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Concerned About the Integrity of U.S. Primaries? What to Do?

By       Message Judith Hopkins     Permalink
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Where Is My Vote?
Where Is My Vote?
(Image by Amir Farshad Ebrahimi)
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Many have grown increasingly concerned, with good reason, about the integrity of the US primary election process, especially in close contests, in the following contexts:

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* Electioneering: The appearance of the primary candidate or an easily recognizable surrogate in or around a polling place compromises voting. The presence of an ex-President of the United States and his entourage has prevented people from voting sometimes for hours at a time this primary season. Many voters only have time to vote during their lunch hours and cannot afford to go back multiple times. First in Boston and other cities in Massachusetts, Bill Clinton has also visited polling places in Ohio and Chicago. If the candidate or surrogate is not actually voting, they have no business being at the polling place. Enforcement (wink, wink) has been overlooked, despite numerous complaints to Obama's Justice Department and to several State Attorneys General and Secretaries of State.

*Inadequate number of ballots: There needs to be an adequate number of ballots for every person of voting age in every polling place. Although voting turnout has been historically low in every election, there is no excuse for the lack of ballots, in spite of the huge turnout, in Maine, Illinois, Florida, Ohio, North Carolina, Texas, and Michigan.

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*Voter suppression: New voter ID laws require specific forms of identification which target minority, student, and poor voters. These laws seem to be enacted to suppress voters because fraud by voters essentially does not exist. Voters' misinterpretation of new closed primary voting laws disenfranchised 3.2 million voters in Florida's primaries alone.

*Voting machine manipulation: Studies indicate that voting machines can be easily hacked. Most leave no paper trail that can be audited after the fact. Voting by machine can be confusing to voters, especially the elderly. Why not require the use of paper ballots and count them in the presence of observers from all parties? Some developed countries using paper ballots do not certify elections for several weeks until all ballots are counted and instead rely on exit polls for immediate and accurate results. In the US, many exit polls do not mirror the final results. Could that indicate tampering with the machines?

If the voting process truly cannot be trusted in a primary or general election, then perhaps our democracy is indeed lost. Do we need United Nations monitors as required in Third World nations? Yes, it appears we do; a nurses' group in Nevada and others wrote to the U.N. Secretary General, requesting just this. The courts would take too long to resolve anything, particularly if they are still as corrupt as the Bush-1 appointees on the U.S. Supreme Court were by awarding the White House to George Bush-2 in the "hanging chad" controversy. Americans are quick to forgive and forget, but this is rapidly evolving into a quiet, but indeed horrifying and very real emergency.

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Who will guard the guards? We need non-partisan enforcement of voting regulations, no matter who is infringing on them. An ex-president and someone wearing a Bernie T-shirt must be treated equally if we are to have a representative democracy - one person, one vote.

We should ALL be contacting U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch - click here - to insure our voting rights - and especially our democracy.

 

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Judith Hopkins is an organic farmer, environmental and political activist, and retired registered nurse privileged to be living on a pre-Revolutionary farm in southern Maine, with her husband, artist, musician and writer, Christopher Hyde, three (more...)
 

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Concerned About the Integrity of U.S. Primaries? What to Do?