Recounts Are Only as Good as They Are Allowed to Be
December 15, 2016
The existence of paper ballots is generally touted as the ultimate backstop guaranteeing the integrity of American elections, because “if there is a problem or any doubts, those ballots can always be recounted.”
They can be — but will they be?
Now we have seen three “recounts” up close and learned that, in practice, this amounts to a false and dangerous assurance. The effort to recount these ballots, where they do exist, has been blocked, subverted, and turned into a sham in each of the three states in which it has been attempted this month.
The sheer number (and variety) of obstacles that have been thrown in the path of the recount efforts in the battleground states of Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania begs the question: What evidence are these blockades trying to hide?
In the same spirit that Rosemary Woods managed to erase just those 18 minutes of an hours-long Nixon tape that many believe to contain the “smoking gun” about the Watergate scandal, so we are led to suspect the Election 2016 smoking guns may be in places that refuse to recount by hand — counties that destroy or prevent the creation of ballot images by scanners; states that ruleagainst recounting in precincts where ballot bag seals are broken, or the number of voters does not match the number of ballots; and states whose courts, by partisan majority, simply rule that the recount cannot go forward at all.
A combination of administrative, financial, judicial, and operational tactics were used to hamper or stymie the recount effort in each state in which it was undertaken. A few examples of these tactics:
• Refusal to hand count in Wisconsin in the very counties with the brightest forensic red flags — Outagamie, Brown, Rock, e.g., where Trump vote shares dramatically exceeded expectations.
What Would Trump Do? How We Respond to a Suspect Election
What can the nation do to awaken from this bad dream?
This one was for all the marbles. A glib way of putting it, perhaps, but I have yet to find anyone who believes that Election 2016 was an ordinary election or that it will bring in its wake anything resembling “politics as usual.” This was not Carter-Ford, not even Carter-Reagan, Nixon-Humphrey, Bush-Gore, Obama-Romney, or any of a parade of elections stretching far back down the street of American history. The direction of America, and likely of the world, has taken a sharp and possibly irrevocable turn.
With Donald J. Trump two months and a coronation away from becoming the most powerful person in the world, the shockwaves are still spreading: protestors are massing in the streets, flights to the United States have fallen off sharply, the calamitous question “What went wrong?” keeps reverberating from NY Times to water-cooler to dinner table (the Dow, anticipating new vistas of business and environmental deregulation, has held its own). Kellyanne Conway, Trump’s campaign manager, has put his critics on notice to “be careful what they say.” Alt-right white supremacist Steve Bannon has been brought into Trump’s White House as his “chief strategist.” The young woman who served me an ice-cream cone yesterday at Baskin Robbins (some have hit the bottle; I have sought comfort in ice cream) had tears running down her face. When I asked her what was wrong, she spread her hands wide and said only, “You know.” America gruesomely divided, at least half of it in shock.
Hillary Clinton conceded; President Obama promises a “smooth transition;” the media busies itself covering the coronation, the cabinet picking, and the demographics and psychologies that fooled every pollster and pundit and delivered this shocking victory. But the victory itself is self-evident; America “moves on.” Soon the protests will have died down, the tears will have dried, the shock will have dissipated, and the moment will have run its course, leaving all the marbles in the gutter where they fell. This is something we have always celebrated about our democracy, the 1860 election and the ensuing Civil War being the one cautionary historical blot.
Before we all move on though, I want to suggest a thought experiment.
Computerized Election Theft and the New American Century
Is it futile to combat computerized vote-counting fraud, given the more general disenfranchisement of the American public? This and the emerging battlefield of corporate versus public interest is explored in this article by Jonathan Simon, author of CODE RED: Computerized Election Theft and The New American Century: POST – E2014 Edition.
Many despairing observers of The New American Century have asked me whether – given the recent revelations about NSA surveillance, along with other signs that American democracy is deteriorating irrespective of which party governs – an honest vote counting system would even matter anymore. A fair question to which I believe the ultimate, if uneasy, answer is “Yes.”
There was a brief glimpse during the Occupy movement of what public anger at American Systemic Injustice might come to if it found a way to assemble, to come out of its isolated private homes and apartments and shelters and cubicles into the public squares of the nation. It was a powerful image, one that so shook US rulers in their corporate and governmental corridors of power that they soon resorted to a federally-coordinated blitzkrieg to empty those squares and kill Occupy before it multiplied any further and before the Bastille was in any real danger.
full article here: Computerized Election Theft and the New American Century
Computerized Vote Counting: The Hole in United States’ Political Bucket
Last month, I attended the Ninth Annual Voting And Elections Summit in Washington, hosted by Fair Vote, The Lawyers’ Committee For Civil Rights Under Law, US Vote Foundation, and Overseas Vote Foundation, each a progressive organization dedicated to the betterment of elections in the United States. The summit was indeed a gathering of very bright, motivated, devoted, and patriotic individuals and organizations, whose efforts I deeply appreciate.
Many inadequacies of our electoral politics were addressed at the summit and many excellent ideas and reforms proposed. But my takeaway, as has often been the case at such well-intended gatherings, was that for all our attempts to redress… full article here: Computerized Vote Counting: The Hole in United States’ Political Bucket
Afghanistan to Far Surpass USA in Vote Counting Integrity
KABUL, Afghanistan — Secretary of State John Kerry announced Saturday that Afghanistan would audit all eight million votes cast in a runoff presidential election last month . . . The audit, intended to resolve allegations of widespread fraud, is to begin almost immediately, he said, and will be supervised by international monitors.
When this same (I think) John Kerry ignored our pleas and fell all over himself to concede Ohio and the presidency in 2004 (in an election as forensically red-flagged as anything Afghanistan has ever seen), I don’t recall “every single ballot cast” being audited.
Contrast this with a recent and typical American election in Virginia, in which not a single ballot (or memory card or line of computer code) is counted, audited, or examined by a human being. An election that could be rigged with zero risk for huge reward. An election whose politically seismic result was described… full article here: Afghanistan to Far Surpass USA in Vote Counting Integrity
Here is a list of the radio shows where you can hear Jonathan Simon discuss “CODE RED” and the implications of computerized election theft.
KPFA “UpFront” with Brian Edwards-Tiekert, July 18, 2018
The Shift, with Doug McKenty, April 2018
Red State Radio, with Mark Faulk, March 2018
KPFK Solartopia, with Harvey Wasserman, March 2018
Left Forum Panel, June 2017
Living Well, with Donna Descoteaux, December 2016
Guns + Butter, with Bonnie Faulkner, November 2016
KPFK Solartopia, with Harvey Wasserman, November 2016
Alliance for Democracy, with David Delk, June 2015
KBOO Radio, with Ethan Scarl, June 2015
Voice of the People, with Tony Trupiano, May 2015
KGO Radio, with Pat Thurston, January 2015
Coast To Coast, with George Noory, January 2015
Corporations and Democracy, with Steve Scalmanini, December 2014
Guns + Butter, with Bonnie Faulkner, November 2014
Corporations and Democracy, with Steve Scalmanini, October 2014
National Democracy Conference, August 2013
Soapbox, with Cindy Sheehan, August 2013
Left Forum Panel, March 2011
National Conference on Media Reform, January 2007