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The Rise of the Religious Right in the Republican Party

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Voting on BLIND

> Dear Friends,
> USA Today recently ran a story on the political power of the religious
> right.  As many of you know, I am very concerned about the fundamentalist
> right, and spend much of my time attempting to subvert their false attempts
> to bend Christianity to their political agenda.  Like many of you, I am
> concerned about the political gains made by the Christian right wing's
> network of activists, and their attempts to undermine democracy and law, not
> to mention the gospel message of Jesus.
> HOWEVER, the claim that the right are a powerful demographic that can
> influence election results is misleading, because these claims provide
> legitimation for election results that are otherwise inexplicable, and which
> conflict with exit polls.  I would contend that the religious right are
> indeed "winning" elections, but not because they are the majority of voters.
> Rather, the reason they are "winning" is because they are the people who
> have paid for the development of the software that is used to tabulate the
> votes in America today. This tabulation is not a transparent process, since
> the source code in the tabulating computers is "proprietary" and thus not
> open to public inspection.  So, yes, we Americans are indeed voting on BLIND
> FAITH.  That does not mean that our faith is in God, but in a voting system
> that is manufactured by God's little viceroys on earth.
> For those of you who do not already know it, Election Systems & Software
> (who, together with their sister company Diebold, tally an estimated 80% of
> the American vote) began in 1984, when the far-right brothers William and
> Robert Ahmanson bought a 68% share in Data Mark, and changed the company's
> name to American Information Systems (AIS).  The Ahmanson's are members of
> the secretive far-right wing Chalcedon Institute.  Anyway, in 1987, McCarthy
> and Co., an Omaha investment group, acquired a minority share in AIS.  In
> 1992, investment banker Chuck Hagel (president of McCarthy and Co.) became
> chairman of AIS.  After this Hagel got the idea of running for senate, and
> after considering a bid in 1993, decided to go through with it in March
> 1995. He stepped down from his position of chairman of the board at AIS
> (ES&S) and a little less than eight months later stunned the national
> pundits and defied the polls by defeating Benjamin Nelson, the state's
> popular former governor.  Hagel won again in 2002, by a far healthier
> margin.  That vote is still angrily disputed by Charlie Metulka, who tried
> to make Hagel's ties to ES&S an issue in the race and who asked state
> officials to conduct a hand recount, but this request was rejected because
> the margin of victory was too large.  Hagel still owns $1 million in stock
> in McCarthy and Co., which still owns a quarter of ES&S.  Since he first
> ran, Hagel has received about $15,000.00 in campaign contributions from
> McCarthy and Co. executives.
> American tax dollars are helping to fund a national conversion to Republican
> corporate manufactured and owned electronic voting machines.  The
> International Foundation for Election Systems (IFES) was founded in 1987 by
> the late F. Clifton White, a high-ranking Republican party official who is
> credited with turning the GOP into a bastion of right wing conservatives.
> This is just the tip of the iceberg.  My point is that we should take the
> advice of the late Athan Gibbs, former director of TrueVote, who was killed
> days before he was set to testify before the Joint Committee on Ballot
> Security.  He said "Follow the money trail."  We should not rush to embrace
> the republican pet theory that they are really winning the hearts and minds
> of the American public, until they can prove it by conducting open and
> transparent elections in a verifiable manner.  Read more by clicking on this
> link:
> Terri Murray

Last updated: August-2005