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Wednesday, September 21, 2005

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Steve

An outstanding article in Harpers on the topic "None Dare Call it Stolen"
http://www.harpers.org/ExcerptNoneDare.html

The first phase of malfeasance entailed, among many other actions, several months of bureaucratic hijinks aimed at disenfranchising Democrats, the most spectacular result of which was “a wide discrepancy between the availability of voting machines in more minority, Democratic and urban areas as compared to more Republican, suburban and exurban areas.” Such unequal placement had the predictable effect of slowing the voting process to a crawl at Democratic polls, while making matters quick and easy in Bush country: a clever way to cancel out the Democrats’ immense success at registering new voters in Ohio. (We cannot know the precise number of new voters registered in Ohio by either party because many states, including Ohio, do not register voters by party affiliation. The New York Times reported in September, however, that new registration rose 25 percent in Ohio’s predominantly Republican precincts and 250 percent in Ohio’s predominantly Democratic precincts.)

At Kenyon College in Gambier, for instance, there were only two machines for 1,300 would-be voters, even though “a surge of late registrations promised a record vote.” Gambier residents and Kenyon students had to stand in line for hours, in the rain and in “crowded, narrow hallways,” with some of them inevitably forced to call it quits. “In contrast, at nearby Mt. Vernon Nazarene University, which is considered more Republican leaning, there were ample waiting machines and no lines.” This was not a consequence of limited resources. In Franklin County alone, as voters stood for hours throughout Columbus and elsewhere, at least 125 machines collected dust in storage. The county’s election officials had “decided to make do with 2,866 machines, even though the analysis showed that the county needs 5,000 machines.”

It seemed at times that Ohio’s secretary of state was determined to try every stunt short of levying a poll tax to suppress new voter turnout. On September 7, based on an overzealous reading of an obscure state bylaw, he ordered county boards of elections to reject all Ohio voter-registration forms not “printed on white, uncoated paper of not less than 80 lb. text weight.” Under public pressure he reversed the order three weeks later, by which time unknown numbers of Ohioans had been disenfranchised. Blackwell also attempted to limit access to provisional ballots. The Help America Vote Act—passed in 2002 to address some of the problems of the 2000 election—prevents election officials from deciding at the polls who will be permitted to cast provisional ballots, as earlier Ohio law had permitted. On September 16, Blackwell issued a directive that somehow failed to note that change. A federal judge ordered him to revise the language, Blackwell resisted, and the court was forced to draft its own version of the directive, which it ordered Blackwell to accept, even as it noted Blackwell’s “vigorous, indeed, at times, obdurate opposition” to compliance with the law.

Under Blackwell the state Republican Party tried to disenfranchise still more Democratic voters through a technique known as “caging.” The party sent registered letters to new voters, “then sought to challenge 35,000 individuals who refused to sign for the letters,” including “voters who were homeless, serving abroad, or simply did not want to sign for something concerning the Republican Party.” It should be noted that marketers have long used zip codes to target, with remarkable precision, the ethnic makeup of specific neighborhoods, and also that, according to exit polls last year, 84 percent of those black citizens who voted in Ohio voted for Kerry.[5]

Marc Davidson

What's also disturbing is the incompetence of the Democratic Party in Ohio that should have seen all this coming. Besides, many of the decisions that effectively disenfranchised voters were made by county officials who were themselves Democratic. Thievery... probably, but also a great deal of incompetence.

Michael Turner

What's really disturbing to me is that they are using computers at all. OK, I could consider tabulating equipment that can read holes punched in cards. I guess. Hanging chads, "pregnant" chads and all. But what about just marking a clearly separated box on a card, in pen? What was wrong with that, anyway? Why buy whole computer systems that you're hardly going to use more than once a year or so? Why is that such a great use of tax dollars, especially if it leads to all this controversy and second-guessing? With people, pens and paper, you have what we software engineers call an easily scalable system -- just hire more people if you get more voters than you expected.

Don't get me wrong. I majored in computer science, I made my living for years as a software engineer, and I still use that technical background in my translation work. I'm no Luddite. But one thing I learned in several decades of working in technology is, If It Ain't Broke, Don't "Fix" It. I also became sadder but wiser on another point: if something ain't broke when done without computers, look only very carefully at "fixing" it by using computers. Finally, one of the better pundits in software, Paul Strassmann, in a book called "The Business Value of Computers," said that every manual system should be kept running on paper even after the computer system has been deployed, just as a check, until you're sure the computer system works. Yeah, it costs extra. But it's worth it.

If there's a real use of computers in vote-counting, it's probably webcams, constantly focused on the manual activities, and open for viewing by anyone, not just vote-count monitors. The goal should be that the box with ballots never leaves public sight, nor does the place where they are being tallied. And -- wonders of technology, miracles of modern science! -- that's recently become a relatively easy thing to do. People could even volunteer their personal webcams for election day, to keep costs down. Of course, you still have the network security issue, but that's an easily solv-- ... um .... hm, OK, maybe this isn't such a great idea after all.

steve

Michael, what do they do in Japan? Is it more efficient? less?

Woody

Democrats have long lines because they are stupid. I've voted in Republican districts where people have their ballots thought through and marked before they go in. Voting takes no more than two minutes per person. I've voted in Democratic districts where the people are clueless and only know that they're supposed to vote against Bush but haven't even looked at state or local races and the amendments and local initiatives. They sit there at the booth and ponder forever, typically resulting in fifteen or twenty minutes per vote. In fact, there are more booths at those Democratic precincts because of the long lines that they create. Don't tell me it's not true, because I've seen it over-and-over. Does Andrew factor in that point in any voting study? Hey, don't write me a nasty note about me or my mamma. Just tell me if you disagree and why.

steve

"I've voted in Democratic districts where the people are clueless and only know that they're supposed to vote against Bush but haven't even looked at state or local races and the amendments and local initiatives."

That's an odd explanation. So in Republican districts people get through really fast because they're smart. I bet that couldn't even hold up the most basic statistical survey, but that aside even anecdotally I can refute this. I voted in a a heavily Democratic district in MPLS and had no trouble getting in and out very fast. Now, mind you we don't have all the shenanigans that they put you through in Ohio or Florida to vote and the machines are numerous enough and actually work!
You only need to show up to vote also, you don't even need to pre-register. They have on the spot registration and *still* you don't have lines for hours on end...the state went Democratic and Democrats swept in state legislative votes...
I"m not even a Democrat and I can tell ya this...

steve

BTW, say what ya wanna about Woody, but the ol' man has never been so lame as to resort to banning me because he didn't like my political opinions. He just responds with arguments in kind and lets people decide for themselves how much I've made the wiser argument :-)And I do likewise for him. We make a lovely couple.

reg

"Democrats have long lines because they are stupid."

Kiss my ass, you fucking moron.

Andrew Gumbel

Cool yr jets, Reg -- lucky for you I'm not too conversant yet with the message-expunging function (but I'm working on it).

Woody, this is not a Democrat v Republican issue, and as long as people insist on viewing it that way nothing will improve. It's a question of voting rights, pure and simple. (And if you don't believe Republicans have never suffered from too few voting machines in Democrat-controlled precincts, you've obviously never been to New Mexico.)

reg

Steve, why would you even bother to reply to such idiotic bullshit. I've met some stupid people in my life, but none as blissfully, arrogantly ignorant as Woody. I'm can be a near-total prick, but I've never made a blanket condemnation of people as simply "stupid" based on their party affiliation.

I know some intelligent Republicans (my sister for one), some who are just shallow and opportunistic and some that are childishly ignorant but believe that they are making a last stand for "mainstream America", no matter how far out of that loop they are on the issues, how narrowly they define their charmed circle or how hobbled they are by infatuation with demagogues. Woody is a poster-child for the latter group.

reg

Christ Andrew .... cool my jets ? I just insulted one guy, but it was in response to his insulting 30 million of us. I don't consider that kind of crap discussion. I consider it crackpot raving based on prejudice, ignorance and profound arrogance. To borrow from one of your countrymen, Woody should be a bit more humble, because God knows he's got a lot to be humble about.

reg

Also, let's face it. Not far beneath Woody's verdict on Dems is a not very subtle racism.

How "stupid" does a Dem have to be to not get that bit of inference ?

Sorry Andrew, but this crap really pisses me off.

Steve

Reg, one, the guy knows his baseball.
2) dunno, he makes straight up arguments, some of which, like the one above, I find nonsensical and more likely than not just teasing at worst, but others the guy sincerly believes and who am I to tell him to think otherwise? At least he doesn't resort to desperately trying to 'ban' me when he doesn't like what I've said. In fact, for all the pro-war echo chamberists out there who have reactively called for my banning for making an argument they had no answer for, Woody [and GM Roper for that matter] have never joined in that echo chamber shriek chorus of "BAN HIM BAN HIM".
They don't feign outrage or disgust when people disagree with them, they just argue [or make bizarre arguments]. More power to'em I say.

steve

After a year of time spent as an adjunct teaching race and ethnicity...I've learned this much about the liberal professor's definition of diversity: I love having'em minorities around me, I just don't feel like taking their opinons too seriously.

reg

I don't consider it teasing - I consider it tendentious bullshit and I don't tolerate it. Ever since Limbaugh and Ann Coulter started mainstreaming their insane antics, I've taken to being equally unpleasant when I run into their minions or idiots who ape their form of argument. It's all that they deserve and I refuse to make a fool of myself by trying to reason with them.

rosedog

This is indeed good news, Andrew. Anything OTHER than a paper trail, strikes me as some peculiar and horrifying form of group insanity. (Not to put too fine a point on it.)

About it all not being a Bush/Turd Blossom/Diebold plot, this is probably all the more reason why I need to read your book---since there's still a part of me that dons a tinfoil hat on more than a few occasions due to the creeping and unhappy feeling that there was some Diebold machine software hacking going on in 2004.

Hell, it's what I would've done if I wanted to try to guarantee the results of an election. (I'm not saying that it did.) Much easier than fiddling around with felon purges, and virtually impossible to trace, I should think. (But then, again, maybe I've been hanging around with too many criminals for too long a period of time.) Anyway, paper trail. Yes. Very, very good thing.

Rebecca

The National Network on Election Reform, comprised of Demos, the Brennan Center, and other orgs, have put together a good website with research/resources which also tracks Carter Baker in the media. Pretty helpful as a primer and for updates. It's at: http://www.carterbaker.com/

rosedog

OT: Interesting post on the Red Cross fund raising and Katrina by Richard Walden at Huff Post.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/richard-walden/the-red-cross-coming-home_b_7653.html

NetOx

DOCUMENTED DEM VOTER FRAUD IN OHIO
(more facts less speculation)

Rampant Registration Fraud leads to RICO Complaint: Hundreds, if not thousands, of forged and falsified registrations are the subject of a civil racketeering complaint brought against several organizations who are charged with working in concert with the Democratic Party. Defendants ACORN, ACT, the NAACP Voter Fund, and the Ohio AFL-CIO coordinated with the “America Votes” project to increase voter registration and voter turn out in Ohio. All are alleged to have engaged in conduct facilitating the submission of fraudulent voter registration. The complaint includes some 14 paragraphs detailing over 200 separate criminal violations by the Defendants.


- Move-On.Org Enjoined by Court for Voter Intimidation and Harassment
- ACORN Submits “Blatantly False” Voter Registration Cards
- AFLCIO - 803 fraudulent cards submitted by the Cuyahoga County
- Project Vote - Worker Indicted in Lucas County
- NAACP - Crack Cocaine Paid for Registrations - Hundreds of falsified voter registration forms submitted by Chad Staten in exchange for crack cocaine provided by Georgianna Pitts of the NAACP National Voter Fund.

The_DC_Sniper

"I don't consider it teasing - I consider it tendentious bullshit and I don't tolerate it. Ever since Limbaugh and Ann Coulter started mainstreaming their insane antics, I've taken to being equally unpleasant when I run into their minions or idiots who ape their form of argument. It's all that they deserve and I refuse to make a fool of myself by trying to reason with them."

You could always try rising above, Reg.

You know what I really can't understand? Why anyone here gets worked up over these posts at all. Is anyone deluded enough, so intoxicated by their self-importance, to hallucinate that the arguments on some fucking blog really matter? That they will actually effect changes in the real world or even so much as change someone's mind? I've certainly never seen it happen. And how do people work up such self-righteous anger given the inherent irresolvability of the ethical questions that lie at the heart of politics? Self-righteousness just makes no sense to me in the context of such uncertainty.

Whatever. As you were.

reg

"And how do people work up such self-righteous anger given the inherent irresolvability of the ethical questions that lie at the heart of politics?"

That's lame...how in the hell is remarkably ignorant insult and ill-informed, reactionary drivel "inherently irresolvable" or even worth elevating to "ethical questions that lie at the heart of politics". There are lots of complexities, conundrums and cause for tough calls and confusion in political discussion. But Woody rarely rises above the self-parody of an ignorant fringe. The only thing "inherently irresolvable" about the Hannity/Coulter/Limbaugh crowd is the depth of their delusion and the enormity of their arrogance. Fools strung along by demagogues. I don't have to rise above it - because I already am. I'm not lathering myself up into any paroxysms of anger - self-righteous or not. I'm just momentarily pained and duly dismissing, with an appropriate gesture of contempt, noises from the gutter.

Frankly, I'm stymied by your reprimand because anyone but a self-righteous, hallucinating nincompoop knows that blog comments don't matter.(Oh, wait...that was your point.) Still, if you insist on pissing into this little gust of wind along with the rest of us, those observations would be better directed at someone who hadn't written "I refuse to make a fool out of myself by trying to reason with them."

Woody

reg, I stated something that is complex in a very simple manner. Maybe another way of saying it is that people who don't have enough sense to take care of themselves and who depend on government are more prone to not have enough sense to figure out the voting process and more prone to vote Democratic.

If I see a bunch of tatooed people with piercings all over their faces get out of a car with fifteen bumper stickers against Bush and their eyes are glazed over and then those people take forever to vote, I have to think "stupid Democrats." What other conclusion is there?

When I have stood in voting lines for hours and wondered why it was taking so long versus my other experiences, all I had to do was look around at the people in the line that was very predominantly Democratic, and watch them getting sample ballots for the first time--in line, scratching their heads as they tried to figure it out, having problems at the identification table because they didn't properly register or change their addresses, then go to the voting booth and stand in there sometimes for thirty minutes--probably having no clue how to use the machine. You think you're upset! How about me having to stand in line for hours because a bunch of idiots don't know how to vote?

Andrew says this isn't about political parties. Maybe to some extent it isn't, but at least one political party is making all the false claims about disinfranchisement and other bull. I don't know why they complain since all the dead people don't have problems getting their votes counted for them.

If the Democrats want to speed up the lines for its constituency, then they can start by trying to improve government schools and actually teaching people to think rather than teaching them to feel good--but, that's another discussion.

P.S. Thanks, steve.

stev

"If I see a bunch of tatooed people with piercings all over their faces get out of a car with fifteen bumper stickers against Bush and their eyes are glazed over and then those people take forever to vote, I have to think "stupid Democrats." What other conclusion is there?"

you've seen something that isn't terribly typical of your average Democratic or Republican voter actually, thus generalizing from it is not terribly helpful?

steve

"If I see a bunch of tatooed people with piercings all over their faces get out of a car with fifteen bumper stickers against Bush and their eyes are glazed over and then those people take forever to vote, I have to think "stupid Democrats." What other conclusion is there?"

you've seen something that isn't terribly typical of your average Democratic or Republican voter actually, thus generalizing from it is not terribly helpful?

Woody

steve, I took an extreme to make a point, and I agree that one such example would not be sufficient to draw a proper conclusion. However, my observations do go beyond that. I see many otherwise normal people that I can classify as Democrats from their comments and other signs on how they might vote.

reg tried to make this a racial issue, but I didn't use that example. If he wants such a connection and believes that it is there, maybe it would be accurate to say that "poor" (not less fortunate) people vote Democratic and that poor people are not as smart as others or they would have higher paying jobs--and a disproportionate number of poor people are black. That's a broad brush, and a little unfair, but I just don't have the time or resources to go list each person individually. On the other hand, I can drive around my area and see black neighborhoods with $700,000 homes, and they have Democratic political signs in their yards, and they're not stupid--but they aren't the ones holding up the lines, so it's not racial. It's just the stupid people--and they happen to be Democrats for the most part.

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