Friday, 04 March 2016

Super Tuesday’s Primaries Reveal Cracks in the System

Written by 

Most of the news reporting about Super Tuesday’s primary results centered on the vote totals and delegate counts. The mainstream news media has given little, if any, coverage to problems being reported by voters or suspicions being reported by election experts, such as former Donald Trump advisor Roger Stone.

Possible Vote Switches Reported in Austin, Texas — Probably Not

Numerous callers to radio station KLBJ reported voting for Donald Trump but when they checked their ballots prior to the final casting, the votes were for Marco Rubio instead. KLBJ talk radio host Todd Jeffries was interview by Infowars reporter Joe Biggs:

Probably about a dozen phone calls in a very short period of time.… They wanted to vote for Donald Trump, but in the end, when they went back and checked, it showed that they voted for Marco Rubio. And some people actually called in saying that “Well, it was a glitch.” “Well, it was operator error, a mistake, that sort of thing.” “Easily correctable if you just check your ballot before you leave the voting booth.” But the bottom line is it’s not accurate.

It is ironic that election problems were reported by a radio station with LBJ as part of its station identifier. Constitutional conservatives remember the infamous Ballot Box 13 incident in Jim Wells County, Texas, in the 1948 Senate Democratic primary runoff. Lyndon B. Johnson earned the derogatory nickname “Landslide Lyndon” after stealing the Democratic nomination from Governor Coke Stevenson.

The New American contacted the Travis County Elections Division, asking if they had investigated these reports. Travis County Elections Director Michael Winn responded:

The Elections Division heard via Twitter and a listener of a local talk radio station that a voter thought that the electronic voting machine they used had switched their vote from Donald Trump to Marco Rubio. The second-hand reports we heard said the voter noticed their choice wasn’t what they wanted on their ballot selection review screen (all voters see the review screen before they cast their ballot) and changed their selection prior to casting their ballot. The voter did not contact the Elections Division with this claim.

Using a simulated voting system, we tried to create the same or similar result but we could not. During the testing we noticed that on the Texas ballot these two candidates are side by side in candidate order so it is possible that the voter thought they selected Mr. Trump and instead selected Mr. Rubio.

Unfortunately, these voters did not report these problems to the election clerks, election judges, or poll watchers, if they were present, at the precinct. Nor did they contact election officials at the Travis County Division of Elections. This situation is further compounded by Texas election laws that make it difficult for people to act as observers in elections, something that at one time in this country was protected rather than restricted by law.

Had the callers to the talk radio show been asked in which precinct(s) they voted and tried to identify which voting machine(s) they used, it probably would have been possible to either trace this to a specific piece of voting equipment or determine if these were random occurrences. Random occurrences are more likely attributable to human error. Without having gathered the evidence of whether this happened on one machine or on multiple machines, it’s very difficult to discern between machine error and human error.

Another reason to suspect these problems were not vote fraud comes from the lack of similar reports from other locations. Public awareness was raised by radio station KLBJ and by Alex Jones’ Infowars. If this was widespread, there should have been more reports. Unless further evidence surfaces, the most likely cause in this case appears to be either human error or a machine error, probably confined to a low number of machines.

But incidents such as this should not have happened, and are cracks in the system. These incidents expose the folly of the unconstitutional Help America Vote Act (HAVA) of 2002, the importance of having a paper trail in the voting equipment, and the importance of reinstating voting as a public act open to being witnessed by any member of the general public without having to go through a cumbersome process of asking in advance. Regarding the paper trail aspect, optical scan ballots are voter verifiable and can be used in a recount.

Warnings From Roger Stone

Alex Jones interviewed former Donald Trump advisor Roger Stone on Super Tuesday. Stone is a savvy political insider, with extensive knowledge of political dirty tricks from money to behind-the-scenes arm twisting to outright election fraud.

Stone has been monitoring the situation in various parts of the country and has raised concerns about the absentee balloting, which is already underway for Ohio’s March 15 primary. It’s perfectly legal to assist a voter to fill out an absentee ballot if the person giving assistance follows the instructions of the voter and, in some states, records the name of the person giving the assistance, as well as following other rules designed to safeguard the absentee balloting process.

Stone mentioned suspicions of one of the numerous election-fraud tactics in absentee ballots known in the trade as “chasers.” Chasers are people who assist absentee voters in a biased manner. The nickname chaser comes from the image of someone following a USPS mail delivery vehicle on the day absentee ballots are known to be delivered.

There’s very little need for someone to chase after the mail trucks now, as there are more sophisticated methods for knowing when and where the absentee ballots will be delivered. There are government employees who owe their jobs to political empire builders and know when the absentee ballots are mailed, when they will be delivered, and to which voters. This information is especially useful when large numbers of voters get their absentee ballots on the same day at the same place, such as a nursing home or a college campus.

All it takes is one unscrupulous employee of a nursing home to call a political operative on the day the absentee ballots arrive and make necessary arrangements for the chaser to “assist” the aged voters, some of whom have horrible vision or have memory problems and can’t possibly verify how their ballots are marked, nor even remember how their ballots were marked. The good news is that all it takes is one informed employee of a nursing home exercising his or her obligation as a lesser magistrate to observe, record if possible, and report when electoral fraud is being committed in a nursing home.

In their book Dirty Little Secrets, Larry J. Sabato and Glenn R. Simpson wrote of a number of experiences in nursing homes, such as this from Alabama:

Then there were helpful visits to nursing homes in Montgomery and elsewhere. For example, a young woman observed with absentee ballot materials showed up at the capitol city’s Tyson Manor Nursing Home shortly before the 1994 elections and “assisted” incapacitated and even comatose patients with their ballots.

One may question how enough people are found to accomplish these tasks. Part of that answer can be found in former Chicago political insider James J. Laski, Jr’s book My Fall From Grace — City Hall to Prison Walls. Laski explained how government employees, some of whom had do-nothing jobs, were used for political purposes. While they were on the city payroll clock, they were assigned to numerous political jobs, such as gathering signatures on petitions. Laski even explained how some absentee ballots were opened, votes altered if necessary, and put back in the ballot envelopes. There are also political party members, some of whom are paid, who are willing to do anything under the aegis of “get out the vote.”

There’s more to chasing than just “helping” infirmed octogenarians in nursing homes. Chasers can also illegally retrieve absentee ballots that were undeliverable by the Post Office. Sabato and Simpson explained an incident in Dirty Little Secrets:

Approximately 60 applications for absentee ballots were received requesting that the absentee ballots be sent to Post Office Box 115, Eutaw, Alabama 35462. According to [the clerk], however, she later learned that no such post office box existed. However, as absentee election manager, she was unable to recover all the ballots.… Approximately 10 to 20 were … picked up by someone from the post office and the post office was unable to identify the individual or individuals retrieving the ballots.

This situation is made worse by recent changes causing large mailings of absentee ballots, even to people who haven’t requested them. Absentee ballots, while not completely unheard of during the early days of our republic, were rare. When absentee balloting increased dramatically during the Civil War, voting absentee required justification, and the process, while not perfect, at least had some controls to prevent election fraud. Voting laws need to be changed back.

In the interview with Alex Jones, Stone mentioned he has people who have been sent to many locations around the country looking for potential problems in all facets of the elections. Some will be checking for whether or not there are paper trails in the voting equipment.

Hopefully activists such as Roger Stone will increase the awareness of the risks to elections. That will help people know what to look for when something suspicious is being done. This will hopefully lead to rewriting elections laws and returning to more transparent electoral process open to the public to witness all aspects of the electoral save for the marking of the secret ballots by the voters. Maybe Donald Trump might even want to rehire his former advisor.

Please review our Comment Policy before posting a comment

Affiliates and Friends

Social Media