No Republican presidential candidate has ever won an election without carrying the state of Ohio. So, it is probably no coincidence that Hart Intercivic, a company with strong ties to the Romney campaign, will be counting (or not counting) the votes in Ohio and in other swing states such as Colorado.
In all 234 counties of Texas, the entire states of Hawaii and Oklahoma, half of Washington and Colorado, and certain counties in swing state Ohio, votes will be cast on eSlate and ePollbook machines made by Hart Intercivic, even though a 2007 study commissioned by the state of Ohio has labeled its voting system a “failure” when it comes to protecting the integrity of elections.
Hart Intercivic, a manufacturer of paperless voting machines, has a key investor known as HIG Capital, seven of whose directors were former employees of Bain & Co., a consulting company of which Mitt Romney was once CEO. HIG Capital announced its investment in Hart on July 6, 2011, just one month after Romney formally announced the launch of his presidential campaign.
According to OpenSecrets.org, HIG Capital has contributed $338,000 to the Romney campaign this year. According to Craig Unger writing for Salon.com, four of the HIG directors, Tony Tamer, John Bolduc, Douglas Berman and Brian D. Schwartz, are Romney bundlers along with former Bain and HIG manager Brian Shortsleeve.
A report in The Nation tied HIG Capital to the Romney family via Solamere, a private equity firm that has invested in HIG and is run by Tagg Romney, the candidate’s son. Tagg is managing partner of Solamere Capital, which is a subsidiary of financial firms owned by Allen Stanford, a guy doing 110 years behind bars for an $8 billion Ponzi scheme. “Solamere, a firm predicated on its founders’ relationship with Romney, presents a channel for powerful investors to influence the White House if he wins.”
In this presidential election, Ohio is one of the eight closely contested states that could go either way. By most accounts, the others are Florida, Virginia, North Carolina, Colorado, Nevada, Iowa and New Hampshire. In order to reach the 270 electoral votes needed to become president, Republican Mitt Romney probably would have to win the other seven if he loses Ohio.
Ohio typically votes for the eventual presidential winner. It has done so in 25 of the past 27 elections since 1904, missing only in 1944 when it went for Republican Thomas Dewey over Franklin Roosevelt and in 1960 when it went for Republican Richard Nixon over John Kennedy.
Investigations of real voter fraud are nothing new in Ohio, or in other states. This is not the first time the GOP has been accused of it. The precinct data and analytic techniques used by the researchers are available from several authors for election analysis. Brad Friedman writing on his BradBlog, as well as investigative journalist Greg Palast, have looked into real voter fraud in depth in several states. Both warn of voter fraud in Ohio in this coming election. In fact, Palast rightfully claims that Americans can expect 5.9 million of their votes deleted or flipped in this election, particularly in Ohio. (See video to left).
Vote flipping through electronic voting is very difficult to prove, since the totals remain the same for each precinct and there is no paper trail. It may have occurred here in Wisconsin this year in the GOP primary. If you look at slide one in the slideshow, you can see Romney’s percent of the vote takes off and those of the others drop after about 7% of the votes are counted from the smallest to the largest precincts. Romney’s percentage of precinct votes goes up (the upward slope of the green line) while those of the three other candidates decline.
The steady increase in Romney’s percent of the vote and steady decline in Santorum’s represents a statistical anomaly. In this case, the anomaly is amazing according to the researchers. The probability of this happening by chance alone is so small it exceeds the capability of statistical packages to handle. Their software says Romney’s share of the vote, increasing with precinct size has zero probability of occurring by chance alone.
Bob Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman, writing for truthout.org, have this to say about the 2004 election in Ohio:
The widespread use of electronic voting machines from ES&S, and of Diebold software maintained by Triad, allowed [Ohio Attorney General] Blackwell to electronically flip a 4% Kerry lead to a 2% Bush victory in the dead of election night. ES&S, Diebold and Triad were all owned or operated by Republican partisans. The shift of more than 300,000 votes after 12:20 am election night was a virtual statistical impossibility. It was engineered by Michael Connell, an IT specialist long affiliated with the Bush Family. Blackwell gave Connell’s Ohio-based GovTech the contract to count Ohio’s votes, which was done on servers housed in the Old Pioneer Bank Building in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Thus the Ohio vote tally was done on servers that also carried the e-mail for Karl Rove and the national Republican Party. Connell died in a mysterious plane crash in December, 2008, after being subpoenaed in the King-Lincoln-Bronzeville federal lawsuit focused on how the 2004 election was decided (disclosure: we were attorney and plaintiff in that suit).
Retired National Security Administration (NSA) analyst Michael Duniho has worked for nearly seven years trying to understand voting anomalies in his home state of Arizona and Pima County. His conclusion: In states where the winner will be decided by less than 10 percent of the vote, the candidate that has access to the voting machines already can chalk up a win. “It is really easy to cheat using computers to count votes, because you can’t see what is going on in the machine.” And without a paper trail, there is no way to verify the results.
When Duniho applied a mathematical model to actual voting results in the largest voting precincts, he saw that only the large precincts suddenly trended towards Mitt Romney in the Arizona primary – and indeed all Republicans in every election since 2008 – by a factor of 8-10 percent. The Republican candidate in every race saw an 8-10 percent gain in his totals while the Democrat lost 8-10 percent. This is a swing of up to 20 points, enough to win an election unless a candidate is losing very badly. (See slideshow).
All five companies that provide paperless voting machines in the U.S. have very strong GOP fundraising ties, yet their executives (including the candidate’s son Tagg Romney) insist there is no conflict between massively supporting one party financially while they are controlling the machines that record and count the votes.
President Obama won by such a huge margin in 2008 that even with this anomaly built into the system, there was no way to steal the election without creating serious doubts about the entire system. This year the election is much closer. More than 100 million Americans will cast their ballots thinking their vote will be fairly counted as they should be, but there are legitimate concerns that all of them will be counted or cast on the correct ballot.
U.S. elections, however, have gotten to the point where U.N. officials have been asked by the ACLU and NAACP to send international monitors to oversee this election and look for fraud and officials in Texas have threatened to arrest them. Yet the real crooks know they can safely flip up to 10% of votes without consequence. Anything more than that is statistically suspect.
To sum it up, the vulture capitalist Republican son of the vulture capitalist Republican running for president is part-owner of voting machines in a state that is a must-win for any Republican seeking the presidency.
Americans can get a receipt at a convenience store when they buy a loaf of bread, or from an ATM when they withdraw $20. Why are no receipts given at the polls? Vigilance, citizen monitoring, and public discussion are the only protections that remain for Americans to recognize and call out real voter fraud.
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