In June 2006, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., wrote “Was the 2004 Election Stolen?” for Rolling Stone, and followed it up in September 2006 with, “Will The Next Election Be Hacked?.” He’s back, this time with investigative journalist Greg Palast (author of The Best Democracy Money Can Buy), with another chapter in his bid to save our democracy, “Block the Vote (Will the GOP’s campaign to deter new voters and discard Democratic ballots determine the next president?). Here are the highlights:
“On Super Tuesday , one in nine Democrats who tried to cast ballots in New Mexico found their names missing from the registration lists…[In] Las Vegas…nearly 20 percent of the county’s voters were absent from the rolls…In state after state, Republican operatives…are wielding new federal legislation to systematically disenfranchise Democrats….”All these new rules and games are turning voting into an obstacle course that could flip the vote to the GOP in half a dozen states.”…Paul Weyrich: “I don’t want everybody to vote. . . . As a matter of fact, our leverage in the elections quite candidly goes up as the voting populace goes down.”…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….To justify this battery of new voting impediments, Republicans cite an alleged upsurge in voting fraud….federal courts found only 24 voters guilty of fraud from 2002 to 2005, out of hundreds of millions of votes cast…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…Add up all the modern-day barriers to voting erected since the 2004 election…and what you have is millions of voters, more than enough to swing the presidential election, quietly being detached from the electorate by subterfuge….If Democrats are to win the 2008 election, they must not simply beat John McCain at the polls — they must beat him by a margin that exceeds the level of GOP vote tampering.”
For those of you who think this an unfair attack on one political party, I ask you to read the article and think of the news you’ve been hearing the last couple of weeks. News about ACORN (1. Obstructing Voter-Registration Drives?), the use of contested voter registration lists (2. Demanding “Perfect Matches), and voter roll purges (3. Purging Legitimate Voters From the Rolls). What makes you believe that stories about 4. Requiring Unnecessary Voter ID’s, 5. Rejecting “Spoiled” Ballots, and 6. Challenging “Provisional” Ballots aren’t just around the corner? As Kennedy and Palast remind us (and as you can see by watching Uncounted), we’ve already seen instances of these in 2004, 2006 and this year’s primaries.
It’s simple really - one of the few things that’s black and white in this very nuanced world. Voter registration and encouraging participation in the our country’s greatest tradition is good. Fighting hard to suppress this participation is very, very bad. If you’re still not buying it, then replace “Republican” with “Democrat” and vice versa, and reevaluate.
Kennedy and Palast also add seven ways to steal back the election in another collaboration - a full color downloadable comic called, “Steal Back Your Vote.” This one’s a how-to guide:
STEP 1: DON’T DON’T DON’T mail in your ballot!! Absentee ballots are often not counted for the weakest of reasons. Furthermore, there are new rules in many states that you must photocopy your ID and send it with the ballot. However, they often don’t even tell you that. So hundreds of thousands of absentee votes will not be counted for this reason.
STEP 2: VOTE EARLY …VERY EARLY! Many states are already allowing you to vote. Do it NOW. That way if you’re not listed on the voter roles, you have plenty of time to get your complaint heard.
STEP 3: REGISTER AND THEN REGISTER AND THEN REGISTER! There is a TON of purging of voter rolls going on. It’s not enough to think you’re registered. Double check twelve times. You can check online at www.votersunite.org. Once you’re done with that, go register. …Then go register. [For most states. the registration deadlines have passed. So CHECK YOUR VOTER REGISTRATION! at VotersUnite.org. Some states have a way to check online, others you will have to call. If you find you are no long on the rolls, go down to your election commission and sort it out in person.]
STEP 4: DO NOT FILL OUT A PROVISIONAL BALLOT if your vote is challenged!! In 2004 the Republicans challenged a ridiculous number of voters. The voters were then told by a sweet little lady at a table that their “provisional ballot” would be counted, BUT IT WON’T. Don’t listen to the little old lady!! DEMAND that poll judges make the judgment ON THE SPOT. Demand a call to the supervisor of elections. If you have to, go home and come back with a better form of ID. If you need help, call ELECTION PROTECTION at 1-866-OUR-VOTE. And help those around you when you’re at the polling place. Look for people having trouble. Call the number for them. Tell them not to fill out a provisional ballot!
STEP 5: STEP AWAY FROM YOUR COMPUTER! Walk out your front door and get active!! Volunteer to help with the campaign. Or ignore the campaign and do something on your own. It’s as simple as printing out these ELECTION PROTECTION steps and leaving them at people’s doors. Hell, you could hand them out outside the polling places. Don’t sit still or this election will be stolen. And go to a swing state if at all possible.
STEP 6: FRIENDS DON’T LET FRIENDS VOTE WITHOUT FRIENDS! Don’t go to vote alone. Bring friends!! Lots of them or only one of them. Make it a date. Arrange to have lunch with everyone after you vote. Whatever it takes. And have your election protection phone number WITH YOU (1-866-OUR-VOTE).
STEP 7: IT AIN’T OVER ‘TILL IT’S OVER! If the election is indeed stolen, don’t throw in the towel! The day after is CRUCIAL! Three words need to be chanted over and over again: COUNT EVERY VOTE. For example, in 2000 Al Gore lost because of a Supreme Court decision that was 5-4 against him. Imagine if he had won that court decision. But if half of America had not chanted COUNT EVERY VOTE after election day, we would never have gotten to the Supreme Court. Half of America could’ve thrown in the towel on election night, but thanks to people in the streets, it was fought to the end.