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Obama: Do Not Concede!

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Mark Crispin Miller said it: There are two types of people in the world; those who address election integrity issues, and the happy people.

I started down this path just over four years ago. Having traveled to Columbus, Ohio, to organize lawyers for the 2004 election, I witnessed not only the long lines but the less well known problems caused by such simple things as a lack of electrical power in a polling place (That's one of the reasons I'm opposed to any and all electronics at the poll.) We've since seen the evidence on Ohio from Bob Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman, authors of How the GOP Stole America's 2004 Election & Is Rigging 2008 and Richard Hayes Phillips, author of Witness to a Crime, which includes photos of 30,000 doctored ballots and poll books (This evidence was introduced to Congress by Rep. John Conyers.) I watched Dan Rather's special report, in which whistle blowers from Sequoia elections systems told how the company changed their paper standards prior to the 2000 election, solely so as to send unworkable ballots to heavily Democratic Palm Beach, Florida.

I learned that the "HAVA" laws introduced after the 2000 election debacle, ostensibly to fix things -- especially through electronic voting -- were substantially written by the disgraced Republican lobbyist and felon Jack Abramoff.

I became acquainted with Diebold's use of uncertified code in California, and their surreal claim that the memory cards used by their voting machines could not hold data, let alone an election-stealing software. I learned that some election activists were so outraged -- not only with the compromised elections, but at the refusal of officials to believe in or act on these problems -- that they ran for office and became elections officials themselves. Ion Sancho did just that in Florida, and he promptly invited computer hacker Harri Hursti to demonstrate that Diebold was lying (again), and that electronic elections could be flipped without a trace. For good measure, Princeton University weighed in with a very professional video, showing exactly how to game such machines; an addendum notes that a hacker could gain access with the same generic keys used for mini-bars. (BTW, Diebold now hides behind the name, "Premiere.")

I read RFK, Jr.'s front page Rolling Stone story, "Was the 2004 Election Stolen?," and the Harper's cover story, "None Dare Call it Stolen." I learned that programmer Clint Curtis turned whistle blower, testifying he had been asked to hack an election (Curtis ran for Congress against the man who hired him to steal an election, but got essentially no help from the Democratic Party.) I helped elect to higher office one of the few officials to seriously address these issues, California's Debra Bowen, who as a state senator had introduced legislation requiring paper "trails" for electronic touchscreen machines. I was aghast to see a judge negate that law -- in a mandated recount, he ignored the paper, and ordered that the computer results simply be run again. As a delegate to the California Democratic Party, I changed the party platform to reflect that the paper ballot should be the ballot of record, and added language calling on candidates not to concede until every vote was counted (Hardly an airtight position, when Republican officials and Republican-owned machines do the counting.) By the time Debra Bowen, as California Secretary of State, ordered a "top-to-bottom" review of all voting systems, I was unsurprised to see that every company and every system failed every test -- oh, except for ES&S, which had declined to submit to the review, with good reason: they had illegally changed their software since submitting it for escrow, and may now be barred from doing business in the state.

Above all, I re-watched the footage of the news anchors of election night, 2004, as many states stopped and then restarted their results: Numbers that had agreed with both the polls and the exit polls were now flipped, handing about 10 swing states to Bush. The explanation, swallowed by the telecasters, John Kerry and the Democratic Party, was that the exit polls must have been wrong (To watch this footage, download Stealing America: Vote by Vote. This documentary is reported to be under consideration for an Oscar nomination.)

In short, I learned that every nightmare I'd heard from election protection activists was true. The added nightmare is that the Democratic Party seems to consider election fraud the issue that dare not speak its name. It's been reported to me that some of the most senior Party leaders believe acknowledgment of election theft would only depress Democratic vote. I think that, as of 2008, the opposite is true: Too many ordinary Democrats are aware of the evidence, are terrified at the prospect of a third stolen and prematurely conceded presidential election, and are wondering why their Party isn't overtly addressing these stories and protecting their vote. This Saturday's New York Times featured a front-page article on concerns by Democratic voters that an Obama win could slip away; the explanation by the very first interviewee was, "We've had a couple of elections stolen already." So, dear Party, everyone knows the secret -- everyone but you. Maybe that voter had read some of the Times' dozens and dozens of editorials on our broken election system, such as the one from just over a year ago, in which they called for an outright ban on touch-screen voting.

Many have begged the Democratic Party to get religion on this issue, to no avail (Maybe we should have the Times' editorial staff run the Party's election activities?). I know that some senior figures have tried to convince Senator Obama about this, and have also, reportedly, come away disappointed. Certainly Obama's inaction after the New Hampshire primary does not bode well: In that election, those precincts using paper precisely agreed with the polls and the exit polls, while the 75% of the state voting on Diebold machines went to Hillary. The stark, inexplicable nature of that double-digit flip led candidate Dennis Kucinich to file a complaint, on behalf of Obama and election justice in general -- but the Senator declined to engage.

And so, I've asked Party members, investigators, authors and election activists to sign a letter to the Democratic presidential candidate and the leadership of the Party. At this stage, there's not much we can do about the now long-accomplished purging of voter registrations (over 19% in Colorado) and systemic "caging" (fooling) of voters, nor the electronic vote-flipping seen in five states during early voting (ask Oprah how well her machine worked last week). My concern is the absolute end-game, down at the 1-yard line, when the "results" are announced: What will Obama do, if push comes to shove? If results are announced by Republican officials, handing the election to McCain, will Obama concede "for the good of the country", or will he tough it out through the hundreds of lawsuits and perhaps months and months necessary to prove what was proven after the last two elections?

Know that we wouldn't be writing if we didn't want Obama -- and all Democrats -- to win, and my assumption is that we're going to see an electoral college landslide. If that is not the case, and if Republican-controlled states flip, inexplicably, by wide margins, as in 2004 (and as in New Hampshire, 2008,) I'd be OK with a constitutional crisis in which a president is not seated for a year or so (well, OK except for the fact that Bush would remain President.) Nothing would be worth the illegitimate seating of another Republican administration, and I happen to think it would be good for the entire country to learn what some learned in the years following the last election: That America's election system is a farce. Think this is radical? Hey, I'm not the one who botched and conceded the last two election end games -- an astonishing dereliction of duty by our Party and candidates, with consequences which will reverberate for centuries. That's radical.

We are collectively sending Obama into the ring, and we ask that he stay there until the whole job is done. That job may include proving how the election was run. We ask that he and the Democratic Party do not take the word of any Republican election official or the results from any Republican-owned election system (that's about 90% of the machines, by the way). We ask that Obama not concede until every avenue of suspicion, every possibility of systemic election fraud, has been investigated and resolved.

Do not concede.

Below is the letter to Obama, signed by Gore Vidal and numerous Party members, activists and investigators. You can sign this yourself, at

An Open Letter to Senator Obama and the Democratic Leadership:

On Election Night, DO NOT CONCEDE!

"Eight years is too much" is how Barack Obama explained why we must win the coming election and begin to restore America. But, even if we receive the most votes, will we win the election?

Both of the last two elections were conceded by the Democratic presidential candidate. The 2004 election was handed to George Bush while votes were still being counted in closely-fought Ohio. While the 2000 election was contested to the Supreme Court, it too was ultimately conceded to Bush "for the good of the country."

Some good.

Numerous politicians, investigators and authors, including Robert Kennedy, Jr., agree the 2004 election was stolen, not only in Ohio but in several other battleground states. Tactics included purging of legitimate voters and the use of nefarious voting software--but when even these actions did not yield the required numbers, Republican election officials simply changed the vote tallies in several states, all without a peep from the Democratic Party.

In the time since the last general election the public has learned much about these scandals, which have led some states to reject electronic touchscreen voting (and which caused the infamous Diebold voting machines corporation to hide behind a new corporate name,) yet the Democratic Party seems to have learned nothing.

If we cannot afford another Republican administration, we cannot afford a third concession in the face of election fraud. Already there is evidence of massive fraud such as voter purging and caging of Democratic voters, and "flipping" of votes in early voting on electronic touchscreen machines. It is reasonable to once again expect further manipulation on election night by some Republican operatives and election officials, as was seen in 2004; should we also expect our Democratic Party leaders and candidates to repeat history, by once again conceding in the face of such blatant fraud?

Senator Obama, we need you, our Party and all candidates to stand firm, come what may on election night. You ask us to work for you, contribute to you--and to have your back; we ask that you promise to have our back: We ask that you PLEDGE TO STAND FIRM, AND NOT CONCEDE THE COMING ELECTION in the face of election irregularities, no matter how long it takes to contest such fraud, while there remains any doubt as to any part of the process. Be assured, Democratic voters will be more--not less--energized if we see you promise to stand firm.

Senator Obama, if there is any reason to contest the election,


Signed: (Titles for identification purposes only)

To add your name, register, log in, and sign the petition. [These steps are necessary to prevent spam machines from signing the petition.]

Gore Vidal

Bob Fitrakis,
Professor of Political Science, Columbus State Community College
Attorney; Editor of The Free Press (

Harvey Wasserman
Senior Editor,, Author of SOLARTOPIA! Our Green-Powered Earth

Mark Crispin Miller,
Professor of Media, Culture and Communication at New York University
Author of Fooled Again, How the Right Stole the 2004 Election

Tim Carpenter
Director, Progressive Democrats of America

Mimi Kennedy,
Chair, National Advisory Board, Progressive Democrats of America

David Swanson,
Co-Founder, After Downing Street

Eric Bauman
Chair, Los Angeles County Democratic Party

Garry S. Shay
Member, Democratic National Committee (CA)
Lead Chair, Rules Committee, California Democratic Party

Jo Olson, MD
Co-Chair, Progressive Caucus, California Democratic Party

Mal Burnstein
Co-Chair, Progressive Caucus, California Democratic Party

Medea Benjamin
Co-founder, Global Exchange and CODEPINK

Jodie Evans,
Co-founder, CODEPINK: Women for Peace

Marcy Winograd,
Executive Board representative, California Democratic Party, 41st AD
Former Chair, Progressive Democrats of Los Angeles

David Earnhardt
Filmmaker, "Uncounted: The New Math of American Elections"

Dorothy Fadiman
Filmmaker/Producer, "STEALING AMERICA: Vote by Vote"

Don Goldmacher,
Chair, Election Integrity, Progressive Caucus, California Democratic Party

Michael Jay,
Progressive Democrats of America, Special Projects
Former Delegate, California Democratic Party, 42nd AD

Sheri Myers,
Director, "Wake Up and Save Your Country"

Robert A. Feuer
Former Chairman, Stockbridge, MA Town Democratic Committee

Thomas Patrick O'Shaughnessy
Region 3 Vice Chair, Los Angeles County Democratic Party
Chair, Irish American Caucus, California Democratic Party

Howard Jennings
PDA-Virginia, State Co-Coordinator

Sarah Stott
Chapter Chair, PDA-Virginia

Lisa Pease
Co-editor, "The Assassinations: Probe Magazine on JFK, MLK, RFK and Malcolm X"

Cindy Asner
Former Delegate, California Democratic Party
Member, National Advisory Board, Progressive Democrats of America

Julie Lopez Dad
President, Santa Monica Democratic Club
Chair, 41st AD Committee, Los Angeles County Democratic Party

Dr. Bill Honigman
PDA California State Coordinator and Orange County Chapter Leader
Delegate, California Democratic Party, 73rd AD

Linda Milazzo
Senior Editor,
Blogger, Huffington Post

Rady Ananda
Senior Editor,

Jan Baumgartner
Managing Editor,

Cheryl Biren-Wright
Managing Editor,

Joan Brunwasser
Election Integrity Editor,

Sherry Healy
Co-Founder California Election Protection Network
Coordinator, Election Defense Alliance

Laura Bonham
Summit County, UT Democratic Party Chairperson

Evi Klett
PDA co- state Organizer for Colorado

Jeff Tiedrich

Susie Shannon
Executive Board representative, California Democratic Party, 42nd AD
Founder, Poverty Matters

Karen Bernal
Executive Board representative, California Democratic Party, 5th AD
Officer, Progressive Caucus, California Democratic Party

Albert E. Fairchild
Retired Foreign Service Officer

Dorathea Peters
Precinct Captain, Alexandria, VA Democratic Committee

Lori Price,
Managing Editor, Citizens For Legitimate Government

Garda Ghista,
President, World Prout Assembly

Kevin Zeese,
Executive Director, True Vote (www.TrueVote.US)

Nick Mottern,
Director, Consumers for