In all, 5,901,814 legitimate votes and voters were tossed out of the count in 2008. In ’12 it will be worse. Way worse.
The ‘9 Easy Steps’
1 Purging is the use by partisan election officials of computer databases that identify voter characteristics (race, ethnicity, residence location, etc) to remove from registration rolls names of persons likely to be sympathetic to the “wrong” political party. Plausible pretexts for the removals are sometimes offered, but often not. Purging is what Katherine Harris did to tens of thousands of Florida voters in 2000, claiming the mostly black voters were felons when they were not.
2 Caging is the mailing of do-not-forward, first-class letters to selected groups and using letters returned as ‘evidence’ that voters’ listed addresses are fraudulent. Partisan election officials can then strike the voters’ names from registration rolls and/or throw out their mail-in ballots. This can happen en masse to military people serving overseas and voting absentee from their home addresses. Likewise to students away at school, and even to voters whose addresses on registration rolls contain fatal typos made, accidentally of course, by election data entry workers.
3 Spoiling is accomplished in a variety of ways. A famous one is to put punched-card voting setups in districts tending to the “wrong” party. Then disqualify all votes where the voter did not manage to punch the hole all the way through, as in the infamous “hanging chads” in Florida in 2000.
4 Prestidigitizing is accomplished using computerized “black box” voting machines. These machines are notoriously subject to sophisticated, vote-changing “hacking”, but a great deal of damage is effected just by “glitches”, where the machines simply fail to record votes. This is taken advantage of, in the simplest case, by placing the oldest, least reliable machines in “wrong party” precincts.
5 Tossing is the fate of many/most provisional ballots. A wrongfully-purged voter, challenged at the polls, is given a provisional ballot. When the registration is checked later, the original, bogus, reason for purging is found, and the ballot is tossed. There is no arrangement for seeking out and correcting invalid purgings.
6 Rejecting happens to mail-in ballots when partisan election officials can find pretexts, often trivial, for not recording them. An ‘X’ in a box instead of a filled-in box box, for example, or a stray mark in some inconsequential place. Or simply “losing” the ballot outright. Best part is, the voter never learns what happened.
7 Blocking registration, in its simplest form, is exactly that — partisan election officials turn down registration applications, selectively, sometimes without telling the voter. To save officials the trouble of doing even that, walls are being put in place to keep registration forms from being submitted at all. Florida, for example, instituted registration rules so picky, with penalties so severe, that groups carrying out registration drives, like the League of Women Voters, were pushed to the sidelines in that state.
8 Ejecting voters when they show up to vote is done most prominently by requiring state-approved photo ID. Some IDs, like gun-owners’ licenses, may be approved, while others, such as food stamp photo IDs, are not. In the June 2012 Wisconsin gubernatorial recall election, state-issued student IDs were rejected, a fact that, by itself, may have altered the outcome.
9 Stuffing boxes with phony ballots, or diddling with the count behind the scenes, is the old-fashioned way to steal elections. It is still deployed, and the computerized “black box” voting machines open new vistas, often with no means whatever for doing a definitive recount.
The Republican Party could steal the 2012 US Presidential election with relative ease.The purpose of this book is to show how, and to dissect the larger — potentially fatal — warning signs for American democracy, no matter which corporate party is doing the stealing.Six basic factors make this year’s theft a possibility:
1.The power of corporate money, now vastly enhanced by the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens’ United decisions;
2.The Electoral College, which narrows the number of votes needed to be moved to swing a presidential election;
3.The systematic disenfranchisement of — according to the Brennan Center — ten million or more citizens (a million in Ohio alone), most of whom would otherwise be likely to vote Democratic;
4.The accelerating use of electronic voting machines, which make election theft a relatively simple task for those who control them, including their owners and operators, who are predominantly Republican;
5.The GOP control of nine of the governorships in the dozen swing states that will decide the outcome of the 2012 campaign; and,
6.The likelihood that the core of the activist ‘election protection’ community that turned out in droves to monitor the vote for Barack Obama in 2008 has not been energized by his presidency and is thus unlikely to work for him again in 2012.”
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Mike Lofgren, The Party Is Over: How Republicans Went Crazy, Democrats Became Useless, and the Middle Class Got Shafted (Viking Adult, 2012)
Hedrick Smith, Who Stole the American Dream? (Random House, 2012)