Voter Registration, Fraud, and Politics

Few people can forget the 2000 election when Gore lost to Bush as a result of Supreme Court intervention.  Original returns indicated that despite reports of voters being turned away from the polls and intimidated, that Bush only had a margin of victory of 1,700 votes out  nearly 6 million ballots. An automatic recount was triggered, with the Governor warning any recounts taking longer than 7 days would not be accepted. After a series of suits and appeals, the re-count in several key counties was halted, and Bush was declared the winner in Florida: 2,912,790 votes to 2,912,253- a margin of victory of .01%. The rest is history.

With perhaps the most historic election of the century upon us, many are worried that voter fraud, intimidation and irregularity in swing states may decide the presidency- as opposed to the will of the people. Both sides have been accused of playing dirty- ACORN, the largest low to moderate income community organizing group in the nation, has supposedly registered thousands of deceased individuals. In Indiana, it was alleged that “large numbers of voter registration forms bore signatures all in the same apparent handwriting style” and “apparently the organization’s canvassers broke rules to meet ACORN-set voter registration quotas to get paid”.Whether these allegations are true or not, it is bad news for recently registered voters with ACORN. Thousands of registered voters may find their legitimacy challenged on voting day when they show up to the polls. In fact, according to the AP, attempts to make sure that voter rolls were kept up to date, have resulted in tens of thousands of legitimate voters being purged from the rolls “by mistake” in at least 6 swing states…

On the other hand, misinformation  has recently been circulated on the campuses of Drexel & Upenn, in addition to several low income neighborhoods in North and West Philadelphia. The flyer, written as if a supporter of Obama, “warned” individuals not to go to the polls if they had outstanding warrants or unpaid parking tickets.

However, the biggest concern this election might not be dead people showing up at the polls, and those with parking tickets staying at home- but rather faulty election equipment. CNN reports that  “a new study by Common Cause and the Century Foundation finds that 10 very vital swing states have significant voting problems that have not been addressed since the last election. Those 10 states, according to Common Cause, are Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Michigan, Missouri, New Mexico, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin.”

The problem of faulty voting equipment is not new, the infamous “chads” and “butterflies” of 2000 are not likely to be forgotten soon. The 20,000 who left the Colorado polls in 2006 due to faulty equipment will find that a completely new computer system has been put into place for this election- that is yet to be proven.

With experts stating that in any given election about 10% of voting machines fail, this election may not come down to who can register, or scare away the most voters, but whom the touchscreen gods favor.



2 Responses

  1. That sounds pretty scary — hopefully that won’t be the case. I’m pretty sure optimism has little to do with reality and the actions of other people, but for just this important time, hopefully it does.

  2. I can only hope you are right- if you don’t mind lending me some of your optimism, I could use it on the 4th.

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