Category Archives: Vote Fraud

Spanish Company Will “Count” American Votes Overseas In November | Apr 10, 2012

By Doug Book

When the Spanish online voting company SKYTL bought the largest vote processing corporation in the United States, it also acquired the means of manufacturing the outcome of the 2012 election. For SOE, the Tampa based corporation purchased by SKYTL in January, supplies the election software which records, counts, and reports the votes of Americans in 26 states–900 total jurisdictions–across the nation.

As the largest election results reporting company in the US, SOE provides reports right down to the precinct level. But before going anywhere else, those election returns are routed to individual, company servers where the people who run them “…get ‘first look’ at results and the ability to immediately and privately examine vote details throughout the USA.”   In short, “this redirects results …to a centralized privately held server which is not just for Ohio, but national; not just USA-based, but global.”

And although the votes will be cast in hometown, American precincts on Election Day, with the Barcelona-based SKYTL taking charge of the process, they will be routed and counted overseas.

SKYTL itself is a leader in internet voting technology and in 2010 was involved in modernizing election systems for the midterm election in 14 American states.

But although SKYTL’s self-proclaimed reputation for security had won the company the Congressionally approved task of handling internet voting for American citizens and members of the military overseas, upon opening the system for use in the District of Columbia, the University of Michigan fight song “The Victors” was suddenly heard after the casting of each ballot. The system had been hacked by U of M computer teachers and students in response to a challenge by SKYTL that anyone who wished to do so, might try!

Nevertheless, in spite of warnings by experts across the nation, American soldiers overseas will once again vote via the internet in 2012. And because SKYTL will control the method of voting and—thanks to the purchase of SOE–the method of counting the votes as well, there “…will be no ballots, no physical evidence, no way for the public to authenticate who actually cast the votes…or the count.”

The American advocacy group Project Vote has concluded that SKYTL’s internet voting system is vulnerable to attack from the outside AND the inside, a situation which could result in “…an election that does not accurately reflect the will of the voters…” Talk about having a flair for understatement!

It has also been claimed that SKYTL CEO Pere Valles is a socialist who donated heavily to the 2008 Obama campaign and lived in Chicago during Obama’s time as Illinois State Senator. Unfortunately, given what is known about the character of Barack Obama, such rumors must be taken as serious threats to the integrity of the 2012 vote and the legitimate outcome of the election.

Though much has been written about the threat of nationwide voting by illegals in November, it is still true that most election fraud is an “inside” job. And there now exists a purely electronic voting service which uses no physical ballots to which an electronic count can be matched should questions arise. Add to this the fact that the same company will have “first count” on all votes made in 14 US states and hundreds of jurisdictions in 12 others, and the stage is set for election fraud on a scale unimaginable just a decade ago.

Perhaps Obama had reason for supreme confidence when he said “after my election” rather than “in case of” to Russian President Medvedev a week ago.

Mysterious change to voting tallies boosted Putin at St Petersburg polling station

19. Vladimir Zhirinovsky: 53 changed to 22; 20. Gennady Zyuganov: 176 changed to 83; 21. Sergei Mironov: unchanged at 56 22. Mikhail Prokhorov: 226 changed to 32; 23. Putin: 466 changed to 780

How a mysterious change to voting tallies boosted Putin at St Petersburg polling station: a citizen observer reports

Election monitors across Russia reported alleged vote fixing in the presidential poll. Irina Levinskaya, a St Petersburg historian, gives her eye-witness account of how she saw it happen.

Telegraph | Mar 10, 2012

By Irina Levinskaya

After Russia’s parliamentary elections in December, it was impossible for anyone in my country not to know that there had been electoral fraud on a massive scale. But I am a historian and obsessed with verifying information for myself.

For that reason I joined the more than 3,000 citizens in St Petersburg who committed themselves to monitoring last week’s presidential election.

In training sessions, lawyers explained the kinds of irregularities that might occur and how to avert – or at least to record – them. They lectured us on the relevant laws and regulations. They told us how to prevent ballot stuffing and how to detect “carousel voting”, when people vote more than once.

“But remember,” they warned on several occasions. “The members of the electoral commission are not your enemies: think positively about them and don’t forget the presumption of innocence.”

I was allocated to Polling Station No. 1015 on Moskovsky Avenue in the south of St Petersburg. It was in a special school for excluded children and the head of the election commission was a social-worker-cum-teacher at the school.

Natalya Dmitriyeva was a kindly-looking, smiling woman in her mid-fifties: the sort of person you’d imagine to be perfect for rehabilitating our city’s excluded youth.

Such teachers, according to the school’s website, “prevent youth crime and teach individual responsibility and freedom”.

I arrived at 7.30am on March 4. In all, we were 11 observers from all walks of life and of all ages, including three young women students. We stayed at the polling station all day and well into the evening, when the votes for the five presidential candidates were counted.

At 10.30pm, the final count was made. The results astonished me: Putin had come first but with only 466 votes – 47.7 per cent of the vote. Second was the billionare Mikhail Prokhorov with an unexpected 226 votes (23.1 per cent ). Gennady Zyuganov, the leader of the Communist Party, received 176 votes (18 per cent) and came third in this particular district.

Since most of the voters had been of the Soviet generation, I had assumed that the old habit of dutifully voting for the leaders (combined with aggressive pro-Putin television propaganda during the last few months and coercion in many state institutions) would have given a clear majority to Putin, with Zyuganov in second place.

Ms Dmitriyeva, the senior official, wrote up the results on the wall in large figures, as required by law. I took a photograph of the document. Now, all that remained was for her to make copies for each of us. This was so that the figures could not be falsified at a higher level, as had happened during the parliamentary elections.

Our job seemed to be over. We had spent more than 15 hours at Polling Station 1015. During that time, we had not seen a single irregularity. We were very pleased with how things had gone. Everything had been carried out in strict accordance with the law.

By now it was nearing midnight. Ms Dmitriyeva went off to copy the official documents. And this was when things began to go wrong. Exhausted after a long and tense day, it didn’t occur to us to go with her. Our vigilance slipped.

The sweet, smiling, kindly-looking teacher went off and didn’t come back. We waited and waited. I went to look for her but she had vanished. Now, I remembered with horror what we’d been warned of by our lawyers: “Don’t let the head of the commission out of your sight at the final stage.”

It was some time before another member of the commission appeared (we never saw Ms Dmitriyeva again) with a sheaf of papers in his hand. “You wanted copies of the official results? Here they are.”

“Thank goodness!” I thought. I grabbed a copy of the document, checked that all formalities had been complied with – the official stamp, signature in the right place and so on – then unfolded it.

I couldn’t believe what I saw: Putin – 780 votes (80.2 per cent); Zyuganov 83 votes (8.5 per cent); and Prokhorov 32 votes (3.3 per cent). I was horrified.

I’ll never forget the shock on the faces of the three young students: someone, though we could not know who, had falsified the ballot.

The member of the commission who had handed us the falsified papers was still in the building and so we waited at the exit to confront him. But he appeared to have taken precautions and phoned for support.

Suddenly, a Nissan Pathfinder drew up and three thick-set, young men with shaven heads leapt out. Pushing us forcefully aside, they escorted the commission member to the car and drove off.

I wrote down the number-plate and later established it was from a series used for official cars carrying government employees with the right to state security.

Next day we learned that the same car, and the same men, had been seen at other polling stations, either throwing out observers or escorting election officials.

Of course, this will not be the end of it. Immediately, we went to the constituency level election commission but its chairman had also vanished.

The following day, we filed a complaint and next week we will hand a witness statement, with all our documentary evidence, to the prosecutor’s office – along with hundreds of others from the St Petersburg district.

I am not confident of success, however: I have years of experience, not only of Putin’s Russia but also of our former Soviet paradise. The difference between them is growing harder and harder to determine.

Dr Irina Levinskaya is a senior fellow of St Petersburg Institute of History of the Russian Academy of Sciences and a Visiting Fellow at Cambridge University’s Centre for Advanced Theological Research

Russian election watchdog ‘silenced by the state’ three days before parliamentary polls

Daily Mail | Dec 2, 2011

By Emma Reynolds


'Hampered': Gregory Melkonyants, leading activist of election watchdog Golos, was in a court accused of violating election law today

Russia’s chief election watchdog has been ‘silenced by the state’ three days before the Parliamentary polls, according to the group.

Moscow city prosecutors said they had received complaints from lawmakers over Golos’s foreign financing and calls for it to stop monitoring votes.

The news comes after Vladmir Putin said in a speech a week ago that foreigners were funding his political opponents – in what commentators said sounded much like the anti-Western rhetoric of his eight-year presidency from 2000.

Prime minister Mr Putin is expected to easily regain the position in March, but opinion polls have shown that his dominance could be damaged in the lower house by Sunday’s vote.

Newspapers such as The Guardian warned yesterday that Mr Putin’s reincarnation as all-powerful president, potentially until 2024, poses a challenge to western powers for which they seem ill-prepared.

He has one overriding objective, said the newspaper – the creation of a third, post-tsarist, post-Soviet Russian empire.

Employees at election watchdog Golos said it had been served with a ‘speedy’ court order to hear its case on Friday.

It came as president Dmitry Medvedev and Mr Putin pledged public sector pay rises in a late attempt to gain extra votes.

‘This a premeditated campaign, which started with attacks in the press, but is now making use of law enforcement agencies,’ said Grigory Melkonyants, the deputy head of Golos.

‘We are certain this is only the first summons and there will be other investigations, especially targeted at hampering us from observing (the vote) on December 4.’

The non-profit organisation – whose name means voice in English – is open about the fact its funding comes entirely from Europe and the U.S. and claims that helps it to be objective.

Golos has been running since 200, and provides a hotline and interactive map where viewers can see campaign violations on the site

Mr Melkonyants read from documents in which prosecutors warn the organisation about breaking election laws by spreading ‘falsifications and rumours’.

More than 3,000 alleged campaign violations were detailed on Golos’s website, many of them including videos which have embarrassed members of Mr Putin’s United Russia party.

One popular clip showed a top official in the western Urals city of Izhevsk telling veterans they would get money if they voted for United Russia.

It led to a rare punishment from authorities, and the employee was found guilty by a Russian court and fined.

Mr Melkonyants claimed the trouble began when reporters from the Kremlin-friendly TV station NTV barged into Golos’s offices last weekend, shouting and asking questions about the watchdog’s financing.

On Wednesday, online news portal removed a link to Golos’s website. One of its deputy editors, Roman Badanin, resigned over what he called the ‘amoral’ decision.

Tanya Lokshina, of the Moscow branch of New York-based Human Rights Watch, said the incidents were part of a smear campaign directed at ‘getting rid of the organisation altogether.’

‘They are trying to shut it up because Golos is the only large-scale, serious organisation that is exposing election violations,’ she said.

Prosecutors could not immediately be reached for comment.

Russian soldiers will be woken with ‘pleasant music’ on Sunday before they go to vote, and will be encouraged to watch state television, reported the Daily Telegraph.

United Russia is said to be counting on the military vote as its majority looks likely to be cut.

Staff from the defence ministry have visited barracks across the country and advised officers to give soldiers a ‘celebratory breakfast’ before the polls, according to Izvestia newspaper.

Chavez, like Castro, has his brother ready for the position of next President

Adán Chávez, left, the older brother of the ailing President Hugo Chávez, right, has stepped in to fill the void. Thomas Coex/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Adán Chávez, a physicist whose radical thinking has often been to the left of the president’s.

NY Times | Jun 28, 2011


CARACAS, Venezuela — To the many comparisons that can been made between Venezuela and Cuba — two close allies, both infused with revolutionary zeal, driven by movements that revere their leaders — consider one more: the presidential brother, stepping in during a time of illness.

As President Hugo Chávez quietly recovers in Cuba after undergoing emergency surgery there more than two weeks ago, no government figure has occupied the political void created by his absence more assertively than his older brother, Adán Chávez, a physicist whose radical thinking has often been to the left of the president’s.

He serves a role similar to that of Raúl Castro, who took over as Cuba’s president after illness removed Fidel Castro from the political scene in 2006. And like Raúl Castro, while Adán Chávez may lack his brother’s charisma, he remains a loyalist who has assisted his brother throughout the consolidation of power.

A former Venezuelan ambassador to Cuba and long a member of Hugo Chávez’s inner circle of advisers, Adán Chávez has taken on the role of providing public updates on his brother’s convalescence, shuttling between Caracas and Havana in recent weeks. It was his disclosure last Wednesday that the president would not return to Venezuela for another 10 to 12 days that offered the most serious assessment yet of the president’s slow recovery.

Adán Chávez, 58, now governor of Barinas, a state of cattle ranches in western Venezuela that is a bastion of the Chávez family, has also led efforts to reassure and energize the president’s supporters as rumors swirl about his condition. Citing Che Guevara at a prayer meeting in Barinas over the weekend, he rallied the president’s followers and called on them to remember the armed struggle as a method of “applying and developing the revolutionary program.”

“It would be unforgivable to limit ourselves to only electoral or other methods of struggle,” said Adán Chávez, a former university professor involved in political activity long before his brother, who is less than two years his junior, formed a nationalist cell of young army officers in the late 1970s.

The prominence of Adán Chávez reflects his brother’s dominance of Venezuelan politics since he was first elected president in 1998. Over the years, Hugo Chávez has consistently winnowed other top advisers and potential rivals who rose from his own political movement. Some who remain, like Vice President Elías Jaua, a former director of land expropriations, exhibit total loyalty. (Last week, Mr. Jaua read verbatim on state television the handful of Twitter messages Hugo Chávez wrote to followers.)

Still, no one in the government, including Adán Chávez, has displayed the president’s visceral ability to connect with poor Venezuelans. That may not have mattered too much in Cuba, where the Communist Party holds unrivaled authority over the nation’s political system. But if Hugo Chávez is unable to quickly return to power in Venezuela, it remains to be seen how effectively his brother can hold off the spirited, if divided, opposition here and build support in a governing movement so centered around the president himself.

Adán Chávez did not respond to interview requests. But biographers of Hugo Chávez attribute the president’s political evolution, if not his bruising political style, in part to Adán’s influence and ties in the 1970s with guerrilla leaders like Douglas Bravo, who advocated using Venezuela’s petroleum reserves as a tool for radical change.

While Hugo Chávez grew close to Mr. Bravo and then broke with him, as he has done repeatedly with other mentors, the president still incorporated such thinking into his own ideology, using oil revenues as the driving force in his socialist-inspired revolution.

Now, Mr. Bravo, 79, who is a critic of what he describes as Venezuela’s new dependence on countries like China and Russia, said Adán Chávez was clearly “in the line of succession.” Referring to Adán’s statement about using arms to defend his brother’s revolution, Mr. Bravo noted that neither the vice president nor any other prominent pro-Chávez political leader had said anything so provocative.

“He must be receiving orientation from his brother to say such a thing, because I don’t think he would make such a declaration on his own,” said Mr. Bravo, who has known both men for decades.

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Some tout Jeb Bush as GOP savior in 2012

Jeb Bush with fellow Knights of Columbus Jim Geuin, Bob McGivern, Bill Stoye, Dave Busch, Dean Bunton and George Englemark of Assembly 0170  in Aug 2007 attending the “Red Mass” in Tallahassee (photo:

UPI | Feb 13, 2011

WASHINGTON, Feb. 13 (UPI) — Some Republican activists unexcited by their presidential field are clamoring for a familiar name: Jeb Bush.

The former Florida governor and son and brother of presidents has said repeatedly he will not run in 2012, although he has not ruled out later elections.

Still, some hope he can be convinced, the St. Petersburg (Fla.) Times reports.

“None of the candidates talking about running now really stands out, but Jeb Bush would be really strong,” said Adam Hubler of Virginia, one of the activists attending the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington last week.

“There’s no question Jeb Bush is one of, if not the, most popular Republican in the country, but the fact is he’s not running,” said Ron Kaufman, a strategist who helped President George H.W. Bush get elected in 1988.

The presumptive GOP front-runner, Mitt Romney, is saddled with a label of flip-flopper and a healthcare reform program in Massachusetts that closely resembles “Obamacare.”

Bush has been active giving speeches on education reform and consulting.

Critics alarmed as Iraq’s authoritarian al-Maliki centralizes power in “coup”

U.S. President Barack Obama (R) and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki meet in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington on October 20, 2009. UPI/Aude Guerrucci/Pool

Reuters | Jan 23, 2011

By Ahmed Rasheed

BAGHDAD (Reuters) – Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki has won a court ruling placing independent bodies like the central bank and the electoral agency under the cabinet, a centralization of power that critics are calling a “coup.”

Maliki’s government made the request to the supreme court in December before he was reappointed later that month to a second term, and the court ruling in his favor came through last Tuesday, generating little controversy at first.

The independent agencies affected are supposed to be monitored by parliament according to the constitution, hastily drawn up in the chaotic aftermath of the 2003 U.S.-led invasion.

Maliki argued that where the language describing parliament’s monitoring powers over the agencies was ambiguous, the bodies should be attached to the cabinet. The court agreed.

The main agencies affected are the Central Bank of Iraq, the Independent Higher Electoral Commission, anti-corruption watchdog the Integrity Commission and the High Commission for Human Rights.

“The court views that the term ‘monitoring by’ is not clear enough to place these under parliament’s authority, therefore they should be attached to the cabinet,” the ruling said.

The decision alarmed critics who view with suspicion glimpses of authoritarian leanings in some of Maliki’s actions.

The democracy bestowed on Iraq by U.S. administrators after Sunni dictator Saddam Hussein was ousted is fragile and unique in a region accustomed to strongmen and presidents for life. Its future is murky as U.S. forces prepare to withdraw this year.

“We consider the request of Nuri al-Maliki to the court to be a coup against the constitution that puts Iraq’s democracy on the line,” said Haider al-Mulla, a member of parliament and spokesman for the Sunni-backed Iraqiya bloc.


Iraqiya, led by ex-premier Iyad Allawi, won the most seats in an election last March but was unable to muster the majority needed to form a government. It ended up a junior partner in the new government formed by Maliki, a Shi’ite.

Legal experts and analysts decried the supreme court decision, which a judicial spokesman said could not be appealed.

“Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki is seeking more powers to control his government. He wants to have a strong government,” said a prominent lawyer, Tariq Harb.

Amman-based researcher Yahya al-Kubaisy of the Iraqi Center For Strategic Studies called it an “unforgiveable mistake.”

“It’s a clear bid by Maliki to monopolize powers,” he said.

The cabinet groups more than 40 ministerial positions from various political parties, not all allied to Maliki, following torturous horsetrading over nine months to form the government.

Some officials supported the court ruling, saying ambiguity over parliament’s powers of supervision had allowed some of the independent agencies to be hijacked by political interests.

Deputy Central Bank Governor Ahmed al-Buraihi said the decision should have been made a long time back and would not affect the bank’s daily operations.

“Aren’t central bank decisions of importance to the cabinet? Shouldn’t the cabinet care about an institution that manages $60 billion and which manages its overseas funds?” he said.

Maliki media adviser Ali al-Moussawi said the criticism was an attempt to cast the government in a bad light and undermine its efforts to be strong. Maliki has said a strong government is needed to fight a weakened but still deadly insurgency.

“There was a flaw and conflict between the work of these independent commissions and the work of the executive authority … the government sought to solve this issue through legal channels,” Moussawi said.

Bhutto report outlines unchecked power of elite Pakistani military officers and ISI intelligence agents

The report stated in black and white what Pakistanis sometimes have to whisper: that a nexus of elites, known as the establishment, whose core is formed by top military and intelligence officers but also includes politicians and bureaucrats, has busied itself with everything from rigging elections to making deals with militants.

U.N.’s Bhutto Report Says What Pakistanis Already Know About Spy Agency and Army

NY Times | April 16, 2010


ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — The long-awaited United Nations report on the assassination of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto did not answer the central question of who killed her, but did put its finger directly on what remains the most troubling part of Pakistan’s reality, the dominance of its military and intelligence services over civilian leaders.

A presidential spokesman said Friday that the report — 65 pages that made repeated references to the unchecked power of the military and its intelligence wing, known by the initials ISI — would reinvigorate the government’s own investigation that began last year. But in many ways it served to underscore the government’s inability to push it forward nearly three years after Ms. Bhutto’s death, even though her widower, Asif Ali Zardari, is now president.

The report stated in black and white what Pakistanis sometimes have to whisper: that a nexus of elites, known as the establishment, whose core is formed by top military and intelligence officers but also includes politicians and bureaucrats, has busied itself with everything from rigging elections to making deals with militants. Ms. Bhutto’s father, a flawed but charismatic leader, is broadly believed to have been executed because he was too threatening to its interests.

Some in Pakistan expressed delight at the findings, saying the exposure would force an uncomfortable conversation in Pakistan, where a rambunctious, young media broadcasts around the clock.

“This is going to upset the establishment,” said Kamran Shafi, a columnist for Dawn, a daily newspaper. “I hope very much it reacts in not a very good way. It needs to be exposed.”

Others disagreed, saying it would have little effect. The coverage on Friday was more notable for what it left out than for what it said, said Khaled Ahmed, an author and columnist for the Friday Times, a weekly newspaper. There were few references to the most scathing part of the report about the military’s role.

“The report is quite damning, but the way it’s presented on TV is inconclusive,” Mr. Ahmed said. “We don’t know who did it. That’s the kind of impression that will be created here.” He added: “Very clearly there’s a reluctance to point to the army. This is what everybody has ignored.”

The reason, he said, is part psychology and part national identity. Pakistan’s army has long represented the central and most crucial part of this country’s idea of itself, a symbol of protection against Pakistan’s mortal foe, India. That narrative is taught in textbooks and reinforced in society, and going against it is like attacking yourself. “The army has a geopolitical mind that is unchanging, and that’s what people love,” Mr. Ahmed said.

Pakistan is not the only country like this. In Turkey, the military exerted extensive control over civilian affairs for decades, deposing elected governments, working behind the scenes to foment unrest, and even executing a civilian prime minister.

But in Pakistan the influence is more overt, and the report points it out in painstaking detail in the example of the police investigation of Ms. Bhutto’s killing. The intelligence agency was portrayed as having been the invisible hand guiding the police.

The small bit of police work the report commended — a team of investigators’ searching through sewers after the assassination site had been prematurely hosed down — stopped abruptly when a senior officer, Gen. Abdul Majeed, took over and began to base the inquiry on information he had received from the intelligence agency.

The agency has no jurisdiction in the criminal justice system, and civilian police officers often complain that intelligence officials destroy their efforts to build a case simply by plucking suspects out of their custody into a black zone. The report said that members of the investigation team it spoke with “all but admitted that virtually all of their most important information” came from the intelligence agency.

The attack’s aftermath was a series of stunning failures. Ms. Bhutto’s chase vehicle, a bulletproof Mercedes, drove off, leaving her alone without backup or any police protection. Her car, whose tires were flat from the blast, stalled en route to the hospital, leaving her stranded by the side of the road, a development the report found “extraordinary.” A private vehicle that belonged to an acquaintance later arrived.

It cataloged inconsistencies. The government of Pervez Musharraf, the president at the time, announced at a national news conference that she had died from hitting her head on the lever of her car’s escape hatch. But one police team that the report’s investigators trusted found no blood or tissue on the handle. Police team members reported seeing people cleaning the vehicle, even though investigations were still going on.

Then there was outright prevarication. Scotland Yard investigators, who also conducted an investigation at the time, based much of their findings on information from the police, the report said. But the report said that the United Nations commission found “the accounts the Rawalpindi police provided to Scotland Yard to be largely untrue.”

Dictator’s son wins election

Current Togo President Faure Gnassingbe, center waves to supporters as he exits a polling station after casting his vote for president, in Lome, Togo Thursday, March 4, 2010. Polls were open Thursday in the African nation of Togo, as the son of a long-ruling dictator seeks re-election to the presidency, facing six opposition candidates. (AP Photo/Sunday Alamba)

Opposition leader Jean-Pierre Fabre accused the ruling party of rigging the election.

Pro-Gnassingbe soldiers openly intimidated voters at polling stations and in several instances opened fire with live ammunition before stealing the ballot box.

Dictator’s son winner of Togo election

AP | Mar 6, 2010


LOME, Togo — Togo’s election commission on Saturday declared the son of the country’s late dictator winner of the presidential race, extending the family’s rule into a fifth decade in a deep blow to Togo’s opposition, which vowed to take to the streets in protest.

Provisional results indicate President Faure Gnassingbe won 1.2 million votes, representing 60.9 percent of the roughly 2 million votes cast in the tiny country, said Issifou Tabiou, the head of the election body.

Opposition leader Jean-Pierre Fabre, who had earlier accused the ruling party of rigging the election, received 692,584 votes, or 33.9 percent.

As it became clear that the opposition had lost and Gnassingbe would get a second term, Fabre led a group of around 200 protesters to a downtown square where they were pushed back by anti-riot police who fired tear gas, said witnesses and a police spokesman.

The contentious election is only the second since the death of Eyadema Gnassingbe, who grabbed power in a 1967 coup and ruled for 43 years, only for his son to seize power upon the dictator’s death in 2005. The younger Gnassinge went on to win elections that same year that were widely viewed as rigged.

Pro-Gnassingbe soldiers openly intimidated voters at polling stations and in several instances opened fire with live ammunition before stealing the ballot box, according to a report by Amnesty International.

Although the opposition has claimed that this election was rigged, international observers said earlier they have not seen overt evidence of fraud. But they say there is evidence that the ruling party tried to buy off voters.

During campaign rallies, opposition supporters chanted “We were not paid to be here” — a jab at Gnassingbe who they accuse of handing out cash and bags of rice to supporters.

Election monitors from the European Union’s observation mission were present in at least four different regions of the country when members of the ruling party handed out rice at a cost three to four times less than at the market, according to the mission’s preliminary report released Saturday. The cheaper rice has been nicknamed “Faure Rice.”

The district by district results indicated that turnout was in the 70 to 80 percent in the north of the country, where Eyadema Gnassingbe was born and which has traditionally voted for the ruling party. By contrast, voter turnout was woefully low in the south and in the capital, which is the opposition’s stronghold.

Jean-Claude Homawoo, the vice president of the election commission who is a member of the top opposition party, said that voters are so used to elections being rigged in Togo that they gave up hope just when their vote may have counted.

“It’s the effect of successive failure. So many times we went and voted in elections we knew we had won, only for the opposite result to be declared. So people have become tired. They don’t believe their vote counts anymore.”

Gnassingbe’s spokesman Pascal Bodjona waved off claims that the ruling party had tried to buy the vote, saying that people who favor Gnassingbe’s policies had donated bags of rice, campaign T-shirts and other goods that were later distributed. He called the opposition “bad losers.”

The election commission reached an impasse on the day of the vote Thursday after the opposition, backed by international observers, demanded that votes be sent from individual polling stations by a satellite-based system believed to be tamperproof.

A tense standoff ensued, but even once they had agreed to use the satellite system and the results began trickling in from across the small West African nation, several of the machines broke.

Tabiou, head of the election commission, called on the directors of the country’s 35 voting districts to travel to the capital with the physical proof of the votes cast in their regions.

From morning until late at night on Saturday, the commissioners sat around a large table in a conference room as the representatives of each district presented their results. In the early afternoon, two opposition-allied commissioners stormed out of the room, slamming the door behind them.

“I would have like to be able to say that, I, Jean-Claude Codjo, election commissioner, agree that this election is free and fair,” he said. “But we are only being allowed to see a synthesis. I have no way of knowing if these numbers that are being read out are real. I say ‘no.’ I cannot accept this,” said Codjo as he left the parking lot.

The satellite-system would have allowed the results from each of roughly 5,900 polling stations to be sent directly to the election commission’s headquarters in Lome. By contrast each of the 35 districts whose results were being read out were an aggregate of dozens, sometimes hundreds, of individual polling stations.

Kremlin accused of Soviet-style election rigging

Russian regional elections ‘rigged by Kremlin’, opposition claims

Russia’s embattled opposition movement has accused the Kremlin of holding Soviet-style “non-elections” as more than a fifth of the population prepares to vote in key regional polls on Sunday.

Telegraph | Oct 9, 2009

By Andrew Osborn in Moscow

Bureaucrats loyal to the ruling United Russia party have illegally removed opposition figures from the ballot, broken up opposition meetings, intimidated rival candidates and muted opponents’ campaign messages, the opposition claimed.

The situation in Moscow, where the city parliament controls a £25bn budget, was particularly bad, said Boris Nemtsov, co-chairman of the opposition Solidarity movement. In the run-up to the vote, Moscow’s electoral commission refused to register a clutch of opposition candidates, citing Kafkaesque technicalities such as invalid signatures, incorrectly completed applications and irregularities in identity documents.

Dismissing President Dmitry Medvedev’s promises of greater democracy as empty talk, several senior opposition figures called for voters to boycott the ballot altogether.

“These are not elections but a farce,” said Mr Nemtsov. “These elections are illegitimate.”

Mikhail Kasyanov, a former prime minister turned opposition figure, was equally dismissive. He urged a complete boycott “until the authorities restore our right to take part in free elections”.

Yet Kremlin election officials said all was well. Vladimir Churov, head of the central election commission and an old friend of Vladimir Putin, the prime minister, said he was convinced the elections were fair. “The campaign is unfolding in a really organised way,” he told news agency Interfax.

“There is genuine competition like there always has been.”

For the opposition, the ballot is a confirmation of its growing fears about President Medvedev. Mr Medvedev came to power last year claiming he had an agenda for change – despite having been hand-picked by Mr Putin – and was ready to relax a de-facto one-party political system where dissenting voices did not make it onto state TV. But so far, critics say he has promised much but delivered little as he has struggled to emerge from Mr Putin’s shadow.

In Moscow, the one-sided nature of the campaign is apparent. A giant poster of a smiling Mr Putin looms over the busy Novy Arbat street alongside a gargantuan poster for his ruling United Russia party. “We keep our word and we get things done,” reads the slogan.

Leonid Kirichenko, an independent electoral expert, said the elections were merely an imitation of a genuine vote. “The only way to avoid falling victim to falsification is to vote the way the authorities want you to,” he noted wrly. Like other experts, he said there was no doubt that Mr Putin’s United Russia party would sweep the board. Mr Medvedev’s promises of greater freedom are meaningless, he believes. “It is impossible to talk about the honesty of these elections,” he sighs. “That remains a dream.” Voters appear to agree.

One poll showed 53 per cent thought their participation in the vote would change nothing.

One in three votes for President Karzai ‘was faked’, EU observers find


Afghanistan’s President Hamid Karzai.

London Times | Sep 16, 2009

Jerome Starkey, in Kabul

One in three votes cast for President Karzai in Afghanistan’s presidential elections were faked, with the official body overseeing the ballot condoning the massive fraud, EU election observers said today.

Around 1.1 million votes in favour of Mr Karzai met Afghanistan’s electoral fraud criteria, as well as 300,000 cast for Abdullah Abdullah, Mr Karzai’s main rival. A futher 100,000 suspect votes were cast for other candidates.

The EU team accused Afghanistan’s Independent Election Commission of ignoring its own rules on identifying and eliminating suspect votes, and thus of sanctioning the fraud.

If the suspect votes had been excluded, Mr Karzai’s total share of the vote would fall to 47 per cent and a second round run off in the presidential election would be triggered, the observers found.

The experts chose to issue their damning assessment only hours before the IEC released the final results of the first round ballot.

“Large scale ballot stuffing has taken place at the polling station level and all those results were entered into the system, at the tally centre in Kabul, and published as good results,” said Philippe Morillon, the EU’s Chief Observer.

“We will not make the choice of who your next president is, but refuse to be complicit in any massive fraud.”

The president reacted with fury to the allegations, accusing the EU team of interference.

“Hamid Karzai’s election campaign team believes today’s announcement of the number of suspected votes by the head and deputy head of (the) EU Election Monitoring commission is partial, irresponsible and in contradiction with Afghanistan’s constitution,” said a statement issued by Mr Karzai’s office.

“The role of national and international monitors is to monitor the election process and refer their findings to the Independent Election Commission and the Electoral Complaints Commission.

“We believe the only way we can have a legitimate result out of the current process is to allow the legal institutions to complete the process and refrain from interfering in their affairs.”

The EU team said that more than a quarter of the 5.5 million votes counted so far should have triggered fraud alerts – easily enough to affect the outcome.

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