How to Steal the Next Election

So I've been wondering: How is the GOP going to fix the next election? With so many Congressional seats in play, it would be pretty complicated to steal them all. If I were a soulless authoritarian who hates himself and others Karl Rove, I'd do what we did in (at least) the last two presidential elections: concentrate on a few states. But our technique, preventing people from voting and throwing out as many Democratic vote(r)s as possible, works only in close races. What do you do in 2006? You identify the several seats (plus a couple extra, just in case) that will allow you to keep Congress in your incredibly deep pocket. Don't worry, the Democrats won't send their "army of lawyers" to challenge squat, and even better than the squeaky-close decision in 2000, the Supreme Court is pretty much a lock.

And so it was that I checked Salon and saw this. Not surprisingly, Salon reports:
[Disenfranchised voter] Steele's plight has gotten relatively little notice from pundits and progressive activists confidently predicting a sweeping Democratic victory in November. Opinion polls show that a majority of the public wants a Democratic Congress, but whether potential voters -- black and Latino voters in particular -- will be able to make their voices heard on Election Day is not assured. Across the country, they will have to contend with Republican-sponsored schemes to limit voting. In a series of laws passed since the 2004 elections, Republican legislators and officials have come up with measures to suppress the turnout of traditional Democratic voting blocs. This fall the favored GOP techniques are new photo I.D. laws, the criminalizing of voter registration drives, and database purges that have disqualified up to 40 percent of newly registered voters from voting in such jurisdictions as Los Angeles County.

"States that are hostile to voting rights have -- intentionally or unintentionally -- created laws or regulations that prevent people from registering, staying on the rolls, or casting a ballot that counts," observes Michael Slater, the election administration specialist for Project Vote, a leading voter registration and voting rights group. And with roughly a quarter of the country's election districts having adopted new voting equipment in the past two years alone, there's a growing prospect that ill-informed election officials, balky machines and restrictive new voting rules could produce a "perfect storm" of fiascos in states such as Ohio, Florida, Arizona and others that have a legacy of voting rights restrictions or chaotic elections. "People with malicious intent can gum up the works and cause an Election Day meltdown," Steele says.

There is rarely hard proof of the Republicans' real agenda. One of the few public declarations of their intent came in 2004, when then state Rep. John Pappageorge of Michigan, who's now running for a state Senate seat, was quoted by the Detroit Free Press: "If we do not suppress the Detroit [read: black ] vote, we're going to have a tough time in this election cycle."
With the polls so inverse 1994ish, leaning hard against the GOP, I am far from confident that the Democrats can retake the House. Not living in a state with a close race and not being a lawyer, all I can do is beg my 3-5 non-Louisiana readers to 1) never vote with a provisional or absentee ballot, and 2) make sure you show everybody campaign-oriented who'll pay attention that Salon article and Greg Palast's coverage of the last two stolen elections. If there's any hope, even if Frodo still has the ring, every Democratic candidate in every state in play needs to do what our brother in Mexico is doing: challenge the vote. When, as in Mexico, the "legal system" breaks down, allowing these murderous bastards to stay in power, we need our own Velvet Revolution. I don't believe it will happen. But hey, that's what passports are for.

BTW, if progressives should be doing anything right now other than helping out campaigns, they should be suing to overturn every "poll tax" law that disenfranchises brown people. As Saruman tells Gandalf, "Time!? What time do you think we have? ...The hour is later than you think."

BONUS: If the GOP keeps up their thievery, we may soon go the way of Mexico.

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