Thursday, September 27, 2012

Real Monsters At The Voting Booth

Over the last day or two, increasingly positive and legitimately confirmed poll numbers have been rolling in from virtually every legitimate pollster and poll aggregator about all kinds of political contests across America. We even noted it yesterday. While we emotionally embrace this numerical reflection of what we're seeing in our various locations around the country, the fact is, our staff has been feeling a bit like actors in a horror movie - waiting for the other shoe to drop, as the ugly monster rears its head again.

That monster, in case you've forgotten, was the disastrous election of 2000, in the very county where we now have our South Florida location. After the Supreme Court stopped the ballot counting in Florida, and declared George W. Bush the winner, ballots were still recounted. As the Federal Election Commission's final tally has proven for years now, Al Gore actually won the most votes of most Americans in the 2000 election.

That miscarriage of justice lead to some of the worst economic, military, and social disasters in our nation's history. It also gave those on the right, from the Karl Rove school of politics, a warped kind of encouragement. Because they got away with it in 2000, the right-wing extremists now seem to believe that anything is acceptable, in the service of winning - up to and including gaming the spirit of American elections, if not election laws.

Sadly, a similar kind of Rovian monster is exactly the one right wing extremists are attempting to revive in the voting booth again this year, through tactics like voter suppression and voter intimidation.

Even though multiple studies have proven voter impersonation and associated fraud is virtually non-existent, forces from the extreme political right have continued to desperately push voter ID laws to prevent voter impersonation. While many voter ID laws have already been struck down this year, a major battle in Pennsylvania - a very important battleground state - is continuing today. The fact is, voter ID laws only really serve to suppress the votes of minority, urban, and young voters, along with a specific subset of older voters. From college students to snowbirds, thanks to the efforts of heavily biased right-wing partisans, millions of legitimately registered and legal American citizens may not be able to vote this fall - which election law experts say may put any final election tally in jeopardy this year.

It gets worse.

Some governors, like Florida's Republican Governor Rick Scott, have attempted mass voter purges, trying to push thousands of legitimate voters off the voter rolls. Like the voter ID laws, these voter purges have fallen significantly more on groups like minorities, college students, and snowbirds - all groups that tend to vote heavily Democratic. Even today, Gov. Scott is once again attempting to pursue yet another voter purge, 40 days away from the election, while he and the state of Florida are being investigated for fraudulent actions on this matter by the Justice Department.

Finally, there is the ugliest anti-voting tactic, voter intimidation. An extremist right-wing group called 'True The Vote' has been training millions of Americans in the tactics of voter intimidation and voter challenges, for use on voting day. Once again, these same monsters are targeting areas that are occupied primarily by minorities and college kids.

The goal for all these tactics is simple. If the Republican Party can't win the election with better candidates, they will try to steal it - just as they did in 2000.

Until the votes have all been counted, the voting results are in - and the counting machines have been proven not to be rigged - we simply do not trust that those on the extreme political right will not attempt to do everything they can, up to and including stealing the election from the American people.

This monster ain't over by a long shot, folks.

1 comment:

  1. It goes deeper than what's been reported so far.

    The pretextual "hunt for voter fraud" goes beyond registration purging and poll watchers. In states where poll watchers are more heavily regulated, True the Vote and their affiliates/allies are recruiting and training people to be actual election judges. One organizer went so far as to say "Being an election judge is even better than being a poll watcher as you are actually running the election."

    So do you think that driver's license makes your vote safe?

    Any liquor store clerk knows how easy it is to get a fake. Do we expect TTV not to be aware of this fact in their training? Does the state provide adequate guidance for election judges in determining whether an ID's picture sufficiently matches the person staning before them? What about the signature matching requirements?

    These subjective judgment calls concerning a person's right to vote a regular ballot may end up in the hands of someone trained to be paranoid rather than reasonably vigilant. See http://www.ragingwisdom.com/?p=1146 for some of the flaws in Ohio's laws protecting voters on election day.