Friday, August 19, 2005

Election Watch Begins

Potterdad forwarded Paul Krugman's op-ed piece in the New York Times regarding voter supression. Interesting to note are the similarities between the 2000 election and the 2004 election. According to a new book by Andrew Gumbel, a US correspondant for the British journal The Independent, the same suppressive efforts were used by the Republican party in both elections. The result was that much evidence exists to suggest that Al Gore actually won the 2000 election, however Bush did indeed win the 2004 election.

Two different news media consortiums reviewed Florida's ballots; both found that a full manual recount would have given the election to Mr. Gore. This was true despite a host of efforts by state and local officials to suppress likely Gore votes, most notably Ms. Harris's "felon purge," which disenfranchised large numbers of valid voters.

But few Americans have heard these facts. Perhaps journalists have felt that it would be divisive to cast doubt on the Bush administration's legitimacy. If so, their tender concern for the nation's feelings has gone for naught: Cindy Sheehan's supporters are camped in Crawford, and America is more bitterly divided than ever.

What's done is done, and we'd be fools to believe that election tampering is only a Republican party game. Gumbel suggests that both parties have been guilty of it in the past, and I have no reason not to believe him. "Absolute power..." and all that. But what concerns me is also Krugman's fear,

Our current political leaders would suffer greatly if either house of Congress changed hands in 2006, or if the presidency changed hands in 2008. The lids would come off all the simmering scandals, from the selling of the Iraq war to profiteering by politically connected companies. The Republicans will be strongly tempted to make sure that they win those elections by any means necessary. And everything we've seen suggests that they will give in to that temptation.

I know of no one who reads this blog, on whatever side of the issues they find themselves, who would tolerate election tampering. Righteous honesty is a quality all of my friends share. Allow this to be the first invitation you receive to be a part of the 2006 and 2008 elections. I encourage you to be present. The watchful eyes of all kinds of good faith voters create accountability. Work at the polls, volunteer to drive folks to vote, take election day off and hang out with friends at the polls with a pitcher of hot cider. Show up in places where voter supression is likely to happen. Don't be obstructive, but be vigilant.


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