12 09 2010

To hear them tell it, West Tennessee Republicans pulled off an electoral miracle in Memphis in August.  In a combined primary and general election, even though voters in the Democratic primary outnumbered voters in the Republican primary, Republicans swept every county-wide general election race, taking control of the state’s largest, predominantly black, heretofore predominantly Democratic city.  Was this a foreshadowing of the power of the predicted Republican comeback in 2010?

But gosh, then all kinds of pesky questions started to crop up.  Many voters had been turned away from the polls because computer records showed they had already voted, even though they hadn’t.  In spite of that, the official tally counted over 6,000 more votes than the recorded number of voters.   Numbered rolls of printed tape from the machines, the “print record” of computerized votes cast on them, disappeared and were not counted.  Poll watchers could tell they were missing because the votes are numbered sequentially, and numbers were missing from the sequence.  Furthermore, polling places had not opened on time, and had closed temporarily during the day due to “malfunctions” of the computerized voting equipment.  Ah, Diebold!  Gotta love ’em!

Somewhere, Boss Crump is smiling.  He was a Democrat, but he appreciated good work.

The next act of this drama involved investigators finding some of the missing ballot rolls in trash bags, in the election commission’s  trash.  There were also disclosures that some of the vote-recording computers involved had not been sealed prior to the election and had been quietly sent home for the personal use of election commission employees after the election, that there had been a “ghost race,” a kind of cybernetic “fifth column” in the voting machines that would have made it much easier for a hacker to switch votes around–and there were many reports of gross vote-switching, when people pressed the touch screen for one candidate, only to have the opponent’s name light up.  And, to top it off, the Election Commission refused to allow independent auditors to check their computers on the grounds that the Diebold software in the computers was proprietary.  Like I said, ya gotta love them Diebold folks!

And how did the Shelby County Election Commission respond to this?  Well, they ‘fessed up that they had  “mistakenly” loaded the computerized voting equipment with a program from the previous election, which was why folks were turned away on the grounds that they had already voted.  Sorry ’bout that…no big deal, right?  Uh-huh.  The commission, dominated by Republicans, went ahead and certified the election, with the two Democrat members making nice and going along.  This is a foretaste of the November election, all right–rigged by Republicans, with the complicity of clueless Democrats–which may point to another reason why Shelby County’s elections turned out so strangely.  If the party’s candidates (think Mike “me-too” McWherter) don’t speak to the real needs of real people, they might not get a lot of voters enthused.

As I’ve written elsewhere, you don’t have to switch a lot of votes in a blatant way to throw an election.  A combination of restricting access to the polls and jiggering the voting machines ever so slightly is an excellent recipe for staying under law enforcement’s radar.  It worked for the Republicans in Florida in 2000 and in Ohio in 2004.   2008?  Let the country go to hell and blame it on the ni-I mean, socialist Obama.  But, I digress….

Back in Memphis,the losing candidates have filed a lawsuit–but, in a state increasingly dominated by Republicans, there’s a good chance that will get nowhere.  Hey, last winter we Greens filed for a summary judgment to get Tennessee to list our party’s name on the ballot, in accordance with recent court decisions, and we’re still waiting for an answer.  “Justice delayed is justice denied,” as Rev. Martin Luther King used to say, and we are not getting justice in this lawsuit.  Of course, if they thought the election might be close, the Republicans would probably move heaven and earth to get us on the ballot and, in their minds, divert votes from the Democrats.

Democracy or dirty tricks?  Judging by their conduct elsewhere, computerized hi-jinks aren’t the only kind being employed by the Grand Old Party to insure their victory in November.  In Arizona, Republicans are taking advantage of a loophole in the state’s election laws to “nominate” Green Party candidates without the approval of the state’s Green Party.  In South Carolina, with the possible help of crossover Republican voting and/or those notorious computerized voting machines, an unemployed US army reject (nothing necessarily wrong with that, actually) somehow came up with the $10K filing fee and won the Democratic nomination for the Senate seat held by Republican Jim DeMint.  Some people want to how he paid that ten thousand dollar filing fee.  I want to know why, in a supposed “democracy,” it costs ten grand up front just to get your name on the ballot.

For that matter, why in this supposed “democracy” are Howard Switzer and John Miglietta, the Green Party of Tennessee’s candidates this year, appearing on the ballot as “independents,” in spite of court decisions that make it obvious that the Green Party has every legal right to be listed by name?

The Green Party does have its name on the ballot in South Carolina, and the good news is that many Democrats are realizing that the Green Party’s nominee, Tom Clements, is a far more viable candidate than Greene, who is currently under indictment for felony sexual harassment.  OK, McWherter isn’t that much of a putz.

But, as Republicans strive for control by any means necessary, the whole ossified system is coming apart.  Reality will prevail, and those of us who know how to live in reality will be the survivors, while those who believe they can bluff and bluster their way through life, who believe that their fast food, credit cards, SUVs, and air-conditioned McMansions are “not negotiable,” will find themselves SOL, to put it in a radio-friendly way.  We will prevail.

music:  Bob Dylan, “Memphis Blues Again”



4 responses

12 09 2010

You r a twisted dude, dude. Normally it is the dimocrats that try to rig an election any way they can, see e.g. Kennedy and Chicago or West VA. What’s wrong w multi party democracy. Move to Cuba and find out what one party politics is all about.

12 09 2010

And you, Hank, are remarkably ignorant and inattentive. Didn’t you notice that I mentioned Boss Crump, who was the Democratic machine boss in Memphis for decades? And didn’t you notice that I’m involved with the Green Party, not the Democrats, and am very supportive of “multi-party democracy”? I am not much for one-party politics, which is basically what we’ve got in this country already–you can choose between two groups who fundamentally serve the same corporate masters–but if people like you succeed in taking over this country, I might have to move to avoid getting hurt, and Cuba, from the first-hand accounts I’ve heard, is not so bad. Nice climate, great health care system, already getting along on a lot less oil that most countries. Meanwhile, like I said, if you’re not paying enough attention to notice where I’m coming from, you may not be paying good enough attention to keep from hurting yourself unintentionally. So be careful and wake up!

13 09 2010

Blackboxvoting,org had extensive info on the situation in Mfs (for one thing, the central voting commission computer could have been hacked into from any Shelby County office computer) when Corker was elected–not that I was crazy about Ford (my first email from him said he was “strongly pro-life,\;” I’m pro choice and think every “pro-life” politician should have his very own unwanted, unattractive, unadoptable child to raise) then he visited Dover and talked about the delicious syrups he’d been priviledged to slurp at the facility in Jackson (can’t remember if it was Cargill or Con-Agra but definitely HFCS, and GMO at that); he walked in wearing a baseball cap turned backward and most of us thought he was the bus driver. To top it all off, his staff apparently saw the Borchert sticker on my truck and took it upon themselves to “decorate” my truck with a Ford sticker. Nobody, but Nobody, puts stickers on my truck but me! Fortunately it peeled off easily—I told him to get his laws off my body and his spam out of my inbox…

Still, I think the election was stolen from him, and for all I know, he would have done no worse than Corker, who showed up in Dover stumping for Thompson and singing the praises of the Brown’s Ferry nuke plant–which was out of mothballs and running at that time after being shut down already for safety violations, and which subsequently shut down because the Tennessee River didn’t have enough water in it to cool it. Besides, Tennessee got a rap for being more racist than we are.

Bredesen could have put a stop to this if he’d vetoed the castrated version of the Voter Confidence Act that was pushed through as soon as the Repugs got some traction in the State Leg. The previously passed Voter Confidence Act was actually effective. Mfs/Big Shelby County have become a cesspool of election fraud.

As for Crump, St. Louis Blues began life as a campaign song for him–“Boss Crump don’ ‘low no easy riders here…”

My family and I moved to Memphis in 1954, not long after his passing, and the place was clean, orderly, and quiet–being among the first in the nation, if not the first, city to have a noise ordinance. Horn blowing was prohibited, and the incessant and stupidly futile blatting that accompanied traffic jams in other cities did not exist. There was also an auto inspection system (for all I know, still in place) that mandated fixing unsafe vehicles, and as far as I know, there was no corruption involved with it. My best friend from high school taught school there for 30 years, then retired to Dayton, Tn., saying that the sound of gunfire was not unusual in her seemingly decent neighborhood. Memphis today could stand a lot of improvement, but I don’t think corrupting elections is likely to do much good.

14 11 2010

[…] South Carolina, Green Party Senate candidate Tom Clements, whom I featured in an earlier story,  received over 120,000 votes, about 9% of the total.  Democrat Alvin Greene, […]

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