Sunday, October 02, 2005

Did Bush steal the elections?

PV Vivekanand
NEARLY one year after George W Bush won re-election for another four years at the White House, questions are getting stronger whether he was legitimately elected or won his second term through rigging the elections. Such questions are not expected to lead to anywhere in real terms because there is no provision for challenging the results now. However, there is a heated debate going on in cyberspace and the mainstream corporate media organisations of the US are keeping away from touching it.
We have to recall that Bush's victory in the 2000 elections was not convincing either. Al Gore was almost declared the winner and it took the Supreme Court to declare Bush as winner despite lingering questions about uncounted votes that could have seen Gore entering the White House.
The Washington Post reported in November 2000 that at 10 pm on election night , Al Gore was leading Bush in Volusia County, Florida, by 83,000 to 62,000 votes. One-half hour later, Gore's vote total had been reduced by 16,000 to 67,000 and an obscure Socialist candidate saw a sudden surge to 10,000 votes in a precinct with only 600 voters. The information on the Volusia optical scanner voting anomalies came from a leaked internal memorandum of the company which supplied the electronic voting machines. In the end, Bush won Florida and the White House by a mere 537 votes in the most controversial US presidential election in history.
Rigging the elections in the US? Sheer nonsense, many of us might say, but the evidence there, according to thousands of Americans, including top-notch experts, who have opted to place their opinion on the Internet substantiated by research and key findings of investigations in the months that followed the 2004 November elections.
There are charges that problems — like missing names and logistical problems — distruped voting in many areas where Republican Bush was predicted to do badly and Democrat John Kerry; ballot boxes were opened behind the scenes before counting; some were stuffed with predetermined number of votes in favour of Bush. Not many experts support the stuffing theory though.
Other "problems" included voting machine shortages, ballots counted and recounted in secret, lost, discarded, and improperly rejected registration forms and absentee ballots, precincts in which there were more votes recorded than registered voters, precincts in which the reported participation rate was less than 10 per cent, and high rates of “spoiled” ballots and under-votes in which no choice for president was recorded. Most of these problems occurred in states where Kerry was tipped to win. There were only few such problems where Bush was supposed to have won.
A study conducted by the University of Pennsylvania’s Steven F. Freeman and Temple University’s Josh Mittledorf clearly leaves the impression that the authors believe that Bush stole the elections.
National opinion poll results had projected a Kerry victory by three per cent, whereas the official count had Bush winning by 2.5 per cent. The probability of such a mistake, in strict mathematics-based logical terms, was put at one in 100,000. No matter how one calculates it, the discrepancy cannot be attributed to chance.
The worst charge — which is not limited the Freeman-Mittledorf study — is that there was a massive conspiracy and tampering with electronic voting.
In summary, the scenario the experts are outlining is simple: In several states, notably Ohio, California, Wisconsin, South Carolina and Florida, Bush scored surprisingly high number of votes against Kerry. In all these states, opinion polls had predicted Kerry's victory but the actual results went in favour of Bush.
How could the votes be tampered?
Not all states of the US have adopted electronic voting. Voters there use paper ballots.
Experts point out that in most states where there was no electronic voting, the predictions of pre-election opinion polls were very accurate — plus or minus two per cent — when votes were counted. The physical ballot papers were there and there could have been no fraud there, whether in favour of Bush or Kerry.
That was not at all the case in states with mostly electronic balloting. Here, the results contradicted opinion polls which favoured Kelly. Obviously, computers leave little trace of fraud and there is no physical evidence to show that the votes of those who voted through machines in favour of Kerry were registered automatically as in favour of Bush; that is where the key fraud took place.
According to those who argue Bush stole the elections, the very company which produced the electronic voting machines conspired to make sure he was re-elected. The owners of the company, Diebold Election Systems, are known to have close links with the Republican camp.
Walden O’Dell, chief executive of Diebold and a top fundraiser for the Bush campaign, wrote in a fund-raising letter in 2003 that he was “committed to helping Ohio deliver its electoral votes to the president next year.”
Experts point out that software manipulations involving the system can change results. Since the majority of touch screens in the United States do not produce paper records, the machines could alter ballots without anyone noticing, says David Jefferson, a computer scientist at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California.
An investigation by California's secretary of state has revealed that Diebold Election Systems placed uncertified software on electronic voting machines during the Nov.4, 2004 elections. But the matter was not followed up because someone in authority suppressed the investigation result.
Under US law, before a state can use an electronic voting system, the software and hardware must be audited by an independent testing authority that examines the code according to certification standards set by the Federal Election Commission.
Once the independent authority certifies the system, states can then test and certify the systems for their polling places.
California election law requires voting companies to notify state officials when they make changes to software after certification has been completed. Diebold did not do this when it applied a "software upgrade" to its systems and this meant foul play.
"Diebold system is one of the greatest threats democracy has ever known," according to an engineer who worked for the company. He affirmed that votes can be "modified remotely" via "undocumented backdoor' in central software and that he had worked on "changing the software" prior to the elections.
Now, based on these findings, it is widely accepted by many Americans that Bush is not their legitimate president. But they are unable to do anything about it because those behind the conspiracy occupy most powerful positions in Washington. More importantly, they are all Jewish and have Israeli interests in mind more than American interests.
And, mind you, the owners of Diebold Inc., are also Jews.