Election fraud in the US: what can we do?

I’m not sure this qualifies as an actual debate, perhaps more of a brainstorm by concerned people, but I posted it here because I wanted to attract the comments of people who are in a “Great Debates” mindset.

Reading this article sharpened the worries I’ve had about the last two presidential elections:

Rolling Stone article

The facts appear awfully suspicious. If it’s true that there is a concerted Republican effort to subvert democracy, then I am seriously worried, because the “invisible hand” of public opinion (to borrow a term from economics) might no longer be a balancing factor to counter the (in my opinion) gross incompetence and anti-checks-and-balances mindset of the current administration.

So, what can we as concerned citizens do about election fraud? I’m asking for a brainstorm on constructive solutions. I’m not looking for “feel-good” solutions, such as a letter-writing campaign to Secretary Blackwell himself (while emotionally satisfying, this would probably produce little result, as Mr. Blackwell appears firm in his convictions that his worldview trumps democracy).

The first ideas that occur to me are some sort of civil protest. Petitions, public demonstrations. But if one sends a petition, to whom should it be sent?

Not to Secretary Blackwell, or the state leadership of Ohio. Not to anyone in the White House. Rather, I think, these petitions should be sent to the Democratic National Committee. Howard Dean, if he doesn’t consider this a problem yet, really ought to start thinking about it.

As for public demonstrations, they would serve to spread general awareness, but that still doesn’t answer my question: what actions can be taken by aware and concerned people?

A good start would be to support the “Count Every Vote Act,” introduced in the Senate last year by Hillary Clinton and Barbara Boxer. Thread: http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=307833

I’m cynical. I don’t think anything “real” could be done - no matter what, the complainants will be dismissed as crackpots for twenty years, until the mainstream acknowledges yeah, there was election fraud.

So I strongly support preventative stuff - don’t talk about suspicions about the past - argue that election procedures should be changed and made more transparent for its own sake. Who can reasonably argue with wanting a paper trail, and demonstration of untampered voting?

bup, I’m cynical too, but mainly because I lack experience in grassroots political action. I honestly don’t know what can be done, and so therefore I wonder if really nothing can be done at all.

The paper trail, yes, that is definitely something to shoot for; everyone should have a receipt for their vote, although can you imagine calling all of those receipts in for a recount, preventing counterfeit receipts, etc?

That would help at the ballot box, but it doesn’t address shenanigans like removing voters from registration rolls, failing to send ex-pats their ballots, and so on…

Normally I’m very wary of any use of technology to build huge databases on every US citizen, but perhaps in this case we do need a more centralized database for managing elections, voter rolls, and so on, with federalized rules. Of course, by doing this, we’re simply establishing a single vulnerable place for any corrupt official to meddle, instead of thousands of corrupt places for thousands of officials to meddle.

Paging Greg Palast. Paging Mr. Greg Palast…

I’ll be tuning in because I, like the OP, was incredibly depressed by the possible if not probably fraud that occured in '00 (certainly) and '04 (less certainly). But sadly, bup is right: you bring this up to most people and they look at you like you said we never landed on the moon, Tupac is still alive, and that the CIA is the law enforcement arm of a vast alien conspiracy. It’s sad that when legitimate questions need to be answered, the first answer is always calling those that ask nutjobs.

Me personally? I haven’t a clue where to start. I’ve written my letters & sent my emails, but am not naive enough to think they made a lick of difference.

Speaking of which . . .




Didn’t see any mention of voter ID’s in this act. Multiple voting or use of a false identity is the easiest way to commit election fraud. It’s also self-serving of the Democratic sponsors to give government workers the day off considering the ratio of Democrats to Republicans in metropolitan areas.

Is multiple voting or voting under a false identity a problem in the US? If it were, then it would be easy to identify. However, I’ve not heard of it recently, except as a theoretical possibiity.

And as far as giving goverment workers the day off, wouldn’t the important issue be the ratio of Dems to Reps among government workers, not among the general population in metro areas?

Speaking as an outsider (i.e., as a foreigner living in the US), I think you need these things to happen:
(1) a political culture where all the major players agree that the conduct of elections is outside party politics.
(2) non-partisan conduct of elections.
(3) a political culture where increasing voter participation is valued by most, if not all.

Those are the essential things. On my list of desiderata would be making the whole process more uniform across the country, e.g., by having one electoral roll for the whole country, if possible, or at least one for each state. (It would be subdivided by state, county, city, school district, etc., of course, but it would attempt to ensure that every US citizen of voting age appeared on the roll once, and just once).

I’d suggest starting locally. Find out if electronic voting machines are being used in your county, or are being considered. If yes, register your displeasure with the county clerk; if possible, attend the public hearings where this is being discussed.

For the record, I work in computer security, and my peers are virtually unanimous in opposing electronic voting in its current form.

Apparently not, unless something has changed in the year since I posted this GD thread: http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=315502

:confused: But you also find government workers in rural areas. In any case, this provisions affects only government workers; if it has the effect of raising aggregate voter turnout in metro areas, that’s incidental.

Now, if you want to argue that government employees are more likely to be Dem than Pub, that would be relevant for a change, but I’ll want to see a cite; and then I’ll expect one whopper of a persuasive argument as to why that is sufficient reason for the government not to give its workers a day off to exercise such a basic civic privilege/duty as voting. :dubious:

I don’t see how anything can be done; the Republicans have control of the government, and the people refuse to believe such things are even possible here, much less happening. America is well on the way to becoming a one party Christian Corporate dictatorship, complete with guaranteed elections for the ruling regime, and I see no way to stop it.

I saw one of the statisticians involved in exit polling being interviewed before the election. Yhey asked him how they could have been so wrong in 2000. He said they couldn’t their margin of error is less tha .3 %. He said this time they tripled the data.There is no way it could go wrong ,if you assume it had.
Diebolt who has a contract for most of the touch screen voting machines is widely reputed to have had a meeting of employees before the election in which the chairman was to have said the mission was to get George Bush elected. Not a clean count.
Many tests of the machines have shown they are susceptable to fixing the count and controlling the programs. Whistleblowers have been fired. The machines are able to have a printer attached to verify the count. None were equiped with one though.
This has been on the net for a long time.

http://www.bradblog.com/ Brad blog has been on this story for 5 years.

I’m aware that this is not a new story, and I realize that many people have been talking about it. Still, though, the tone of everything I’ve read and heard is more observation and consternation than actual calls to action. To put it another way, it’s more “wow, they organized pretty thoroughly to steal the election…” and not “hey let’s do something about this now.”

Der Trihs, I share your pessimism, and I feel similarly helpless against such a large and coordinated movement to undermine our republic. Still, I feel that the more people get together and talk about it and keep it an issue, the better chance we have.

I feel a lot like someone watching an impending train wreck, knowing there’s very little they can do to stop it. Still, terrible things can happen because enough good people decide to wait it out and do nothing, so I am desperate to do something. What, though, is the question… how to direct one’s energy?

Shaking the conservative base?

I bet (well actually I hope) that a lot of people who are considered among the Republican base might actually be horrified if they realized the extent to which people affiliated with their own party have manipulated the election process. I’m thinking mainly of economic conservatives and right-wing Christians who, while strong moralists, still revere the Constitution/founding fathers,etc and have not bought into the idea that religion and politics should be fully intertwined.

Given the effort Republicans and their news media (FOX, various talking heads, etc) have made to twist or censor the news, I wouldn’t be surprised if most of these people had no idea the extent to which elections have been corrupted. If they knew about it, might they begin to feel that the Republicans are more pro-big-government and anti-freedom than the (alleged) Godless nanny-state liberals ever were?


I love the fact that, as I post this, the Google ads at the bottom of the thread are advertising Brit Rail and Europe Rail. As if to say, “Get out while the getting is good!”

Was that a commercial for Starbucks?

What it would take would be “caring”. The populace, at large, would have to care again. The voting system needs to be updated. Only with vast popular support, we can fix this shit.

I don’t think that kicking the fraud out is impossible. The people have to want to do it. There’s no major issue over it because the politicians that are in power now (presumable because of using such a system for their benefits) don’t want to change it. Too many people want to keep the status quo because “it works”. Those people also benefit from this “working” system.

So, how are we going to fix this? It’s got to be amazingly simple. It’s got to be a way that any person can do it and every person would want to do it. I lean towards technology to do it, but it’s too easy to play with that invisible data before it gets actually tabulated.

There must be a way we can use technology, but to marginalize fraud. I’m not a tech person, but there’s gotta be some way…right?

There is. Not too expensive, either. http://www.thenation.com/doc/20040816/dugger/3