Wednesday, February 06, 2008


Before we all get too crazy about whether Hillary and Barack will battle through the summer (Romney supporter millionaire Rush Limbaugh's wet dream, by the way) and speculate endlessly on how Hillary regained her "groove", take a moment to consider primary results through a different prism, like the arm-long list of election reporter John Gideon's exclusive column featured daily at Brad Friedman's excellent blog:
I said that we seemed to have dodged a bullet. That statement may have been made a little early. Most of the big reports are election administration failures. Administration failures are those failures that cannot be blamed on voting machines or the voters or poll workers. They are those failures that fall directly in the laps of clerks or registrars or boards of elections. Not enough paper ballots at the precinct is an administrative failure. The “decline to state” issues in Los Angeles County and elsewhere in California, is an administrative failure that may cost hundreds of thousands of voters their voice. We are also picking out little pieces in media articles and some first hand reports that machines put in some California precincts for voters with disabilities were not operational and voters with disabilities ended-up losing the privacy of their vote just so they could cast a ballot.
Such an admin failure as a shortage of ballots plagued Arizona's Maricopa County -- leading of course to concerns among the conspiratorially minded; how could the Elections Department ever imagine that this primary turnout might be more robust than those of the past and be under-prepared with ballots? I think it was simple: Department calculation of "criminal" immigrants fleeing the state would result in Democratic turnout vanishing with them! Okay, that's just a partisan jibe but really, where were the ballots?

Beside the under-played media reports of voting problems, in California, LA election watchers report poll workers being so under-prepared that voters were literally wandering around IN TEARS of frustration from being sent precinct to precinct. Were those "Obama" precincts? Is that how Hillary "closed" her margin?

Of course, if you are busted intentionally suppressing votes it IS illegal but as with so many other processes, it is hard to prove one "intentionally miscalculated" printing ballots, or "intentionally under-training" poll workers, yet along with the practice of keeping voter rolls "protected" (wink-wink) by caging, such errors become completely legal "tactics".

I have a friend, with whom I am beginning to agree, on her simple solution for ending all kinds and types of voter intimidation, suppression and election fraud: a Constitutional right to vote.

Possible? Yes. Probable? Too-close-to-call.

Cross-posted on Voice of America.

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