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Friday, October 17, 2008

Paranoia, Paranoia, Indeed: Rolling Stone Fuels Your Nightmares

posted by on October 17 at 9:54 AM


After reading Eli’s call for our most hideous election nightmares, I was ready to plumb my subconscious for fodder. (Components of my darkest election fears: Inside-job assassination of Obama, uproar squashed by those military units deployed inside the U.S., permitting a beyond-our-wildest-nightmares Republican coup.)

But then came this preview of Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s and Greg Palast’s new investigative report for Rolling Stone, allegedly detailing exactly how the election’s already been stolen. From Greg Palast’s website:

Don’t worry about Mickey Mouse or ACORN stealing the election. According to an investigative report out today in Rolling Stone magazine, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and Greg Palast, after a year-long investigation, reveal a systematic program of “GOP vote tampering” on a massive scale.

Republican Secretaries of State of swing-state Colorado have quietly purged one in six names from their voter rolls. Over several months, the GOP politicos in Colorado stonewalled every attempt by Rolling Stone to get an answer to the massive purge—ten times the average state’s rate of removal.

While Obama dreams of riding to the White House on a wave of new voters, more then 2.7 million have had their registrations REJECTED under new procedures signed into law by George Bush. Kennedy, a voting rights lawyer, charges this is a resurgence of ‘Jim Crow’ tactics to wrongly block Black and Hispanic voters.

A fired US prosecutor levels new charges, accusing leaders of his own party, Republicans, with criminal acts in an attempt to block legal voters as “fraudulent.”

Digging through government records, the Kennedy-Palast team discovered that, in 2004, a GOP scheme called “caging” ultimately took away the rights of 1.1 million voters. The Rolling Stone duo predict that, this November 4, it will be far worse.

And finally:

The investigators level a deadly serious charge: “If Democrats are to win the 2008 election, they must not simply beat McCain at the polls—they must beat him by a margin that exceeds the level of GOP vote tampering.”

Can we do it? Yes we can! (Repeat until true.)

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Maybe we can get the UN to monitor us...

Posted by beelzebufo | October 17, 2008 10:09 AM

Barack airdropped 30 attorneys in Alaska to follow up on Palin - how many do you think he has locked and loaded for OH & FL?

Posted by Chris | October 17, 2008 10:14 AM

“If Democrats are to win the 2008 election, they must not simply beat McCain at the polls—they must beat him by a margin that exceeds the level of GOP vote tampering.”

This isn't news; that's always been my assumption. Is there anything that can be done to prevent or minimize said tampering, or is it really too late?

Posted by Levislade | October 17, 2008 10:14 AM

Good news on this front, though. The SCOTUS just overturned that ridiculous Appeals Court decision in OH! So that means the Republicans have been thwarted in their efforts to disenfranchise hundreds of thousands of voters there.

In other news, Ohio's solicitor general, the guy who represented the Ohio Secretary of State and wrote the argument, is one of my best friends. Sweet!

Posted by Balt-O-Matt | October 17, 2008 10:16 AM

Um, so i've been a registered WA voter for some time, but I just realized i am still registered in Colorado - i just checked. Would this qualify as an ethical dilemma?

Posted by Not telling | October 17, 2008 10:19 AM

The last couple issues of Rolling Stone have been really good, the last one covering McCains blunders was incredible.

Posted by bobcat | October 17, 2008 10:23 AM

Where are the lawyers bringing cases?

Posted by Greg | October 17, 2008 10:28 AM

i made this comment yesterday on eli's post.

Posted by whomsRU | October 17, 2008 10:38 AM

@7: There's always MoveOn's No Stolen Elections fund. I'm unclear on whether the Democratic Party's plan is the same as it was for 2004 and 2008 -- to stand idly by and shrug their shoulders while the candidate who received fewer votes takes office. But so far I can find little evidence to the contrary.

Posted by flamingbanjo | October 17, 2008 10:39 AM

A lot of these states have Democratic governors now. The GOP can try but I really don't think they can make up the 10 of so points in the polls they need to overturn this election.

The bigger danger is turning this into a news story and therby creating the political will to pass a new 'Voter Rights' bill that bypasses all these shenanigans. If the 'fix' is in I expect it more in down ballot races where there is much less chance of exposure.

The GOP lost in 2006 and they lost in 92/96. They may be evil but they are not invincible.

Posted by DavidC | October 17, 2008 10:53 AM

As much as I think the Republicans are trying to disenfranchise voters, I have a hard taking anything RFK Jr. says seriously. He is in the vaccinations lead to autism camp, which makes him just one step away from a LaRouchian or 9/11 Truther.

Posted by Andrew | October 17, 2008 10:53 AM


I hate when I'm right about this stuff.

Posted by Will in Seattle | October 17, 2008 11:00 AM

@5 - vote early, vote often.

Posted by Best Advice Ever | October 17, 2008 11:02 AM

@5, as long as you don't try to vote in more than one place, you're doing nothing wrong. People are registered in multiple places all the time; if they move, for instance. You don't "unregister".

Posted by Fnarf | October 17, 2008 11:18 AM

You Americans are crazy. It's really not that hard to hold an election. We just had one here in Canada on Tuesday.

Posted by canadarocks | October 17, 2008 11:31 AM

I seem to remember reading on this page a while ago ...

"Sounds suspicious—unless you know that groups like ACORN are required by law to submit them, even if they’re obvious fakes. This is to prevent funny business, such as trashing forms that look like they might be Republican (or Democratic, as the case may be)."

So, election officials are NOW somehow doing something sinister by rejecting "obvious fakes?" and "prevent[ing] funny business?" Why don't we open it up to the floor? It might be interesting to hear from a SLOG reader who had a registration thrown out, along with the proffered reason.

Posted by Seajay | October 17, 2008 11:40 AM

@11 - as an English prof would write on an exam: "Clarity??"

Posted by RHETT ORACLE | October 17, 2008 11:55 AM

The real race that matters here is the Secretary of State. Republican Secretaries of state have continuously and routinely enacted illegal unconstitutional voter purges, set up roadblocks to the polls and done all sorts of over the top crap. There are however a number progressive groups working to get fair-minded Sec's of State into office all across the country:, true majority just to name a few.

Posted by sasha | October 17, 2008 11:55 AM

Kanuk @ 15: Yes, we could make it very easy. We could just just use property deed records for voter registration. Property deed records are very well maintained. As a bonus, only property-owners could vote, you would get extra votes when you owned extra homes, and all those pesky non-propertied people couldn't vote for higher taxes they wouldn't have to pay. It works out well all 'round.

Posted by David Wright | October 17, 2008 12:02 PM


It might be interesting to hear from a SLOG reader who had a registration thrown out, along with the proffered reason.

I think the idea is that the people being thrown off the rolls aren't being informed of this, so they won't find out until Election Day, when it will be too late. Waiting until after the election has been stolen hasn't worked out so well the last couple of times.

And you seem to be overlooking that purging the rolls of millions of voters goes beyond rejecting "obvious fakes." That's the point that's being made here. It is beyond fishy when a handful of bogus registrations that were flagged by ACORN (supposedly the culprit in this imaginary voter fraud epidemic Republicans are pretending exists) are being used as justification for disenfranchising legitimately registered voters.

I had family members living in Florida in 2000 and Ohio in 2004 who were quite clear about systematic voter disenfranchisement there and their first-person accounts match well with investigative pieces by the likes of Palast. There is nothing beyond the pale or especially paranoid about eying the current round of voter caging with suspicion. It's called paying attention.

Posted by flamingbanjo | October 17, 2008 12:09 PM


Of course you would love that, and we can go back to only allowing white men to vote. Thanks for making your true intentions and character known to all.

Posted by keshmeshi | October 17, 2008 12:16 PM

David Wright @19:

I'm not at all sure what you're talking about. I've never owned property in my life and neither have most of my friends, but we've never had trouble voting.

Posted by canadarocks | October 17, 2008 12:23 PM

@16: A friend of mine (newly moved to New York) had her absentee ballot rejected a couple days ago. She wrote,

My absentee ballot application was rejected...because my signature didn't match.

So I found this out at about 5:30 yesterday, and I had services all day, so during a break I ran back to the office and called...

Woman: "So your signature now, I can make H, a B, and an L. And then your middle initial, R, and L and a check mark."

Me: "Sounds like my signature!"

Woman: "Yeah, your signature on file, it was...readable. If you don't want your ballot rejected, you're going to have to write your signature with all the letters visible -- "

Me: "Like a real person?"

Woman: "Yes. Like a real person."

My ballot application as rejected...because my handwriting sucks.

(I am reapplying for the absentee ballot. I'm already registered, so that's okay. If worst case scenario happens, I'll drive down to NJ on election day.)

Posted by Christin | October 17, 2008 12:39 PM

Keshmeshi @ 21: I love pissing you off! :-)

Posted by David Wright | October 17, 2008 12:59 PM

@16: Here's how they do it, Ohio republican style:

1) Obtain names, addresses, and political affiliations of all registered voters (which ballot you voted in the primary is a matter of public record)

2) Weed out those who voted republican in the last primary

3) Send out campaign literature, "address correction requested" to the remaining names and addresses

4) Wait for a bunch to come back undelivered.

5) Show up at the precinct on voting day to challenge the voters identified in Step 4.

Lather, rinse, repeat.

Posted by emma's bee | October 17, 2008 1:10 PM

The McClatchy papers have an item on their Web site about the Seattle ACORN office being broken into yesterday, and having a bunch of their computers stolen (in addition to nationwide death threats and vandalism, etc.):

Anybody else hear about it?

Posted by Toe Tag | October 17, 2008 1:23 PM

It's about time Palast finally gets some recognition for his investigative work. Not a new story, but a line of stories that has been sorely missing an audience for some time.

And @19: To just take umbrage with one of your points, I guess you assume that all landlords are saints that feel some moral obligation to help those who live in/occupy their buildings. Otherwise, I don't know how they wouldn't wind up passing on the cost of property taxes to occupants. Funny, my landlord loves to increase my rent every year on that basis.

Maybe I'm one of the unlucky ones.

Na, don't buy it.


Posted by derek | October 17, 2008 2:27 PM

I did get a notice in the mail yesterday that my registration was being inactivated due to some mail getting returned or something. Which has never happened before, and all my other mail has gotten to me. It's probably innocent, but it's weird.

Posted by Lythea | October 17, 2008 2:34 PM

@28: Don't assume it's innocent. Call the elections office and make them fix it. Do it now.

Posted by Greg | October 17, 2008 3:32 PM

I had my ballot rejected a few years back because my signature didn't match. They let me know the only way to fix it was to go into their office during business hours when I was conveniently busy working. Really sucked.

They've started accepting it anew though since I got a new driver's license. It freaked me out because the same signature BS happened to a few of my friends.

Posted by Devin | October 17, 2008 3:43 PM

I don't think that people will be as apathetic about it this year...
If McCain somehow wins, and there's something fishy about it, there's gonna be a lot of uproar. There's too many people paying attention this time, thankfully.

Posted by Melissa | October 17, 2008 4:33 PM

@22, did you just hear a whooooshing sound? :)

Posted by celeriac | October 17, 2008 4:50 PM

@32, it didn't seem very funny to me, so nyah.

Posted by canadarocks | October 17, 2008 9:15 PM

@20 This happened to me. I checked a couple of months ago, and was told I was registered. I checked from the Move-on site. I checked a couple of weeks ago from the Washington Secretary of State site, and lo and record found. So I re-registered, as an absentee voter, something I had wanted to do from the Move-on site. Got my ballot, good to go.

Posted by Silverstar98121 | October 17, 2008 11:14 PM

@ 26:

"The Seattle-area ACORN office has received vulgar and angry calls from people upset by its role in registering 1.3 million mostly poor and minority Americans nationwide to vote, but police say a break-in at the group's Burien offices was not politically motivated."

Posted by Timrrr | October 18, 2008 2:14 PM

You says acorn break in not politically motiveted so was the Watergate "Burglary" for the longest time. Whose to say why they were there.

Posted by CUBFAN | October 20, 2008 6:22 AM

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