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Election Rigging: Who Cares?

September 03, 2006
Richard Rothstein

George W. Bush might not have won the White House in 2000 without carrying the state of Florida, and he might not have won the White House in 2004 without carrying the state of Ohio.

In both states there was clear and obvious evidence of election rigging but rather than "upset" the American people with an accurate recount and investigation, Republican politicians and courts buried the Florida results. Using some of the most bizarre logic ever applied in American politics, the power structure, including the Democratic leadership, decided it was better to preserve the civility of an American election than to pursue corruption and election fraud.

Those of us who have difficulty understanding that logic and that outcome are cast as fringe dwellers and conspiracy theorists--even though the evidence of fraud was clear and not investigated. But for the majority of Americans, image and calm was substantially more important than truth and law. As a nation, we preferred to live with a possibly illegal and stolen election than with the inconvenience and awkwardness of an investigation.

And then it all happened again in 2004 in Ohio. And once again the very strong and clear possibility that Republicans were and are still guilty of election fraud mostly falls on deaf American ears. It's mind boggling. The fact that there is a good possibility that the Republican party fixed the 2004 election and stole the White House and seats in both houses of Congress is not thought to be worth a swift and thorough investigation in 21st Century America.

I raise this inconvenient issue at this time because faced with such an investigation, still being pushed by a few very stubborn Democrats and lawyers, the Republicans tried to destroy the warehouse full of paper ballots that may constitute the key evidence of fraud in the state of Ohio.

After all, what better way to end a potentially criminal investigation than to simply destroy the evidence?

Last week some Dems and independents got wind of this and the lawyers rushed in. Caught with their pants down, Ohio Republicans had to agree that, according to a recent preliminary investigation, there are signs of more widespread irregularities than previously known, and it might not be appropriate to burn the evidence.

So the Ohio secretary of state (shades of Katherine Harris), agreed to "delay" the destruction of evidence ballots even though he is not legally obliged to do so.  In the meantime, local Dems are suing, hoping to prevent any accidental damage to the ballots until such time as a full investigation can be implemented.

The nation and the media's almost complete indifference to this situation is stunning.

The Republicans may have fixed two national elections, concealed evidence, prejudiced the courts, and stolen the White House and powerful seats in both houses of Congress, and we react as a nation as if this is a sour grapes and fringe issue.

In many other nations international observers are brought in to assure the legality of national elections. In the United States, we just invite the fox into the hen house and then condemn squawking chickens as they're being devoured.

Something is terribly, terribly wrong in America but nobody seems to really care. In a nation ruled by the will of the people, the people mostly seemed to have lost their will.

A native New Yorker with decades of experience in journalism, public relations, queerness and rage, daily reflected in my blog.

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