Book Review

James & Kenneth Collier Votescam: The Stealing of America - available here

The following should be viewed more as a preview than a review - or even more accurately as a ‘sales-pitch’, because this book is essential reading if one is to gain a clearer understanding of America’s role on the global scene.

Elections are an essential (even an inherent) element of democracy - provided the former are conducted in a fair and open manner. It would now seem that this indisputable fact has for years been ignored by that ‘Epitome of Democracy’, America, and hidden behind a veil of secrecy nurtured by a media under corporate control - until the publication in 1992 of the book

Votescam: The Stealing of America, which was immediately banned by the major book chains, who listed the book as ‘out of print’ and actively worked to prevent its sale. The veil of secrecy prevailed. The co-authors of this book were (they died in the nineties), James (Jim) and Kenneth (Ken) Collier, two entrepreneurial brothers who, from 1970 onwards carried out a comprehensive examination of the American voting system, resulting in their book, which exposed, in detail, corporate America’s manipulation of the voting system over a number of decades.

In the immediate aftermath of George W. Bush’s election victory of 2000, the American journalist, Greg Palast (of the ‘Observer’) exposed - clearly - how the crucial State of Florida had rigged the vote. The public’s reaction to this - in non-American countries - was one of shock, tinged with a certain disbelief, understandably. In America, the veil of secrecy prevailed, at least initially - thus confirming the effectiveness of the control of the media noted above (and as will be noted in slightly more detail below). It is patently obvious that (a) such control could only have been of a corporate nature- it could only have come from ‘on high’; and (b) an American journalist, such as Palast, could only have been able to ‘blow the whistle’ from afar. That he did so is proof of his courage - and one can only assume that the fact that in his book The Best That Democracy Can Buy he makes no mention of the previous decades of the Collier’s investigation into the subject confirms the efficiency of that “veil of secrecy’. But the fact remains: votescamming had been practised for decades in that  country.


In August 1964 News Election Service (NES), a consortium of the three major television networks: ABC, NBC and CBS, plus the Associated Press wire service, CNN, the New York Times, the Washington Post and other news-gathering organizations - was created to compile computer-voting results and feed them to the major media. (It is of crucial importance to note here that this was in the immediate aftermath of the JFK assassination.)

CIA report

As unearthed by the Collier bros. from the Library of Congress: in 1980, a study was commissioned by the CIA-linked Air Command and Staff College in co-operation with the University of New Mexico to examine the US electoral system. This was subsequently distributed to selected government agencies. Following are some of its findings:

"The United States government has no elections office and does not attempt to administer congressional elections.”

“The responsibility for the administration of elections and certification of winners in the United States national election rests with a consortium of private entities, including 111,000 members of the national League of Women Voters.”

“The formal structure of election administration in the United States is not capable of providing the major TV networks with timely results of the presidential and congressional elections. In the case of counting actual ballots on national election night, public officials have abdicated responsibility of aggregation of election night vote totals to a private organization, News Election Service of New York (NES)... This private organization performs without a contract: without supervision by public officials. It makes decisions concerning its duties according to its own criteria.” (underlining by this reviewer)

“The question and accountability of News Election Service has not arisen in the nation's press because the responsibility NES now has in counting the nation's votes was assumed gradually over a lengthy period without ever being evaluated as an item on the public agenda. This privately owned vote counting cartel (NES) uses the vast membership of the network-subsidized

League of Women Voters as field personnel whose exclusive job is to phone in unofficial vote totals to NES on election night.” ( It is worthy of note that the NEC is now known as the Voter News Service [VNS]).

George Bush Snr's election

It would seem that these findings would account for the subsequent unexpected victory of George Bush snr. (ex-CIA Director) over his fellow-Republican candidate, Sen. Robert Dole, in the New Hampshire primary in 1988 - to say nothing of his subsequent victory over the Democrat, Dukakis, for the presidency. To refer back to the New Hampshire primary for a closer look at how the voting system was manipulated: The Governor of New Hampshire at the time was John Sununu, a computer engineer:

“Nothing was said in the press about the secretly programmed computer chips inside the ‘Shouptronic’ Direct Recording Electronic (DRE) voting machines in Manchester, the state's largest city.”..

1. “The ‘Shouptronic’ was purchased directly from a company whose owner, Ransom Shoup, had been twice convicted of vote fraud in Philadelphia.”2. “It bristled with telephone lines that made it possible for instructions from the outside to be telephoned into the machine without anyone's clear knowledge.”

3. “It completely lacked an ‘audit trail,’ an independent record that could be checked in case the machine ‘broke down’ or its results were challenged.”

4. “Roy G. Saltman, of the federal Institute for Computer Sciences and Technology, called the Shouptronic ‘much more risky’ than any other computerized tabulation system because ‘You are fundamentally required to accept the logical operation of the machine, there is no way to do an

independent check.’”

“A source close to Gov. Sununu insists that Sununu knew from his perspective as a politician, and his expertise as a computer engineer, that the Shouptronic was prime for tampering. The concept is clear, simple and it works. Computerized voting gives the power of selection, without fear of discovery, to whomever controls the computer.”

On becoming president, Bush appointed Sununu Chief of Staff in his administration.

It is self-evident that, some 12 years later, Bush seniors’ sons, George W., and Jeb, ‘got the message’ (see Palast above).


“It became possible, with fast counters developed by International Business Machine Corporation, to use punch cards, with rows of small, rectangular holes, as ballots. These old cards could be counted at the rate of thousands per minute by an IBM sorting machine hooked up with a photoelectric cell and a computerized tabulator.... after several years, IBM realized that the Vote-amatic voting machine... was actually a Pandora's box.... IBM eventually sold its rights in the company after IBM's president, Thomas Watson, read an article that implied he might be trying to install IBM voting machines in enough precincts to win him the first electronically rigged election for President of the United States.”...

“During a little-publicized court trial in West Virginia, it was revealed that there were ways to stop the computers during a count, while everyone watched. Simply fiddle with a few switches, turn the computer back on again, and thereby alter the entire vote, or parts of it. If anyone asked questions, the fixers could make any number of plausible excuses. Mostly all they had to say was ‘just checking that everything's running okay,’ and that was satisfactory.”

“With voting machines attached to telephone lines it was possible to meddle with the actual vote from a telephone miles away. Getting caught was not possible. ‘Deniability’ and ‘untrackability’ were built into the secret source codes that animated the machines..... Most Americans did not realize that such an anti-democratic virus had infected their vote. Most do not realize it today.”

Ken runs for Congress in Florida

In 1970, the younger of the two brothers, Ken, decided to run for Congress, as a Democrat, against the sitting Democrat, Claude Pepper, (who, incidentally, sat on the board of the bank which had foreclosed on the lease held by the brothers’ company, ‘The Image’). Their fascinating, detailed account of the election campaign - with all its conspiratorial machinations

- has to be read to be appreciated. Suffice it to say that they lost - but, by god, they learnt a lot! Examples of this (not comprehensive by any means) follow:

“We drove up to the state capitol at Tallahassee... From the Secretary of State's office we got the final vote totals for every candidate in the three elections held in Dade County in 1970. We copied them and brought them back home.  The first thing we did was to lay out the Tallahassee sheets on the pool table and divide them into piles. September primary, October runoff and

November final election. Then we arranged the television readouts in time sequence in order to compare the numbers that the state eventually registered as official against the projections from the television stations. We checked the totals in the Governor's race and found that an aggregate of 141,000 votes were cast on September 8th. Then we checked the runoff election held a month later and the exact same figure — 141,000 votes were cast again! ‘How is that possible?’ Ken asked, and then he answered himself, ‘It isn't. The losing candidates dropped out of the race, and whenever that happens the vote drops, too. So we checked the final election in November and found once again that 141,000 votes were cast in the Governor's race. In hockey they call that a hat trick. In politics we call it a fix.’”


“Ken was already looking for the figures on the Senate race. ‘It was a five-person contest in the primary and 122,000 votes were cast in total,’ he said. ‘Look at this! There's 122,000 votes cast in the runoff, and...’ he flipped the sheets to the finals. ‘Well, what do you know...122,000.’

Jim picked up the cue stick and smashed the white ball into the rack. He was angry and yet he marvelled at the sheer audacity of the scheme He pointed the cue at Ken.

‘Do you think the Secretary of State is involved?’

‘Hell, what about the press?’ Ken threw back.

‘If the press knew these numbers and never questioned them, then they're either stupid or collaborators.’”

Enough said: from now on, let the book speak for itself......

The reviewer, Alfred Mendes, is, according to our recorded visits, Spectre's most popular contributor.