Elections News ArticlesExcerpts of key news articles on elections
The secret vote was, in its time, a great idea. Before the secret ballot was popularized, it was standard practice to intimidate and threaten voters. But few know that America hasn't always had secret ballots. Indeed, the secret ballot didn't even originate in the US – the system we use is known, actually, as the "Australian ballot". The majority of US states did not move to that system – in which publicly-provided, printed ballots with the names of the candidates are marked in secret – until after 1884. By now, reams of solid reporting have documented the aberrations, high jinks, missing hard drives, voting machines that weirdly revert to one candidate, voting machines owned by friends of the candidate of one party, and other aspects of systematic corruption that attend America's voting. Solid reporting on the war on voting, and on the corruption of the voting infrastructure, continues to mount. It is crazy to ask Americans to have pure faith that the system is incorruptible, and to ask them to just drop their votes into a black hole and trust in the Lord – or Diebold. Here is my modest proposal: let us end the secret ballot, because we have reached a point, with the internet, in which transparency and accountability is more important than absolute secrecy. The votes get tallied and posted – with their corresponding numbers – online on a public site, and major media reproduce the lists. And I can check my number (unidentifiable to anyone else) to check whether my vote was correctly registered. This would allow, in one sweep, all citizens to watch the watchers.
Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on elections corruption, click here.
The [electronic voting] machines used in Hamilton County, Ohio — the county home of Cincinnati — are supplied by Hart Intercivic, a national provider of voting systems in use in a wide variety of counties scattered throughout the states of Texas, Oklahoma, Hawaii, Colorado and Ohio. A test conducted in 2007 by the Ohio Secretary of State revealed that five of the electronic voting systems the state was looking to use in the upcoming 2008 presidential election had failed badly, each easily susceptible to chicanery that could alter the results of an election. As reported in the New York Times, “At polling stations, teams working on the study were able to pick locks to access memory cards and use hand-held devices to plug false vote counts into machines. At boards of election, they were able to introduce malignant software into servers.” It turns out that Hart Intercivic is owned, in large part, by H.I.G. Capital — a large investment fund with billions of dollars under management — that was founded by a fellow named Tony Tamer. H.I.G. employees hold at least two of the five Hart Intercivic board seats. Tony Tamer, H.I.G.’s founder, turns out to be a major bundler for the Mitt Romney campaign, along with three other directors of H.I.G. who are also big-time money raisers for Romney. Two of those directors — Douglas Berman and Brian Schwartz — were actually in attendance at the now infamous “47 percent” fundraiser in Boca Raton, Florida. Two members of the Hart Intercivic board of directors, Neil Tuch and Jeff Bohl, have made direct contributions to the Romney campaign.
Note: The author of this article was attacked by National Review Online for this piece. To see his rebuttal, click here. To sign a petition to launch an investigation on this critical matter, click here. For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on serious problems with the US elections system, click here.
Voter fraud has a shocking new meaning in eastern Kentucky [where] major cocaine and marijuana dealers admitted to buying votes to steal elections. "We believe that drug money did buy votes," Kerry B. Harvey, U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Kentucky, said. He described a stunning vote-buying scheme that includes "very extensive, organized criminal activity, involving hundreds of thousands of dollars, and in many cases that involves drug money." He says the problem is rooted in economic woes, which is why votes are routinely for sale. In that part of the state, jobs are scarce and poverty is high. Controlling local government means controlling jobs. "These folks go out and hijack the local elections for their own purposes and then they use those jobs to enrich themselves and their confederates. It really is a terrible problem and it has to be stopped," Harvey explains. In Clay County, according to court testimony, some of the funds to purchase votes came from massive cocaine and marijuana drug trafficking operations. â€I always bought votes," Kenneth Day testified. The 60-year-old was serving 18 years in federal prison for multimillion-dollar drug trafficking. Prosecutors say he dealt in "millions of dollars in drugs, marijuana, cocaine, and methamphetamine" and "had developed one of the most successful drug trafficking businesses in the whole entire region." He also dealt in votes. Day was not only an admitted drug trafficker, but he also had served as the longtime Clay County Republican commissioner of the Board of Elections.
Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on serious problems with the US elections process, click here.
For all the superheated rhetoric of yet another election cycle, it's as clear as ever that the Republican and Democratic parties in Washington pretty much support the same economic policies. Indeed, any honest perusal of congressional votes proves that the party establishments are roughly the same when it comes to financial deregulation (less of it), job-killing free trade (more of it), bailouts (more of them) and corporate taxes (less of them). Politicians and partisan media outlets deny this obvious reality, of course. But they do so because they have a vested interest in the red-versus-blue "polarization" narrative from which they generate campaign contributions and ratings, respectively. It's also why more Americans are tuning out of politics. Pretending this is some big divide is a farce. Both parties are proposing to enrich the already rich while hiding the two-headed monster behind a mask of conflict.
Note: For a powerful essay revealing the deeper agenda behind largely fabricated polarizations, click here.
Nearly 70 percent of voters think super PACs should be outlawed, and more than half “strongly” do. We can hardly believe that the billionaire brothers David and Charles Koch will spend more this year than John McCain’s entire presidential campaign raised in 2008. We can’t stand the constant flood of negative ads on every channel or the ominous anonymity of the interests behind them. The Roberts Court sees all this and refuses to acknowledge that it “give[s] rise to corruption or the appearance of corruption.” Fortunately, if on the question of campaign finance the Supreme Court is immune to the court of public opinion, progressives are fighting through other avenues to transform today’s corrupt system into one that is fair, transparent and participatory. In [the] state of New York, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has launched a path-breaking investigation of tax-exempt groups that might be fraudulently funneling funds into politics, including a “charitable foundation” affiliated with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Meanwhile, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is partnering with Protect Our Democracy ... to apply the same successful, grass-roots pressure they used in getting same-sex marriage passed to our campaign finance system. They have joined with citizen activists who are looking to New York City’s successful, multiple-match public financing system. A Brennan Center for Justice study showed that this system promoted diversity among candidates and donors and reduced the influence of corporate money.
Note: For key reports from major media sources on problems with US elections, click here.
The Montana Supreme Court issued a stunning ruling Dec. 30 that rejected arguments that the U.S. Supreme Court's landmark ruling in Citizens United vs. FEC applied to Montana's century-old ban on corporate election spending. The 5-2 ruling overturned a lower court and reinstated Montana's Corrupt Practices Act, a citizen initiative passed to confront some of the most overt corporate corruption in American history. Citizens United struck down a federal law that prohibited corporations from directly spending company funds to advocate for or against political candidates. Justice Kennedy's majority opinion in Citizens United ... asserted that "independent expenditures, including those made by corporations, do not give rise to corruption or the appearance of corruption." That astounding claim promptly birthed super PACs, which can accept unlimited donations to support their favored candidate and attack his or her opponents. By the time the public knows the people or corporations behind the super PAC attacks, four primaries will be complete and the winner may be apparent. The Montana ruling is cause for celebration, but its value can only be realized if other states and courts follow. An appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court is likely and, without far more visible public advocacy for the democratic republic promised by our Constitution, the Roberts court is unlikely to veer from its agenda of steadily enlarging corporate privilege.
Note: For illuminating analyses from reliable sources of the threats to democracy from corporate money in the US elections, click here.
With a single, disastrous 5-to-4 ruling, the Supreme Court has thrust politics back to the robber-baron era of the 19th century. Disingenuously waving the flag of the First Amendment, the court’s conservative majority has paved the way for corporations to use their vast treasuries to overwhelm elections and intimidate elected officials into doing their bidding. Congress must act immediately to limit the damage of this radical decision, which strikes at the heart of democracy. As a result of Thursday’s ruling, corporations have been unleashed from the longstanding ban against their spending directly on political campaigns and will be free to spend as much money as they want to elect and defeat candidates. The ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission radically reverses well-established law and erodes a wall that has stood for a century between corporations and electoral politics. The founders of this nation warned about the dangers of corporate influence. The real solution lies in getting the court’s ruling overturned.
Note: The crux of the argument used by the Supreme Court is that under US law, corporations are treated as persons and therefore given Constitutional rights meant for people. Should we then give them the right to vote? For many key articles from reliable sources on serious flaws in the electoral process in the US, click here.
Diebold Inc. has sold its money-losing U.S. election-systems business, just seven years after acquiring it amid hopes of rising demand for voting technology upgrades in the wake of the 2000 presidential election fiasco. Diebold [said] it sold the voting-machine unit to privately held Election Systems & Software Inc. for $5 million, about one-fifth of what it paid in 2002. "There were assumptions we made in that space that didn't materialize," Diebold spokesman Mike Jacobsen said. Diebold, which was the industry's biggest maker of electronic voting machines heading into the 2004 presidential election, was in the spotlight as concerns increased about the reliability and security of the electronic systems. Diebold also suffered from a perception problem when the company's then-Chief Executive Walden O'Dell very publicly supported and fundraised for President George W. Bush in his re-election campaign.
Note: This article fails to mention that the merger of Diebold and ES&S creates a major monopoly on US voting machines in the hands of companies owned by staunch conservatives. For more vital information on this and the suspicious death of the principal witness related to Karl Rove in an key Ohio elections case, click here.
Voting rolls, which are maintained by local election officials, are one of the weakest links in American democracy and problems are growing. Republicans have been pressing for sweeping voter purges in many states. They have also fought to make it harder to enroll new voters. Voting experts say there could be serious problems at the polls on Nov. 4. A number of states — including the battleground state of Florida — have adopted no match, no vote rules. Voters can be removed from the rolls if their names do not match a second list, such as a Social Security or driver’s license database. But (like the U.S. mail) lists of this kind are notoriously mistake-filled, and one typo can cause a no match. In Ohio, Republicans recently sued the secretary of state, demanding that she provide local officials with a dubious match list. As many as 200,000 new voters could have been blocked from casting ballots. The Supreme Court rejected the suit, but Republicans are still looking for ways to use the list on Election Day. For this election, voters need to be prepared to fight for their right to cast a ballot. They should try to confirm before Nov. 4 that they are on the rolls — something that in many states can be done on a secretary of state or board of elections Web site. If their state permits it, they should vote early. If voters find on Election Day that their names are not on the rolls, they should contact a voters’ rights group like Election Protection, at 1-866-OUR-VOTE.
Note: A recent report in Rolling Stone by Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and Greg Palast details many of these tactics to eliminate voters from the rolls. To watch a related video by Greg Palast click here. For many disturbing reports from major media sources on threats to free and fair elections in the US, click here. And for a powerful, five-minute video showing both the ways your vote can disappear and what you can do about it, click here.
An audit of last November’s general election in the Cleveland area has found that hundreds of votes were lost, that others were recorded twice and that software used to count the ballots was vulnerable to data problems. In a state that was pivotal to President Bush’s election and re-election, Cuyahoga County, which includes Cleveland, has seen more than its share of recent election troubles. Lines at polls there were hours long in the 2004 general election. And in the primaries last May, the county’s first experience with electronic voting, poll workers were absent or poorly trained, computer cards on which votes had been recorded were lost, and one polling place opened hours late. The audit found that some batches of ballots registered in optical scan machines had been scanned twice, producing a double count of those ballots. Other ballots were deleted because of flawed data and, owing to human error, were not rescanned, the committee found. The optical scan and touch-screen machines used in the county were made by Diebold Election Systems Inc. The audit committee said Microsoft’s JET file-sharing database system, which Diebold used, was known to have previously had problems that could result in corruption of the database. The audit committee was allowed only a limited review of the data collected by Diebold. The panel tried to gain access to the raw data, but Diebold claimed that the information was proprietary. Barbara Simons, a ... past president of the Association for Computing Machinery, said: “There is no excuse for Diebold’s having used such an insecure and unreliable database. There were far more reliable databases available over 20 years ago.” The committee called for extensive changes to ensure the integrity of future elections, among them streamlining the process by eliminating either optical scanner or touch-screen machines.
Note: For major media stories revealing the critical state of the US electoral system, click here.
Three county elections workers conspired to avoid a more thorough recount of ballots in the 2004 presidential election, a prosecutor told jurors during opening statements of their trial Thursday. Witnesses testified that, two days before a planned recount, selected ballots were counted so the result would be determined. "The evidence will show that this recount was rigged, maybe not for political reasons, but rigged nonetheless," Prosecutor Kevin Baxter said. "They did this so they could spend a day rather than weeks or months" on the recount, he said. Defense attorneys said in their opening statements that the workers in Cuyahoga County didn't do anything out of the ordinary. "They just were doing it the way they were always doing it," said defense attorney Roger Synenberg, representing Kathleen Dreamer, a ballot manager. Charged with various counts each of election misconduct or interference are Jacqueline Maiden, the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections' coordinator, who was the board's third-highest ranking employee when she was indicted last March; Rosie Grier, assistant manager of the board's ballot department; and Dreamer. Baxter said testimony in the case will show that instead of conducting a random count, the workers chose sample precincts for the Dec. 16, 2004, recount that did not have questionable results to ensure that no discrepancies would emerge. "This was a very hush operation," Baxter said. There were allegations in several counties of similar presorting of ballots for the recounts that state law says are to be random.
Note: For lots more reliable, verifiable information on elections manipulations, click here.
By the 2008 presidential election, voters around the country are likely to see sweeping changes in how they cast their ballots and how those ballots are counted. New federal guidelines, along with legislation given a strong chance to pass in Congress next year, will probably combine to make the paperless voting machines obsolete. Motivated in part by voting problems during the midterm elections last month, the changes are a result of a growing skepticism among local and state election officials, federal legislators and the scientific community about the reliability and security of the paperless touch-screen machines used by about 30 percent of American voters. Various forms of vote-counting software used around the country ... will for the first time be inspected by federal authorities, and the code could be made public. Last year, New Mexico spent $14 million to replace its touch screens. Other states are spending millions more to retrofit the machines to add paper trails. Because some printers malfunctioned last month, election commissioners in Cuyahoga County, Ohio, which includes Cleveland, said last week that they were considering scrapping their new $17 million system of touch-screen machines. Under changes approved by the Election Assistance Commission yesterday, voting machine manufacturers would have to make their crucial software code available to federal inspectors. The code is now checked mainly by private testing laboratories paid by the manufacturers.
Note: How is it possible that the government allowed voting machine companies to keep their software secret even from the government? We may never know how many votes were manipulated. For more, click here.
Some of electronic voting's loudest defenders have been state and local election officials. Many of those same officials have financial ties to voting machine companies. Former secretaries of state from Florida and Georgia have signed on as lobbyists for Election Systems and Software and Diebold Election Systems. When Bill Jones left office as California's secretary of state in 2003, he quickly became a consultant to Sequoia Voting Systems. His assistant secretary of state took a full-time job there. The list goes on. Even while in office, many election officials are happy to accept voting machine companies' largess. Forty-three percent of the budget of the National Association of Secretaries of State comes from voting machine companies and other vendors. State governments in a growing number of states...have pushed through much-needed laws that require electronic voting machines to produce paper records. But these groups have faced intense opposition from election officials [who] argued that voter-verifiable paper trails...are impractical. While they may sincerely think that electronic voting machines are so trustworthy that there is no need for a paper record of votes, their views have to be regarded with suspicion until their conflicts are addressed.
Persistent but unproven accusations that Ronald Reagan's 1980 presidential campaign negotiated a secret deal with Iran to prevent the release of American hostages until after the election are being revived this week with fresh accounts of meetings between campaign officials and an Iranian cleric. One of the accounts is provided by Gary Sick, a Middle East specialist who helped handle the Iranian hostage crisis as a member of the White House staff in the Carter Administration. Mr. Sick ... has heard what he considers to be reliable reports that a secret deal involving the hostages was begun during two meetings between William J. Casey and the Iranian cleric in a Madrid hotel in July 1980. The allegation that there were meetings between Mr. Casey, Mr. Reagan's campaign chairman, who went on be the Director of Central Intelligence, and Hojatolislam Mehdi Karrubi, a representative of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, has been reported for the first time by Mr. Sick. The fate of the hostages was a pivotal issue in the 1980 election. They were taken prisoner when followers of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini ... seized the United States Embassy in Teheran in November 1979. A military operation to rescue them failed in the Iranian desert in April 1980. The Carter Administration hoped that it might obtain their release either through negotiations or a second rescue mission before Election Day, and Reagan campaign officials were concerned that the return of the hostages could swing the election to Mr. Carter.
Note: Much more information is available in this New York Times article and this article. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption from reliable major media sources.
40 years ago, a worn-out white Gulfstream II jet descended over Fort Lauderdale, Fla., carrying a regal but sickly passenger almost no one was expecting. Aboard were a Republican political operative, a retinue of Iranian military officers ... and Mohammed Reza Pahlavi, the newly deposed shah of Iran. The only one waiting to receive the deposed monarch was a senior executive of Chase Manhattan Bank, which had not only lobbied the White House to admit the former shah but had arranged visas for his entourage. Less than two weeks later, on Nov. 4, 1979, vowing revenge for the admission of the shah to the United States, revolutionary Iranian students seized the American Embassy in Tehran and then held more than 50 Americans — and Washington — hostage for 444 days. The shah, Washington’s closest ally in the Persian Gulf, had fled Tehran in January 1979. The shah sought refuge in America. But President Jimmy Carter ... refused him entry for the first 10 months of his exile. Chase Manhattan Bank and its well-connected chairman worked behind the scenes to persuade the Carter administration to admit the shah, one of the bank’s most profitable clients. For Mr. Carter, for the United States and for the Middle East it was an incendiary decision. The ensuing hostage crisis enabled Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini to consolidate his theocratic rule, started a four-decade conflict between Washington and Tehran ... and helped Ronald Reagan take the White House.
Note: More information is available in this 1991 New York Times article and this article. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption from reliable major media sources.
The United States is stepping up digital incursions into Russia’s electric power grid in a warning to President Vladimir V. Putin and a demonstration of how the Trump administration is using new authorities to deploy cybertools more aggressively, current and former government officials said. In interviews over the past three months, the officials described the previously unreported deployment of American computer code inside Russia’s grid and other targets as a classified companion to more publicly discussed action directed at Moscow’s disinformation and hacking units around the 2018 midterm elections. In August of 2018, President Trump signed [an] executive order ... called National Security Presidential Memorandum 13. Its contents are still classified, but essentially it allows the Cyber Command to go ahead and conduct all kinds of operations inside foreign networks without going back to the president for prior approval. The first thing it did was go after those units in Russia that were responsible for a lot of the election-hacking. They went after the G.R.U., the Russian military intelligence unit that had been responsible for breaking into the D.N.C.. A lot of that ... was made public. What wasn’t made public was a parallel effort to go inside the Russian power grid, to put some code in places where the Russians ... wouldn’t see it, in case the U.S. ever needed to act against Russia’s utilities as the Russians were putting malware in our systems.
Note: A 2007 New York Times article describes the formation of the Air Force Cyberspace Command to arm the US military in anticipation of widespread computer-based warfare. A more recent Guardian article says, "we might already be living through the first world cyberwar." For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on intelligence agency corruption from reliable major media sources.
In 2015, Maryland’s main election system vendor was bought by a parent company with ties to a Russian oligarch. The state’s election officials did not know about the purchase until July 2018, when the FBI notified them of the potential conflict. The FBI investigated and did not find any evidence of tampering or sharing of voter data. But the incident was a giant red flag ... especially as many states have outsourced vote-counting to the private sector. Democracy in the United States is now largely a secretive and privately-run affair conducted out of the public eye with little oversight. The corporations that run every aspect of American elections, from voter registration to casting and counting votes by machine, are subject to limited state and federal regulation. The companies are privately-owned and closely held, making information about ownership and financial stability difficult to obtain. The software source code and hardware design of their systems are kept as trade secrets. A small network of companies ... have near-monopolies on election services, such as building voting machines. Across the spectrum, private vendors have long histories of errors that affected elections, of obstructing politicians and the public from seeking information, of corruption, suspect foreign influence, false statements of security and business dishonesty. The computer security world has been sounding the alarm since voting machines were adopted. Now lawmakers, election officials and national security experts are joining in.
Note: Computer scientists have shown nearly every make and model of electronic voting machine to be vulnerable to hacking. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing elections corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
Kentucky lawmakers have warned the state was heading towards a disastrous primary election this week, as ballot problems, voter confusion and a severe shortage of polling places threatened to suppress turnout amid the coronavirus pandemic. State officials ... released a joint statement condemning US District Court Judge Charles Simpson’s ruling against a case that argued having just one polling site in most of the state’s 120 counties would result in voter suppression. “We believe the judge disregarded evidence from our expert witness that one location will suppress the vote, particularly among African Americans,” read the statement, co-authored by Jason Nemes, a Republican state representative, and Keisha Dorsey, a Democratic councilwoman. The lawmakers were both behind the lawsuit, which demanded an increase in statewide polling locations. Voters throughout Kentucky received inaccurate absentee ballots ... that do not match their party affiliations. In Kentucky, voters must be members of a party to participate in its primary elections. In a typical election year, Kentucky has about 3,700 polling sites. When Election Day arrives ... there will be just 200 polling sites across the state. Ben Jealous, president of People For The American Way, described the situation as “Our Next Electoral Nightmare.” “Half Kentucky’s Black voters live in one county,” he wrote. “It will have one polling place ... for 616,000 registered voters.”
A Texas appeals court on Thursday upheld a five-year prison sentence for a woman who was convicted of illegally voting even though she didn't know she was ineligible when she went to the polls in 2016. The punishment for the Fort Worth woman, Crystal Mason, stirred national outrage because of its severity, prompting accusations that prosecutors were trying to intimidate Texans from voting. Four years ago, Mason was on supervised release, similar to probation, for a federal felony conviction. Mason voted in the last presidential election at the urging of her mother and cast a provisional ballot. The ballot was never counted because Mason was not an eligible voter. During her 2018 trial probation officials testified that they never told Mason she could not vote, but the appeals court said that didn't matter. Mason was guilty, the court said, because she knew she was on supervised release. Texas is one of 48 states that strip people with felony convictions of the right to vote, but the rules on when people regain the right to vote vary widely from state to state and are often extremely confusing, even to elections officials. The decision to prosecute Mason was unusual. Since 2014, at least 12,668 people have voted using a provisional ballot in Tarrant county and 88% of them have been rejected because the voter was not eligible. Mason is the only voter who used a provisional ballot who was prosecuted for illegal voting.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on elections corruption from reliable major media sources.
Seven top agency officials, including the heads of the FBI and CIA, issued a joint statement predicting Russia, and other countries intend to meddle in the 2020 elections via cyber attacks or social media. “Russia, China, Iran, and other foreign malicious actors all will seek to interfere in the voting process or influence voter perceptions,” the joint statement said. The threat of more cyber attacks, plus disinformation and social media operations to sway public opinion, has prompted the federal government to work closely with officials in all 50 states, the statement said. A Senate intelligence committee report in mid-2019 concluded that Kremlin hackers manipulated election systems in all 50 states, and succeeded in breaching systems in two Florida counties and another state. New questions are being raised about the safety of some electronic voting equipment given problems in 2019 and 2018, respectively, in Pennsylvania and Georgia. A lawsuit was filed last month to block Pennsylvania from certifying electronic voting equipment that Philadelphia has purchased, after the same machines encountered significant problems in November in undercounting votes. The equipment was made by ... ES&S, which boasts about 50% of the national voting machine market and has been cited before for malfunctions. In Georgia in the 2018 elections, for instance, old voting machines made by ES&S were involved in counting votes in a race where reportedly about 80,000 votes were strangely not cast.
Note: There have been serious problems with electronic voting in the US for decades. There is little doubt powerful factions within the US have taken advantage of this. Only now that the Russians are being accused is anyone talking about this. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on elections corruption from reliable major media sources.
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