Wednesday, October 22, 2008


Voter fraud arrests—not Acorn, but Republican operatives

by Larry Geller

Listening to WBAI’s evening news podcast while folding the laundry this evening was really upsetting. It seems that a huge number of new voters have signed up this year, and they appear to be Democrats by a three-to-one margin. So Republicans are scurrying to purge voter rolls or otherwise obstruct voters access to their ballots by whatever means they can, legally or illegally.

I learned that other democratic countries don’t have this problem. The government maintains lists of citizens eligible to vote, and on election day, they go vote (or whatever the system is). (Yes, I also know that in some countries hundreds of people are killed each election cycle.)

One day, I hope, democracy will come to this country.

From a promo for tonight’s WBAI news:

In Ohio a web site of the state agency handling voter registration has been hacked and Ohio's Secretary of State, a Democrat, has been getting death threats. 

Reports of voter suppression and intimidation efforts are pouring in from around the country.  Andrea Sears speaks with Adam Skaggs, counsel for the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU Law School.

Death threats! What a sad state our country is in.

Meanwhile, voter fraud on an individual basis simply does not happen. From today’s Democracy Now:

The important point here, Amy, is that voter fraud is practically nonexistent. Several studies have taken a close look at this and found that there really is no voter fraud of this kind.

People just don’t show up at voting places and claim to be another person. Acorn is not threatening the fabric of our democracy. McCain knows this, of course. He also knows what his own people are up to.

There are other kinds of fraud. Early voting has barely begun and already there are arrests for voter fraud. Not Acorn, but Republicans:

While John McCain has attacked the liberal US community group Acorn for alleged voter registration fraud, the Republican party continues to employ operatives facing fraud accusations including one who faces criminal perjury charges.

Democrats are accusing McCain of hypocrisy after the weekend arrest of Mark Jacoby, a California Republican operative. Jacoby has been accused of voter registration fraud after registering himself to vote at two homes where he did not live.
. . .
The arrest comes after McCain and running mate Sarah Palin attempted to tie Barack Obama's campaign to Acorn, playing up a federal investigation of the group's voter registration tactics in several states.

"Over the past few weeks we've heard John McCain denounce voter fraud on the campaign trail while the [Republican party] hurls false attacks, so the question is: where is the outrage now?" Democratic spokesman Karen Finney asked yesterday.

Jacoby is the second Republican operative revealed this week to possess a questionable record on voter registration. Nathan Sproul – who has been investigated by Congress for allegedly destroying voter registration forms and intimidating voters – got paid $175,000 by the McCain camp this year. [The Guardian (London), US election: Republican operative faces voter registration fraud charges, 10/22/2008]

On another front, voting computers are vulnerable to a number of attacks. In Hawaii, Maui resident Bob Babson and his attorney Lance Collins, filed suit to prevent telephone transmission of votes from HART voting computers. This snippet from today’s Democracy Now explains the “Man in the Middle” attack, which is the threat that is really at the heart of this lawsuit. Please see the program transcript to find out who the people referenced are:

MARK CRISPIN MILLER: Well, basically, they use a kind of architecture that’s called Man in the Middle, and it involves shunting election returns data through a separate computer somewhere else. This is something that computer criminals do all the time with banks. Spoonamore explains that the Man in the Middle setup is extremely effective and basically undetectable as a way to change election results.

Later in the interview I heard something I had not thought about: what would motivate people to steal elections? 

Now, the scariest thing is that Connell told Spoonamore that the reason why he has helped Bush-Cheney still these elections for the last eight years has been to save the babies. See? We have to understand that there’s a very powerful component of religious fanaticism at work in the election fraud conspiracy.

In other words, anti-abortionists want Republicans in office, and the end justifies any means. I guess I just had never thought of that.

WBAI news said they will cover election issues each night. Tune in. If you listen to podcasts, their website will give you the link to put into your podcatcher.



The County Counting Centers are supposed to be operating under new procedures which provide a safeguard against the potential for such "man in the middle" attacks. As I understand it, the memory cards from the voting machines are inserted into the card reader, which transmits the data to state Counting Center on Oahu. Before the County Counting Center closes down, all the memory card results are printed out and witnessed by the official observers.

If done correctly, this, plus a manual audit of the results in the County Counting Center, should provide an adequate safeguard.

As I am in the state Counting Center, I am not a witness to the procedures actually used in the Maui, Kauai and Hawaii County Counting Centers. It would be good to get confirmation from them as to the effectiveness of the safeguards.

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