Home 2012 races Democrats Need to Stop Vote Suppression by the GOP

Democrats Need to Stop Vote Suppression by the GOP

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Justifiably, we can worry all we want about the debt-ceiling crisis contrived by Congressional Republicans to undermine economic recovery and distract us from their scorched-earth policy to strangle job growth, infrastructure renewal, green-energy development, environmental protections, and health as well as financial reform.  But none of these crucial goals can be achieved if the principle of one-person-one-vote is not protected.

Unfortunately, at the bidding of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), which is constituted by Koch Industries and other major corporations, GOP governors and legislatures throughout the U.S. are seeking to insure the election of Republicans by limiting Democratic votes.  Of course, the GOP’s claim is that it wants to protect the integrity of the ballot even though documented evidence of individuals voting illegally is extremely rare.  

Nonetheless, legislatures in Florida, North Carolina, Ohio, and elsewhere have been trying to set up as many obstacles as they can-such as the requirement of state-issued photo-IDs-in order to minimize Democratic votes.  Perhaps one of the most egregious examples of such legislative abuse of American principle is taking place in Wisconsin, where not only has its GOP legislature passed a photo-ID requirement but its infamous governor (Scott Walker) has also set about to close (or limit the availability of) DMV offices in Democratic districts while keeping such offices fully open in Republican districts.

The gravity of such legislative and gubernatorial abuse should not be underestimated-especially in light of recent revelations from a new filing for the King Lincoln Bronzeville v. Blackwell case concerning the 2004 presidential election in Ohio.  The filing includes both an illuminating deposition of Michael Connell, who was an IT expert for the Bush family and Karl Rove, and the production system configuration used in the election when there was a sudden change in votes for George W. Bush.  

Connell ran GovTech Solutions, a private IT firm that created the system which transferred Ohio’s presidential vote count in 2004 to a partisan GOP server site in Chattanooga, TN, owned by SmarTech.  That is when the vote change occurred, unpredicted by the exit polls and leading to Bush “victory.”

The court filing includes not only the contract signed between Connell’s firm and Ohio’s then-Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell but also the architectural map for the server layout system on election night.

In e-mail exchanges with IT security expert Stephen Spoonamore, Cliff Arnebeck (the lead attorney in the King Lincoln case) asked if SmarTech had the capability to “input data” and thereby alter the outcome of the election.   Spoonamore responded affirmatively.  And in a sworn affidavit to the court, Spoonamore declared that “The SmarTech system . . . had the needed level of access to both county tabulators and Secretary of State computers to allow whoever was running SmarTech computers to decide the output of the county tabulators under its control.”

If there is any hope of insuring the integrity of the ballot and recovering a democratic republic in the U.S., all efforts either to suppress voter turnout among legal U.S. citizens-Democrat or Republican-or to manipulate the tabulation of votes should not only be exposed but also outlawed and prosecuted to the fullest extent.  Otherwise, what do our birthright and heritage really amount to?