The specter of electronic voting fraud has lurked in our national subconscious for over a decade now. If history is any lesson, it will be one of the biggest issues in the upcoming presidential election. While the voting debacle in Florida in the 2000 election garnered the most concern during the Bush years, the bigger theft, according to Harvey Wasserman, took place in Ohio amid the president’s 2004 reelection.
Co-author of the book, “What Happened in Ohio: A Documentary Record of Theft and Fraud in the 2004 Election,” as well as the forthcoming “The Strip & Flip Selection of 2016: Five Jim Crows & Electronic Election Theft,” Wasserman has been a vocal critic of the electronic voting system — one he believes is fraught with flaws and exploited to the detriment of the democratic process.
In a recent interview with Amy Goodman of Democracy Now, Wasserman said the chances are extremely likely that the 2016 election will see massive voting anomalies.
Wired concurs that a meltdown is likely, noting the poor infrastructure of electronic voting:
“Nearly every state is using electronic touchscreen and optical-scan voting systems that are at least a decade old.”
These anomalies won’t be accidents, or unprecedented. Wasserman asserts both the 2000 and 2004 presidential elections were electronically rigged. He also believes Scott Walker stole the Wisconsin governorship and that Rahm Emanuel’s re-election was fraudulent.
One of the most glaring examples of electronic voting fraud can be seen in the 2004 race between incumbent George W. Bush and then-Senator John Kerry, Wasserman says:
“John Kerry was the rightful winner in 2004 over George W. Bush. The secretary of state at the time, J. Kenneth Blackwell, and the governor, Robert Taft, used their power of electronic vote count to flip the vote to George W. Bush from John Kerry.”
He is referring to Ohio, the 2004 swing state that decided the election. A few crucial counties in Ohio, including Miami County, helped flip the voter count. According to CommonDreams.org, this was no accident:
“A precinct in an evangelical church in Miami County recorded an impossibly high turnout of ninety-eight percent, while a polling place in inner-city Cleveland recorded an equally impossible turnout of only seven percent. In Warren County, GOP election officials even invented a nonexistent terrorist threat to bar the media from monitoring the official vote count.”
In 2000, the swing state was Florida. There, election officials saw similar anomalies in Volusia County, where Wasserman says the vote count was flipped to favor George W. Bush.
The similarities between these states are worth pointing out: at the time of the elections, in which these two states decided the respective vote counts of 2000 and 2004, each state had both a Republican governor and a Republican secretary of state (Florida 2000: Jeb Bush and Katherine Harris; Ohio 2004: Bob Taft and Kenneth Blackwell). Wasserman says this double dominance allows partisan operatives to manipulate electronic voting machines, many of which are manufactured by companies that support GOP companies. Diebold is a primary example.
Wasserman says there were electronic voting anomalies in 2008 and 2012 as well, but they didn’t change the result of the elections because Barack Obama won by too many votes.
Could this happen again in the 2016 election? Wasserman contends it is exceedingly likely. He points to court rulings that protect electronic voting machine manufacturers from revealing their proprietary source code. This draconian judicial bottleneck prevents both the government and independent investigators from properly auditing vote counts and verifying files.
Researchers have shown that hacking voting machines requires only $26 and an 8th grade education, so why isn’t anyone taking the threat seriously?
With a rigged economy, a rigged campaign finance system, and rigged elections, what chance do Americans have of exercising true representative democracy? Unfortunately, not much — and corrupt elections further push the nation toward increasingly fascistic tendencies underscored by corporatism and oligarchy.