Robert Fitrakis says that the partisan firms which manage election data and technology targeted young Sanders supporters to ensure a Clinton victory
DHARNA NOOR, TRNN: Im here from the Real News Network in Houston, Texas, where the Green Party Convention is coming to a close. Yesterday Jill Stein accepted her nomination as the official Green Party candidate for the US presidency and as she was taking her acceptance she actually mentioned this man, whos with me here today.
Were joined here by Robert Fitrakis, who is a professor of political science and a lawyer, amongst other things, and hes here to speak with us today about election fraud. How are you doing?
ROBERT FITRAKIS: Im doing well.
NOOR: So could you start just by telling me about the specific instances about election fraud youve seen in this campaign. Youve been exposing these instances of fraud for a long time. We were speaking before, off camera, about 2004 for instance. But youre here making a point of bring this up in this 2016 election. Explain the significance.
FITRAKIS: Well one of the obvious things in this election was the visible hijacking of Bernie Sanders voters. Bernie brought in what political scientists would call an asymmetrical entrance of new voters. He went out and got a lot of people that hadnt voted previously and at first emerged in New York City, in Brooklyn where you had 126 thousand people. Overwhelmingly new voters supporting Bernie that were purged at the last second from the voting rolls. And thats being investigated but it turned out to be a clerk said to have Republican leanings. But just prior to the purge, the daughter of a Clinton super delegate had bought property from her. A million and a half dollars over the street value that wasnt even being listed. So at least it calls into question, whether it was an old fashioned Tammany Hall bribe for purging voters.
So its what me and my co-author Harvey [Wasserman] call vote stripping, right? I think before this is all through the leaks by the Democratic National Committee, youll find that somebody had access to those databases and were targeting the Bernie people to purge them.
NOOR: And can you talk about what the tactics were that were used in order to target these Bernie supporters and as youre saying, discount their votes?
FITRAKIS: Well, you simply purge them from the voting rolls. And that can be done in a variety of ways depending upon the state. In most states people dont realize it but you privatize with companies, the voter databases. And also you have often these poll books. Many of them are electronic that are also created by proprietary companies.
So the US is the only democracy in the world that allows private for profit partisan companies those that actually make contributions as did Dominion, the remnants of [Depolled] that went out of business for worldwide fraud following the 04 election and Hart Intercivic. So Hart Intercivic and Dominion both made contributions to the Clinton foundation. So you wonder, when a candidates running for president, why are voting machine companies making donations to their campaigns?
So we allow these private, for-profit partisan companies to count our vote, to set our databases with secret proprietary software that nobody can look at. It violates every principle of transparency. And the only person on a high level willing to talk about this is Jimmy Carter, who says to Der Spiegel that America has a dysfunctional democracy and that we dont meet minimum standards of transparency.
NOOR: Who is particularly targeted in this? In terms of demographics, race, class, gender, who is specifically taking the hit here?
FITRAKIS: Historically, what we saw emerge as stripping votes was done when George Bush ran for president in 2000 and particularly in 2004 in Ohio. And they targeted in that case, the obvious constituents. African-Americans, Latinos, and poor people. People that voted, 75-95% for the democratic party. They actually purged a quarter of all the voters in Cleveland between the 2000 presidential election and 2004.
NOOR: Have you seen the same kind of demographic targeting in this election cycle?
FITRAKIS: Yeah, this is the first time. We used to actually call this the red shift. And by that we meant it was benefiting the Republican Party but particularly Bush as a candidate. So in this case, what used to be the red shift, now as the Hillary Clinton shift. So the same sort of manipulation of elections, the targeted stripping of voters was helping Hillary Clinton. She couldnt have won the nomination without this. We dont know whos doing it. But it clearly benefited her. ESNS is a private company that was owned in the past when it was AIS by Chuck Hagel, former defense secretary, whod been a progressive Republican senator from Nebraska. And Warren Buffet at various times had owned part in the 2012 election through the Omaha World Harold of the company ESNS which is a private company.
NOOR: Have you found the same demographics have been targeted?
FITRAKIS: No, this is the first time. Essentially what youre targeting in this election was white first time voters, college students. Right? It was a demographic that had been targeting by–in the ’04 election because they tended to vote Democratic. This time using meta- and megadata. If you read about Prism, what the NSA was using, you were able to use social economic status data. You know, sort of, are they white? Whats their age? And it really was precision targeting, particularly in New York and really in California. California cant be called an election. California was a coup d’etat.
NOOR: How do you mean? Explain.
FITRAKIS: It was an election. Its what youd expect in a corrupt third-world military junta. I mean, thats what happened in California. Youve got 1.4 million voters. I was out in California. I was brought in by a think tank, the American Institute for Democracy and Election Integrity. And we predicted a week in advance exactly what was going to happen.
You want to vote, if youre an independent, youre allowed to vote in the Democratic primary. Each party decides whether their primary is open to independents or closed. The Democrats were open. But what they did is suddenly a lot of people that signed up as an independent to vote for Bernie Sanders, they were given an NPP, no party preference ballot, with no vote for president. They were assigned, they signed up as an independent, they were put in the American Independence Party, a neofascist right wing party.
This was deliberate. This was no accident. We found Michael Vu, who was driven out of Cleveland in 2007 in San Diego, forcing all these people to vote provisionally. They knew they didnt have enough ballots. Theres also in California whats known as a ballot surrender rule. That is, people who didnt ask for a mail-in absentee ballot or a mail-in ballot were mailed ballots and when they showed up to vote they said, you cant vote. You need to surrender this mail-in ballot. They were saying, I dont recall getting one, or they send them home to find it. What they did is systematically someone on behalf and again this [inaud.] the secretary of state clearly was absolutely biased and from my mind should be in jail for election fraud.
NOOR: Some people might be watching this though and think what does this have to do with the Green Party. Were at the Green Party Convention. What would the implications of a fair election process be for a third party like the Green Party?
FITRAKIS: Well the Green Party, I dont know if your viewers know it but in 2004 when Carl Ropes stole Ohio by private contractors sent the final vote to Chattanooga, Tennessee to the Old Pioneer Bank building which I visited. I wasnt allowed in. A small room there, Jeff Averbeck of a company called SMARTech. We know this because we sued them from 2006-2011 in a case called King Lincoln Bronzeville vs. Blackwell. We found their architectural map. We found their contract. A year ahead of time, they decided.
NOOR: And what did you find that they were doing?
FITRAKIS: They sent the votes to a private contractor and when they came back, they had flipped. I mean theres at least, theres dozens of books on this. Theres dozens of documentation.
NOOR: And here you found that the votes were flipped. Specifically, that votes for third parties were flipped. Is that what youre saying?
FITRAKIS: No what Im saying is, the third party, it was the Green Party and the Libertarian Party who sued to get the vote recounted. Now the recount was more corrupt than the original election. In fact, two people went to jail in Cleveland because they pre-counted the vote. The Rapp family, which is a hardcore right-to-life family that created the butterfly ballot, cost thousands of votes in the 2000 election in Florida, actually came into Hocking County, Ohio, and said hi, we need to check your machines. These are the maintenance people for the recount.
What happened in that situation, they claimed the central tabulator which was a 12-year-old Dell, went down. Luckily they happened to have a hard drive for a 12-year-old Dell in the back of their Right to Life car. So they went and got the hard drive, installed it, gave [Michelle Eden], the deputy director a list and said dont turn your computer off, just read these numbers. So she actually went to congress and swore out an affidavit and she was fired by J. Kenneth Blackwell.
NOOR: Now so if these instances of election fraud were to stop, if we were to see from here on out a fair election process in the United States, what would the implication be for parties like the Green Party for instance, who are outside the Democratic and Republican parties?
FITRAKIS: Well Im not sure it wouldve helped the Green Party that much initially. Bernie Sanders would be running for president of the United States. They jacked him if you look at the exit polls as well. I mean theres other things that would help the Green Party. The fact that we have the most rigged congressional elections in the world, right. Where the incumbents of both party come together and gerrymander the elections for the incumbent. The fact that we have Citizens United, where secret money can come in from corporate sources.
I think the way we vote, the first past the post as opposed to various other ways of voting which will allow you to assign your vote to one candidate and drop it if that candidate isnt one of the first two. Historically, the problem with our system is all the election laws were created by the two major parties who have one thing in common, to keep all outsiders and populous movements at bay. And the right-wing populist, neofascists, and Trump managed to bring in enough people.
NOOR: Right. And in this election campaign or in this election season, weve seen a lot of disenfranchisement from the two party system from the Sanders movement as you mentioned but also from Trumps movement as well. Despite this, so many people continue to vote Democrat or Republican, despite the fact even that many people know that in some cases election fraud is running rampant. Why is it that people continue to place their faith in the two party system?
FITRAKIS: Well because theyve been enculturated, socialized with a large lie that America is in fact the greatest democracy in the world, which is factually incorrect. I mean, theres numerous studies. There was just a study by Harvard and the University of Australia at Sydney that said out of the 47 longstanding democracies in the world, the US is 47. Jimmy Carter says America is a nonfunctioning democracy.
So all the evidence says were the absolute worst. But youve got this enculturation. Youve got two parties and both historically corporate capitalists parties, particularly since the Koch brothers decided we needed a DLC following the 84 election that they wanted a corporate wing of the Republican Party and they got that in 1992 in the form of Bill Clinton and Al Gore, which were both DLC people. Two corporate capitalist free trade parties. People wouldnt even, many people think Sanders was very progressive and he was and he spoke as a democratic socialist.
But Jerry Brown in 1992 called for a 50% cut in the U.S. military. I mean, thats territory. But George Herbert Walker Bush actually talked about a peace dividend. We dont even talk anymore about nearly half of the money on planet earth beings spent in the U.S. military. And weve got soldier arguably or advisers in 181 out of 203 nations no one wants to say in great detail. And Sanders was touching on all these issues that that appears to be imperialism.
But these the Stein campaign has enormous room to actually talk about what is happening in the United States. She asked people on the stage at this convention actually used the correct term, imperialism. And they actually do talk about a rigged election system. Because its systematically rigged when you bring these private contractors in and then they say its a computer glitch. In 2004 [D Bolt] two weeks before the election, accidentally glitched 10,000 voters in the city of Cleveland who were going to vote 95% for John Kerry.
I dont believe those are glitches. I believe private contractors in this privatization has allowed big money to come in in the form of the corporation. And theres an old axiom, theres not much money in counting vote but theres a lot of money in the voting results.
NOOR: Well thank you so much and I hope we get to speak to you again as we see these results roll out. Wed love to follow up with you and see how you think the elections have been impacted by the fraud that youve encountered.
FITRAKIS: Well if theres fraud in the fall, people out to occupy the votes, bring yellow tape, sit in, and then not allow the fraud to go forward. I think thats what the Sanders people shouldve done and I think thats why they walked out of the convention. And I think thats why a lot of them showed up here. Because they know Hillary Clinton benefited from a fraudulent vote and hopefully theyll inspire and invigorate the Green Party movement.