Round 2: LDragonFire v maria_stardust: Rigged Elections

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posted on Sep, 2 2008 @ 11:00 PM
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The topic for this debate is: “The 2004 Election Was Rigged And It Is Likely That The 2008 Election Will Be As Well.”

LDragonFire will be arguing the pro position and will open the debate.
maria_stardust will argue the con position.

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posted on Sep, 3 2008 @ 07:13 PM
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Introduction

Warm Greetings to all ATS members and staff. It is my pleasure to participate in this debate tournament and I would like to thank MemoryShock and my opponent maria_stardust for the opportunity to debate this fascinating subject and I look forward to sharing what I have learned about the subject matter and learning what my opponent has to share in this debate.

Our topic is “The 2004 Election Was Rigged And It Is Likely That The 2008 Election Will Be As Well” and I will be debating the pro position that the election of 2004 was indeed rigged and gave this administration four more years to pursue it’s ideological goals.

"Those who cast the votes decide nothing, those who count the votes decide everything." - Joseph Stalin

The American people are raised in an environment where we are taught that we are free. Every November we get the opportunity to vote, we vote for political positions, we vote for laws, and for public work projects and we vote for taxes, this voting privilege is one of the cornerstones of our freedoms that we enjoy as Americans.

To tell the story of the election of 2004 we must first look at the election of 2000 and see why changes where made to how we cast our votes and how we now count those votes. In Florida during the Nov 2000 election major news networks declared Al Gore the winner while the polls were still open in the state, this was an unusual occurrence. Throughout the night the major news networks then stated that George W. Bush had won the state, and then after some time they ultimately stated that the state was too close to call. During the night Al Gore had called George Bush and conceded the election but later after finding out how close the election was retracted his concession. The vote was so close in Florida that state law mandated a recount of the vote and Gore requested that three counties be recounted by hand. To make a long story short the Gore campaign attempted to alter the recounting methods in a since making methods for counting votes in one county different than another county the Bush campaign fought this in the Supreme Court and after over a month based on the ruling of the US Supreme Court Florida was allowed to certify there vote declaring George Bush the winner of the state and thus winner of the Presidential election. Officially Bush won Florida by less than 600 votes. In Florida there were accusations of wide spread voter fraud and of people not able to vote because they shared the same names as convicted felons most of these people appears to have also been registered as Democrats. 1824, 1876, 1888, and 2000 have one thing in common, these dates are the only time in our history that the winner of the presidency did not win the popular vote.

Florida was a complete and utter mess and the government responded on October 29, 2002 when President Bush signed the Help America Vote Act of 2002. This Act replaces punch card voting with electronic voting devices. This Act also created the Election Assistance Commission this group would help states with Federal elections and would be responsible for certifying voting systems and they would also set the rules for elections and how they would be carried out.

On November 2 2004 I was shocked to see a video of George W. Bush speaking about his impending victory on national TV before the polls even closed. This had never been done by a sitting president and to me shows he knew something that we didn’t know. They cheated and stole this election.

How could the exit polls be so wrong? They showed an overwhelming victory for Kerry but in the end it was Bush who won his second term.

Why did the Pentagon shut down a website that was used to register Americans living over seas, only half of these Americans received there ballots and many of these people received there ballots too late?

A company Sproul & Associates was hired to register voters in battle ground states was caught shredding Democratic registrations, this company was hired by the Republican National Committee.

I will be providing many links in this debate that cover everything from voting machine fraud to using threats of terrorism to cover voter fraud, we will discus first time events and unusual occurrences around our new voting systems. In the end I will I will do my best to show that the 2004 election was rigged.



posted on Sep, 4 2008 @ 04:06 PM
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At this time I would like to take a moment to thank my esteemed opponent, LDragonFire, for what is bound to be a spirited debate. Also, a warm thanks to MemoryShock for hosting this debate tournament and our mysterious judging panel who are gracious enough to volunteer their time to this reside over this match.

 


“The 2004 Election Was Rigged And It Is Likely That The 2008 Election Will Be As Well.”

Let’s face it, politics is a dirty game and not for the faint of heart. This was the case back in the days when tribal hierarchies were first conceived, and it is still the case in the modern age. Some things just aren’t going to change. Politics and shenanigans go together like baseball and hotdogs.

Listen, I’m not going to lie to you and say that political arena is all clean fun and games. Because the truth of the matter is, it isn’t. Mudslinging and character assassination are a common practice. It’s part of the machine. Once we accept the fact that underhanded tactics and strategies are par for the political course, the easier it will be to see past the tainted smoke and mirrors.

My opponent is of the opinion that the 2004 Presidential Election should have been the catalyst to unseat George W. Bush and usher John Kerry into the White House. He will argue that the presidency was Kerry’s for the taking, and that somewhere along the line something went terribly askew. He will insist that there was a Machiavellian plot to maintain the political status quo. He will try to prove that the election was rigged, thus stealing the vote and wishes of the American people. I say my opponent is sadly mistaken.

The fact of the matter is, Bush won the 2004 Presidential Election fair and square. It was a tight and heated race, but in the end the Republican candidate prevailed. The brouhaha surrounding the events of this election are nothing more than a run-of-the-mill case of sour grapes on the part of the losing party. Fingers were pointed, eyebrows were raised and everything election-related under the sun was thoroughly scrutinized. After the shouting died down and the dust settled, it was determined that resulting commotion was all for naught.

Through the course of this debate I invite you, the reader, to set aside any prejudices you may have in regards to your personal brand of politics. By following this debate with an open mind, you will see that in fact the 2004 Election was much like a chaotic circus. And, like any good circus, the political monkeys on both sides of the arena flung more than a fair bit of poo. But flinging poo and rigging elections are two completely different things.

That said, together we will revisit the key states of Ohio and Florida and discover what factors influenced the final outcome of both the 2000 and 2004 elections. We will also compare the political landscape of both elections in regards to the upcoming 2008 Presidential Election.

When everything is said and done, I hope to convince you that the 2004 Presidential Election was indeed not rigged, and that there is no evidence to substantiate claims that the 2008 election will be rigged. I dare say we will find that 2008 election process will be politics as usual.



posted on Sep, 5 2008 @ 10:25 AM
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Regrettably I must use the extension of 24 hours.

I will post around noon or early afternoon tomorrow.

Cheers



posted on Sep, 6 2008 @ 10:32 AM
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First Reply

Sorry for the delay in posting.

Those stupid electronic voting machines

Electronic voting machines are being installed in states across the country replacing, the old punch card method of casting votes. There are several problems with these machines including the fact that all or most systems don’t leave us a paper trail. After the vote takes place there is no way to verify or to have an audit of the vote. This brings up some obvious problems to this system, at least with punch cards we could do recounts and have observers watch to insure fairness and accuracy, but that is all gone now.

The National Institute of Standards and Technology told the U.S. Election Assistance Commission those electronic voting systems that left no paper trail "cannot be made secure,” They recommended that any system should allow election officials to recount ballots separated from the voting machines software. They recommended using optical scan machines that would read a paper ballot filled out by a voter, then the machine could tally the vote and the ballots would be saved for a possible recount with election observers.

Aviel Rubin a Johns Hopkins computer scientist also criticizes paperless electronic voting systems as not being secure or reliable and along with other Johns Hopkins researchers at their Information Security Institute that the Diebold electronic voting software contained “stunning Flaws” This group claims that “the vote totals can be altered at voting machines and by remote access”. This group states that a smart card can be made allowing for multiple votes.

Another computer science professor from Stanford University, David Dill said that "These machines do not allow the voters to check that their votes are accurately and permanently recorded. No one can prove that the machines are trustworthy."

Rebecca Mercuri from Harvard states “The rush towards computerization is very dubious," and "It takes away the checks and balances of a democratic society."

Links
Security of electronic voting is condemned.


Dan Rather Reports presents conclusive evidence of the failure of touch screen voting machines across the country. The episode, "The Trouble with Touch Screens"
The Trouble with Touch Screens


Is there a Right Wing Conspiracy to Steal Your Votes?

Diebold {now called Premier Election Solutions} and ES&S are two manufacturers of electronic voting machines and both of these companies support the Republican Party.

''I am committed to helping Ohio deliver its electoral votes to the president next year,'' Walden W. O'Dell, the chief executive of Diebold Inc.


''It's outrageous,'' he said. ''Not only does Mr. O'Dell want the contract to provide every voting machine in the nation for the next election -- he wants to 'deliver' the election to Mr. Bush. There are enough conflicts in this story to fill an ethics manual.'' Machine Politics In the Digital Age


Wherever Diebold and ES&S paperless voting machines are used Republicans seem to win elections many of these wins are upsets or are much unexpected.

In 1987 McCarthy & CO acquired a minority percentage share in a company called AIS. In 1992 Chuck Hagel the president of McCarthy & Co became Chairman of AIS, In March of 1995 Hagel resigned from the board of AIS and a few days later he announced his candidacy for the Senate. Eight months after resigning from the board Hagel defeated Benjamin Nelson who lead in the polls but the states votes or eighty five percent of them were tallied on machines made by AIS. In 2002 Hagel defeated Charlie Matulka by a large margin, Matulka demanded a hand recount based on Hagels dealings with AIS but he was ignored. Hagel owns over one million dollars in McCarthy & CO and McCarthy & CO owns twenty Five percent of ES&S


Electronic voting machines in Florida may have awarded George W. Bush up to 260,000 more votes than he should have received, according to statistical analysis conducted by University of California, Berkeley graduate students and a professor, who released a study on Thursday.
Researchers: Florida Vote Fishy


These companies and machines cannot be trusted. These machines are prone to hacking and breakdowns. Errors are made, but almost every time one is made it seems to benefit Republicans only. This can't be just dumb luck, these people will do anything for power and to support there Ideology.

Twenty things All Americans should know:



1. 80% of all votes in America are counted by only two companies: Diebold and ES&S.
2. There is no federal agency with regulatory authority or oversight of the U.S. voting machine industry
3. The vice-president of Diebold and the president of ES&S are brothers.
4. The chairman and CEO of Diebold is a major Bush campaign organizer and donor who wrote in 2003 that he was "committed to helping Ohio deliver its electoral votes to the president next year."
5. Republican Senator Chuck Hagel used to be chairman of ES&S. He became Senator based on votes counted by ES&S machines.
6. Republican Senator Chuck Hagel, long-connected with the Bush family, was recently caught lying about his ownership of ES&S by the Senate Ethics Committee.

Diebold and ES&S


Mod Edit: To Remove in excess of ten sentences of external material and in excess of 5 source links. Also to add ex tags around the last quoted source.

[edit on 6-9-2008 by MemoryShock]



posted on Sep, 7 2008 @ 02:54 AM
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Sometimes in order to accurately predict the future, it is necessary to delve into the past. This is especially true in regards to the upcoming 2008 Presidential Election. It is with this in mind that we will review key events that shaped the outcome of both the 2000 and 2004 presidential elections. In this post we will focus upon Florida’s role in the 2000 election.

The Sunshine State


…the review of 171,908 ballots also reveals that voting mistakes by thousands of Democratic voters — errors that legally disqualified their ballots — probably cost former vice president Al Gore 15,000 to 25,000 votes.

Source [1]: Florida Voter Errors Cost Gore the Election

Let’s take a trip down memory lane, and revisit the chaotic events that surrounded the 2000 Presidential Election. The state of Florida played a pivotal role in determining the final outcome of the election with 25 electoral votes hanging in the balance.

In a strange turn of events that seem more apt for a Hollywood movie script then actual events, Democratic candidate Al Gore conceded the election to George W. Bush after the news media had predicted that Bush had captured Florida before all the votes had been counted. As the votes continued to be tallied, it was determined that the race was too close to call and the news networks retracted their prediction that Bush had won the state after all. Upon realizing this, Gore quickly recanted his concession, demanded a recount and all Hell broke loose.

Needless to say, there was quite a bit of drama. Between the recount (which had narrowed down to a 500+ vote margin favoring Bush at one point), floating chads and several lawsuits, the U.S. Supreme Court declared Florida’s recount unconstitutional ¬-- thus, halting the recount process and allowing Florida to certify Bush the winner.

Source [2]: United States Presidential Election, 2000

ButterflyGate: Election Loss by Design, Part One

There were a myriad of factors that played heavily into Gore losing Florida to Bush. Of these, the most glaring one was the infamous butterfly ballot of Palm Beach County.



The butterfly ballot was specifically designed by Democratic election officials in large type to aid elderly voters with less than optimal vision read with ease. As you can see in the above image, the butterfly ballot consisted of a two-page layout with the names of the presidential candidates spread across both pages with a shared punch strip area running vertically down the center.

Helping elderly voters exercise their right to vote, no doubt seemed like a good idea at the time. Unfortunately, the design of the butterfly ballot caused a great deal of confusion as to which presidential candidate they were actually voting for. You see, Bush was listed first on the ballot, so naturally to vote for Bush all one had to do was punch the first hole. No big deal, as this was fairly straight forward.

However, those wishing to vote for Gore, who was listed second on the ballot directly underneath Bush, had to punch the THIRD hole. Why is that, you may ask? Simply put, since the names of all ten presidential candidates were spread across a two-page layout and shared a common punch strip area that ran down the length of the page, the punch holes were alternated between both sides of the ballot. In other words, Bush was listed first in the left –hand column, thus he had the first hole. Pat Buchanan was listed first on the right-hand column, thus he was designated the SECOND hole. Therein lies the problem.

Many Democratic voters intent on voting for Gore inadvertently voted for Buchanan. It has been estimated that of the 18,748 overvote ballots ( in which more than one candidate was selected) cast in Palm Beach County, Gore was punched 80% of the time.


That confused voters because Gore was the second candidate listed but the third hole to punch. Reform Party candidate Pat Buchanan, on the opposite page, was assigned the second hole. This confusion alone cost Gore the presidency…
[1]

The Two-Sided Ballot: Election Loss by Design, Part Two

Speaking of poorly designed ballots, let us now review the less infamous two-sided ballot of Duval County. This particular ballot design featured the first five candidates on the first side of the page, and the next five candidates on the second side. Seems straight forward enough, if it weren’t for the instruction printed on the first side that stated “turn page to continue voting.” Furthermore, sample ballots distributed contained an instruction that stated “vote every page.”

Well, guess what happened when voters in this particular county followed directions to a tee? That’s right, overvotes. In other words, voters selected a presidential candidate from both sides of the ballot to a tune of 21,188 votes. Yikes!

This particular ballot design slip-up affected both respective parties. However, since Duval County tends to lean Democratic, Gore suffered a larger blow to the vote count than Bush.


Gore had 7,162 of these two-candidate/two-page overvotes vs. 4,555 for Bush — in other words, probably costing Gore about 2,600 votes.
[1]

Once again, the number of votes disqualified by this misunderstanding alone was enough to cost Gore the election. Remember, Bush won with barely 500+ votes.

The Black Sheep Candidate and The Green Party

As if the whole ballot fiascos in Palm Beach and Duval counties didn’t cause enough chaos in Florida, consider Green Party candidate, Ralph Nader.

Nader is one heck of an interesting guy, who made his name as a tireless advocate for consumer rights, environmental protections and generally all-things-that-are-good. He became a highly respected person among liberal and independent circles for his tenacity and activism, as well as being held in high regard among the general public.

In fact, he struck such a positive chord with the American people that a “Draft Nader” movement was started in 1972. It wasn’t until 20 years later that Nader officially authorized his name to appear on any ballot in 1992.

In 1996, Nader was embraced by various green parties throughout the nation and officially nominated by the Green Party for the 2000 Presidential Election. His candidacy caused an immediate surge in the grass-roots movement for government reform, and proved to be a troublesome thorn for the Democratic Party.


In the 2006 documentary An Unreasonable Man, Nader describes how, during the second Clinton Administration, he found that he was unable to get the views of his public interest groups heard in Washington, even by then President Clinton's administration. Nader cites this as one of the primary reasons that he decided again to actively run in the 2000 election as candidate of the Green Party, which had been formed in the wake of his 1996 campaign.

Source [3]: Ralph Nader

Nader’s decision to run in the 2000 election soon turned controversial, as it is widely believed that his candidacy siphoned votes from Democrats and Independents who would have normally supported Gore, hence causing Gore the election. Overall, Nader received 2,883,105 votes nationwide.


Nader's actual influence on the 2000 election is the subject of considerable discussion, and there is no consensus on Nader's impact on the outcome.
[3]

However, Nader was able to capture 97,421 votes or 1.633% in Florida. Considering Bush won this state by less than 600 votes makes one wonder about the validity of this claim.
Source [4]: Florida Results

Now, About those Voting Machines…

My opponent contends that there is a vast right wing conspiracy that has stolen both the 2000 and 2004 Presidential Elections through the use of rigged voting machines that have been manufactured and maintained by active supporters of the Republican Party.

The truth of the matter is that the majority of the people respond to their own particular political beliefs, be it conservative, liberal or independent. The fact that the owners and operators of the companies that manufacture voting machines happen to be conservative is not proof of election rigging. If anything, I would not be surprised if the same allegations of voting machine manipulation were made if these same owners and operators happened to be liberal.

That said, there hasn’t been substantial proof that voting machines were in any way manipulated to affect the outcome of the 2000 or 2004 Presidential Elections.

In a Nutshell…

There were a variety of factors in Florida that resulted in Gore losing the state, and ultimately the election to Bush. It therefore stands to reason that ballot mishaps and a maverick candidate were more than enough for the Democratic Party to withstand.

Socratic Questions

Question 1: Do you agree that the use of the butterfly ballot in Palm Beach County, Florida played a vital role in Gore losing the election?

Question 2: Do you agree that the use of the two-sided ballot in Duval County, Florida played a vital role in Gore losing the election?

Question 3: Do you agree that Ralph Nader’s garnering of 97,421 votes in Florida played a vital role in Gore losing the election?

[edit on 7-9-2008 by MemoryShock]



posted on Sep, 7 2008 @ 04:14 PM
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Socratic Questions

Question 1: Do you agree that the use of the butterfly ballot in Palm Beach County, Florida played a vital role in Gore losing the election?


I believe the use of butterfly ballots did indeed create confusion with some voters and most likely contributed to Gore losing votes and the election.


Question 2: Do you agree that the use of the two-sided ballot in Duval County, Florida played a vital role in Gore losing the election?


Again the same answer as above.


Question 3: Do you agree that Ralph Nader’s garnering of 97,421 votes in Florida played a vital role in Gore losing the election?


I only used the 2000 election in the context of why election reform occurred, everyone knows how messed up the 2000 election in Florida was, when you add up the ballot confusion and some other instances are all of the reasons why Gore lost or was outright robbed of the 2000 election. All the mistakes made in Florida in Nov 2000 went against Gore, and lets all remember Gore won the popular vote nation wide by the score of 48.4% of the vote for Gore and 47.9% of the vote for Bush, now using the numbers you have used for the votes that Nader received plus the electronic voting machine errors or cheats, I wonder just how many voters meant there vote to be for Gore but ended up going to another candidate.

In Volusia County Florida It was reported that Gore beat Bush with 97,063 votes to Bushes 82,214 votes. Electronic voting machines were being used in this county, and the voter tally later was changed with Gore Receiving 16,000 less votes than originally reported. Bush Won Florida By 537 votes, it seems to me he got some help.

You could completely ignore these facts that we have shown to this point and if any one of these other issues did not occur, Gore would have won Florida handily, if a free and fair election would have occurred.

50,000 eligible voters were turned away from the polls falsely accused of being convicted felons based on a program/report by Secretary of State Katherine Harris, half of these people were Africa American and most likely Democratic voters. This was a problem and in 2002 the state of Florida settled this issue out of court reinstating voter rights and took steps changing registration procedures.

If all of the votes in Florida would have been counted correctly, and not manipulated later {voting machines}, or if voters of certain demographic persuasions were not targeted before the election, we would have had a free and fair election in Florida in 2000, and Gore would have been elected Commander in Chief. We didn’t have a free or fair election in 2000 or 2004 and its hard to imagine that we will have a free and fair election in 2008.

I’m not going to debate the fact that we should use advanced technology for our elections, but they must have a way of verifying the results. Where paperless voting machines are used Republicans win, despite polls, despite exit polls, they even win in traditional Democrat areas. I find it highly dubious that the voting machine manufacturers who are obviously Republican supporters where these machines tally one Republican win after another is just a fluke.
Diebold Memos Disclose Florida 2000 E-Voting Fraud

“The 2004 Election Was Rigged And It Is Likely That The 2008 Election Will Be As Well”

Purged Voters

Bush won Ohio by 118,775 votes out of over 5.6 million votes cast. In Cleveland in Cuyahoga County up to 175,000 voters were purged from being able to cast there vote and another 10,000 voters could not vote because of clerical errors, in Hamilton County {Cincinnati} and Lucas County {Toledo} up to 133,000 voters were purged from being able to vote. All three of these areas are traditional Democrat strongholds. Thousands of voters mostly Democrat turned up to vote, only to be turned away at the voting booth.

And it continues.

Soon after the 2004 election Columbus in Franklin County Ohio announced they were eliminating 170,000 voters from the rolls and House bill 3 passed by a GOP dominated legislature will make it harder for voters to be reinstated to the voting rolls and harder to register to vote.
All of these mass voter purges happened in Democratic strongholds where Republicans control the election boards.
Did 308,000 cancelled Ohio voter registrations put Bush back in the White House?

Exit Polls
How could exit polls have been so wrong? It’s easy they cheated!

Zogby Internationals Nov 2 2004 5:00pm predictions shows Kerry with 311 Electoral votes and Bush with 213.

CNN exit poll survey shows Kerry with 51% and Bush with 48%.
{the CNN exit polls are all the way down on the bottom of the cnn page}
ExitPolls.org

Socratic Questions

1. Do you think Kerry lost the 2000 election in Florida because voting irregularities?

2. Do you think it was fair for GOP controlled election boards to disqualify voters, in primarily Democratic areas?

3. Do you think these hundreds of thousands of disqualified voters in Ohio contributed to a Bush win there?



posted on Sep, 8 2008 @ 03:09 PM
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We now arrive at a crucial point in the debate. At this time we will examine whether or not the 2004 Presidential Election was rigged. It is my intention to argue that there is not substantial evidence to back the claim of a vast right wing conspiracy to steal the election.

Before I begin, I will answer the questions put forth by my opponent.


 


Answers to Socratic Questions


1. Do you think Kerry lost the 2000 election in Florida because voting irregularities?


No. Al Gore lost in Florida during the 2000 election.


2. Do you think it was fair for GOP controlled election boards to disqualify voters, in primarily Democratic areas?


Yes. The truth of the matter is that voter rolls were purged according to Ohio state election law and NOT party affiliation. Specifically, Ohio voter eligibility codes 3503.18 and 3503.19.

Code 3503.18 is entitled Cancellation of registration due to death, incompetency or disfanchisement. Under this code the names of residents over 18 years old that have died, or have been deemed incompetent, or have been convicted of crimes resulting in disfranchisement, are removed from the voter rolls.

Code 3503.19 is entitled Methods of registering or changing registration; mailing of confirmation or rejection notice. The following is verbatim from the code:


If a notice of the disposition of an otherwise valid mail registration application is sent by nonforwardable mail and is returned undelivered, the person shall be registered and sent a confirmation notice by forwardable mail. If the person fails to respond to the confirmation notice, update the person's registration, or vote in any election during the period of two federal elections subsequent to the mailing of the confirmation notice, the person's registration shall be canceled.

Source [1]: Ohio Voter Eligibility

Emphasis is mine. There was nothing fishy about the purging of the voter rolls, as it was done according to state election law.


3. Do you think these hundreds of thousands of disqualified voters in Ohio contributed to a Bush win there?


No. The purging of voter rolls was based upon Ohio state election law and NOT party affiliation.

 


Battle for the Buckeye State

As with the previous election, the 2004 Presidential Election was not without controversy. This time the drama moved further north and was centered upon the state of Ohio. It was here that John Kerry lost the state’s 20 electoral votes and the election to incumbent President George W. Bush. The presidential race in the Buckeye state was so tight that Bush won with a slim 2.12% margin or 118,775 votes.

Once again, a host of variables came into play as to the final election results. Ohio was not plagued by poorly designed ballots or a third party spoiler candidate. A completely different set of circumstances came into the scene.

Purged Voter Rolls

My opponent contends that the Republican-controlled election board improperly purged 300,000+ registered voters from Ohio’s voter rolls. However, it is clear that these rolls were purged in accordance to Ohio state election law and NOT party affiliation.

As I pointed out in my response to Socratic question #2, the voter registration and eligibility requirements are quite clear. No unlawful action was taken in regards to purging voter rolls in Ohio.

The Misallocation of Votes

Although my opponent has not alluded to it, there is a conspiracy theory that suggests that a large number of votes were fraudulently misallocated from Kerry to Bush. This could not be further from the truth. In a report commissioned by the Democratic National Committee’s Voting Rights Institute it was determined that this was a myth.


The statistical study of precinct-level data does not suggest the
occurrence of widespread fraud that systematically misallocated votes
from Kerry to Bush.

… That the pattern of voting for Kerry is so similar to the pattern of
voting for the Democratic candidate for governor in 2002 is, in the
opinion of the team’s political science experts, strong evidence
against the claim
that widespread fraud systematically misallocated
votes from Kerry to Bush.

Source [2]: Democracy at Risk: The 2004 Election in Ohio (page 17 of 204)

The report also goes on to state that voters did not find their names on the voter roles and were allowed to cast a provisional ballot were nearly evenly split between Kerry (4.2%) and Bush (4.1%). This being the case, it is evident that provisional ballots did not overwhelmingly favor one party over the other. [2] (page 39 of 204)

Voting Machines Revisited

My opponent has argued that voting machine manipulation and fraud was rampant. However, no such evidence was found in Ohio. In fact, the Democratic Party states this in the study it commissioned regarding the state:


… there is no reliable evidence of actual fraud in the use of these
Machines (Direct Recording Equipment / touchscreen) in Ohio in 2004…
[2] (page 16 of 204)

Exit Polls and the Reality Check


Originally posted by LdragonFire
How could exit polls have been so wrong? It’s easy they cheated!

Zogby Internationals Nov 2 2004 5:00pm predictions shows Kerry with 311 Electoral votes and Bush with 213.

CNN exit poll survey shows Kerry with 51% and Bush with 48%.
{the CNN exit polls are all the way down on the bottom of the cnn page}


What my opponent fails to realize is that exit polls are merely predictions, not magic crystal balls that are 100% accurate. If you will notice in the CNN exit poll, there is only a 3% difference between the candidate. This is well within any margin of error normally afforded exit poll predictions.


… (Exit polls) are still just random sample surveys, possessing the usual limitations plus some that are unique to exit polling…

Source [3]: Exit Polls: What You Should Know

It should be remembered that exit polls should not be regarded as the “end all, be all” of an election outcome. Only the final numbers from tallied votes that have been certified can be used to determine the winner of any election. Not exit polls. Not wishful thinking.

Bringing It All Together

There is one last, but very important thing I would like to point out.


Despite the problems on Election Day, there is no evidence from our survey that
John Kerry won the state of Ohio.

Source [4]: Democracy at Risk: The 2004 Election in Ohio (page 20 of 204)

Again, the emphasis is mine. This statement is straight from the Democratic Party’s commissioned study. Not a biased right-winged blog. Not the potentially biased mainstream media. The sad truth is that even the Democratic Party concedes it could find no evidence that could bolster the claim that John Kerry should have won the state of Ohio, and thus the election.

Socratic Questions

Question 1: Do you think that the Democratic Party’s commissioned study entitled “Democracy at Risk: The 2004 Election in Ohio” is flawed in its findings that state: “there is no evidence from our survey that John Kerry won the state of Ohio”?

[edit on 8-9-2008 by MemoryShock]



posted on Sep, 9 2008 @ 01:06 PM
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Third Reply to “The 2004 Election Was Rigged And It Is Likely That The 2008 Election Will Be As Well”
During the 2004 presidential election 24.93% of all voters in the city of Cleveland were purged from the voting rolls. 83% of Cleveland voters voted for Kerry.
My opponent states the voter rolls were purged based on Ohio election law and that the people purged from the list deserved it based on law. I disagree with this, so many were purged and continue to be purged from the voter rolls. If this were indeed true then why has this happened since the 2004 election?

Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner has asked for the resignation of all four Board of Election officials of Cuyahoga County {Cleveland}.
Not only do we have calls for resignations Jacqueline Maiden Cuyahoga County third highest ranking employee was convicted and sentenced to 18 months in prison for felony count of negligent misconduct by an election board employee, Kathleen Dreamer the ballot manager was also convicted and sentenced the same in this case, they were both also convicted for a separate misdemeanor. The prosecution in this case stated that what happened here led to the recount being illegally rigged.

So we have forced resignation of the Board of Elections, we have also have felony convictions. Now what happened in the recount process? John Blackwell then Secretary of State plus the Chief Election Official of Ohio plus he was the honorary co-chair of the Committee to re-elect George W. Bush, gave permission to hand pick precincts for recounting the vote, a direct violation of the law that voided any possible recount. 3% of the counties precincts are to be randomly chosen for recount this is the law in Ohio. There was a obvious conflict of interest and this election was Rigged and gave Bush 4 more years.

And now we will talk about those voting machines in Ohio. The Election Science Institute has documented that there is a difference between votes submitted compared to votes counted. In Cuyahoga County 562,498 votes were cast but only 468,056 were counted this leaves us with a total of 94,442 or 16.8% of votes that did not get tallied. How could this be a free and just election when they have not even counted all of the votes.
Blowback from Ohio's 2004 Stolen Election is Escalating


A voting system used in 34 states contains a critical programming error that can cause votes to be dropped while being electronically transferred from memory cards to a central tallying point, the manufacturer acknowledges.

The problem was identified after complaints from Ohio elections officials following the March primary there, but the logic error that is the root of the problem has been part of the software for 10 years, said Chris Riggall, a spokesman for Premier Election Solutions, formerly known as Diebold.
Ohio Voting Machines Contained Programming Error That Dropped Votes


Diebold or Premier Election Solutions Admits that their systems/programming is flawed and has been flawed for a decade. How can we ever hope for free and honest election from such biased companies?

There is an ATS thread discussing this here:
Diebold comes clean, admits voting machines are faulty

The Purging Continues
Changes made after the 2004 election now give political parties the right to challenge voter’s rights to vote at election places on Election Day. These new rules also say that voters that have been removed from the voter roll are not longer notified in advance of elections. This law also requires mailing to be mailed out 60 days before elections. If these mailings are returned to sender for whatever reasons these voters will be purged from the voter rolls, without any notification.
Ohio's Election Stolen Again? State May Face 600K Voter Purge in Coming Weeks


Socratic Questions

Question 1: Do you think that the Democratic Party’s commissioned study entitled “Democracy at Risk: The 2004 Election in Ohio” is flawed in its findings that state: “there is no evidence from our survey that John Kerry won the state of Ohio”?


Yes this one sentence does not make the entire report. The problem with this statement is how can you verify the final vote if there is no paper trail to recount? All we have to go one is what the admitted flawed machines have told us. Also I’m going to include the commissions recommendations there are 23 of them, and this alone should tell us that something went wrong in Ohio on Nov 2 2004.
Recommendation for further actions



posted on Sep, 10 2008 @ 01:37 PM
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Rebuttal


My opponent states the voter rolls were purged based on Ohio election law and that the people purged from the list deserved it based on law. I disagree with this, so many were purged and continue to be purged from the voter rolls. If this were indeed true then why has this happened since the 2004 election?


My opponent should be aware that voter rolls are purged on a regular and consistent basis to prevent fraud. It is disingenuous for my opponent to indirectly suggest that voter fraud doesn’t occur and that voter rolls should not be actively purged.

Voter rolls are purged on a monthly basis in regards to Ohio voter eligibility code 3503.18 which removes the names of residents over 18 years old that have died, or have been deemed incompetent, or have been convicted of crimes resulting in disfranchisement.

Voter rolls are also purged on a continual basis in regards to Ohio voter eligibity code 3509.19 which requires the Board of Elections to register voter applications within 20 business days of receipt. Once the application is processed, the voter is registered, and a new process begins to verify residency. A notice is sent by non-forwardable mail, if it returned undelivered, then a second notice is sent by forwardable mail. If the person fails to respond to this second notice, they are purged from the voter rolls.

Also, under this code, if a person fails to vote in for a period of two federal elections they are purged from the voter rolls, as well.
Source [1]: Ohio Voter Eligibility

This is considered a routine maintenance. Of course, it happens on a continual basis. To suggest that the purging of voter rolls cease after every major election is not only preposterous, it would be disastrous. Can you imagine the backlog, undue drama and confusion that would result if Ohio were to halt the brakes on routine purging? It would literally be mass chaos.

And most importantly, it is the voter’s responsibility to make sure their registration is accurate and updated to ensure their right to vote.

Furthermore, voters who find their names removed from the voter rolls are allowed the opportunity to cast a provisional ballot. It is a safety net for those who wish to vote. It has been noted in my second reply that voters who cast a provisional ballot were nearly evenly split between Kerry (4.2%) and Bush (4.1%). It is egregious to suggest that voters who cast provisional ballots were mainly Democrats. It is simply not the case.
Source [2]: Democracy at Risk: The 2004 Election in Ohio (page 39 of 204)


Jacqueline Maiden Cuyahoga County third highest ranking employee was convicted and… Kathleen Dreamer the ballot manager was also convicted... The prosecution in this case stated that what happened here led to the recount being illegally rigged.

Yes, this did happen. However, my opponent is suggesting this was part of a GOP-led conspiracy. As much as I enjoy a good conspiracy, this assessment is simply not true in this case. You see, Jacqueline Maiden, Cuyahoga County’s third highest ranking employee is a Democrat, as is Kathleen Dreamer. Talk about taking things out of context!

As for the recount being illegally rigged in this instance, this is true, too. Long story short, these two women were trying to circumvent proper procedure because they didn’t want to do a complete recount. They were looking for a short-cut to make the process easier and quicker for them. Nothing more. Nothing less.
Source [3]: Two Convicted for Ohio Vote Fraud: Media Forgets They’re Democrats


A voting system used in 34 states contains a critical programming error that can cause votes to be dropped while being electronically transferred from memory cards to a central tallying point, the manufacturer acknowledges.


Yes, there was a glitch in the software system. However, there is also a safeguard procedure of checks and balances in place to catch such errors.


…elections officials through the years would have realized votes had been dropped when they crosschecked their tallies to certify final elections results and would have reloaded cards so as not to lose votes.


Furthermore, Democratic Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner has publically acknowledged that no Ohio votes were lost during the March primary, which is the most recent time these machines were used. Both Brunner and Premier Election Solutions, which manufactures these voting machines, have stated that the software glitch will be remedied by the November 2008 election.
Source [4]: Ohio Voting Machine Programming Error

Ohio: Final Thoughts

There is no doubt that Ohio experienced several problems in the 2004 election. Long poll lines coupled with a massive voter turnout and bad weather only added to the drama.

It has been determined that there was indeed a single case of the recount being rigged in Cuyahoga County which includes the city of Cleveland. But the two election board employees convicted in this case were Democrats, and thus not part of a right-wing conspiracy. It has also be ascertained that these two women were not trying to change the outcome of the recount, they were circumventing proper procedure to save themselves time.

The Democratic Party even went as far as to commission a study regarding the controversy surrounding Ohio during the 2004 election. Democracy at Risk: The 2004 Election in Ohio is an indepth look at the problems that occurred and recommendations to allow the state’s election process to run more smoothly.

This study also made a critical point:


Despite the problems on Election Day, there is no evidence from our survey that John Kerry won the state of Ohio.

[2]

My opponent has dismissed this statement as “flawed” in response to the last Socratic question. Could this be because it throws a wrench into their theory that the vote in Ohio was rigged?

In retrospect, Ohio is not strictly a red or blue state. It is purple. This is evident in the fact that the final 2004 election outcome was so close. It was less than a difference of 120,000 votes. Elections have been lost on less.

Could have the election process been better handled? Absolutely. Which is precisely why Democracy at Risk: The 2004 Election was commissioned in the first place.

The truth is there was no vast right-wing conspiracy to manipulate the 2004 election in Ohio. Any talk to contrary is simply a case of sour grapes.

That was then. This is now.

As for the current election, well we’re looking at a completely different political landscape.

On one hand we have Barack Obama, the Democratic candidate running under the mantra of “Change.” The senator from Illinois is running a charged and historical presidential campaign. His focus thus far, has been to woo citizens tired of the Bush administration’s partisan politics. Obama has made great strides in the respect.

Then there’s John McCain, the Republican candidate, former P.O.W. and self-described political maverick. The senator from Arizona is also attempting to run as a candidate of change, and has been trying to distance himself from fellow Republican, George W. Bush’s increasingly unpopular administration with mixed results.

So far, this has proven to be an extremely volatile contest, as evident by the myriad of presidential political threads here on ATS. Instead of dealing with issues, many of these threads have turned to campaign smears and character assassinations.

That aside, the true battle is being waged in a handful of key states: Colorado, Nevada, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Florida and Virginia. It is these states that will ultimately decide which way the election will turn, and who will be elected into the Oval office.

At this time, there has been no evidence to show that the final outcome of the 2008 Presidential Election will be manipulated or rigged in any way.



posted on Sep, 11 2008 @ 11:23 AM
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Closing Argument
I first want to say Bravo to maria_stardust, for a challenging and thought provoking debate, I have learned a great deal more about our election process both good and bad.
I’m going to make this short and sweet, I’m only going to provide one link, but I would like to post from the “Recommendations for further Actions” in the “Democracy at Risk: The 2004 Election in Ohio” report because I do fear our Democracy is at risk if these recommendations are not made. I also fear that damage has already been done to our once free Republic, and all of the recommendations are important, but I’m only listing those associated with this debate.

The forth recommendation:

4. States should adopt legislation to make clear and uniform the rules on voter registration.

We are all Americans whether we live in Florida, Ohio or Arkansas, we as Americans should be given the right to vote whether we move across town or across the state or to a different state, these laws should not be discriminatory or racist, or based on home ownership. They should be uniform so if you learn the laws that covers registration in Michigan then you already know the laws to get registered in Maine.
Right now they are not.

The eighth recommendation:

8. The Democratic Party should monitor the purging and updating of registered voter lists by local officials, and the Party should challenge, and ask state Attorneys General to challenge, unlawful purges and other improper list maintenance practices.

I don’t feel the Democratic Party believes we had a clear and free election. As for this recommendation I feel a bi-partisan group made up of more than just Democrats or Republicans should monitor our elections including foreigners.

The eleventh, twelfth, and fifthteenth recommendation.

11. Jurisdictions should be encouraged to use precinct-tabulated optical scan systems with a computer assisted device at each precinct, in preference to touchscreen {“direct recording equipment” or “DRE”} machines.
12. Touchscreeen {DRE} machines should not be used until a reliable voter verifiable audit feature can be uniformly incorporated into these systems. In the event of a recount, the paper or other auditable record should be considered the official record.
15. Voting equipment venders should be required to disclose their source code so it can be examined by third parties. No voting machine should have wireless connections or be ablr to connect to the internet.
Recommendations for further Actions


It is the responsibility of us all to educate ourselves to the reality of our election process, and right now that process is flawed or even criminal, once we are educated we must act to change what is wrong and there is plenty wrong with this process.

If the mistakes, errors or irregularities whatever you want to call them are truly random, it would seem like the results would also be random, they are not. When paperless voting machines are used one Party wins all close elections, one Party wins regardless what exit polls say, or regardless what any poll says whether or not they have the home field advantage or not. The Party that wins is the Party with affiliations with the voting machine manufacturer.

BTW this debate could be part of a 3 part debate series, there is so much information covering so many different states and different situations.

I rest my case. Thanks for taking the time to read this.



posted on Sep, 11 2008 @ 11:53 AM
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Due to Hurricane Ike, maria_stardust has requested that I post her 24 hour extension.



posted on Sep, 12 2008 @ 11:59 AM
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This debate has proven to be an interesting journey, to say the least. Many thanks to my gracious opponent, LDragonFire, who has proven to be formidable debator. I would also like to tip my hat to MemoryShock, for his fine handling of this tournament, and to all of the great Fighters who grace the Debate Forum. Lastly, I would like to thank our panel of secret debate judges for volunteering their time. It is my sincere hope that you, our audience, have enjoyed enjoyed this debate.
 


Closing Statement

There are several reasons that the 2004 Presidential Election proven to be contentious.


  • Memory of the devastating loss of Florida in 2000 by less than 600 votes.
  • The polarization of America along partisan lines.
  • The Swift Boat smear campaign waged against Democratic candidate, John Kerry.
  • An unprecedented, massive voter turnout in an unprepared Ohio.
  • Increasing dissatisfaction with the Bush administration.
  • Distain towards third party spoiler candidate Ralp Nader.
  • A continued downward economic trend.
  • Erosion of privacy rights as a direct result of the Patriot Act.
  • The waging of an unpopular war in Iraq.


Americans were sick of tired political ploys and empty promises from less-than-stalwart politicians. In short, America was ready for change. The air was charged and the presidential race was heated to such an extent that it left the country almost evenly divided down party lines.

Therefore, it is not surprising that the loss of Ohio in the 2004 Presidential Election sent shockwaves through the Democratic Party, and ultimately the country. The stunning back-to-back national losses led to outcries of conspiracy and fraud.

The truth is that the Democratic Party commissioned a study to investigate allegations of possible fraud, as well as put forth a series of recommendations to allow for a more transparent election process. In the end, the study Democracy at Risk: The 2004 Election in Ohio found no evidence of fraud or misallocation of votes that would have led to John Kerry ultimately winning the race.
Source [1]: Democracy at Risk: The 2004 Election in Ohio

While there was indeed one case of voter fraud involving the recount of ballots in Democratic-leaning Cuyahoga County, the two election board employees convicted were both Democrats. Hence, it is painfully obvious that it was not a GOP-led conspiracy to manipulate the election in Ohio.

Considering the last two elections were extremely tight and controversial, there is no doubt that the 2008 Presidential Election will be held under equally intense scrutiny.

At this point, there has been scant evidence to support allegations of possible attempts to rig the current presidential election.



posted on Sep, 18 2008 @ 09:16 PM
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I would like to congratulate both Fighters on a superb battle.

maria_stardust has won this round by majority vote and will advance to Round Three.



This was a much tighter debate to judge, as both participants did an excellent job.

However, there can only be one winner and in this case I will have to hand it to maria_stardust.

LDragonFire started out very strong, and the points about the electronic voting system were excellent, and could have won him the debate had he stayed on that topic, the unreliability, and his argument that the fact that random chance would not lead to the errors seeming to always be in the favor of the Republican candidates.

maria-stardust actually wasted her entire first reply rehashing the 2000 election, and in the early stages of the debate, I was certain the win would be for LDragon.

Midway through the debate, however, maria_ picked up the ball and really got serious. She hit quite a difficult blow to his case by showing that two people he brought in as evidence of a right wing conspiracy were actually Democrats, and she managed to refute most of LDragon's case regarding the Ohio election. It worked against LDragon to try to move from the "machines are flawed" argument to specific instances in specific races, and maria_ took full advantage of the investigations that had been done in the matters.

Still, at that point the debate was fairly even in my eyes, as the competitors had both presented good argument and were pretty even in their mistakes as well. Until the closing argument. Unfortunately for LDragonFire, in the closing he abandoned his own premises. All of them. And essentially left the debate with a feel good address about Democracy in America and how we should sustain it. That would have been the chance to drag the debate back onto favorable ground, or at least restate firmly his argument, but he almost seemed to give up.

maria_stardust posted if not a lengthy closing, at least one that bolstered the case she had been building all along, and in this debate, it was the closing arguments that allowed one debater to really pull ahead enough for me to make a decision, and maria_stardust wins it by a nose.

They should both be proud, however, they did an excellent job.




A very lively and informative debate, with both fighters producing good sources and evidence.

LD started off very well, and used sources in an excellent fashion to back up his statements.

LD maintained this position throughout the debate, but was unable to counter the rebuttals by his opponent, instead, prefering to pile more evidence on top, despite it seemingly damaging his position.
This use of sources would have overwhelmed a lesser opponent, and we can see the battle for rhetoric supremacy in the fact that neither fighter made full use of socratic questions.

m_s made very good use of sources, and schooled DF in electoral law, also making very good use of the democratic report, and the real charges against the defendants in the rigging case.
m_s was very clear and concise in the arguments presented, and the evidence used in making an outstanding case for the con position.

Overall, LD's less coherent style cost the fighter in the juidgement, simply because the points were difficult to recognise in comparison to m_s who made a very clear case.

A close call, I make maria_stardust the winner by a short nose.


Well Done to Both...



posted on Sep, 19 2008 @ 12:14 AM
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I want to Congratulate maria_stardust on a Very well fought and well deserved win!! Good luck with round 3 and hopefully you get to bring home the Gold...



posted on Sep, 19 2008 @ 12:07 PM
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LDragonFire, you are most certainly a worthy opponent. You kept me on my toes throughout the entire debate, and really had me mull over every move.


It has been a real pleasure to meet you in battle. Thanks for a great fight!





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