Faking the Voter Strategies

New Orleans      Democracy is under assault everywhere it seems, and, no, I’m not just taking about the White House.

Russia is busy interfering with elections in, are you ready for this, Madagascar.  How did this out of the way island become a focus of geopolitics?

India, the self-styled, “world’s largest democracy,” is using Israeli surveillance techniques, which the company had sworn it would stop doing, to spy on its own citizens.

Trolls from the right and the white were stirring up stuff in Kentucky alleging voter fraud and ballot box thefts even before the election ended with the incumbent Republican on the losing side by 5000 votes, and they were doing it solely to create division.

Ok, maybe this does sound like the go to White House repertoire, but that’s not my point.  My point is that all of what we once called “dirty tricks” are now simply standard operating procedure for election conduct.

In Columbus, Ohio, I heard excruciating details of the mischief that met the anti-nuke teams who were trying to put a referendum on the ballot to decrease nuclear energy in that state and force alternatives.  A lot of what they talked about was intimidation of their petitioners by so-called “blockers” who would try to stand in their way and confuse potential signers  Actually, that’s pretty standard in a lot of well-financed campaigns.  Certainly on ACORN initiative campaigns we saw it frequently.  On the other hand, my ears perked up when I heard them talking about the opposition having created a fake petition in order to get people to sign, thinking they were signing the real deal.  Their petition was printed horizontally, rather than vertically, which was about the only “tell.”  The utility funded opposition paid $8 per signature on the fake petition and claimed 800,000 in the press in favor of nukes.  Crazy stuff!  It reminds me of course of the Entergy play in New Orleans where they paid actors to sit in the city council hearings, wave signs, and testify in support of a plant they wanted to build.

Talking to a progressive organizer in Columbus whose candidates were frozen out of the sample Democratic Party ballot, I heard about how they were forced to make their sample ballot look almost identical to the Democratic one in order to get people to take a look on election day.  What choice did they have?

The harvest of all of this fakery is that voters, wherever they may be, between social media, trolls, whack websites, and just plain tricks no longer can sift out the facts or the truth, so they dig into the positions they held against the assault of any differing information.  Ok, I guess we are talking about Trump tactics again.

But, you get the point.  This is democracy under fire!

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Kris Kobach and his Zombie-UFO Voter Fraud Scam

New Orleans   In a new adaptation of the old saw, it turns out that if you live by the tweet, you also die by the tweet. President Trump gave birth to his fake voter commission with a tweet as he tried to explain away his three million vote loss to Hillary Clinton in 2016. Recently, he killed the same commission with another tweet. Of course, with the President there’s never just one tweet involved without strafing every living thing around it with blame and retribution. A tweet never tells the whole story or often the real story either, and that’s also the case of killing this commission and its zombie afterlife in the hopes and imagination of Kris Kobach, the obsessive far-right governor-wannabe Secretary of State in Kansas.

The real reason that the Trump-Kobach voter witch hunt died rests solely on their feet. First, to no surprise, they couldn’t really find any evidence of voter fraud, which was no surprise because endless studies have been done previously with the same result. Secondly, Kobach put a dagger in the heart of the commission by claiming massive, game changing voter fraud in New Hampshire in advance of a commission hearing based on his misinterpretation of state law allowing students to register as voters where they went to school, lived and worked most of the year. Thirdly, the New Hampshire representative on the commission predictably went crazy over the Kobach’s claim that there had been massive voter fraud on his watch, and when Kobach and his cronies tried to freeze him out of commission minutes, information, correspondence, he filed suit to force transparency, and won the suit. And, finally, Kobach and his buddies tried to use the commission to force states around the country, who have the responsibility to run the elections, to turn over all their data, including voting histories, social security numbers, etc, many of which were blocked by local state law in both red and blue states. Bottom line, twelve states told him and the commission to go play in DC traffic and keep out of their lane. Reportedly, the titular head of the commission, Vice President Mike Pence had washed his hands of it all because of all of the mess, and most other politicians with any sense had steered clear of this runaway disaster.

The zombie-UFO hunting Kobach is still in the game, or at least so he claims to be as an adviser to the Department of Homeland Security in the hopes that he can prove that undocumented folks were voters. Hopefully, that’s just a face-saver and not a real program. Kobach’s own UFO-voter search in Kansas has yielded nine cases, most of which were elderly Republicans who made the mistake of voting twice.

It’s never over until it’s over, and since this is a huge political effort to prove a negative and find something that’s just not there, it may never end, but at least we have caught a break for a minute.

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