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One GOP Man- One Vote

Here's how the 2006 mid-term election was stolen.

Note the past tense. And I'm not kidding.

By Greg Palast

11/07/06 "
Information Clearing House" -- -- And shoot me for saying this, but it won't be stolen by jerking with the touch-screen machines (though they'll do their nasty part). While progressives panic over the viral spread of suspect computer black boxes, the Karl Rove-bots have been tunneling into the vote vaults through entirely different means.

For six years now, our investigations team, at first on assignment for BBC TV and the Guardian, has been digging into the nitty-gritty of the gaming of US elections. We've found that November 7, 2006 is a day that will live in infamy. Four and a half million votes have been shoplifted. Here's how they'll do it, in three easy steps:

Theft #1: Registrations gone with the wind.

On January 1, 2006, while America slept off New Year's Eve hangovers, a new federal law crept out of the swamps that has devoured 1.9 million votes, overwhelmingly those of African-Americans and Hispanics. The vote-snatching statute is a cankerous codicil slipped into the 2002 Help America Vote Act -- strategically timed to go into effect in this mid-term year. It requires every state to reject new would-be voters whose identity can't be verified against a state verification database.

Sounds arcane and not too threatening. But look at the numbers and you won't feel so fine. About 24.3 million Americans attempt to register or re-register each year. The New York University Law School's Brennan Center told me that, under the new law, Republican Secretaries of State began the year by blocking about one in three new voters.

How? To begin with, Mr. Bush's Social Security Administration has failed to verify 47% of registrants. After appeals and new attempts to register, US Elections Assistance Agency statistics indicate 1.9 million would-be voters will still find themselves barred from the ballot on Tuesday.

But don't worry: those holding passports from their ski vacations to Switzerland are doing just fine. And that's the point. It's not the number of voters rejected, it’s their color. For example, California's Republican Secretary of State Bruce McPherson figured out how to block 40% of registrants, mostly Hispanics. In a rare counter-move, Los Angeles, with a Hispanic mayor, contacted these citizens, "verified" them and got almost every single one back on the rolls. But throughout the rest of the West, new Hispanics remain victims of the "José Crow" treatment.

In hotly contested Ohio, Kenneth Blackwell, Secretary of State and the Republican's candidate for Governor, remains voter-rejection champ -- partly by keeping the rejection criteria a complete secret.

Theft #2: Turned Away - the ID game

A legion of pimple-faced Republicans with Blackberries loaded with lists of new voters is assigned to challenge citizens in heavily Black and Hispanic(i.e. Democratic) precincts to demand photo ID that perfectly matches registration data.

Sounds benign, but it's not. The federal HAVA law and complex new ID requirements in states like New Mexico will easily allow the GOP squads to triple the number of voters turned away. Rather than deny using these voter suppression tactics, Republican spokesmen are claiming they are "protecting the integrity of the vote."

I've heard that before. In 2004, we got our hands on fifty confidential internal memos from the files of the Republican National Committee. Attached to these were some pretty strange spreadsheets. They called them "caging lists" -- and it wasn't about zoo feeding times. They were lists (70,000 for Florida alone) of new Black and Jewish voters -- a very Democratic demographic -- to challenge on Election Day. The GOP did so with a vengeance: In 2004, for the first time in half a century, more than 3.5 million voters were challenged on Election Day. Worse, nearly half lost their vote: 300,000 were turned away for wrong ID; 1.1 million were allowed a "provisional" ballot -- which was then simply tossed out.

Tomorrow, new federal ID requirements and a dozen new state show-me-your-ID laws will permit the GOP challenge campaign to triple their 300,000 record to nearly one million voters blocked.

Theft #3: Votes Spoiled Rotten

The nasty little secret of US elections is that three million ballots are cast in national elections but not counted -- 3,600,380 not counted in 2004 according to US Election Commission stats. These are votes lost because a punch card didn't punch (its chad got "hung"), a stray mark voided a paper ballot and other machinery glitches.

Officials call it "spoilage." I call it, "inaugurating Republicans." Why? According to statisticians working with the US Civil Rights Commission, the chance your vote will "spoil" this way is 900% higher for Black folk and 500% higher for Hispanics than for white voters. When we do the arithmetic, we find that well over half of all votes spoiled or "blank" are cast by voters of color. On balance, this spoilage game produces a million-vote edge for the GOP.

That's where the Black Boxes come into play. Forget about Karl Rove messing with the software to change your vote. Rather, the big losses occur when computers crash, fail to start or simply don't respond to your touch. They are the new spoilage machines of choice with, statistically, the same racial bias as the old vote-snatching lever machines. (Funny, but paper ballots with in-precinct scanners don't go rotten on Black voters. Maybe that's why Republican Secretaries of State have installed so few of them.)

So Let's Add it Up

Two million legitimate voters will be turned away because of wrongly rejected or purged registrations.

Add another one million voters challenged and turned away for "improper ID."

Then add yet another million for Democratic votes "spoiled" by busted black boxes and by bad ballots.

And let's not forget to include the one million "provisional" ballots which will never get counted. Based on the experience of 2004, we know that, overwhelmingly, minority voters are the ones shunted to these baloney ballots.

And there's one more group of votes that won't be counted: absentee ballots challenged and discarded. Elections Assistance Agency data tell us a half million of these absentee votes will go down the drain.

Driving this massive suppression of the vote are sophisticated challenge operations. And here I must note that the Democrats have no national challenge campaign. That's morally laudable; electorally suicidal.

Add it all up -- all those Democratic-leaning votes rejected, barred and spoiled -- and the Republican Party begins Election Day with a 4.5 million-vote thumb on the vote-tally scale.

So, what are you going to do about it? May I suggest you … steal back your vote.

It's true you can't win with 51% of the vote anymore. So just get over it. The regime's sneak attack via vote suppression will only net them 4.5 million votes, about 5% of the total. You should be able to beat that blindfolded. If you can't get 55%, then you're just a bunch of crybaby pussycats who don't deserve to win back America.

Greg Palast is the author of the New York Times bestseller, "Armed Madhouse."

Protect Our Votes
An unprecedented election protection movement has risen up to monitor the 2006 Election Day—

Top Outrage:

Get Ready for the GOP Sore Loser Attack

THIS IS ALREADY A STORY: Voter intimidation and suppression campaigns are more extensive and intense in 2006 than in past elections. (For the first time ever, the FBI has appointed "election coordinators".)

NOW MAKE THIS THE STORY: Voter intimidation and suppression campaigns in the 2006 election overwhelmingly target Democrats and are more extensive and intense this year. Voter intimidation and suppression campaigns targeted against:

Outrages We're Monitoring:

Long lines, broken machines in Democratic areas

We've already explained that Democratic areas are getting hit the worst by voting machine break downs and long lines. We're going to try to build out a list of all the areas being effected:

More to come - help us fill out our list by emailing links to stories to

Minority Vote Suppressed in Ohio

In 2004, African American voters in Ohio reported waiting an average of 52 minutes to vote, three times the average wait overall. More than half of African American voters reported problems casting their ballots in 2004.

In 2006, the African American voters in Ohio are once again disproportionally experiencing difficulties casting their votes. Given the overall increase in polling place problems, we can assume it's even worse for African American voters.

  • "In one elementary school in the predominantly black district of East Cleveland, Ohio, all 12 machines went down when voting opened at 6:30 am (1130 GMT), according to an AFP correspondent at the scene." Link
  • "More than 40 polling places in Cuyahoga County," another area with a significant African American population, "reported problems with some or all of their electronic voting machines this morning." Link

MoveOn Offers $250,000 Reward for Evidence Leading to Voter Fraud Conviction Political Action is offering a $250,000 reward for new material evidence leading to a felony conviction for an organized effort of partisan voter suppression or electronic voting fraud.

Throughout the day accusations of election fraud and voter suppression incidents have been flooding into state and federal authorities throughout the country. In Virginia, the FBI has launched a criminal investigation into charges of voter suppression. In 20 Congressional districts, NRCC robocalls appearing to have come from Democrats harassed voters with repeated calls in an apparently coordinated campaign to suppress the vote.

Complementing an earlier reward for whistleblowers, MoveOn’s reward is being offered to anyone who provides this information.

Send tips to:

Contact: Trevor Fitzgibbon, Laura Gross, Alex Howe, 202-822-5200

Polling place delays hurt Democrats

As in many other cities, voters in Denver are waiting hours to vote and many are turning away. Even the Colorado Democratic gubernatorial candidate, Bill Ritter, had to wait 1 hour and 45 minutes in line. Fair Vote Colorado is maintaining updated wait times at poll locations -- some are as long as 3 hours.

In 2004, Denver's county went 70% for Kerry. Urban precincts tend to lean Democratic. They are also disproportionately hit by voting delays.

Get Ready for the GOP Sore Loser Attack

THIS IS ALREADY A STORY: Voter intimidation and suppression campaigns are more extensive and intense in 2006 than in past elections. (For the first time ever, the FBI has appointed "election coordinators".)

NOW MAKE THIS THE STORY: Voter intimidation and suppression campaigns in the 2006 election overwhelmingly target Democrats and are more extensive and intense this year. Voter intimidation and suppression campaigns targeted against:

10 Am: Early Sampling of Election Violations

The Election Incident Reporting System (EIRS) is a "sophisticated voting incident tracking system" with thousands of volunteers out in the field. The citations below are just a few of thousands of reports already posted on the site as of 10am this morning.

Long Lines
Allegheny County, PA: Incident #1365
"Problems with voting machines caused very long lines and he had to leave to get to work and was not able to vote. Was very upset because this has happened to him before and it's going to prevent other people from voting if they can't fix problems "

Machine Problems
Sarasota County, FL: Incident #139
"LOST VOTES: 5 people cast votes on ES&S touch screen machines for the Democratic Congressional candidate but when the summary page/audit came up, that vote did not appear at all; after complaining they were eventually able to verify their votes for the candidate; however this has happened to at least 5 individuals all of whom were voting for the Democratic candidate ES&S touch screens were blank complained; they eventually saw a vote after the audit;"

Voters Turned Away
Miami-Dade County, FL: Incident #1665
"Precinct 227 was closed and voters were sent to Precinct 222 where they were being turned away."

For more reports go to Election Incidents Reporting System

Robo Calls Big Local News Story

Here's a sampling:

Nov 7: Seattle Times: Robo-calls rile voters; maybe that's the goal

Nov 7: Times Herald Record - Robo-calls slam Democrats before vote

Nov 7: Livingston MI Daily: Lawmakers must ban annoying 'robo-calls'

Nov 6: Times Herald Record - Repeat 'robo calls' mar end of the Hall-Kelly campaign

Nov 6: Milwaukee Journal Sentinal - Repeat 'robo-calls' alleged

Nov 6: Chanel 49 Topeka - Local voters fed up with Robo Calls

Nov 6: The Indiana Star: Recorded calls a campaign issue

8:00AM Voter Intimidation Press Roundup


Nov 7: Times Dispatch - FBI looks into voter intimidation
(Click to listen to the voicemail threatening voter with arrest.)


Nov 7: Chattanoogan - Do Republicans Think Black Voters Are Stupid?


Nov 7: AP - Mo. Elections Chief in Election Dispute

Nov 7: Columiba Missourian - Secretary of State Robin Carnahan is asked for ID while voting

Polls Open!

One of the first things we're working on this morning is a complete list of stories of voter intimidation that are popping up in local newspapers and other trusted sources. Please send links to

How to record a robo call

Those robo-calls on your voice mail are important evidence of voter suppression. There's an easy way to record them on your computer and send the sound file to blogs and election protection groups. Here's how:

On a PC click:

You may not know it, but there is probably a microphone built into your laptop or even desktop PC. Try recording your voice and see it if works. You might see a pinhole on the front or side of your laptop -- that's probably your mic. (If you have trouble recording, then try plugging in a real microphone into the mic jack. Another thing you can try is to go into the volume control and see if the mic needs to be un-muted.)

Now, all you have to do is hold the phone up close to your PC's mic. If you have a speaker phone, then just put it near your computer and that should do it.

Sound Recorder will record up to about a minute. It saves a "WAV" file on your computer that you can email as an attachment. Email it to with your personal information and location.

Annoying Robo Calls or Illegal Voter Suppression?

ALREADY A STORY: Republicans are blanketing key Congressional districts with annoying robo calls. Listen to one here. These calls may result in post-election fines because they do not properly identify themselves early in the script and may also be violating caller id requirements.

NOT YET A STORY: These calls may be a coordinated effort to suppress the vote. What's the difference between annoying robo calls and voter suppression? Many voters are reporting that the robo callers are calling back immediately when they hang up. The first words of the robo calls are "Hi, I'm calling with information about [Democratic Candidate's Name]..." followed by a short pause. Therefore, voters receiving these calls could think they are being called repeatedly by the Democratic campaign or a group supporting the campaign.

MISSING PIECE: For this to break through, there needs to be visual evidence that voters are being called back immediately. Bloggers: please tell your readers to get video cameras ready and start rolling when the phone rings. Use the speaker phone so that the call can be heard. We need just one example of that up on YouTube and

Even better would be emails leaked from the robo call house responsible (or any robo call house for that matter) that offer the service or mention the strategy in question.

(Thanks TPMMuckraker & G2Geek.)

See you Tuesday, 6:00 AM SHARP! will go live at 6:00 AM Eastern Time on Election Day.

Go sign up at

Tens of thousands of citizens will be monitoring polling places with video and posting documented problems at and YouTube. If you have a video camera, you can particpate. By making video evidence immedaitely visible to all, VideoTheVote will make it harder for election violation stories to die before making it to print in the media. Please grab your camera and go sign yourself up at

Protect Our Votes
An unprecedented election protection movement has risen up to monitor the 2006 Election Day—involving dozens of organizations and thousands of small-group and individual efforts. The experience of 2000 and 2004 shows that if Election Day violations do not become headlines immediately, there is little chance they ever will. The mission of is to highlight the most serious violations as soon as they are discovered and to place them immediately in context for journalists along with all available trusted documentation.
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