Thursday, 20 October 2016

In The Rigging

It is oddly respectable in the United States to claim that elections are rigged.

The allegation is made all the time, and heavyweight figures are not above saying something that would almost always be the mark a fringe crank anywhere else.

Can anyone account for this?

How often are these claims ever substantiated?


  1. From the first days of the united states elections have been rigged. There are so many examples, that it is wearying to think about citing them. Suffice it to say that apart from the urban machines-Pendergast in Kansas City, Daley in Chicago and the almost 200 year old Tammany Hall in New York city are just the tip of an iceberg as deep as the gazeteer in an atlas- every election in the South,from 1876 to 1972 was rigged, and quite openly.
    This year the democratic primaries were, notoriously, rigged (200,000 lost votes in Brooklyn, millions of votes uncounted in California and what happened in Arizona, Puerto Rico and Nevada was even worse). The 2000 election in Florida was fiddled, while the world was watching. The 2004 vote in Ohio was flagrantly stolen in some counties. The state as a whole clearly voted for Kerry but was counted for Bush.
    Greg Palast and Harvey Wasserman are just two contemporary writers covering these stories.
    Elbridge Gerry, governor of Massachussetts and VP of the US not only signed the Declaration of Independence but rigged the boundaries of electoral districts to his own benefit, thus giving us the world gerrymandering.

    1. Ballot stuffing, which Trump and so many others obviously mean, is negligible, with fewer than 40 known cases in the last 20 years. That includes impersonation.

      Voter suppression is rife, but that is not the same thing at all.

    2. I'm afraid that you are wrong: ballot stuffing, electronically via voting machines is very easily done. And, by all accounts, has been carried out on various occasions in the past 16 years.
      What is rare is 'impersonation' the offence which is often used for vote suppression and insistence upon all manner of ID cards, such as driving licenses (you will sympathise with these cases) obtainable only by travelling many miles and spending several dollars.
      There are numerous and well documented accounts of votes for Candidate A being recorded as for his opponent B. On several occasions there have been public demonstrations of the ease with which such tricks can be performed. Some of these have been shown on TV.
      One of the problems is that voting machine systems are held to be proprietory secrets which election monitors have no right to know.
      It is important not to swallow the nonsense that US elections are fair just because the Republicans use the fear of vote rigging for racist purposes.
      There is nothing new about this, except that it used to be the Democrats who were responsible: the movement to ban blacks from voting, which began in Mississippi in the 1890s, used very similar arguments.
      Do you not believe that there is ballot box stuffing, using postal ballots, in the UK?

  2. At risk of becoming a bore...Here is Harvey Wasserman's take on the matter:
    "Donald Trump’s demand for “monitors” at polling places to prevent a “rigged election” is an old and ugly story.

    It’s obviously aimed – KKK style – at stopping black and Hispanic citizens from voting. But in fact both major parties have used such terror tactics – and updated electronic ones – since the birth of the nation.

    The cure – we call it “the Ohio Plan” – is scorned by both corporate parties: universal automatic voter registration, transparent registration rolls that can be easily monitored, a national holiday for voting, and universal hand-counted paper ballots that stay in one place and are tallied (and re-tallied) in full public view.

    The “rigged election” story dates back to the Constitution. Its Electoral College gave a three-fifths “bonus” to slave-owners for blacks who could not actually vote. The race card carried through Jim Crow segregation and the KKK terror unleashed against post-Emancipation blacks who dared try to vote. It continues through the Drug War and the tens of millions of African-American and Hispanic citizens stripped of their freedom and franchise....."