July 31, 2010
Right now there’s a lot of hype, hoopla and hyperventilating about the nominating process of one of Oregon’s minor parties, the “Independent Party.” Party leaders called it a “primary” and the media has followed suit.
Political commentators and executives from the private company that conducted the tally using proprietary software are all breathlessly predicting that this is the future of voting and pointing to scattered examples where online voting has been used elsewhere, not always with complete success (that’s the subject of another post, which I’ve partially addressed in a discussion about Hawaii’s low-turnout experiment in 2008). Read the rest of this entry »
June 20, 2010
On the June 17 edition of “Countdown”, Keith Olbermann interviewed The Nation magazine’s Senior Editor, Chris Hays, in a segment about the Democratic Senate Primary in South Carolina. In the course of the conversation Hays pointed out that the only reason there has any attention paid to the surprise victory of Alvin Greene is because he had no money.
If you think about it, there is an implicit assumption in most discussions about Greene that money brings success in politics and most commentators seem bemused by election results where the candidate with the most campaign cash actually lost.
This is not a case of black vs white, as in complexion, but a matter of green, as in cash. It is disheartening to realize that the green of campaign dollars has so clouded our electoral system that we automatically assume that a candidate without access to gobs of cash will surely lose. Read the rest of this entry »
June 19, 2010
This post is not about the rock group of that was famous for innovative virtuoso guitar work and political activism, although they might well join the the chorus of outraged denunciation of the unreliable paperless voting machines used in South Carolina.
Just how bad could the voting machines in SC be?
Answer: really, really, really bad. Flaky. Unreliable. Not ready for prime time. In fact, it’s laughable that a country with our technological knowhow would be relying on these machines to count our votes. Read the rest of this entry »
May 5, 2010
A new law in the UK has made a late surge in voter registration possible and at the same time made the task of prognosticators and pollsters trying to predict likely election results much more difficult. This new law set the deadline for voter registration the eleventh day of the campaign. Previously on one could add his or her name to the electoral roll once a general election had officially been called by the Prime Ministers.
This has led to an enormous increase in voter registration across the United Kingdom. Pre-election polling shows the three parties locked in a tight race with no party favored to gain a governing majority. A large pool of new voters can only increase the unpredictability as UK voters go to the polls to choose a new Prime Minister. After 13 years of Labor Party rule it seems likely that change is in the air. It is uncertain what form this change will take. Read the rest of this entry »
December 24, 2009
… paging William Shatner … where is “Captain Kirk” when he’s needed? (Putting hand over eyes and squinting into the distance) Hope he’s not too busy being “Priceline Negotiator” to take on this new role that exactly fits his talents. What new role, you might ask?
Well, I’ll tell you: a reprise of his Letterman appearance featuring bongos, a tall stool and black turtleneck sweater – but with a brand new script. Not that old Palin resignation stuff (that’s so last summer!). But a little rhyme by Gregg Levine over at FireDogLake.com about the health care reform spectacle in Congress. Levine does a masterful job of tying the corrupting power of money to the legislative process in the Capitol.
Since Shatner is not available right here and now, we’ll have to make do with making a mental YouTube (aka using our collective imagination) to make this happen. So visualize a black-turtlenecked Shatner propped against a tall stool on a darkened stage. The bongos start. Then Shatner begins reciting the following rhyme. Read the rest of this entry »
August 25, 2009
Instead of hiring the fox to guard the chicken coop, why not hire him to give advice on chicken coop security? That seems to be the attitude behind the appointment of voter suppression guru Hans Von Spakovsky to an advisory position in Virginia. http://www.virginiafreepress.org/2009/07/11/vote-suppression-expert-spakovsky-about-to-be-confirmed-in-volunteer-civil-rights-post/
The U.S. Civil Rights Commission apparently couldn’t find another way to keep Von Spakovsky involved in his favorite pastime — finding ingenious new ways to keep minority voters (especially Democratic-leaning ones) from exercising their rights at the ballot box. Read the rest of this entry »
July 4, 2009
I get frustrated by those who see CIA conspiracies lurking under every rock and hiding in the shrubbery every time there is an international incident. The recent situations in Iran and Honduras are both prime examples of this kind of thinking. Read the rest of this entry »
June 22, 2009
The sign says it all: “Where is my vote?”
Throughout the ongoing street marches in Iran the sign eloquently expresses the underlying sense of many Iranians that their votes were simply not counted. Their voices at the ballot box were not heard.
One marcher eloquently expressed the feelings of many as she was interviewed on TV: “There was so much energy for Mousavi — we knew he was winning.” Read the rest of this entry »
June 21, 2009
Shocking admission of election fraud from Iran’s Guardian Council: in at least 50 cities more votes were recorded in the reported tally than there where eligible voters. They estimate that at least 3 million of the 40 million plus votes cast in Iran’s recent presidential election are impacted by this finding. The Guardian Council published its conclusions on the Iranian government website: http://www.presstv.ir/detail.aspx?id=98711§ionid=351020101
The council’s Spokesman Abbas-Ali Kadkhodaei, who was speaking on the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) Channel 2 on Sunday, made the remarks in response to complaints filed by Mohsen Rezaei — a defeated candidate in the June 12 Presidential election.
“Statistics provided by Mohsen Rezaei in which he claims more than 100% of those eligible have cast their ballot in 170 cities are not accurate — the incident has happened in only 50 cities,” Kadkhodaei said. Read the rest of this entry »
September 14, 2008
We all thought/hoped that Jim Crow was buried once and for all with the passage of the 1965 Voting RIghts Act and subsequent court decisions affirming the right to vote without undue burdens being placed on voter. But it looks like there is a new incarnation of the Southern voter suppression known as Jim Crow. This time around it is being tagged ‘Jim Crawford’ after a notorious U.S. Supreme Court decision in Crawford v. Marion County (Indiana) Election Board.
In a recent Newsweek article Jonathan Alter describes the persistent effort by Republicans to keep blocs of likely Democratic voters from casting a ballot. http://www.newsweek.com/id/158392
…white Republicans in some areas will keep eligible blacks from voting by requiring driver’s licenses. Not only is this new-fangled discrimination constitutional, it’s spreading.
GOP proponents of the move say they are merely trying to reduce voter fraud. But while occasional efforts to stuff ballot boxes through phony absentee voting still surface, the incidence of individual vote fraud—voting when you aren’t eligible—is virtually non-existent, as “The Truth About Vote Fraud,” a study by the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University, clearly shows. In other words, the problem Republicans claim they want to combat with increased ID requirements doesn’t exist. Meanwhile, those ID hurdles facing individuals do nothing to stop the organized insiders who still try to game the system.
The motive here is political, not racial. Republicans aren’t bigots like the Jim Crow segregationists. But they know that increased turnout in poor, black neighborhoods is good for Democrats. In that sense, the effort to suppress voting still amounts to the practical equivalent of racism. Read the rest of this entry »