Why Don’t Democratic Leaders Support Verifiable Elections? The Reason Is Simple and Obvious

Yves here. The Democrats don’t want to admit that the Republicans are more ruthless and shameless than they are. Or else they only care about winning certain elections and they are confident in their ability to control them.  The Democrats have been far more willing to play games in primaries….

Separately, I don’t get how the Democrats don’t get they may be in trouble despite Biden’s big national poll lead. The Democrats have never taken voter registration seriously because they don’t want lower income voters to have too much influence in the party, and low income voters are the most transient. Democratic party voters even more likely now due to Covid-19 financial stresses to have had an address change and need to re-register to vote. If you think vote-by-mail schemes that are already struggling to operate properly, even assuming good faith, will handle new registrants in their districts well, I have a bridge I’d like to sell you.

By Thomas Neuburger. Originally published at DownWithTyrnanny!

The original Mayor Daley wasn’t the first, but he was the best at election manipulation. Daley would have not supported verifiable elections for the obvious reason. Why don’t today’s Democrats support verifiable elections?

Everyone I know wants Trump to lose. Do you know anyone who actually wants Biden to win?”
—Howie Klein, here

I’ve often contended that neither political party — not the Democrats, not the Republicans — wants free, open, verifiable and uncorrupted elections.

Both parties, of course, say they want fair elections. The Republicans use these pronouncements, though, as cover for creating obstacles to voting by Democratic-leaning citizens based on demographics like race and place of residence. That much is a given, and this hypocrisy is obvious to everyone, including Republicans.

But what about the Democratic Party? There the situation is more mixed, but it’s not unmixed. I cut my adult teeth in Chicago, the perfect model, if not ground zero, for election manipulation, and there are many Chicago’s in the country.

There are also many approaches to stealing elections, but one of the most common is faked and manipulated vote totals, and for that, the solution is well known: hand-counted paper ballots. Given that fact, you have to ask yourself: If Democratic leaders really wanted uncorrupted elections — as opposed to just elections they could win — wouldn’t they demand a national return to hand-counted paper ballots, the gold standard for honest elections?

And yet they don’t. Year after year they keep the same corruptible voting systems in place, often expanding them, and focus their fire instead on Republican gerrymandering and voter list purges as evidence of the other party’s evil and their own goodness.

It’s likely there’s a simple and obvious reason for Democratic leadership not seeking to secure our elections with hand-counted ballots, but it’s not a pretty one: Like the Republicans, Democratic leaders, many or most of whom hate progressives with a passion, also want the ability to “fix” elections when they wish to.

“Ballot-Stuffing” in Philadelphia

For example, consider this, from the Philly Voice:

South Philly judge of elections pleads guilty to stuffing ballot boxes, accepting bribes

Prosecutors say Domenick DeMuro, 73, inflated results for Democratic primary candidates

A former judge of elections in South Philadelphia pleaded guilty this week to fraudulently stuffing ballot boxes for Democratic candidates in recent primary elections, accepting bribes from a political consultant hired to help influence local election results.

…During the 2014, 2015 and 2016 primary elections, DeMuro admitted that he accepted bribes ranging from $300 to $5,000 per election. A political consultant hired by specific Democratic candidates gave DeMuro a cut of his fee to add votes for these candidates, who were running for judicial and various state, federal and local elected offices.

DeMuro would “ring up” extras votes on machines at his polling station, add them to the totals and later falsely certify that the voting machine results were accurate, prosecutors said.

U.S. Attorney William M. McSwain said, “DeMuro fraudulently stuffed the ballot box by literally standing in a voting booth and voting over and over, as fast as he could, while he thought the coast was clear.”

This happens all the time and is rarely caught and punished. In this case, it’s likely the bribes from a “political consultant hired by specific Democratic candidates” were the only reason DeMoro was prosecuted. A number of hand-made videos during the 2016 primary showed similar corrupt “certifications” at the local level, all of them disadvantaging Bernie Sanders, yet none of these videos sparked an ounce of indignation from “free election” Democratic leaders — whose preferred candidate, it should be noted, Hillary Clinton, benefited every time.

“Progressive Democrat” Blocks Gerrymandering Reform in Nevada

Or consider this sordid tale from Nevada, in which the local League of Women Voters attempted to eliminate gerrymandering following a recent Supreme Court decision that returned gerrymandering lawsuits to the states to resolve.

From the Nevada Current (emphasis added):

Apparently some Democrats think gerrymandering is fine in blue states

In June of 2019 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Rucho v. Common Cause that federal courts will no longer accept partisan gerrymandering cases. Chief Justice Roberts wrote for the majority that partisan gerrymandering is a political issue that must be resolved at the state level. In response, the League of Women Voters U.S. launched a People Powered Fair Maps plan to create barriers to partisan gerrymandering in each state.

The League of Women Voters of Nevada adopted the plan and reached out to our democracy partners to form the Fair Maps Nevada coalition. On November 4, 2019, Fair Maps Nevada filed a constitutional amendment ballot initiative to create an independent redistricting commission. Nevada’s constitution protects the right to circulate a ballot initiative as well as the right to vote on ballot questions.

So far, so good. But wait:

On November 27, 2019, Mr. Kevin Benson, a Carson City attorney, filed a lawsuit challenging the ballot question’s summary of effect for a “progressive Democrat.” His client argued that the summary of the amendment that appears on each signature sheet was misleading. Fair Maps Nevada offered to edit the summary to clarify the amendment’s intent, but Mr. Benson refused. The Judge James Russell ultimately agreed with Mr. Benson’s client and asked both parties to submit new versions of the summary to address the plaintiff’s complaints.

It’s suspicious that a self-proclaimed “progressive Democrat” would try to monkey-wrench the process, but still, so far, so good. However:

Fair Maps Nevada submitted a new summary, but Mr. Benson did not. Instead, he argued that the whole amendment was misleading and so should be blocked completely from moving forward.

In other words, the whole exercise was a sham to get the entire process thrown out by the local judge.

Essentially, Mr. Benson was asking Judge Russell to deny the Fair Maps Nevada coalition our constitutionally protected right to circulate a petition. Judge Russell accepted Fair Maps Nevada’s new summary of the amendment and closed the case [in favor of Fair Maps Nevada].

Still, the issue didn’t die there. Benson took his appeal to the Nevada Supreme Court, which allowed it to go ahead. Fair Maps Nevada eventually won, but not before they realized (wasn’t it already obvious?) that this mystery litigant’s real goal was to run out the signature-gathering clock on the initiative. Further, the state Supreme Court failed to close the legal loophole that allowed the appeal in the first place, preparing the way for similar future challenges on the same spurious grounds.

Why would a Democrat, in Democratic-controlled Nevada, want to block gerrymandering reform, if not to continue to benefit from the unreformed system?

The Danger for Democrats

The danger for Democrats in tolerating and continuing their own vote corruption is great. When voters say “both parties do it” — they’re right. Perhaps Party leaders, national and local, think they can get away with these acts given that most of the mainstream media — busy people’s only source of news — protects listeners and viewers from information that supports the “both are corrupt” frame.

But that protection can’t be effective forever. While most Sanders supporters, for example, will vote for Joe Biden, most won’t give him money, under the assumption perhaps that his billionaires have that covered. And this is widely seen as a race that most want neither candidate to win — especially if you include non-voters — even though even more voters want Trump to lose.

The bottom line is this: While Democratic leaders may think the situation — their current and safe control of their share of power — is well managed, the nation may easily become so alienated by both parties, and by the people’s inability to vote outside the two-corrupt-parties framework, that they seek “other avenues” for change.

Ironically, a “back to the normal” Biden administration may be just the match Americans need to spark an active rebellion against the corruption of both political parties. One more round of mainstream Democrats in charge, may be the last straw for that national beast of burden, our suffering governed.

If that’s the case, watch out. Democratic leaders are running out of time, as are we all. When a nation seeks “other avenues” for reform, that nation’s in trouble.

Labels: corrupt Democrats, Democratic Party leadership, election fraud, Gaius Publius, Mayor Daley, Thomas Neuburger

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    1. Kiers

      LOL: never forget: the party “high command” cut the primary in half and chose Biden as “the choice”. Never thought i would see those phrases used in the US but there we have it…..”party high command”.

    2. Philippe Saner

      Yes, really.

      Most Democrats vote Democrat. Even if Sanders hadn’t endorsed Biden, it would hold.

      You can safely assume that most supporters of any candidate in a primary will vote for the party in the general.

      1. John k

        Yes, for voters that always vote. Maybe not as much when a candidate brings out voters that usually don’t vote bc neither party usually appeals to them. Sanders lost bc the older voters that have Medicare don’t see the need for change, and while they hate trump, don’t want to rock the boat. They want status quo without trump.
        IMO young voters that came out for sanders will stay on the couch… well, those that still have a couch.

  1. John Anthony La Pietra

    Bi-partisan is NOT non-partisan. It’s partisan in favor of the buyers. . . .

    1. Off The Street

      NC shows economic trends periodically, like Rapture. An analogous honesty trend would be informative, especially when calculated at the local level. Visualize a scale that went from What-Can-I-Get-Away-With to Do The Right Thing.

      The latter end point seems to be topical now in this era of insta-perennial riots, so who is Mookie now?

    2. fresno dan

      John Anthony La Pietra
      July 28, 2020 at 2:06 am

      I agree 1000% – the people who fund the politicians of both parties allow the parties some differences on the environmental, identity politics, guns, but when it comes to matters of money, they have a relentless, merciless agenda of more for them and less for everybody else. No way do they want poor people voting.

      1. hunkerdown

        I think the differences are actually a requirement, since they seem completely inorganic. It would also mesh with Mirowski on neoliberal epistemology, where drowning our own cognition in noise is one of the means by which they force us into submission to the market.

        And then you have the neoliberal market-authoritarian Libertarian Party, whose platform is basically everything the two-party system agrees on.

  2. jackiebass

    Since political parties write election laws there will never be fair elections. We need to take that power away from political parties to actually have fair elections. Both major parties like Gerrymandering . It helps to keep them elected. Another big problem I see is making it is very difficult for any other party except the two major parties to get on the ballot. Where I live in NYS we have a parer ballot. It is a bubble in scantron ballot that can be hand counted if an election is challenged.

    1. Alternate Delegate

      Optical scanners are the least of the problem because they’re the last step in the process.

      At that point, a handmarked paper ballot already exists and can be verified in a hand-counted recount. It can also be checked in an audit of randomly selected precincts. If false totals are routinely being transmitted, that will get caught in a random audit against the poll books. That should catch things like the Philly case, if anyone is willing to try. The paper ballots are the key.

      Sure, hand-counted is better, but scanners aren’t the big issue. Touchscreens are the big issue. That’s where everything can made to disappear, and there is no evidence left.

      1. EricT

        Yes a miss count may be caught in a random audit, but what happens if the election judges don’t do anything with this knowledge? I recall a story that happen in Chicago, where an election observer pointed out that the verifying audit contradicted the results and that a recount should be instituted. The election judge ignored her and certified the election result anyway. That was from the 2016 primary battle between Hillary and Bernie. Its self evident to figure out who the judge ruled in favor of. I also recall an incident that happened in Ohio. Where the law requires the judges to audit random ballot boxes against the tallies to verify the totals for accuracy, unfortunately the election judges would pre-select the ballot boxes rather than do a random sampling. They got caught and went to jail. The results of the election were never halted, redone or reversed. I also recall incidents in Wisconsin as well where a similar sampling rule was violated, but nothing came out of that.
        I think its great that people were made aware of the shenanigans, but as long as the message is controlled by the same people who are arranging the election fraud its going to take a long time before anything changes. My awakening happened with the Bush v Gore, and elections have only gotten worse.

    2. Susan the other

      Just what I was thinking. Did ancient Greece have political parties or bosses or cosa nostra? Probably in some form. But democracy was supposed to be everybody talking about it and then deciding. We could change. We could lose the two-party system and open the political forum up way wide in the primaries. It might be a fail-safe so we don’t get two equally bad choices. By the time all the candidates get filtered through an extensive primary vetting, reduced to two or three general candidates, most platforms could be well documented. And at that point we’d have a sort of democratic election because whoever stole the election would’t be all that bad. Maybe put all the emphasis on a closely examined, open primary.

      1. hunkerdown

        Bourgeois democracy is about the ownership class talking about it and then deciding.

        The commons have never had democracy, because if they were ever allowed it, they would never consent to a ruling class again. With apologies to Marx, the entire history of humanity could be seen as the history of the boss relation.

  3. LawnDart

    This truly must be the most meaningless presidential election in USA history.

    Heads, they win– tails we lose.

    1. Ian Ollmann

      Well then, as in much of life, you at least get to pick the manner of your defeat. This outcome can be complete and utter disaster, or something you can at least live with, to go on and lose the next battle.

      Choose wisely.

      1. IMOR

        Which of these is which, again?
        Consensus of septu- and octogenarian corporate tools in a thirty year race to a dying world where and while we the most privileged live under a police state? “Something [YOU] can at least live with” – it’s been killing me inside half my life.

      2. LawnDart

        There are many choices, and between the two choices offered for the presidency, I choose to root for their demise.

        And though one can take many losses, this may not suggest that one is defeated.

        No, I find that these two candidates could easily inspire the will and embolden an anguished spirit as to shout the bloody cry: “I shall live if only to p–s on their graves!”

        If I actually gave a damn at this point (which I don’t) I might echo this cry, but I have other plans.

        Pray tell, Ian; in your honest opinion, which of these two candidates will steer the ship of state towards a brighter future? How would you support your reasoning?

        1. John Zelnicker

          July 28, 2020 at 1:11 pm

          Neither one of “these two candidates will steer the ship of state towards a brighter future”.

          However, I’m willing to take a chance that one of them might not continue taking a sledge hammer to our society, the working class, the poor, the rule of law (as misdirected as it frequently is), and so much else. (Maybe it’ll be a short bamboo stick, instead. LOL.)

          I know we aren’t going to get the kind of society that truly takes care of its own. That’s something that’s going to take awhile, although I do believe that there is a growing awakening of consciousness that we can do something and we must do something ASAP.

          1. LawnDart

            However, I’m willing to take a chance that one of them might not continue taking a sledge hammer to our society, the working class, the poor, the rule of law (as misdirected as it frequently is), and so much else. (Maybe it’ll be a short bamboo stick, instead. LOL.)

            One of them? Trump it is, I guess, as he demolished the TPP, didn’t institute any sort of bankruptcy “reform,” and hasn’t (yet) initiated any wars of aggression– crimes that we once hanged nazis for.

            Which of the two continues/would continue “taking a sledge hammer to our society”?

            1. Pym of Nantucket

              Exactly. At this stage a progressive with plugged nose who votes Biden is in complete denial of the similitude of both candidates and parties.

              I think I have recommended this before but watch RATM’s pro Nader video “Testify”. This home has gone on too long. Calling one’s self the slightest bit socially democratic and voting Biden is pure delusion.

  4. Edward

    This issue seems to be like campaign finance reform; publicly, politicians will say they are for it, but nothing ever happens.

    Countries like Egypt have elections, but with the 99% phenomenon; 99% of the voters vote for the incumbent. The press also support the status quo, by their silence on this issue. It would be ironic if Russia and China sponsor American pro-democracy activists.

  5. Dr. John Carpenter

    Thanks for this article. I’ll be sharing it.

    Personally, I was very emotionally invested in the 2000 election, not because I was a fan of Gore, but because I believed W. Bush was a unique and existential threat. Sound familiar? Anyway, the fallout from that election was extremely illuminating. I’ll admit, I even bought the whole “for the good of the country” argument Dems were pushing as an excuse why they stopped fighting. I got over that the more I looked into things. To me, the 2000 election was proof the Dems aren’t serious about fair elections, that neither party is, and corrupting elections is truly a bipartisan tool.

    1. Dr. John Carpenter

      As a sidenote, I’ve often wondered if 2020 was determined by some 2000 or 2004 level shenanigans, how would the Dems handle it? They’ve pumped up Trump in a way they never did W. I don’t know if the rank and file would be so willing to accept them rolling over again (or throwing up their hands and declaring RUSSIA!!!), even though I believe this is what they’d try to do.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        In 2000, Daschle, Gephardt, and Lieberman were all on those too early for 2004 lists. 2 of the 3 ran in 2004 despite being themselves.

        Of course in 2004, the Team Blue courtiers were getting ready for Queen Hillary. Carville was feeding his wife Kerry election strategy. I expect they think they can get away with all kinds of bs. Though Kennedy looked flustered in a setting where he wasn’t asked if his last name imbued him with special powers.

        But most Team Blue elites are in for the pomp of DC. Trump took that away.

      2. hunkerdown

        They’ll be glad to be seen as “weak” in the eyes of the people, and publicly fume about how a strong Party apparatus is needed to prevent non-idpol thought, and “strong” in the eyes of their paymasters who see outcomes achieved against resistance (approximately Bichler and Nitzan’s definition of “power”, btw).

        I recommend Walter Karp’s 1973 book Indispensable Enemies as a look into the phenomena of bipartisan oligarch machine politics, from dim beginnings in the first half of the 19th century to McGovern. Neuburger is exactly right in the current state of the Party, but he and other “whither my blue” team fans may be disappointed to find out it’s been SOP since the beginning.

        1. Prairie Bear

          I will enthusiastically second the recommendation of Karp’s book. It was a couple of years ago that I read it. As cynical as I already was, it kind of shocked me a few chapters in when it really began to hit me what he was getting at. Then I couldn’t unsee it. I used to read his essays in Harper’s, The Atlantic, etc., back when he was still alive. I do wish the book might have been footnoted, but I don’t doubt his facts.

    2. Ian Ollmann

      Interesting. It believed in 2000 that GWB was not very bright, but the main threat was the party he’d bring with him was a bunch of crooks, bent on pillaging and looting the public sector. However, I never got existential threat out of it. Want to elaborate?

      I suppose in retrospect, Gore would have taken climate change seriously, and that is an existential threat.

  6. Marshall Auerback

    What a shocker! Democrats are running on a narrative about the need to depose wealthy elites from the commanding heights of society, while being largely run, and economically fueled, by wealthy elites. Who would have thought this was possible?

    1. Prairie Bear

      They are? There is a Democratic “narrative?” I will admit I don’t pay that much attention, but all I have heard is that Biden is not Trump, and the downticket Dem candidates I hear about just seem to be all, “I’m not the Republican.”

  7. NoBrick

    It seems L. Spooner didn’t believe in electoral “saviors” either (I don’t).

    “A man is none the less a slave because he is allowed to choose a new master once in a term of years. Neither are a people any the less slaves because permitted periodically to choose new masters.”

    Keep your eyes on the voter paradigm. Never mind the vote of “we the people” has
    never undermined the ceeded “power” of the unelected (appointed) “masters”.

    None the less, if one believes in “electoral saviors”, D or R, have at it.
    The “saviors” are banking on it…

    1. John Wright

      From Chris Hedges:


      “… I think that the problem is – you know, and Karl Popper writes this in The Open Society and Its Enemies. He said the question is not how do you get good people to rule. Popper says that’s the wrong question. Most people, Popper writes, attracted to power are at best mediocre, which is Obama, or venal, which is Bush.”

      I suggest Hedges needs a third category, “mediocre and venal” that both Bush and Obama would fit.

      Obama monetized his presidency quite well while being mediocre.

      1. Edward

        I think this raises the question of why we need a president in the first place. What happens if we don’t have a president?

  8. apber1941

    It’s a uni-party, folks. The 2020 election has already been decide by our masters. The votes will be handled appropriately. Isn’t it amazing that there are almost 700 precincts in the US that had greater vote totals than the number of actual registered voters in the past 3 national elections. And, keep in mind that less than 60% of registered voters actually vote. Speaking of Philadelphia, there was one precinct during the Romney/Obama election that although there were roughly 30% registered Rs and Inds, not one vote; NOT ONE!!! went for Romney. Tell me again that voter fraud in non-existent.

    1. Lambert Strether

      > Isn’t it amazing that there are almost 700 precincts in the US that had greater vote totals than the number of actual registered voters in the past 3 national elections.

      Not without evidence, it isn’t.

    2. Edward

      I didn’t know this. Its important to “document the atrocities”. Were any challenges made to these election results? What is somewhat amazing in all this is both parties have been trotting out often phony charges of election interference like the vague, unspecified charges of “Russian meddling”. You would think these cheaters would want to keep this issue as quiet as possible, but no– its a popular tool in their propaganda arsenal.

  9. Lambert Strether

    > It’s likely there’s a simple and obvious reason for Democratic leadership not seeking to secure our elections with hand-counted ballots, but it’s not a pretty one: Like the Republicans, Democratic leaders, many or most of whom hate progressives with a passion, also want the ability to “fix” elections when they wish to.

    Agree 100%. And the rot infects all levels of the party.

    1. flora

      Wait… you mean the Dem leadership had ulterior motives for closing so many polling places in the primary so people couldn’t vote without waiting in huge long lines in farther away polling stations? Or that the Dem estab demanded an end to real caucuses in favor of primaries? (Who won most of the caucus states in 2016, again?) Ulterior motives? Say it ain’t so… /s

  10. juno mas

    As a former Nevada official (under Dem. Governor Bryant and then Miller (80’s &90’s), I read the article with some distant insight. A “progressive democrat” in Nevada is a rarity. The Overton Window in the state for most of its history leans conservative. Nevada became a “blue” state only with the recent influx of Hispanics to Las Vegas and Reno to work (and Unionize) in the hospitality industry (Casino/Hotels) over the last 10-15 years. Nevada’s Governors have ALL been Republican for the last 20 years until now. (The candidates are usually hand-picked by the Las Vegas Casino power brokers.)

    Don’t know Mr Benson, but any attorney living in Carson City (state Capital) is supremely attuned to politics; small town, small state population, professional advancement relies heavily on who you dine with. (My once neighbor Dean Heller became Nevada’s Senator in Congress by simply going along to get along (and a fortuitous scandal ousting his predecessor)). There are few “progressive democrats” in Carson City, if any.

  11. Jeremy Grimm

    The last sentence of this post stays with me casting an ominous shadow on our future:
    “When a nation seeks “other avenues” for reform, that nation’s in trouble.”

    The Government brutally quashes organized reform movements. Movements congeal the passions and needs of the Populace to specific agendas that can be actualized. But without a Northstar as the pressures and suffering increase the Populace can transform to the inchoate rages of the Mob — the very creature Big Money most fears.

    Grasshoppers nibbling on the rich fields of grain harvested for the few can be transmuted to plagues of locusts.

  12. Thomas Neuburger

    From EricT above:


    I recall a story that happen in Chicago, where an election observer pointed out that the verifying audit contradicted the results and that a recount should be instituted. The election judge ignored her and certified the election result anyway. That was from the 2016 primary battle between Hillary and Bernie. Its self evident to figure out who the judge ruled in favor of. I also recall an incident that happened in Ohio.

    This was the incident I wanted to reference and couldn’t turn up the link.

    REQUEST: If anyone can link to this story (or better, to the video, which I’m sure I saw, please let me know. Thanks!


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