigged. But behind the flurry of new charges of election fraud is little or no evidence of irregularities, much less of wrongdoing.
In Lafayette County, Fla., one of the areas cited as having produced a suspicious level of support for Bush despite the fact that it is overwhelmingly populated by registered Democrats, it turns out that the county also voted for Bush in 2000, voted for Republican presidential nominee Bob Dole in 1996 as well as Bush's father, George H.W. Bush, in 1992, according to ABC News.
As for the alleged voting irregularities in Ohio mentioned by many of Kerry's supporters, the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections announced that it was merely a computer glitch that added excessive absentee ballots to the final tallies in many precincts, without affecting the outcome of the voting.
Jacqui Maiden, the coordinator for the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections, said the computer error did not affect the vote tallies for any candidate, just the turnout totals, according to Wednesday's Akron Beacon Journal.
Also Wednesday, at least one group alleging voter fraud withdrew its accusations about Cuyahoga County after hearing Maiden's explanation.
'Need someone with Brass Knuckles'
Many others on the left are also venting their anger at the losing Democratic nominee, John Kerry.
The liberal website Buzzflash.com blasted Kerry in a headline, discouraging him from even considering another run for President in 2008.
"Why[?] To Let (Bush political advisor Karl) Rove Steal another Election from the Democrats. John, We Need Someone with Brass Knuckles Next Time," read the Wednesday headline.
Angry Kerry supporters are meeting around the country to plot how to expose what they see as a stolen election by the Bush administration and the GOP.
"I think we need to protest this election no matter what Kerry does," said Illinois resident Sue West at a meeting in Madison, Wis., on Nov. 6, according to the journalistic website, Madison.com. The meeting, titled "No Stolen Elections," was sponsored by the Madison Area Peace Coalition.
"I think it's fraud, pure and simple," West added.
Austin King, another activist attending the meeting, alleged that erroneous information on college campuses was "was clearly a coordinated national effort by Republicans to suppress the college vote," adding that he would "very much like to see someone put in jail for this, and I'm not a tough-on-crime guy," according to Madison.com.
Madison.com also quoted John Peck, a recent University of Wisconsin graduate who expressed a disdain for electronic voting machines.
"The Luddites had an answer to machines," Peck said, referring to the anti-technology movement in 19th century England that advocated the destruction of automation technology thought to be taking over manufacturing jobs.
Another Ohio group, calling itself "The League of Pissed Off Voters," is calling for public hearings in that state to investigate the election results. Joining the call to action are such groups as Common Cause Ohio and People for the American Way Foundation.
Conyers: 'Immediately undertake an investigation'
MSNBC television anchor Keith Olbermann picked up on the election fraud charges on his program Countdown on Monday. Olbermann interviewed Conyers, who said the voting "irregularities are sufficient in number, and more and more members are joining me every day on this ... that we need the General Accountability (sic) Office to document each and every incident and then investigate it."
Joining Conyers in his request for a General Accounting Office (GAO) investigation are U.S. Reps. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), Robert Wexler (D-Fla.), Rush Holt (D-N.J.), Robert C. Scott (D-Va.) and Melvin Watt (D-N.C.). Conyers demanded that the GAO "immediately undertake an investigation into the efficacy of voting machines and new technologies used in the 2004 election."
Conyers predicted his election investigation efforts "will probably lead to congressional hearings."
Kerry's brother, Cam Kerry, issued a statement on the allegations of voter fraud on Tuesday and acknowledged the groups seeking an investigation of the matter.
"I am grateful to the many people who have contacted me to express their deep concern about questions of miscounting, fraud, vote suppression, and other problems on Election Day, especially in Florida and Ohio," Cam Kerry wrote in a statement.
"I want to you to know we are not ignoring it. Election protection lawyers are still on the job in Ohio and Florida and in D.C. making sure all the votes are counted accurately. I have been conferring with lawyers involved and have made them aware of the information and concerns people have given me. Even if the facts don't provide a basis to change the outcome, the information will inform the continuing effort to protect the integrity of our elections," Cam Kerry explained.
Bush's 'friends in high places'
Theories abound as to how the president allegedly stole the election from Kerry. BuzzFlash.com columnist Maureen Farrell wrote a Tuesday editorial explaining how Bush was able to secure victory in Ohio.
"And luckily for Mr. Bush, he had friends in high places in the Buckeye State, too. After all, Walden 'Wally' O'Dell, head of the voting machine company Diebold, had already expressed a commitment 'to helping Ohio deliver its electoral votes to the President' and Ohio Secretary of State Ken 'Paper Weight' Blackwell appeared to have Bush's back, as well," Farrell wrote.
"Pundits have been asking how exit polls, which have historically been accurate, could have been so wrong. Well, that's easy: There's an elephant in the voting booth. Now, will someone please alert the media?" Farrell concluded.
Another article on BuzzFlash.com even accused the Bush administration of timing the recent offensive in Fallujah to drown out media reports of voter fraud.
In a Nov. 8 article titled, "Stolen Election. America Hijacked," writer Chuck Muziani wrote that, "nothing occurred in the day after the election to elicit the order (to attack Fallujah) at that moment ... except ... the web bloggers, and blackboxvoting.org, and votergate.tv investigating reports of vote result discrepancies, and potential fraud in Ohio, Florida, Pennsylvania, and a (sic) other states.
"In fact, the Fallujah offensive timing was engineered to steal attention away from voter fraud reports," Muziani wrote.
"Forget planes being hijacked. America, as a whole, has been hijacked. Not by Islamic-based terrorists. Not by Middle Eastern zealots who 'hate our freedom,'" Muziani added. "And not by suicidal bomb-packing sycophants programmed to praise their God by personally delivering their murder victims to His pearly gate. America has been hijacked by a greedy, power hungry political machine that could never win an election without stealing it."
Republican pollster Kellyanne Conway dismissed the election fraud charges.
"To the anti-Bush Left, the so-called 'October Surprise' arrived a few days late, on November 2. They invested everything they had into defeating the President. Having lost, they now desperately try to reinvent the results, revise history and deny reality," Conway wrote CNSNews.com in an email.
"They are touting a conclusion ('Kerry Won!') hopelessly in search of evidence. Their bitterness and denial consumes them. Defeated above board, they have taken to the underground to blog and bloviate. But no serious people are listening; they are just talk[ing] to themselves, much like they did for the past year," Conway added.
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