Monday, October 27, 2008

Study Shows Systematic Problems In Voter Registration & malfuntioning or Hacked Computers : Republican Efforts to Steal This Election

UPDATE: 5:45 Oct. 27

There is still a great deal of concern over whether or not the Presidential Election in the United States will be fair. That is will those who have registered to vote be permitted to vote. There are is concern that local officials motivated along partisan lines ie Republicans may illegally purge large numbers of registered voters.
Many voters who believe that are or have been legally registered to vote may find they have had their names purged from the voters list for some trivial and unfair reason . In some cases these may be the result of honest mistakes on the part of officials or it could be because Republican officials are out to purge as many newly registered Democrats to turn the election in the Republicans favor.

Others may find that they on going to the polls on election day that because of some minor discrepancy in their voter registration & their IDs they are using they are unable to a slight difference in their signature or address which for partisan reasons the officials are all too willing to use as an excuse not to allow especially newly registered Democrats to vote.

Then there are the problems with the Computers themselves used by citizens to vote which malfunction, or that those giving voters instructions are not adequately familiar with the machines themselves.

Another issue is whether or not the computers security has been compromised in some way either physically or that the programs have been hacked or tampered with. It is odd that such a supposedly rich and democratic nation such as the United States seems plagued by such problem during the last few national elections.If their elections are not fair and above board then how can the United States continue to act as if it were a democratic nation.

Meanwhile the Republicans & President Bush have raised false concerns about Voter or Registration Fraud which is not much of an issue according to election experts. The sort of fraud they are talking about is the appearance on a voter registration list under a phoney name such as Mickey Mouse or duplication of names or someone who is deceased . But Mickey Mouse is not going to show up to vote nor is a dead person nor will someone be able to vote more than once even if their name appears on voter registration list more than once. These cases are usually discovered early on and are the result of individuals who have been hired to register others to vote but put in phony names etc. in order to avoid doing the actual work. But Republicans are using these more trivial instances to purge large numbers off of the voters list or to use rather strict and draconian rules to check IDs of legally registered voters.

Voter Purging

"Huge potential for partisan mischief." system is " Chaotic ", " Unreliable " with no serious oversight to ensure fair and honest election results.

" 19 States ignoring federal laws baning systematic purges within 90 days of a federal election." CBS

See articles below on NYU Brennan Center For Justice study.

Are the Republicans out to steal the election to win by any means necessary?

Group sues on voter purge
They claim thousands were wrongly disenfranchised. Colorado's secretary of state says his actions are legal. By Annette Espinoza, the Denver , Oct. 25, 2008

By Annette Espinoza
The Denver Post

A national voter-protection group announced Saturday that it is suing Colorado Secretary of State Mike Coffman for alleged illegal purging of voter rolls that they claim has resulted in thousands of people being wrongly disenfranchised.

Advancement Project filed the lawsuit Saturday on behalf of Colorado Common Cause; Mi Familia Vota, a voter-registration group; and the Service Employees International Union.

The lawsuit seeks an injunction to stop "any more voters from being purged from the list of eligible voters for any reason not allowed by the National Voting Rights Act (NVRA)." It also seeks to reinstate all voters improperly purged.

Coffman issued a statement through his spokesman Saturday taking issue with the lawsuit.

"Through consultation with the attorney general's office, we believe Colorado has fully complied with all applicable voter-registration laws and voter-cancellation procedures," he said.

Earlier this month, The New York Times published a story saying that six swing states, including Colorado, may have illegally removed tens of thousands of voters from rolls or blocked them from registering.

Coffman said the report was "way off." But in reviewing voter rolls, he said his office discovered there were 2,454 duplicate voter registrations canceled within 90 days of the November election.

Coffman asked for an opinion from Colorado Attorney General John Suthers, who said canceling the duplicate registrations did not violate the law because those voters still would be eligible to vote under their current voter registrations.
Coffman also acknowledged that another 4,000 or so voters were given bad information about when their registrations had to be completed, and he said they have all been contacted with the correct information.

Democrats have been critical of Coffman, saying their figures do not match his. Coffman and Suthers are Republicans.

<Every vote may not count on election day by David A. Love , New Hampshire Sentinel Saturday, October 25, 2008

In the land of the free, everyone’s vote should be counted. But at the rate we’re going, millions of votes could be discarded on Election Day.

First, some of the voting machines are not reliable. Their software and hardware are faulty, and they lack safeguards to prevent election officials from tampering with ballots and election tallies. Already, in early voting in West Virginia, six voters in two counties claim that electronic voting machines changed their votes from Democratic to Republican.

Due to a backlog by the Election Assistance Commission (the federal agency that oversees voting), defective voting machines throughout the nation will not be repaired in time for the presidential election, the New York Times reports. That’s unacceptable.

But malfunctioning machines may be the least of our problems. Republican operatives are again engaged in voter suppression efforts, with some officials trying to purge the voter rolls again, as they did in Florida in 2000.

Scheming to restrict the vote has a sordid past in American politics.

In the Jim Crow South, election officials used poll taxes, literacy tests, physical threats and Klan violence to suppress the black vote.

Sometimes, black voters were forced to answer questions as inane as “How many bubbles in a bar of soap?”

Today, the Republican Party is worried that mass voter registration efforts across the country will dampen its chances of victory at the polls. So it is making grandiose allegations about people fraudulently registering to vote. Sen. John McCain accused one group of possibly “destroying the fabric of our democracy.”

But the issue of voter fraud is a ruse. There has been no significant evidence of voter fraud in recent elections.

“The incidence of election fraud is minimal across the 50 states and rarely affects election outcomes,” notes a report by the nonprofit group Demos entitled “Securing the Vote.” “The disenfranchisement of voters through antiquated voting systems, system error, and improper management of registration databases, as occurred in Florida in the 2000 election, is a far bigger problem than traditional forms of election fraud.”

Already, in the last few months, thousands of legitimate voters have been illegally purged, according to the New York Times. Another 200,000 new voters in Ohio were at risk of being challenged until the U.S. Supreme Court stepped in. The high court struck down a federal court ruling that would have challenged these new registrants, whose information was not a perfect match with government databases due to typographical and data entry errors.

What’s more, some states simply will be unprepared to handle the dramatic swelling in their voter rolls, according to a study by the Advancement Project, another nonprofit group. It predicts that in many jurisdictions, there will be insufficient numbers of voting machines, privacy booths and poll workers. This study of the battleground states of Florida, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia also finds that polling place resources are misallocated in some precincts, which is likely to result in long lines disproportionately in communities of color.

With broken machines, voter purging and insufficient resources, an outsider might conclude that the United States runs its elections like a banana republic. A citizen should not have to worry about his or her vote being thrown in the garbage can. We must protect our voting rights.

States' Attempts to Clean up Voting Lists Result in Unlawful Voter Purging and Suppression from Karen Tanenbaum October 17, 2008

Tens of thousands of voters have registered in preparation for the 2008 presidential election; these numbers, however, are being offset by large-scale purges of voters from voter registration lists in key swing states.

States are trying to flag and remove ineligible voters from their lists to comply with the Help America Vote Act of 2002, which requires states to update their election and voter registration procedures. But according to a study conducted by the New York Times, tens of thousands of eligible voters have been unlawfully removed from the rolls or blocked from registering in at least six swing states.
The study, which reviewed Social Security data and state records, showed that in some states, for every new voter registration in the past two months, election officials have removed two registered voters from the rolls.

States that appear to be violating federal laws for removing voters are Colorado, Indiana, Michigan, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, Alabama, Georgia, and Louisiana—the first six of which are key swing states in the 2008 presidential election.
Various voting rights and community-based organizations have filed lawsuits in Michigan, Florida, and Georgia. Other states are under close scrutiny.

On October 13, a federal judge ordered Michigan Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land to reinstate over 1,500 voters that had incorrectly been removed from voting lists.
States like Michigan and Colorado are also under fire for removing voters within 90 days of an election. Under federal law, only voters who have died, notified officials that they have moved out of state, or been proven unfit to vote may be removed within three months of an election.

In Colorado, 37,000 voters were removed from the lists in the three weeks starting on July 21. But during that time only 5,100 people moved from the state and 2,400 died, according to records.

also see:

October 21, 2008 at 07:56:59
Brennan Experts in DC for State of Election Science Updateby Marta Steele

or go to:
Brennan Center For Justice on voter purges etc.

Weighing Possible Outcomes This November 4

NYU Law’s Brennan Center for Justice sent representatives today to the National Press Club in Washington, DC, to inform the press of their findings about the pre-election conditions that may make or break the people’s choice for president.
To a packed room, Executive Director Michael Waldman, a former speechwriter during the Clinton years, addressed us, supplemented by Wendy Weiser, who directs the Brennan Center's work on voting rights and elections; Larry Norden, project director for the Voting Technology Assessment Project; and Jonah Goldman, director of the National Campaign for Fair Elections in the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law’s Voting Rights Project. These experts fielded the many audience questions for which a good amount of time was set aside after Waldman’s brief presentation, which included PowerPoint slides that will be available at the Web site

Walden first presented the three major barriers to an accurate vote count: 1) no match-no vote; 2) voter purges, and 3) partisan voter challenges.

As many know, mostly “insiders,” the first mentioned barrier could eliminate and disenfranchise countless registered voters. Born of the Help America Vote Act that was passed in 2002, heavily influenced by superheroes such as Bob Ney and Jack Abramoff, HAVA mandates state-level voter rolls. Activated differently by each county, according to who is manning the polls, a mere typo can prevent a vote. No match-no vote, meant to purge various categories of voter from the rolls, mandates that the exact voter name must be listed on separate databases, including Social Security lists and registration lists.

I have illustrated this before. I may be Joan Public on one list and Joan Q. Public on another and if so, there goes my vote.

If I have a hard-to-spell ethnic name, from González to Wurtzelbacher, chances are good that misspellings will occur, even if I have gained instant fame as Joe the Plumber.

In Ohio, that bugaboo of 2004, 260,000 more voters have registered than in 2004. Of these 100,000 were eliminated by various interpretations, many of them questionable, of HAVA. Litigation has traveled from the Federal Court of Appeals to the Supreme Court and then back to Ohio. In litigation also was the misspelling of a name on the same sheet of paper as Myhal and Mihal, which eliminated another voter who took the case to court.

Florida is accorded the highest prize for mismatching, with Latino names, among the minorities, most likely to be misspelled (and consider all the Cuban-American Republicans in Miami this may affect!).

No match-no vote could impact hundreds of thousands of votes.

Thirteen million voters have been taken off the rolls in the last few years. Voter purging was conceived, supposedly, to eliminate dead voters from the lists and, indeed, dead people have been known to vote in presidential elections before.
But the process lacks transparency and occurs behind closed doors. The lists are riddled with errors and open to documented partisan abuse. In Mississippi voters were purged in the primaries; in Georgia 700 “felons” were kept from voting though they’d never served time in prison. In Louisiana, displacement caused by Katrina occasioned much confusion and opportunities for abuse, in that people forced out of the state faced many barriers, including sheer distance. But here there was a partial solution. Displaced Katrina voters were allowed to return and vote in their former precincts. In Colorado the Secretary of State admitted that 2,454 voters were illegally purged.

In a notorious and well-publicized case, Kevin Fury, about to go overseas to serve his country in the military, was told he couldn’t vote for this reason.
Home foreclosures in Michigan and Indiana, leaving the victims without official addresses, have also eliminated qualified voters from the polls. In Michigan Senator Barack Obama was able to litigate to prevent challenges to foreclosure victims.
Moreover, the deadline for purging lists honestly or otherwise, officially ninety days prior to Election Day, has passed, but the practice persists.

The third major barrier to fair elections, especially at the presidential level, is partisan voter challenges on Election Day. A voter may stand in line in the rain for two hours and then be told that he or she is not on the registration list. Actual situations have occurred in which, in a room serving four precincts, the eliminated voter might be in the wrong precinct line; the correct line may be a few feet away, but no one informs him or her about this oversight.

The solution in such cases? Provisional ballots, which Waldman called “a partial and inadequate solution.”

and also checkout Gary Younge, Oct. 27, 2008 at Guardian writes in his article that given the situation in America:
Black America may get a president before black Americans get to vote

or go to:

The manipulation and intimidation that African-Americans must face in order to cast a vote will only get worse this year

While attempts at voter suppression are partisan in intent they are racial in effect. The Democrats have not won an election without the black vote since 1964. The most effective and crude way to undermine their base is to minimise the vote in black areas. This is precisely what happened in Florida in 2000, where Republicans lowered the threshold for inclusion on the "purge list" of ineligible voters. By the time they were done, African-Americans accounted for 88% of those purged, even though they only comprised 11% of the actual electorate.

The practical consequences of this interference, manipulation and, at times, intimidation is twofold. It disenfranchises people who either don't have the time, inclination or wherewithal to stand up to officialdom. And it creates huge lines while others stay and fight. A Democratic party survey from 2004 found half of the state's African-American voters in Ohio reported some problems at the polls on election day. On average, black voters waited in longer lines than whites, were more likely to be asked for identification when they got there and felt more intimidated.
This year will be worse. Obama's strategy has hinged on registering huge numbers of new voters. Overrepresented among them are the black, the young and first-time voters. For at least six months this eventuality has been predictable. And yet electoral officers around the country have declared themselves entirely unprepared. Just as in South Africa 14 years ago, the huge turnout we are seeing in early voting, and which will undoubtedly come on election day, marks a celebration of a historic moment in the nation's democracy. But the long lines and their demographic composition will mark not dignity but disorganisation and discrimination.

and from the Huffington Post see:

Confusing North Carolina Ballot Leaves off Votes for President
Diane Tucker, Oct. 27, 2008

and see:Justice Department Pressed by Bush to Contest 200,000 Ohio Voters By Steven Rosenfeld, AlterNet. Posted October 27, 2008.

How far will an already politicized Justice Department go to assist Republicans win on November 4?

and:Obama vs. McCain: Our Democracy and Elections Are Both Vibrant and in Peril -- Voter Guide
AlterNet. Posted October 17, 2008.

American democracy is both vibrant and deeply imperiled in 2008. As millions of Americans pay attention to the presidential campaign, with thousands volunteering in battleground states, there is no doubt Americans are concerned and engaged. However, the foundation of our representative democracy, the voting process and public trust in elections, is threatened in unprecedented ways. America's democratic infrastructure -- the way we vote and count those ballots -- has deep systematic problems. The country could be on the verge of the third consecutive presidential election in which a mix of bad election administration, unreliable vote-counting technology and deliberate partisan tactics will sully the vote count and the legitimacy of the next president.

and on Terrorists who are acceptable to The Right as opposed those "Bad " Terrorists :

The GOP-Terrorism Connection: It's Not 'Just' Palin
Posted by Paul Rosenberg, Open Left at 5:29 AM on October 26, 2008.

Conservatives are perfectly willing to embrace terrorism -- if it's the "right" kind of terrorism.

and so it goes,

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