January 07, 2005

US Vote Fraud: Time For Real Debate

Till now, the discussion of voting irregularities has been limited to "conspiracy theory" websites like this blog. But today's protest against the Ohio vote tallies should ensure a real debate now begins in the US mainstream media, legislative bodies and body politic about the urgent need for improvements.

Black Box Voting echoes Jesse Jackson's call for improvements, saying discepancies in US state laws are being mis-used:
Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-IL) described the problem that may very well lead this nation to electoral improvements by way of an amendment to the Constitution. In the 2000 Supreme Court decision, Gore v. Bush, all boiled down in the end to state's rights. Despite multiple Constitutional Amendments which already guarantee equal protection, these equal protections are not carried over into our voting system -- yet our vote provides the very underpinning our our republic.

Different states = different rights, Jackson explained, illustrating his point by describing wildly discrepant voting rights rules in Florida (which bars ex-felons from voting, for life) and Maine (which allows felons to vote even while in jail). In fact, the varying voting rights in 50 states, combined with variations in equipment and administration in 3,067 counties, create a situation where our basic right to vote is unequally protected.

And here's one crux of our current problem with integrity of our voting system: A state right to vote is NOT a citizenship right to vote. Most other countries that call themselves democracies provide the right to vote on a national basis. The U.S. is one of only 11 countries that provide no constitutionally protected right to vote.

'This is not about Republicans, but about the Republic,' said Jackson. He urged us not to build our electoral system around HAVA (the Help America Vote Act), but to begin repairing electoral integrity by enacting a citizen's right to vote. Jackson quoted a biblical passage, about the foolishness of building a house on sand, and then said, 'Our voting system is built on sand,' he said: 'State's rights.'

When Florida was allowed to systematically disenfranchise voters, it hid behind state's rights. When Ohio's Secretary of State Ken Blackwell successfully disenfranchised voters in Ohio, through inappropriate rules on provisional ballots and other measures, he hid behind state's rights.

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