Welcome to DU! The truly grassroots left-of-center political community where regular people, not algorithms, drive the discussions and set the standards. Join the community: Create a free account Support DU (and get rid of ads!): Become a Star Member Latest Breaking News General Discussion The DU Lounge All Forums Issue Forums Culture Forums Alliance Forums Region Forums Support Forums Help & Search

Time for change

(13,718 posts)
Fri Oct 12, 2012, 07:27 PM Oct 2012

Will Romney-Connected Voting Machines in Hamilton Co. Ohio Decide the 2004 Election?

The question that is the title of this post was recently posed by Bob Fritakis and Harvey Wasserman, who did so much to uncover and draw to public attention evidence of election fraud in the Ohio 2004 Presidential election, which provided the electoral margin of victory for George W. Bush in 2004. The article begins with this:

Electronic voting machines owned by Mitt Romney's business buddies and set to count the votes in Cincinnati could decide the 2012 election.

At issue is the potential role of Hart Intecivic voting machines, which will be used in two Ohio counties in 2004 – Hamilton County (which contains Cincinnati) and Williams County. Hamilton County is of far more concern because it is much more populous than Williams County.

Fritakis points out in another recent article that the majority of board directors at Hart Intercivic come from the private equity firm H.I.G. Capital. Employees at H.I.G. Capital have contributed $338,000 to the Romney 2012 Presidential campaign. That’s a lot of money for one company. Clearly it is very important to them that Romney be elected President. Furthermore, Ohio is shaping up as the U.S. state most likely to provide the electoral margin of victory in 2012 – as it did in 2004. And as in 2004, Ohio now has a Republican governor and a Republican Secretary of State, who are in charge of the election in Ohio this year. It is disturbing that a very heavy contributor to Romney’s campaign is so closely connected with a voting machine company whose machines are counting votes in Ohio this year.

The potential for Hart Intercivic machines in Hamilton County to influence the election

I don’t know what the potential is for the Hart Intercivic machines to decide the 2012 Presidential election this year. In some ways it might seem that their potential is not that great.

The machines that will be used to count the good majority of votes in the county are Hart Intercivic optical scan machines, according to the Ohio Secretary of State website. Optical scan machines count ballots filled out by voters that are preserved and can be recounted in case election fraud is suspected. But that by no means ensures an honest election. Election fraud was strongly suspected in 2004, and a statewide recount was ordered. However, the recount itself, under the direction of Republican Ohio Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell (who was also the Bush-Cheney campaign chairman), was itself a fraud. The fact that ballots and election records from 56 Ohio counties were destroyed despite a federal order to preserve them substantially exacerbates the suspicions surrounding the Ohio election and the Ohio recount of 2004.

The remainder of the votes in Hamilton County will be counted with the eSlate voting machines. These are electronic voting machines that do not produce a paper trail and therefore produce results that cannot be verified by a recount or any other means. But these voting machines will be used only for handicapped voters whose handicap (such as blindness) prevents them from using the optical scan machines. Obviously the number of voters using those machines will be small. But since the results that they produce are totally unverifiable, they could be programmed to add lots of votes to Romney’s total.

What to do

As I said, I don’t know what the potential is for the Hart Intercivic machines to be involved in a degree of election fraud that will decide the 2012 election. Their strong financial connection with the Romney campaign is certainly disturbing. But it seems to me that the possibility for very high magnitude fraud is remote if appropriate precautions are taken:

As noted above, if the Hart Intercivic optical scan machine is involved in fraud, that fraud could be easily discovered and remedied through a recount of the optical scan ballots. If Obama (or Sherrod Brown) appears to lose a close election in Ohio, the vote count from Hamilton County should be immediately analyzed to see if it is discrepant with the expected vote based on other recent elections and the vote counts of other Ohio counties. If it is, and if the magnitude of the discrepancy appears great enough to decide the winner of the election, the Obama campaign should immediately focus on Hamilton County and secure orders for a recount of the vote, with a team of lawyers used to oversee the recount to make sure that it isn’t fraudulent. No such effort was made in Ohio in 2004 anywhere in Ohio, and the recount fraud generated little publicity.

With regard to the potential for fraud with the Hart Intercivic eSlate voting machines, the total vote count produced by those machines should be immediately identified. If the number of votes fraudulently added to those machines was enough to determine the election result in Ohio, the total number of votes produced by them would likely be far out of proportion to the number of handicapped voters likely to use them. In that case, the issue could be quickly identified and investigated – and no Obama concession should be considered until the investigation is completed.
7 replies = new reply since forum marked as read
Highlight: NoneDon't highlight anything 5 newestHighlight 5 most recent replies
Will Romney-Connected Voting Machines in Hamilton Co. Ohio Decide the 2004 Election? (Original Post) Time for change Oct 2012 OP
People should DEMAND hand counts Politicalboi Oct 2012 #1
Absolutely Time for change Oct 2012 #4
Watch for machine malfunctions in Hamilton County especially in precincts JDPriestly Oct 2012 #2
It's unlikely to happen like that Time for change Oct 2012 #5
This is the type of thing I'm worried about. Hope Obama knows about this. bkkyosemite Oct 2012 #3
I'm sure it's come to his attention Time for change Oct 2012 #7
K&R -- Bookmarking Doremus Oct 2012 #6

Time for change

(13,718 posts)
4. Absolutely
Fri Oct 12, 2012, 07:47 PM
Oct 2012

But it will only be successful if the Obama-Biden campaign supports it. If they concede early, don't requrest a recount, and don't actively observe the recount in the event that it is requested by a third party, the election will end up like it did in 2004.


(57,936 posts)
2. Watch for machine malfunctions in Hamilton County especially in precincts
Fri Oct 12, 2012, 07:44 PM
Oct 2012

with a large percentage of African-Americans. Watch for it.

Time for change

(13,718 posts)
5. It's unlikely to happen like that
Fri Oct 12, 2012, 09:39 PM
Oct 2012

Optical scan machines rarely obviously malfunction.

If the machines are programmed for fraud they will appear to be functioning quite normally. The only way to discover the problem will be to recount the ballots by hand.

Time for change

(13,718 posts)
7. I'm sure it's come to his attention
Sat Oct 13, 2012, 09:19 AM
Oct 2012

But I don't know if he takes it seriously. He takes voter suppression very seriously. But I've never heard him comment on the possibility of voting machine fraud.

Latest Discussions»General Discussion»Will Romney-Connected Vot...