How can the party of rich white men who represent 21% of the electorate, the Republicans, win? What they can’t buy, they steal.
One of the first moves to disenfranchise the American people in this century occurred after the 2000 election. It was Karl Rove’s Help America Vote Act which introduced electronic voting machines. Currently four pro-Republican companies make these machines all of which contain proprietary software that the American people aren’t allowed to see. These machines don’t leave paper trails so there can be no recount. These votes are easy to flip from a car, in a drive by, usually in the dead of night. 43 states use electronic voting machines that are at least ten years old. Do you know anybody who’s using a ten year old laptop? California’s voting machines run on 2001’s Windows XP. One district in Ohio requires zip disks.
Another favored tactic is removing people from voting rolls. If you can’t win majority approval then reduce the majority. Interstate Crosscheck is once again targeting non-white voters for allegedly voting twice in at least 27 states. Double voting rarely happens. Once again Crosscheck is mismatching names and removing voters. In Kansas 23% of those removed had different middle initials. Virginia has removed 41,000 alleged double voters. Their claim is that all people with names such as Jose Gonzales, Lee Kim, John Brown, and Mohammad Mohammad are the same person traveling around and voting twice. Note the ethnic slant. Middle initials, Jr. or Senior, gender; all are ignored as voters are removed to better assure a Republican victory. 7,000,000 voters may be effected.
Then there’s voter IDs. In North Carolina an estimated 600,000 people do not have voter ids. New Hampshire requires poll workers to photograph voters. Once the Voting Rights Act was struck down in 2013 in a 5 to 4 Supreme Court ruling, 16 states, including all of the South, began requiring voter IDs. This legislation was designed by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). Once Georgia began requiring driver’s licenses to vote they shut down all the DMVs in black majority districts. Since then one DMV is open in one district one day a month. Strict voter id laws have reduced Latino votes by 10.8 points and African-American votes by 8.5 points.
Voter caging is when an organization sends registered mail to perceived unfriendly registered voters. The mail is returned undelivered. The mailers use the list of undeliverable mail to challenge voters’ right to vote. Cagers know that poor people and students move frequently. This also eliminates absentee ballots from military personnel overseas.
Other common methods for stealing your vote include changing polling places last minute, eliminating same day registration and early voting, reducing the number of polls in targeted districts, gerrymandering, changing multi-lingual voter assistance, challenging voters right to vote, creating new elections and even cancelling elections.
If you find you’ve been removed from voting rolls you will be offered a provisional ballot. Provisional ballots are offered but not necessarily counted; indeed most are not. Mailed in ballots are known to show up in dumpsters. Once someone has been denied the right to vote they rarely try again and the Republican voter disenfranchisement scam succeeds.
What can we do? As a society we can automatically register voters when they turn 18, print and post voter lists prior to elections outside the polls, make Election Day a holiday and provide free public transportation to the polls, and use 100% paper ballots with mandatory recounts. As individuals we should bring our official Voter Notification with us to the polls and vote in person. Demand a paper ballot and vote early so that if there are problems you have time to rectify them and reject provisional ballots. Treat your right to vote as a sacred right and demand it be upheld. Vote like the future depends upon it, ‘cause it does.
Sources: Billionaires & Bandits © 2012 Greg Palest, Mother Jones Jan/Feb 2016, Democracy Now 1/25/16, Flashpoints 2/1/16, Upfront 2/9/16, KPFA evening news 2/20/16, gregpalast.com 6/1/15, southernocaltion.org, citylab.com 6/28/13, readersupportednews.org 2/5/16
Rebel Fagin writes for the Sonoma County Peace Press and gcml.org