By Bernard Weiner, The Crisis Papers
There are reasonable explanations for why Clinton was declared the winner in New Hampshire in the face of all the late polls saying Obama would take it big: undecideds swinging to Hillary on the final day, women heading to the voting precincts in larger-than-expected numbers, some Independents deciding to vote for McCain rather than the ostensible big-winner Obama, Clinton's more personal appeal in her "tearing-up" incident, hidden racism, Clinton supporters messing with Obama's get-out-the-vote system, a late Clinton e-mail campaign to female voters questioning Obama's record on a woman's right to choose an abortion, etc. etc.
But, on the basis of what happened last week in New Hampshire and from other accounts around the country, we would be remiss as citizens if we didn't admit that eight years after the disaster that was the 2000 election process, we still don't have a reliable, secure voting system:
* Republicans in various key states are still getting away with knocking hundreds of thousands of likely Democratic voters off the rolls. And they're counting on the Supreme Court, as it probably will do, to OK their strict voter-I.D. bills that might well suppress voter turnout of poor and minority citizens. ( www.thenation.com/doc/20080128/epps )
* And, given the lack of adequate public oversight, it's still possible for the corporations that tabulate the ballots to alter the numbers in secret to fit any result they wish, with nobody able to prove the manipulation.
Did vote-tampering happen in New Hampshire? Maybe not. Could it have? Yes. The "irregularities" in the announced election results cry out for further investigation and perhaps even a full recount.
I'll get to the New Hampshire anomalies in a moment. What's important is that the U.S. is heading toward another presidential election in November with registration, voting and vote-tabulation protocols not all that different from those used during the disputed elections of 2000, 2002, 2004, 2006.
Bernard Weiner, Ph.D. in government & international relations, has taught at universities in California and Washington, worked for two decades as a writer-editor at the San Francisco Chronicle, and currently serves as co-editor of The Crisis Papers (more...
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