Election Rigging Examples
There are so many examples of election rigging that should, in a society that values integrity and understand basic math, have triggered immediate and powerful criminal investigations.
But virtually none ever have.
And the cases are really extreme and utterly, completely, friggen obvious.
Symbolically speaking, this era was inaugurated by Chuck Hagel, an unknown millionaire who ran for one of Nebraska’s U.S. Senate seats in 1996. Initially Hagel trailed the popular Democratic governor, Ben Nelson, who had been elected in a landslide two years earlier.
Three days before the election, however, a poll conducted by the Omaha World-Herald showed a dead heat, with 47 percent of respondents favoring each candidate. David Moore, who was then managing editor of the Gallup Poll, told the paper, “We can’t predict the outcome.”
Hagel’s victory in the general election, invariably referred to as an “upset,” handed the seat to the GOP for the first time in eighteen years. Hagel trounced Nelson by fifteen points. Even for those who had factored in the governor’s deteriorating numbers and a last-minute barrage of negative ads, this divergence from pre-election polling was enough to raise eyebrows across the nation.
Few Americans knew that until shortly before the election, Hagel had been chairman of the company whose computerized voting machines would soon count his own votes: Election Systems & Software (then called American Information Systems).
Hagel stepped down from his post just two weeks before announcing his candidacy. Yet he retained millions of dollars in stock in the McCarthy Group, which owned ES&S. And Michael McCarthy, the parent company’s founder, was Hagel’s campaign treasurer.
Whether Hagel’s relationship to ES&S ensured his victory is open to speculation. But the surprising scale of his win awakened a new fear among voting-rights activists and raised a disturbing question: Who controls the new technology of Election Night?
“Why would someone who owns a voting-machine company want to run for office?” asked Charlie Matulka, a Democrat who contested Hagel’s Senate seat in 2002. Speaking at a press conference shortly before the election, he added: “Is this the fox guarding the henhouse?”
A construction worker with limited funding and name recognition, Matulka was obviously a less formidable competitor than Nelson. Still, Hagel won an astonishing 83 percent of the vote—among the largest margins of victory in any statewide race in Nebraska’s history. And with nearly 400,000 registered Democrats on the rolls, Matulka managed to scrape up only 70,290 votes.
Hagel had never actually disclosed his financial ties to ES&S, and Matulka requested an investigation by the Senate Ethics Committee. His request was rejected. Equally futile was his call for a hand count of the ballots, since a state law specified that recounts had to be conducted using the very same “vote-counting device” that was used to begin with—in this case, the ES&S optical scanners.
Hmmmm…a former executive of the voting machine company wins in a landslide? And the results cannot be hand counted – by law?
And those same voting machines and their software have been proven over and over again to be utterly insecure and wide open to corruption?
The wonder of it all is not that election rigging has happened, but that it generates a zero response from the mainstream press or the SEC or the FBI or the state’s own criminal justice apparatus.
None. Nada. Nothing. Chirping crickets.
This is the case that Brad talked about from South Carolina. It is so preposterous that it must have been done as a mean-spirited joke just to demonstrate how blatant ‘they’ could be.
I can easily imagine a pair of elderly southern party bosses exchanging a dollar as one exclaims to the other, “You were right Mortimer, we could secure the party nomination for a complete nobody and get away with it!”
An unknown deadbeat, Alvin Greene, defeated a successful public servant, Vic Rawl, by an enormous margin of 18 percent in the 2010 South Carolina Democratic primary for the U.S. Senate.
Alvin Greene was facing obscenity charges for showing pornography to a woman in a college computer lab. He had recently been kicked out of the military. He was unemployed.
Despite his lack of qualifications and income he spent $10,000 filing to run for senator. When Greene asked for a public defender in the obscenity case, many questioned how he had acquired the cash [to file for the election]. There was speculation that he was a Republican plant.
Greene was unaffiliated with local Democrats. His campaign was nonexistent—no website, no yard sign, no public appearances, no fundraising, no advertisements.
CAREER PUBLIC SERVANT
Yet the voting machines showed Greene defeating former judge and four-term state legislator Vic Rawl by 30,000 votes.
Rawl was on the Charleston County Council. He was a respected community leader. He ran an active campaign with hundreds of volunteers. How could he have lost?
STATISTICAL EVIDENCE OF RIGGING
Hand-counted paper absentee ballots showed opposite results compared to electronic voting.Rawl won many of those votes—often by a large margin, a complete flip of what Greene had won on the voting machines.
According to Rawl’s campaign manager Walter Ludwig, half of South Carolina’s counties had a disparity between absentee and election day votes greater than 10 points. Spartanburg County was rife with anomalies: precincts where Greene received more votes than were actually cast, and precincts where votes appeared to be missing. Rarely did the vote totals match.
Ludwig also reported that a similar discrepancy between absentee and electronic votes “didn’t happen in any other races on the ballot.”
South Carolina is particularly vulnerable to fraudulent results because the entire state uses touchscreen voting machines made by Election Systems & Software. The iVotronic leaves no paper trail, making it impossible to verify elections for accuracy.
A security analysis by the University of Pennsylvania found “numerous exploitable vulnerabilities in nearly every component of the ES&S system.” These vulnerabilities open the voting machines to attacks that could “alter or forge precinct results, install corrupt firmware, and erase audit records.”
Manipulating a low-attention primary to produce a weak opponent is a subtle way to rig a general election. Was Alvin Greene a legitimate candidate or an unqualified patsy set up for an untraceable electronic rig?
Greene ran in a subsequent election for the state legislature and won a mere 37 votes.
Jim DeMint and his right-wing backers were the ultimate beneficiaries of Alvin Greene’s implausible victory in the Democratic Senate primary.
DeMint sailed to victory with a massive margin over Greene, allowing his radical views to influence the U.S. Senate—no right to abortion in cases of rape, no gay civil rights, erosion of public health care, and weakening of Social Security.
DeMint later left the Senate to head an ultraconservative group that pushes oppressive voter ID regulations.
So the summary here is that an unemployed, poorly funded, criminally indicted man with no campaign website and no campaign staff managed to somehow defeat a well-liked, well-respected, well-funded and well-staffed adversary.
By 18 points!!
But only in the electronic machine results…the hand-counted paper ballots showed the exact opposite result.
Then this derelict loner was easily trounced in the general election by the Tea Party candidate Jim DeMint…so the summary here is not that Alvin Greene pulled off this stunning feat of election rigging, he was an obvious patsy in the charade.
The real mystery is how such obvious cases go utterly unchallenged. Where’s the accountability?
I also offer such cases as definitive proof against those who make the argument that “large conspiracies cannot exist because somebody would talk.”
That’s just not true. Such conspiracies happen all the time and the US election rigging is about as obvious an area as one could hope to study. Means, motive, opportunity…and reams and reams of statistical evidence that, to me, is ironclad.
Once is happenstance, twice is coincidence, but three times is enemy action.
Note that the machines in use in South carolina were made by ES&S, the same company that Chuck Hagel ‘left’ prior to winning his own massive 18 point ‘upset’ in Oklahoma.
What is it about 18 to these guys? Just a vote rigging bug or is that some sort of wink from the bad guys to those in the know?