how much evidence is enough
(P) One of the fundamental issues I am most passionate about deals with the process of voting. Now, it's not particularly exciting in and of itself; in fact, it's rather mundane and boring, when all goes well. But when all does not go well, it throws off the whole system. It's impossible to have representative government when the official tallies don't represent the will of the people. In fact, it's more sinister than that. It's impossible to have representative government when there is the impression that the official results are illegitimate, even if they do accurately reflect the results of an election.
There are a number of ways over the years that American democracy has been susceptable to manipulation, with perhaps the most famous cases being political bosses, or machines, in major cities, whose tactics were basically to persuade lots of people to vote a certain way through less than fair means. What's interesting about the voting issues of the past few years compared to prior periods is that the defining characteristic is no longer trying to manipulate people into voting. Rather, it's about trying to prevent certain groups of people from voting, or, if you can't stop them, prevent their votes from being counted accurately. It's also worth noting that men from New York to KC ended up being convicted and incarcerated for various crimes. Election fraud is a serious issue, and there is much precedent in our history for prosecuting it aggressively. Just like Al Capone, a common tactic was going after tax evasion if the evidence couldn't be collected for a conviction related to illegal election activity.
Now, none of the above will strike anybody as particularly controversial, as it's safely in the past and primarily dealt with urban Democratic bosses. It gets really interesting, however, when we raise questions about current GOP operatives. All of a sudden, it's treasonous, insane conspiracy theorizing to pose questions when something smells fishy (my favorite line from back in November of 2004 from the mainstream media is courtesy of the Washington Post: "spreadsheet-wielding conspiracy theorists"). We all know how irrational accountants, engineers, and statisticians tend to be.
There are lots of places to read about specific problems in Florida, Ohio, New Mexico, Nevada, and elsewhere. The unfolding story about White House political involvement in US Attorney selection certainly will shed additional light on GOP voter suppression tactics. Some people have already been convicted and/or forced to resign their positions in the following years. What's perhaps most suspicious, though, prompted this particular post.
Under state law and a specific court order, Ohio election officials were required to secure results from the 2004 election for further study. Guess what? The documents have been destroyed or are missing from over half the counties in Ohio.
Nothing to see here folks, move along.