Posts Tagged ‘democracy’

GregPalast.com
New York voting fiasco just the warm-up for the November game
by Greg Palast

Buckle up, America.  The voting demolition derby that was the New York primary on Tuesday was merely the crash test for the coming voting wreckage in November:  acarefully planned pile up.

First, live from New York….

Francesca Rheannon, whom you may know as the host of Writers’ Voice radio, did the civic thing by volunteering to work the polls in a town east of New York City.

“I just got off my 17 hour shift as an election official.  In my election district, out of 166 Democratic voters, 39 were forced to file affidavit ballots.  The last [election] I worked in, exactly ONE voter needed an affidavit ballot.”

That’s nearly one of four voters. Why?  Their names had gone missing from the voter rolls.

An affidavit ballot (called a “provisional” ballot in most other states) is a kind of placebo ballot.  You get to pretend to vote – but the chance it will actually be counted is …well, good luck.  If your name is wrongly removed, kiss your vote – affidavit or not—goodbye.

Rheannon’s experience was hardly unique.  In Brooklyn alone, over 125,000 names were quietly scrubbed from the voter rolls in the five months leading up to the primary.

To put it in prospective, the number of voters purged equals about half of the number who got to vote.  Scott Stringer, the New York City Comptroller will now audit the Elections Board–now that the election is over.  Hey thanks, Scott.

Neal Rosenstein, the lead voting rights attorney for the New York Public Interest Research Group, which plans legal action, notes that part of the problem is that partisan hacks sit on the Elections board in New York—hacks from both parties.

Brooklyn is under the control of the Kings County Democratic Party, one of the last of the big city machines.  Would they attack their opponents’ voter registrations?  I don’t have to guess:  in my wasted younger days, I was in the Brooklyn County elections office with the hacks where we were assigned by the Party to challenge voters’ signatures en masse.  (I wouldn’t and nearly lost my state job.)

Am I saying the machine “fixed” the election for Hillary Clinton?  Without further investigation, it would be irresponsible for me to pronounce judgment.  Some of the purged may have moved, some have died.  But those who waited in line only to fill out affidavit ballots are unlikely to be deceased.

If the Machine had been aware of the mass purge underway, would they have stopped it?  As they say in Brooklyn, Fahgeddabouddit.

But whether party hacks shoplifted New York or not, that’s small potatoes. Scrubbing voter rolls is not a “New York value.” It’s a nationwide epidemic, a disease eating away at the heart of our democracy.

Voting officials learned a lesson from Katherine Harris the Florida Secretary of State who purged Black voters in 2000.  They learned how to repeat the purge, expand it and carefully hide it.

I’ve been traveling the nation, from Ohio to Georgia to Arizona and back—and finding the voter-roll purging machinery running at full speed.

Nationwide, state voting chiefs are, from my long experience, the most violently partisan officials you’ll ever encounter.

From the data provided by the US Elections Assistance Commission, we can calculate that no less than 491,952 voters were wrongly removed from the rolls in 2008, the last reviewed Presidential election in addition 2,383,587 voters filled out registration forms that were simply never added to voter rolls – and 767,023 provisional and affidavit ballots were not counted.

And it’s not just anyone’s ballot. I’ll never forget that, at one of my recent talks on vote suppression, I asked how many in the audience had ever been shunted to a provisional ballot.  There were only two Black people in the audience.  They were the only two to raise their hand.

US Civil Rights Commission statistics tell the story.  The chance of a ballot “spoiled” – not counted for one reason or another – is 900% higher if you’re Black than if you’re White.

As Rosenstein says for NYPIRG, “Instead of purging voters, we should be enfranchising them.”  Yes. Though we thought that was settled by the Civil War.

OK, we didn’t know about the New York purge beforehand.  But I’m telling you this now:  My team is uncovering an unjustified ethnic cleansing of voter rolls from Ohio to Florida to Texas.

This year I was in Selma, Alabama, with Hank Sanders, an African-American who joined Martin Luther King on the march to Montgomery that won the Voting Rights Act.  Today, he’s State Senator Hank Sanders, a title that is a tribute to America’s advance on voting rights.  He’s also Hank Sanders, purged voter, forced to vote “provisionally” this year.

Why?  I’m investigating.  But the state officials (and let’s tell it like it is:  it’s mostly GOP officials) have used so many spurious grounds to cancel registrations—“caging,” “cross-checking” and a host of other sick tricks, it’s not easy to pin-point which one is responsible for the “lynching by laptop.”

It’s worth noting that Brooklyn, like Alabama, was on the “pre-clearance” list in the Voting Rights Act.  I can tell you right now, it’s unlikely that neither Hank Sanders nor the 125,000 Brooklynites would have been purged, had the Supreme Court not gutted the Act in 2013.

As I look upon the wreckage that was the New York primary, I see the prelude, the test run, for the catastrophic failure, the well-planned failure, of the voting system in November. The purges and votes “spoiled”–the votes not counted—not the voters, may well elect our President.*  *  *  *  *  *   *But there’s something you can do about it.

Right now, my investigations and production team are finishing the final frames of our film on the upcoming theft of the 2016 election:  The Best Democracy Money Can Buy:  A Tale of Billionaires and Ballot Bandits.

Donate $100 to support our investigation and I will list you in the movie credits, send you a signed copy of Billionaires & Ballot Bandits right now and a signed copy of the DVD once the film has wrapped. 

Or support our work by making a No Gift Donation, small or ginormous, all are immensely appreciated!

Most important, your tax-deductible donation will help us finish, broadcast and distribute our film and print reports before the November catastrophe and just maybe, a better democracy.

For 15 years, Greg Palast has been uncovering voter suppression tactics in investigative reports for BBC Television, The Guardian, Harper’s and Rolling Stone. In 2016 Greg Palast will be releasing his new feature film The Best Democracy Money Can Buy—A Tale of Billionaires and Ballot Bandits,which includes his award-winning investigation Jim Crow Returns.

Greg Palast is the author of the New York Times bestseller Billionaires & Ballot Bandits, The Best Democracy Money Can Buy,  Armed Madhouse  and the highly acclaimed Vultures’ Picnic.

HELP US FOLLOW THE MONEY. Visit the Palast Investigative Fund’s store or simply make a tax-deductible contribution to keep our work alive!


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The GOP electoral fraud machine going strong since 2000. I do NOT support the Democrats but this needs to be known widely and I call upon Republicans to clean their act.

On the one hand they claim the need for ID and other measures to solve the non-existant problem of electoral fraud; and on the other hand they maliciously disenfranchise minorities in massive corruption that makes US elections a joke.

Greg Palast has been investigating this since 2000 (http://www.gregpalast.com/):

voter fraud

voting fraud 2

To download, right-click and select “Save link as…” PUNK LIBERTARIAN

We talked with Adrian Wyllie, Libertarian candidate for Governor of Florida!

We discussed his campaign and the issues that set him apart from the other candidates. 

Adrian Wyllie’s campaign FB page: https://www.facebook.com/WyllieForGovernor

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Jesse and I were joined in the studio by Mark Bevilaqua, Mitch Koebke, and Jay Gordon.

We also received multiple calls and tweets and chat messages especially from Jacqui Myers and Miguel Adams (Speak-Up-Florida: for the Movement to End the New Jim Crow)

Tune in to listen to Adrian Wyllie, Libertarian candidate for Governor of Florida, discuss his campaign and the issues that set him apart from the other candidates with Jesse and me. We hope to get callers too and especially welcome socialists/greens who have little representation in Florida (or the US for that matter) and who are the other side of the real political debate.

Listen 2-4PM on 91.5FM in the Orlando area or online at http://station.voscast.com/509537575705b/

Call us during the show at: 407.646.2915

https://www.facebook.com/events/626988964080597/

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To download right click and select “save link as” >>> PRISON PT. 2

We had 3 exciting local guests: Miguel Adams (cofounder of Speak-Up-Florida: for the Movement to End the New Jim Crow), Teresa Pugliese (secretary and executive board member of Speak Up Florida and founder of Students for Sensible Drug Policy at UCF), and Tommy Cullar joined us also.

We had a particularly stimulating and wild chat even by our standards and even got to stay on the air for a 3rd hour. We split the podcast in 2 parts THIS IS PART 2.

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Human Rights Campaign to End the New Jim Crow.
Community Voices Speak Out and being heard to End Mass Incarceration and The War on Drugs with 1 voice. A fight against injustice! 

Speak Up Florida: https://www.facebook.com/groups/speakupfla/

SSDP at UCF: https://www.facebook.com/groups/ssdpucf/

To download right click and select “save link as” >>> PRISON PT. 1

We had 3 exciting local guests: Miguel Adams (cofounder of Speak-Up-Florida: for the Movement to End the New Jim Crow), Teresa Pugliese (secretary and executive board member of Speak Up Florida and founder of Students for Sensible Drug Policy at UCF), and Tommy Cullar joined us also.

We had a particularly stimulating and wild chat even by our standards and even got to stay on the air for a 3rd hour. We split the podcast in 2 parts THIS IS PART 1.

10527289_745047998909329_4567234301108871329_n

Human Rights Campaign to End the New Jim Crow.
Community Voices Speak Out and being heard to End Mass Incarceration and The War on Drugs with 1 voice. A fight against injustice! 

Speak Up Florida: https://www.facebook.com/groups/speakupfla/

SSDP at UCF: https://www.facebook.com/groups/ssdpucf/

Here’s some unpopular truths and keep in mind that the article linked tells of 2 ladies who’ve won local Mayoral elections despite being hardline supporters of this armed illegal insurrection and whose husbands are under arrest for unlawful participation in them.  Everybody keeps spreading stories on how undemocratic the Venezuelan government is behaving… hmmm.  I wish we had such a well-functioning democracy in the US! 

Opposition leader and former lawmaker Maria Corina Machado, left and mayoral candidate Patricia Gutierrez greet supporters at a campaign rally in San Cristobal, Venezuela, May 22, 2014.

The democratically elected government of Venezuela has lost some of its massive support in recent years after accomplishing quasi-miraculous progress on many fronts and most notably reduction of poverty and advancing democracy in South America in the past decade.

Recently, economic difficulties have eroded this support to some extent some legitimate opposition leaders have made some respectable gains in national and local elections. In the past few months there has been an uprising against the elected government  that is portrayed by the majority of the media as a popular revolt being crushed by the government but this is the usual corporate-imperialist media BS.

See several previous posts with lots of details (just click the “Venezuela” tag on the left) but here’s the skinny: While there are many bone-fide middle class Venezuelans who are caught up in the middle of this, this is a CIA backed “soft-coup” run by billionaire oligarchs who want to take Venezuela back to the old days of mass poverty and oil riches for the 1% in Miami. The government has shown remarkable restraint in dealing with these groups of violent thugs and has kept the democratic institutions open. All the BS stories on Facebook and twitter about internet closures and lack of due-process are propaganda. In fact, as has been the case since 2002, the government is doing everything it can to restrain the masses of poor people it had liberated and protect the upper classes from their righteous rage.

Imagine a people subjugated brutally since the Spanish conquest finally having democracy and being told that they cannot re-take what’s rightfully theirs but must remain in their slums and patiently wait as economic opportunities are being slowly created for their children. The legal loyal opposition has been having increased influence and are now politically damaged by these generally upper-middle-class insurgents supported by foreign corporate interests. The only reason the insurgency has not been violently crushed is that the government is restraining the majority poor Chavista as best it can.

I know I’ll piss some people of with this and the Venezuelan government deserves to be criticised. But 99% of the coverage by mainstream media and social-network hype is BS and people are being caught up in it and unable to have an intelligent discussion. Happily there are a handful of people on both sides who are helping me understand what’s going on and I’m passing it along.

https://news.vice.com/article/wives-of-ousted-mayors-emerge-victorious-in-venezuela-elections