Saturday, October 18, 2008

Election Security Update: How Bitter can the Irony Get? Will the Democratic Party Finally Fight the Criminality of Right-Wing Vote Suppression?

Image: Themis, Goddess of Justice

Election Security Update: How Bitter can the Irony Get? Will the Democratic Party Finally Fight the Criminality of Right-Wing Vote Suppression?

By Richard Power

How bitter can the irony get?

To have ACORN, a grassroots community organization which struggles for the basic rights of the poorest among us become the object of a right-wing smear campaign, and have that filthy water carried by the mainstream news media in a country that has seen the last two presidential elections stolen by those who are now crying foul.

That would be bitter enough, but it is even worse.

Because the Democratic Party, the traditional champion of the downtrodden turned the other cheek when Florida was stolen in 2000, and then, after promising it would fight if it happened in 2004, proceeded to turn the other cheek again when Ohio was stolen.

And now, in 2008, when the popular voter uprising is so overwhelming that it will be difficult for the right-wing to steal the election (although, of course, it is still possible that they have disenfranchised a sufficient number of voters), it is the Democratic Party that will be accused of stealing it. And the Party leadership has only itself to blame. Indeed, through participating in the HAVA farce they helped enable what is happening.

And if we are fortunate enough to have Obama-Biden sworn in, the right-wing will do what the Democratic Leadership was too polite or too timid (or too compromised) to justifiably do to Bush-Cheney, i.e., it will claim the Obama-Biden presidency is illegitimate.

That is how bitter the irony can get.

Here are two important stories --

From the Obama campaign, a powerful message to the Attorney General:

The current spate of trumped-up allegations of "voter fraud" coming from John McCain's campaign and his Republican allies and the FBI's decision to investigate represents exactly the same sort of politicization of justice that is at the root of an ongoing investigation into the firing of federal prosecutors, Barack Obama's campaign alleges.
Obama attorney Bob Bauer has asked Attorney General Michael Mukasey to expand the authority of the special prosecutor appointed to investigate the US Attorney firings to also include the fraud allegations. ...
On a conference call with reporters Friday, Bauer slammed the "illicit involvement of senior law enforcement officials" in leaking the details of the so-called fraud investigation. The Obama lawyer noted that the leak came "literally within 24 hours" of McCain's statement at Wednesday night's debate that ACORN was threatening the "fabric of our democracy."
Raw Story, 10-17-08

Meanwhile, some vital context from Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and Greg Palast, two champions of voter's rights who did not suffer from the deep denial that the Democratic Party leadership has been hiding behind over the last right years:

Passed in 2002, HAVA was hailed by leaders in both parties as a reform designed to avoid a repeat of the 2000 debacle in Florida that threw the presidential election to the U.S. Supreme Court. The measure set standards for voting systems, created an independent commission to oversee elections, and ordered states to provide provisional ballots to voters whose eligibility is challenged at the polls.
But from the start, HAVA was corrupted by the involvement of Republican superlobbyist Jack Abramoff, who worked to cram the bill with favors for his clients. (Both Abramoff and a primary author of HAVA, former Rep. Bob Ney, were imprisoned for their role in the conspiracy.) In practice, many of the "reforms" created by HAVA have actually made it harder for citizens to cast a ballot and have their vote counted. In case after case, Republican election officials at the local and state level have used the rules to give GOP candidates an edge on Election Day by creating new barriers to registration, purging legitimate names from voter rolls, challenging voters at the polls and discarding valid ballots. ...
The recently enacted barriers thrown up to deter voters include:
1. Obstructing Voter-Registration Drives ...
2. Demanding "Perfect Matches" ...
3. Purging Legitimate Voters From the Rolls ...
4. Requiring Unnecessary Voter ID's ...
5. Rejecting "Spoiled" Ballots ...
6. Challenging "Provisional" Ballots ...
Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and Greg Palast, Rolling Stone, 10-30-08

Visit Steal Back Your Vote, download the comic book, distribute it to everyone you know who gives a damn.

To follow developments in election security issues on a daily basis, I refer you to the fantastic work of both Brad Friedman (Brad Blog) and Mark Crispin Miller (Notes from the Underground).

Richard Power's Left-Handed Security: Overcoming Fear, Greed & Ignorance in This Era of Global Crisis is available now! Click here for more information.

For the Words of Power Archive of Election Security Posts, click here.

For an archive of Words of Power posts on Campaign '08, click here.

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