According to figures from the U.S. Elections Assistance Commission, we’re going to go into the 2008 election roughly 5-6 million votes behind the Republicans. As detailed in Greg Palast’s Armed Madhouse, 5,220,576 votes were lost in 2004, the vast majority of them from minority voters that voted heavily Democratic.

2004 Election (actual)

Registrations rejected: 1,614,196
Voters wrongly purged: est. 300,000
Voters turned away, wrong ID: 300,000

Ballots cast and not counted:

Provisional ballots rejected: 1,090,729
Ballots ‘spolied’: 1,389,231
Absentee ballots rejected: 526,420

Total votes disappeared: 5,220,576

It’s safe to say that at least 80% of these lost votes were intended for John Kerry. It’s probably higher than that. And this doesn’t cover it. What about those impossibly long lines of five to seven hours in Democratic areas? Palast’s study estimates that long lines cost the Democrats 85,950 votes in Ohio alone.

Changes in the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) that took effect on January 1, 2006 require Secretaries of State to clean up their voter rolls. If history is any guide, this will dramatically raise the number of minorities (and active service members) that are wrongly purged from the rolls. Palast estimates that 2008 will see 2,400,000 voter registrations rejected (a rise of 50%).

The Republicans have resorted to every trick imaginable to reduce the minority vote. Voter ID requirements, caging lists, felon purges based on nothing more than a similarity in name, provisional ballots that are rejected, machines with high spoilage rates, machines that don’t register votes for Democrats, deliberately long lines and more. And when that doesn’t work, they just stuff ballots in Republican areas.

Palast estimates that we will begin election day down by 6,400,000 votes.

Maybe his estimate is a little high…maybe it isn’t. The point is that we need to highlight this Republican strategy because it is deeply un-American. Only the most strident and dedicated Republican voters would support these tactics if they were really aware of them. The whole scam relies on a compliant media and a spineless Democratic Party. And the Democratic Party isn’t totally innocent. In New Mexico the Dems were all too happy to let the Indian and Latino vote go undercounted because it meant they had less delegates in the state party. And in Georgia, a Democratic Secretary of State, Cathy Cox, was so afraid of blacks taking over the state party that she undermined her own gubernatorial aspirations by instituting (ultimately ruled unconstitutional) rules against ‘all bundled registration sheets, barring groups from helping voters fill out the complex forms, outlawing photocopying of forms (necessary for groups to track if voters are rejected), and preventing anyone who is not ‘deputized’ by the state from collecting a form.’

In other words, she made all the work I did for ACORN in 2004 illegal in the state of Georgia.

They don’t have to rig the machines. They just to keep us from voting in the first place.

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