Plutocracy vs Democracy
By Christopher Bollyn - American Free Press
Voting Machines vs Hand Counted Paper Ballots.
The widespread use of electronic voting machines has completely undermined the integrity of elections in the United States. Behind the Omaha-based company making most of the flawed voting machines is a small, and very secretive, group of men, which includes a well-known U.S. senator from Nebraska, who also happens to belong to part of the REAL "shadow government," i.e. Bilderberg group.
Is it much of a surprise then that the unexpected "upset" U.S. senatorial election in which that U.S. senator [Charles T. Hagel] was elected in 1996, the voting machines that counted the votes that brought him to the U.S. Senate were made and operated by the company of which he had, until recently, been chairman [from 1988 until March 15, 1995].
Furthermore, isn't it odd that Mr. Hagel did NOT disclose his relationship with that vote-counting company on his required documents and financial disclosures?
In 1997, that same company, American Information Systems (AIS), had been a “wholly-owned subsidiary of Omaha World Herald Company, a large company of which the newspaper is actually but a small part. They are much more involved in data accumulation and more profitable ventures than newsprint.
This company, AIS, seems to be guided by billionaire and millionaire conservatives of the “Christian Coalition” type, who have been politically active, and successful, in making the Republican Party into a extreme pro-Israel, Christian “fundamentalist” party – one that will do ANYTHING to win.
The recent mid-term elections have been described as “revolutionary” due to the unusual success of Republican candidates while a sitting president from the same party occupied the White House. However, the upset election results that heralded the Republican revolution have been accompanied by a largely ignored credibility gap because of the more significant and historic devolution in how Americans cast their votes.
As a result of the 2000 election fiasco in Florida, expensive electronic voting machines have replaced paper ballot voting systems in a growing number of jurisdictions across the United States. However, the electronic touch-screen voting and ballot-counting machines lack the transparency and credibility of hand-counted paper ballots. As Rick Fulle, in Chicago, head of technology for the Illinois Board of Elections told AFP about touch-screen voting machines, “Nobody knows what happens inside of those machines.”
Furthermore, troubling revelations about the people who own the companies that make these voting machines raise a host of serious questions about the condition of the democratic franchise in the United States – even whether it actually exists on a national level, or not.
The companies that design, build, and operate most of the voting machines currently being used in America, are privately held and extremely secretive. Before the 2000 elections, when this reporter [Bollyn] tried to learn who owned Omaha-based Electronic Systems and Software (ES&S), the largest voting machine company in the United States, the information was simply not available. A visit to the ES&S office in Chicago [across the street from the Board of Elections] resulted in no answers from ES&S, but a number of men in suits escorting Bollyn to the door – Chicago style.
[Bollyn, writing for the court-killed SPOTLIGHT newspaper of Washington, D.C. received a thinly-veiled death threat for asking questions about who made the "control cards" which record the data and tell the vote-counting machine what to do.]
ES&S, whose motto is “Better elections every day” claims to have counted 100 million ballots in the 2000 election and 56 percent of the vote in the last four presidential elections. However, ES&S company officials repeatedly refused to discuss the [electronic] security of their voting machines or divulge who owns and directs the company.
Two independent writers, Bev Harris of Talion.com and journalist Lynn Landes of EcoTalk.org have investigated the voting machine companies operating in the United States and have discovered a number of political connections to the Republican Party and a well-known senator from Nebraska. These connections are too important to ignore.
THE OMAHA CONNECTION
According to Nebraska's Elections Office, ES&S is the only voting machine company certified to count votes in the state. A small percentage of the vote in Nebraska is still hand-counted.
Election Systems & Software was formed in 1997 by a merger of Omaha-based American Information Systems (AIS) and Dallas-based Business Records Corp. (BRC). BRC was partially owned by Cronus Industries, a company with connections to the Hunt brothers from Texas, as well as other individuals and entities, including Rothschild, Inc.
In 1997, American Information Systems was an unincorporated, wholly-owned subsidiary of the Omaha World-Herald Company according to a Department of Justice press release about the merger of AIS with BRC. American Information Systems' 1996 sales in all of its product lines were about $14.3 million.
Nebraska-born Charles T. “Chuck” Hagel moved to Omaha in 1992 to become chairman of AIS and the McCarthy Group, a private investment bank, Harris told AFP. AIS was the voting machine company that counted the votes by which Hagel was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1996. Hagel had only resigned as CEO of AIS in 1995.
Josh Denney, spokesman for Sen. Hagel’s Washington office told AFP that Hagel had been a member of the board at AIS since 1988 and had been chairman of the board at AIS “for about a year.” Denney said that Hagel had resigned from the AIS board on March 15, 1995, but had continued to serve as president of McCarthy and Co., until 1996. Denney said that the "only inaccuracy" that Hagel's office had found on the Talion.com website was the mention of Hagel as "CEO" of AIS. However, reports in the Omaha World Herald suggest that Hagel was CEO of AIS at different times during his 6-year term on the board.
Today, Hagel has investments in the renamed McCarthy Group worth between $1 and $5 million, according to documents published on by Harris on her website. Because the McCarthy Group reportedly owns some 35 percent of ES&S, Harris has raised the matter of Hagel’s investment in a company that counts the votes in Nebraska. Omaha World-Herald reportedly owns about 45 percent of ES&S.
Lawyers representing ES&S have recently asked Harris to remove the documents and information from her website. Harris, however, has not removed the material saying that voters need to know who owns the companies that make voting machines to avoid any possible conflict-of-interest issues.
Two brothers, Bob and Todd Urosevich, founded AIS in the 1980's. Today Bob is president of Diebold Election Systems, while Todd is a vice president at ES&S.
Diebold Election Systems, Inc., a wholly owned operating subsidiary of Diebold, Incorporated, recently won a $54 million contract to overhaul Georgia’s election system technology. Georgia thus became the first state in the country to implement a uniform state-wide computerized touch-screen voting system. The Diebold system was sold to voters in Georgia as a “state-of-the-art system” that is “more accurate, convenient and accessible to voters.” Most importantly, the electronic touch-screen system does not provide a verifiable paper trail, which removes any credibility that the results truly reflect the intent of the voting public. Finis
Last updated 14/02/2003