Wednesday, April 20, 2016

(Time To Get a Clue? It's Time to Clean Up This Mess)  NY Voting Chaotic:  Brooklyn An Electoral Disaster  (Need for Movement Building Clear)  How Bush Stole Election from Kerry:  Man-In-the-Middle Scheme Flips Votes  (Revolution In the Air?)

Why Isn’t Everyone in Favor of Taxing Financial Speculation?

All Online Polls Show What the Corporate Press Will Not Report — Bernie Crushed Hillary in their 9th Debate

Voters Blocked All Over New York City

New York City Primary Voters Outraged by Broken Machines, Closed Polling Places; Bungled NYC Primary Voting Sparks Board of Elections Probe:  'It's Time We Clean Up This Mess'

‘Days of Revolt’:  Chris Hedges and Josh Fox on Holding Onto Our Humanity Amid Climate Change

Rev. William Barber removed from American Airlines flight
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Doesn't it seem like the professional mischief makers were working overtime to deny Bernie's voters the opportunity to vote in the New York and Arizona primaries? (Shades of Nixon's proud dirty tricks squad.)

So "Yay" Hillary? Who may not be able to defeat any Republican candidate after millions of Democrats take revenge for not being allowed to vote during the primary for their favorite candidate.

Don't underestimate the vengeance of voters denied a choice.

This may be that final straw.

(April 19, 2016) NY Voters Sue the State Over Mass Purges of the Voter Rolls

Dozens of New York voters are suing the state, saying that their voter registration changed without their input, costing them the ability to vote in Tuesday’s primary. The lawsuit, filed this afternoon in Long Island federal court by the group Election Justice USA, argues that the voters’ alleged registration changes deny them equal protection under the constitution, and demands a blanket order allowing “tens of thousands” of potential plaintiffs to vote in tomorrow’s presidential primary.
“Plaintiffs are in imminent harm of losing their right to vote,” the suit reads. “They have beseeched the various Boards of Elections without result. Nothing can save their right to vote save an order from this Court.”
New York’s primaries are closed, meaning only members of a given party can vote in that party’s primary, and the deadline to change parties is more than six months before Primary Day, the earliest in the country.
Those who signed onto the lawsuit say that their paperwork was in order, and in many cases they had voted repeatedly in Democratic primaries from the same address, but that recent checks of their voter registrations revealed that their party had been changed or could not be found at all.
The accounts echo online reports of other spurned would-be voters.
“We were seeing an alarming number of voter affiliations changed without people’s knowledge or consent, people who were registered listed as not registered,” said Shyla Nelson, a spokeswoman for Election Justice USA.
As the primary neared and the group solicited accounts of irregularities, reports poured in, she said: “What started as a trickle is now a river.”
More than 200 voters signed onto the lawsuit, Nelson said on Friday (she was still tallying late additions this afternoon as lawyers pushed up against the close-of-court deadline).
One plaintiff, a 24-year-old from Suffolk County, says that he registered as a Democrat in 2009, and that a change of affiliation form the BOE showed him, supposedly proving he left the party, bears a signature that is an “identical, pixel-by-pixel” copy of the signature on his driver’s license.
Another plaintiff, a 58-year-old from upstate Onondaga County, had been registered as a Democrat since 1989, but on April 11th found that her registration was “purged.” An employee of the county told her that the change was a clerical error, but that she would not be able to vote on Tuesday, according to the suit.
Others named in the lawsuit registered for the first time within days of the new voter deadline in March, or the party-change deadline last October.
Nelson, a Vermont performance artist, described Election Justice as nonpartisan, though she and several other core members identified on its website are vocal supporters of Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. Most of the complaints we’ve seen publicized online center around spurned voters seeking to cast a ballot for Sanders in tomorrow’sDemocratic primary. In recent days, the state Board of Elections has chalked up concerns such as these to voter ignorance of New York’s restrictive rules, and of the occasional data entry error.
Election Justice USA formed recently after Republican officials in Arizona’s Maricopa County drastically reduced the number of polling places for the state’s March primary, leading to lines as much as five hours long, with the worst impacts in majority-Latino districts.
"We wanted to develop a response to voter suppression, issues at polling — the widespread problem at polls this election cycle," Nelson said.
In New York, voters certain that they should be registered Democrat have in many cases been unable to affirmatively prove their status.
In one such case, Long Island resident Jonathan Carrillo, a DJ, said that he registered as a Democrat for the first time in March, but that he was listed in Board of Elections records as a Republican. Consultation with Nassau County election officials brought up a 2013 DMV form that shows he registered as a Republican when getting a license, which he says he never would have done.
In this situation, Carrillo's only remaining option is to go to the county Board of Elections office on Primary Day and explain his case to a judge, in hopes of getting a court order to allow him to vote. This is unfair, Election Justice argues.
"The Board of Elections, not voters, holds the voting records and should be responsible to prove a voter’s ineligibility, rather than putting this burden on the voter.
As it is currently structured, the statute places an onerous and excessive burden on the voter to prove their eligibility," said Blaire Fellows, one of the New York attorneys filing the suit. "It requires securing a court order, which takes time that many New Yorkers simply don’t have, as it means loss of income over and above what they lose by simply taking time off to vote."
The other procedure available to voters with irregular registration records is to vote at a polling site using a provisional ballot, wherein one explains the nature of the irregularity, for commissioners to consider when they're counting votes. This process, the lawsuit says, is the product of "one of the nation's most opaque and oppressive voter laws."
The suit asks for the state to preserve all provisional ballots and create a hearing process where voters can explain irregularities, adding a layer of due process, where currently, lawyers argue, the ballots are "discarded by the Board of Elections in a closed room." What the lawsuit calls "purges," its authors argue, disproportionately affect Hispanic, African-American, and Hispanic voters, as have previous electoral manipulations in the state's history. The legal filing, which shows signs of being assembled in extreme haste, also cites the just-reported decline of registered Democrats in Brooklyn by 63,500, voters it also calls "purged."
One Brooklyn resident recounts registering as a new voter last month and, upon being unable to find her registration, calling the Brooklyn BOE only to be told it was probably lost in the mail.
Photojournalist Natalie Keyssar said she registered by mail within 48 hours of the March 25th deadline for forms to be postmarked, and that when she returned from an assignment in Mexico on Friday, she looked online to see where to vote, but found she is not registered. Repeated calls to the county board didn't go through, and after an hour of trying again today, she said she reached a Ms. Jackson who told her that she "shouldn't have left it till so close to the deadline," that the office was receiving some 2,000 forms a day towards the end, and that her record can't be found, likely because it hasn't been processed yet.
"How can the U.S. actually tell its citizens their right to vote has been lost in the mail?" she wrote in a Facebook post.
She said she found it even more "shocking" when several friends reached out to say that they were having similar problems. "That’s just 8 of my random friends who just happen to be looking at Facebook, so this problem must be very widespread," she said.
A call to the state BOE left her unsatisfied.
"What I’m waiting to hear is someone to take responsibility, to say that I did everything correctly and I’m still not a registered voter," she said. "I have a U.S. passport, a driver’s license, a Global Entry photo ID, and an NYPD press pass  — I am who I say I am. I just want to vote."
In the 1970s, a group of New Yorkers sued to have the state's early party-change deadline declared unconstitutional, but after two courts agreed with them, the Supreme Court overturned the decisions in a five to four ruling. In 2003, New York City's independent/Republican mayor Michael Bloomberg pushed a ballot proposal to create nonpartisan primaries for city positions, in which the top two vote recipients would go on to the general election. Voters rejected this idea.
A bill currently before the Assembly would open up the presidential primary to those who are not members of a party. It is laid over in the election law committee, and if past efforts to expand voter access in New York are a guide, it may never see the light of day.

(April 19, 2016) Brooklyn’s an Electoral Disaster….

New York’s Primary Isn’t Going Smoothly So Far
— Less than halfway though primary election day in New York, a main voter protection hotline has already received “hundreds” of phone calls from people with complaints, issues, and questions about their voter registrations and polling sites.
New Yorkers have been turned away due to problems with their voter registrations; polling sites have been closed; and equipment has been malfunctioning at sites across New York, according to Kristen Clarke, president and executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. Clarke’s organization runs the Election Protection hotline, which seeks to help voters work through challenges they experience at the polls.
“The traffic to our polling hotlines has been pretty significant,” Clarke told ThinkProgress on Tuesday afternoon. “We’re seeing a high volume of calls, which suggests this is not an election that is problem-free.”
The most frequent complaints received so far have been from voters who are confused about the New York’s closed primary rules, Clarke said. In New York, only registered Democrats can vote in the Democratic primary and only Republicans can vote in the Republican primary. Registered New York voters who wanted to switch parties had to do so by October 9, 2015 — more than six months ago — and many people didn’t realize they had to do it so early. New York has the earliest change-of-party deadline in the country.
We’re seeing a high volume of calls, which suggests this is not an election that is problem-free.
The result was that many New Yorkers showed up at their polls sites thinking they could vote, only to be turned away, Clarke said. One of those voters was Bayville resident Kali Ventresca, who changed her party affiliation from independent to Democrat on March 20, five days before New York’s registration deadline for new voters. Ventresca told "ThinkProgress" she didn’t realize the deadline for existing voters was different than the deadline for new voters. She fully expected to be able to cast a ballot.
“I’m pissed,” she said.
Other voters, however, insisted they did everything correctly with their voter registrations, and were still turned away because their names were not on the voter rolls. 
“There are certainly some people who believe they did everything right, they registered well in advance, they registered and indicated their party preference, and expected to be able to vote in their party primary and their names are not on the rolls,” Clarke said.
In addition, voters in Brooklyn have reported that their polling sites were closed.
Clarke said that one site at 195 Graham Ave was closed “due to technical difficulties.” Poll workers there reportedly “directed voters to another alternative site, and told voters they should go there and cast affidavit ballots,” Clarke said.
 A polling place in Fort Green, Brooklyn, also opened more than two hours after it was supposed to, according to FiveThirtyEight chief economics reporter Ben Casselman. Though it was supposed to open at 6:00 a.m., Casselman said, his polling place didn’t open until 8:15 a.m., apparently because it was a new polling location and there was “no coordinator on site.”
Malfunctioning equipment was also reported at multiple sites in Brooklyn. Clarke said voting machines at the 215 MacDougal Street polling location were reported broken. “Our voter indicated that at some point the police arrived and locked up the voting machines because they were not working,” Clarke said. “We contacted the Board of Elections, and they said they’d send someone there.”
Another voter reported on Twitter that ballot scanners were malfunctioning at his polling site in Bushwick, Brooklyn. A poll worker reportedly told him that ballots there “won’t be counted today,” but will be at a later date.
. . . Clarke speculated that the reason so many calls have come from Brooklyn may be because of sheer size and voter turnout there. Brooklyn has, however, been the subject of some attention lately, after WYNC reported that Brooklyn has experienced an unprecedented, unexplained drop in registered Democratic voters. According to WYNC’s analysis, “the number of active registered Democrats dropped there by 63,558 voters between November 2015 and April 2016.
That translates into a 7 percent drop in registered Democrats in the borough.”

Revolution Is in the Air

Posted on Apr 16, 2016
Chris Hedges
“We the people demand a democracy free from the corrupting influence of big money and voter suppression,” they shouted. “We demand a democracy where every vote is counted and every voice is heard. Democracy Spring!” 
The hundreds of arrests this past week have been largely ignored by a corporate media whose lobbyists, along with those of other corporations, are a familiar presence on Capitol Hill. The mass media’s blackout of the largest number of arrests at the Capitol in decades is one of innumerable examples of our corporate coup d’état. And until corporate power is overthrown — and it will be overthrown only from the streets in sustained acts of civil disobedience — the nation will continue to devolve into an authoritarian police state. Corporations will continue to strip us of our remaining rights, carry out the deadly assault on the ecosystem, impoverish workers, make a mockery of our democracy and cannibalize what is left of the country. The system of corporate power is incapable of reform. It must be destroyed. 
We will have to do this together. No one will do it for us. And as the numbers in the streets swell — and I will be with the protesters in Washington again on Monday — the corruption of our political system becomes ever more apparent.
It is imperative to protest in Cleveland and Philadelphia during the Republican and Democratic conventions later this year. The building of movements and sustained civil disobedience is far more important than voting. Voting without powerful and organized movements is futile. Voting without profound electoral reform, including banishing corporate money from politics, is useless
. . . Democracy cannot be sustained if it cannot be seen. Those in power must be made to fear movements that are willing to disrupt the machinery of state. The elites must be kept in check.
The question, as the philosopher Karl Popper pointed out, is not how to get good people to rule. Most people attracted to power, Popper wrote, are at best mediocre and usually venal. The question is how to build movements to stop the powerful from doing sustained damage to the citizenry, the nation and the environment. It is not our job to take power. It is our job to keep power constantly off balance and fearful of overstepping its reach to pillage on behalf of the elites.
The Connell/Blackwell contract is for setting up a “new interactive Election Night website” that would not just enable Blackwell to monitor the statewide vote-count in real time, but also feed that data through a separate computer in Chattanooga, Tennessee, under the control of yet another private company called SMARTech, owned and run by a GOP operative (and evangelical) named Jeff Averbeck.

Such is the computer-system architecture known as “man in the middle,” which is often used, by criminals and other shady players, for stealing and/or manipulating data. The architecture map included here lays out the way the GovTech/SMARTech system worked on Election Night, 2004. (There also was a third private company involved in stealing the Ohio vote 6+ years ago: Triad Governmental Systems, located in Xenia, Ohio, and owned by the Rapp family — also Christianists.)
Needless to add, it’s way past time for an honest, well-informed discussion of America’s preposterous voting system, and the ways in which that system has, throughout the last ten years, been used time after time AGAINST the citizens of the United States — a people who have never shared the “values” of those Christianists OR libertarians who’ve largely hijacked both our state and federal governments.
If those who’ve kept their eyes shut tight to all of this will open them at last, and take a good look at this latest evidence, it will jump-start that crucial national debate, which might just save America.
Mark Crispin Miller

The Plaintiffs’ Brief :: download the ZIP archive ::

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