Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Serving, but not elected

Jesse Jackson has teamed up with Greg Palast in an article in Wednesday’s Seattle Post-Intelligencer, accusing the Shubbery of racism and Jim Crowism. Actually, they weren’t harsh enough, since I personally think the whole pack of Repugs should be horsewhipped. Hmm.

More than 133,000 votes remain uncounted in Ohio, more than George W. Bush's supposed margin of victory. In New Mexico, the uncounted vote totals at least three times the president's plurality -- and so on in other states.

The ballots left uncounted, and that will never be counted, are so-called spoiled or rejected ballots -- votes cast by citizens, but never tallied. This is the dark little secret of U.S. democracy: Nationwide, in our presidential elections, about 2 million votes are cast and never counted, most spoiled because they cannot be read by the tallying machines.

Not everyone's vote spoils equally. Cleveland State University Professor Mark Salling analyzed ballots thrown into Ohio's electoral garbage can. Salling found that, "overwhelmingly," the voided votes come from African American precincts.

This racial bend in vote spoilage is not unique to Ohio. A U.S. Civil Rights Commission investigation concluded that, of nearly 180,000 votes discarded in Florida in the 2000 election as unreadable, a shocking 54 percent were cast by black voters, though they make up only a tenth of the electorate. In Florida, an African American is 900 percent more likely to have his or her vote invalidated than a white voter. In New Mexico, a Hispanic voter is 500 percent more likely than a white voter to have her or his ballot lost to spoilage.

And so it is that Bush never actually won the Presidency, along with Cheney. We knew this all along, of course, and I’m glad that Palast is still hammering away at, as the corporate media have certainly abandoned the story. But to continue:

This election saw an explosion in a new category of uncounted, ballots:rejected provisional ballots. In Ohio alone,more than 35,000 of these votes were never tallied. Once again, the provisional ballots were cast overwhelmingly in African American precincts.

Why so many? In November, for the first time since the era of the Night Riders, one major political party launched a program of mass challenges of voters on Election Day. Paid Republican operatives, working from lists prepared by the party, fingered tens of thousands of voters in Ohio, Florida and elsewhere, questioning their right to a ballot.

One of these secret "caging lists" was obtained by BBC Television from inside Republican campaign headquarters in Florida. Every one of the voters on those sheets resided in African American neighborhoods,excepting a few in precincts of elderly Jewish voters.

Who won the presidential race? Given the millions of ballots spoiled and provisional ballots rejected, the unfolding mystery of the exit polls and widespread use of electronic voting machines, we will never know whether John Kerry or George W.Bush received the most votes in Ohio and other swing states.

But we can name the election's big winner: Jim Crow.

This raises the question: if the election is rigged, does the simple act of “inauguration” actually put the man in the White House, legally?

In the news this morning

Some idiot decided this morning that he was going to kill himself by parking his car in front of the Metrolink train as it came barreling along, carrying over two hundred passangers, but chickened out at the last moment and walked away. Right. Walked away, leaving the car, a Jeep Wagoneer parked on the tracks. Along comes the morning commuter, hits the Jeep and "destablizes", smacking into a northbound train, everybody gets derailed and takes out a parked freight train in the bargain. Ten people dead and over a hundred injured.

This nutjob could have saved everybody a lot of grief and just volunteered for Iraq.

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