As of this writing, Votescam is entering its third
Since its publication eight years ago, the major
bookstores have banned its display, it has been removed from the index of
the Library of Congress, and falsely rumored to be out of print. What Votescam
has not been is refuted, discredited, or for that matter, denied. In fact,
it has been read by well over 30,000 people who continue to circulate the
book by word of mouth. It is, without a doubt, one of the most dangerous
and important books still in circulation in America.
As usual, the silence on the part of the accused
is deafening. To ignore this book is their only line of defense, and an effective
one at that, when coupled with a total Media blackout. For the record, there
has also been no Federal investigation into the charges of vote fraud brought
forth in Votescam, or into the evidence of vote fraud currently being compiled
But after you read "Votescam," this will not surprise
My father, James Collier, and my uncle, Kenneth
Collier, were America's lead investigators into vote fraud for twenty five
years. No longer. They have both died, leaving all of us with the legacy
of this book, and the questions raised by their unfinished investigation.
Most Americans are at least partially aware of the
myriad of ways our elections system is currently corrupted; from the obvious
inequities of campaign financing, to jerrymandering, minority intimidation
at the polls, absentee ballot fraud and the numerous twist and turns on the
path where a ballot can be ambushed in secret. And certainly none of us are
blind to the spectacle of bald-faced election-year lying, now standard strategy
for the successful Establishment politician. It seems that nothing has rendered
the competition for public office more meaningless than the candidates
The tawdry parade of an American election is fast
becoming tiresome to most of us, with its worn-out floats, plastic candidates,
and hollow patriotism. But we follow it anyway, because its the only parade
in town which ends at the threshold of the voting booth.
The fact that we can do this one thing--cast a vote--is,
for better or worse, what keeps this entire country from exploding into chaos.
This single act defines our politics, whether we show up to do it or not,
and many of us don't anymore. Just the fact that it is allowed, even encouraged,
is enough to soothe us, assuage us, and convince us that indeed this is a
Democracy. It also assures us that all mistakes made in Washington are really
our own, and can be traced back to We the People. That keeps the brewing
frustration and anger safely on the streets and in the homes, where the
government wants it.
But of course, this is not a Democracy. And we know
that, even if some of us only sense it intuitively. When we rest our eyes
upon Washington, we all feel a little sick. We all feel the need to turn
away. It's why so many of us don't vote anymore, even though they're begging
us to. We might not know why, exactly, but we feel that it just doesn't matter
whether we vote or not. And of course, this is true.
Let's take a lesson from Stalin who said, "Those
who cast the vote decide nothing, those who count the vote decide everything."
Who counts your vote?
Democrat, Republican, Third Party, Green Party--it
doesn't matter. Once the vote is cast, it is delivered, untraceable, into
the hands of the faceless corporations running America's complex political
machine. Whatever corruption takes place after that is better concealed than
the voters themselves behind their curtains.
The questions that Votescam asks begin there.
Why was control of the national American vote abdicated
by the Senate and secretly transferred to a little known private company?
Why are American citizens denied key information on how their vote is counted?
Is there an answer that might absolve of wrongdoing all who have played a
part in this transfer of power? Or is Votescam's premise really true, and
the entire electoral process in this country is no more than a charade, a
tired script written and performed only by people with varying levels of
We can assume that not every person involved in politics,
especially at the lower levels, understands the extent to which our vote
is corrupted. The mechanics of the electoral process differ from state to
state and often appear to be deliberately confusing. Many of the people employed
by the system are likely ignorant as to how it's supposed to work, let alone
how it's manipulated, and by whom.
But, as Votescam illustrates, complicity can be
found in unlikely places. The villains are not always lurking in the alley,
often they're smiling at you from a respectable desk. Nor is complicity always
sinister. It doesn't take a psychologist to understand how easy it is to
motivate someone to rig a high-stake game, given the opportunity. Especially
if they've convinced themselves it's in everyone's best interest. Particularly
So, the significant question remains: Who knows
what, and when did they know it? Who exactly , within the vast elections
complex, are the culpable individuals? Who can explain what has been done
to our system? Who must be brought to justice?
As Jim and Ken discovered, we can count on
the Establishment Media to never, ever ask those questions.
That leaves it up to us, the tax paying citizens
of America. Who among us will do it? Who is courageous enough? Who cares
enough? Whose sense of justice is so deeply ingrained that they won't hesitate
to stand up and demand honesty from their own government, their own people?
It's not so easy. We're tired, we're busy, and we're
scared. We're afraid of our government. We feel powerless, and with good
reason. But most of all, we don't want to be called crazy.
Jim and Ken weren't immune to any of this. They were
scared, and they were vilified, and sometimes they lost hope. And sometimes
they lost more than that.
In 1988 Ken was already nearly paralyzed with cancer.
His wife had left him, taken their daughter, and moved to Australia to escape
the trauma and danger of his political crusade. But the crusade had reaped
no rewards. The vote fraud investigation had led him only deeper into
Washington's dark labyrinth, a lonely, thankless journey, apparently leading
He had already lost his family to his cause, and
it looked like the cause was lost, too. Dozens of boxes filled his room.
They were stuffed full of government files, bureaucratic memo's, court documents,
newspaper articles--twenty years worth of investigation, desperation, and
betrayal--all he and Jim had left.
Ken was deep in depression, and he knew he was dying.
Often it was hard to tell if he was paralyzed by the disease or the despair.
It was a deep, black pit.
Jim nursed him, swearing to him that it wasn't over.
There was still one more move to make--the book, Votescam, had to be written.
Jim stared deep into his brothers eyes and warned him, with no mercy, that
unless he completed this one final task, he would die with nothing. He would
never be vindicated in this life. The investigation, the sacrifices, the
past twenty years, would amount to a total loss, and the boys in the White
House wouldn't even bother to laugh last.
Jim wanted to write the book. For him, the fight
wasn't over, and Votescam was his only move. But he knew that without Ken's
great talent, his fine literary mind, his poetry, Votescam would read like
an FBI file. He also hoped that writing the book would fuel Ken's fire, lift
him out of the pit, keep him alive. And it did.
Ken knew that Jim was right. There had to be a testament,
the story of their investigation had to be told. He was no fool, he knew
nobody with anything to lose would ever publish it. But he also knew that
the power of a book, once unleashed, had a life of it's own. Whether Votescam
would become the catalyst of revolution and change the course of history,
or fall through the cracks and disappear, was a matter of destiny. Who reads
the book, when, and why, would inevitably decide its course. It might sweep
through the political world immediately, like a sudden wild fire. Or it might
lie dormant for years, only to be taken up as a sword by a new generation
of furious, disenfranchised Americans.
He could not control that game of chance, he could
only get it started. But first, they had to sort through all of those
Ken died in 1990, leaving Jim with a 500 page rough
draft of a story probably nobody would ever believe, and without a partner
for the first time in over 40 years.
I was with Jim when he got the news. We were sitting
in a Chinese restaurant on the west side of New York City. I was 14 years
old, I had never been to New York, and I was wide-eyed, my nose pressed to
the plate glass window. I turned to Jim and was shocked to see him sitting
quietly and calm, as he usually did, but with tears rolling down his face.
He never cried.
That was our first day in New York. We had just pulled
into town, after driving cross-country from California for fifteen days.
He had called Ken to tell him we made it, but Ken was gone.
Votescam was born in a little apartment on the 37th
floor of a skyscraper in Manhattan, with a view of the World Trade Center,
the Harbor and the Statue of Liberty. Jim and my mother, Phylis, struggled
to edit Ken's manuscript, working long hours into the night, writing, arguing,
rewriting. In the end, the decision was made to write the whole story, including
their personal lives, which Jim understood was a risk considering how radical
he and Ken had been during those years. Their presence in the book drove
the story forward and added a personal dimension that is not only entertaining,
Jim was proud of the book. He and Phylis created
Victoria House Press to publish it, and watched triumphantly as it was accepted
into the major chain bookstores, all the newspaper and magazine stands in
New York City, and Trovers bookstore in Washington D.C. where, along with
Barnes and Noble in NYC's East Village, it was given a window display. Then,
when word reached the higher levels of authority that Votescam was on the
stands, Jim and Phylis watched as their book suddenly disappeared--off the
shelf, out of the window. Gone.
Well, Jim hadn't come this far for nothing. Victoria
House Press continued to make Votescam available, and America's alternative
media advertised it. In that way, the word spread. For six years Jim manned
the talk radio lines and navigated speaking tours across the country, sometimes
meeting in the homes of working-class activists who had gathered in the
traditional "grange" fashion to discuss what to do about their besieged
Votescam's readers have been for the most part educated,
hard-working, blue and white-collar, patriotic Americans--angry members of
a dwindling class of people who still believe in the Constitution, salute
the flag, and haven't forgotten that eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.
But working is the price of living, and they don't have much time left to
start a revolution. They looked to Jim for that.
Jim decided to start the revolution where the story
began. In 1998 he moved back to Miami, the home of his nemesis Janet Reno
who had him arrested all those years before. Much to the excitement of local
activists, he had resurrected the well-known newspaper the Miami News and
planned to use it as a weapon against infamous Miami corruption. It's likely
that this kind of bold attack right in the belly of the beast would have
gotten him into more danger than he had been in yet. His two front page stories
were devastating political timebombs, with a wealth of insider information.
But the newspaper never hit the stands. Jim fell
suddenly ill, days before going to print. Unable to eat, rushed to the hospital,
he was operated on and diagnosed with advanced, incurable, pancreatic
Jim was a blackbelt and a master chess player, he
never backed down from a challenge. But this particular opponent was fast
and furious, took all the low shots, and was always one move ahead. Jim couldn't
beat it. After five months, he bowed out of the ring, and went to meet up
again with Ken. And, as they said in Votescam, that was that.
Or so I thought.
Suddenly our phone was ringing, and continued to
ring as the news of his death spread. I didn't know it, but to many people,
Jim was more than just a knowledgeable investigator. He was a hero.
I hadn't expected to find myself comforting strangers
over the telephone. I knew how difficult the years of investigation had been,
and the vilification he had faced every step of the way, but I didn't know
my father had been so respected for his work, how deeply he had impressed
so many by endangering himself to expose the truth. It was never anything
extraordinary for him. Like all dedicated activists, his sense of justice
came naturally, he defended it without hesitation.
I was touched, and moved deeply by the phone calls.
I had been mourning Jim as my father for so long, I had forgotten his other
role in the world. In fact, I had been caring for Jim for all those months
and I had forgotten the world altogether. But the world was about to make
Two months after he died, our phone began to ring
again, this time with anxious, ecstatic citizens searching for Jim, asking
if he had seen the ABC Web-site. Apparently ABC had posted the results of
the off-year election on their Homepage-- the day before the election.
It was like that wild-fire Ken had dreamed of. The
people were furious. Was the work of a whistle-blower? Talk-show telephones
were ringing, the Internet was besieged with demands for an explanation.
Finally, Sam Donaldson announced he would be presiding over a live chat that
evening to discuss what ABC was already calling a definite mistake.
I was in the chat room that night as Donaldson explained
that the page of posted results was a sample page, just to see how the vote
results would look on their Website the next day. Got that?
The people were incredulous, and I immediately began
inserting information about Votescam, but my comments were soon censored.
I couldn't get one word on that screen. In short order, Donaldson directed
the conversation neatly away from the matter at hand and onto the election
Citizens who kept track of ABC's "test" results and
compared them with the next day's "real" results, reported that ABC had called
each race perfectly, over 90% of the time. Some of the numbers, of course,
they had changed, for appearances.
And that was that.
Jim and Ken were not the first to discover an important
fact, namely that Democracy in America works fine, as long as you don't challenge
the status quo. American citizens are free to vote in an election, as long
as they don't demand to know how their vote is counted, or whether it serves
as anything beside demographics for the people who are already in power.
My father and uncle joined the long list of Americans
who have encountered, in various forms, the entrenched nature of our power
structure. The System, as we call it. This System is more than willing to
persecute its own citizens if necessary, to kill them when there is no other
choice, or when it simply needs to get the message across clearly: The People
are not in control.
But let's be honest with ourselves, it has always
been this way! Things aren't really getting worse, Democracy is not dead
by any means. It has simply never existed in this country. The only thing
that has existed is our right to demand it, to fight for it, to die for it,
to protect the ideal. That we believe it is a guarantee is already our biggest
mistake. We are raising a whole new generation of Americans who believe a
lie. Will they know how to stand up for the truth when the time comes?
More than ever before, we are in the position to
fulfill the real American dream--not the consumer nightmare that we're being
sold now, but the dream of a rich and free country of healthy and educated
people living in peace, with each other and the land. People who elect their
leaders thoughtfully, and remove them promptly when they fail them.
Simple? Yes. Impossible? Right now. But we can change
that. First we need to be educated, then we need to continue asking questions
and demanding answers. We absolutely cannot be afraid to expose the truth.
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