Cover For Vote Rigging Since 1964?
by Lynn Landes
The news networks don't just report election news, they create it. But do they also conspire to control election results?
Voter News Service (VNS) is a top-secret private consortium owned by ABC News, The Associated Press, CBS News, CNN, Fox News, and NBC News. It's current headquarters is in Brooklyn, New York. It's been around (under different names) since 1964. It's the only company whose exit poll results are used by the news media to announce the "projected" winners in races for the president, U.S. House and Senate, state governors, and select races.
By 1964, computers were used to predict election outcomes, as well as to count votes on "punch cards." With the use of computerized vote counters and the news networks exclusive control over polling data in major elections, the gates to election fraud were wide open. Computerized voting machines have now made election fraud as easy as stealing candy from a baby.
So how could VNS help rig an election? VNS could conspire with corrupt government officials and crooked voting machine companies (whose reputation for fraud and "error" grows with every election) to come up with projections that closely mirror the expected election results. Then all that's needed is some 'tweaking' in targeted precincts where voting data can be manipulated, voting machines rigged ....and elections swung. VNS follows through with its de facto certification of election results that have already been fixed. If someone suspects vote rigging, there's always VNS to say that the results match their projections.
And with no oversight, who's to know?
This scenario did not originate in my imagination. The authors of Votescam, The Stealing of America, James and Kenneth Collier (both deceased) chronicled vote rigging from 1970 to 1992, that followed a similar scheme. The Colliers also included government officials, such as employees of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), as players in this decades-old scam. Media critics have long complained about an unethical relationship between the CIA and the news networks.
Most people believe that the networks compete to be the first to announce the "projected" election night winners. And the networks do their best to create that impression. But they haven't competed since 1964.
However, VNS officials are still trying to obscure their lengthy history. On February 14, 2001, in testimony before Congressman Billy Tauzin's (LA) Committee on Energy and Commerce, VNS executive director, Ted Savaglio, said that the networks first got together in 1990 and that VNS was created in 1993. The name "Voter News Service" was created in 1993, and new members have come on board over the years. But the original group of news networks has collaborated since 1964. They used two different names - News Election Services and Voter Research and Survey - before becoming VNS.
In a telephone interview I had with long-time VNS communications director, Lee C. Sharpio, she agreed to the 1964 date. But that's about all she would reveal. There is no transparency to VNS. Shapiro will not tell you how big their budget is, nor who hires the 46,000 people she claims they use on election night to collect exit polling data, nor will she give you any proof that these 46,000 employees exist...no phone logs, no emails lists, no documents to prove that they do what they say they do. Shapiro would not let me talk to any employee of VNS's regular staff of 30. She says that VNS will not let anyone witness their operations on election night nor would she disclose its location. VNS has no website and a very uninformative brochure.
Undeterred, I placed a direct call to VNS's current executive director, Ted Savaglio. I left a message, but he hasn't returned my call.
Bill Headline was VNS's executive director during the notorious 2000 Bush - Gore presidential election. According to information on a University of Miami webpage, Headline started his career as an Air Intelligence Officer in the U.S. Navy from 1955 to 1957. Seven years later, in 1964, he was hired at CBS where "as a member of Louis Harris and Associates, he directed field research and vote collection activities for CBS coverage of the 1964 Presidential elections." From there his career skyrocketed to Senior Vice President of CBS News, CNN Vice President, and past President of the Radio/Television Correspondents' Association.
Very impressive... but something may also be... very wrong. Victoria Collier (daughter of James Collier) interviewed Headline before he retired from VNS. She was shocked at how nervous he sounded over the telephone. I telephoned Headline the other day and left a message asking for information about Voter News Service, what he did between 1957-1964, and if he ever had a working relationship with the CIA or any other intelligence agency. He hasn't returned my call.
If VNS is helping to rig elections, why are they doing it? Generally speaking... I believe that the same people who can't rake in enough money, also can't get enough power. The news networks are owned lock, stock, and barrel by the richest corporations and individuals in the world. They certainly have an agenda. Their arrogance and disregard for the little guy is clear. They may think that we're not smart enough to pick the 'right' kind of leaders... right for them, that is. So they might try to do it for us.
Voter News Service warrants an investigation. Its operations should be shut down regardless. It's in a perfect position to sabotage the election process. Let the counties count the vote and report it to the states. If it takes a day or two for the states to report the results... so be it. Democracy takes time.
Meanwhile, we should bring back hand-counted paper ballots and use computerized voting machines for confirmation purposes only. If we don't take these precautions, we may continue to have our corporate-owned media, corrupt government officials, and crooked voting machine companies electing our leaders for us.
Lynn Landes is a freelance journalist specializing in environmental issues. She writes a weekly column which is published on her website www.EcoTalk.org and reports environmental news for DUTV in Philadelphia, PA. Lynn's been a radio show host and a regular commentator for a BBC radio program.
Links & Info:
Voter News Service (VNS), 45 Main Street, Brooklyn NY, 11201 Ph: 718-694-2350