Jonathan — Thank you for taking Engelhardt’s argument out to its logical conclusion. I too continue to be shocked that so many progressives and the mainstream media are willing to admit gross malfeasance in this administration, yet refuse to believe they’d stop at rigging an election. As well, the refusal of leading progressive voices (i.e., Michael Moore, Al Franken, and others) to admit that the Democrats actually won the 2004 election is shameful! I can only assume an anti-Bush environment is much more profitable for them. Just as BushCo will stop at nothing now because they have the elections “in the bag,” the Democrats don’t have to put forth much effort to challenge them because there is no other option for the voters. Democratic leadership can sit back and “wait it out,” until power in all its glory is once again bestowed upon them. The transfer of power no longer reflects the will of the people. The privatization of our election system has led to an acceptance of a simulated democracy.
In this regard, as you are aware, another concern of mine continues to be the centralization of the voter registration rolls. Most states have turned to private vendors to manage their centralized computerized voter databases rather than manage them “in-house.” Effective date: January 2006. Take a look at Ohio’s: http://www.sos.state.oh.us/sos/media/voter_reg_database.pdf Kenneth Blackwell certainly has covered his bases in an effort to secure his election as governor there. Unlike Ohio, most states have chosen to use one, maybe two vendors for management of the voter databases. What this means is that the election process is now controlled on the “front end” as well as the “back end” by private companies, mainly ES&S, Diebold, Sequoia, Accenture (aka Arthur Anderson Consulting), and others. Not only will these vendors control the counting of our votes, but they will also control who is allowed to vote. As we saw in 2000 and 2004, elections can be won by wrongful purges of the voter rolls. To this day, I do not believe I’ve run across anybody who can give a definitive number of voters who were turned away at the polls in 2004 because their names were mysteriously purged off the rolls, or their registrations were never processed, which they discovered only when they showed up to vote in their “assigned” precincts, and of course due to the long lines they encountered.
Another more common practice is to move voters who haven’t voted in the last 2 elections to an “inactive” status so that local governments are able to pass tax levies. All these tactics necessitate of course the handing out of provisional ballots which are merely a placebo for the problem, as is voter verified paper ballots if votes continue to be counted electronically. As we saw in Ohio, secretaries of states can change the voting precincts at the last minute and shuffle voters around, or just close them prior to Election Day in an effort to make provisional ballots worthless. Clearly, these tactics have and will continue to work well for Republicans.
We have gone through the motions long enough now. The Republicans have stolen the last two presidential elections, and another federal election in 2002. They will do so similarly in 2006. No wild card here, just the painful truth. The stakes continue to be high. My solemn wish is that we the people do not let them steal another election without putting up the biggest fight of our lives to stop them. In this midterm election, we need a huge turnout, the biggest ever. They can hide the ballots and the vote counting, but if we turn out in large numbers they will be unable to hide the bodies, not yet anyway.
Keep in mind that the largest purges have occured just prior to federal elections, especially in presidential elections, that is until now. An advisory by all groups working on voting rights must be issued to alert voters to check their registration status often over the next 10 months. Voters must not wait until September or October to do so. Encourage voters to re-register to vote, or have voters request they be returned to “active” voting status at the Boards of Elections should they discover they have been “inactivated.” Do not let this year go by arguing about what type of voting system ought to be used in November unless you live in Leon County Florida, Connecticut, New York, and other states who so wisely waited and questioned the judgment of purchasing voting machines that were unsafe or not HAVA compliant. The machines are on order and the money has been spent, and apparently Gonzales at the DOJ has now assumed the roll of Harris, Hood, Blackwell, etc. In my opinion, the time to act will be after the fallout of the November election, but that does not mean we shouldn’t put all the elections officials using unsafe voting systems on notice that they are not in compliance with democracy!
As you state, we no longer have the benefit of exit polls. We therefore must provide necessary checks and balances by showing up on Election Day to vote! No, there won’t be enough machines and the lines will be long, and voters will be given incorrect precinct information, or in some states will be voting in “centers” as precincts are fast becoming extinct. Voters must be ever vigilant this election with the process, with their registration status, encouraging family and friends to buddy up and march down to cast their ballots on Election Day to the polls, or to their County Elections offices, even if you live in a “vote-by-mail” state, as I do. Ballots can be turned in to the County Elections offices. Do not vote early. SHOW UP. Remember the images of Florida in 2004 because of early voting? This totally helped Jeb pull off another theft. Do not allow the voting process on Election Day to fade away. Do not allow those intent on rigging elections to “hide the bodies.” As long as we are breathing, living beings we must be actively involved in the process. Let’s make 2006 the year that private ownership of our elections comes to an end and there is true justice for all. Thanks again, J. — Kat