READER COMMENTS ON
"Bush Administration Guts 40 Year Old 'Voting Rights Act'"
(44 Responses so far...)
COMMENT #1 [Permalink]
said on 12/10/2005 @ 1:34 pm PT...
COMMENT #2 [Permalink]
said on 12/10/2005 @ 2:12 pm PT...
Good article. Scary as hell.
Small typo in last par.
"It's simply to easy to ascribe to them the worst possible traits as a blunt political weapon."
Should read: "It's simply too easy to ascribe to them the worst possible traits as a blunt political weapon."
COMMENT #3 [Permalink]
Robert Lockwood Mills
said on 12/10/2005 @ 2:26 pm PT...
It takes a lot to leave me at a loss for words. This did it.
COMMENT #4 [Permalink]
said on 12/10/2005 @ 2:32 pm PT...
The anger is getting closer and closer to critical mass.
COMMENT #5 [Permalink]
said on 12/10/2005 @ 2:32 pm PT...
This is what happens when one party rules the roost in Washington, and believe me, the Republicans are in complete control of all branches of government.
George Bush and Tom DeLay really are two evil bastards who seek to dismantle the voting rights of minorities to keep the GOP in control...for the next 30 years. And the rest of us just sit back and allow it to happen.
Oh, they aren't trying to dismantle voting rights...as long as you cast ballots for Republicans.
COMMENT #6 [Permalink]
said on 12/10/2005 @ 2:45 pm PT...
So!!! Looks like its time to fire off some more letters to Fitzgerald and the REAL justice department......And get the riots ready to throw Al Gonzales out of his position...
Al should have known better than to violate voting rights acts, he's on a slipper slope now.
COMMENT #7 [Permalink]
said on 12/10/2005 @ 3:26 pm PT...
But, Brad, the Bush administration IS facistic.
The thing that gives me the most fear is that while we hold their feet closer and closer to the fire, they will eventually react like a injured and trapped animal. They know that if power is given back to the Dems their one shot at taking over the country will come to an end and they will be hauled off to prison to spend the remainder of their traitorus lives.
Now, with this in mind....just think how close Bush is to the "button" and you can understand my fear. Nevertheless, we need to continue to turn up the heat on Diebold, etc. and be ready to take action as citizens, should the need arise.
COMMENT #8 [Permalink]
said on 12/10/2005 @ 3:45 pm PT...
Re Bush's remark, are we certain this is real?
Not that I have any trouble believing he said it, but has it been corroborated that he said it? If so, although it's despicable and although it pales next to all the heinous harm they've caused, is this not absolutely a trashing of the Presidential Oath and impeachable?
And I don't mean 'Would a call for impeachment be feasible given the R majority'. I think that is irrelevant.
Under the law, is demonstrable contempt for one's oath of office not impeachable?
Jesus God, is ANYTHING impeachable?
COMMENT #9 [Permalink]
said on 12/10/2005 @ 3:50 pm PT...
Nothing's impeachable unless we get back the congress, and I mean both houses. An impeachment by the house would mean little without a conviciton by the senate.
COMMENT #10 [Permalink]
said on 12/10/2005 @ 4:15 pm PT...
"...We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed..."
[deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed]
"...--That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it,..."
[it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it!!]
"... and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations,..."
[But when a long train of abuses and usurpations...
A LONG LONG LONG FUCKING TRAIN OF ABUSES AND USURPATIONS! We're talkin' LONG here, and you all know what they are]
"... pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government..."
"...it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government..."
IT IS THEIR RIGHT, IT IS THEIR DUTY.
IT IS THEIR RIGHT! IT IS THEIR DUTY!!!
COMMENT #11 [Permalink]
said on 12/10/2005 @ 4:18 pm PT...
The line over which one cannot cross without consequences keeps moving, doesn't it? Remember Gen. Tommy Franks' statement that if there is another terrorist attack in the United States "the Constitution will likely be discarded in favor of a military form of government"?
Shouldn't he have been fired? Didn't Gen. Franks swear to defend the Constitution against all enemies? He didn't swear to defend something else. He swore to defend the Constitution. Yet, Tommy "We don't do body counts" Franks still has a job.
COMMENT #12 [Permalink]
said on 12/10/2005 @ 4:56 pm PT...
Thanks Joan for # 10 - Yes, it's time.
COMMENT #13 [Permalink]
said on 12/10/2005 @ 5:04 pm PT...
"An impeachment by the house would mean little without a conviciton by the senate."
NO! We have to stop thinking in those terms, in my humble opinion.
Clinton was impeached but not convicted, and the R's are STILL blaming everything under the sun on Clinton. His impeachment will live in history FOREVER, despite the fact that it was a trumped up, inane fiasco.
A resolution of impeachment--correct me if that's not the right term--resolution of inquiry?--being introduced may not result in impeachment, but it needs to be done anyway. Or is even getting it introduced impossible? Obviously I don't know my Congressional law.
There was a little to-do about it being introduced awhile back...what came of that? The D's let it die? What??
We can't expect to take back the Congress using a compromised process. There is enough evidence of our system being hackable & hacked, on this site & others, to sink the Titanic again, and it is still being ignored.
Is impeachment our ONLY avenue to 'throw off such a Government'??? That or these interminable investigations ever actually having some teeth???
God, I hope Mr. Fitzgerald has a 24/7 phalanx of beefy bodyguards.
COMMENT #14 [Permalink]
said on 12/10/2005 @ 5:33 pm PT...
When FASCISM COMES TO AMERICA,IT WILL BE WRAPPEDIN THE FLAG AND CARRYING A CROSS.(SINCLAIR LEWIS) Another thought about Iraq. After elections are over, look for Iran joining with Shites and all h--------- will break loose! Then Bush will get more then he ask for. But not all the oil control he wants. So our troops will have died for nothing in his ILLEGAL WAR. You know the more I hear and read we may have a revolution in the U.S.
COMMENT #15 [Permalink]
said on 12/10/2005 @ 5:46 pm PT...
Well folks, they're setting up to fight the battles of the 1960s again you better get it together. We're the ones who are being caught by suprise this time. They own the press, the police are willing to murder at the drop of a hat, and public opinion means nothing with rigged elections. They plan on doing it right this time. It's going to be a bloody son of a bitch. God help us.
COMMENT #16 [Permalink]
said on 12/10/2005 @ 5:51 pm PT...
Fear & doubt Dredd, Bush won't pull the trigger on anything.....
He doesn't have the ability to anyway. Cheney is cornered.....Stop giving into your fear and doubt.
We can take these mongrels down and we will, their forces are withering away......the Zionist Fascists are in plain sight this time!!!
COMMENT #17 [Permalink]
said on 12/10/2005 @ 5:55 pm PT...
Perhaps the best solution for now is everyone e-mailing, writing or calling Rep. Arlen Specter. Appeal to his ethical side, assuming a Republican Congressman or Senator has one, and stress the importance of honesty and integrity and how a thorough investigation is necessary to achieve it.
The main thing is to create "noise." Congressman Ted Srickland, running for Governor in Ohio, would probably win that office if the election were not already fixed for Blackwell. He needs to be made aware of what he is facing. I have written him, with no response, but if "6 or 7" would write him, perhaps he would come before the public and make our concerns known. He'll never have a chance if he doesn't! The only way to defeat this corruption is to bring it all to the public's attention and show them the shit that is taking place right under their noses.
COMMENT #18 [Permalink]
said on 12/10/2005 @ 7:27 pm PT...
we do not have enough steam. we need much more steam right away. how do we get more steam in the engine? we need a list of things to do every day. we need to be able to relate to this in the simplist terms to the greatest number of people.
COMMENT #19 [Permalink]
Judge of Judges
said on 12/10/2005 @ 8:36 pm PT...
bush's Koncentration Kamp Konservatives have given us Fascism by the installment.
When Valerie plame got outed Who showed up ?
When Howard Stern got Booted Who showed up ?
When Bill Maher got Booted Who showed up ?
etc. etc. etc.
When they come for YOU who will be there?
limbaugh o'reilly and fox to explain that
it was for the good of the republic.
COMMENT #20 [Permalink]
said on 12/10/2005 @ 9:06 pm PT...
Stop thinking in terms of steam.......use the internet to your advantage and join large groups, thousands are making a huge difference to cut this corruption off at the pass!
Vote Trust USA
Join the war and do a little, even a little or protest riots.....move entire mountains. You can't outlast their steam. The more pressure you put on them the more things they destroy and try to circumvent completely via fascism. You can only bring them down the same way you do anything else; constant perseverence and working with the same people over and over again....
Get to trust your peers online.....they are your saving grace, far beyond anyone you know in real life. Make sure you trust them.
COMMENT #21 [Permalink]
Judge of Judges
said on 12/10/2005 @ 9:28 pm PT...
Listening to Air America Radio, it can be uplifting.
Yes, Doug E, I agree!
COMMENT #22 [Permalink]
said on 12/10/2005 @ 10:03 pm PT...
COMMENT #23 [Permalink]
said on 12/10/2005 @ 10:19 pm PT...
God Damn it!. I'm speechless.
COMMENT #24 [Permalink]
said on 12/10/2005 @ 10:31 pm PT...
I have felt this way for a long time now. The pansy-ass Dumbocrats are useless. Where is Barack Obama's voice?
I swear, Barbara Boxer needs to split from the ineffectiveness of the Ds and form her own party. She's one of the few people I could get behind.
This is what I've been saying about fascism for so long now, I'm almost tired of hearing myself say it. We are no longer a democracy. A group of Texas legislators fled the state to Oklahoma to escape DeLays redistricting - yet the Democratic party did not stand behind them, thereby essentially giving DeLay the green light to act illegally. This just goes to show that Democrats are not interested in democracy any more than Republicans. It is all a power play to get elected. Let's say the Democrats do get a house or senate majority in '06, or the presidency in '08 (which all seems increasingly unlikely based on voting machines and now this shit) - but let's say they do: will they reverse this madness? I have my doubts, because so few of them are standing up right now.
The general populace will not wake up to this. I don't there is any fire large and hot enough to rouse them from their stupor. From the Constitution - "their right, their duty, to throw off such Government" - it was an assumption at that time that the populace would both be educated about the rights, AND care about exercising. Unless it is directly personally profitable to individuals, they care about neither - another effect of the general state of corruption in our country.
So what will it take? Another "Weather Underground"?
And I love Air America...I love Randi, and Al, and Mike Malloy especially...but aside from Mike, they all are rah!rah! for the Democrats. We need someone out their on the airwaves screaming that the Democrats are as fucked as the Republicans because they do nothing, save for a few, to effectively counter this fascist Bush regime.
COMMENT #25 [Permalink]
said on 12/11/2005 @ 5:12 am PT...
Yes, to 99% of what you said. Obama, Biden, my FL sen Bill Nelson, Kennedy, certainly Kerry, every silent Democrat- BOO! HISS!
I'm not even sure about Boxer, tell you the truth. On Jan 6th she walked on eggshells with the rest of them.
And JoJ, seriously, Hillary?? With torture, electoral fraud, stabbing our troops in the back by scrimping on armor...I mean spin the wheel & pick your scandal...she focuses on violence in video games.
And Lieberman-HA! Calling him a Democrat is like calling a roach a palmetto bug.
COMMENT #26 [Permalink]
said on 12/11/2005 @ 5:56 am PT...
Our problem is the media. Remember the hearings of John Conyers about the election irregularities (fraud) that happened in '04. His hearings were sent to the "basement" of the congress and no MSM covered it even though it was very informing and articulated by very thoughtful people. Rep. Conyers is still at work on this issue and needs your support. Our Rep. in Florida, Robert Wexler is now before the courts here yelling and screaming about the voting machines, have any of you heard anything about that? Dems are working, but the repub's are on the message (bought by you), that they are just sitting around doing nothing. The fact is that they can get zero media.
DEMAND IT, find out about it, call attention to it, write your paper and your congress.
COMMENT #27 [Permalink]
said on 12/11/2005 @ 6:09 am PT...
Hey everyone, wonderful comments. Doug E, you addressed me in your post #16 but I didn't post here ... until now.
I have one situation for us to watch. The Supreme Court has been considering the Texas gerrymandering situation, engineered by DeLay.
Here is a quote concerning the cases:
"After looking for a fifth time at a group of seven cases challenging the redistricting of Texas' congressional seats, the Court once again announced no action. The Justices have examined that case at each Conference since late October. There has been no explanation for its failure to act on those cases." (link here, and here).
COMMENT #28 [Permalink]
Judge of Judges
said on 12/11/2005 @ 12:21 pm PT...
Soul Rebel You are so "RITE"
we need some dems with balls that are worthy of
THe Outstanding Support of Air America Radio.
I'm still not impressed by Horse Face.
Lieberman makes me PUKE I.E. Election 2000
I want to hear more from Hillary.
Mike Malloy Haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa
COMMENT #29 [Permalink]
said on 12/11/2005 @ 12:45 pm PT...
Thanks for the Specter links. I just feel I have to do something! Would it possible for homeless to give the address of their transitional housing or General Delivery?
COMMENT #30 [Permalink]
said on 12/11/2005 @ 1:10 pm PT...
No problem. I was talking to JohnConley and accidently thought it was you.
Your idea is very good and makes sense....someone needs to follow the Texas supreme courts like a hawk. Build the pressure on them and protest/flood their phone boxes to hear the case on the Gerry Mandering. If that illegal action can be reversed, Delay's damage can be reversed.
COMMENT #31 [Permalink]
said on 12/11/2005 @ 2:34 pm PT...
thank you all for being out there to learn from. this is the first blog i've ever participated in. i guess the rigged voting machines owned by big business has got me out of the closet. it's helpful to feel comradery... ok judge of judges, i'll listen to air america for some consoling. please exuse my inexperience in the activist arena, but what do you do when your anguish about the state of things in our world is so overwhelming that all you can do is read and read and listen and listen and fall into daily paralyzing despair? i do not watch tv. i listen to kcrw, read these intelligent blogs, move.on signups, an occasional call to a senator, that's all. is anyone out there in the same boat? do you eventually transcend the horror and find a way to plug into progressive activity? ok, doug eldridge, what activity(on line activity) is most managable to start with? i need something i will want to stay with and build from? a starter course. ease in..... obviously i haven't found my touch yet. i'm not a get out in the streets galvanizing type. thanks for the coaching. it feels good to sign up on the team.
COMMENT #32 [Permalink]
said on 12/11/2005 @ 3:02 pm PT...
Welcome aboard, SincerlyYours! Great to have you hear and "out of the closet". Your country thanks you too!
COMMENT #33 [Permalink]
said on 12/11/2005 @ 4:18 pm PT...
You know what? You're right. You said
"Dems are working, but the repub's are on the message (bought by you), that they are just sitting around doing nothing. The fact is that they can get zero media."
I was forgetting that! Damn. I KNOW the media reports nothing, and yet I'm swallowing the lie that the Dems are all silent & doing nothing.
I complain when I hear people repeat repub talking points, & there I am doing it! Thanks for giving me a kick.
COMMENT #34 [Permalink]
said on 12/11/2005 @ 9:27 pm PT...
Do whatever comes most naturally....If you can't handle speaking in front of large groups of people, you won't be able to do it online most likely..
Try hitching up with some folks over here for instance...
Unlike the Democratic Undergrounds, there is alot of people there in the same boat you are....at the least you can forge some common ground, or head to Velvet Revolution.US (http://www.velvetrevolution.us) and do it there...Thats another great place.
Once you have emailed people a couple of times and gotten to know them, join their action alert setups....And you will basically meld right in. Completely anonymous most likely.....and be part of an effort that affects thousands of things simultaneously.
The quickest strategy is the safest strategy...Work with like minded people via email & instant messenger to get things done, and spread the word like fire.....so every senator and congressman takes notice. The fascists are trying to destroy everything at a rapid pace.....and we are all one step ahead of them, so get involved and tell all of your city leaders via email to get involved too.
COMMENT #35 [Permalink]
said on 12/12/2005 @ 9:58 am PT...
Bush wins Heisman, where is the outrage????
COMMENT #36 [Permalink]
said on 12/12/2005 @ 11:15 am PT...
This is reminiscent of when Congressmen got together to discuss "giving the president the power to invade Iraq".. It was mentioned "that the Constitution doesn't allow us to do this, we have to declare war if we want to do this by the book" [paraphrased].. The response was "the Constitution is out-dated".
I don't have the transcript of that meeting anymore, but it was on the .gov site where such things are kept.. It's likely still there.
The Republicans don't care for the Constitution.. not one wit.. know why? It, and the Declaration of Independance, assert that "all men are created equal", and set out to explain what some of our rights are (the Bill of Rights). That means, the dirt-poor slob on the street corner is "just as good" as they are, and that drives them nuts.. They KNOW they're better than the rest of us, and that "goddamn piece of paper" trys to say different. So, they are content to destroy it and let people have as many rights as they can afford. Hell, we already see that anyway.. poor people go to jail for crimes they didn't commit because they can't afford lawyers (public defenders tend to be a joke), and murders and rapists and drug dealers and drunk drivers get off, if they're rich enough to buy a defense that can scour the books for loopholes.
Bush is just another super rich spoiled brat. He thinks he's better than everyone else simply because his daddy is rich (well, so is Bush Jr.). His gauge is simply how much he can take now.. the more he can force from your fingers, the "better" he is.. Typical bully stuff.. the stuff of the brain-dead but big-armed.. the kind of people we formed societies to protect us from in the first place.
COMMENT #37 [Permalink]
said on 12/12/2005 @ 11:22 am PT...
> and murders and rapists and drug dealers and drunk drivers get off, if they're rich enough to buy a defense that can scour the books for loopholes.
So, you are for Tokie getting the death penalty?
COMMENT #38 [Permalink]
said on 12/12/2005 @ 11:32 am PT...
Savantster --- I think they do what they can to convince themselves that they are better, but much of it is derived from fear of diversity and fear that maybe they aren't better. I think that fear is with them all of the time. That's why they believe they have to "make reality" rather than deal rationally with facts of culture and diversity.
COMMENT #39 [Permalink]
said on 12/12/2005 @ 12:14 pm PT...
Sorry Paul, I have no idea what you are refering to with "Tokie".. Please explain.
COMMENT #40 [Permalink]
said on 12/12/2005 @ 2:03 pm PT...
Paula never makes any sense so just ignore "it". They think that Tokie deserves death because the Bible says so, and have misinterepeted so many religions its not even worth it anymore.
Those morons mostly read the Bible backwards and call that their law, and nothing can convince them otherwise..
COMMENT #41 [Permalink]
said on 12/12/2005 @ 5:08 pm PT...
I agree, Doug E.....The modern-day moralists make their own laws, everyone else be damned.
If they do, indeed, believe the Bible, though, Swarzeneggar needs to chew on this for a while:
Paraphrasing, "By that measure you use to judge others, that measure will be used against you."
Yikes! Sweet dreams, Auhnold.
COMMENT #42 [Permalink]
said on 12/13/2005 @ 9:52 am PT...
Ah.. Paul.. You meant Tookie, not Tokie.. the gang member who was accused and convicted of killing some people during a robery gone bad, right?
Here's my position.. I'm all for the Death Penalty, BUT, only in a system that "works".. As pointed out, our system is totally fucked. We've convicted innocent people, executed innocent people.. I don't think that's acceptable, not even for some perceived "greater good". Killing an innocent person to "prove a point" is a bad thing, period. Putting someone to death that was likely a pawn in some asshole's political push is WRONG.. Given that we never see "rich people" put to death for their crimes, I think it's clear our system is broke.
Until we have rooted out corruption from our society, the death penalty should probably be put on hold; Removed from use.. When you have bad cops framing people, bad prosecutors pushing a conviction for political reasons, bad defense lawyers for the poor (no one is a public defender because they 'care', at least not in significant numbers), bad judges dismissing accuitals, etc. etc., you can't put someone to death and do it knowing they deserve it. Our society is currently driven by greed and corruption, that's not a society I want killing (accused) criminals.
Ideally though, for me.. In a society where Jail and Prison are used to "reform" people (as they should be), people who commit the most henious of crimes don't deserve to live. That is, if you feel this person is so dangerous, so disgusting, so evil that they should -never- be let out of prison (raped and killed 8 year old girls for years.. say 30 girls, for example), why have him drain our resources all that time? Why let him have a warm bed and 3 meals a day? Course, that also means our prison systems get fixed too.. they are meant to be detention facilities where people are rehabilitated, not torture chambers where inmates rape each other and brutalize each other. Given the human conditions I feel should exist in prisons, I don't think the "scum of humanity" deserve to live their either.
But, to answer your specific question.. No, I don't think Tookie should have been executed. I don't believe in an "eye for an eye" in an "absolute" context, and given his circumstances, there's enough doubt that he should be given the benifit of the doubt, in my mind, from the little I know about it. Now, if he was a convicted rapist of children, convicted on many DNA samples from many of his crime scenes (and I'd like a confession for good measure.. most nuts would confess), then I'd probably not care one way or the either in our present environment..
You want to fix the kinds of situations like with Tookie? Fix our society so we don't have near 1/3 of our population slipping further into Poverty.. slipping off the bottom rungs of "humanity" and devolving into a more animalistic instinct. Tookie wasn't a bad person, I don't think.. he was just someone put in a very bad environment by society and did what he needed to to survive, did what he learned from the chaos and misery around him. People who never lived in Poverty don't get it, or at least -most- don't. Rich people are pretty much gaurenteed to be clueless because they never have a want that isn't fulfilled.. their brains can't get around the idea of starving.. or not having shoes.. or clean clothes.. They like to point at some anectdotal thing and go "see? those poor people don't have it so bad, they are just lazy".. Hey, what ever helps you sleep at night, but it doesn't make you right.
COMMENT #43 [Permalink]
said on 12/19/2005 @ 7:06 am PT...
Bob Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman of The Free Press published a most interesting article two weeks ago about House Bill 3 in Ohio. The bill signals the end of democracy in Ohio, and the birth of communism in America.
Calling republicans fascists isn't accurate: these people are communists, and so are their supporters.
A law that will make democracy all but moot in Ohio is about to pass the state legislature and to be signed by its Republican governor. Despite massive corruption scandals besieging the Ohio GOP, any hope that the Democratic party could win this most crucial swing state in future presidential elections, or carry its pivotal US Senate seat in 2006, are about to end.
House Bill 3 has already passed the Ohio House of Representatives and is about to be approved by the Republican-dominated Senate, probably before the holiday recess. Republicans dominate the Ohio legislature thanks to a heavily gerrymandered crazy quilt of rigged districts, and to a moribund Ohio Democratic party. The GOP-drafted HB3 is designed to all but obliterate any possible future Democratic revival. Opposition from the Ohio Democratic Party, where it exists at all, is diffuse and ineffectual.
HB3's most publicized provision will require positive identification before casting a vote. But it also opens voter registration activists to partisan prosecution, exempts electronic voting machines from public scrutiny, quintuples the cost of citizen-requested statewide recounts and makes it illegal to challenge a presidential vote count or, indeed, any federal election result in Ohio. When added to the recently passed HB1, which allows campaign financing to be dominated by the wealthy and by corporations, and along with a Rovian wish list of GOP attacks on the ballot box, democracy in Ohio could be all but over.
The GOP is ramming similar bills through state legislatures around the US, starting with Georgia and Indiana. The ID requirements in particular have provoked widespread opposition from newspapers such as the New York Times. The Times, among others, argues that the ID requirements and the costs associated with them, constitute an unconstitutional discriminatory poll tax.
But despite significant court challenges, the Republicans are forcing changes in long-standing election laws that have allowed citizens to vote based on their signature alone. Across the US, GOP Jim Crow laws will eliminate millions of Democratic voters from the registration rolls. In swing states like Ohio, such ballots are almost certain to be crucial.
The proposed Ohio law will demand a valid photo ID or a utility bill, a bank statement, a paycheck or a government document with a current address. Thousands of Ohio citizens who are elderly, homeless, unemployed or who do not drive will be effectively disenfranchised. Many citizens, for example, rent apartments where the utilities are paid by landlords. In such cases, the number of people living in utilities-included apartment rentals could actually determine an election.
During the 2004 presidential election, Ohio's Republican Secretary of State, J. Kenneth Blackwell, also issued statewide threats against ex-felons and people whose names resembled those of ex-felons. Thousands of such threats were delivered to registered voters who were never convicted of anything, or who were eligible to vote after being released from prison. In 2004 a "Mighty Texas Strike Force" came to Columbus with a specific mandate to threaten ex-felons with arrest if they dared to vote.
It is legal for ex-felons in Ohio to vote, even if they are in half-way houses or on parole. But HB3's identification requirement, combined with the confusion Blackwell has introduced into the process, will intimidate such Ohioans from voting in 2006 and beyond.
HB3 will also reduce voter rolls by ordering county boards of elections to send cards to registered voters every two years. If a card comes back as undelivered, the voter must rely on a provisional ballot. But tens of thousands of provisional ballots were arbitrarily discarded in 2004, and some 16,000 are known to remain uncounted to this day.
HB3 also imposes severe restrictions on voter registration drives. It allows the state attorney-general and local prosecutors wide powers to prosecute vaguely defined charges of fraud against those working to sign up voters. The restrictions are clearly meant to chill the kind of Democratic registration drives that brought hundreds of thousands of new voters to the polls in 2004 (even though many were turned away in Democratic wards due to a lack of voting machines).
Those electronic machines will also be exempted from recounts by random sampling, even in close, disputed elections like those of 2000 and 2004.
In 2004, scores of Ohio voters reported, under oath, that they had pressed John Kerry's name on touchscreen machines, only to see George W. Bush's name light up. A board of elections technician in Mahoning County (Youngstown) has admitted that at least 18 machines there suffered such problems. Sworn testimony in Columbus indicates that votes for Kerry faded off the screen on touchscreen machines there. Other charges of mis-programming, re-programming, recalibrating, mishandling and manipulation of electronic voting software, hardware and memory cards have since arisen throughout Ohio 2004.
For the 2005 election, some 41 additional Ohio counties (of 88) were switched to Diebold touchscreen machines. Despite polls showing overwhelming voter approval, two electoral reform issues went down improbable defeat. Issue Two, meant to make voting easier, and Issue Three, on campaign finance reform, were shown by highly reliable Columbus Dispatch polls to be passing handily.
The Dispatch was within 0.5% on Issue One, a bond issue, and has rarely been significantly wrong in its many decades of Ohio polling. And even opponents of Issues Two and Three conceded that they were highly likely to pass.
On the Sunday before the Tuesday 2005 election, the Dispatch predicted Issue Two would pass by a vote of 59% to 33%, with about 8% undecided. But Tuesday's official vote count showed Issue Two failing with just 36.5% in favor and 63.5% opposed. For that to have happened, the Dispatch had to have been wrong on Issue Two's support by more than 20 points. Nearly half those who said they would support Issue Two would have had to vote against it, along with all the undecideds.
The numbers on Issue Three are equally startling. The Dispatch showed it winning with 61%, to just 25% opposed and some 14% undecided. Instead just 33% of the votes were counted in its favor, with 67% opposed, an almost inconceivable weekend turnaround.
No other numbers were comparable on November 8, 2005, or elsewhere in the recent history of Dispatch polling. The startling outcome has thus raised even more suspicion and doubt about the use of electronic voting and tabulating machines in Ohio, which account for virtually 100% of the state's vote count.
The federal General Accountability Office (GAO) has recently issued a major report confirming that tampering with and manipulating such machines can be easily done by a very small number of people. Charges are widespread that this is precisely what gave George W. Bush Ohio's electoral votes, and thus the presidency, in 2004, not to mention the suspicious referenda outcomes in 2005.
HB3 will make it virtually impossible for any challenge to be mounted involving any votes cast or counted on electronic machines or tabulators - meaning virtually every vote cast in Ohio.
Indeed, HB3 will raise the cost of mounting a recount from $10 per precinct to $50 per precinct. In 2004, Secretary of State Blackwell forced citizen groups to raise private funds for a recount, which he proceeded to sabotage. The process, which became a futile electronic charade, cost donors committed to democracy more than $100,000. Three partial, meaningless faux recounts resulted. To date more than 100,000 votes cast in Ohio remain uncounted, including some 93,000 easily-read machine-rejected ballots.
During the 2004 election process, Blackwell manipulated the number of precincts in Ohio, and issued inaccurate information about their location and boundaries, making a meaningful precise number hard to come by. But with more than 10,000 precincts still in existence, HB3 would make funding an attempt at another recount in 2006 or 2008 cost more than $500,000.
Such an effort might also result in official retaliation. In 2004, Blackwell and Ohio Attorney-General Jim Petro - both of whom are now Republican candidates for governor - tried to impose stiff financial sanctions against attorneys who filed a legal challenge to the seating of the Ohio electors who gave George W. Bush the presidency. The Ohio Supreme Court disallowed the sanctions after the challenge was withdrawn. But HB3 would make such a federal election challenge illegal altogether.
With the electoral process in Ohio all but disemboweled, those hoping for a change of party in upcoming state and national elections are probably kidding themselves.
The 2004 election in the Buckeye state was riddled with deception, fraud, intimidation, manipulation and outright theft, all of which were essential to the triumph of George W. Bush. In 2005, four electoral reform ballot initiatives were allegedly defeated despite huge poll margins showing the almost certain passage of two of them. The most credible explanation for their defeat lies in electronic manipulation of voting machines, tabulators and memory cards which the GAO confirms have no credible security safeguards.
With campaign finance, voter registration, electronic voting, public recounts, district gerrymandering and overall electoral administration now firmly in the pocket of the GOP, and with Democratic opposition that is virtually non-existent on the issue of vote fraud and election manipulation, there is little reason to believe the Republican grip on Ohio will be loosened at any point in the near future.
In traditional terms, the scandal-ridden Ohio GOP would appear to be more vulnerable than ever. Governor Robert Taft has become the only Ohio governor to be convicted of a crime while in office. With an astonishing 7% approval rating, he has been compared to Homer Simpson by the state's leading Republican newspaper. Republican US Senator Mike DeWine appears highly vulnerable. The GOP has never won the White House without winning the Buckeye State.
But HB3 will solidify the GOP's iron grip on the electronic voting process and all that surrounds it. Unless they break that grip, Democrats who believe they can carry any part of Ohio in 2006 or 2008 are kidding themselves.
When it comes to 2008, can you say "Jeb Bush"?
Bob Fitrakis & Harvey Wasserman are co-authors of How the GOP Stole America's 2005 Election & Is Rigging 2008, available at www.Freepress.org. Their What Happened in Ohio, written with Steve Rosenfeld, will be published by the New Press in 2006. Fitrakis was one of the attorneys targeted by Blackwell and Petro in 2004.
The original link is http://www.freepress.org...s/display/19/2005/1607In
COMMENT #44 [Permalink]
said on 1/7/2006 @ 3:10 pm PT...
Sorry to disagree with some of you guys but the VRA section 5 is not constitutional because it does not apply to the entire country. What about equal treatment under the law? Why do I live in a State without free elections like people in the North? How can different rules apply to elections in different states? How can that be legal? I talked to a lawyer from a Northern State and he pointed out to me that in the North, blacks hardly ever won jury cases because the juries (after the striking process) were mostly white. Maybe we need to put some pressure for equality in Chicago. Most elected black national figures are Southern...Let extend the VRA to all or scrap it. J. Sloan