Monday, August 27, 2007

Journalism: PBS NOW - Voter Caging

This is PBS which I consider part of the mainstream media but it is not as profit driven as the commercial media so there is some room for more controversial stories. The stories about voter fraud in the 2000, 2002 and 2004 elections, for example, is something the commercial media has turned it's back on completely.

How do you steal an election? Fix the electronic voting machines you say? Send crappy voting machines and ballots to districts that vote for your opponent you say? Not this time.

First, you figure out which populations might be voting for the other guy. Say. . . for example. . . you're a Republican. Black people unions and poor people are a safe bet to be voting for the other guy. Next, you begin collecting addresses of these people who are newly registered to vote. Then you send out a "congratulatory" letter to everyone on the list including the students while they are on break the national guard members who are serving overseas, and people who may have moved since they registered. You mark these letters DO NOT FORWARD RETURN TO SENDER. If the letter is returned because the person didn't happen to be at that address, you put their names on a new list of "caged" voters.

You then break this list up into voting districts and give it to party operatives who use their party's right to challenge fraud and stand at the polls on election day challenging everyone on the list when they show up to vote. In the case of absentee ballots from those guardsman overseas or the students on break, they just challenge it and it goes straight into the junk pile without the voter even knowing their vote won't be counted. In the case of real live voters who show up, they need to jump through several hoops which don't straighten things out until the election is over. Bada Bing! you just kept as many as 80,000 people from voting in one state alone. People whose civil right to vote is challenged because they didn't answer a piece of junk mail.

The real brilliance, however, comes when you get caught doing this. When that time comes you defend yourself by saying that there is rampant voter fraud on the part of Democrats and that this mailing gimmick is designed to help preserve the integrity of the election!! You jump up and down and point to all these lists of registered voters who "don't exist" because they won't respond. You call them "phantom voters" that are part of a fraud conspiracy. George Orwell would be proud.

This brings us to the scandal where 7 US attorneys were fired by the justice department for suspected political reasons. They are claiming that they were asked to push for the prosecution of Democrats for election fraud. This way, the Republicans could point to those cases and say "See there's the fraud we are guarding against!" Unfortunately, these attornies were not able to actually find any Democratic election fraud. They were then pressured to go after cases with flimsy evidence to make a show of it even if the accused were later found innocent. They refused to do this and were then fired, some of them directly by one of Karl Roves assistants.

Oh, and by the way, the Republicans were already caught doing this in the 80's and they signed a legal agreement as a result promising that they would NEVER do it again. Oh and by the way, Greg Palast, an American investigative reporter who works for the BBC actually has emails addressed to Karl Rove with attachments labeled "caging lists." These emails were accidentally sent to the wrong address ( rather than which turned out to be owned by an activist.

Moral values. . . .

Welcome to America.

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