This story has been developing for a while. Chuck Hagel headed a company that ran the voting systems used by a majority of Nebraskans. Through those very same machines in 1996 he won a stunning upset in the primaries and general elections. Here's more from an article reprinted in Common Dreams in early 2003 written by Thom Hartmann:
According to Bev Harris of www.blackboxvoting.com, Hagel won virtually every demographic group, including many largely Black communities that had never before voted Republican. Hagel was the first Republican in 24 years to win a Senate seat in Nebraska.
Six years later Hagel ran again, this time against Democrat Charlie Matulka in 2002, and won in a landslide. As his hagel.senate.gov website says, Hagel "was re-elected to his second term in the United States Senate on November 5, 2002 with 83% of the vote. That represents the biggest political victory in the history of Nebraska."
What Hagel's website fails to disclose is that about 80 percent of those votes were counted by computer-controlled voting machines put in place by the company affiliated with Hagel. Built by that company. Programmed by that company.
"This is a big story, bigger than Watergate ever was," said Hagel's Democratic opponent in the 2002 Senate race, Charlie Matulka (www.lancastercountydemocrats.org/matulka.htm). "They say Hagel shocked the world, but he didn't shock me."
Is Matulka the sore loser the Hagel campaign paints him as, or is he democracy's proverbial canary in the mineshaft?
In Georgia, Democratic incumbent and war-hero Max Cleland was defeated by Saxby Chambliss, who'd avoided service in Vietnam with a "medical deferment" but ran his campaign on the theme that he was more patriotic than Cleland. While many in Georgia expected a big win by Cleland, the computerized voting machines said that Chambliss had won.
The BBC summed up Georgia voters' reaction in a 6 November 2002 headline: "GEORGIA UPSET STUNS DEMOCRATS." The BBC echoed the confusion of many Georgia voters when they wrote, "Mr. Cleland - an army veteran who lost three limbs in a grenade explosion during the Vietnam War - had long been considered 'untouchable' on questions of defense and national security."
Charlie Matulka, who lost to Hagel, had this to say: "They can take over our country without firing a shot, just by taking over our election systems."
The Republicans were still getting the kinks out of their electronic voting theft scheme in 2002:
In the Houston area, two Republican U.S. representatives were declared winners in the last election until it was discovered that the results were caused by a "faulty" and Republican-friendly microchip. When the proper chip was installed in the computerized voting machine the correct results were revealed: two Democratic victories. [source]
Charlie Matulka elaborated in a Jan 30, 2003 interview: "I suspect they're getting ready to do this all across all the states. God help us if Bush gets his touch screens all across the country," he added, "because they leave no paper trail. These corporations are taking over America, and they just about have control of our voting machines."
Well, they're not all over the country yet--but they have been installed in at least two states with a higher number of electoral votes: Ohio and Florida.
On Jan 23, 2004 Paul Krugman wrote in the New York Times (reprinted here at Common Dreams):
The disputed election of 2000 left a lasting scar on the nation's psyche. A recent Zogby poll found that even in red states, which voted for George W. Bush, 32 percent of the public believes that the election was stolen. In blue states, the fraction is 44 percent.
Now imagine this: in November the candidate trailing in the polls wins an upset victory — but all of the districts where he does much better than expected use touch-screen voting machines. Meanwhile, leaked internal e-mail from the companies that make these machines suggests widespread error, and possibly fraud. What would this do to the nation?
Unfortunately, this story is completely plausible. [more]
Plausible? Paul Krugman is a frickin' precog.
[ . . . to be continued . . . ]