90.9 WBUR - Boston's NPR news station
Top Stories:
PLEDGE NOW
Challenging the Vote
In this Oct. 7, 2008 file photo, an investigator enters the ACORN office in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)

An investigator enters the ACORN office in Las Vegas, Oct. 7, 2008. (AP)

John McCain put the pedal to the metal on election fraud rhetoric in the last presidential debate, charging that liberal get-out-the-vote group ACORN “may be perpetrating one of the greatest frauds in voter history.”

Sounds bad. One of my guests today, Robert F. Kennedy Jr., says the bad news is mainly on the other side of the ledger — that GOP operatives are dead set on vote suppression and pulling every string to deny millions the ballot.

How bad is it, really? We’ll ask. The integrity of the vote itself is a deeply serious issue, and a politcal football.

Up next On Point: The American vote, and the challenges it’s facing next Tuesday, November 4th.

You can join the conversation. Are you confident, confident enough, with America’s registration and voting process?

Guests:

From Washington, we’re joined by John Fund, a political journalist and a columnist for The Wall Street Journal. He’s the author of “Stealing Elections: How Voter Fraud Threatens our Democracy,” originally published in 2004 and revised and updated for 2008. His recent New York Post op-ed warned of the potential for voter fraud.

With us from White Plains, N.Y., is Robert F. Kennedy Jr. A lawyer and activist, he’s the chief prosecuting attorney for Riverkeeper, a New York environmental organization, and co-host of Ring of Fire on Air America Radio. He is co-author of the article “Block the Vote” in the October 30 issue of Rolling Stone.

And joining us from New York is Nathaniel Persily, a professor of law at Columbia University. He is founder and director of Columbia Law School’s Center on Law and Politics.

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
  • Moderate Y

    “The right attacks ACORN and its voter registration drives. Now Robert F. Kennedy Jr. says the real issue is widespread vote suppression. We’ll hear the debate.”

    You use the term “the right” for those concerned about Acorn’s activities but not “the left” to describe those concerned with “voter suppression.”

    There is no symmetry in your representation which means that the show is already biased against “the right.”

    The point of view of this show is already made clear by the way the program was announced.

    This will be another biased anti-McCain show.

  • Moderate Y

    Here is another point of view on the issue:

    “Justice and Vote Fraud:
    Lawyers who supervise voting rights are Obama donors.”

    “Voter access does need to be protected, but Democrats are using that principle as a political weapon, suggesting that any serious look at fraud is intended to “disenfranchise” voters. This is a naked attempt to protect their friends at Acorn, who have been registering thousands of phony voters. Congress put the voter fraud statutes on the books, and Justice is obliged to enforce them.”

    Read the whole piece here:

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB122506752884870663.html

  • Joe B.

    This just goes to show how desperate the Republican party has become. They have to resort to these tactics because all of their core ideals (bloated military spending, cutting taxes for the rich in a time of war, free trade, and rampant deregulation) have all proven to be fraudulent and harmful to our nation.

  • Moderate Y

    “This just goes to show how desperate the Republican party has become. They have to resort to these tactics because all of their core ideals (bloated military spending, cutting taxes for the rich in a time of war, free trade, and rampant deregulation) have all proven to be fraudulent and harmful to our nation.”

    This is a non sequitor.

    If the Republican policies are so bad for the nation, why does the Democratic left have to resort to cheating in order to win an election?

  • Robert C.

    I believe there are too many complications in the voter process. The government should make the process very simple and register citizens automatically, stripping away the red tape. It would seem that all one would need to do would be to show up with a passport or valid picture ID, get your name checked off and vote. If you are a citizen you vote and once you vote your name has been checked off so as to not allow voting again. If Mickey Mouse shows up with a valid ID and is a citizen then he votes. If not, he’s turned away. How do your prevent Mickey Mouse from voting twice? That’s what computers are for.

  • Robbins

    To Obama the problem isn’t the Republican party it’s the Constitution of the US:

    “OBAMA SAYS CONSTITUTION DEEP FLAW
    CONTINUES TODAY”

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=11OhmY1obS4

  • AV

    They have to resort to these tactics because all of their core ideals (bloated military spending, cutting taxes for the rich in a time of war, free trade, and rampant deregulation) have all proven to be fraudulent and harmful to our nation.

    Joe B., look up the voting record of Democrats in the Congress for the past 16 years over all these “Republican” issues you mention, and maybe you’ll be surprised to find that for the most part, the Democrats voted with the Republicans on these issues (Iraq war – check, FISA immunity – check, continued funding of Iraq war – check). If you really think that the Democrats offer a stark and different vision on these issues than the Republicans, you may need a reality check.

    A lot of deregulation happened under Clinton, and last time I checked, he still was a Democrat. China became a member of WTO under Clinton (hey, we can thank Clinton for all those tainted products from China flooding our markets ;) ), so I’m not sure that the Democrats have that much of a different policy from the Republicans when it comes to free trade.

    If you have some facts on ground that substantiate your view that the Democrats are radically different from the Republicans on these issues, please share them.

  • Brian

    Time for you conservatives to get your facts straight; here’s an article about how the Bushies spent 5 years looking hard for voter fraud and came up with Bupkiss:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2007/04/12/washington/12fraud.html?_r=1&oref=slogin

    120 people charged, 86 convicted. That’s not even a decimal point in a country with over 300 million people. Comes out to 0.0000004.

    However, vote suppression is widely known and documented.

    People, get a grip! If we get 50% of registered voters to vote, we’re lucky! The problem isn’t fraud, it’s getting people to the polls.

    Brian

  • David

    http://hackaday.com/2008/09/12/voting-insecurities/

    “UCSB researchers demonstrated how disturbingly easy it is to hack into Sequoia’s e-voting systems and delete or add votes with little more than a USB key. Given the fact that recent elections have been very close, and this upcoming national one looks also to be decided by a close margin, it’s absolutely inexcusable that our voting systems could be so easily rigged. Not only that, Sequoia has fought hard against having its equipment tested and verified independently. Can we really afford to be using such insecure machines in democratic elections, when the risk of abuse is so great?”

  • Joy Raviv

    What has the DNC (or election officials, attorneys general, secretaries of state, congress, judiciary) or anyone done to address votes being flipped on DRE’s this past week, reported by Bradblog.com and others? Paper ballots now everywhere!

  • Eleana

    I am baffled at the fact that such a developed country such as the U.S has such a disorganized voter registration system. After the debacle of 2000 why are we still discussing the basic requirements of voting systems? Discouraging people from voting is not democratic, throwing away votes is not democratic, throwing away overseas votes is not democratic. Why require driver’s licenses as a voting requirement? I live in Greece and we are required as citizens to have a national I.D we are registered once in our lives and vote only with our national I.D, why can’t the u.s do this?

  • Will

    What are the chances that either party challenges election results in various states and districts in the courts, delaying the confirmation of the winner?

  • CambridgeKnitter

    Moderate Y, a whole lot of the left is unaware of the reality of rampant voter suppression in this country pushed by Republican partisans, which is why it is not correct to paint this in terms of left or right.

    Robert C, one of the current trendy ways of preventing poor and elderly people (that would be people who are most likely to vote for Democrats) from voting is just the sort of ID requirement you blithely propose. While you and I have wallets full of ID, a very large percentage of the voting age population in this country does not have a driver’s license, a passport or other “acceptable” photo ID. A Georgia photo ID requirement was struck down by a federal court earlier this year on the grounds that it was an unconstitutional poll tax.

    The reality of many people’s lives is cold, hard cash. They don’t have bank accounts. They don’t drive (like the elderly nuns who were not permitted to vote in a recent primary because they didn’t have acceptable ID, even though the person turning them away knew them personally because she was also a nun in their convent. With respect to the large numbers of people who do not have state issued photo IDs, see an article from Milwaukee Magazine.

    It isn’t enough to say people can get state IDs for free. The required documentation may or may not be available. For example, years ago, people in remote areas who were born at home did not necessarily get birth certificates, or records may have been lost in fires or floods (New Orleans strike a bell with anyone?). It has become much harder to get a copy of your birth certificate because of fears of identity theft, and it is not uncommon for people to have to hire a local lawyer to cut through the red tape if they don’t live in the same place where they were born. The birth certificate your mother was given when you were born may not be considered sufficient any more because it doesn’t have a state seal on it. I know about many of these things first hand; they have happened to my immediate family.

    Photo ID is a solution in search of a problem. Actual in-person voter fraud (absentee voting is another kettle of fish altogether) is so rare that when the US Election Assistance Commission did a study a couple of years ago, it could find little evidence that there’s more than a minuscule amount of such activity. See the report, which, by the way, was suppressed by the Bush administration when it didn’t come out the way they wanted. When the US Supreme Court recently upheld the extremely onerous Indiana photo ID law, the decision acknowledged that “the record contains no evidence of any such fraud actually occurring in Indiana at any time in its history.”

    If you are interested in learning more about the reality of how elections work or don’t in this country, I recommend http://www.bradblog.com . Despite claims to the contrary by Republicans, Brad Friedman, BradBlog’s proprietor, is interested in having everyone who is eligible to vote vote and having every vote counted both accurately and in a way that gives confidence that all the votes were counted accurately.

  • Tim Bernemann-Coralville, IA

    I live in a university town where I have talked to students who have registered to vote for the general election here on campus and have also requested an absentee ballot from their hometown from out of state. I think this form of voter fraud happens more often than we realize.

  • http://www.lindapuiatti.com Linda Puiatti

    In 2004, as a new resident of Holmes, NY, I registered as a Democrat at the DMV in Pawling NY (a republican stronghold) and when it was time to vote, I had not been entered into the rolls, something that happens a lot around here after registering at the local DMV. So when I arrived at the polls to vote, I had to fill out a provisional ballot since they had no record of my registration. I didn’t have my reading glasses with me and could not read all the text. I asked for help and it was given to me, no problem. The thing I found disturbing is that on the provisional ballot there was both George W Bush and John Kerry listed but Bush’s name was about 24 points large (about 1/3 inch high) and John Kerry was below him in 14 pt type, half the size of Bush’s name. I couldn’t read Kerry, could read Bush. I asked the poll-workers if it was because Bush was the incumbent, I was told there was no reason for it, that was just the way it is.

    I am a graphic designer with 30 years experience setting type and maintaining standards. It would be simple to set a state-wide standard for these (I know the feds can’t get too involved here), and I wonder how it can be that there is such an in-discrepancy? It would be very simple to set the names the same size, especially since Kerry’s name contained less letters, thus allowing more room. My feeling is that we were cheated before we even saw the ballot. What if I hadn’t asked for help? What if I never saw John Kerry’s name? Why were they not printed in the SAME SIZE?!

    I felt cheated and always wonder if in fact my vote was ever registered.

    I think we could do better if people voted with an inked thumb, like some developing countries do. You vote once, your finger stays blue for a couple of days so you can’t vote twice and all is well. That would be more fair than the situation currently in place.

    Thanks for listening,
    Linda

  • Clinton

    When at last you don’t succeed in your campaign; nothing wins an election like voter disenfranchisement.

    GOP please stop ruining our country, and accept your punishment in the polls this year.

  • Michael

    Far as I’m concerned – the fact that Election Day isn’t a national holiday is a move to prevent high voter turnout among working people in this country. It works against us all.

    Let’s fix that problem…

  • http://wbur.org Peter

    I’m a white male in an affluent suburb of Boston, & have voted in every election since moving into our home six years ago. When I went to the polling place for the Sept primary, my name had been purged from the voting lists, & I had to re-register. I was shocked, but they said it might have been caused if the annual city census form was not received by the elections board. There was no one in line, so the process took only a couple extra minutes, but it could have disenfranchised me if I was looking at hours of waiting on Nov 4. Should I be required to re-register EVERY year, even after voting continuously for years (and being on the tax rolls as well)?
    It has never happened in my nearly 40 years of voting and I think it should not be happening across the country now.

  • http://www.lindapuiatti.com Linda Puiatti

    question for the panel:
    why not blue-thumb voting? why must we register by address? why can’t all citicens register on the day of voting with a voter ID card? Other countries have working systems, why can’t we? It’s not rocket science.
    Thanks for addressing this issue, I have zero confidence that this will be a fair election and the republican outrage at ACORN is odd, considering the last two elections.
    btw Moderate Y, Please reserve judgement of cheating until voting is complete, cheating an election happens AFTER the election, like in 2000 or 2004. No one has cheated… yet.

  • Fred Bates

    Dear Mr. Ashbrook and Mr. Kennedy,

    Thank you for the great show and very timely topic. I had googled Republican Vote Suppression and found to my dismay that much of what came back was headings about articles regarding Acorn’s alleged malfeasance, however scant references to the much bigger historical truth which is being aired by Mr. Kennedy. Search engines are a valued “higher ground“ for businesses to gain. Google and Yahoo worked with China to build dictatorship friendly searches and was complicit in the Bush warrantless access to information. Search engines are a valued by business. Which party is the party of business? Things that make you go humm.
    Fred Bates Derry NH.

  • Chris

    Quoting “I live in Greece and we are required as citizens to have a national I.D we are registered once in our lives and vote only with our national I.D, why can’t the u.s do this?”

    There’s a lot of resistance to a national ID in this country. A lot of it, no doubt, has to do with privacy and Big Brother fears, especially in the context of the Patriot Act incursions on personal and civil liberties. But at least some of it, from the right, stems from a Republican fear that a universal franchise would work against them, since historically, higher registration and turnout tends to favor Democratic candidates.

  • David J.

    Wow! I am amazed to find out that either political party, which seem to keep secrets poorly, can hide a national conspiracy to suppress voting. I am unclear as to why a picture or other form of ID is an issue. You have to have a picture ID to cash a check, use a credit card, and to be credentialed for many jobs and services. Mr. Kennedy is right that many elderly people don’t have driver’s licenses as a source of pictuare ID, but they do have Medicare cards which include a photo.

    What I got from the program is that Democrats are good, and Republicans are evil. I really wish there would be less divisiveness. AV is right; there is less difference between Republican and Democratic politicians than they claim.

  • Ann-marie

    When was the last time a Democrat attempted to BLOCK a Republican from Voting? NEVER.

    The fact of the matter is that voters registering as Republican is at an all time low. These voters are aging and not being replaced by new or younger voters. The conservative movement has been tried for 20 years and FAILED. The majority of Americans are registered as Democrats-the numbers are on their side.

    Republicans are unable of winning a vote fair and square WITHOUT cheating by either preventing people from voting or purging the registering list. It’s simple math-they are unable to win based on their lower voter population.

    Republicans has a FACTUAL history of trying to suppress poor and minority populations from voting. From Robo calls, to jamming up voter information lines, to providing false information about voting places.
    Case after case of elections in the past 10 years have had tampering that can be tracked back to the Republican Pary.

    Raymond Allen was one of the many Republican campaign advisors JAILED for trying to prevent voters from getting to the polls. See his book-HOW TO RIG AN ELECTION: CONFESSIONS OF A REPUBLCIAN OPERATIVE.

  • Phil

    Checking the names of the first posters, it looks as if republican operatives spammed this page. Perhaps it is not appropriate to allow comments on certain shows, if they will be abused by the parties in question.

  • Geral Fnord

    David Iglesias is one of the ex–attorneys-general fired by the Bush Administration for political reasons a couple of years back. His sin?: refusing to prosecute “voter fraud” cases when he didn’t have enough evidence to prosecute people for voter fraud.

    In 2004, when it looked like Kerry might win, right-wing talk radio was sodden with talk of massive voter fraud by dark people, the sods.

  • Bob Jones

    Hillary Backers Decry Massive Obama Vote Fraud

    Monday, October 27, 2008 10:45 AM

    By: Kenneth R. Timmerman Article Font Size

    With accusations of voter registration fraud swirling as early voting begins in many states, some Hillary Clinton supporters are saying: “I told you so.”

    Already in Iowa, the Obama campaign was breaking the rules, busing in supporters from neighboring states to vote illegally in the first contest in the primaries and physically intimidating Hillary supporters, they say.

    Obama’s surprisingly strong win in Iowa, which defied all the polls, propelled his upstart candidacy to front-runner status. But Lynette Long, a Hillary supporter from Bethesda, Md., who has a long and respected academic career, believes Obama’s victory in Iowa and in 12 other caucus states was no miracle. “It was fraud,” she told Newsmax.

    Long has spent several months studying the caucus and primary results.

    “After studying the procedures and results from all 14 caucus states, interviewing dozens of witnesses, and reviewing hundreds of personal stories, my conclusion is that the Obama campaign willfully and intentionally defrauded the American public by systematically undermining the caucus process,” she said.

    In Hawaii, for example, the caucus organizers ran out of ballots, so Obama operatives created more from Post-its and scraps of paper and dumped them into ice cream buckets. “The caucuses ended up with more ballots than participants, a sure sign of voter fraud,” Long said.

    In Nevada, Obama supporters upturned a wheelchair-bound woman who wanted to caucus for Hillary, flushed Clinton ballots down the toilets, and told union members they could vote only if their names were on the list of Obama supporters.

    In Texas, more than 2,000 Clinton and Edwards supporters filed complaints with the state Democratic Party because of the massive fraud. The party acknowledged that the Obama campaign’s actions “amount to criminal violations” and ordered them to be reported to state and federal law enforcement, but nothing happened.

    In caucus after caucus, Obama bused in supporters from out of state, intimidated elderly voters and women, and stole election packets so Hillary supporters couldn’t vote. Thanks to these and other strong-arm tactics, Obama won victories in all but one of the caucuses, even in states such as Maine where Hillary had been leading by double digits in the polls.

    Obama’s win in the caucuses, which were smaller events than the primaries and were run by the party, not the states, gave him the margin of victory he needed to win a razor-thin majority in the delegate count going into the Democratic National Convention.

    Without these caucus wins, which Long and others claim were based on fraud, Clinton would be the Democrats’ nominee running against John McCain.

    Citing a detailed report on the voting results and delegate accounts by accountant Piniel Cronin, “there were only four pledged delegates between Hillary and Obama once you discount caucus fraud,” Long said.

    Dr. Long has compiled many of these eyewitness reports from the 14 caucus states in a 98-page, single-spaced report and in an interactive Web site: http://www.caucusanalysis.org.

    ACORN involvement

    The Obama campaign recently admitted that it paid an affiliate of ACORN, the controversial community organizer that Obama represented in Chicago, more than $832,00 for “voter turnout” work during the primaries. The campaign initially claimed the money had been spent on “staging, sound and light” and “advance work.”

    State and federal law enforcement in 11 states are investigating allegations of voter registration fraud against the Obama campaign. ACORN workers repeatedly registered voters in the name of “Mickey Mouse,” and registered the entire starting lineup of the Dallas Cowboys twice: once in Nevada, and again in Minnesota.

    A group that has worked with ACORN in the past registered a dead goldfish under the name “Princess Nudelman” in Illinois. When reporters informed Beth Nudelman, a Democrat, that her former pet was a registered voter, she said, “This person is a dead fish.”

    ACORN was known for its “intimidation tactics,” said independent scholar Stanley Kurtz, a senior fellow with the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington, D.C., who has researched Obama’s long-standing ties to the group.

    Fully 30 percent of 1.3 million new voters ACORN claims to have registered this year are believed to be illegitimate.

    Long shared with Newsmax some of the emails and sworn affidavits she received from Hillary supporters who witnessed first-hand the thuggish tactics employed by Obama campaign operatives in Iowa and elsewhere.

    Jeff, a precinct captain for Clinton from Davenport, Iowa, thought his caucus was in the bag for his candidate, until just minutes before the voting actually began.

    “From 6-6:30 p.m., it appeared as I had expected. Young, old males, females, Hispanics, whites, gay and lesbian friends arriving. Very heavily for Ms. Clinton, a fair amount for Edwards and some stragglers for Obama,” he said.

    That makeup corresponded to what he had witnessed from many precinct walks he had made through local neighborhoods.

    “My mind began to feel victory for my lady,’ he said. “THEN: at 6:50 p.m., over 75 people of African-American descent came walking in, passed the tables and sat in the Obama section. I knew one of them from my canvassing. I knew another one who did not live in this precinct. And aside from four or five families that live on Hillandale Road, there are no other black people in this unusually white precinct. And one of those black couples were in my Hillary section,” he said.

    Thanks to the last-minute influx of unknown Obama supporters, Obama won twice the number of delegates from the precinct as Hillary Clinton.

    After it was over, “a very large bus was seen in the parking lot afterwards carrying these folks back” to Illinois, Jeff said.

    Obama’s flagrant busing of out-of-state caucus participants from Illinois was so obvious that even Joe Biden — today his running mate, then his rival — pointed it out at the time.

    At a campaign stop before the Jan. 3 caucus at the JJ Diner in Des Moines, Biden “said what we were all thinking when he got on stage and said, ‘Hello Iowa!’ and then turned to Barack’s crowd and shouted, ‘and Hello Chicago!’” another precinct captain for Hillary told Long.

    Thanks to Illinois campaign workers bused across the border into Iowa, all the precincts in eastern Iowa went for Obama, guaranteeing his win in the caucuses, Long said.

    Obama supporters were also bused into northeast Iowa from Omaha, Nebraska, where Obama campaign workers were seen handing out “i-pods and free stuff: T-shirts, clothes, shoes, and free meals” to students and people in homeless shelters,” according to eyewitness reports Long collected.

    In Iowa City, red and white chartered buses with Illinois license plates arrived from Illinois packed with boisterous African-American high school students, who came to caucus for Obama in Iowa after being recruited by Obama campaign workers.

    2,000 complaints in Texas

    In a change in the Democratic National Committee rules for this year’s election season, four states had caucuses and primaries: Washington, Nebraska, Idaho, and Texas. “But Texas is the only one that counted both the caucus result and the primary result,” Long told Newsmax. “The others didn’t count the primary at all, calling it a ‘beauty contest.’”

    Because caucuses are more informal, and can last hours, they tend to favor candidates with a strong ground operation or whose supporters use strong-arm tactics to intimidate their rivals.

    “There is inherent voter disenfranchisement in the caucuses,” Long said. “Women are less likely to go to caucuses than men, because they don’t like the public nature of the caucus. The elderly are less likely to go to a caucus. People who work shifts can’t go if they work the night shift. And parents with young children can’t go out for four hours on a week night. All these people are traditionally Clinton supporters,” she said.

    But Obama’s victories in the caucuses weren’t the result of better organization, Long insists. “It was fraud.”

    In state after state, Hillary was leading Obama in the polls right up until the last minute, when Obama won a landslide victory in the caucuses.

    The discrepancies between the polls and the caucus results were stunning, Long told Newsmax. The most flagrant example was Minnesota. A Minnesota Public Radio/Humphrey Institute poll just one week before the Feb. 5 caucus gave Hillary a 7-point lead over Obama, 40-33.

    But when the Minnesota caucus results were counted, Obama won by a landslide, with 66.39 percent to just 32.23 percent for Hillary, giving him 48 delegates, compared with 24 for Clinton.

    “No poll is that far off,” Long told Newsmax.

    Similar disparities occurred in 13 of 14 caucus states.

    In Colorado and Idaho, Obama had a 2-point edge over Hillary Clinton in the polls, but won by more than 2-1 in the caucuses, sweeping most delegates.

    In Kansas, Hillary had a slight edge over Obama in the polls, but Obama won 74 percent of the votes in the caucus and most of the delegates. In nearly every state, he bested the pre-caucus polls by anywhere from 12 percent to more than 30 percent.

    This year’s primary rules for the Democrats favored the caucus states over the primary states.

    “Caucus states made up only 1.1 million (3 percent) of all Democratic votes, but selected 626 (15 percent) of the delegates,” says Gigi Gaston, a filmmaker who has made a documentary on the caucus fraud.

    In Texas alone, she says, there were more than 2,000 complaints from Hillary Clinton and John Edwards supporters of Obama’s strong-arm tactics.

    One Hillary supporter, who appears in Gaston’s new film, “We Will Not Be Silenced,” says she received death threats from Obama supporters after they saw her address in an online video she made to document fraud during the Texas caucus. “People called me a whore and a skank,” she said.

    John Siegel, El Paso Area Captain for Hillary, said, “Some people saw outright cheating. Other people just saw strong-arm tactics. I saw fraud.”

    Another woman, who was not identified in the film, described the sign-in process. “You’re supposed to sign your names on these sheets. The sheets are supposed to be controlled, and passed out — this is kind of how you maintain order. None of that was done. The sheets were just flying all over the place. You could put in your own names. You could add your own sheets or anything. It was just filled with fraud.”

    Other witnesses described how Obama supporters went through the crowds at the caucus telling Hillary supporters they could go home because their votes had been counted, when in fact no vote count had yet taken place.

    “I couldn’t believe this was happening,” one woman said in the film. “I thought this only happened in Third World countries.”

    On election day in Texas, Clinton campaign lawyer Lyn Utrecht issued a news release that the national media widely ignored.

    “The campaign legal hot line has been flooded with calls containing specific accusations of irregularities and voter intimidation against the Obama campaign,” she wrote. “This activity is undemocratic, probably illegal, and reflects a wanton disregard for the caucus process.”

    She identified 18 separate precincts where Obama operatives had removed voting packets before the Clinton voters could arrive, despite a written warning from the state party not to remove them.

    The hot line also received numerous calls during the day that “the Obama campaign has taken over caucus sites and locked the doors, excluding Clinton campaign supporters from participating in the caucus,” she wrote.

    “There are numerous instances of Obama supporters filing out precinct convention sign-in sheets during the day and submitting them as completed vote totals at caucus. This is expressly against the rules,” she added.

    But no one seemed to care.

    Despite Clinton’s three-and-a-half point win in the Texas primary — 50.87 percent to 47.39 percent —Obama beat her in the caucus the same day by 56 to 43.7 percent, giving him a 38-to-29 advantage in delegates.

    Linda Hayes investigated the results at the precinct level in three state Senate districts. Under the rules of the Texas Democratic Party, participants in the caucuses had to reside in the precinct where they were caucusing, and had to have voted in the Democratic primary that same day.

    When she began to see the results coming in from the precincts that were wildly at variance with the primary results, “I could see that something was wrong,” Hayes said.

    Hayes says she found numerous anomalies as she went through the precinct sign-in sheets.

    “Many, many, many Obama people either came to the wrong precinct, they did not sign in properly, they did not show ID, or they did not vote that day.” And yet, their votes were counted.

    In a letter to Rep. Lois Capps, a Clinton supporter calling himself “Pacific John,” described the fraud he had witnessed during the caucuses.

    “On election night in El Paso, it became obvious that the Obama field campaign was designed to steal caucuses. Prior to that, it was impossible for me to imagine the level of attempted fraud and disruption we would see,” he wrote.

    “We saw stolen precincts where Obama organizers fabricated counts, made false entries on sign-in sheets, suppressed delegate counts, and suppressed caucus voters. We saw patterns such as missing electronic access code sheets and precinct packets taken before the legal time, like elsewhere in the state. Obama volunteers illegally took convention materials state-wide, with attempts as early as 6:30 am.”

    The story of how Obama stole the Democratic Party caucuses — and consequently, the Democratic Party nomination — is important not just because it prefigures potential voter fraud in the Nov. 4 presidential election, which is under way.

    It’s important because it fits a pattern that Chicago journalists and a few national and international commentators have noticed in all of the elections Obama has won in his career.

    NBC correspondent Martin Fletcher described Obama’s first election victory, for the Illinois state Senate, in a recent commentary that appeared in the London Telegraph.

    “Mr. Obama won a seat in the state Senate in 1996 by the unorthodox means of having surrogates successfully challenge the hundreds of nomination signatures that candidates submit. His Democratic rivals, including Alice Palmer, the incumbent, were all disqualified,” Fletcher wrote.

    Obama’s election to the U.S. Senate “was even more curious,” conservative columnist Tony Blankley wrote in The Washington Times.

    Citing an account that appeared in The Times of London, Blankley described how Obama managed to squeeze out his main Democratic rival, Blair Hull, after divorce papers revealed allegations that Hull had allegedly made a death threat to his former wife.

    Then in the general election, “lightning struck again,” Blankley wrote, when his Republican opponent, wealthy businessman Jack Ryan, was forced to withdraw in extremis after his divorce papers revealed details of his sexual life with his former wife.

    Just weeks before the election, the Illinois Republican party called on Alan Keyes of Maryland to challenge Obama in the general election. Obama won a landslide victory.

    “Mr. Obama’s elections are pregnant with the implications that he has so far gamed every office he has sought by underhanded and sordid means,” Blankley wrote, while “the American media has let these extraordinary events simply pass without significant comment.”

    Hillary Clinton supporters, belatedly, now agree.

    © 2008 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

  • Valkyrie607

    Fer crying out loud… Post an exerpt, and a link. Not the entire article.

  • Valkyrie607

    It’s now 3:45 and I am still waiting to hear the show.

  • nyer11

    RE: the post of an old artlcle from Newsmax – for those unfamiliar – Newsmax is a Right Wing site known for its lack of facts

    Also -check your local newspapers about the incident cited. Obama had a fully-orgqnized ground game in Iowa, Those charges of “fraud” were written by the HRC camp before they realized that they had been out-organized, out-funded & out-campaigned.

  • Joe Silvia

    fraud – noun – : DECIET , TRICKERY
    What about politics is not?

  • Joe Silvia

    DECEIT sorry

  • David Lasagna

    Hi there. It’s 4:35 p.m. here in the east. Sure would like to hear this show.
    thanks,
    David Lasagna

  • David Lasagna

    Dear Tom,
    Thanks for the timely show. My understanding is that in most states Acorn is required by law to submit ALL registrations they get, including problematic ones. The vast majority of fraudulent ones are marked by Acorn themselves for the election boards to look out for. Acorn then gets blamed for turning in bad registrations which they have already flagged. It’s yet another Alice in Wonderland moment.
    Unmentioned in an otherwise excellent show is the problem of electronic voting. Currently there is no way to know whether the 80% plus of votes tabulated by electronic machines nationwide are counted as cast. These machines with their proprietary software are owned and operated by companies with strong ties to the Republican party. Who will count our votes in secret. This is about as unAmerican as you can get. Hand counted paper ballots, please.
    Canada, England, and Germany count paper ballots by hand. The people in those countries know who wins and who loses. We do not.
    thanks for the show,
    David Lasagna
    p.s. You had Richard Hayes Phillips on the line for a moment. He did an audit of Ohio 2004. Took him 3 1/2 years. You could do a whole show with him. He has the documentation to show you impossible outcome after impossible outcome in county after county. Not sure RFK Jr. knew it was he.

  • Valkyrie607

    Clearly, more universal suffrage would be a death knell for the Republican Party in its current incarnation. Sad to see so many people can listen to clear evidence to the contrary and still insist on buying the ACORN distraction.

  • David Essing

    “The right attacks ACORN and its voter registration drives. Now Robert F. Kennedy Jr. says the real issue is widespread vote suppression. We’ll hear the debate.”

    You use the term “the right” for those concerned about Acorn’s activities but not “the left” to describe those concerned with “voter suppression.”

    There is no symmetry in your representation which means that the show is already biased against “the right.”

    The point of view of this show is already made clear by the way the program was announced.

    This will be another biased anti-McCain show.

    I agree completely. It always cracks me up when Tom refers to someone on the panel as “from the right.” Does he ever refer to Jack as “from the left”? Or any of his other guests as “from the left”?

    I used to truly respect and admire Tom Ashbrook – talked him up everywhere as an example of a fine journalist. In the course of this election season, Mr. Ashbrook has lost my respect.

    Sad. Very sad.

  • Christopher

    Bob Jones –

    Cutting and pasting an entire article into the thread doesn’t exactly encourage me to take you very seriously.

    Here’s my advice. Next time, read an article you find interesting or compelling carefully. Use your critical reading skills to select the two or three most important points made by the author, then post those points and reasons why you find them persuasive. (Citing the original author is good, too. But pasting his entire piece is annoying and absurd.)

    Now, to the issue. Can someone please explain why with 125 million people about to vote for present a person would risk being charged with a felony even if that meant voting 15 or even 50 times? It just doesn’t make sense.

    Investigations endlessly undertaken by Bush’s highly politicized Justice Department found fewer than a hundred cases of documented voter fraud in the past 5 years.

    Voter suppression, on the other hand, is why there are Republican presidents at all.

  • Christopher

    David Essing –

    I’m sorry you’re feeling sad. Try centering yourself using deep breathing exercises. Try reading some good poetry or visiting a museum. Do something. But stop listening to Sean Hannity when you’re not eagerly tuning in to NPR for the conservative view.

    Here’s the deal. There is no evidence whatsoever that voter fraud represents any danger to the vote at all.

    The difference between registration fraud — to the extent that it exists — and voter fraud is so huge that it is infuriating they’re discussed at the same time.

    It’s like the difference between the dangers posed society by someone who shoplifts and someone who commits armed robbery.

    Voter suppression, on the other hand, is another issue altogether and well documented. Tens of thousands of people in Florida and Ohio have been systematically purged from voter lists for very suspicious reasons.

    There just is no issue here. Voter suppression should be exposed. The people who perpetrate it should be publicly humiliated and their reputations should be destroyed with mockery and contempt.

    Either way. It just doesn’t matter. The Reagan Revolution has a week to live. Try to enjoy yourself meantimes. Maybe gay marriage will do it for you next time around.

  • Sam

    This is a huge problem and it’s one that quite frankly neither side is being very honest about.

    1. Democrats need to admit that these third party group probably should not be registering voters; even if their fraudalent registrations are not leading to voter fraud our electoral system is far too valuable to cast suspiscion on it in this way. The Secretary of State’s need to be pushing get out the vote efforts with State employees who are not paid based on the number of registrants signed up.

    2. Republican’s need to admit that they probably have been more zealous than necessary and that the well intentioned laws they passed have led to some very negative consequences. They might even need to do a house cleansing.

    3. All this fingering pointing needs to stop; I think it’s at least as harmful to our democracy as this voting system is. Both sides have blood on their hands, after all it was the Democrat nominee who launched his political career by challening the legitimacy of ballot petitioners. If we can’t come together to wash our hands there will be severe consequence and people like you Mr. Kennedy who are pointing the finger as opposed to working together with your opponents to make a better system will be to blame.

    4. Unfortunately, there maybe some Republicans who have tried to game the system but by in large we want the same thing that Democrats do a fair system. While I can’t necessarily say I agree with McCain’s comments towards ACORN; I think they are very understandable. If you were running for President and your opponent was working with an organization that was regestering ‘Donald Duck’ to vote wouldn’t you say something about it? McCain isn’t trying to deprive minorities of the right to vote any more than Obama is trying to stuff ballot boxes with votes from ‘Donald Duck’.

  • AV

    Voter suppression, on the other hand, is another issue altogether and well documented. Tens of thousands of people in Florida and Ohio have been systematically purged from voter lists for very suspicious reasons.

    Christopher, I agree with you that voter suppression is a serious issue. That’s why I find it so puzzling as well as frustrating that Democrats even as of today (incorrectly) call Nader a “spoiler,” yet I never hear them mention the disenfranchisement of thousands of black voters that happened in Florida in 2000, which was researched and well-documented by the journalist Greg Palast in his book “The Best Democracy Money Can Buy.

    In 2004, the Democrats, in a prime example of their commitment to democratic principles and practicing inclusive democracy, spent a lot of time and energy on keeping Nader off the ballots. Instead, if they’d directed those efforts in Ohio, or elsewhere in getting out the vote, there’s a possibility the outcome would have been different.

    So much for liberalism and progressive ideas in action, and so much for Democrats being the office-bearers of these values!!

  • Christopher

    Sam and AV -

    I’m sorry, but I reject these false comparisons.

    The Nader issue is complicated. The Democratic party is a political party, not a church choir. They fought to keep Nader from taking votes from them. That is simply not the same thing as the agents of the STATE purging voter rolls to disenfranchise black voters or homeless voters or any other voters.

    Sam, I need to you to focus. If Donald Duck registers, what harm is done if no one presents himself as Donald Duck to vote?

    I agree that there is a minor infraction of the law in registrations malfeasance. However, it does not amount to voter fraud.

    Voter fraud is a completely different issue. Implying we are somehow obliged to give it equal time the worse symptom of our current political disease, which values tolerance over truth. It is merely true that not every story has two sides. This is a case in point.

  • Christopher

    One last thing, Sam.

    I utterly and thoroughly and roundly reject your notion that the “finger pointing needs to stop.”

    Rubbish. We haven’t even gotten started.

    The finger needs to point at years of attempts on the part of Republicans to corrupt or elections.

    The finger needs to point at Jusice Department officials who fired a prosecutor who refused to help.

    The finger needs to point at the endless acts of incompetence, greed, squalor, failure, war-mongering, fraud, Moloch-worshiping and contempt for government and decency and civilization that has characterized Republican rule for the past thirty years.

    No quarter.

  • AV

    Christopher,

    Thank you so much for validating my point by your unsuccessful attempt to rationalize the inexcusable actions of the Democratic party. :)
    It’s people like you and your thinking of supporting the duopoly that makes third parties a necessity in the US more than ever. Sadly, the term “political bigotry” is well-deserved as it reflects the thinking of a good chunk of people/Democrats.

  • gonzo

    Christopher,

    Well said, thanks. Let’s not forget the partisan hirings, where there was a litmus test applied.

  • Molly

    I thought this show was a good start of a discussion, but I found it inadequate. As othersw have said there was no talk about the problems of voting machines. There was no mention of the recent reports of votes being flipped from Obama to Mccain in WV, Texas and NC.
    http://www.bradblog.com/?p=6559
    http://www.wvgazette.com/News/200810180251

    There was no mention of how easy it is to hack into the machines. http://techdirt.com/articles/20080909/2333082218.shtml

    People who say that we shouldn’t “point fingers” are ridiculous. If there is massive historical evidence of large scale election fraud from one party much much more than any other, then we should be pointing fingers at that party. It would be dishonest and harmful to try to be “evenhanded” or non-partisan when that would be skewing what the facts say.

    I don’t think that the Republican Party will hesitate for a second to try to purge massive amounts of votes, switch votes or do whatever they can. I don’t say this because I’m an angry liberal, I say this because this is what past elections have shown us, and this is what evidence from this election is beginning to show us.

  • Christopher

    AV –

    It is unseemly to use “emoticons” to express glee or triumph unless you are thirteen years old.

    When you say “people like you,” meaning people who are going to vote for a Republican or a Democrat next week, you understand that you are referring to something like 120 million of your fellow citizens.

    Are you so wise?

    Look, support Nader or whomever. But don’t try to tell me that voting for Barack Obama is supporting some kind of oppressive status quo.

    Honestly, I don’t know what the term “political bigotry” means at all. I live in Wisconsin. I’m going to use my vote to support the Democratic candidate, who is by far better suited to the office that John McCain, Ron Paul, Ralph Nader, Warren Beatty, or anyone else who might be running. Does that answer your question?

  • AV

    Christopher,

    It is unseemly to use “emoticons” to express glee or triumph unless you are thirteen years old.

    Actually, it wasn’t glee or triumph, but a smile. And it’s not unseemly to use emoticons, unless you are a sourpuss. Relax and don’t be so uptight. Since we don’t have facial features and voice tones to go with our written words, emoticons can and do help convey that aspect, and sometimes reduce the chances of misinterpretation. Seems like you’re new to the internet – better get used to the emoticons.

    When you say “people like you,” meaning people who are going to vote for a Republican or a Democrat next week

    No, you misunderstood that. I meant people like you who try to rationalize actions that exclude others from participating in the democratic process, and defend the two spoiler parties for corrupting the system.

    Vote for whoever you want – that’s your right. I didn’t say anything about you voting for a specific candidate, however you want to define “better suited candidate” – maybe it involves their sartorial sense. ;) Just don’t try to pass off the Democrats as some angels who have a radically different approach than the Republicans when their voting record indicates there’s little difference between the two.

    Got it?

  • Majawill

    Voter suppression is a non-issue. Of much greater importance is the fraud that takes place to limit ours to a two-party system. While you argue about shades of gray that characterize the differences between the two corporate parties, real change that can only be provided by a third path escapes us all. Capital gains tax rates at 20% or 15%? This is the great debate in 2008.

  • Tad Shelby

    Loved this comment: “… why does the Democratic left have to resort to cheating in order to win an election”

    Quite a few people have been looking into voter fraud at the Justice Department and they haven’t found any major voter fraud problem. So the assertion of “cheating” seems debunked.

    Regarding winning – doesn’t seem to be any rampant issue with Democrats winning much since 1994? They’ve pretty much been losing.

    Ridiculous assertions of Democratic voter fraud in the context of Florida 2000 and Ohio 2004. Just ridiculous.

  • Christopher

    AV — et al –

    It is absurd to compare attempts on the parts of Democratic candidates to marginalize competitors in other parties to actions taken by states to disenfranchise voters.

    Political parties are vehicles for this kind of competition. Believe me, if Nader could have excluded Gore from a ballot, he would have done it.

    I admire and respect Ralph Nader. I think he should have joined the Democratic party and fought with us on the left wing to improve the overall platform.

    Instead, he ran vanity campaigns that went nowhere and would have gone nowhere no matter what Gore, Kerry, or anyone on the DNC did.

    We have a two party system, although that means something different than the Coke/Pepsi caricature we hear from third-party people.

    You choose the party you think is worth fighting to change, and enter the fray.

    I’m sorry it’s not so easy as just casting a single ballot for the candidate you think will bring us Utopia.

    And I still thing emoticons are stupid. Use your words, AV.

  • John Petesch

    Typical Republican strategy… attack your opponent on your own shortcomings and weaknesses to deflect accusations.

    The Republicans steal an election in 2000, so to deflect accusations they claim Dems are trying to steal the election in 2004.

    They then successfully steal the election again in 2004, so of course they are again claiming the Dems are trying to cheat in 2008.

    Of course the vast majority of people are utterly digusted with Republicans, so their only hope in 2008 is to one again try and steal the election.

    This time it won’t fly, however, as way too many people are going to turn out to vote Dem tickets, and there will be more polling scrutiny than ever due to the last two thefts.

  • Ricardo Garcia

    The real problem in US election is you don’t have a real good elections system, you need a single national standardized voters registry, that takes care and makes sure that for every single american same registry rules are applied and only one record is issued. If you allow every single state, and even county to have their own “system” you just can not keep track on the issue. You have a single system for taxes on the social security number, but you have several laws and regulations for voters registration, seems like money is lots more important than democracy in this country. Also you have several systems, standards and laws for casting, counting and re-counting votes, even when is a single president for the same country! The worst thing is that even if some candidate have the majority of the votes this may or may not to be the president, because of the difference between electoral and popular vote. The basic things for modern democracies are, same rules and rights for everybody, one person one vote, every single vote counts the same, and the most voted candidate is the winer, but the US seem not to like this basic ideas.

  • AV

    Believe me, if Nader could have excluded Gore from a ballot, he would have done it.

    Christopher, you seem to have a lot of wrong beliefs, but that’s the problem with beliefs – it’s not required to back them up with facts. Along with the above, you can add your unquestioning obeisance to the corrupt two-party system. No wonder with apologists like you, there’s little positive change.

    As for “political bigotry” you can read your last few comments here – that should give you an idea what it looks like.

  • Christopher

    AV –

    I don’t understand how you can defend an argument that likens or compares the competition of the Democratic party with Nader (which is after all legal and carried on in the open) and actions taken by STATE OFFICIALS (ever hear of Katherine Harris?) to disenfranchise voters.

    There simply is no reasonable comparison to be drawn here.

    You say my position on this matter is a form of “bigotry.” That is a pretty strong assertion. I don’t see how you’ve backed it up with facts or reasoning.

    If you can make a case that Nader has in some way been treated unjustly I’ll listen. So far all you’ve done is make unsubstantiated accusations and smirky smiley faces.

    By the way, you shouldn’t use bold font either in this kind of forum. Use diction and syntax to clarify and emphasize your most important ideas.

  • Majawill

    What about the significant efforts on the part of the two corporate parties to take every action, legal and illegal, to prevent third party candidates from getting a seat at the table: access to federal funds, names on ballots, podiums at debates, on and on and on.

    Voter suppression and fraud are inconsequential. If they were you know that your conspiracy theories would get a lot farther than useless blogs. Meanwhile the institutional tyranny of the two parties isn’t illegal because they make the laws to their own benefit.

  • Christopher

    Majawill –

    What do you mean “corporate parties”?

    As for stories of voter suppression being confined to blogs, I think you must not have been paying much attention to the many, many journalists and academics who have documented cases in which agents or agencies of the government take positive action to disenfranchise voters.

    I’m very sorry your hobby-horse candidate or third party can’t get on the news. The truth is, you just haven’t convinced enough people that the Democratic party and the Republican party are somehow acting in concert with one another.

    I’d recommend picking up a newspaper and having a look at what’s going on in this country. If you think Al Gore would have governed the way George Bush governed, and if you think Obama would be no different than McCain, then I might as well be talking to a wall.

  • Majawill

    I tend to avoid the senseless whinings and baseless rantings of journalists and academics except for the ones that allege that agents or agencies of the government have not come clean about visits of alien life forms. These have more factual support behind them. I understand your disappointment with the last 2 presidential elections, your candidate didn’t win and you can’t deal with it. I’m disappointed with the last 4 elections to start with. Not just because I’ve had to choose between the lesser of two evils, but because there was no real choice at all.

    In every presidential election that has taken place in the US in modern times, either corporate candidate has failed to win more votes than those who voiced their dissatisfaction by not voting.

    Entrenched interests like labor unions, corporations and trial lawyers get the elected officials they pay for. We, the electorate, are merely observers. Until we abandon the two-party system, nothing will really change.

  • AV

    Christopher, I have no desire to spoon-feed you when you should be doing your homework and researching a bit more about the duopoly, instead of living in denial.

    Thanks for your unsolicited and unwanted suggestion about my commenting style – I’ll take that into consideration. :)

ONPOINT
TODAY
Aug 22, 2014
Attorney General Eric Holder talks with Capt. Ron Johnson of the Missouri State Highway Patrol at Drake's Place Restaurant, Wednesday, Aug. 20, 2014, in Florrissant, Mo. (AP)

The National Guard and Eric Holder in Ferguson. ISIS beheads an American journalist. Texas Governor Rick Perry gets a mug shot. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

Aug 22, 2014
In this image from video posted on Facebook, courtesy of the George W. Bush Presidential Center, former President George W. Bush participates in the ice bucket challenge with the help of his wife, Laura Bush, in Kennebunkport, Maine. (AP)

The Ice Bucket Challenge: ALS, viral fundraising and how we give in the age of social media.

RECENT
SHOWS
Aug 22, 2014
In this image from video posted on Facebook, courtesy of the George W. Bush Presidential Center, former President George W. Bush participates in the ice bucket challenge with the help of his wife, Laura Bush, in Kennebunkport, Maine. (AP)

The Ice Bucket Challenge: ALS, viral fundraising and how we give in the age of social media.

 
Aug 22, 2014
Attorney General Eric Holder talks with Capt. Ron Johnson of the Missouri State Highway Patrol at Drake's Place Restaurant, Wednesday, Aug. 20, 2014, in Florrissant, Mo. (AP)

The National Guard and Eric Holder in Ferguson. ISIS beheads an American journalist. Texas Governor Rick Perry gets a mug shot. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Why Facebook And Twitter Had Different Priorities This Week
Friday, Aug 22, 2014

There’s no hidden agenda to the difference between most people’s Facebook and Twitter feeds this week. Just a hidden type of emotional content and case use. Digiday’s John McDermott explains.

More »
Comment
 
Our Week In The Web: August 22, 2014
Friday, Aug 22, 2014

On mixed media messaging, Spotify serendipity and a view of Earth from the International Space Station.

More »
Comment
 
Your (Weird? Wonderful? Wacky?) Roommate Stories
Tuesday, Aug 19, 2014

We asked, and you delivered: some of the best roommate stories from across our many listener input channels.

More »
2 Comments