July 15, 2003
There is a growing sense in American politics that our system of elections has failed in very fundamental ways in recent years. It has become clear that the voter rolls have been seriously manipulated to advance the political influence of the Republican Party in ways that are certainly unethical and likely illegal. The vote counting process has become corrupted in many ways. These issues gained national attention in 2000 but the remedies proposed often were blocked or twisted to make the situations worse.
The False Felon Purge Tactic, revealed by Greg Palast in his book, Best Democracy Money Can Buy , may become common practice in future elections. The tactic was employed by using the powers of the Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris to hire a politically connected company to generate lists of possible felons that local voting boards were suppose to kick off the voter rolls. The problem was that almost everyone on the list generated were not felons but were legal Democratic voters. The company was overpaid in a No-Bid process. The Governor’s office under Jeb Bush seems to be involved. Government records seem to be missing. Nearly, a hundred thousand legal voters lost their right to vote unjustly and nobody has been jailed. Most of these voters are still not back on the voter rolls. Katherine Harris went to Congress in a safe Republican District that looks to have been created just for her. The company that generated the “false felon” list of Democrats to be illegally stripped of their voting rights has received untold millions of dollars in government contracts from the Bush Administration.
The Bush Republicans have pushed thru new legislation to give the Secretary of State in every state much greater control over purging voters from the voting rolls. Traditionally, local voting boards controlled this process and representative of both Parties watched the process careful in their local communities. The threat that partisan Secretaries of States will use computer software to distort the voting rolls in many states is very real!
Computer software issues are a growing concern nationally when it comes to various types of electronic voting. The computer codes that are use to count the vote are not public information in America unlike other nations like New Zealand. They are seemingly more complex than good government would deem prudent. Some critics think security measures against tampering with the results are poor to nonexistent. Some machines seem to be designed with a multiple set of books that are difficult to explain.
The ties between ownership of voting machine manufacturers and the Republican Right are alarming to Democrats. The role of Republican Senator Chuck Hagel in the largest manufacturer of voting machines is being heavily investigated by independent journalists and ignored by both the Republican controlled government and Corporate Media. We can expect little in the way of ethics investigations from the Republican Senate. Almost nobody believes that John Ashcroft will really have a serious Justice Department investigation into Senator Hagel. Democrats expect little justice from the Justice Department in the Bush Administration.
This column written by Stephen Crockett and Al Lawrence (hosts of Democratic Talk Radio). Confirmation of copy: call 931-438-1500 or write Democratic Talk Radio, 7A Planville Drive, Fayetteville, TN 37334.
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