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The Purpose of Elections in America

By       Message Stephen Crockett     Permalink
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The Purpose of Elections in America

It is time for all Americans to look at the role of elections in our American nation. Are elections a way of determining public opinion and transferring those opinions to government policies? Alternatively, are elections a way of minority power groups to achieve power by exploiting technicalities or by manipulating voter rolls and voting systems? This writer believes that the answer to these questions essentially determine if we have a real Democracy or not.

Recent Supreme Court rulings seem to indicate that Americans have Constitutional voting rights but no Constitutionally guaranteed right to have those votes actually counted. No politicians seem to be as deeply offended by this ridiculous interpretation of voting rights as the average citizen. Votes that go uncounted are in reality not votes!

Electronic voting machines in America count more than enough votes to change election outcomes if they are hacked or intentionally manipulated. The machines are made and controlled by large corporations often with close partisan political connections. Often these corporations seem to have selfish political agendas of their own. The computer codes that control the vote counting are not standard or generally available to the public. They are instead the private property of those large corporations and secret. Voting and vote counting should be never be privatized.

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Republican politicians have used legislative processes to deny huge numbers of voters their voting rights by treating former felons as permanent second-class citizens. Residency requirements are often used to deny many college students the opportunity to vote where they live.

In many states, Republican officeholders have abused their offices to control the distribution of voting machines, kick legal voters off the voting rolls and to keep citizens from registering to vote. Florida in 2000 and Ohio in 2004 had Republican officeholders acting as the top government official controlling the election process and as Bush-Cheney campaign officials.

Bev Harris in her book Black Box Voting and investigative reporter Greg Palast in his book Best Democracy Money Can Buy have documented numerous problems with our current voting systems. Democratic Talk Radio has collected hundreds of articles on our message board under the Stolen Election topic thread concerning the 2004 Election. Bob Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman have published dozens of articles on Free Press.org http://www.freepress.org documenting voting irregularities in Ohio during 2004.

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We need a national commitment to reform our system of elections to make voting universally clean, accurate and public. Any politician from any Party who seeks political advantage from tampering with voter rolls, voting systems or voting rights should be shamed out of politics. We should look at severely criminalizing behaviors of officeholders that seek partisan political advantage from manipulating voting systems and procedures. Vote tampering should be a serious felony and the only felony that permanently denies voting rights in America.
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Stephen Crockett is co-host of Democratic Talk Radio and author of the Democratic Voices opinion column.

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