Truth, Lies, & Politics

When is a coincidence too much of a
coincidence to be one?
Conspiracy, Coincidence, Skullduggery
Jeb, George, Michael, Sandra, Tom, Katherine, Hagel,

President, Governor, 2 Secretaries of State, Senator,
Congressman, Presidential Candidate and . . . ES&S

Headlined in OpEdNews

Fiction Stops Here
Cast a wider net. A veritable den of hands-on players lingers only one degree of separation from
Michael Connell and George W. Bush: Florida Governor Jeb Bush, Republican Senator Chuck Hagel
of Nebraska, Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris, Florida Secretary of State Sandra Mortham,
and U.S. Representative Tom Feeney, former Speaker of the Florida House of Representatives. All
have been integrally involved in election flimflam.

So when is a coincidence too much of a coincidence to be one? When does a convergence of
like-minded players embroiled in skullduggery constitute conspiracy?

Michael Connell:
Briefly, for those who missed Mark Crispen Miller's Tell McCain to Fire Mike Connell article on
OpEdNews and the Connell articles on BradBlog,  Mike Connell has been at the scene of virtually
every electoral scandal of the past decade, including running Florida computers during the 2000
election, and Ohio election computers during the 2004 election. Connell has worked for the Bush
political network since 1986. He built Jeb's website... and he's currently working for John McCain. (1)  

But Connell's not alone.

Jeb & George:
Jeb and George. Jeb and Michael. Jeb and Katherine. Jeb and Sandra. Jeb and Tom. Jeb and 2000,
2002, 2004, 2006. Culpability by association, intent or manipulation. In Florida at least, Jeb in his
prime was the hub of all things elections. His broad reach is illustrated in part by the actions of his
friends and their own influence on elections. More specific detail on Jeb is provided in the section
titled Florida's Governor Jeb Bush below.

Jeb & Sandra. Florida Secretary of State Sandra Mortham:
Former Secretary of State Sandra Mortham was the ES&S lobbyist who convinced the Florida
Association of Counties to endorse ES&S. In exchange for the Association's endorsement, ES&S paid
the Association a fee each time ES&S won a county contract. (Matthew Haggman, "Buyer' Remorse."
(2) In the end, ES&S received orders totaling more than $70 million in taxpayer money from 12
counties, while the Florida Association of Counties received kickbacks of approximately $300,000. (3)
See more on ES&S below.

The Mortham factor is interesting, but not remarkable unless of course one considers Mortham's
relationship with Jeb Bush. Mortham was Jeb Bush's first-choice running mate in 1998. When
selecting Mortham, Jeb said, "I wanted someone who was my friend, someone who could serve with
distinction as governor... She is far and away the most qualified person to be part of this team and it is
a team. (4)

By January, Sandra Mortham withdrew over ethical and spending lapses. (5)

Jeb & Tom. Governor Jeb Bush's 1994 running mate, U.S. Rep Tom Feeney:
Republican Congressman Tom Feeney was Jeb's running mate the first time Jeb ran for governor in
1994 and lost. Then in 2000, as speaker of the Florida House, Feeney was instrumental in leading the
Legislature to seat George W. Bush as president while the election debacle was still playing out in the

The Feeney factor is also interesting, but unremarkable. That is unless one considers that in 2004,
Feeney was implicated in vote fraud by Clinton Curtis when Curtis testified before the House
Judiciary Committee investigating vote fraud in the 2004 presidential election.  (Alex Babcock,
"Feeney implicated in vote fraud." (6)  Note: contains a full video and transcript of
Clinton Curtis' testimony. ("Video Online of Clint Curtis Testimony!" Brad Friedman,,

Fast forward to August 2007 and Dan Rather's Report and Brad Friedman "connecting the dots."
Feeney served as Speaker of the Florida House of Representatives at the same time he served as
general counsel and registered lobbyist for Yang Enterprises, Inc. It was at Yang Enterprises, Inc.
that Feeney is alleged to have asked Curtis to write a vote-rigging program. (7)

Jeb and Katherine. Governor Jeb Bush's Secretary of State Katherine Harris:
Secretary of State Katherine Harris first served as co-chair for George W. Bush's campaign. Then she
stepped up to win him the presidency. Harris' single-purposed interpretation and application of
Florida's gaping election laws were pivotal in winning George W. Bush the presidency. But again,
Katherine Harris served Jeb Bush and many were convinced that Jeb Bush and other powerful
Republicans called the shots for her. (8)

Bush and Senator Chuck Hagel:
Chuck Hagle was on George W.'s short list of contenders for the Republican Vice-Presidential
nomination in 2000. (9)

When Hagel first ran for the U.S. Senate in Nebraska in 1996, he won both the primaries and the
general election in unprecedented victories and was the first Republican to win a Nebraska senatorial
campaign in 24 years. Six years later Hagel was re-elected to his second term with 83% of the vote,
the biggest political victory in the history of Nebraska. (10)

Coincidence? Hagel was part owner, Chairman and CEO of ES&S. ES&S was the only voting machine
vendor whose machines counted Hagel's votes in the 1996 and 2002 elections. Hagel's campaign
finance director, Michael McCarthy was also an owner and a director of ES&S.  (11, 12)

Jeb and John McCain:
A year or so ago, I would have placed the big bets on a McCain-Jeb ticket, regardless of the
McCain-Bush animosity. However, after a few initial dips into international affairs, Jeb wisely hangs
back in today's soured climate. So where's the McCain connection? Through Michael Connell. As
mentioned previously, Connell works for McCain now. Will McCain heed Velvet Revolution's call for
McCain to fire him? (14)  

Florida's Governor Jeb Bush:
Circling back to Jeb Bush. Jeb professed to remain hands off during the 2000 fiasco. Still he cast an
impressive shadow. Affirming the obvious, Florida was his state, George W. his brother, and
Katherine Harris his minion.

Moreover, while Jeb publically kept his distance, those who worked for him did not. Jeb's acting
general counsel Frank Jimenez took an unpaid leave of absence the day after the election and was
substantially involved in shaping the Republican legal strategy in Florida. Jimenez was seen by both
sides as an instrument of Jeb's political will. ''When you take a leave like that, everyone knows
you're an emissary,'' according to a prominent lobbyist who worked both sides of the aisle. Four other
lawyers from Jeb's office of general counsel also took unpaid leaves, advising Jeb on legal matters
related to the election. ''Clearly [Jeb's] been keeping a low public profile. But obviously every move
the secretary of state has made is in keeping with the Bush strategy,'' according to an aide to Vice
President Al Gore.

Katie Baur, a spokeswoman for Jeb Bush, also took a brief unpaid leave, stating, ''I was a Republican
long before I came to work for the governor.''  (15)

Baur's brief statement is perhaps more profound than intended. For apparently, fidelity to the party
quashed allegiance to country. Jeb Bush and Katherine Harris not only failed the voters in the state of
Florida, they robbed the citizens of this country of a fair and honest election. Clearly, they embraced a
value system where partisanship dictates actions, right or wrong, and the win justifies the means.

Aside from not recognizing the 2000 election as a product of malfunctioning systems, machines,
processes, materials, and antiquated, gaping election laws, both Jeb Bush and Katherine Harris were
"singled out in particular for ignoring 'mounting evidence' of problems with outdated voting
technology in a number of counties, and for ignoring requests for guidance and assistance from local
officials." Local election supervisors also failed to adequately prepare for the election, showed a lack
of leadership, and allowed an "unequal distribution of quality voting equipment." Older voting
equipment was distributed disproportionately to African-American precincts, resulting in a higher rate
of voting errors among African-American voters. (16)

Election Systems & Software (ES&S):
What do these states have in common: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Florida, Hawaii,
Illinois, Iowa, Indiana, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Nebraska, North Carolina, Ohio,
Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Washington, Wisconsin, and
Wyoming? All own ES&S voting machines. All experienced ES&S election failures. Thirty-four states
documented and still counting experienced election equipment failures. (If you live in one of these
states and want more information, or if you're curious about the failures experienced with other
election equipment, this information and more is presented ESS Failures on Hone in
on failures by state, vendor, failure type. It's guarantied to make a believer out of you.)  

ES&S owns a plethora of election failures, including but not limited to my recent Florida favorites:
Florida's 2006 Attorney General's race where a conservative estimate of 89K missing votes were
never accounted for or even investigated. And 2006's Sarasota's District 13 race, where 18K missing
votes were investigated by the GAO in a restricted effort with no conclusive results.
The following information illustrates the influence one voting machine vendor holds over an election,
the country. According to privately owned ES&S, ES&S is the world's largest provider of total election
management solutions with over 170,000 systems installed worldwide. ES&S provides end-to-end,
start-to-finish solutions. In layperson terms, this means bluntly:
"I'll tell you what to do, how to do it, figure out who your voters are and in the end tell you how they

In more technical terms, ES&S systems control management of Voter Registration, Ballot
Production, Warehousing and Delivery, Election Programming, Voter Education/Outreach to Voting,
Counting and Tabulation, and Election Results Reporting. In the past five years alone, ES&S was
responsible for printing more than 450 million ballots.

Today, nearly 67 million registered voters are supported by ES&S equipment. On a national scale,
ES&S systems counted approximately 50 percent of the votes in the last four major U.S. elections.
Approximately 97,000 ES&S iVotronic Touch Screen Voting Systems are installed in 20 states.
Approximately 30,000 ES&S optical scan tabulators are used in 43 states and worldwide.

Incidentally, again according to ES&S,  "The iVotronic was the first touch screen voting device
officially certified for use in the State of Florida, and its innovative technology enables all voters to
easily and correctly cast their vote in complete privacy." (17)

No it doesn't.

Conspiracy? Coincidence? Skullduggery? How about an innocent little nudge here and there to hedge
your bets? How many fleas do you pick off your collar before you know... Perhaps you've conclusions
of your own. Or perhaps you've a new interest in what goes on in that big black box once you've done
your part, cast your ballot, and entrusted your precious vote to your election officials. But whether or
not you conclude conspiracy, intent, ineptitude, or patriotic void, none of us should condone the
blatant disrespect to our country and ourselves as demonstrated every election through the
incompetent mismanagement of our right to vote in this country.

1., 10/01/08
2. Matthew Haggman, "Buyer' Remorse."
 Daily Business Review, 2/3/2003.
3. Click here.
4. "Jeb Bush Jumps Into 1998 Florida Governor's Race,"
AllPolitics 11/12/1997.
5. "Bush Running Mate Quits Race in Florida,"
NY Times, 01/14/1998.)
The Seminole Chronicle, 12/16/2004.)
7. Brad Friedman, "Another 'Hole' Plugged in the Clint Curtis/Tom Feeney 'Vote-Rigging' Scandal via
Dan Rather Report on Sequoia's Gaming of Florida Punchcards in 2000,", 8/28/2007.
8. "COUNTING THE VOTE: THE FLORIDA GOVERNOR; With Tallahassee All Astir, Jeb Bush Keeps
a Distance,"
9. Click here.10. Click here.
10. How George Bush Won the 2004 Presidential Election

11. Bev Harris, author of "Black Box Voting: Ballot-Tampering," "Senator Hagel Admits Owning
Voting Machine Company,"
Scoop Independent News. 01/31/2003.
The Hill, Independent Washington Paper, 01/2003. 14. 10/01/08.  Source:
15. Barstow and Sengupta.
16. "Florida 'grossly derelict' in 2000 vote," U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, 6/5/2001., 6/5/2001.
17., 2008/10/17
Conspiracy, Coincidence, Skullduggery

When is a coincidence too much of a coincidence to be one?

So now Ohio 2004 is revving up again. Old news? Not old enough. So
many lame answers while so much remains unresolved. For those of us
troubled by eight years of election Ping-Pong, the evolving
investigation of Bush-squared longtime IT confidante Michael Connell
is encouraging. But don't stop there. And don't stop in Ohio.

Shortly after this article was published, Michael Connell was killed when his private plan crashed under yet
to be determined circumstances. Connell was the pilot and only person aboard the aircraft at the time.
Theories abound for those who believe Michael Connell's death was yet another layer of conspiracy and
cover-up. However, one thing is certain, the death of Michael Connell, as for those who still have their lives
before them is a tragedy.
Conspiracy to Skulldubbery
2008 Florida Primary Eerily Familiar
Mistakes Flip the Win
Government Accountability Office GAO
GAO Summary of Articles
No Smoking Gun Not if but when
Articles A Potpourri
Election Conspiracy at the Moosylvania Gazette
Conspiracy Theory OpEd Headline
Election officials 4 years to get it right -  Not just a NY Problem
Kurt Browning: The dog ate my ballot.
Peeling the Onion
ES&S Monopoly
Letter to Election Assistance Commission
Other Assorted Articles Part 1
Pther Assorted Articles Part 2
Press Release