Ironically, as the American presidential election draws nearer, concerns raised by public interest groups about the election’s fairness and integrity are starting to mirror concerns routinely raised by Western-supported NGOs in Russia. Ballot box stuffing, bussing suspicious-looking groups of people from one polling station to another, strange things happening during early voting… you name it. Interestingly, the same “political technologies” that the USA accused Russia or Belarus of using are now used in the USA… the American press reports it, albeit with less fanfare than when reporting similar irregularities in the former USSR.
For example, the New York Times, citing True the Vote, a citizens’ group focusing on combating election fraud, reported there were several buses “carrying dozens of voters showing up at polling stations during the recent Wisconsin election”. Catherine Engelbrecht, the head of True the Vote, said, “Magically, all of them needed to register and vote at the same time. Do you think, maybe, they registered under false pretences? Probably so”. Another True the Vote activist told a conservative activists’ meeting that her colleagues saw a bus during a recent vote in San Diego that unloaded “organised” voters “who didn’t appear to be from this country”.
Sounds familiar? What about a report of the Pew Center on various states in the USA, issued in February this year, which found out that more than 1.8 million dead people remained on the voter rolls and that about 2.8 million people registered in more than one state? These figures look actually more impressive than all the Russian opposition’s reports on irregularities during the Russian presidential election in March, which US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton considered big enough to name our elections “neither free nor fair” one day after the vote. Moreover, the opposition reported massive fraud during absentee voting and dead people on voter rolls, but not in the millions. In the USA, the matter actually concerns TENS OF MILLIONS… 12 million registrations contained flawed addresses, the Pew Center report said.
Facing such irregularities (some would call it outright fraud), Americans want more controls over the election’s fairness. This is the cause for the controversy around voter registration IDs. Republicans push for new laws that’d require voters to have a valid picture ID when voting. Democrats, for their part, accuse the GOP of trying to disenfranchise poor voters, as well as ethnic minorities, which are more likely to vote Democratic than WASPs with excellent IDs. In recent years, 11 states passed voter ID requirements, thus, weakening the old American freedom of not having to carry a passport inside your own country. The US Supreme Court struck down several such laws on voter IDs as discriminatory or carrying risks of “voter disenfranchisement”.
VOR interviewed Alfred Santangelo, the author of a book on voter suppression during the 2012 election. According to Mr Santangelo, voters have to travel hundreds of miles to get valid voter ID in some states in the USA. He saw it as a part of a larger voter suppression policy, denounced by the American Civil Liberties’ Union (ACLU), widely blamed for the defeats of Democratic candidates Al Gore and John Kerry in 2000 and 2004. In 2012, ironically, the rightwing of the political spectrum accused the authorities of tampering with the vote’s results. Ms Engelbrecht’s True the Vote group grew out of a Tea Party support association, King Street Patriots. Now, as the New York Times claimed, there’s a “variety of well-financed organisations, many unabashed in their desire to defeat President Obama”.
Just recently, in Russia, we saw a much larger number of better-financed organisations unabashed in their desire to facilitate the defeat of President Vladimir Putin. However, somehow, even mentioning this fact was a sign of “bad taste” in the mainstream Western press. Obviously, the press worldwide has greater problems reporting such things closer to home than in some distant venue.
21 September 2012
Voice of Russia World Service
For the USA to point fingers at others about voting irregularities is sheer hypocrisy and hubris. I need only mention the “conservative” “Solid South”… it was “solid” and “conservative” because of stuffed ballot boxes, racist voting restrictions, and general societal dishonesty (“Landslide Lyndon”, anyone?). On the other side of the political coin, I need only mention Cook County and Tammany Hall. “I saw my opportunities, and I took ‘em”, as George Washington Plunkitt put it. The Newark machine was so famous for voting the dead that an editorial cartoon showed the local Dem boss blowing a trumpet and the dead rising from the grave… on Election Day. Things haven’t changed, particularly, not in Republican areas. The current GOP is an amoral godless buccaneer organisation dedicated to the enrichment and empowerment of the Affluent Effluent at all costs… its motto is, “The Public be Damned”.
Orthodox people should be aware that the loud konvertsy support the Mammon-worshipping New GOP… that means that they spit on everything that Orthodox people fought for in America. In short, they’re either bosses, boss-wannabes, or lickspittles of the bosses (mostly, the last sort, who’re a far worse set than the first two)… with an “attitude” to match. Do we really need such immoral and effectively-atheist greedsters amongst us?