It is a privilege and a right in a representative democracy for an electorate to choose, among several candidates, its representatives in government, and a vote is a formal expression of an individual’s choice for a certain candidate or a political party. In America, a secret ballot prevents voters from being intimidated and protects their political privacy, but it has its drawbacks as well as benefits. Voting is the greatest expression of a democracy, but tragically, one political party in America is going to great lengths to end to the democratic process in their drive to transform the government into a plutocracy. Republicans have spent the past two years bemoaning rampant voter fraud that investigations have proven does not exist (except among Republicans), and they utilized their corporate legislative arm, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) to model and pass state legislation to prevent seniors, students, minorities, and the poor from participating in the democratic process.
Despite courts striking down, as unconstitutional, suppression efforts, the GOP and their candidate for president, Willard Romney, have been inexorably linked to voter suppression and fraud with impunity, and as of late there are two developments involving Republican groups that warrant more investigation by the Justice Department. It has been obvious for over three years that Republicans hate the American people, and to silence opposition to their democracy destroying efforts conservatives are resorting to outright employee intimidation and, in Ohio, there is a real threat of Bain Romney electoral fraud.
The news has been inundated with reports of voter suppression and intimidation tactics in states controlled by Republicans to deny Democratic-leaning groups their right to cast ballots. In several states, besides harsh voter ID laws, voters were purged to give Republican candidates an advantage in the general election, and Romney’s campaign was linked to a company that sought out and registered Romney supporters, and the same group is tied to destroying Democratic voter registration forms. In each of the cases, they attempted to suppress voting, but this week reports surfaced that large corporations were intimidating employees with threats of job losses if Romney failed to win the election in another attempt to influence the outcome prior to Election Day. However, there is a troubling development out of Ohio that could alter the results of the election after voting is finished and it is no surprise they are intricately linked to Willard Romney’s company, Bain Capital.
In this year’s election, much of the Ohio electorate will cast its ballots on machines owned by close cronies of the Republican presidential candidate Willard Romney. Electronic voting machines owned by Mitt Romney’s Bain business partners and set to count the votes in Cincinnati could decide the 2012 election. In Cincinnati and around the state, the e-voting machines are owned by Hart Intercivic that are infamous for mechanical failures, “glitches,” counting errors and other problems now completely identified with the way Republicans steal elections. Hart Intercivic was taken over last year by H.I.G. Capital, and prominent partners and directors on the H.I.G. board hail from Bain Company or Bain Capital that Romney is still associated with. What is more troubling is that H.I.G. employees have contributed at least $338,000 to Romney’s campaign, and two H.I.G. Directors, John P. Bolduk and Douglas Berman, are major Romney fundraisers along with a former Bain and H.I.G. manager, Brian Shortsleeve.
The problem with electronic voting machines is that the software they use is proprietary to the manufacturer, and individual election boards may own the actual machines. In Ohio, it is nearly guaranteed there will be no vote count transparency on election night because the tally will be conducted by Hart Intercivic and controlled by Secretary of State John Husted and Governor Kasich, with no public recourse or accountability. Husted was in the news yesterday when the Supreme Court denied his suit to eliminate early voting in Ohio on the weekend prior to the election, but by controlling the vote count with Romney’s Bain business partners owning the machines, it may not matter what the real results are. In 2008 during federal testimony, Karl Rove operative, and now-deceased, Michael Connell made it perfectly clear that electronic vote-flipping is relatively cheap and a simple process; especially if Republican election officials own and programmed the machines prior to the election. Just as Governor Robert Taft controlled election results in 2004, Husted and Kasich will control Ohio’s electronic vote count on election night free of meaningful public checks or balances which is why the Department of Justice must investigate Kasich, Husted, Romney, and his Bain Capital cohorts for conflict of interest and remove electronic voting machines owned by Bain directors and Romney fundraisers.
These questionable ties to Bain, Romney, and Ohio’s Republican governor and secretary of state may not be an issue if they were an isolated case of election tampering. However, throughout the campaign there has been one after another instance of voter suppression and fraud unique to Republicans. In several states, a so-called Republican strategist and voter fraud activist, Nathan Sproul, and his company registered Republicans while destroying registration forms of Democrats, and in GOP-controlled states, ALEC-modeled voter ID laws targeting Democratic-leaning voters sailed through legislatures, and election officials were terminated if they contested voter purging efforts.
It should come as no surprise that Koch Industries sent letters to 45,000 employees warning them of possible job losses if Romney was not victorious, and David Siegel, founder and CEO of Westgate Resorts, sent an email to all of his thousands of employees, insinuating they would be fired of Barack Obama is reelected. In 2008, Siegel sent a similar email to employees prior to the election warning that “if you lose your job, it will be at the hands of a political hurricane that swept through this country, and if that happens, you can find me retired, with no employees to worry about.” Siegel is wealthier than ever.
America’s days as a representative democracy are numbered as Republicans seek to reserve voting rights to white Christian Republicans. In Republican states there is no way elections are free of despicable tactics whether it is billboards in Pennsylvania claiming voter ID is still required (they are not) or in Florida where Veterans of WWII are purged from voter rolls. It is nearly unfathomable that Willard Romney’s business associates and fundraisers from Bain Capital own electronic voting machines and the count will be supervised by confirmed vote-suppresor John Husted and governor Kasich. Perhaps if Romney was not corrupt, and if Husted was not actively working to suppress the vote, Americans could rest easy, but in their drive to destroy democracy, Republicans, especially Romney, have demonstrated they will use any devious, illegal, unconstitutional, and decidedly un-American ploy to muzzle the American peoples’ voices and put an end to their last hurdle toward plutocracy; the right to a free and fair election.