June 18, 2008
Every election cycle in the U.S. there are votes that never get counted –but not because of computer glitches on paperless voting machines, as if often assumed. The computer glitches happen and no paper trail is there to give silent evidence of the missing votes. Much energy has been devoted to replacing paperless voting machines with systems that have a voter verified paper record without also considering the other source of missing votes.
What am I talking about? What other type of missing vote is there besides the ones lost inside the electronic world of computerized voting machines? The answer, of course is that the other type of votes that never get counted are the ones that never get cast. Tragically millions of votes are never cast in jurisdictions across America each election cycle for a wide variety of reasons –partisan dirty tricks, voter suppression, voter intimidation, purged voting rolls, misinformation campaigns targeted at certain groups of voters, or simply voting machine shortages in inner city precincts. It is these uncounted votes that never show up in the winning (or losing) margin but in close races can mean the difference between victory or defeat. Read the rest of this entry »
February 18, 2008
Looks like the election results in New York will be revised with Barack Obama possible gaining in his delegate count.
Black voters are heavily represented in the 94th Election District in Harlem’s 70th Assembly District. Yet according to the unofficial results from the New York Democratic primary last week, not a single vote in the district was cast for Senator Barack Obama.
That anomaly was not unique. In fact, a review by The New York Times of the unofficial results reported on primary night found about 80 election districts among the city’s 6,106 where Mr. Obama supposedly did not receive even one vote, including cases where he ran a respectable race in a nearby district. http://tinyurl.com/38a6r5
The above report in the NYT caused much alarm across the country — with many folks suggesting that there was some chicanery on the part of Clinton supporters in her home state. In fact, the explanation offered by Doug Kellner of the New York State Board of Elections is much more plausible: Read the rest of this entry »
November 6, 2007
Until Greg Palast wrote about voter caging in Florida during the 2000 election cycle, it was a practice that was under the radar of voting rights activists. Reporting for the BBC Palast exposed this ugly voter suppression tool in 2004 in Florida, Pennsylvania and Ohio. That is not to suggest that voter caging did not exist elsewhere, just that the best documentation on this practice exists for those three states.
Now John Kerry, the Democratic Presidential nominee in 2004, who lost Ohio due to voter caging and other dirty voter suppression tricks, has stepped forward as lead sponsor on a bill to outlaw voter caging. Joining Kerry in co-sponsoring the Caging Prohibition Act are 12 other Democratic Senators including Presidential candidates Dodd, Obama and Clinton.
One might recall a recent incident where a college student was tasered after asking John Kerry whether he had read Greg Palast’s book “Armed Madhouse.” Lost in the discussion of whether the student should have been tasered, was Kerry’s answer to the student’s question: the junior senator from Massachusetts said that he had indeed read the book. Based on his introduction of this latest bill to ban voter caging, it would appear that Kerry decided to take action on what he learned from Palast’s book. Read the rest of this entry »
November 4, 2007
There was an interesting post on Firedoglake (one of my favorite sites) this week about the pending nomination of Hans von Spakovsky to the Federal Elections Commission (FEC). Christy Hardin Smith is speculating that this nomination may be in more trouble than has been publicly known.
For those who haven’t been following the career of Hans, here is the eloquent condemnation by the marvelous Christy at http://www.firedoglake.com/2007/10/28/hans-down/#more-12542
Try von Spakovsky sockpuppeting an article about voter suppression in violation of DOJ rules while he was still an employee there ostensibly working on civil rights issues. Or how about participating in an effort to disenfranchise elderly Native American voters in Arizona on a technicality rather than working to find a way to support their right to vote. Or the entire gaming the system for The Math scheme at the DOJ. Or that a number of his subordinates at the DOJ wrote in to the Senate to say that von Spakovsky has neither the ethical underpinnings nor the commitment to voting integrity that should not be gamed for political purposes to be anywhere near the FEC. And there is so much more: see Digby and Adam at ePluribusMedia, for starters.
Christy was responding to ominous Washington Post musings suggesting that the end of the sky was falling (or something equally dire) if the four nominees for the FEC (including the infamous voter suppression specialist von Spakovsky) were not immediately confirmed. Why, the FEC would be unable to function with only the two current members … it would be short-staffed (gasp of shock). So the Senate should rush right out and confirm the whole bunch — whadya waiting for, folks — hurry, scurry — get it done.
This ignores what Christy rightly calls
the odor of political gaming of voter’s rights that eminates from von Spakovsky’s long record of partisan action
Hans von Spakovsky should not be given a six year appointment to any agency having anything to do with elections, including the FEC.
“This is the first nomination that the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights has ever opposed,” said Wade Henderson, the group’s president. He said he thinks that von Spakovsky would “use his role at the FEC to make it more difficult for voters to exercise their franchise.”…
Because of concerns about von Spakovsky’s track record on voter suppression, Senators Feingold and Obama have both placed holds on the nominations of the block of four current nominees. Because of a “deal” the four nominations (2 Democrats and 2 Republicans) are set to be voted on as a block rather than individually. This “all or nothing” approach would prevent von Spakovsky from getting an up-or-down vote on his own (de)merits.
The block should be busted and each nominee should get a vote on their own record. Then there would be accountability. Then the U.S. Senate would be exercising their true “advise and consent” function under the Constitution. Hans von Spakovsky should be denied a free pass and be voted down based on his record.