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A left-leaning columnist raised questions about Sen. Chuck Hagel, his links to a voting machine company and the possible manipulation of votes as long as a decade ago.

Hagel now is President Obama’s nominee to be defense secretary, and columnist Thom Hartmann wrote in 2003 about his possible influence on election victories by George W. Bush and Alabama’s Republican Gov. Bob Riley.

WND reported recently on the issue concerning Hagel that has been sitting in plain sight. And Harper’s recently raised the issue as well.

The Harpers report charged the GOP “aims to paint the country red” under the headline “How to Rig an Election.”

It was Harper’s that credited Hagel with symbolically inaugurating an era of concern about election fraud.

Now an archived piece by columnist Thom Hartmann has been unearthed on The ConspiracyPlanet website concerning the handling of voting machines by private companies and procedures that “puts democracy itself at peril.”

Harpers had reported: “Hagel, an unknown millionaire who ran for one of Nebraska’s U.S. Senate seats in 1996 … trailed the popular Democratic governor, Ben Nelson, who had been elected in a landslide two years earlier. Three days before the election, however, a poll conducted by the Omaha World-Herald showed a dead heat, with 47 percent of respondents favoring each candidate. David Moore, who was then managing editor of the Gallup Poll, told the paper, ‘We can’t predict the outcome.’

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“Hagel’s victory in the general election, invariably referred to as an ‘upset,’ handed the seat to the G.O.P. for the first time in 18 years. Hagel trounced Nelson by 15 points. Even for those who had factored in the governor’s deteriorating numbers and a last-minute barrage of negative ads, this divergence from pre-election polling was enough to raise eyebrows across the nation,” Harpers continued.

“Few Americans knew that until shortly before the election, Hagel had been chairman of the company whose computerized voting machines would soon count his own votes: Election Systems & Software (then called American Information Systems). Hagel stepped down from his post just two weeks before announcing his candidacy. Yet he retained millions of dollars in stock in the McCarthy Group, which owned ES&S. And Michael McCarthy, the parent company’s founder, was Hagel’s campaign treasurer,” the report said.

The report said: “Whether Hagel’s relationship to ES&S ensured his victory is open to speculation. But the surprising scale of his win awakened a new fear among voting-rights activists and raised a disturbing question: Who controls the new technology of Election Night?”

Hartmann’s forecast of the controversy said: “If your pals run the voting machines, you can rest assured you’ll win.”

He cited reports of Hagel’s ties to ES&S.

“Maybe Nebraska Republican Chuck Hagel honestly won two U.S. Senate elections.

“Maybe it’s true that the citizens of Georgia simply decided that incumbent Democratic Senator Max Cleland, a wildly popular war veteran who lost three limbs in Vietnam, was, as his successful Republican challenger suggested in his campaign ads, too unpatriotic to remain in the Senate.

“Maybe George W. Bush, Alabama’s new Republican governor Bob Riley, and a small but congressionally decisive handful of other long-shot Republican candidates really did win those states where conventional wisdom and straw polls showed them losing in the last few election cycles.

“Perhaps, after a half-century of fine-tuning exit polling to such a science that it’s now sometimes used to verify how clean elections are in Third World countries, it really did suddenly become inaccurate in the United States in the past six years and just won’t work here anymore,” he said.

He suggested it might be “coincidence” that “the sudden rise of inaccurate exit polls happened around the same time corporate-programmed, computer-controlled, modem-capable voting machines began recording and tabulating ballots.”

Hartmann declined to respond to multiple WND requests for comment on what he thinks about Hagel at this point, but according to his blogs and Tweets, he didn’t have anything bad to say about Hagel.

“Blocking a vote on a cabinet member is unheard of, and it’s appalling that Republicans would play games with our secretary of Defense, considering we have thousands of service men and women fighting in Afghanistan,” he wrote recently.

“Supposedly, the Senate will take an up-or-down vote on Hagel’s confirmation in 10 days, after returning from a President’s Day recess. Yesterday, Sen. Lindsey Graham said he expects the vote to move forward then, ‘unless there’s some bombshell that he likes blood sucking vampires.’ Other Republicans also said they expect the confirmation to move forward at that time, which makes their filibuster of Chuck Hagel seem even more absurd.”

“You’d think in an open democracy that the government – answerable to all its citizens rather than a handful of corporate officers and stockholders – would program, repair, and control the voting machines,” he explained in his archived column. “You’d think the computers that handle our cherished ballots would be open and their software and programming available for public scrutiny. ”

But he said that’s not the case.

How do we know?

“According to Bev Harris of www.blackboxvoting.com, Hagel won virtually every demographic group, including many largely black communities that had never before voted Republican. Hagel was the first Republican in 24 years to win a Senate seat in Nebraska,” he wrote.

“Six years later Hagel ran again, this time against Democrat Charlie Matulka in 2002, and won in a landslide.”

WND’s own analysis of the 2012 election concluded vote fraud took place.

The analysis found that the fraud possibly was enough to steal the election.

“Although no single instance or aspect of vote fraud was likely enough to tip the election for Obama, the aggregate of their corrupt activities – including illegal campaign donations, taking advantage of states without voter ID requirements, military ballots delivered too late, as well as the laundry list of elements identified in this report, may well have been.”

Further, the analysis found the media provided perhaps the greatest in-kind benefit to the Obama re-election effort. The media gave Democrats an advantage of countless billions in biased reporting. It suppressed news unflattering to Democrats while exposing or even contriving stories damaging to Republicans and mischaracterizing their positions, while uncritically promoting the Democrat narrative:

  • The networks suppressed facts surrounding the Benghaz attack, leading moderate Democrat commentator Pat Caddell to label the media “the enemy of America.”
  • The mass media have been, with a few notable exceptions, largely silent on the “Fast and Furious” DOJ gunrunning scandal responsible for the deaths of two Americans and countless Mexicans. Eric Holder has been able to successfully deflect calls for an independent investigation of Fast and Furious because the media offers no pressure.
  • CBS withheld its knowledge of the Gen. David Petraeus affair until after the election to save the administration embarrassment
  • The administration withheld a damning food stamp report showing the biggest monthly increase in a year, until well after the election

Aaron Klein’s “Fool Me Twice” spells out Obama’s shocking, radical plans for the next four years

WND’s evaluation of evidence of vote fraud last year found members of the president’s team “did everything possible to rig the game in their favor.”

“They took liberties with the law Republicans would never dare attempt and obstructed voter-integrity efforts at every turn, while the vast political-media-entertainment-education-union-nonprofit complex went all in to promote Obama’s narrative.”

Democrats and their media allies also engaged in what has been described as a dishonest and “vicious” campaign to discredit the Republican nominee while steadfastly shielding the administration from its many scandals. Any of these scandals could have sunk Obama’s reelection prospects had the media reported them with the enthusiasm they showed in attacking and spreading disinformation about Romney.

Reports that were confirmed:

  • 75 GOP vote inspectors were ordered to leave Philadelphia poll locations by Democrat poll judges. One judge was caught on audio. A court order sent them back but who knows what went on while they were gone? These poll locations were all within the 59 precincts where Romney received no votes.
  • In Philadelphia, the Community Voters Project, an ACORN clone that employs some former ACORN workers, shredded Republican voter registrations. This is not the first time they have been in trouble.
  • The Florida AFL-CIO threatened True the Vote and Tampa Fair Vote with legal action for submitting voter registration challenges.
  • Maryland Rep. Elijah Cummings issued a highly publicized threat against True the Vote and Election Integrity Maryland just for checking voter rolls. EIM found 11,000 questionable registrations, including 1,566 dead voters. The Maryland Board of Elections took no action.
  • Cummings also attacked the Ohio Voter Integrity Project with the same baseless claims.
  • Think Progress falsely claimed True the Vote was “under investigation” by Rep. Cummings, when in fact he has no legal authority to do so.
  • Despite overwhelming nonpartisan public support for voter ID laws, Attorney General Eric Holder’s Justice Department and liberal jurists have delayed, emasculated or defeated ID laws in Texas, Wisconsin, South Carolina, Arizona and Pennsylvania.
  • Holder has vowed to fight voter ID laws as restricting voters’ rights.
  • The Obama administration “spiked investigations” of eight states that had major voter roll problems.
  • The Holder Justice Department conspired with Project Vote on National Voter Registration Act (aka Motor Voter) enforcement lawsuits, which force state and local agencies to become, essentially, low income voter registration drives.
  • In 2009 DOJ announced to its attorneys that it would not enforce voter roll maintenance laws because it wouldn’t increase voter turnout.

The Pew Research Center published a report showing election rolls in a shambles nationwide. It found:

  • 24 million invalid or inaccurate voter registrations
  • 1.8 million deceased voters
  • 2.75 million registered in multiple states.

Confirmed voter fraud and other abuses

Countless cases of confirmed vote fraud were reported in the recent cycle and the Obama team repeatedly rode the razor’s edge of legality in pushing voters to the polls. A few examples:

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