Trump’s November 6 blitzkrieg depends on stripping our right to vote and flipping the vote count.
To hold back a potential Democrat “Blue Wave,” Trump has formed a RED WALL to disenfranchise millions of Americans while counting only those votes Trump wants.
As in 2000, 2004 and 2016, corporatist Democrats are doing little to counteract the GOP attack on our electoral system. But independent citizens’ groups like Progressive Democrats of America, the Lakota People’s Law Project, the Romero Institute, Freepress.org and others have brought a sense of desperate determination to protect the legitimacy of this election. Let’s take a look:
- Nationwide, the infamous Crosscheck program is again having an impact. As reported by Greg Palast, Crosscheck was deployed in 2016 by Kansas’s white supremacist secretary of state, Kris Kobach (now running for governor), to disenfranchise more than a million voters in 29 states by claiming citizens in different states with similar names deserved to be stripped from the voter rolls. Palast and election protection analyst Steve Rosenfeld now report that the use of Crosscheck may be diminished this year, in large part due to citizen opposition. But many citizens purged in prior years may still have trouble voting.
- In Kobach’s Kansas, election officials have kicked out of town the one voting station in largely Hispanic Dodge City. The community’s single polling station must accommodate some 12,000 voters in a state where the average precinct serves 1,200. The ballot boxes are now more than a mile from the nearest bus stop. Town officials have voted to extend the bus route, but the ACLU has sued to move the voting station back to town.
- Georgia secretary of state Brian Kemp is holding hostage more than 50,000 voter registration forms in an election in which he is running for governor. An outspoken Trump supporter, Kemp is in a tight race with African-American Democrat Stacy Abrams. Kemp’s Jim Crow tactics could also impact the state’s 14 US House races.
- Beyond the locked-up registration forms, Kemp has stripped some 550,000 citizens from the voter rolls for allegedly moving out of state. Palast’s research shows that more than 340,000 of those on the list haven’t moved at all, while thousands more moved within the state or even within their own counties. Abrams over the years has helped lead massive voter registration drives in Georgia. But Kemp’s registration stripping could force tens of thousands of Georgians to cast provisional ballots that are likely to never be counted.
- Ohio’s Secretary of State Jon Husted has gotten US Supreme Court approval to strip more than a million citizens from voter rolls, mostly in heavily Democratic urban areas. Husted is running the election in which he is running for lieutenant governor. Progressive US Senator Sherrod Brown is fighting to keep his seat. Likewise, a dead-heat governor’s race which will help determine how new congressional and state legislative districts are set in 2020.
- North Dakota is denying voting rights to thousands of Indigenous citizens whose absence could cost incumbent Democratic US Senator Heidi Heitkamp her seat. Heitkamp was swamped with donations after she voted against the confirmation of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. But the court (by a 6-2 vote, without Kavanaugh) has upheld a new state law requiring voters to have a street address, even though thousands of indigenous people living on reservations have never had one. Tribal leaders and activists are fighting to re-register native citizens on reservations throughout the state.
- In Texas, with early voting well underway, voters are reporting that when they choose an option to vote the straight Democratic ticket on electronic machines, their choice is apparently going to Republican senator Ted Cruz instead of the Democrat, Beto O’Rourke. This outcome mimics what happened in Ohio 2004, when Youngstown voters electronically selected John Kerry but the indicators for George W. Bush lit up. Early voting has also been marred by reports of “unprecedented” intimidation.
- With at least seven key House seats being hotly contested, California has dropped a requirement that all ballots be audited. The state has charged that unaudited provisional and late-coming mail-in ballots could be flipped with no public transparency.
- Heavily gerrymandered US House districts in North Carolina were overturned by the by the US Supreme Court . . . but left intact for 2018 by a court system that ruled it would be too disruptive to fix them before the election, even though it has since ruled that North Dakota’s new street address requirement will stand despite its disruptive impact on indigenous voting there.
- Arizona, North Carolina and Missouri, among others, have been assaulted by complex, confusing and highly disruptive GOP disenfranchisement campaigns.
- Across the US, electronic voting machines that produce auditable electronic ballot images are having that feature turned off, making reliable audits virtually impossible due to the flipping of a simple switch. Election protection activist John Brakey is campaigning to have all such machines properly in use on election day.
- Throughout the US, Trumpist officials are restricting voter access by demanding photo ID while eliminating early voting, stripping out precincts and issuing confusing voting requirements.
- By contrast, according to Brakey, Maryland has shaped up as a model state for reliable voting and counting, with statewide use of electronic ballot images and more.
- Voting rights activists continue to campaign for making election day a national holiday, universal automatic voter registration, hand-counted paper ballots and ballot images, extended voting opportunities, eliminating gerrymandering, and more.
As election day approaches, the darkness is palpable. The nation is clouded by the butchery of a Washington Post journalist, pipe bombs mailed by a Trump fanatic to a host of liberal mainstays, the imminent deployment of troops to our southern border, the lingering bitterness of the Kavanaugh hearings, the mass slaughter at a Pittsburgh synagogue. Throughout the nation, we can only fear what might come next.
Whether election rights activists can cut through to protect the voter rolls and guarantee a fair vote count may well determine whether those storm clouds can finally be dispersed.
Harvey Wasserman’s Green Power & Wellness Show is podcast at prn.fm. His California Solartopia Show is broadcast at KPFK-Pacifica 90.7FM Los Angeles. His upcoming Life & Death Spiral of US History: From Deganawidah to the Trumpocalypse to Rebirth will soon join Solartopia! Our Green-Powered Earth at www.solartopia.org.