Republicans are furious with Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp and SOS Brad Raffensperger because even with a new $150 million voting machine system, they couldn’t reliably deliver a win for Trump and two Republican Senators. The two senate candidates, Perdue and Loeffler, called for Raffensperger’s resignation. Kemp, it will be remembered, is widely thought in Georgia to have stolen the governorship from Stacey Abrams in 2018.
Given the amount of voter suppression, the millions spent in overt propaganda to convince Georgians that their voting machine system was “secure,” and the black-box nature of machines which cannot be meaningfully audited, the only reason Kemp and Raffensperger couldn’t deliver is the large number of mail in ballots that were cast.
Geogia’s highly touted “secured” voting system, includes paper ballots with the voter’s printed choice of candidate on them. One big problem is that the scanner that counts the votes, doesn’t count the words printed on the page. The scanners count a barcode at the bottom of the page that neither the voter nor the voting officials can read. Many people, like me, voted by mail because this allowed circumventing the Ballot-marking devices and the barcode scanners.
So now, Kemp and Raffensperger are scrambling to save their political careers. Even though there is a large margin for Biden in the state, they have announced that there will be a recount. Yesterday (November 11) Raffensperger announced that the recount would be a hand recount of every ballot. He even made jokes about the amount of overtime that would cost counties to do such a recount. I’m not sure they shared his humor.
Jennifer Cohn and others have been on twitter, however, pointing out that the SOS has no authority to mandate a hand recount, so the legality of this proposal is dubious. Several other Georgia watchers have also pointed out that lawyers representing Trump in litigation about the election are also representing the State of Georgia. This conflict of interest has not been explained.
According to the Chicago Tribune, Georgia state law requires an audit but leaves up to elections officials the choice of race. This leaves the people in charge of the election in charge of determining what race to audit. Officials in Georgia have chosen the presidential race to recount rather than the senate races. The certification deadline in Georgia is November 20. It is unclear how counties in Georgia (where they are already pleading for volunteers to help monitor the recount) are going to do a total hand recount by the deadline for certification. This may in fact be the game.
Even though a Texas Judge ruled that Republicans who sought to throw out 127,000 ballots cast in drive-thru locations in Harris County, Texas did not have standing, Harris County decided to close down most of its drive-thru voting locations overnight. Why? The judge in the case, Andrew Hanen, found it necessary to go beyond the legal issues and advance his own political agenda in his opinion. Hanen wrote that he wouldn’t vote in these drive-thru voting locations, legal or not.
So, this is where we are in this country. The court now does not even have to rule against the forces of democracy for a county to voluntarily close down entirely legal voting options.
The County Clerk admits that Republicans are pursuing a strategy of trying to keep Americans from voting, and defends the decision as one which will protect votes. But, in closing down the voting locations what he does, in the long run, is to encourage Repubicans to do exactly what they have done in this case, i.e., bring a completely baseless lawsuit that clearly has no legitimate basis and use it as intimidation to suppress voting.
It is not the first time Hanen has used his judicial opinions to go beyond the legal issue at hand and pursue his ideological agenda. He is in fact notorious for doing so. These are the kinds of judges McConnell and the Republicans have stacked the courts with.
Make no mistake, when Republicans claim that they oppose “activist judges” they are lying. They support “activist judges” and are appointing them at record levels.
There are Democrats in the Senate who are complicit in this packing of the courts with right-wing activists. And, voluntary capitulation is a characteristic of a country descending into authoritarianism.
At a time when many people who have read the information about electronic vote manipulation seriously question the integrity of the vote count in the coming election, FiveThirtyEight, one of the most visible of the polling companies, is already warning us that exit polling will be “even less reliable this year.”
Even though exit polling is extensively used all over the world to monitor the possibility of fraudulent elections, U.S. polling firms and media outlets maintain that their exit polling cannot be used to monitor election integrity. They say that their exit polls are not designed to detect fraud, but to predict elections and flesh out demographics.
Even when the vote count has been widely different from the exit polling, professional pollsters and corporate media pundits have denied even the possibility of fraud in this country.
But, as election integrity expert Jonathan Simon notes in his book “Code Red,”
“America’s electoral system has been corrupted in the most direct and fundamental of ways: the computers that now count virtually all our votes in secret can be—and, the evidence indicates, have been—programmed to cheat…”
And, if the Republicans cheat in this election and eke out tiny margin of victory across a few key states, how will that cheating be uncovered? We as a country have allowed Republicans (and to a certain extent Democrats) to bury the vote counting process in the secrecy of electronic vote counting systems that cannot be meaningfully audited.
“We continued merrily on our way, election to computerized election, sending our votes into the partisan pitch-dark of cyberspace with nothing much besides our thoughts and prayers to protect them.”
• The Supreme Court has sided with South Carolina Republicans attempting to suppress the vote by reinstating a law requiring witness signature for mail-in ballots. This decreases the vote by making it more difficult for people to vote, requiring them to risk COVID by having someone else witness the ballot, and provides yet another point top invalidate votes (the verifying and matching of the witness signature).
• In Florida, the voter registration website crashed and stayed down for several hours on Monday, the deadline to register. Again, every obstacle decreases the vote which is what the Republicans are counting on.
• In Iowa, Republicans blocked sending out ballots that had pre-filled voter information on them. Tens of thousands of ballots were invalidated. This means confusion, the likelihood that people will send in the wrong ballot, and the necessity of the state to send out replacement ballots a month before the election.
These are three incidents in three states, being replicated all over the country.
In Georgia, software on all the states voting machines is being replaced A MONTH BEFORE THE ELECTION. This software change is being done by the voting machine company, unverified, unexamined, and uncertified.
The Republicans are pulling out all the stops. They have too much at stake to lose this election. They are going to lie, cheat and finally steal this election and the Democrats and the media are going to be caught off guard. VOTING IS NOT GOING TO BE ENOUGH.
And: Pennsylvania’s online system for registering to vote and applying for and tracking mail ballots crashed over the weekend, triggering an outage that stretched for more than 24 hours and prompted frustration from voters weeks before critical election deadlines.
On Friday, 26 September 2020, the Secretary of State’s office in Georgia sent out a notification to county elections offices. The notification alerted county officials that the state had discovered a programming error involving the state’s touchscreens. These touchscreens are part of a new election system bought by Governor Brian Kemp’s administration that cost the taxpayers of Georgia almost $150 million.
This expensive new voting system was pushed through right before the 2020 election despite warnings that it was too cumbersome and impossible to establish before the 2020 election. Georgia’s Secretary of State, Brad Raffensperger was quoted in February of 2020 as saying: “This is the fastest and the largest implementation that’s ever been done in America.”
When poll worker training was started in Georgia, manuals were incomplete, and at least some devices were not working.
The programming error found on Friday, will require the state to reprogram 30,000 new touchscreens called Ballot-Marking-Devices (BMDs). It is difficult to see how this is possible before early voting starts on October 12.
The Coalition for Good Government discovered the flaw in the database hours after the SOS’s office notified county officials.
According to Jeanne Dufort, an election security commentator (9/25/20, Twitter): the “flawed database that has halted critical election preparation in GA shows the risks of outsourced elections. The SOS relied on the vendor to prepare election data bases for all GA counties, and failed to exercise proper oversight – putting the statewide election at risk.”
“We do not know the nature of the database flaw, other than it caused the state to stop LAT (Logic and Accuracy Testing), and inform counties completed LAT is wasted.”
Gray, Justin (2/4/20) Georgia Sets up a New Voting System. WSBTV uote fro Article: The new machines are more secure than Georgia’s old voting machines because they generate paper ballots.
“Nothing should be more self-evident than the simple statement that for an election to have legitimacy, the counting process must be observable” Code Red by Jonathan Simon.
In many states, however, Republican party officials have worked to make sure that the counting process is not observable. They have spent millions of taxpayer dollars to fool us into believing that we have a fair, observable system when we do not.
In the state of Georgia, to give but one example, the government of Brian Kemp (who himself benefited from vote manipulation that edged him into the governorship) is using tax payer money to make sure that the voting process is secret.
Georgia had used a paperless, touchscreen voting machine system since 2002. When we voted, our votes disappeared into a cyber world that could not be checked, verified, or audited.
The state then ignored warnings from independent researchers that the system had been easily penetrated through the internet. Because state officials refused to admit the problems with the system, it became necessary to file a lawsuit in 2017. The problems were found by the court to be so egregious, that in 2019, a federal court order had to be issued to require Georgia to stop using the all‑electronic voting system by year’s end because of the system’s proven vulnerability to cyberattack (Curling v. Raffensperger).
The response from Republican government officials was not to return to hand-marked paper ballots, but to spend over $100 million dollars on a new voting machine system that was designed not to secure the vote, but to convince voters (and the court) that votes were “secured.”
In addition to the amount of money paid for the voting system, an untold amount of state money was used in a PR campaign to dupe the people of Georgia into believing that this new system was an improvement over the last one. It was not.
What the new, outrageously expensive system did was to introduce a piece of paper into the process, what they called a “paper ballot,” that was printed by a machine. Officials then crowed that the vote was verifiable. And, they went around the state recruiting organizations and groups to pose with the new state “I Secured my Vote” propaganda. But, the paper, the “ballot” was nothing more than a prop in the theatre production that was to look like an “election.”
The process works like this:
The voter’s identification is checked in on an electronic polling book (computer) that has records of registered voters. If registered the voter is given a card.
This card is inserted into another machine, a Ballot Marking Device (BMD).
The voter then touches a screen to record his/her votes.
When finished, the BMD issues a “ballot.”
So, the BMD records the vote and marks a “ballot” for the voter. It then prints out that ballot with words that are said to reflect the voting preferences.
The voter is asked (encouraged) to take that ballot to a different station and check the words to make sure that they accurately reflect the voting preferences, i.e., how you voted.
Then, the voter takes the ballot and feeds it into a scanner which records the vote. The ballots collect inside the scanner which looks (ironically enough) like an enormous trash can.
Now, first of all, every polling place is mandated to stock readers, glasses that magnify the words on the ballot because the print is so small. This obviously in and of itself discourages voters from checking the ballots.
But, more importantly, what they don’t tell the voter is that the words on the ballot are not what is counted when s/he puts the ballot into the scanner. The words, the ones telling the voter who s/he voted for are meaningless gibberish. They are decoration, props. The words printed on the “ballot” have no relation to the vote counted by the scanner.
What the scanner counts is a bar code printed at the bottom of the ballot. You cannot read the barcode. In most cases, not even computer experts can read the barcode in these electronic voting systems. You have no idea what the scanner records, and you cannot check it with readers or without them.
So, just imagine this. You vote on a machine, it prints out words on a piece of paper that reflect who you voted for. You check these words to make sure that they reflect who you voted for. You put this paper in the scanner and this machine records not what you checked, but something you cannot check, a barcode at the bottom of the page. You have been duped.
But, you might say, these ballots are still paper, physical, they can be recounted if there is a problem. This is better than the completely paperless system before. Perhaps, but this actually makes no difference if the recount does not examine the words printed on the ballot.
The state of Georgia has made clear that any recount (and recounts are not easy to get) will only involve running the ballots through the scanner again, a second time. They have explicitly stated that there will be no examination of the match between the printed words and the barcodes.
So, the new voting system is designed not to provide a “transparent, fair, accurate, and verifiable election processes…” (as U.S. District Judge Totenberg mandated in 2019) but exactly the opposite. The new voting system is engineered to make people believe that it is transparent and verifiable, and to give them pieces of paper they can hold and “check” in order to fool them.
Judge Totenberg held a hearing this week to consider a preliminary injunction brought on behalf of the people of Georgia, to force the state to use hand-marked paper ballots in the November election for people who are voting in person.
But, after spending the outrageous $100 million for the new voting system/propaganda system, the lawyers for the state of Georgia maintain that this would be too expensive and too cumbersome.
We must start asking and demanding answers to questions about why the state of Georgia spent this enormous amount of money on a voting system that doesn’t ensure transparency and now is spending more money fighting measures to try to ensure transparency.
It has become obvious to me that the Republican Party is stealing the 2020 election.
They are stealing it behind our backs and they are stealing it in front of our faces. All you have to do to come to this conclusion is spend some time researching targeted voter sabotage as practiced by the Republicans since at least 2000.
But, instead of looking at the evidence and making a plan for what to do when the Republicans pull off yet another theft of a major election, the Democratic Party, the corporate media and regular citizens are busily waltzing off a cliff in a haze of self-congratulatory delusion. If, they tell us, we just go out and vote, Trump will be defeated, and all will be well.
I do not believe this to be true. I do not believe it to be true because I cannot look at the evidence that is available and come to that conclusion.
One of the first things you learn as a researcher is to question most what you want to believe. People in this country WANT to believe that the voting process is fair, that all they have to do is vote. There is an almost pig-headed refusal to look at the evidence that the voting system is not fair, has been rigged in the past, is being rigged now, and that rigging will likely determine the outcome of the 2020 election.
The Democratic Party leadership and party strategists desperately want to believe that all they have to do is put out ads, analyze polls, make campaign appearances (sometimes) and get out the vote. This is all they know – conventional campaign tactics. And, they simply refuse to accept the fact that we have entered a world in which conventional campaign strategies are meaningless. I don’t care how many polls you analyze, or how well you analyze them, if the vote count is manipulated, your effort will be irrelevant.
But, on the corporate news programs I listen to hour after hour of discussion of the polls and demographics, and likely voter turn-out. Corporate news pundits giddily and endlessly talk to other corporate news pundits, none of them willing to acknowledge the fact that if the Republicans do in this election what they have been doing in other elections for two decades, none of the polls and none of the analysis, is relevant. This means, of course, that the pollsters and strategists themselves are not relevant, and that is one thing they will never admit. So, they lie to themselves and they lie to us.
With this lie, they make us believe that a corrupted voting system is fair because THEY WANT TO BELIEVE THAT IT IS FAIR. If it is not fair, if all the traditional campaign strategies are useless, they might have to DO SOMETHING. They might have to stop rabbiting on endlessly on cable news, stop comparing each other’s living rooms, stop telling jokes and selling a “return to civic grace” as the answer to all our problems. They might have to do something. And, that’s the problem.
The demographics of the voting population, the polls, getting out the vote, promoting mail-in ballots, won’t make a damn bit of difference if the Republicans at the state and county level manipulate the vote count to win as they have done in the past.
There is absolutely no reason to believe that they will not manipulate the vote count and a great deal of evidence that they will. But, by ignoring this fact, the DNC, the strategists and the pollsters and the corporate news pundits keep themselves at the center of a rat wheel of influence, money, talk and activity.
The result, I fear, is that once again on November 4, we will be sitting in our homes looking at stunned corporate media pundits, strategists and pollsters disoriented and wondering how Donald Trump managed to win the electoral college yet again. They will babble about how amazing it is that the exit polls (if we even have them) could be so wrong. They will make the excuse that Trump voters don’t show up in the polling because they are ashamed to say they are voting for Trump. But, they will never, never question the integrity of the voting process itself.
When Trump has apparently secured enough electoral college votes to win, there will be nothing the Democrats and the corporate media and the strategists and the pollsters will be prepared to do. They will wring their hands and lament. They will talk about writing strongly worded letters. But, they will not question the validity of the results of the election and they will not fight to ensure that there is a fair election vote count. They have never effectively done so in the past and they will not do so in 2020.
Between now and November 3, (in order to try not to go bat-shit crazy) I intend to examine and share the information that is available to demonstrate what is almost certain to happen on November 3.
I am painfully aware that this is a process that makes people feel uncomfortable. People do not want to examine or talk about the corruption of the voting system. It’s inconvenient, it’s frightening, it’s paradigm changing and it means that they might have to DO SOMETHING.
People struggle to hold on to what makes them feel safe, and if this election is stolen like others before it, it will mean that we will be living in a different world. People are understandably afraid of that. But, putting our heads in the sand will not save us. On the contrary, I believe putting our heads in the sand will leave us disoriented, disorganized, demoralized and even more vulnerable to the onslaught of authoritarianism that will follow if Trump manages to remain in power.
The rights we think we have, the rights that we rely on to conduct daily life, will no longer exist for us, and that is a frightening prospect. But, no matter how much we want to believe that all we have to do is get out and vote, that desire doesn’t make it a reality.
Even among the community of people who study election sabotage and who have been warning about hackable modems in voting machines, voting systems that cannot be audited, the purging of voter lists, outrageously biased voting rules and a hundred other things that can and will be used to alter the vote count, there is still the tendency to want to argue that “overwhelming turnout” can overcome any voter system sabotage that may occur.
I simply cannot understand how this makes logical sense.
If Republicans sabotage the vote count, turnout, “overwhelming” or otherwise will not make that vote count accurate. If you can change vote tallies you can change thousands of votes or hundreds of votes. I have asked this question over and over to various experts in the field. The best answer I get is a rather weak statement about how “overwhelming voter turnout” will make it harder to alter the vote.
But, I don’t even understand the logic of this. Why will it make it harder? And how?
I can cast a vote for one candidate, but I cannot in any way determine how other people in my country cast their votes. If the county says that I was the only person voting for Biden in the entire county, how am I supposed to contest that? I have no access to the actual votes. I have no idea how other people voted. And, evidently in Georgia, there is not even an auditable vote count. So even if people in authority demanded a “recount,” it wouldn’t make vote sabotage any clearer.
In the state of Georgia, a recount of the votes involves nothing more than putting computer generated ballots through the same scanners a second time. A human being cannot determine by looking at these ballots who the voter voted for. The actual vote is recorded in a bar code that is unreadable by a human. So, a recount is just recounting the same ballots (which might be manipulated) all over again. That is useless.
I don’t know what to do but try to put together for myself the evidence leading to the conclusion that the Republican Party will successfully steal this election. It’s there now. There’s no need to wait until the election to see the outlines of the methods Republicans are using to manipulate the vote. They are doing it before our eyes.
If you have information, please let me know. If you have information refuting the supposition, please let me know also. If you find an argument weak, suggest another one. I’m open to all reputable information and welcome all critique. But, I cannot stand silent behaving as if I believe that voting is going to oust Trump and the Republicans. They have too much to lose to allow this vote to go against them. And, delusion is dangerous. In this case will only leave us totally unprepared for dealing with the outcome of another stolen election.
I hope I’m wrong about this. I truly hope I am wrong, but I do not think I am.
The Republicans are using a variety of methods to steal this election. At the moment, the focus is on disenfranchising people because their ballots by mail don’t arrive on time. The Republican party is actively sabotaging the post office to make sure that your ballot doesn’t arrive on time. But, this is just one of the issues.
In Georgia, for example, if the signature you use to sign your mail-in ballot does not match exactly the signature as you wrote it when you got your driver’s license, they can (and I suppose will) throw it out. For example, I use my first two initials and my last name to sign almost everything. It’s quicker and easier. But, I also sometimes write my first name, middle initial and last name. On the ballot I just used in the primary, I signed both ways just to make sure there was no confusion. Today, I learned that this means that my ballot was almost certainly thrown out.
If your signature changes in any way, since you applied for your driver’s license, your ballot can be thrown out.
There are a thousand and one different catches like this that can be used to throw your vote out.
1) ballot arrives late due to post office
2) signatures that don’t exactly match your driver’s license signature
3) having had your name stricken from the voter rolls because a name similar to yours appears in another state. (Read Greg Palast’s book about how many people were purged in Georgia because their first and last names were the same as someone in another state (for example, George Mason). These people were purged even though the Georgia person was named George A. Mason and the Virginia person was George B. Mason; even though the birth dates were different.
4) having been purged from the voter registration roles because you didn’t vote in two elections
This list goes on and on and on. It’s not reading that I especially enjoy, but if you want to understand the true depth of the voter manipulation that is going on, you have to do it. They are depending on people not reading about this, not researching this.
They are also depending on people NOT WANTING TO BELIEVE that the voting system is this terrible. I have had friends, Democrats, get angry, really angry because I tried to tell them about the research demonstrating how much vote manipulation is going on (in this case in Georgia). People get mad because they want to think that all they have to do is vote.
There is a reason the state of Georgia spent a small fortune on complicated new voting machines just before the election. And, there is a reason they made every polling place replace all their signs that said “I voted” with “I secured the vote.” This is a propaganda campaign to convince people that their vote is counted in a fair election.
To give you just one example: the state of Georgia maintains that you have a paper ballot with these machines . A paper ballot means that your vote can be verified, right? You get a piece of paper printed out with your voting choices on it. You are supposed to check these and make sure they are right before running the paper ballot through the scanner which records your vote.
But, your actual vote, the vote that is recorded by the scanner that you put your ballot through, does not even recognize the printed material. It reads a bar code at the bottom of the page that YOU CANNOT READ. So, just because you check and see in the printed part that you voted for Biden, nothing prevents the bar code from saying you voted for Trump. You would never know.
Just recently, the State of Georgia said that in any recount, the recount would be confined to running the ballots through the scanner again. IF YOUR VOTE WAS RECORDED INCORRECTLY IN THE BAR CODE, RUNNING IT THROUGH THE SCANNER AGAIN ISN’T GOING TO CHANGE THAT.
The State of Georgia (run by the criminal Brian Kemp) was explicit. Any recount would involve ONLY running the ballots through the scanner again.
We cannot just assume that “overwhelming voter turn out” will win this election for us. Voter turnout means nothing if your vote is not counted, or counted incorrectly.
In this podcast from the Majority Report, Sam Sedar talks to the Democrat challenging Chris Coons in Delaware. Coons first came on my radar screen when he did a deal during the Kavanaugh hearings with Jeff Flake. The deal was for an “investigation” by the FBI into the allegations of other women accusing Kavanaugh of sexual impropriety. This “investigation” was so circumscribed that it failed to even interview some of the woman accusing Kavanaugh. This “investigation” provided a number of people cover to vote for Kavanaugh’s nomination.
Then, after putting off watching “The Family” the Netflix documentary on Jeff Sharlett’s book “The Family” because I knew it would drive me crazy, I was amazed to see Chris Coons all over it. Coons is an active participant in this Christofacist organization.
Coons if one of those democrats who goes on television and assumes this holier-than-thou attitude about “bipartisanship.” This bipartisanship evidently includes already conspiring with Republicans to block progressive economic policy which might be implemented by a Bernie Sanders presidency.
Chris Coons is a snake in the grass and we must get him out of office.