It wasn't that Republicans didn't try to steal the election, according to Simon. They just didn't steal enough to make up for the groundswell of opposition in the final weeks.
Rob Kall's thorough and remarkably overlooked OpEd News story dated November 17 tells us this:
"We see evidence of pervasive fraud, but apparently calibrated to political conditions existing before recent developments shifted the political landscape,' said attorney Jonathan Simon, co-founder of Election Defense Alliance, "so 'the fix' turned out not to be sufficient for the actual circumstances.' Explained Simon, 'When you set out to rig an election, you want to do just enough to win. The greater the shift from expectations, (from exit polling, pre-election polling, demographics) the greater the risk of exposure - of provoking investigation. What was plenty to win on October 1 fell short on November 7.'
"The findings raise urgent questions about the electoral machinery and vote counting systems used in the United States," according to Sally Castleman, National Chair of EDA. "This is nothing less than a national indictment of the vote counting process in the United States!"
"The numbers tell us there absolutely was hacking going on, just not enough to overcome the size of the actual turnout. The tide turned so much in the last few weeks before the election. It looks for all the world that they'd already figured out the percentage they needed to rig, when the programming of the vote rigging software was distributed weeks before the election, and it wasn't enough," Castleman commented.
Kall's excellent article goes on to explain that the reasons pollsters gave for "adjusting" their results and bringing them into conformity with "official" election returns don't wash. Although there are legitimate reasons to adjust polling data, doing so to prevent contradictions between them and the "official" results does not qualify, and amounts to a coverup on the part of pollsters.
But the three million Democratic votes apparently lost, strayed or stolen this November are only the tip of this ugly rock. The new Republican election math isn't just about proprietary hardware, software hacks and voting machines that can subtract as well as add. According to Cast Out: Voter Supression Strategies 2006 and Beyond, a paper issued by the Brennan Center For Justice at NYU Law School, a nationwide wave of federal, state and local statutes and administrative regulations are being enacted with the explicit goal of disenfranchising communities that vote mainly Democratic.
In addition to electronic fraud, the Brennan Center identifies four other looming threats to the franchise.
Restricting Voter Registration Drives
Back in the early nineties, well before he declared there was no such thing as black America, Barack Obama made his political bones directing a massive Chicago-based registration drive which, with significant help from commercial black radio, and the participation of scores of community-based organizations, succeeded in putting more than 120,000 mostly minority voters on the rolls in a scant three months. In that case and many since around the country, non profit and community groups registering voters in parking lots, on street corners, at events and door to door have accounted for a significant share of new registrations, 20% of total new registrations in the last two years.
"The kind of massive volunteer-based voter registration drives that ... characterized the Jesse Jackson campaigns for president in 1984 and 1988 are for all practical purposes illegal in much of the country."
The response of many state officials has been to close that door and all but outlaw community-based voter registration drives. Arbitrary regulations have been imposed on their activity and draconian fines or imprisonment are now penalties for minor infractions such as collecting a form a day early, turning it in a day late, assisting a voter in filling out a form, or recording a voter's contact information from a form for verification or get-out-the-vote purposes. The state of Florida shut down the League of Women Voters by imposing a $70,000 fine for having lost 14 filled out registration forms. Restrictive laws like this are presently on the books in Georgia, New Jersey, Maryland, Ohio, California, Washington state, Colorado, Missouri, and of course, Florida.
The kind of massive volunteer-based voter registration drives that enabled the election of Chicago's first black and only progressive mayor Harold Washington in 1983, or that characterized the Jesse Jackson campaigns for president in 1984 and 1988 are for all practical purposes illegal in much of the country.
Barriers to Getting on the Voter Rolls: No Match - No Vote
HAVA, the cynically misnamed "Help America Vote Act" requires every state maintain an electronic voter database as the final authority on who is and is not registered to vote. Some state authorities have taken advantage of this "final authority" by enacting laws that require every name, before being added to the database, be "confirmed" by detection of an exact match in some OTHER government database, such as Social Security or drivers license records.
The catch here is that the matching process introduces countless errors any of which can be grounds for rejecting the voter's application. Suppose a first name, sex, date of birth and Social Security number match between a new voter record and a Social Security record, but a middle name is spelled differently. The voter's application is rejected. Suppose one has a middle initial and the other spells out the middle name? Rejected. Suppose one has a married name and the other a hyphenated name? Rejected. Different addresses? Rejected. Names with apostrophes? Rejected. Typos not in the voter application, but in the drivers license, Social Security or other record being "matched" against? Rejected.
When California law required a "no match - no vote" rule and Los Angeles County attempted to comply, almost 20% of eligible voters were deleted from the rolls till state officials cancelled the policy. In Pennsylvania, the number of people who could be excluded from the rolls by such a policy is as high as 30%. And the Social Security Administration reported early in 2006 that as many as 28% of voter records checked against its databases yielded no matches.
Despite successful challenges in many areas to "no match-no vote" policies, the Republican legislators and administrators that enact them defend these practices stubbornly, and give ground only grudgingly. And "no match-no vote" laws are proposed in new states every legislative session. There is no doubt that these laws and regulations have disenfranchised tens or hundreds of thousands of voters in the election just past.
Purges of the Voters Rolls
The famous example of Florida in 2000, which had a private contractor make up deliberately imprecise and overwhelmingly black lists of supposed felons, and knocked everyone off the rolls whose name was even a near match - even deleting multiple voters for a match with a single alleged felon, and at least one felon the date of whose crime was more than a decade in the future - illustrates how spurious purges can be implemented to ethnically cleanse the voter rolls. But these practices did not end with 2000 and were never limited to Florida.
Brennan Center Study furnishes these examples:
In Kentucky, 8,000 people were purged because their names matched those of people registered in Tennessee or South Carolina in an attempt to identify voters who had moved. A lawsuit brought by the Kentucky Attorney General has already shown that this purge may have affected eligible voters whose names happened to be the same as others in neighboring states.
In Indiana, 4,500 people were purged, and 36,000 more might be purged. This purge was touted as partisan.
In Washington, 55,000 people were purged earlier this year.
In Milwaukee, Wisconsin, 105,000 people were purged from the city voter rolls.
In Churchill County, Nevada, the number of registered voters decreased from 12,537 to 11,880 due to purges.
In Ohio, there were 175,000 purged voters in Cuyahoga County and 133,000 purged voters in Hamilton and Lucas Counties.
Paradoxically, the existence of central voter databases on the state level actually makes it easier to mistakenly or maliciously purge large numbers of undesirable voters, along with those who may have died or moved away. And in many cases procedural safeguards, such as attempts to notify purged voters, are flawed or nonexistent. It is impossible to know how many voters were denied their right to vote based on malicious wholesale purges. But the number is certainly substantial, and may easily rival the number of votes that lost their way this past election day.
Voter ID and Citizenship Requirements
Many new state and federal proposals require voters to show specific forms of ID at the polling place, ostensibly to keep "terrorists" and others from impersonating real voters. But that extraordinarily rare and risky form of vote fraud occurs less than once in every 100,000 votes cast. The real targets of restrictive Voter ID and "proof of citizenship" laws are minority voters and the poor who are more likely to move oftener than they change drivers licenses, or less likely to have the required documents.
"...78% of young black people (in Milwaukee) from 18 to 24 don't have drivers licenses. 97% of Wisconsin college students were recently found not to have current addresses on their drivers licenses. These facts explain the attraction and the intent of voter ID restrictions."
The Brennan Center estimates that more than 10% of all eligible voters nationwide don't possess any state-issued ID. For the poor, the actual cost of such ID is more than the application fee itself, but includes secondary fees, travel expense and time away from work, child or elder care needed to obtain supporting documents like birth certificates, naturalization papers, notarized copies of apartment leases or Social Security documentation. In 2005 the state of Georgia enacted a strict voter ID law even though 36% of its seniors had no drivers licenses, and more than half the state's 200 counties had no office where state ID could be obtained. Courts have so far prevented Georgia from enforcing the law, likening the cost of compliance to many of the state's poorer citizens to a 21st century poll tax.
Before 2005, proof of citizenship at the polling place was not a voting requirement anywhere in the US. But in Milwaukee, the American city with the nation's highest rate of black incarceration, it is estimated that only half as many African Americans possess drivers licenses as whites, and that 78% of young black people from 18 to 24 don't have drivers licenses. 97% of Wisconsin college students were recently found not to have current addresses on their drivers licenses. These facts explain the attraction and the intent of voter ID restrictions. And according to many reports, even in places where picture ID is not required to vote, officials at the polling places are demanding it, and turning people away who don't produce it.
Where are the Democrats?
Despite millions of voters purged and denied in the months before election day, despite millions more votes actually cast that were not counted on election day, and despite DLC flacks like Rahm Emmanuel who used rivers of corporate cash to knock populist and antiwar Democratic congressional candidates out of primary elections in favor of pro-war losers like Tammy Duckworth (Illinois 6th district) and Harold Ford in Tennessee, Democrats won a resounding nationwide victory.
Speaker-to-be Pelosi infamously declared impeachment "off the table" in favor of good works, positive accomplishments and bipartisan good will. But the trains of wholesale voter suppression, disenfranchisement and electronic vote fraud have already left the station and are picking up speed. If Democrats in office and small "d" democrats in the streets fail to demand new regulations that guarantee every voter the right to vote, and force every vote to be counted, if they do not convene and aggressively pursue investigations -- if we don't get in their faces and in the streets to lay down on or tear up the tracks those trains run on, this November's victory will be wasted. It could be a long time till the next one.
Bruce Dixon is Managing Editor at Black Agenda Report and can be reached at bruce.dixon at BlackAgendaReport.com