What Can We the People Do About Election
April 26, 2005
By Ernest Partridge, The
the two and a half years that The Crisis Papers has been on the
web, we have posted hundreds of articles and links on our Election
2004 Fraud and Electoral
Integrity pages. In addition I have written and published numerous
essays about the issue, most recently just two
weeks ago. On each occasion, I have received numerous letters
telling me "I'm convinced that the elections are fraudulent,"
then asking, "now what can I do about it?"
Here is a partial answer. Partial, because if honest and verifiable
elections are ever to return to the United States it will be because
this question will be asked relentlessly by an outraged public.
Electoral integrity is arguably the most important political issue
to face the American people since the founding of our democracy,
as it raises the question of whether, in fact, we still have
a democracy. For if, as the skeptics contend, the outcome of our
federal elections are decided before a single vote is cast, then
the government of the United States no longer "[derives] its
just powers from the consent of the governed." Despite what
we are told from Washington, or by the corporate media, this is
not a government "of, by, and for the people."
The grounds for suspicion about the integrity of our elections
are simple, straightforward, and undisputed. In federal elections,
thirty percent of the votes are cast and eighty percent of the votes
are regionally compiled in machines (a) utilizing secret software,
(b) producing no independent record of the votes (e.g. paper trails),
and (c) manufactured by active members and supporters of the Republican
Party. In sum, the system in place is effectively designed, either
deliberately or accidentally, to facilitate fraud.
Moreover, remedies for these shortcomings are readily available,
and in fact, in use. These include (a) a requirement that software
(source codes) be made public (as in Australia), and (b) production
of a separate paper ballot to be inspected by the voter (as in Nevada).
In addition, voting machines could be selected at random, during
elections, and examined for accuracy. And central compiling could
be done "in parallel" by two distinct and independent
These black box voting machines now in use inevitably raise questions
as to the legitimacy of the elections. For if the current system
is as honest as the winners (i.e., the Republicans) tell us it is,
why do they oppose these guarantees? Would not the winners want
these suspicions to be put to rest? Why, then, do they doggedly
oppose reforms that would validate the honesty of our elections?
Causes one to wonder, does it not?
Add to this the accumulating evidence that our elections have
in fact been fixed. This includes (a) anecdotal evidence from voters
– e.g. malfunctioning screens, "lost" registrations, etc.,
(b) public demonstrations of simulated vote fraud, (for example,
the CNBC demonstration by Bev Harris and Howard Dean – see here
(c) impossible and improbable vote totals – e.g. more votes reported
than registered voters, and negative vote totals, (d) exit poll
discrepancies – accurate polls in precincts with validated (e.g.
paper) ballots, inaccurate polls in precincts with black box machine
voting and all discrepancies favoring one candidate or party, and
(e) statistical analyses of these anomalies.
Because the evidence of machine voting fraud has been extensively
published elsewhere, I will not elaborate here. (For a list of websites
and articles dealing with voting fraud, see The Crisis Papers pages
Fraud 2004 and Electoral
So what is to be done about this outrage?
The Media Problem
Don't expect help from the mainstream media – at least, not without
some persistent and creative pressure from the public. The issue
of voting fraud is virtually absent from the media, except for occasional
debunkings of the skeptics. There are reports
that "top down" orders have been given to media staff
to say and write nothing about the issue, and that violations of
these orders are career-enders. True or not, the media behaves as
if such orders have been given. There is a black hole of reporting
on ballot integrity. As for investigative reporting, fagetaboutit.
What to do? We begin by acknowledging this problem, and then proceed
to locate the pressure points that might budge the media from its
Ask an ordinary citizen, "Who are the sellers and the customers,
and what is the product, of the broadcast mass media?" and
you will likely be told that the TV and radio networks are the sellers,
the audience are the customers, and the programming is the product.
Wrong! In fact, the media corporations are the sellers, the corporate
sponsors are the customers, and the attention ("eyes")
of the public is the product. If you doubt this, then just follow
the money. It flows from the sponsors to the broadcasters.
So therein is the pressure point: if the public withdraws the
product, namely its attention, the public can starve the beast.
This is the crucial difference between the media in the Soviet Union
and the media in United States. The Soviet Commissars didn't care
a whit if Pravda, Izvestiya and Gostelradio failed to turn a profit,
so long as they continued to spew out the party line. In the US,
profit is the sine qua non – the whole point of having a
media at all.
Case in point: the Sinclair Broadcasting "Stolen Honor"
fiasco. As you likely recall, in the closing days of the Presidential
campaign, Sinclair scheduled "Stolen Honor," a smear of
John Kerry's Vietnam service. Following a public outcry, Sinclair
withdrew the program. And why? A sudden realization of civic responsibility?
Ya gotta be kidding! Fear of offending the public? Yes, but not
directly. In fact, the Sinclair management, solid supporters of
George Bush and the GOP, buckled from pressure from the stockholders.
The offended public was removing its eyes from the Sinclair TV
screens. Hence lower ratings and lower profits. Sinclair management
was ungently reminded that their job was not to campaign for George
Bush, their job was to provide a return on the stockholders' investments.
Failing that, management might quite properly be sued, or at least
booted out, at the next stockholders' meeting.
The immediate target of our protest is not the mainstream media
at large, it is the mainstream news media. And that beast is starving
even today. The credibility of the corporate news media is in free-fall.
Timothy Maier reports
For two decades polls increasingly have indicated public dismay
at the spin and fantasies of the press. In fact, a recent Gallup
Poll says Americans rate the trustworthiness of journalists
at about the level of politicians and as only slightly more
credible than used-car salesmen. The poll suggests that only
21 percent of Americans believe journalists have high ethical
standards, ranking them below auto mechanics but tied with members
of Congress. More precisely, the poll notes that only one in
four people believe what they read in the newspapers. Chicago
Tribune Editor Charles M. Madigan may have put it best when
he offered this advice: "If you are a journalist, you should
probably just assume that you come across as a liar." ... The
study also points out that there has been a rapid decline in
newspaper readership since the 1980s, with slightly more than
half of Americans, 54 percent, reading a newspaper during the
The prospects for the future are grim, as the younger cohorts
are particularly cool to the media. In a recent speech, Rupert Murdoch
(no less!) noted
that the 18-34 age group was abandoning newspapers for the Internet.
Furthermore, he reported that "only 9%" of this group
"describe us as trustworthy, a scant 8% find us useful, and
only 4% think we're entertaining."
Professional journalists find these statistics alarming. On the
contrary, I find them very hopeful. The mainstream news media have
richly deserved this public contempt, as they have increasingly
become purveyors of trivia and conduits of official right-wing propaganda,
and decreasingly independent investigative watchdogs serving the
public interest. The public, especially the younger cohort, knows
this and is now looking elsewhere for its news.
With the abandonment of responsible broadcast journalism in favor
of trivial "info-tainment," there is a latent demand for
the "old-style" reporting and investigations of pros such
as Edward R. Murrow, Walter Cronkite, and Woodward and Bernstein.
Surely such an enterprise would be commercially viable. To paraphrase
Field of Dreams, if they build it the public will come.
And so the news media, desperate for recovery, need to be told,
time and again, that if they want our attention, they had better
declare their independence and get back to the business of investigating
and reporting significant public issues. And they might start with
the most important issue of all: the integrity of our ballots.
Our job: tell the media, and their sponsors, that we no longer
trust their news reporting, and are now looking elsewhere. And while
we are at it, we should collect and distribute the names and addresses
of media and sponsors, and encourage still others to voice their
complaints. (The Democratic Underground's outstanding Local
Media Blaster can supply this information. See also The Crisis
Progressive Voices on the Commercial Broadcast Media. Air
American Radio is a good start – but merely a start. A progressive
cable news channel – an "anti-FOX" - is long overdue,
and as the past election campaign demonstrated, start-up funds are
available from such major sources as George Soros and Warren Buffet.
The Internet and Alternative Media. Unless and until the
mainstream news media acknowledge and deal with the ballot integrity
issue, the progressive Internet and the alternative media must be
supported and encouraged to publicize the problem of ballot fraud.
In your public and private e-mails, include links to the websites
and the particular articles that deal with the issue. Download,
print, and copy these articles, and pass them around to your friends
Recruit Allies. Regrettably, many prominent progressives
are not convinced that the past election was fixed - among them,
Paul Begala, Al Franken, Arianna Huffington, and Bernie Sanders.
To this day, the Democratic Party is mute on the issue, as is the
progressive think-tank, The Center for American Progress. Demand
that they examine the evidence and challenge them to refute it.
And if they can't, tell them to join the fight.
Where are the Books? Effective political movements have
a supporting literature. The American Revolution had Tom Paine and
Common Sense. The Civil War had Uncle Tom's Cabin.
The supporting documents of the electoral reform movement are compelling,
but they are diffuse. The defining and catalyzing book – the book
that is held aloft at the public meetings, cited in the media and
in the letters to Congress – that work is desperately needed and
overdue. Perhaps it is still in progress, or even now at the publishers.
If not, will some genius (and our cause has several) please write
Perhaps such a book exists, but no American publisher dares to
print it. In that case, the author might look abroad and import
it. (And what a message that would convey about the state of our
"free" press!) In the meantime, or instead, the book should
be put on the Internet.
Send a Message to the Democrats. Those who contributed
to the Democrats and the Kerry Campaign are surely receiving numerous
solicitations for donations. Find them, take out a red felt pen,
and write something like: "Unless the Democratic Party addresses
the problem of voting fraud, its time and my contribution will be
wasted. Secure my vote, and I will once again contribute generously.
Until then, nada!"
Demand Action on the Local Level. As Ohio's Kenneth Blackwell
dramatically demonstrated, federal elections are administered on
the state level. Election fraud is a violation of both federal and
state laws. Obviously neither Attorney General Gonzales nor the
Republican Congress will touch the issue. However, there must surely
be a state with a Democratic Governor and/or Legislature and/or
Attorney General that could investigate, indict, and prosecute some
culprits involved in the Great Election Robbery of 2004. And if
elected officials refuse to take the initiative, citizen groups
and defeated candidates should file law suits. With the threat of
perjury and imprisonment, and the prosecutor's power of investigative
discovery, some culprit somewhere might break, then another and
another, whereupon the whole rotten system of fraud and cover-up
might collapse. It happened to Richard Nixon, and it can happen
The voting fraud issue is a sleeping giant that the Busheviks,
with the determined complicity of the mainstream media, are desperately
trying to keep asleep. Few appreciate just how daunting a task this
is. As we noted at the outset of this essay, the opportunity for
fraud is known and undisputed. The evidence published, available,
and compelling. There is no refutation other than "trust us,"
"get over it," "let's move on," "don't
be so paranoid," and other
Bush, the GOP and their media allies hope that if they ignore
the issue and direct public attention elsewhere, the sleeping giant
will not stir. But if I were Bush, Rove, Cheney, or the rest, I'd
be afraid – I'd be very afraid. For now Bush's approval ratings
are falling even as gas prices, interests rates, and the consumer
price index rise. And all these may be harbingers of much worse
to come. As the dire economic costs to almost everybody of the Bushevik
plunder become more apparent, the American public will become ever
more receptive to the idea that they were criminally robbed of their
franchise in (at least) the past three federal elections, that the
Bush Administration and the Republican Congress lack legitimacy,
and that the American people are no longer, in any authentic sense,
citizens of a free society.
Those of us who are aware of the electoral crime against the American
people must steadfastly sound the alarm and arouse the sleeping
giant. No doubt many of you who read this essay will have still
more ideas. Share them with us. Send your suggestions to me at firstname.lastname@example.org,
and I promise to collect and publish a selection of them in The
Dr. Ernest Partridge is a consultant, writer and lecturer in
the field of Environmental Ethics and Public Policy. He publishes
the website The
Online Gadfly and co-edits the progressive website The
Crisis Papers Archive