Barack Obama is heading to Election Day with a razor thin 6-point
lead in the popular polls in Ohio, according to the usually reliable Columbus
Dispatch poll. This means that the Buckeye state could again decide who enters
the White House in January, despite the fact that nationwide Obama�s lead has
been registered as high as 11-12 percent.
In a country with truly fair elections, a reliable vote
count, and no electoral college, such a lead should be commanding.
But in the America of 2008, it will be enough only if tens
of thousands of grassroots election protection activists, rallied primarily
through the independent Internet, can protect voter registrations, guarantee
the ability to vote at the polling stations, and somehow procure an accurate,
un-tampered with vote count.
In short, it will depend on YOU and your willingness to
protect American democracy. It will not be the punditocracy or the campaign
managers who decide Tuesday�s outcome -- it will be the get-out-the-vote
activists, the poll workers, the monitors and observers, the election
protection attorneys, the video-the-voters, and the vote count investigators.
Will you be among them?
The story of the stolen elections of 2000 and 2004 is now
all too familiar. Three stolen senatorial races in 2002 gave George W. Bush
pivotal clout to wage a catastrophic war and destroy the American economy. In
2006, Democrats made substantial gains in Congress, but were denied numerous
additional seats in races where they failed miserably to protect the franchise.
Voters in Ohio elected a new governor and secretary of state, but only by
overcoming the loss of 12 percent of the vote predicted by pre-election polls.
The votes were stolen by disenfranchisement and electronic �irregularities� or �glitches.�
Throughout the decade, the election protection movement has
been sustained by the Internet. Both the Democratic Party and the corporate
media have avoided the question of stolen elections like the plague. Last month,
the �left� media again attacked grassroots election protection as Andrew Gumbel
wrote contemptuously in The Nation Magazine of �underqualified� Internet
reporters who �breathlessly� document the Bush/Rove larceny.
That means YOU.
Now the Democrats are e-mailing appeals for election
protection monitors. Through a message from Florida Congresswomen Deborah
Wasserman-Schulz (no relation), the Democrats are raising money for a vaguely
defined �protect the vote� effort, ignoring the fact that John Kerry raised $7
million for such an effort in 2004, then walked away from the election. A
Democrat video refers to the nightmare of Florida 2000 and �stories� heard
about Ohio 2004. James Carville, who loudly threw in the towel from his
televised bloviator perch in 2004 while 250,000 votes were still uncounted in
Ohio, has also jumped on the election protection bandwagon.
Maybe this year the Democrats will actually do something
about protecting the vote. Maybe, if they carry the White House, they will
actually correct some of the abuses that put George W. Bush in power, as some
have begun to do in Ohio and elsewhere. After all, election irregularities will
not only affect Obama, they�ve already affected Oprah.
But ultimately there is only one way tomorrow�s vote will be
protected -- if thousands of committed, independent public citizens show up at
the polls with their cameras, their note pads, their cellphones and their
lawyers, bound and determined to protect this election.
If you�re electronic vote on a computerized voting machine
starts hopping from your candidate to another, or just fades away and poll workers
do nothing -- we�re asking voters to dial 911 and make an emergency report on
felony election tampering. Demand that the malfunctioning machine be
immediately quarantined as a crime scene.
If Obama wins, the doubters and deceivers will cry �no wolf�
in reverse, and dismiss the efforts of those who have written, organized and
shown up at the polls to protect the vote. �He would have won anyway,� they�ll
But we will know otherwise. Only if YOU turn up Tuesday will
the networks be discussing a McCain/Palin defeat on Wednesday.
If we see you at the polls on Tuesday, we can all share in
an Internet-based victory party on Wednesday.
Then we can spend the rest of the century working to
guarantee that nothing like the Bush nightmare can ever happen again.
Fitrakis & Harvey Wasserman have co-authored four books on election
protection, including HOW THE GOP STOLE AMERICA�S 2004 ELECTION & IS
RIGGING 2008, and AS GOES OHIO, available at www.freepress.org,
where this first appeared.