Dale Tavris -- World News Trust
July 8, 2018
Election Fraud in the United States: 2004 to Present
Part IV: Untimely Deaths Associated with the 2004 Presidential Election
Background -- Election Night, 2004
It was well known in the days prior to the 2004 Presidential election that a Bush victory was highly unlikely without Bush carrying both Ohio and Florida. As Election Day unfolded, spirits in the Kerry camp were running high, as it became evident that Ohio’s 20 electoral votes would determine the victor, and there was widespread belief and evidence that Kerry was on track to win Ohio.
Kerry had a comfortable lead in the Ohio exit poll and in the official vote count late on Election Night. Reports of exceptionally high turnout in highly Democratic Cleveland provided much cause for optimism. A Kerry campaign worker later told me that he and his fellow campaign workers went to bed Election Night certain that Kerry had won.I recall a group of TV news commentators discussing the Ohio vote situation near the end of the vote counting process. There was a big map of Ohio on the screen, and the commentators were giving a detailed analysis of how bleak the situation looked for Bush. Even CNN’s right-wing pundit, Robert Novak, seemed to acknowledge this.
Then rather suddenly the situation was reversed. At 12:21 Wednesday morning, the vote count suddenly flipped from a 3-percentage point Kerry lead to a 3-percentage point Bush lead, and soon thereafter Ohio was called for Bush, and with that, the national election was called for Bush.
How to explain this seemingly bizarre election night reversal? A consideration of the activities and deaths of two men who appeared to be on the brink of exposing high-level election fraud that eventually determined the results of the 2004 Presidential election probably sheds some light on this.
The death of Raymond Lemme
Consideration of Raymond Lemme’s pending role in exposing election fraud in the 2004 Presidential election begins with the testimony of Clint Curtis. In October 2000 Clint Curtis was a computer programmer and a life-long Republican who worked for Florida-based Yang Enterprises, Inc. (YEI). According to Curtis’ sworn testimony to House Judiciary Committee Democrats in December 2004, while working for YEI he wrote a prototype for a computer program that would switch votes from one candidate to another, at the request of Congressman Tom Feeney (R-FL) in October of 2000. Believing at the time that the purpose of Feeney’s request was to better understand how Democrats might plan to commit election fraud, Curtis complied with the request and wrote the program and presented it to his employer, Mrs. Li Woan Yang. According to Curtis’ affidavit:
She immediately responded, “You don’t understand, in order to get the contract we have to hide the manipulation in the source code. This program is needed to control the vote in South Florida.”
I was shocked that they were trying to steal the election and told her that neither I nor anyone else could produce any such program. She stated that she would hand in what I produced to Feeney and left the room with the software.
Please note that when Curtis said that neither he nor anyone else could produce "any such program" he meant that nobody could produce such a program that was undetectable. But since the public was never allowed access to the "proprietary" software codes used to count our votes, the question of whether a computer program to switch votes from one candidate to another is detectable turns out not to matter so much. And that is the reason why Curtis was later able to offer his sworn testimony that he believed that the 2004 election was rigged using a program similar to the one that he wrote.
I had the privilege of meeting Mr. Curtis in January 2004, when we were both invited by “Justice Through Music” to participate in a small group to lobby U.S. Senators to object to the Ohio Presidential Election on Jan. 6, 2005. Curtis had gotten the idea to contact Justice Through Music because they were offering a $200,000 reward for anyone who could prove that the 2004 election had been stolen. However, Curtis was not interested in the money, nor did he accept any money in return for his information or testimony. Curtis told me his dog had been murdered and that he believed the murder was meant as a threat from those who feared his testimony.
Skeptics have pointed out to me and others that Yang Enterprises did not receive any contracts to run elections in 2004 and that there is no proof that Curtis’ programs were used to rig the election. True enough. But that is not inconsistent with Curtis’s belief that his program or a similar program was used in the 2004 election to switch votes. Curtis said in his sworn testimony that he was told by his employer that his program was specifically needed to control the vote in South Florida. In fact, it was from South Florida where 48 percent of all voter complaints in the country of electronic vote switching that favored Bush were reported to the national Electronic Incident Reporting System (EIRS).
The role of Tom Feeney
At the time that Feeney asked Curtis to write the vote switching program, Feeney was simultaneously a Florida legislator (soon to become Speaker of the Florida House of Representatives) and a registered lobbyist for YEI.
Those who followed the Florida 2000 election with interest might remember that Feeney played a very prominent role in Bush’s “victory” in that election. For it was Feeney, not the U.S. Supreme Court or Bush’s lawyers, who first came up with the idea (or threat) of taking the 2004 Florida Presidential election out of the hands of the voters. It was Feeney who first put forth the argument that Article II of our Constitution gives the right to state legislatures to determine the winner of their state’s electors. And it was Feeney, as Speaker of Florida’s House of Representatives, who threatened to use that power to nullify a Gore victory if a recount of the votes resulted in Gore being declared the winner. And it was precisely this argument of Feeney’s that the U.S. Supreme Court was to use a few days later to hand Bush the Presidency.
What I am trying to imply here is that it is not plausible to believe that Feeney’s interest in vote switching programs was limited to his association with YEI. And while it is true that we do not know that the specific prototype that Curtis wrote was actually used to rig the 2004 election, Feeney’s asking Curtis to write such a program is evidence of high-level Republican interest in stealing the election.
Raymond Lemme’s activities and death
Raymond Lemme was the official from the Florida Inspector General’s Office who was charged with investigating Curtis’ allegations. In his affidavit, Curtis describes a June 2003 meeting with Lemme, where Lemme told Curtis that he (Lemme) “had tracked the corruption all the way to the top,” and that the story would break shortly.
But we will probably never know what explosive information Lemme had obtained, for he was found dead in a Valdosta, Georgia, Knights Inn motel room two weeks later, July 1, 2003. His arm was slashed twice with a razor blade, near the left elbow. The Brad Blog thoroughly investigated this case and put forth several reasons to believe that Lemme’s death was not suicide, as had been ruled by the Valdosta police:
First, nobody knows why Lemme was in Georgia, about 80 miles north of Tallahassee, where he lived and worked. No autopsy was performed, whereas had the death occurred in Florida, an autopsy would have been required.
Secondly, motel receipts are not consistent with the rest of the story. There is an unsigned check-in receipt dated June 29, 2003, and a signed check-out receipt dated June 30, 2003, 6:54 a.m. Yet Lemme was found dead in the hotel on July 1, the day AFTER he apparently checked out. The police claimed that the check-out date on the receipt was wrong, and they ascribed the “incorrect” date to machine error, but refused to provide additional detail on that.
Thirdly, there are mysteries surrounding and inconsistencies between the photographs of the scene of the crime and the police report. The initial police report stated: "a defect in the camera flash memory cards resulted in no usable photographs. Photographs will not be submitted with this report." Yet good quality photographs of the crime scene, some showing Lemme in the bathtub where he is said to have killed himself, and which were previously said not to have existed, later showed up. The legitimacy of the photographs was confirmed by the Valdosta police.
An official report by Detective Shannon Floyd stated that there was no sign of foul play, and that there was no blood on the towel on which a black belt (apparently used as a tourniquet) was found. Yet, the pictures clearly show blood on the towel and severe bruising on the right side of Lemme’s neck.
When Brad Blog attempted to talk with Detective Floyd about her inconsistent findings, he was told that she no longer works for the Department, and the police refused to tell him how he could reach her.
Fourthly, after re-opening the case (late 2004 or early 2005), the case was quickly closed after the Valdosta Georgia police talked with the Florida Department of Transportation. The Valdosta police refused to comment on why the Florida DOT should have a say in when they close a death investigation in Georgia.
And lastly, Lemme’s work colleagues and family all agreed that there were no previous indications that Lemme wanted to die.
The Death of Michael Connell
Michael Connell was a high-level Republican operative and IT consultant. He was the founder of New Media Communications, which provided website services for the Bush-Cheney 2004 presidential campaign, The Republican National Committee, and many other Republican candidates. At the time of the 2004 national election, he was president of GovTech Solutions, which was hired by Ohio Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell to set up an election website for the Ohio presidential 2004 elections. This clearly presented a conflict of interests, in the same way that Secretary Blackwell’s dual role as Ohio Secretary of State (in charge of Ohio elections) and campaign chairman for the Bush-Cheney campaign in Ohio created a serious conflict of interest.
Given the red shift of 6.7 percent in the Ohio 2004 presidential election, the numerous irregularities surrounding that election, and the fact that the awarding of Ohio to Bush was responsible for his re-election, numerous lawsuits were brought in Ohio to challenge the election results. Given Connell’s close connections with Karl Rove and the Bush campaign, in combination with his official duties with respect to the presidential election in Ohio, he was sought to provide testimony in connection with a case that alleged tampering with the 2004 election. It was alleged in the case that Connell participated in vote tampering. On Sept.22, 2008, Connell was subpoenaed to testify in the case. Connell initially sought to avoid testifying, and even put forth a motion to quash his subpoena. But that motion was denied.
Testimony of Stephen Spoonamore
On Sept. 17, 2008, Stephen Spoonamore (a member of the Republican Party) provided an affidavit in connection with the Ohio lawsuits and the ongoing investigations into election fraud in the 2004 Presidential election, including his opinion on how Ohio was stolen for Bush, and Connell’s likely role in that scenario. The first parts of his affidavit related to his qualifications for the opinions he provided, and included the following:
"Because of my interest in data security and in democracy, I have followed with interest the security issues involved with electronic voting in the United States. My understanding of the vulnerabilities of American elections to fraudulent manipulation is based upon conversations with professionals in election administration working within state governmental structures as well as information technology specialists working in private industry on a contract basis for state governments."
He then went on to describe the vote counting system in play on Election Day 2004 in Ohio:
"The vote tabulation and reporting system, as modified at the direction of (Ohio Secretary of State) Blackwell, allowed the introduction of a single computer in the middle of the pathway. This computer located at a company principally managing IT Systems for GOP campaign and political operations (Computer C) received all information from each county computer (Computer A) BEFORE it was sent onward to Computer B. This centralized collection of all incoming statewide tabulations would make it extremely easy for a single operator, or a preprogrammed single "force balancing computer" to change the results in any way desired by the team controlling Computer C. In this case, GOP partisan operatives...."
Lastly, he described his view of the how Michael Connell fit into the picture:
"Mr. Connell and I share a mutual interest in democracy building… Mike and I briefly discussed voting security…. He further made a statement that he is afraid that some of the more ruthless partisans of the GOP may have exploited systems he in part worked on for [election theft]... Knowing his team and their skills I find it unlikely they would be the vote thieves directly. I believe however he knows who is doing that work, and has likely turned a blind eye to this activity. Mr. Connell is a devout Catholic. He has admitted to me that in his zeal to 'save the unborn' he may have helped others who have compromised elections. He was clearly uncomfortable when I asked directly about Ohio 2004."
An article posted in Velvet Revolutions relates what happened next. Later the same day that Spoonamore provided his affidavit:
Ohio attorney Cliff Arnebeck asked the federal court in Columbus to allow him to place Bush IT guru Michael Connell under oath to ask him about his 20-year work for the Bush family… "The public has a need and right to know, before the next presidential election, that the top Republican IT expert shares a concern about the vulnerability of electronic voting systems to fraudulent manipulation, and that this is not just 'conspiracy theory,'" Arnebeck wrote.
On Sept. 22, Connell was subpoenaed to testify about the matters that Spoonamore raised. Connell did everything he could to avoid testifying. Spoonamore provided another affidavit on Oct. 26, going into more detail than his Sept. 17 affidavit on how he saw the 2004 Presidential election being stolen:
During the evening and early morning on the 2004 General Election in Ohio, on my own computer, I was watching the results of incoming counties and precincts. I believed there was a more than likely chance County Tabulators had been programmed to manipulate votes…. As early results showed Kerry ahead, I noticed a trend in a very few counties (I believe I noted 8 counties on election night) that at about 11 p.m. suddenly began reporting radically different ratios of Kerry to Bush votes. All in favor of Mr. Bush. This sudden rate of change… resembled a fraud technique called an Intelligent Man In the Middle, or KingPin Attack. This type of attack requires a computer to be inserted into the communications flow of an IT system....
Other experts found additional data indicating Bush's increase in votes from these counties, and Kerry's decrease in votes.... When information about the SmartTech IT routing switch became public, and recalling that staff of Triad were reported to have removed hard drives from County Tabulators in advance of the recount, I again stated that we now have confirmation a KingPin, or Intelligent Man in the Middle position had been created.... The SmartTech system was set up precisely as a KingPin computer used in criminal acts against banking or credit card processes and had the needed level of access to both county tabulators and Secretary of States computers to allow whoever was running SmartTech's computers to decide the output of the county tabulators under its control.... The SmartTech computer would, as the results of the evening proceeded, be able to know how many votes Bush needed to steal from Kerry, and flip enough votes on the desired county tabulators to reverse the outcome of the election....
The only way this could have been detected on election night would be complete monitoring ... or by conducting a forensic analysis of the complete county tabulator computer, especially the hard drives of these computers. These hard drives were apparently removed by Triad employees before the Green Party Recount, in what appears to be a concerted effort to destroy evidence....
A couple words of explanation are in order at this point: The SmartTech system that Spoonamore referred to was operated by Michael Connell; the references to the hard drives removed by Triad employees before the recount relate back to the corrupted Ohio recount, which I describe later in this series. The removal of those hard drives constituted destruction of evidence of the true vote count, thus making it impossible to conduct an accurate recount.
Note that by this time Spoonamore seems to have lost confidence in the innocence of Michael Connell that he exhibited in his Sept. 17 affidavit. This is suggested by Spoonamore’s comment on Connell’s continued efforts to avoid providing relevant information, with the excuse that he was trying to protect trade secrets. Spoonamore said that that excuse was absurd, and he went into much detail to explain why it was absurd. On this issue, Bob Fritakes later recalled a conversation with Spoonamore about this:
"Spoonamore stated that in an October 2006 meeting with Connell, Connell asked questions about how to 'permanently destroy hard drives.' Spoonamore told Connell, 'If this is what I think you're talking about, this meeting is over.'”
On Oct. 28, attorneys filed a motion to compel testimony of Connell regarding his knowledge of the workings of the GOP computer systems. On Oct. 31, a federal judge ordered Connell to submit to a deposition on possible election manipulation. Connell gave the deposition on Nov. 4, providing as little information as possible, but eventually he was forced to admit that “he brought Triad and SmartTech into the Ohio election game.” Velvet Revolution noted:
Of course, these are the two companies identified by Spoonamore as rigging the election, Triad by pulling hard drives prior to the recount and SmartTech by running the election results through its GOP servers in Chattanooga before they got to the Ohio election computers.
Michael Connell’s death
When it became apparent that Connell would testify in the case, according to news reporter Blake Renault, Connell was warned not to fly his plane:
"Connell ... was apparently told by a close friend not to fly his plane because his plane might be sabotaged.... And twice in the last two months Connell, who is an experienced pilot, canceled two flights because of suspicious problems with his plane."
Cliff Arnebeck, the Ohio lawyer who brought the suit and subpoenaed Connell, warned the U.S. Justice Department that Connell’s life might be in danger, and requested witness protection. Arnebeck wrote:
"I have informed court chambers and am in the process of informing the Ohio Attorney General's and U.S. Attorney's offices in Columbus for the purpose, among other things, of seeking protection for Mr. Connell and his family from this reported attempt to intimidate a witness...."
Unfortunately, in an even reminiscent of the death of Raymond Lemme, who had apparently collected incrimination evidence bearing on a similar subject that was at the core of the Connell subpoena, Connell never did get to testify. On Dec. 19, he died in a plane crash, presumably caused by his plane running out of gas. Fritakis writes about this incident:
"An accomplished pilot, he was flying from the College Park, Maryland airport to the Akron-Canton airport in Ohio under unremarkable weather conditions. Yet his Piper Saratoga plane suddenly dove to the ground between two houses in an upscale neighborhood, when he was just 2.5 miles from the airport. The site was roped off, cleaned up within two hours at night against protocol, and the next day his wife found his omniscient Blackberry missing from his still intact knapsack."
Dale Tavris has worked as a public health physician/epidemiologist for 40 years, with state departments of public health, the U.S. Air Force, the Medical College of Wisconsin, and the Food and Drug Administration. In that capacity, he has authored 39 publications in peer-reviewed medical or public health journals.
Since 2004 he has been actively involved in the national election reform movement, serving in a volunteer capacity with the Election Defense Alliance for a few years as their data coordinator.
He has written dozens of online articles about election fraud. In 2007 he co-authored a journal article on election fraud: “Fingerprints of Election Theft: Were Competitive Contests Targeted.”
Tavris has written and published three books, including two of a political nature: “The Unfulfilled Promise of the American Dream: The Widening Gap between the Reality of the United States and its Highest Ideals,” 2011; and “Democracy Undone: Unequal Representation, the Threat to our Election System, and the Impending Demise of American Democracy,” 2012.