by Thom Hartmann:
Bev pointed out that the printouts given her were not the original poll tapes and had no signatures, and thus were not what she'd requested. Obligingly, they told her that the originals were held in another location, the Elections Office's Warehouse, and that since it was the end of the day they should meet Bev the following morning to show them to her.
Bev showed up bright and early the morning of Wednesday the 17th - well before the scheduled meeting - and discovered three of the elections officials in the Elections Warehouse standing over a table covered with what looked like poll tapes. When they saw Bev and her friends, Bev told me in a telephone interview less than an hour later, "They immediately shoved us out and slammed the door."
In a way, that was a blessing, because it led to the stinking evidence.
"On the porch was a garbage bag," Bev said, "and so I looked in it and, and lo and behold, there were public record tapes."
Thrown away. Discarded. Waiting to be hauled off.
"It was technically stinking, in fact," Bev added, "because what they had done was to have thrown some of their polling tapes, which are the official records of the election, into the garbage. These were the ones signed by the poll workers. These are something we had done an official public records request for."
When the elections officials inside realized that the people outside were going through the trash, they called the police and one came out to challenge Bev.
Kathleen Wynne, a www.blackboxvoting.org investigator, was there.
"We caught the whole thing on videotape," she said. "I don't think you'll ever see anything like this - Bev Harris having a tug of war with an election worker over a bag of garbage, and he held onto it and she pulled on it, and it split right open, spilling out those poll tapes. They were throwing away our democracy, and Bev wasn't going to let them do it."
When they compared the discarded, signed, original tapes with the recent printouts submitted to the state and used to tabulate the Florida election winners, Harris says a disturbing pattern emerged.
"The difference was hundreds of votes in each of the different places we examined," said Bev, "and most of those were in minority areas."
When I asked Bev if the errors they were finding in precinct after precinct were random, as one would expect from technical, clerical, or computer errors, she became uncomfortable.
"You have to understand that we are non-partisan," she said. "We're not trying to change the outcome of an election, just to find out if there was any voting fraud."
That said, Bev added: "The pattern was very clear. The anomalies favored George W. Bush. Every single time."
Some important developments on Thursday, 18th November:
Berkeley Researchers Report "Unexplained Discrepancy" in FLA Vote Totals:
A research team at UC Berkeley reported Thursday morning that irregularities associated with electronic voting machines may have awarded 130,000 - 260,000 or more in excess votes to President George W. Bush in Florida in the 2004 presidential election. The study showed an unexplained discrepancy between votes for President Bush in counties where electronic voting machines were used versus counties using traditional voting methods.
Discrepancies this large or larger rarely arise by chance -- the probability is less than 0.1 percent. The research team, led by Sociology Professor Michael Hout, formally disclosed the results of the study at a press conference and called for an immediate investigation by Florida officials.
The full study is available here.
Meanwhile, The Free Press is reporting on some tense public hearings in Ohio:
Highly-charged, jam-packed hearings held here in Columbus have cast serious doubt on the true outcome of the presidential election.
On Saturday, November 13, and Monday, November 15, the Ohio Election Protection Coalition’s public hearings in Columbus solicited extensive sworn first-person testimony from 32 of Ohio voters, precinct judges, poll workers, legal observers, party challengers. An additional 66 people provided written affidavits of election irregularities. The unavoidable conclusion is that this year's election in Ohio was deeply flawed, that thousands of Ohioans were denied their right to vote, and that the ultimate vote count is very much in doubt.
“In this past election, Kenyon College students and the residents of Gambier, Ohio, had to endure some of the most extenuating voting circumstances in the entire country. As many of you may already know, because they had it on national media attention, Kenyon students and the residents of Gambier had to stand in line up to 10 to 12 hours in the rain, through a hot gym, and crowded narrow lines, making it extremely uncomfortable. As a result of this, voters were disenfranchised, having class to attend to, sports commitments, and midterms for the next day, which they had to study for. Obviously, it is a disgrace that kids who are being perpetually told the importance of voting, could not vote because they had other commitments and had to be put up with a 12-hour line.”
Blackwell characterized Ohio’s Election Day as “tremendously successful” in the Washington Times. Several people at Saturday’s hearing said they’d like to hear Mr. Blackwell testify under oath, preferably under a criminal indictment.
The reward for conclusive proof of election fraud has been doubled to $200,000.
[UPDATE: Kieran at Crooked Timber has taken up a detailed analysis of the Berkeley study, followed as always by knowledgeable debate and discussion.]