Greg Palast on How the New York and US Elections are Being Stolen

The RT video below, due no doubt to time limits, gives a very short recap of Greg Palast’s important work on how the 2000 election was stolen. Worse, his account was published in the UK while the hanging chads fight was on, when his work showed that the voters illegally removed from voter rolls in Florida swamped the number of votes at issue in the recount. Even more telling: no US media outlet picked it up when it mattered, as in when the election results were in play. As Palast remarked later, it was the Michael Moore book, Stupid White Men, which “broke” the story in the US, IIRC in April, and then the Washington Post deigned to pick it up.

His initial estimate was that at least 90,000 and probably more like 180,000 legal black voters were removed from voter lists, using the excuse in Florida that convicted felons can not vote in that state. Jeb Bush awarded the contract to the firm that submitted the higher bid. It scrubbed the voter rolls names that were clearly black (first name Jamail or Kinesha for instance), that bore an arguable resemblance to a felon’s name.

Just use Palast’s low estimate. 90,000 black voters x 30% turnout x 90% propensity to vote Democrat = 24,300 Democrat votes scrubbed – the 2,700 10% that would have voted Republican = 21,600 net Democratic votes. By contrast, the disputed ballots were on the order of 2,000 to the low 3,000s.

Palast also wrote at his site about problems with the New York election, and I suspect he’ll have more in relatively short order:

Francesca Rheannon, whom you may know as the host of Writers’ Voice radio, did the civic thing by volunteering to work the polls in a town east of New York City.

“I just got off my 17 hour shift as an election official. In my election district, out of 166 Democratic voters, 39 were forced to file affidavit ballots. The last [election] I worked in, exactly ONE voter needed an affidavit ballot.”

That’s nearly one of four voters. Why? Their names had gone missing from the voter rolls.

An affidavit ballot (called a “provisional” ballot in most other states) is a kind of placebo ballot. You get to pretend to vote – but the chance it will actually be counted is …well, good luck. If your name is wrongly removed, kiss your vote – affidavit or not—goodbye.

Rheannon’s experience was hardly unique. In Brooklyn alone, over 125,000 names were quietly scrubbed from the voter rolls in the five months leading up to the primary.

To put it in prospective, the number of voters purged equals about half of the number who got to vote. Scott Stringer, the New York City Comptroller will now audit the Elections Board–now that the election is over. Hey thanks, Scott.

Neal Rosenstein, the lead voting rights attorney for the New York Public Interest Research Group, which plans legal action, notes that part of the problem is that partisan hacks sit on the Elections board in New York—hacks from both parties.

Brooklyn is under the control of the Kings County Democratic Party, one of the last of the big city machines. Would they attack their opponents’ voter registrations? I don’t have to guess: in my wasted younger days, I was in the Brooklyn County elections office with the hacks where we were assigned by the Party to challenge voters’ signatures en masse. (I wouldn’t and nearly lost my state job.)

Am I saying the machine “fixed” the election for Hillary Clinton? Without further investigation, it would be irresponsible for me to pronounce judgment. Some of the purged may have moved, some have died. But those who waited in line only to fill out affidavit ballots are unlikely to be deceased.

If the Machine had been aware of the mass purge underway, would they have stopped it? As they say in Brooklyn, Fahgeddabouddit.

Hear Palast describe the rationale and methods for deep-sixing registered voters in the segment below:

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  1. Rhondda

    Add this to the stinking pile: New York Primary: Why is Exit Poll Data Adjusted to Match Final Voting Results?

    “…But what happened next gets really weird. At that point, according not only to Aravosis’ blog, but also according to numbers I reported on my liveblog, CBS numbers still available as of this writing, and various Twitter users, Sanders was winning the 41% of the population 18-44 by a margin of 61-39% and was losing over 45-year-olds by the same 61-39% margin. These numbers are consistent with a 4 to 5 point Clinton win.

    Here’s the deal, though. The sample size grew in the last two renditions of the exit pollingby just 24 respondents, first from 1367 to 1383 when I took several screen shots for my liveblog just after 11pm eastern and then to 1391 as of Wednesday morning. Over the same period, Clinton’s lead grew by 10% from 18% with Latinos to 28%. Her lead also grew by 10% among those 45 and over and shrunk by 12% with those under 45. In exit poll version (2), Sanders lead with white people (59% of the vote) by 9%, in exit poll (3) by just 2%, and now with exit poll (4) it is tied.

    This would be possible and reasonable with a very large growth in sample size, but, as you might imagine, is mathematically impossible without serious data fiddling in this instance…”

    1. ahimsa

      Over at a fivethirtyeight NY primary night blog this was mentioned in passing:

      NATE SILVER 10:55 PM
      It’s true: the exit poll results are re-calibrated as the night goes along to match the actual vote count. In fairness, however, the people who conduct exit polls — and the networks and newspapers who pay for them — are quite insistent that exit polls are not intended to project election results and instead are mostly meant for demographic analysis after the fact. And for the record, while the exit polls were off on the Democratic side tonight, they’ve had a pretty good campaign cycle overall — they were quite good on the GOP side tonight, for instance, providing an early indication that Trump would probably win.

      I can’t wrap my head around this, I mean what sort of demographic analysis can they possibly offer if you have to do adhoc monkeying around with them until they they give the same % as the actual outcome?

      1. Jess

        “what sort of demographic analysis can they possibly offer if you have to do adhoc monkeying around with them until they they give the same % as the actual outcome?”

        The sort of demographic analysis that allows you to keep your job, and perhaps your life.

      2. RP

        for the purpose of the manufacturing of consent, citizen.

        these are not amateurs, and they will not abdicate power just because the majority of citizens loathe them.

        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          For those with a short memory, in 2000 the clusterf*ck of American voting procedures was revealed once and for all and the whole world got a minute view of the ridiculous and gory details.
          What does it say to you that 16 years later it has gotten worse, not better?

    2. Crazy Horse

      When international election monitors observe an election one of the red flags they look for is a marked discrepancy between the results of exit poling and the reported vote count. If normal standards had been applied to the Ohio “victory” that put George Bush over the top in his re-election bid the 10% discrepancy would have called it into question. Way to go, Diebold. Looks like the solution now used is simply to adjust the exit poll results to match the reported vote count….

      It’s almost impossible for Americans to wrap their mind around the following:

      In 2012 The Carter Center along with some 280 other international monitors traveled to Venezuela to observe the presidential election between incumbent Hugo Chavez and challenger Henrique Capriles, Their conclusion:

      “The electoral process in Venezuela is the best in the world out of all 92 elections the Center has monitored” . When you compare the fully computerized, fingerprint keyed, paper back up systems and transparent auditing used in Venezuela to the shabby third world farce of elections in the American Banana Republic, the contrast is stark.

      Of course all Americans know that Hugo Chavez was a dictator, Venezuela is a failed state, and all of it’s problems are due to following socialist policies rather than letting the free market create prosperity and a just distribution of wealth. After all, our Government told us so. LOL But hopefully some of us still are capable of logically separating the analysis of an electoral process from the politics of a government it placed in office.

      For my part, I am fully confident that the re-election of Hugo Chavez to the presidency of Venezuela in 2012 expressed the will of the Venezuelan citizenry. I am also confident that George Bush and Dick Cheney were never the legitimate President & VP of the USA, and that they took office as a result of a virtual coup. And I’d be shocked if the fraud and disenfranchisement surfacing in the recent NY democratic primary wasn’t standard operating procedure for the Clinton Criminal Organization.

      1. sumiDreamer

        Why do you call it a “virtual” coup? So they wore Italian suits and carried briefcases – it was still a junta. Just look at the results!

        1. Thor's Hammer

          And by the way, Cheney was never a resident of Wyoming in the sense that the framers of the Constitution intended. As a resident of Texas he was constitutionally prohibited from serving as Bush’s VP. But where would the country be without Cheney to run it from behind the curtains and orchestrate the World Trade Center false flag attack? Little Bush certainly couldn’t have pulled it off, and as everyone in the world who isn’t an American knows, it was an inside job.

    3. fajensen

      Why? Maybe it’s all an elaborate double-bluff engineered by Soviet sleeper cells to make Putin look more like the honest, but misunderstood, leader he really is?

  2. ahimsa

    The video is really worth watching (if not just for Palast’s snazzy reporter’s hat).
    small summary:
    * Listing of voters’ race (certainly makes it easier to guess their party affiliation) beside their name in voting rolls .
    * Removal of voters from voter rolls because of similar names (no attempts at any actual verification) to convicted felons’.
    * Removal of voters from voter rolls because of suspicion (= somebody else somewhare in USA has the same first and last name (but not necessarily middlename)) of voter fraud without ever attempting to prosecute them.
    * All of the above primarily affecting african-american, hispanic and asian sounding names.
    * Names summarily scrubbed from voter rolls without any attempt to inform them or offer them the opportunity to verify/prove their voter eligibility (disenfranchisement).

    The USA has seemingly become a banana republic.

    1. BradK

      If Black and Latino voters tend to support Klinton and these were the ones overwhelmingly impacted by the purges, wouldn’t that then tilt the election towards Sanders and Klinton?

      Either way though, this is a travesty. And a harbinger of things to come.

        1. Banana Breakfast

          While anger over Sanders’s loss is what’s fueling the attention this time, I suspect other issues are at play here than fixing for Clinton. What else was on the ballot in New York? A local machine like KCDP will be strongly motivated to skew votes on, say, local levies and bureaucratic post elections as well. Political corruption and voting fraud is not limited, and probably not even most widespread, in visible national elections.

          1. Watt4Bob

            If I recall correctly, the republican party was required to pay for the recount in Cook County Illinois in the 1960 elections.

            When they got to the point where it was clear that they’d never find enough votes to reverse Kennedy’s win, they abandoned the recount.

            They weren’t finding much fraud regarding Nixon, but they were finding massive down ballot manipulation, so much so that many republicans would have won their contests, but the national party pulled the plug on the recount because it was too expensive and they didn’t care about the small-fries.

            In other words, the Democratic machine in Cook co. took advantage of the public’s tunnel vision, the result of the very close, and nasty presidential race to cover stealing the down-ballot contests.

            Until yesterday, I hadn’t thought about big-city machine politics in a long while.

      1. ahimsa

        If you watch the video, it’s not actually about the recent NY primary. He’s talking about Republican efforts to steal swing states, e.g. OH, NC, FL in the presidential election.

        1. BradK

          Ah…thanks. I didn’t watch the video as it didn’t play in FF and I was too lazy to open another browser. I did though, and you’re correct.

          As someone who despises both parties, why is it that the Dems are constantly screeching about the Koch brothers while conspicuously ignoring their own big-money influences? And then there’s that international criminal sovereign wealth fund known as the Clinton Global Initiative.

          Sanders is the only only one putting forth the idea that big money perverts all elections. No wonder why they want to shut him up — and out.

      2. frosty zoom

        Klinton is a jenius.

        we awed, we understood, she ruled.

        i believe this is all for the trumpathon in november. mr. palast mentioned the snidely whiplash of this plot was a big trumpeter.

    2. Robert Coutinho

      I disagree. Banana Republics would never attempt fraud of this magnitude. Come on! They have some morals.

        1. Waldenpond

          Watch the Chicago elections bureau video. They had monitors and were notably unconcerned. It is clear voting in a national election doesn’t matter.

          Go to about 25 minutes in.

          I was not surprised when trying to register voters at a college that 1/4 to 1/3 that responded were not registered and not interested in voting.

  3. Barmitt O'Bamney

    Stop expecting anything better from Democrats. Stop trying to reform them. That is the first step towards recovery. You will simply have to make alternate plans to avoid being screwed by them. Continued engagement means continued screwing, which will be on you.

        1. thoughtful person

          Yeah, but why do we think the general election would be conducted fairly?

          Seems to me we should expect electoral fraud, and continue resistance by other **nonviolent** means. Tax resistance, mutual aid, consciousness raising etc

    1. Waldenpond

      I remember in the 80s voting straight D. Over the years it’s become less. 2012 there were only a couple I voted for. I stick with the ballot measures.

      For people turned off by voting, the politicians are repulsive but there are ballot measures to support/defeat.

      1. Carla

        Consider voting for third party candidates when you have the option– Why? The Dem/Rep duopoly makes it damned hard for third (and fourth and fifth) parties to gain ballot access. Once they get it, if nobody votes for their candidates, they tend to lose it. We’re going to need more parties in the future, so please consider this strategy to help small parties maintain ballot access.

        1. Waldenpond

          I’m in CA so my vote doesn’t matter … I have voted for Stein and she did well in my County. I consider marking the R box when that overwhelming revulsion hits but that should be gone by Nov unless Sanders does something noxious like sell his highly controlled donor data to Clinton in exchange for lies about supporting a policy. Then it’s against the Ds down ticket.

    2. Gaylord

      Continued engagement with any mass media source, especially television, means continued ignorance and mind control. You will be assimilated.

  4. Jack Heape

    Results like these are not surprising given that the US ranks WORST in election fairness among all Western democracies. The Electoral Integrity Project did a study in 2015 and the US ended up last. See this WAPO article.
    But at least we are still better than Mexico!

  5. Teejay

    Is this a typo or is something missing?

    Jeb Bush awarded the contract to scrub the voter rolls of felons to the firm that submitted , for instance), that bore an arguable resemblance to a felon’s name.

  6. Rey

    I was a registered Democrat in a suburb of NY who hasn’t voted in the last few elections because frankly there was nobody I felt like voting for. So I checked my status and I was a registered voter, but not affiliated with any party. I was never notified of this change in status. I had a day left to register to vote and tried to print the form and It would not print unless you have a color printer because the form is blue. Even setting it to print black resulted in a blank form. My eyes are now open to the shenanigans that has been pulled to make primary voting difficult in New York this year. Even my Mom, a lifelong Democrat was pulled from the rolls….

  7. Jess

    “But those who waited in line only to fill out affidavit ballots are unlikely to be deceased.”

    Leave it to Palast to combine truth with sarcasm of the first order. Love most of his work.

  8. tongorad

    I think most people know the system is rigged. Unfortunately, class-based solidarity appears to be have been defeated by identity politics and tribal loyalty.

  9. susan the other

    the reason Hillary has to steal elections is because she is repulsive.
    the reason she is repulsive is because she has no plan for the future.
    the reason she has no plan for the future is because she wants the status quo.
    the reason she wants the status quo is because she benefits.
    the reason she benefits is because she is repulsive.

  10. LifelongLib

    Here in Hawaii, a voter’s name will be removed from the rolls if IIRC they don’t vote in the previous election year and they don’t re-register. They will be marked questionable if a notification sent to them is returned by the post office (usually indicates a move). A lot of times they may be in the poll book at a different polling place. When i was a poll worker we always tried to track down where the person was supposed to vote and send them there. Provisional ballots were a last resort. Don’t know how New York does it.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Not in NYC on the Upper East Side. You can have not voted for years and still stay registered for the right party. And remember, a lot of people had their party affiliation changed as opposed to being removed from the rolls.

  11. KYrocky

    The lesson long ago learned is that if you steal an election you get to keep it.

    Voters have no remedy.

    This situation exists because those in power lack commitment to real democracy, and while they will stand in front of the flag and send Americans off to die in the name of democracy, they won’t use their power to actually ensure that all of our citizens here at home have access to it.

    1. crittermom

      “This situation exists because those in power lack commitment to real democracy, and while they will stand in front of the flag and send Americans off to die in the name of democracy, they won’t use their power to actually ensure that all of our citizens here at home have access to it.”

      Very well put.

  12. ekstase

    From the conclusion to his article:

    “As I look upon the wreckage that was the New York primary, I see the prelude, the test run, for the catastrophic failure, the well-planned failure, of the voting system in November.”

    Wow. Just wow.

  13. thoughtful person

    If it’s Trump v Clinton it won’t much matter however, as either is a win for 0.1%

  14. TheCatSaid

    This video of a recent public meeting of the Chicago Board of Elections deals with the “audit” of a sample of the recent primary election results shows innumerable problems. You can see it here.

    I hope a few NC readers will watch the video. It’s a great introduction to election oversight. There are excellent comments by citizens who observed the audit and identified numerous problems. For example, election workers routinely changed their own tallies up or down as needed to match the pre-known machine results. There were extensive problems in methodologies used. Several commenters offered specific advice on how procedures could be improved.

    The comment time allowed was inadequate–only 5 min. per person. No comments were allowed to occur before the election board officially accepted the results–thus results were approved without taking into account that the “audit” revealed that machine results were not matching the hand counts, and before receiving the sworn affidavits of the problematic “audit” procedures.

    You can jump to minute 24 and onwards to hear the public testimony relating to the audit. I found it revealing to watch from the beginning. It gave me a feeling for the various personalities, procedures and attitudes.

    This is just the tip of the iceberg of the kind of issues that are unfortunately all too common. Post-election “audits” are not true audits. Nor do they typically offer remedies, but rather they tend to be an exercise in papering over election problems.

    For example, in some states, election rules require paper ballots, but forbid that anyone look at them afterwards for a hand count because the ballots must be secret. Or, “audits” are carried out on only a small percentage of ballots–and who chooses which areas are selected to be “audited” can be a problem in itself–and/or this is done only when the results are close by some locally designed criteria, making a hack quite easy–just make sure the final results have a spread that falls outside of the mandatory audit criteria.)

    Anyone who watches this video will learn a lot about election administration and integrity (and loosey-goosiness even where there are good intentions). The citizen commenters are excellent. Interestingly, the first tactic used is often to try to question their “qualifications”.

    While this is Chicago and I assume part of the Democratic “Machine”, this kind of carry-on is unfortunately common in many states / counties, regardless of the party in control. Many counties are legendary for their obstructiveness. (I remember video of Florida election workers destroying ballots, and more election administration malfeasance/legendary foul play in Ohio, Arizona, Los Angeles, and more. Different methodologies are used in different places, depending on the party, the opportunities and local “skills”. Small rural counties have their own unique methodologies.)

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      The intent was to steal 2008. Obama’s campaign formed what was described as “the biggest one day law firm in history” to watch polls and be ready to lodge lawsuits. It was an unprecedented vote-supervision exercise. So the Obama campaigns saw the threat as real and acted. That confirms Palast’s reading.

      Palast is widely seen as doing the most extensive reporting on this process and his assessment of the corruption of the US process is consistent with our bottom ranking among advanced economies. The fact that people in the US don’t get exercised about the abuses (which is basically all you have on him, that he expects there to be more hue and cry than their is, does not invalidate his reporting.

      1. josef johann

        That sounds an awful lot like the pet rock that keeps tigers away.

        It’s great that Obama had a team in place, but I don’t see how that conceptually interacts with the issues raised Palast’s article, which is largely about purging people from the voter rolls prior in the days (and years, even) prior to the ’08 election.

        And none of this even touches his claim that “November 7, 2006 is a day that will live in infamy.” which I really don’t know how to excuse.

        I say this all as a one time enthusiastic reader of Palast (I bought and read his book in ’04), as an Obama voter, and a Sanders supporter and donor, and a hater of Voter ID. I’m exactly the kind of person that would love Palast’s work if only I thought he was doing more than crying wolf.

  15. direction

    comment black holed again. but the comment over on the drone piece published easily. can someone explain the guidelines to me so i can avoid funneling my comments into mediation?

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