Sunday, November 26, 2006

Now you see it, now you don't - the EU report on the Mexican Election

[Update: Because context is everything, I suggest people read Jeff Morley's piece posted at the National Security Archives re the CIA's close relationship with past governments of Mexico, begging the question of the present relationship. Given the CIA's support of the upper classes and disdain for the peasants, its a safe bet the CIA favored Calderon over Obrador in the last Mexican election.]

I had to check the times and dates. Rarely do you see a story change that quickly, and in the same source.

Check out this report from the People's Daily in China from 11/25/06:
The European Union (EU) on Friday recommended Mexico to hold a second round of presidential elections to solve the conflict generated by Mexico's July 2 presidential race.

Jose Ignacio Salafranca, a deputy from the EU observer team to Mexico, made the suggestion in his team's report on the July election.

He said a second round race would broaden the advantage enjoyed by the winning candidate and thus give him greater backing.
But then check out this report, also from the People's Daily, as of 11/26/06:
The observers from the European Union (EU) submitted their report to Mexican officials on Saturday, saying Mexico's July 2 presidential elections were transparent, lawful and legitimate. Jose Ignacio Salafranca, head of the EU observers' mission, said there were irregularities but the vote results were valid.

"These elections were free, authentic and the results represent the legitimate will of the Mexican people," Salafranca said in a statement distributed by Mexico's Attorney General's Office.

"The elections complies with respect for the law, transparency and the principles of the rule of law," he said.
Whaat? There's a big difference in calling for a second election and saying the first one was fair and legal.

Is the problem with the reporting, did Salafranca change his mind, or did he say both - that the elections looked legit but to solve the perception issue they should vote again?

If anyone knows where the EU's report can be found, I'd love to see it.

I think Obrador won, based on the early evidence, and based on the money traders betting on his success. As Jim Lampley said of the American election of 2004:
At 5:00 p.m. Eastern time on Election Day, I checked the sportsbook odds in Las Vegas and via the offshore bookmakers to see the odds as of that moment on the Presidential election. John Kerry was a two-to-one favorite. You can look it up.

People who have lived in the sports world as I have, bettors in particular, have a feel for what I am about to say about this: these people are extremely scientific in their assessments. These people understand which information to trust and which indicators to consult in determining where to place a dividing line to influence bets, and they are not in the business of being completely wrong. Oddsmakers consulted exit polling and knew what it meant and acknowledged in their oddsmaking at that moment that John Kerry was winning the election.
The odds were favoring Obrador as well, at the start of the Mexican election this year:
As Sunday's election approaches, the price of Mexican bonds has been going down because of fears that López Obrador will win the race and then mismanage the national economy. And the traders on a Web site that sells futures contracts about election outcomes are bullish about a victory for the populist former Mexico City mayor.

Bond traders are worried that López Obrador, who has promised massive infrastructure projects that rely heavily on government financing, has focused too much on spending and not enough on attracting investment, said Salvador Moreno, chief economist for ING Group's Mexico division. Prices of Mexican bonds have slipped about 13 percent since March, he said.

"We think López Obrador is going to win, and he's been talking about all these big projects, and that we don't like," Moreno said."
If we really want to solve the problem at the border - how do you think our money would be better spent? Building a wall, or helping pay for a new election, conducted on machines that give paper records, and paying for an audit afterwards? Don't you think if the Mexicans had someone truly concerned with providing jobs and a higher quality of life for all, including the poor, that they would have no reason to come to America? I sure do.

When, on when can the people of the world get the representation they choose, rather than the one thrust on them in the guise of free and fair elections?

There's provocative evidence that a major attempt was made to steal the election (again) here in America in our midterm elections. But since the Democrats won, it seems unlikely that real scrutiny will occur. But there's no way the Democrats will be as popular in two years as they were this year, short of some bold legislation with a populist bent. Instead, the 4% swing observed (4% went to Republicans that should have gone to Democrats according to this study) might be enough to swing the election in 2008.

We need, Mexico needs, every election on this planet needs a way for a rigorous, substantial audit of a voter verified paper record to ensure the accuracy of our elections. We should not stop pressing for reform until this key goal is met. We need both a vertical audit and a horizontal audit - a sample of every voting district/township/precinct needs to be made, but we also need to do an apples-to-apples audit (a vertical audit) to pinpoint problems with the electronic voting count. Only an audit of 100% of the votes has a 100% chance of catching error or fraud if it occurred. But the certainty will be limited to the precincts audited ,hence the need for the separate audit.

Several individuals and groups are proposing various audit standards. I hope people will ask in their own counties how their votes are audited, and if the answer is, "they aren't," that people band together and demand a change.

Nothing is more important than our vote. No cause, no war, no terrorist attack, NOTHING. If we give up our vote, we cease to be America. I can't think of anything worse than that. And if we tolerate stolen elections in Mexico, we're culpable in the subversion of their democracy as well.

I hope the people of Mexico continue to fight for Obrador, to force the issue, to demand an accurate count. I hope they get it. I hope we get one in the races still undecided here. And I especially hope we get one in 2008.

It took six years to get the machines in place. It may take us six years to make them work properly, and we only have two left. I hope people can find a way to talk about this, write about this, learn about this, and lead on this issue. It will take so many of us to do this right.

This isn't someone else's problem, and no leaders are coming. It's up to us, individually, to find ways to lead on this issue.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

"It took six years to get the machines in place. It may take us six years to make them work properly, and we only have two left."

Wha? Invisible software is as prone to corruption as invisible governments and secret agencies.And it HAS been and WILL BE used to steal elections deliberately.

You of all people should know that secrecy guarantees abuse.

The machines must go.Period.
Hand-counted paper ballots work beautifully in many countries.

Remember this 12/17/03 AP story about the computer bank fraud felon named Jeffrey Dean writing Diebold software?,2645,61640,00.html
The programmer, Jeffrey Dean, wrote and maintained proprietary code used to count hundreds of thousands of votes as senior vice president of Global Election Systems, or GES. Diebold purchased GES in January 2002.

According to a public court document released before GES hired him, Dean served time in a Washington state correctional facility for stealing money and tampering with computer files in a scheme that "involved a high degree of sophistication and planning."

You might've read about the fake 'Inverted Jenny' stamp allegedly found on a Broward County ballot recently.

What a coincidence that Broward County electronic voting machines actually counted backwards in 2004!

And the long-time Sec. of State mouthpiece, Jenny Nash is tight with Diebold.

Lots of keywords shared, ay?
Perhaps to confuse people about what a "Backwards Jenny in Broward County" REALLY IS?

That 'fake-backwards-Broward stamp-voting' story spread just a few days before the NYTimes editorialized for the first time about the unreliability of e-voting and in a Florida race no less.

Many computer scientists have warned that software hacking is possible as long as there is software to hack.

And election fraud has been committed and covered up for ages.

You know about CIA control of media as Operation Mockingbird. So the CIA has been doing the national election reporting for decades, too. No doubt to maintain the post-National Security State fiction of a democracy run by its citizens.

The group previously known as the Voter News Service (VNS) run as a collaborative effort by the TV networks was revealed to be a sham, a front with no documentation or employees in a reluctant interview given by Bill Headline to Victoria Collier, the neice of two brothers who uncovered election fraud in Florida over thirty years ago.
Despite the wide-spread, and perfectly reasonable belief that the government counts the national vote on election night, the reality is entirely different: The vote is counted by a little-known private corporation named Voter News Services (VNS) located in New York City. VNS is a major media conglomerate comprised of all the major networks, including Fox and CNN, and also the wire services, the New York Times, and the Washington Post.

All of the vote results tabulated in each county, mainly by computer, are transferred to VNS where they are tabulated in secret and disseminated to the public, who accepts them without question. The computer tabulated votes at the county level leave no paper trail. Only the corporations who program the software to count votes in each state know for sure if the results are fair, or if fraud has indeed been committed. There are no checks and balances. The software is not open to public scrutiny. Neither is VNS.

Created in 1970 as News Election Services (NES), VNS has existed in near total secrecy for thirty years and may well be the most powerful corporation in the world. Most people who know of their existence incorrectly believe they are little more than a polling organization. The fact is that they have co-opted the vote count in America, despite their claims that the results they disseminate are "unofficial."

This is a long comment to say that you are right about how important voting is but electronic voting machines are a huge problem that must be outright eliminated.

4:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oops. I left out this excerpt from the article about FL Sec. of State spokesperson Jenny Nash's huggy-bear relationship with Diebold-
According to David Bear, spokesperson for Diebold Election Systems, Diebold receives approval percentages in the mid- to high- 90s for its e-voting machines. Bear and Jenny Nash, of the Florida Department of State, said the flexibility of touchscreens, where language, accessibility and various ballot options (for counties that have numerous ballot styles) are concerned, makes them attractive to elections officials.

In a nutshell, touchscreens are more convenient for voters. Nash added that "people in Florida are familiar and comfortable with them."

5:41 PM  
Blogger Real History Lisa said...

I think we need open source computers to print ballots, not to RECORD ballots. That's the key difference. Computers can definitely be a convenient way of marking a ballot.

In addition, I'm not opposed to a system that scans the paper ballots, SO LONG AS there is an adequate AUDIT of the paper ballots. Without a rigorous, open-to-the-public audit that includes both the horizontal and vertical methods, we can never be sure that a computer count is accurate.

Curiously, in the days before computers, people tallied ballots by hand more quickly than when the first computers were used, because the counts were tallied in small precincts by thousands of people. So maybe it's time to go back to that method of counting votes.

I will always be in favor of machines that mark ballots for people with disabilities - the danger is only when the ballot MARKING device becomes a vote RECORDING device. I hope that makes sense, as the distinction is very important.

6:42 PM  

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