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Rigged elections

Opinion

October 24, 2016

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Donald Trump’s demand for ‘monitors’ at polling places to prevent a ‘rigged election’ is an old and ugly story.

The ‘rigged election’ story dates back to the Constitution. Its Electoral College gave a three-fifths ‘bonus’ to slave-owners for blacks who could not actually vote. The race card carried through Jim Crow segregation and the KKK terror unleashed against post-Emancipation blacks who dared try to vote. It continues through the Drug War and the tens of millions of African-American and Hispanic citizens stripped of their freedom and franchise.

Today it’s being done by computer programs that quietly eliminate millions of black and Hispanic voters from the registration rolls.

In moves that Trump should love, between the 2004 and 2008 elections, in a state with about 5.5 million eligible voters, 1.25 million Ohioans were de-registered. In 2012, the number purged was 1.1 million. So far this year, Republican secretary of state Jon Husted has de-registered over a million Ohio voters, more than 600,000 clearly eligible to vote and on the rolls of their county boards of elections.

Photo ID, limited polling station access, machines that break down, provisional ballots that don’t get counted, absentee ballots that don’t get sent, elimination of days to vote, deliberate official misinformation and intimidation – all do exactly what Trump wants. They eliminate the ‘threat’ of non-white voters.

Neither Trump nor his mainstream critics mention mass incarceration’s ‘twin’ means of election rigging: electronic voting machines. Some 80% of this year’s votes may be cast on touchscreen and other computerized devices that are absurdly easy to flip. The courts say the corporate-owned source code is proprietary. So there’s no meaningful accountability. Allegedly safe Scantron paper ballots are easily manipulated with corrupted tallying machines.

Corporate-sponsored critics brand this ‘conspiracy theory.’ But neither they nor Trump can answer this most basic question: ‘How, in fact, do we verify the legitimate tally of votes cast on electronic machines with no effective paper trail, i.e. the vast majority of those that will be cast this November?’

If we’re to have meaningful elections in the future, they must be conducted on paper ballots that are held at their precincts in transparent containers that do not move. Those ballots must be counted in public, by hand. Voter registration should be open automatically to all citizens, with registration rolls open to the public and easily monitored. Voting should be open to all on the basis of a signature. And we need a national holiday for voting so working people do not have to pay with their jobs for exercising their democratic rights.

The ‘Ohio Plan’ would also eliminate corporate money from our elections, end gerrymandering, and abolish the Electoral College.

This coming election, up and down the ballot, could indeed be ‘rigged.’ But it will happen exactly counter to what Trump says. Rather than eliminating millions of black and Hispanic voters, as he wants, we need to guarantee their franchise. We must be able to verify their presence on registration rolls. We need to make sure they have reasonable time and place to cast their ballots – free from KKK/Trump-style thugs intimidating us all.

Above all, as they now do in Ireland, Switzerland, Germany, Romania, Japan and Canada, we need to cast our votes on paper ballots that are safety stored and counted by hand, preferably by our nation’s high school and college students, and our elders.

Maybe then, Trump or otherwise, we can begin to think of America as a country where elections really aren’t rigged or stolen, stripped or flipped.

This article has been excerpted from: ‘Trump’s Racist ‘Rigged Election’ Attack Is as Old as America’.

Courtesy: Commondreams.org

 

 

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