VOTER SUPPRESSION ARTICLE 5
5. t r u t h o u t | Conyers Hearings on Ohio Vote Fraud Coverage
By William Rivers Pitt
Tuesday 07 December 2004
So here I am again, on Embassy Row in Washington DC. It is a murky night in the capitol city, but is thankfully about 15 degrees warmer than the city I left to get here.
There is a lot to talk about, and I do not want to take up an enormous amount of space doing it, so here goes:
The Conyers hearing begins tomorrow at 10:00am. C-SPAN coverage has been confirmed, along with a Pacifica Radio broadcast of the events. I have also been told that NBC and MSNBC will have cameras there, but I will believe that when I see it. Between all those folks and little ol' me, we should be able to achieve total coverage of the whole thing.
Why are we here? The answer to that can be found in the letter written by Rep. Conyers to Ohio Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell about voting irregularities and potential fraud in the November election a month ago. The letter was meant to be part notification, part description, and part invitation, though at this point I have not heard anything about Blackwell's intention to attend. If you have not read his letter yet, do so now.
The hearing will involve:
Rep. John Conyers, Jr., Rep. Jerrold Nadler, Rep. Robert Scott, Rep. Melvin Watt, Rep. Linda Sanchez, and Robert Wexler. Witnesses will include Rev. Jesse Jackson, Founder Rainbow Push Coalition; Ralph Neas, President, People For the American Way; Prof. Robert Fitrakis, Editor, The Free Press; Cliff Arnebeck, Arnebeck Associates; Steve Rosenfeld, Senior Producer, Air America Radio; David Cobb, Green Party Nominee 2004 Presidential Candidate; Jon Greenbaum, Director, Voting Rights Project, Lawyers Committee For Civil Rights Under Law; Ellie Smeal, Executive Director, The Feminist Majority; John Bonifaz, General Counsel, National Voting Institute; Prof. Steve Freeman, University of Pennsylvania; and Shawnta Walcott, Communications Director, Zogby International.
Perhaps most importantly, Conyers is looking for you to send his office questions about this issue. If you have any questions for his hearing, submit them using this form. The folks at DemocraticUnderground.com have already gotten a head start.
A series of revelations have come out in the last few days, none more interesting than the affidavit sworn by a man named Clint Curtis. According to BradBlog, which first broke the story:
Curtis, in his affidavit, says that as technical advisor and programmer at Yang Enterprises, Inc. (YEI) he was present at company meetings where Feeney was present "on at least a dozen occasions". Feeney, who had run in 1994 as Jeb Bush's running-mate in his initial unsuccessful bid for Florida Governor, was serving as both corporate counsel and registered lobbyist for YEI during the period that Curtis worked at the company. Feeney was also concurrently serving as a Florida state congressman while performing those services for YEI. Feeney would eventually become Speaker of the Florida House before being elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2002. He is now a member of the U.S. House Judiciary Committee.
At an October 2000 meeting with Feeney, according to the affidavit and BRAD BLOG interviews with Curtis over the past three days, Feeney inquired whether the company could build a "vote fraud software prototype". At least three YEI employees are said to have been present at that meeting; Curtis, company owner, Mrs. Li Woan Yang, and her executive secretary, Mike Cohen. Two other YEI employees may have come in and out at different points of the meeting according to Curtis.
Curtis says that Feeney "was very specific in the design and specifications required for this program. "He detailed, in his own words, that; (a) the program needed to be touch-screen capable (b) the user should be able to trigger the program without any additional equipment (c) the programming to accomplish this needed to stay hidden even if the source code was inspected.""
There are a number of people, including Bev Harris of BlackBoxVoting.org, who smell a rat with this story. I spoke to Mr. Curtis on the phone yesterday, and he seemed a normal human. I will be meeting him tomorrow at the hearing, and will then decide the matter for myself. When I know more, so will you.
See you in the morning.
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