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Greg Palast Letter &
Congressman Dennis Kucinich Letter
|Potential Evidence of Fraud in Palm Beach County?|
on Saturday, November 13 @ 00:27:09 EST by DavidAdmin
These results from Palm Beach County were reported on DailyKOS:
Absentee Kerry: 58%
Absentee Total: 91,038
Kerry Absentee Margin: +16
Early Kerry: 72%
Early Bush: 28%
Kerry Early Voting Margin: +43
Election Day Kerry: 40%
Election Day Total: 404,666
Election Day Margin: -20
Unfortunately, the numbers are not reported this way on the Palm Beach County Web site,
but the numbers that are reported there make no sense. They show that 64% of the voters voted absentee, which would be very
unusual and is not supported by the numbers above.
The official Palm Beach County election returns spreadsheet do not show the numbers broken down into absentee, early voters, and election day voters.
This is going to have to wait
until Monday to figure out.
Americans who get their news online have known for four days now that there will be recounts in both Ohio and New Hampshire, and that the Kerry campaign is still engaged in recount activities in Ohio and elsewhere. Television viewers, newspaper readers and radio listeners remain clueless. Help end this crisis! Please download our Top 10 Questions About the Legitimacy of the 2004 Presidential Election and e-mail it to your friends. We held
a demonstration in LaFayette Park in front of the White House last week, and please vote in our poll about when the next major public protest in the nation's capital should be held. Would you join us on Friday November
19th to demand an honest vote for the presidency?
Congress won't help us. We must help ourselves. Please sign the petition to law enforcement authorities to investigate the crimes against American democracy.
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Better Dead Than Red
The story Ken Blackwell didn't want you to read.
|BY DENISE GROLLMUS, KEVIN HOFFMAN, CHRIS MAAG AND REBECCA MEISER|
In the months leading
up to last week's national election, Republican Secretary of State Ken Blackwell did all he could to suppress the vote and
ensure chaos. At one point, he even decreed that registrations must be submitted on 80-pound paper, lest Ohio be accused of
having poor taste in pulp products. Blackwell even got a federal judge to ban the media from the polls.
So we decided to do what everyone else had been doing for months: We ignored him. Scene sent four reporters to cover the
weirdness in Cleveland and Akron. One wore spandex. They were under strict orders: Don't even think about expensing anything,
and for Chrissakes, stay out of the bar till 7:30. Here's what they found, the story Blackwell never wanted you to see.
The polls haven't opened yet, but in Cleveland Heights, the line outside Alta House on Mayfield Road
is five deep. Two election officers, wearing glowsticks and ponchos, sip coffee from Styrofoam cups. One pulls a cell phone
from his pocket; the other sets up a collapsible chair and sinks into it.
"Now we're ready for the day," grins Collapsible Chair Man.
When the polls open, the line doesn't budge. Four minutes pass. Then five. Then ten. Voters start to fidget.
"What's taking so long?" someone finally asks.
The head poll worker looks up apologetically. "We've only got one pen," she explains.
Even after registering twice in the last year and leaving a message at the Board of Elections, Clevelander
Desmond Searcy never got a card telling him where to show up. He stands in line at Marion Sterling Elementary, punching his
fist into his hand, which makes his hooded sweatshirt flop on his coat-hanger shoulders.
"If they challenge me, it's gonna be on the ground," says Searcy, 26, who might weigh 150 pounds if he carried an armload
of bricks. He squints at the old grandmothers behind the polling table. "It'll be all over. If I can't vote, I'm gonna get
At Alta House, Catherine Heimburger arrives wearing cotton-ball hair and long, sparkly earrings. She
gives her name to an elderly worker, who flips through a book looking for it. After a few minutes, the worker looks up and
frowns. "I can't find you in here," she says apologetically. "Are you sure you're at the right spot?"
"Yes," Heimburger says, laying her registration card on the table like a full house.
"Huh," the worker says, flipping through the book. "Well, we can't find your name, but what we can do is give you a provisional
"No," Heimburger says, her voice fierce. "No! I stopped voting 20 years ago, when I was living in California and the media
called the election before they counted our vote. I am not going to go through that again. I want my vote to count tonight,
not sometime five months from now!"
NEXT » Page: 1
WHO WON OHIO
JUST COUNT THE BALLOTS AT THE BACK OF THE BUS
In These Times
Friday, November 12,
Most voters in Ohio chose Kerry. Here's how the votes vanished.
By Greg Palast
This February, Ken
Blackwell, Ohio's Secretaryof State told his State Senate President, "The possibility of a close election with punch cards
as the state's primary voting device invites a Florida-like calamity." Blackwell, co-chair of Bush-Cheneyreelection campaign,
his fellow Republican of disaster, but boasting of an opportunity to bring in Ohio for Team Bush no matter
what the voters wanted. And most voters in Ohio wanted JFK, not GWB. But their choice won't count because their votes won't
The ballots that add up to a majority for John Kerry in Ohio -- and in New Mexico -- are locked up in two
Republican hidey-holes: "spoiled" ballots and "provisional" ballots.
OHIO SPOILED ROTTEN
American democracy has
a dark little secret. In a typical presidential election, two million ballots are simply chucked in the garbage, marked "spoiled"
and not counted. A dive into the electoral dumpster reveals something special about these votes left to rot. In a careful
county-by-county, precinct-by-precinct analysis of the Florida 2000 race, the US
Civil Rights Commission discovered that
54% of the votes in the spoilage bin were cast by African-Americans. And Florida, Heaven help us, is typical. Nationwide,
the number of Black votes "disappeared" into the spoiled pile is approximately one million. The other million in the no-count
pit come mainly from Hispanic, Native-American and poor white
precincts, a decidedly Democratic demographic.
Republicans, simultaneously in charge of both the Bush-Cheney get-out-the-vote drive and the state's vote-counting rules,
doggedly and systematically insured the spoilage pile would be as high as the White House.
Vote spoilage comes in two
flavors. There are "overvotes" -- too many punches in the cards -- and "undervotes." Here we find the hanging, dimpled and
"pregnant" chads created by old, dysfunctional punch card machines, in which the bit of paper covering the hole doesn't fall
out, but hangs on. Machines can't read these, but we humans, who know a hole when we see one, have no problem reading these
cards ... if allowed to.
This is how Katherine Harris defeated Al Gore, by halting the hand count of the spoiled punch
cards not, as is generally believed, by halting a "recount."
Whose chads are left hanging? In Florida in 2000 federal
investigators determined that Black voters' ballots spoiled 900% more often than white voters, mainly due to punch card error.
Ohio Republicans found those racial odds quite attractive. The state was the only one of fifty to refuse to eliminate or fix
these vote-eating machines, even in the face
of a lawsuit by the ACLU.
Apparently, the Ohio Republicans like what
the ACLU found. The civil rights group's expert testimony concluded that Ohio's cussed insistence on forcing 73% of its electorate
to use punch card machines had an "overwhelming" racial bias, voiding votes mostly in Black precincts. Blackwell doesn't disagree;
and he hopes to fix the machinery ... sometime after George Bush's next inauguration. In the meantime, the state's
General Jim Petro, a Republican, strategically postponed the trial date of the ACLU case until after the election. Fixing
a punch card machine is cheap and easy. If Ohio simply placed a card-reading machine in each polling station, as Michigan
did this year, voters could have checked to ensure their vote would tally. If not, they would have gotten another card.
knows that. He also knows that if those reading machines had been installed, almost all the 93,000 spoiled votes, overwhelmingly
Democratic, would have closed the gap on George Bush's lead of 136,000
JIM CROW'S PROVISIONAL BALLOT
to the spoiled ballots a second group of uncounted votes, the 'provisional' ballots, and -- voila! -- the White House would
have turned Democrat blue.
But that won't happen because of the peculiar way provisional ballots are counted or, more
often, not counted. Introduced by federal law in 2002, the provisional ballot was designed especially for voters of color.
Proposed by the Congressional Black Caucus to save the rights of those wrongly scrubbed from voter rolls, it was, in Republican-controlled
swing states, twisted into a back-of-the-bus ballot unlikely to be tallied.
Unlike the real thing, these ballots
are counted only by the whimsy and rules of a state's top elections official; and in Ohio, that gives a virtually ballot veto
to Secretary of State Blackwell.
Mr. Blackwell has a few rules to make sure a large proportion of provisional ballots
won't be counted. For the first time in memory, the Secretary of State has banned counting ballots cast in the "wrong" precinct,
though all neighborhoods share the same President.
Over 155,000 Ohio voters were shunted to these second-class ballots.
The election-shifting bulge in provisional ballots (more than 3% of the electorate) was the direct result of the national
Republican strategy that targeted African-American precincts for mass challenges on election day.
This is the first
time in four decades that a political party has
systematically barred -- in this case successfully -- hundreds of thousands
of Black voters from access to the voting booth. While investigating for BBC Television, we obtained three dozen of the Republican
Party's confidential "caging" lists, their title for spreadsheets listing names and addresses of voters they intended to block
on any pretext.
We found that every single address of the thousands on these Republican hit lists was located in Black-majority
precincts. You might find that nasty and racist. It may also be a crime.
Before 1965, Jim Crow laws in the Deep South
did not bar Blacks from voting. Rather, the segregationist game was played by applying minor technical voting requirements
only to African-Americans. That year, Congress voted to make profiling and impeding minority voters, even with a legal pretext,
a criminal offence under the Voting Rights Act.
But that didn't stop the Republicans of '04. Their legally questionable
mass challenge to Black voters is not some low-level dirty tricks operation of local party hacks. Emails we obtained show
the lists were copied directly to the Republican National Committee's chief of research and
to the director of a state
Many challenges center on changes of address. On one Republican caging list, 50 addresses changed from Jacksonville
to overseas, African-American soldiers shipped
over there. You don't have to guess the preferences registered on the provisional ballots. Republicans went
on a challenging rampage, while Democrats pledged to hold to the tradition of letting voters vote.
Blackwell has said
he will count all the "valid" provisional ballots. However, his rigid regulations, like the new guess-your-precinct rule,
are rigged to knock out enough voters to keep Bush's skinny lead alive. Other pre-election maneuvers by Republican officials
-- late and improbably large purges of voter rolls, rejection of registrations -- maximized the use of provisional ballots
which will never be counted. For
example, a voter wrongly tagged an ineligible "felon" voter (and there's plenty in that
category, mostly African-Americans), will lose their ballot even though they are wrongly identified.
It was heartening that, during his campaign, John Kerry broke the political omerta that seems to prohibit public mention
of the color of votes not counted in America. "Don't tell us that in the strongest democracy on earth a million disenfranchisedAfrican
Americans is the best we can do." The Senator promised the NAACP convention, "This November, we're going to make sure that
every single vote is counted."
But this week, Kerry became the first presidential candidate in history to break a
campaign promise after losing an election. The Senator waited less than 24 hours to abandon more than a quarter million Ohio
voters still waiting for their provisional and chad-spoiled ballots to be
While disappointing, I can understand
the cold calculus against taking the fight to the end. To count the ballots, Kerry's lawyers would, first, have to demand
a hand reading of the punch cards. Blackwell, armed with the Supreme Court's Bush v. Gore diktat, would undoubtedly pull a
"Kate Harris" by halting or restricting a hand count. Most daunting, Kerry's team would also, as one state attorney general
pointed out to me,
have to litigate each and every rejected provisional ballot in court. This would entail locating up
to a hundred thousand voters to testify to their right to the vote, with Blackwell challenging each with a holster full of
regulations from the old Jim Crow handbook.
Given the odds and the cost to his political career, Kerry bent, not to
the will of the people, but to the will to power of the Ohio Republican machine.
We have yet to total here the votes
lost in missing absentee ballots, in eyebrow-raising touch screen tallies, in purges of legal voters from registries and other
games played in swing states. But why dwell on these things? Our betters in the political and media elite have told us to
get over it, move on.
To the victors go the spoils of electoral class war. As Ohio's
politically ambitious Secretary
of State brags on his own website, "Last time I checked,” Blackwell said, “Katherine Harris wasn't in a soup line,
she's in Congress."
NEW MEXICO GOES KERRY - BUT WHO'S COUNTING?
Why single out Ohio? So it also went in
New Mexico where ballots of Hispanic voters (two-to-one Kerry supporters) spoil at a rate five times that of white voters.
Add in the astounding 13,000 provisional ballots in the Enchanted State -- handed out "like candy" to Hispanic, not white,
voters according to a director of the Catholic Church's get-out-the-vote drive -- and Kerry wins New Mexico. Just count up
the votes ... but
that won't happen.
Investigative reporter Greg Palast is author of The Best Democracy
Money Can Buy (Penguin 2004).
Oliver Shykles and Matthew Pascarella of GregPalast.com contributed to this article.View Greg Palast's BBC Television film, "Bush Family Fortunes," now
available on DVD, at http://www.gregpalast.com/bff-dvd.htmTo receive Greg's investigative reports go to:
|Were the absentee ballots lost or stolen? Either way, it's a crime. |
|BY BOB NORMAN|
the time you read this, you might know the identity of the next president. Or perhaps lawyers reign and the world's fate is
hanging, like so much chad, in the balance.
|Michael McElroy |
|Count the ballots. Now.
|Michael McElroy |
Either way, Broward County is screwed. It's stuck with a dysfunctional elections office that was plagued by technological
problems, ill-equipped early voting stations, and, worst of all, the disappearance of thousands of absentee ballots. The question
lingers: Was that mysterious disappearance -- which threw the election into disarray and cost countless votes -- the result
of a terrible crime or stunning incompetence? Were the ballots lost, or were they stolen? A lot of people think they know
"Something weird is going on here," said 52-year-old Bud Warren of Coral Springs, whose wife and son never received their
ballots. "It's another stolen election. That's my honest opinion."
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement doesn't think so. The FDLE conducted what it called an "investigation" of the
ballots last week, and it took agents about 12 seconds to conclude that no crime had been committed. They spoke briefly with
Broward Supervisor of Elections Brenda Snipes and then told the media, in essence, "Move along, folks; nothing to see here."
Call me a rubbernecker, but I see some blood in the wreckage. And I know you can't even investigate a stolen candy bar
in 12 seconds, let alone a major breakdown in the democratic process. The agency's dereliction may seem incomprehensible until
you take into account who overlords the FDLE: a not-quite-disinterested observer of this election by the name of Jeb Bush.
If a crime was committed, suspicion would fall naturally on supporters of Jeb's brother, George W. Bush, since Broward
is a key Democratic stronghold and the vast majority of those ballots were surely earmarked for Kerry voters. Further, Jeb
has a special interest in the Broward election, since he handpicked Snipes, a School Board bureaucrat with no prior elections
experience, for the job after he removed the embattled Miriam Oliphant last year.
But no one called much attention to the FDLE whitewash. The Sun-Sentinel and Miami Herald have given lots
of space to the ballot scandal, but the coverage has been ridiculously superficial. Consider that the media never even identified
the elections employee in charge of absentee ballots, Mary Hall.
Now consider that Hall is a highly controversial figure who helped engineer the ouster of Oliphant, who had fired Hall
last year. During her brief hiatus from the elections office, Hall was employed in the congressional office of Alcee Hastings.
This is interesting because Hastings' chief of staff, who got Hall the job, is a GOP operative named Art Kennedy. As the Sun-Sentinel
put it in an October 24 story about leading black Republicans, Kennedy has "direct connections to the governor's mansion
and the White House."
Jeb Bush tapped Kennedy to help choose Oliphant's replacement. And once Snipes was in place, a long list of county GOP
leaders contributed heavily to her recent campaign, which was run by the law firm of William Scherer -- George W. Bush's campaign
co-chair in Broward (see "Be Very Afraid," October 28).
Am I working on a conspiracy theory that Republican operatives stole the ballots? You bet. In Broward County, it's never
stupid to theorize that the worst has happened. Remember that we're talking about enough ballots to fill up a small room.
Literally tons of them. Kind of hard to lose, if you think about it.
But we can't discount the idea that the problems were caused by sheer incompetence. At this point, there's so much confusion
at the elections office that it's impossible to divine the extent of the problem, let alone what caused it.
Deputy Elections Supervisor Gisela Salas, a central figure in any theory that incompetence is to blame, first admitted
the problem last week. She said that as many as 58,000 ballots were gone. U.S. Postal Service Spokesman Gerry McKiernan told
me his agency's investigation basically found a 14,000-ballot discrepancy between what the elections office says it delivered
and what the post office received.
So the number of missing ballots is probably between 14,000 and 58,000. Regardless, it was enough to throw the election
off track and cost hundreds, maybe thousands, of votes in a crucial state where the 2000 presidential spread was a mere 537
and polls showed Kerry and Bush dead even.
Snipes has consistently tried to blame the post office for the problem, but McKiernan says an intense internal investigation
showed otherwise. "We had more than 20 inspectors go through every processing facility and truck we've got in Broward County,"
McKiernan says, "and there is no lost mail."
The post office is an easy target -- delinquent bill payers across the country routinely blame it. But if it was the elections
office's fault, which seems likely to me, you have to start with Hall and the 19-year elections veteran's Byzantine ties to
both Republican opportunists and the bloodless coup of Oliphant. The conclusion one reaches isn't so much that she may have
been involved in sabotaging the election as that she has strong ties to people who clearly have a motivation to suppress the
heavily Democratic Broward vote.
Hall was hired in 1986 by former Elections Supervisor Jane Carroll, a Republican whose office Oliphant took over in 2000.
Hall, who is black, would become one of the new supervisor's most aggressive office critics. Oliphant fired Hall and another
elections worker, Pat Nesbit, on October 7, 2003 --which may have sealed the supervisor's fate.
The day after Hall's employment was terminated, Secretary of State Glenda Hood, a rabid Republican, contacted Oliphant
with concerns about the Broward office. A week later, Gov. Bush, at the urging of Kennedy, sent an assessment team to investigate
the elections office, which had devolved into chaos.
Bush then asked Kennedy to help him find a replacement for Oliphant and later accepted his recommendation, made with fellow
black Republican leader Dorsey Miller. In late November, Bush suspended Oliphant and installed the new supervisor.
Hall, meanwhile, didn't remain unemployed long; she was hired to work in Hastings' office under Kennedy in late October.
Hall, who didn't return my calls for an interview, also worked closely with Jeb Bush's office as a star witness in the state's
case against Oliphant.
Snipes rehired Hall in December. The irony is exquisite: The employee who claimed Oliphant wasn't fit to run an election
is now ultimately responsible for one of the largest gaffes in local election history.
And it's not the first absentee ballot scandal linked to Hall. Remember the mysterious 268 unopened ballots found after
the 2002 primary in Broward? It was Hall's job to oversee them, but the hapless Oliphant took the heat.
At least one African-American politician suspects Hall altered the outcome of an election. Former Pompano Beach City Commission
candidate Walter Hunter says that when he lost his bid for a seat in 2003, Hall threw out 176 of the 437 absentee ballots
his campaign had collected. He lost the race to Pat Larkins by just 236 votes.
What especially grates Hunter, who didn't file a complaint, was that Hall publicly supported Larkins. "I have concerns
about her," Hunter says of the absentee ballot supervisor.
So do some others.
"I am highly, highly suspicious," says Elgin Jones, a community activist and columnist for the Broward Times. "And
I think there needs to be an investigation, not just of Art Kennedy and Mary Hall but of the entire office."
A crime, however, might not have been necessary to sabotage the Broward office -- especially when a wholesome dose of incompetence
would do the trick. That's where Salas comes in.
Ed Gillette predicted that the election in Broward would be a mess. The Miami-Dade County poll worker watched in utter
disbelief as Snipes, after she'd been in office less than two weeks, hired Salas as her second in command.
Gillette trained poll workers in Miami-Dade for the disastrous September 10, 2002, primary that was overseen by Salas.
"When I saw she was going to Broward, I thought it would be a disaster, especially since [Snipes] didn't have any elections
experience," Gillette says. "It just seemed like trouble."
In the Miami-Dade debacle, polling places opened late, poorly trained workers abandoned their posts, and voting machines
malfunctioned. The utter chaos once again branded Florida's chest with a giant scarlet I -- for incompetence. "I think
we all share the blame," Salas said on the NewsHour with Jim Lehrer a week after the election. "I mean, we all see
where we have possibly gone wrong. Unfortunately, you can't take it back."
Jeb Bush, sitting in his apparently blameless perch in Tallahassee, called the performance "shameful."
The head trainer for that election, Leonora Uribe, says her boss was directly responsible for the disaster. She describes
a culture of nepotism and cronyism fostered by Salas, a Republican whom she describes as uninformed, irresponsible, and secretive.
"She was always talking about her horses or her husband's motorcycles or her new house," Uribe says. "She was just very materialistic,
very into keeping up with the Joneses. She was terrible at her job, but she was politically savvy. She knew how to play the
Uribe asserts that her prediction of problems went unheeded. Uribe said she tried to warn Salas that the election would
be a debacle. But Salas would respond only, "Trust me."
"Every time she said that, I trusted her less," Uribe said in a October 25, 2002, deposition for a since-dismissed civil
rights lawsuit filed after the primary.
Salas not only failed to listen; she didn't even want evidence of the complaints. "Whenever I said anything to her, it
had to be verbal, because they didn't want e-mails because it left a paper trail... and they didn't want the media getting
ahold of it," Uribe testified.
According to several witnesses, Salas showed up more than two hours late for a key three-hour office meeting one month
before the 2002 election. When she got there, Gillette made a procedural recommendation that prompted Salas to have what witnesses
described as an emotional breakdown. "She went absolutely ballistic, lost her composure, started crying and screaming... and
stormed out," Uribe recounted in the deposition.
"She really went berserk," Gillette recalls of Salas' outburst.
Lida Rodriguez-Taseff, the respected head of the Miami-Dade Election Reform Coalition, says Salas appeared to have been
unfit to run an election. "Every report I ever got was that she really was not terribly competent and she really truly did
not know what she was doing," the lawyer says. "The caring people who really wanted to make our elections work had harsh things
to say about her. People saw her in a very negative light."
Shortly after the 2002 mess, Salas was transferred from elections to the Miami-Dade medical examiner's office. Then Snipes
whisked her back into the election spotlight. I asked the Broward elections supervisor last week if she knew about Salas'
past and of the many charges that she was incompetent. Snipes seemed genuinely taken aback.
"No, and we haven't had those experiences here," she told me with an astonished smile.
I asked her if she really hadn't known about the Miami-Dade problems in 2002.
"I was more familiar with Broward," she replied.
Considering Salas' history, the loss of all those ballots doesn't seem so surprising. Throw in all the intertwining GOP
connections and anything seems possible. Whether it was caused by cluelessness or criminal minds, Broward needs the truth.
And it's going to take more than a Jeb Bush brushoff to get it.
|newtimesbpb.com | originally published: November 4, 2004 |
GOP Wants To End Exit Polls