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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 4/1/13

Democratic Doomsday? The Slippery Slope of GOP Election Deceit

By       (Page 1 of 3 pages)   No comments, In Series: Election Integrity

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Back to the future, 2016, our system is already trying on presidential candidates. I happened to have been in DC's Building Museum for lunch last week in time to witness the lavish white linen-covered tables set up for a something that turned out to be the notorious GOP fundraiser that netted $14.4 million for the RNCC.  

   Naturally, the sponsor was a Republican--Paul Ryan, I believe--I say "naturally" because, with their two-year terms, House reps are too busy fundraising to accomplish much else and I do sympathize, though not with Paul Ryan and his fellows.

   And money runs the show, and what can we do about it? asked Green Party activists Bob Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman today on, Progressive Radio, on Harvey's show "Solartopia."

   And what can we do about the near certainty of a 5-4 conservative SCOTUS decision to overturn Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965? Instead of eliminating it, opined Fitrakis, the provision should be extended to all states of the union, not just the Old South plus some heavily urban districts in New York state and a few others, ironically enough.

  More ironic it is, though, that Ohio is not among those states requiring such preapproval by the Justice Department (DoJ), given all of the blatant skullduggery there that deprived Kerry of the majority that had elected him to the White House in 2004. Had this requirement been in place in the Buckeye State, the hugely corrupt, two-hatted  Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell (two-hatted because he was also co-chair of the Committee to Re-elect Bush in 2004) would have been kept from relocating electoral precincts without informing voters where their votes would be legitimately counted.

  Blackwell did not bother to update his webpage before Election Day, so that mass confusion reigned, because of course, this level of "re-precincting" singled out underprivileged neighborhoods. Seventy to ninety thousand votes were lost by this device alone, among so many others committed by the self-hating Blackwell and his cronies.

  Will they bring back whites-only primaries, too? wondered Fitrakis. Wasserman said that the practice is already alive and well in Indiana.

   Another huge elephant in the room was the insidious attempts in Pennsylvania to alter the winner-take-all Electoral College votes to splitting state votes between presidential candidates according to the partisan affiliation of each congressional district, a practice already active in Nebraska and Maine.

   Because my previous home state's congressional districts are so gerrymandered (Bob compared the shape of one gerrymandered district in Ohio to the cartoon character Jughead with his hat on; another one in Texas is shaped like a stringbean, and so on), even though it has a Democratic majority there are more GOP districts than Democratic ones. The legislature is also dominated by smaller elephants and the governor is a conservative Republican.

  Go figure. The subject quickly turned to the similar situation in Fitrakis and Wasserman's home state Ohio, another Democratic-leaning state dominated by the grasping GOP because the other party is so quick to compromise and move toward the center. That state is contemplating the same sort of exponential gerrymandering of the Electoral votes--the Buckeye State has sixteen congressional districts which, according to partisan distribution, should be divided evenly between the two reigning parties instead of the absurdity of Republican domination in twelve of the districts. The majority party's four districts are concentrated in the heavily African American urban districts of Cleveland-Toledo, Columbus, and Cincinatti.

  Without the winner-take-all system, Romney would have taken Ohio in 2012, ushered into office by sparsely populated rural districts.

  Count the populations so squished together even more than their living situations are? What's in a majority anymore? The blue state of Wisconsin is also considering this change from the winner-take-all system which, admittedly, focuses campaign attention heavily on the swing states, but the alternative mottles the true blue color of the majority even more. Blue states are the target, and thirty state governorships are held by Republicans. Do the arithmetic. As long as voters vote according to the partisanship of their registration, 292 Republican electoral votes are "in the bag" before the elections begin.

  It's out in the open. I've read about it in the New York Times.

  How could this blatant gerrymandering have been accomplished right beneath our feet, placing 232 Republicans in the House even though Democratic candidates collected more than one million more votes?  (Wasserman named this miasma the "rotten boro system.")

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Marta Steele is an author/editor/blogger who has been writing for since 2006. She is also author of the 2012 book "Grassroots, Geeks, Pros, and Pols: The Election Integrity Movement's Nonstop Battle to Win Back the People's Vote, (more...)

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