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Sunday, July 2, 2017

Fox in the Henhouse

There is voter fraud. I know there is voter fraud.
-- Stephen Bannon

Two Million

eight hundred and sixty-eight thousand

six hundred and ninety-one.

I like to think I’m the one, there right at the end.

Two Million eight hundred and sixty-eight thousand six hundred and ninety one.

That's the number of votes Donald Trump lost the popular election by, two million eight hundred and sixty-eight thousand six hundred and ninety-one.

According to the final certification of the election*:

Hillary Clinton received 65,853,516 votes

Donald Trump received 62,984,825 votes

Meaning Clinton won the popular vote by 2,868,691.

For brevity’s sake let’s round that off to 3 million.

Now, unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on circumstance and your point of view) the popular vote is not how American democracy selects a president and/or vice president. Rightly or wrongly, that’s how our Founders designed things (whether or not we should change that is a discussion for another time). Thus, Donald Trump won the White House despite the objections of nearly 3 million ... well, I was going to say Americans, but that's actually the issue here, isn't it?

That’s the whole thing, right there.

Those 3 million voters.

The President of the United States says that those people, whoever they are,  they’re not Americans.

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Yes, that’s what he’s saying.

Those people, those 3 million people who didn’t vote for him, they aren’t Americans. That’s exactly what he’s saying.

You see, Donald Trump being the self-involved thin-skinned narcissistic ego-maniac that he is, he just can't accept that he lost the popular vote. He is pathologically incapable of admitting that he was beaten by Hillary Clinton – even though he ended up president anyway. 

He’s not man enough.

He’s not mature enough.

And he just can't accept it.

He can't. Q.E.D.

He's on record, multiple times, claiming that he actually won the popular vote – despite obvious and provable evidence to the contrary.

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And how does he justify this discrepancy?

The same way people like him always do.

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Even before the election Trump was banging the Republican Voter Fraud drum, boom, boom, boom.

Of course there’s large scale voter fraud. Serious voter fraud. Millions of people voted illegally. Voter fraud is her only hope. Voter Fraud! Crooked Hillary!

Just like any news article he doesn’t like must be fake news, anybody who didn’t vote for him must be a fake American.

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These aren’t the baseless accusations of some random madman … well, OK, they are, yes, but they’re also official comments from the President of the United States of America and are now part of the national archive in accordance with the Presidential Records Act.

The President of the United States believes, or officially claims that he believes, that there is widespread voter fraud in America totaling in the millions.

The millions.

If this were true, that millions of people vote illegally in our elections, then the entire foundation for our government, our way of life, would be suspect. It would mean that more than 50 different voting systems and dozens upon dozens of widely separated state and local governments were corrupted to such a degree that millions, millions, of people routinely vote illegally in our elections.

And that would be easily provable.

But, of course, this entire thing is patent nonsense.

The most fervent believer in voter fraud after the most diligent and thorough investigation can’t produce more than one or two fraudulent voters, let alone millions. And they’ve tried. Goddamn have they tried.

This whole thing is nonsense.

Just like nearly every other position the President has staked out.

It’s the same baseless bullshit conservatives in Virginia and North Carolina and Alabama (to name just a few states) have been using as justification to disenfranchise people they don't like.

It’s the same dog whistle.

It’s the same bias and bigotry and racism.

It’s the same political agenda. The same fear. The same hate. The same goal.

Yes it is.

Trump played on this unsupported conspiracy theory of widespread voter fraud before the election as justification for why he was going to lose, and then after the election in order to claim he actually won the popular vote.

And he justifies that position by simply saying that those votes, those 3 million votes, just don’t count. So therefore he won the popular vote.

Republicans might or might not like Donald Trump, but they're plenty eager to go along with this charade. They're perfectly happy to perpetuate the ridiculous myth of widespread voter fraud and to use that fairy tale as an excuse to purge voting registers of Blacks and Muslims and Latinos and Gays and The Poors and any other supposed liberal undesirable under the pretext of weeding out alleged voter fraud.

Republicans sure as hell aren’t going to dissuade Donald Trump of this masturbatory fantasy.

No, they won’t, even though they know it's complete and total bullshit, because it plays directly to their own narrative and agenda of disenfranchisement. They might or might not believe in widespread voter fraud, but if embracing Trump’s conspiracy theory helps them purge their state voting rolls of undesirables, they’re all for it.

So, anyway, what I’m saying here is …

What?

What’s that?

Oh. I see.

You think I’m engaged in a little conspiracy theory of my own, do you?

You say, hey, c’mon, Jim. It’s not like that. And what’s wrong with making sure, damned sure, extra sure, that the foundation of our Republic is intact? What’s wrong with making sure that only Americans, those legally enfranchised, are the ones voting? What’s wrong with ensuring the integrity of our elections?

What’s wrong with ensuring the integrity of our elections?

Nothing.

If you could trust them to do it.

But you can’t.

If that’s what these people were actually up to.

But it’s not.


One of the first things Trump did as president was to set up The Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity via executive order.


The problems with this commission begin almost immediately.

For example, who are these people? Who makes up the commission?

The Executive Order which created the commission is listed on the White House website, dated May 11, 2017, but it only says that the commission shall be chaired by the Vice President. The rest of the committee, which may include up to 15 additional members, will be appointed by the President.

Fifteen people and Mike Pence.

But who are those people? Those 15 commission members besides the Vice President?

Well, it’s damned hard to find out.

The membership of the commission isn’t listed in any official government record available to the public.

The official White House website lists 53 official announcements regarding Administration nominations and appointments. I went through all of them (and tedious it was), but no mention of who Donald Trump has so far appointed to this commission.

There’s a link to “Elections & Voting,” but it’s just a generic blurb about the history of voting in the US.

There’s a link to various Administration offices, but the Advisory Commission of Election Integrity isn’t mentioned.

I went through the Annual Report to Congress on White House Office Personnel (all 16 pages of it) looking for any salaried position devoted to election integrity. Nothing. Nobody. (The EO says the Commission members aren’t entitled to any additional compensation, but I figured it couldn’t hurt to check).

I attempted to contact various members of the Administration, including the Office of the Vice President, since he’s the chairman of the commission. I asked for a list of commission appointees. I got form letter responses or no responses at all (so far).

I went to Vice President Pence’s Facebook page and looked for anything on this commission. Nothing. And isn’t that a bit odd, given the supposed importance of alleged voter fraud, the supposed millions of illegal voters, the supposed dire and immediate threat to our very democracy, the concerns of not only the President but his supporters as well? I mean, from the guy who’s supposed to be in charge of the investigation?

Maybe it’s just me.

Going through media reports, I come up with seven names besides the Vice President:

Kris Kobach: Republican. Secretary of State of Kansas. Immigration ultra-hardliner. Wants a national Muslim registry. Repeatedly makes public statements insisting that widespread voter fraud in the US is a significant problem. As Secretary of State of Kansas, he implemented one of the strictest voter ID laws in the country and attempted to remove more the 20,000 registered voters from the state rolls – voters that were proved to be properly registered. Kobach was instrumental in drafting Arizona’s controversial anti illegal immigrant SB 1070 law and similar legislation in Alabama. Kobach is the Deputy Chairman of the Commission.

Hans von Spakovsky: Republican. Hardcore Conservative. Lawyer. Bureaucrat. Heritage Foundation manager for Election Law Initiative. Former “voting expert” for the Justice Department, and former member of the Federal Election Commission under George W. Bush via recess appointment. During confirmation hearings it became apparent that this guy has some serious issues with voter disenfranchisement – as in he’s all for it. Some of his ideas were compared to “Jim Crow era” poll taxes. While at the Justice Department this guy literally argued against reauthorization of the Voting Rights act. Think about that. Literally argued against reauthorization of the Voting Rights Act. When it comes to voting rights, this guy is one of the most controversial figures in America. Spakovsky’s was appointed by Trump just this week and his role on the Commission isn’t clear.

Connie Lawson: Republican. Secretary of State of Indiana – under Governor Mike Pence. Nothing particularly remarkable or controversial in her background with regards to voting.

Bill Gardner: Democrat. Secretary of State of New Hampshire. His claim to fame seems to be championing New Hampshire’s “100% paper ballot” elections.

Matthew Dunlap: Democrat. Secretary of State of Maine.  He oversaw implementation of the state’s Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment (MOVE) Act – an absentee ballot update that allows military personnel and Mainers who are overseas greater access to voting.

Ken Blackwell: Republican. Former Secretary of State of Ohio. Hardline fiscal and social Conservative. Despite being African American (and the only person of color on the commission so far as I can determine), Blackwell was the target of a lawsuit filed by the Democratic Party in 2004 after he established a policy widely seen as aimed at disenfranchising minority voters and in violation of federal voting law. A US District Judge ruled against the policy. Blackwell said that he would go to jail rather than comply and the case was appealed. Eventually, after a long drawn out court battle, part of the policy was upheld and part was struck down. Blackwell also oversaw the office which in 2006 accidentally published the full Social Security Numbers of 1.2 million Ohio citizens along with their business filings, resulting in a Federal class action lawsuit filed against the state. The case was resolved when Blackwell’s office removed the Social Security numbers from their website and promised to make changes to prevent such disclosures in the future. A month later, it happened again, only this time it was the names, addresses, and Social Security numbers of 5.7 million registered Ohio voters (about 80% of the state’s registered voters). And then, there’s the Diebold voting machine controversy. Blackwell oversaw the purchase of Diebold Touchscreen voting machines – after being asked by state authorities to disqualify Diebold as a supplier. Turns out, Blackwell owned stock in Diebold, something he claims he didn’t know. The Diebold machines didn’t provide useable audit records and in 2006 state officials were forced to order the hand-counting of more than 18,000 paper ballots after the Diebold machines produced inconsistent results. It took days and in at least one case caused a race to be reversed. Because Blackwell had been involved in the acquisition of the Diebold machines and because he’d owned stock in the company, and because at the time he was running for governor, Ohio Democrats demanded that Blackwell recuse himself from the resulting investigation. He refused.

Christy McCormick: (Political Affiliation Unknown) Commissioner, Election Assistance Commission (appointed by Barack Obama). Civil Rights attorney, Department of Justice. US government Rule of Law in voting matters expert. U.S. Elections Expert monitoring Iraqi national elections in 2010, providing advice to the Iraq High Electoral Commission.

Eight people (including VP Pence). Four right wing extremists with controversial backgrounds with regards to voting rights, including the Chair and Vice Chair. And four more or less middle of the road moderates.

If you squint your eyes, you could say the Commission was maybe, sort of, after a fashion, possibly bi-partisan – if heavily skewed to the hard right and with its leadership tilted towards belief in conspiracy theory, but then there’s that Executive Order.

Sec. 3.  Mission.  The Commission shall, consistent with applicable law, study the registration and voting processes used in Federal elections.  The Commission shall be solely advisory and shall submit a report to the President that identifies the following:

(a)  those laws, rules, policies, activities, strategies, and practices that enhance the American people's confidence in the integrity of the voting processes used in Federal elections;

(b)  those laws, rules, policies, activities, strategies, and practices that undermine the American people's confidence in the integrity of the voting processes used in Federal elections; and

(c)  those vulnerabilities in voting systems and practices used for Federal elections that could lead to improper voter registrations and improper voting, including fraudulent voter registrations and fraudulent voting.

Sec. 4.  Definitions.  For purposes of this order:

(a)  The term "improper voter registration" means any situation where an individual who does not possess the legal right to vote in a jurisdiction is included as an eligible voter on that jurisdiction's voter list, regardless of the state of mind or intent of such individual

(b)  The term "improper voting" means the act of an individual casting a non-provisional ballot in a jurisdiction in which that individual is ineligible to vote, or the act of an individual casting a ballot in multiple jurisdictions, regardless of the state of mind or intent of that individual.

(c)  The term "fraudulent voter registration" means any situation where an individual knowingly and intentionally takes steps to add ineligible individuals to voter lists.

(d)  The term "fraudulent voting" means the act of casting a non-provisional ballot or multiple ballots with knowledge that casting the ballot or ballots is illegal. 

The Commission’s mandate is to identify "laws, rules, policies, strategies, and practices" that both "enhance" and "undermine" the "American people's" confidence in the integrity of the voting process used in federal elections.

Enhance and undermine.

Enhance.

And undermine.

Except…

look at those two sections.

Look at the definitions.

There doesn’t seem to be much emphasis on enhance, but there sure does seem to be a foregone conclusion about undermine, isn’t there? 

Especially when you remember that at least 50% of the commission are hardline fanatical believers in supposed widespread voter fraud, including the Chair and Vice Chair.

And even more especially when you remember that the president who convened this commission in the first place has repeatedly and as recently as today advanced the idea of widespread voter fraud.

But it gets better.

And by better, of course I mean worse.

The Commission requested that each state submit its voter registration databases for examination.

Under the (non-existent) authority of the Vice President, the commission sent a letter to all 50 states and Washington D.C. last week demanding that each state turn over its “publicly available voter roll data.”

“Publicly available” sounds harmless, but there’s more to it than that.

Publicly available doesn’t actually mean the information isn’t controlled and can just be released to the public (see Ken Blackwell and Ohio up above).

The Commission is being deliberately disingenuous.

Look here, in 2016 there were just under 219,000,000 Americans who were eligible to vote.

Out of those 219,000,000 potential voters, only about 146,000,000 were actually registered to vote – and thus could legally vote.

Let’s round that off: 150,000,000 registered voters.

150 million.

Now, the commission wants a list of those names. 150 million names.

And they intend to examine that list, all 150 million names, for evidence of voter fraud.

Eight people.

Eight people are going to go through one hundred and fifty million names.

Now, let’s say that’s actually even possible … oh, hell, let’s not. It’s not possible. They’re going to have to hire somebody to process the data. Obviously. It’s impossible otherwise.

Who?

Who are those people? What’s that agency? Who has the resources to go through that data, 150 million names?

Well, conveniently, one of the Commission members, newly appointed, just happens to be a lawyer for the Heritage Foundation – a ultra-conservative think tank with deep, deep pockets and plenty of resources to crunch those numbers into any shape you like.

Perhaps Hans von Spakovsky’s role on the Commission isn’t so undefined after all.

I digress.

So, 150 million names of registered voters. And you suspect millions of them are frauds.

How do you determine if each person on that list is a legitimate American citizen who meets the criteria for voting in a federal election?

I mean, you’re gonna need more than just the name, right?

You’re going to have to have enough information about each person on that list, in detail, that you can ensure they each meet the legal criteria for voting.

And that’s not nearly as simple as it sounds (assuming it sounded simple to you).

See, voting is not spelled out in the Constitution.

In fact, the Constitution doesn’t mandate voting at the citizen level at all.

Voting is a state’s responsibility, not a a federal one.

As such, voting requirements for registration vary depending on the state. For example some states let convicted criminals vote, some don’t. Some let convicted criminals on parole vote. Some let those on probation vote. Some states don’t allow those who were convicted of a felony to ever vote again. Kentucky is one of those states, but unlike Florida and Virginia, in Kentucky an ex-con can petition the state for restoration of voting rights after completion of certain rehabilitation programs.  Some states have specific restrictions on homeless people and how they can register (establishing residency is problematic when you don’t have a residence), some don’t. People move. People change states (Me for example, I moved from Alaska to Florida during an election year and had to change my voter registration). Each state has different requirements for ID. And so on. Then there’s the Voting Rights Act which contains special provisions which apply only to certain former states of the Confederacy.

And what about the primaries?


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I mean, if you’re looking at the election process from the standpoint of “enhance” and “undermine,” don’t you have to examine the whole thing? Start to finish? Including the primaries? After all, that’s where the candidates are selected. That’s the the part Trump keeps yelling about, that part where the Democratic National Party supposedly illegally colluded with Hillary Clinton to screw Bernie Sanders – something a significant fraction of liberals believe too.

So, if you’re concerned about the integrity of the election, don’t you have to look at the whole election process? All of it.

And the criteria for who can vote each state’s primary is different from the general election.

What I’m saying here is that it’s not as easy as looking at a name.

Times 50 states.

Times 150 MILLION registered voters.

So, the Commission will have to have enough detailed information about each voter to be certain that they are actually who they say they are and that they are actually qualified to vote in their registered district.

The Commission requested not just a list of registered voters, but "dates of birth, political party, last four digits of social security number if available, voter history (elections voted in) from 2006 onward, active/inactive status, cancelled status, information regarding any felony convictions, information regarding voter registration in another state, information regarding military status, and overseas citizen information."

And that’s a lot more than just publicly available information.

Right?

You’re with me? You understand what I’m saying here?

Good. Remember this, because we’re going to come back to it.


Now, naturally a number of states have balked at turning over their voter rolls to a presidential commission that has no Constitutional authority and no legal justification for asking in the first place.

Eight states have out and out said they simply will not comply, will not provide any information.

Sixteen states said they will provide some information, but only actual public information, nothing sensitive or controlled.

In Ohio, the Secretary of State, Jon Husted, a Republican, said the state will not provide confidential information to the commission:

"Voter registration information is a public record and is available online. The confidential information, such as the last four digits of a voter’s Social Security number or their Ohio driver license number, is not publicly available and will not be provided to the Commission.”

In New York, the Governor, Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, said flat out that the state would not provide any information of any kind to the commission. Cuomo went further and tweeted,

“NY refuses to perpetuate the myth voter fraud played a role in our election."

Responses from other states, some Red, some Blue, were similar.

Naturally President Trump, being Trump, was incensed at this revolt.

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Leaving aside the part where I don’t think Trump actually understands the phrase “very distinguished,” note where he begs the question:

What are they trying to hide?

Because obviously, any state that moves to protect its own Constitutionally guaranteed rights and the personal information of its citizens must be hiding something. Something criminal. Right? Now, again, I want to you to remember this. Because we’re going to come back to it in just a moment, along with those other troubling points I asked you to remember up above. 

In fact, we’re going to come back to them right now.

Earlier this week, the Commission’s vice chair, Kris Kobach, was interviewed on NPR’s All Things Considered by Ari Shapiro.

SHAPIRO: Why are you requesting this information about voters around the country?

KOBACH: Well, this is publicly available information. It's just the voter rolls that any person on the street can walk into a county election office and get. It's not sensitive information at all. And the reason we're requesting it is to understand issues of voter registration fraud and things like that. You actually have to have the voter rolls.

Note Kobach apparently believes any citizen can walk into any county election office and get information on any voter to include birth date, address, phone number, criminal record, places that person has lived and been registered to vote, military status, etc.  Makes me glad he’s not my Secretary of State. Just saying here.

Note Kobach’s implied assumption: so we can understand the [foregone] “issues of voter registration fraud.”

Note Kobach makes no mention here (or anywhere in the interview) of seeking information that might enhance the public’s confidence in the integrity of our election process. Only “issues of voter registration fraud.” And things like that.

Wait. What things like that? 

What things like that?

When a politician talks about “things” and waves his arms around vaguely, you’d better pay attention (put your hand on your wallet). Especially when he’s taking about something as important as voting rights.

So, keep this “and things like that” comment front and center, because it’s important.

Shapiro acknowledged Kobach’s assertion that none of the information requested by the Commission was private in and of itself (a statement that is demonstrably not true, but Shapiro let it go).

Then, given that instead of being sequestered in 50 plus state and regional databases, all of this voter registration data would be compiled into a single federal database in some standardized form,

and given that this database would be a list of every single registered voter in the country, their names, their addresses and phone numbers, their political identities, their employment, their Social Security numbers, their criminal record, their military status, etc,

and given that this information is the highly sought after target of malicious agencies both foreign and domestic (not to mention political parties, commercial marketing firms, research organizations, and … well, you get the idea),

and given that as of this moment there is no line item in the federal budget for funding such a database, populating it (you’re going to have to compile data from at least 50 different database formats comprising at a minimum 150,000,000 records into a single coherent and useable data structure), hosting it on federal servers, managing it, analyzing it, and so on,

Shapiro wanted to know how the data would be protected. 

KOBACH: What people need to be concerned about and rightly concerned about is the security of the actual database itself because the database itself that each state has does have some sensitive information in it that is not publicly available. We're not asking for that. But one of the things the commission will study is how well-protected are the states' voter rolls against someone who's trying to hack and modify those records? And that's something the public desperately needs to know because of course there were allegations that Russia attempted to try to get into the voter rolls, that other private individuals may have tried to get into the states' voter rolls.

Note that Kobach didn’t actually answer the question.

Note that Kobach in point of fact outlined the very threat Shapiro was asking about and by definition admitted that compilation of the data into a single point of failure makes the threat orders of magnitude worse.

Note that one of the members of the Commission is the same guy who was responsible for the “accidental” disclosure of more than 6 million voter registration records including their Social Security numbers – TWICE.

Note again that one of the members of the commission, newly appointed, just happens to work for a think tank that could, conveniently, host that database and has a political agenda that would benefit greatly from such a boon.

Then once again note that Kobach didn’t actually answer the question of how the information would be secured or who would be responsible for it. Or if it would be disposed of when the Commission is disbanded (if it is disbanded).

But I digress. Again.

Shapiro then asked how Kobach would reassure people who are concerned that the federal government would use this information to “restrict, deter or otherwise disenfranchise legitimate voters from accessing the polls?”

Kobach’s reassurance?

“Well, I don't even understand the argument because how is it that taking publicly available information and just analyzing it restricts your access to the polls?”

The very first mission statement of the Executive Order is those laws, rules, policies, activities, strategies, and practices that enhance the American people's confidence in the integrity of the voting processes used in Federal elections.

Enhance the people’s confidence in the integrity of the voting process.

Enhance the people’s confidence.

Enhance.

And the guy charged with that commission doesn’t understand the argument?

Think about that. Take all the time you need. It’ll come to you.

SHAPIRO: If states do not comply with a request, does your commission have any authority to force them?

KOBACH: The commission does not have the authority to force. It's simply an ask. And frankly, if a state like Kentucky or California apparently won't provide publicly available information, one has to ask the question, why not? I mean what are they trying to hide if they don't want a presidential advisory commission to study their state's voter rolls?

And there it is again.

What are they trying to hide?

There it is again, begging the question. I told you we’d come back to it.

What are they trying to hide? And the obvious unspoken implication is that those states are hiding something. And the only thing they could be hiding is 3 million people who voted illegally for Hillary Clinton. Right? I mean, California, right? That’s what we’re talking about here. That’s what Trump is talking about.

Right.

And so, we come down to it.

All those points come together right here. Remember who’s talking, remember how that Executive Order was worded. Remember what Trump has said, what Kobach has said, remember who is on the Commission, remember who they work for, remember “and things like that”:

SHAPIRO: Finally, this commission was created after President Trump claimed without evidence that millions of people voted illegally thereby depriving him of a popular vote win. Do you believe that that is what happened?

KOBACH: I don't know. The commission's purpose is not to prove or disprove what President Trump said back in January or February. The purpose of the commission...

SHAPIRO: Every objective observer has said there is zero evidence of millions of people voting illegally. It seems striking that as one of the leaders of a commission on voting integrity, you're not willing to say the same.

KOBACH: Well, I guess it all depends on what you define as evidence, right? So you know, you don't have hard data, but it is certainly something that we may be able to see some evidence. I seriously doubt we'll have a definitive answer, but at least - why not collect evidence and just get the facts on the table? That would be a good service to the American public - period.

Do you see it?

Do you see it?

It irritates the hell out of me that Shapiro didn’t pounce, didn’t follow up, didn’t press Kobach to the wall. But such is the state of journalism in this country.

Because that’s it. That’s it right there. That’s the proof. That’s the smoking gun.

Do you see it?

That’s what the sons of bitches are up to, right there, in Kobach’s own words.

There’s no indication of a crime.

There’s no evidence of widespread voter fraud.

Hell, there’s not even evidence of voter fraud on a minor scale to any degree that is even vaguely statistically relevant, let alone in the millions – and it would have to be in the millions. 

There is only Donald Trump’s repeatedly debunked and totally unsupported conspiracy theory.

There is only the Conservative Dog Whistle perpetuated by fanatics such as Kris Kobach.

And there it is, right there. Right there:

I guess it all depends on what you define as evidence, right?

So you know, you don't have hard data, but it is certainly something that we may be able to see some evidence.

I seriously doubt we'll have a definitive answer, but at least - why not collect evidence and just get the facts on the table? That would be a good service to the American public - period

It all depends on what you define as evidence. Remember you’re dealing with creationists here, and their understanding of “evidence” isn’t any better than their understanding of science – especially when they use cavalier dismissals such as “I guess it all depends on what you define as evidence” hi ho hi ho. Evidence is whatever they say it is.

Why not collect the information? Why not just let the cops – or better yet, the local random militia – kick in our front doors without a warrant or legal authority and search through our homes? Sooner or later, they’re bound to find some evidence of something, right?  Especially if they think you’re guilty to begin with. Especially if you’re black, or poor, or Muslim.

This commission?

It’s nothing but a goddamned fishing expedition.


In Kobach’s own words, it’s nothing but a goddamned fishing expedition.


Voting is the responsibility of the states, not the federal government. Ironic then that these small federal government and states rights conservatives would attempt to interfere in the rights and responsibilities of those self same states.

Ironic peculiar, I mean.

But irony is lost on fanatics.

Listen to me: This is the United States of America.

Our republic is based on democracy. Our very way of life depends on it.

Those who truly believe in this country, in freedom, in democracy, in justice, in truth, well, those people would be working to increase enfranchisement, not restrict it.

But this president? His political party and their cronies? These small, selfish, petty sons of bitches? They care only for their own power. And they figure if they can just get all the data in one place and if they can go through it, sorting by race and employment and political affiliation, if they can shape the data into some bogeyman of their own fevered creation, then they can find something to further their agenda of stealing this nation away from its people.

And their agenda is clearly spelled out.

In their own words and by their own actions.

They don’t think you’re an American.

They are coming for you.

And you’re looking right at it.




* US Federal Election Commission, Official 2016 Presidential General Election Results (PDF)

167 comments:

  1. Mississippi (paraphrasing): Jump in the Gulf of Mexico.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Is that a paraphrase? Isn't that literally what they said? (Along with a suggestion that Mississippi has some excellent access to the Gulf?)

      Delete
    2. My favorite line came from Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Grimes:

      "There's not enough bourbon here in Kentucky to make this request seem sensible. No American in their right mind would hand over, let alone hand over to President Trump — someone who likes to tweet 140 characters at a time."

      Delete
    3. I liked that line, too. I hope she holds hard and fast to it. It's not a "political stunt," the privacy of the individual voter is the bedrock of our voting system.

      Delete
    4. Wheels

      It may be literal, but I didn't have the quote in front of me and don't want somebody telling me I should have capitalized Teh.

      Delete
  2. Absolutely spot on, Jim. Even if all they get is the publicly availale stuff, they'll cobble together a Potemkin village of coincidences (similar names, etc) that just happens to coincide with their dog-whistling. *SIGH*

    Scott Burnell

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And let the new "pogroms" begin. Anyone for Tsarist Russia for the 21st Century?

      Delete
  3. You take this, and add it to the unrelenting propaganda from certain news sources and TV networks which is passed along in social media, and then plop in the Russians' nudges and pokes, and we have a ghastly mess. I am genuinely afraid of what could happen, and I'm white and pretty much mainstream. The men who wrote the Constitution were afraid of tyrants and dictators, and so we have the Congress and Supreme Court to balance. That balance is gone now, and I don't see what I can do, beyond passing on things like this that put the pieces together.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ditto.

      The Bill of Rights reserved all rights not explicitly conveyed to the Federal Government to the States, but President Pumpkinhead wants to create a database (that he'll probably want to farm out to a private contractor of which he and his "special friends" are shareholders) of data that, combined is a goldmine to anyone who wants to impersonate me.

      Just imagine showing up at your polling station and trying to prove that the person who voted in your name wasn't really you if they knew everywhere you've ever lived since you achieved voting age as well as your credit rating, which is a scary nexus.

      Next, imagine the blackmail potential of someone who knows something you did when you were 19 that involved a traffic stop that....

      Then realize that the combination of your personal data with your SS# entitles anyone and everyone entry into your medical history, so that goldmine of every single test your doctor (whether paid for by "Obamacare" or by private medical insurance) essentially means that your most recent pap smear/proctology exam can potentially be accessed online and...

      HECK YEAH, I have a problem with this being floated as a "way to ensure our elections."

      And I'm about as WASP as they come, but the idea that "show me your papers" seems to be the default for this administration isn't lost on me.

      Delete
  4. What hilarious is that Koboch, as Kansas Secretary of State, isn't going to release all the data that his own commission wants from the states.

    The cognitive dissonance is real.

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    1. Kobach already tried to remove nearly 20,000 people just last year off the voter rolls in KS. I'm sure he has that list tucked away in a safe place for when he needs to use it again. ~KS resident

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  5. It sounds like Senator McCarthy and the Nazis Final Solution have joined forces. It's incredible that he even said, "What do they have to hide?"
    SFC Mike

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  6. It's simple. All who vote democratic are targets, Trump just wants to find out who they are.

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    1. It's very scary when your state (Georgia happens to be mine) hands over your information without a whimper. As I am disabled, an agnostic, and a Democrat in a Red state I expect the firing squad to knock on my door at any minute. I know he is seeking to punish those who didn't vote for him, and besides, look at my name, I MUST be an illegal alien, no way I am a legal resident of the US, right?

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    2. Take comfort, Maria Suarez, that a guy with the totally un-American German-High-Command-sounding name of Hans von Spakovsky is looking out for your personal identification data...

      /s

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  7. Please excuse the length of this. This was one of my attempts, at the time lf the election, to make a dent in some stupidity. In Michigan we have voter registration rolls. The rolls are locally kept and updated, and shared with the state. You can check whether you are properly registered free online at the Michigan Secretary of State's Voter Information Site. When you come to vote, you need to bring your identification, even if you know 3/4 of the poll workers (which is true, often, locally). In our jurisdiction, you fill out a little paper "application" to vote and sign it. The workers, three of them, usually, compare your information to the voter registration roll. When a match is found, you are issued a ballot. Each jurisdiction has an Election Commission. The Election Commission is responsible, with the unit Clerk, to arrange for the election. There is a roster of election workers created. The election workers are balanced between the two major parties. Before the election, the voting machinery is tested with a "test deck" of votes, for accuracy. Election officials have to attend training and become accredited. The Michigan Secretary of State and State Bureau of Elections are responsible for Statewide elections and overseeing all local units. Let me ask you this? Who has control of Lansing, both the executive and legislative branch? Republicans. Who has appointed the executives of virtually all state agencies? Republicans. So, if voter fraud were to be committed at the highest levels of the state, who would be in control there? You got it. So, I am not saying that the system is perfect. I am not saying that there are not lousy people out there. But widespread voter fraud would require enormous effort, corruption at hundreds of local level voting places, and/or corruption at the top. The Republican Nominee's claims are duly noted, but I honestly fail to appreciate how widespread voter fraud in favor of the Democratic Nominee would occur. That is all.

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    1. It would happen in the states like New York and California that voted for Hillary. Duh. Despite the fact that they have the exact same system -- i.e., local control of elections with some state oversight -- that would have required collusion amongst thousands of precinct workers and registrars of voters.

      Delete
    2. Jaynie, similarly lengthy reply. I'm also a Michigander, and go through the exact same process you described every election, even in my tiny town. My biggest beef is Michigan's closed primaries. Until November, I'd never voted in a primary election, because I'm a Dem in an R district and I don't think it's my neighbors' (poll workers) business which party I affiliate with.
      I would love to see straight runoff elections, but in our currently extensively gerrymandered state, I'm not very optimistic.

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    3. "Duh?" I'm thinking that Michigan ended up voting for Trump. I suspect that was Ms. Hoerauf's point, yes?

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    4. You hit the nail on the head. In MI. and other republican states. the republicans appoint the officials, including the election officials. These officials sequester the absentee ballots in the Urban areas in locations which they control, They can easily discard any democratic ballots that they wish, and no one is the wiser. This is how trump won MI. WI. and PA. So you see. Trump is right . There is voter fraud.

      Delete
  8. Sort of sorry to be a nitpicker, but where you talk about Spakovsky and how "his roll on the Commission isn’t clear," that should be his role on the commission.

    Other than that... *sigh* I used to live in Kansas, was there when Kobach was elected Secretary of State of the state. Same day Sam "No taxes will make our economy boom!" Brownback was elected.

    These people live in an alternate reality, and Kobach is one of the architects of said unreality.

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    1. It's the Koch Brothers operating out of Wichita. Their think tanks and front organizations are everywhere. The current dismantling of the EPA is one of their prime objectives.

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  9. Aaaaaaand THERE'S the damn end-game for these jerks!

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  10. If all of this info is publicly available as Shapiro claims and anybody can walk up and get it why doesn't his so called commission do that?? Because they can't!! This makos me so damned mad I want to scream. Fortunately I live in PA and the governor has said no way but we have one senator, Toomey, who seems to want to kiss Trump's rear end.

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    1. PA resident here, too. Thanks to Gov. Wolf. Toomey tries so hard to fit in with those he considers the "cool" bunch; what a nonrepresentative.

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    2. Shoot, the Oregon Republican Secretary of State (who has his own issues with spamming state employees using publicly available databases) told the commission they could have the same information that is available to campaigns and pollsters...for $500.

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    3. Toomey is a sniveling bootlicker, content to dust off the old "everything is scary and jihadists will be kicking down your door any second and black people are going on murdering sprees (even though I didn't say black people and will deny that to the end, wink wink), and the only way your simple country ass will be remotely safe is if you put me back in Washington!" spiel every election cycle.

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  11. There's a worse possibility. What if their agenda is to combine the states' electoral rolls into one gigantic "source of truth"? If they could sell thst idea, it means the administration would have total control over the vote.

    And you thought gerrymandering was bad.

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  12. Jim, this is a monumental piece of work and should be seen by every voting American .. even the 50% of Americans who sat on their asses and didn't vote!! Great work!

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  13. Excellent writing as always! I'm scared to death of what these sons of botched are doing to our Country! I'm a 57 year old woman and I've never been this frightened!

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  14. Nobody will take away my right to vote or the legitimate count of my vote. Over my dead body.

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  15. Jesus...

    I don't even live in your country and I am afraid.

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  16. Holy Shit, Jim. Halfway through reading this, I realized how much work this took, how much research time. I started hearing about this commission early this week, and it scared me, but I could not quite figure out why until I read this. Thanks for doing this.

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    1. Double ditto from me. Thanks, Jim. You are a Major asset.

      Delete
    2. I thank Jim with a $10 donation monthly through Patreon. I know everyone cannot do this, and it is just OK for us right now. When I read these brilliant essays, I actually wish I could give more. This is way better than a subscription to a mainstream media newspaper.

      Delete
  17. *SIGH* Another well-reasoned logical essay. Happy Freaking Independence Day to us. >:( Thankfully, I am stocked up on extra booze.

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  18. I have an expunged felony conviction, certainly this commission would overlook my right to vote. I voted illegally they would say/interpret. This commission's inquiry is clearly wrong and an invasion of our privacy.

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  19. Yes. The Senate Republicans are acting like they don't expect ever to lose power and this likely is part of why. I wonder if McConnell is in on this, perhaps even on the Commission. It is not clear to me, even, if this is constitutional.

    There's a lot of things that could be done with such a large database of voters. I'm not going to write about most of them, for fear of giving the wrong people ideas. But one thing I will write about: any database that large compiled in such a manner will invariably be full of errors. Even with the best procedures possible (and the Commission's are far from the best) error will creep in. Such databases are not appropriate for deciding, well, any legal matter about an individual citizen. That has to come from the on-the-ground local records.

    I'm stressed today, and don't want to think any more about this or I'd probably have more to say. This is one of the major threats to the republic of the United States of America and we must fight it.

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    1. There will be hundreds of thousands of errors, especially with how the right "interprets" the data. There's already plenty of stories you can Google about how badly some states fucked it up when trying to cross-reference among just a dozen or so states. They were kicking out people with different middle names! Just Google "voter roll purge 2016" and prepare to be disgusted.

      And surprise, surprise, the ones more likely to be kicked off the rolls were common last names, often shared among minorities.

      But if they pull that crap, my (what I thought) relatively unique name pairing is shared by a couple dozen or more in the States now (was only "just rare" in Germany), and even though none share my middle name, previous attempts show I should worry if they go for a major purge. I guess I'd better change back to NPA from D, after switching to vote for Bernie in the primaries so I wasn't disenfranchised yet AGAIN.

      Delete
  20. From what I've read, the Russians tried to hack into 39 different states voting records. If Trump & Kolbach get their way, next time it will be easier and much more efficient ��. I keep waiting to hear that the ACLU has jumped into the fray. Meanwhile, Wednesday, I'm calling my Governor, SOS, State Senator, and both my Congressional Senators. Except for the SOS, they're all on speed dial.

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  21. The report has been written, the conclusion was foregone before it even started. But now, to release it, they need to have some kind of data. And they need data to wave around. The only way to get data good enough to fake it is from the states. Once they have it in hand, they will wait a few weeks and announce how many were fraud. My name will be on it, because I didn't vote for Trump. He needs the states to help. Who won't give it. So he is going to demand it. Time for Americans to say enough!

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    1. "I have a list of 57 (million) card-carrying members of the Democratic Party, who have voted illegally in the 2016 Presidential Election!"

      (Paraphrased from The Manchurian Candidate, 1962)

      Delete
  22. There might be more to Connie Lawson than you realize. I live in Illinois, so I probably didn't see everything that was reported, but before the election I read a number of articles about voting registration and database issues that Indiana was having. Some of it had to do with voter registration drives, but there were also issues of voter data in their databases being changed, and Lawson couldn't say for sure how those changes happened. Things like birth dates, middle initials, etc. were changed or omitted, and they couldn't say for sure if it was people updating their information or some other cause. An outside review seemed to identify a software update as the culprit, but now knowing some of the Russian hacking attempts, really makes me wonder. At best, the database management under Lawson was sloppy, at worst...well, really inspires confidence, huh?

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  23. Look up Greg Palast and watch his documentary, "The Best Democracy Money Can Buy." He interviews Kris Kobach at one point in the film. This man is responsible for a huge swath of minority voter disenfranchisement already.

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  24. Thanks for doing our homework for us,Jim. I appreciate it, and I hope we get to room together in the political prisons these people are probably already working on, you know, just until they assure themselves that vets like us haven't been brainwashed into voting for these lefty candidates who call themselves democrats.

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  25. Plain as a pikestaff, and spot on. There is a not so subtle, broad based move on to intimidate and threaten all the people they view as their "enemies. Those "enemies" are all Americans who do not support and agree with them. They do want a civil war because they think they know where it will end. Armageddon. They really want the the world in flames because the Bible says so, and they are all panting for the Rapture, a singularly disturbing name by the by, and if it doesn't happen on its own by god they will MAKE it happen.

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  26. Goddamn it Jim, you've gone and made me pissed off again after I'd only been calmed down for about 10 minutes. What the fuck is wrong with this nation that we let these assholes take what should be our common sense and turn it to suspicion? The party of freedom certainly could use a lesson in the definition.

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  27. From your title, Jim, an immediate question came to mind: which fox at which coop. It's the Kris Koback Koop this time. Dolt45 has foxes stationed at every corner gnawing away at democracy. Devos at Education, Perry at Energy, etc. There's not a bone of democracy that is safe. But you are correct in so many ways, this is probably the greatest assault of their many assaults. In the "what possibly could go wrong" genre the number of avenues available to disenfranchise, gerrymander, misuse the data for multiple nefarious purposes and general mayhem is nearly infinite.

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  28. This is the same Trump, by the way, who was against a recount of votes, called on for by the likes of Clinton and Sanders, even as he spouted that the nearly 3 million voters who voted against him are all fraudulent voters.

    Yeah. So many fraudulent voters, but a recount was completely NOT necessary at all.

    Trump and his cronies only believe in "voter fraud" where the votes go AGAINST them and not otherwise. Even though voter fraud as they defined it has actually been found for Trump voters. There was that story of a woman who was arrested for voting twice for Trump during the elections.

    And it's not just Trump either, the entire Trumpian lot all express acquiescence on this.

    The same Trumpians who were against a "state owned gun registry" because "privacy" apparently (despite the fact that no such thing was even attempted), are now silent over an obvious attempt to mine voter information to form a sort of "government monitored voter registry". I suppose it's because the President is now different and just like them therefore there's no protest. But we can see clearly from this where their concerns truly lie.

    It's not with overall principles, privacy, 1st amendment rights, voting rights etc.

    It's ALL about personal benefit. Rights by themselves can both benefit and disadvantage a particular party depending on the context, therefore these cretins respond by supporting rights only when they go their way and not otherwise. That's not believing in rights as a principle at all, that's pretty much "I've got mine fuck you" right there.

    That's how everything is ok for the Trumpians as far as the Trump attempt at a voter registry is concerned. Big government, hell, it's OK if it's OUR Trumpian government and not the government of some black man who usurped the Presidency!

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    Replies
    1. That's a really good comment, Anonymous. I wish you weren't anonymous so I could follow your posts.

      Delete
  29. Trump's ego can't handle the fact that he lost the popular vote, so he keeps banging on about voter fraud to distract from it. What's truly scary about this is that not only are they wanting to compile all this info in one place, making it eminently more hackable, there's no one overseeing these people, no independent investigator, if you will. They are looking for a way to disenfranchise as many people as possible in order to hang on to power. That is their end goal. If you aren't white, male, and wealthy, they don't want you to vote. This is just a first step in depriving us of our right to vote.

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    1. Exactly. And a lot of Trump supporters and Republicans don't think it should be easy for as many Americans as possible to vote. They see poor voters as "voting to take MY hard-earned money from me and give it to THEM as hand-outs," so they think they're justified in not having "freeloaders" voting to take away their "stuff."

      Sheesh, I remember hearing some asshole on some "news" talk show going on about how he wished only property owners could vote again, because at least they were "self-supporting" and weren't out to "take anything away" from hard-working dudes like himself. I swear, their selfishness, paranoia, and lack of compassion for Americans who aren't like them is unbelievable.

      Delete
    2. You mean property owners that take mortgage deductions?

      And many larger property owners use all sorts of loopholes and bribed (lobbied) tax code to make the REST of us pay more in taxes, or increase the national debt.

      I'll admit I used the mortgage deduction one year, when we were itemizing and it was worth it. We paid down the loan too fast to take it any other year, the standard deduction was more, and with no effort.

      And don't forget, many of those voters ARE poor, and still see poor voters as "voting to take MY hard-earned money from me and give it to THEM as hand-outs,". But not them, noooooo, they don't get any handouts. But SCREW the people that want subsidized healthcare, you just keep yer hands off my Meddycare! No socialized medicine!

      Half of that party epitomizes Dunning-Kruger. And yet somehow we need to reach them.

      Delete
    3. I think Steve Bannon, Grima Wormtongue to Trump, is whispering this stuff in his ears to keep it at the fore front of what little mind he has. All to further this narrative, that they've been banging on about since The Voting Rights Act! Which got gutted.

      Delete
    4. Hey, if only property owners could vote, does that mean that if you couldn't vote, you wouldn't have to pay taxes? Because anything else would be taxation without representation. Right?

      (sorry this is posted as Anonymous, I really am a real person)

      Delete
  30. Thank you, Jim, for another thought provoking article. It's just unfortunate that the people who need to read won't even see it, much less read and understand it.

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  31. Gee, if Kobach, Pence, et al, put forward those arguments in favor of a more extensive nationwide database on all gun owners in the US, do you think the NRA and their followers would buy it as a perfectly innocuous undertaking?

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    Replies
    1. Yep, they SURE would! Just tack another field onto that database!
      ...
      What?

      Delete
    2. Sure, let's come up with a gun registry with names, addresses, number of guns, type of guns, etc. Put it in the hands of the Federal government because you know it will be safe there. After all, who would want that kind of information, anyway? Of course the next President might not be a Republican, so maybe think twice about that. Same thing with all the voter information. Remember how hard conservatives fought against the idea of a national ID card?

      Delete
  32. Man, if my state turns over the goods I'm effed. Guess I'd better put my wrists out for the cuffs right now. In 2012 I went through a difficult marital separation, moved a couple of miles away, and didn't think to change my voter registration. So for the 2012 election I just drove back to my old precinct and voted there. Made a difference only in the state rep race (longtime incumbent won by a landslide) but still...I voted in a jurisdiction in which I was ineligible.

    Been nice reading Stonekettle. Keep up the great work.

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    1. If they come for you, they gotta get Steve Bannon, too. He's been using his exwife's address for voting and whatnot, in spite of not living there.

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  33. and, of course, the irony is lost, amid the utter shamelessness of Trump and essentially all modern GOP pols, that his unreleased tax returns could beg the same question: "what is he trying to hide?"

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  34. Kris Kobach, Kansas SoS

    Rather interesting acronym, wouldn't you say?

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  35. I heard a comment on Twitter today saying the way to discourage the GOP from continuing to support this fishing expedition is to remind the Republicans that this database will also be available when the Democrats are in power. Of course, if the Republicans get their way, they'll use this data to engineer a program to suppress the vote and make it almost impossible for the Democrats to control any branch of the US government. It's a sad day in America.

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    1. Just have the Democrats demand that the db includes gun ownership information...it'll die a quick death.

      What do you mean that info isn't available? GET IT! What do gun owners have to hide?

      Delete
    2. If the database is setup/managed by a private entity what do you think happens to ownership? Do you really think the GOP would let the Democrats have access when the GOP is out of the majority? I'll bet actual money the party willing to hold a Supreme Court seat open for 5+ years wouldn't, and that's at least half the reason there's no talk of public funding for this (especially with Heritage lurking around in the background; *cough* Mercers, *cough cough* Cambridge Analytica).

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  36. Except for one fact that they missed evident in the very first paragraph. There are no federal elections. There are state elections in which we the people select our Congressional Representatives and Senators and the electoral college votes for President and Vice President which are in most cases decided upon the majority vote in each state. There are no direct national elections for ANY federal office including that of the President and the Vice President. It's why the popular vote totals amount to jack squat.

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  37. I agree with everything you stated. But, I don't believe this has anything to do with the last election. They are going to use the narrative of the 2016 election to manipulate the 2018 election and beyond. With this information they can weave their tentacles anywhere they want in our lives and use that info against us. If you are not a registered Republican and have voted against their interests then you can and MUST be disenfranchised. What about the CNN June 19th story "Data of almost 200 million voters leaked online by GOP analytics firm", any connection? And how was this data collected? Good work, Jim. Thank you.

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    1. So, what do we do? Switch our party to Republican to throw them off the scent, then switch it back later?

      Delete
    2. They want voter history.....history = your worth to them

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  38. This is just the first move in the chess game where the Republicans try to keep as many people as possible who might want to vote non-Republican from voting. It won't be the last...they have already shown that a main goal is to keep as many Democratic voters from voting, even if they need to break the law to do so, and they will attempt more gerrymandering to isolate Democrats. The current noise is all about making people doubt that their vote matters at all, in the hopes that the people who vote least (who also lean Democratic) will not bother.

    The smart thing would be for Democrats to push for a renewed voting system that secured the vote, made sure every vote counted and was counted accurately, and blocked interference from party officials. The American people would get behind that kind of initiative, which is yet another reason the Republicans are trying to be divisive and use fear, to block anything that might actually encourage people to vote. It's just sad to watch so much of the nation think blocking Americans from voting is a good thing.

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  39. Guilty until proven innocent.

    I'm going to be a poll worker here in NJ during the next election. I'll check back in with ya after I've taken the training at the end of the summer, but I do know that in spite of the lack of a paper trail on our voting machines there are checks and a rigid accounting of the number of ballots cast. But there is also strict enforcement of voter PRIVACY and concern about intimidation. 'Cause fraud can also happen during the transition from between the voters ears to the voting machine's buttons. The tiny carrels that some states use give me the shivers. (Remembers Trump's sidelong glance at Melania's ballot)

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  40. Thank you for all your hard work, sir. You can be assured that many of us in Ohio know the name and reputation of Ken Blackwell. A Dark Man, a Randall Flagg wannabe. Please keep shining the light of reason and truth on these people.

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  41. Imagine, just for shits n giggles, that Trump had asked all 50 states for their publicly available lists of gun owners...

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    Replies
    1. Boom on that little nugget. He may be surprised at the number of gun owners who are Democrats. They are the latest surge in the gun community. They hate guns, but are learning to use them. They abhor the NRA but in order to join most gun clubs where training is available it is a requirement. My neighbor an old school republican .. gun owning NRA member back from when the NRA was actually about arms and not really politically bent, often would lend me his recent pre election issues of the official NRA rag. It was quite enlightening and often I would need a tums or two to make it through an issue. It has shifted since the election. Still ugly but their targets have changed. I think it would be a good idea to have a national registry of ALL gun owners.

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  42. The RNC has collected this information already, hasn't it? Isn't this data (and more) what was exposed with no security protocols by one of their contractors for nearly two weeks just last month? Also, among the hundreds of foundations, think tanks and ancillary businesses sucking the flush teats of the Koch brothers and their ilk is a firm called I-360 that was paid well to collect all of this data and more. One would think that old Hans would know this, since the data was used extensively in 2014 and 2016 state and local elections to put donor class puppets (ostensibly Republican) into elective roles. So the data has already been collected. I see a potential bait and switch, along with a shit ton of posturing on the part of Pence and Kobach.
    Jim, thanks for the careful analysis and for transforming your own discomfort and unease into a teachable lesson for your fans.
    Anna Madrona

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  43. I'm still laughing at the "hi ho hi ho, evidence is whatever they say it is". Oh thanks Jim. Hope some of the orange one's minions on my friends list will read this, but, well, I'm not that fkn optimistic any more. Peace man, thanks for this.

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  44. Amazing how someone said there were "busloads" of illegal voters in New Hampshire. There are only 729,000 registered voters in the entire state. Even ONE bus would have stood out like a sore thumb. One bus carries?? 40 people maybe? Not to mention the hours long waits at some polling stations.

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    1. the "busloads" would have snarled traffic on the 3-4 main highways coming into the state which would have made the local news, even the traffic during leaf peeper season makes the news

      Delete
    2. I wondered about that at the time. Busloads in tiny NH? WTF? What a massively dumb idea.

      Delete
  45. Great piece again, Jim. As you rightfully pointed out how enormous the task of gathering intel on 150M registered voters, it would seem no one in the Trump Administration or this Commission figured that out. Also, the fact that voting roles are in a constant state of flux apparently has not dawned on them either.

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    1. I spent my career in IT working in State government and I immediately cringed at the very idea of forming an enormous database of voters. Aside from the moral/ethical concerns we all share, creating and maintaining such a DB would be a nightmare. There are myriad ways for that data to already be corrupted, not from bad guys but just from sloppiness and incompetence.

      Again we see what a bunch of fucking amateurs these trumpians are. They have no idea how government works on any level and they have zero interest in learning about it. They certainly have no idea how databases work. They're all Dilbert's pointy haired managers.

      I can see why their supporters hate professionals. We're the ones who know they're dumb and can prove it.

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  46. Thanks Jim, an arduous task well done.

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  47. If anyone's interested, Josh Marshall over at Talking Points Memo has written pretty extensively about voter suppression tactics by the Republicans and Spakovsky has been a key player in a lot of these efforts. A little digging through Marshall's archives will give you a lot of information.

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  48. Even if I didn't believe this commission wasn't planning on fishing for (unlikely GOP) voters to toss, one of the big red flags is *right there* in Kobach's arglebargle:

    "I seriously doubt we'll have a definitive answer, but at least - why not collect evidence and just get the facts on the table?"

    IOW, they're going to "raise questions" and create doubt and make sure even more eligible voters don't vote -- over and above the ones they tossed off the rolls because "John Smith" born 5/5/55 in smalltown MS must be the same "John Smith" born on that date in NYC - and "Jon Smith" and "John Smythe," too.

    These people just hate democracy.

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  49. Important information. Thank you, Jim.

    One thing that's being overlooked is the threat to make all voter registration public. This is equivalent to doxxing every registered voter.

    --V.

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  50. So I paid out $20 each for certified copies of my birth certificate, 1st marriage license, 1st divorce papers and provided current marriage license to provide a chain of name changes plus $65 to register my car and get a driver's license, drive 50 miles to my nearest soc sec license to get a card with current name on it just so these idiots can try to disenfranchise me because I voted Dem in the last 2 elections? Terrific.

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  51. Kobach: " why not collect evidence and just get the facts on the table? That would be a good service to the American public - period."

    "Why doesn't he show his birth certificate? There's something on that birth certificate that he doesn't like."
    Trump-March 23, 2011, on "The View"

    Is this what we have come to?
    “My accusation may be entirely baseless, it’s natural habitat may in fact be my colon, but I find your unwillingness to produce evidence to the contrary to be very suspicious.”

    I fear that our weirdass-o-meters will be permanently broken soon. We are losing our capacity to detect radioactive weapons grade bullshit. Not only does this not pass the smell test but if you saw it coming toward you and expected it smell like anything other than shit you are deluded and/or stupid

    This is so patently, obviously not just a fishing expedition but a mining operation. The information these assholes are trying to gain access to is a goddamn goldmine for all manner of scum, foreign and domestic.
    Even if I trusted the people and motives. And for the life of me I cannot imagine a scenario where people I trusted would be motivated to this crap. Still I would be passionately opposed to gathering in one location, exactly the information being sought here.

    First because it is ONE LOCATION. Kind of like having all your battleships in a row. In the same harbor.
    What could go wrong?

    Secondly, this against the backdrop of the Russians (remember the Russians?) having poked and prodded at every aspect of our election system. But I suppose it’s a lot to ask that this administration be concerned about that, what with the Russians being so far up their asses they register on scans as polyps.

    Thirdly, the GOP has shown that democracy is a word they use like Cosby used roofies. It is just something they say to get us to what we really want, we’re just too shy to admit it. I give them a three count before they demanding access because something, something, loyalty and screeching eagles

    Fourthly, the DNC, because oh yes they will.

    Fifthly, Sixthly etc. NRA, Goldman Sacks, the Evangelical church, every marketing firm ever etc. etc. There are just too many people standing to gain from access and they have too much money too many resources. They will get in.

    The irony is that democracy depends on an informed and educated public but the information age may kill it

    I hate humans


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    1. So many ducks... so few ponds. Every breaking NEWS item seems to serve to distract. I know so many I thought intelligent people who seemingly don't see a problem with anything going on right now. Unless admitting they were wrong is such a bad thing, that they keep on the same crooked path. Humans are generally not my favorite people either of late.

      Delete
    2. Long Ben (nice moniker you got on you)
      Depends on the day.
      I like lots of people, I just think the species is a mess.

      Delete
  52. I don't for one minute believe that they are only going to use this information for voting purposes, as heinous as that is. I could see people who voted Democrat getting surprise IRS audits, not getting government jobs, not getting business loans, etc. Once they get that info we are all screwed.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. I am steadfastly trying not to go down that road because of.... damn. What is a good reason not to go down that road?

      Delete
  53. I really don't get why they're asking the States for all this information when they could just get it from the Russians.

    Probably sorted and everything.

    Gallows humor aside, I fear for your country.

    Every fucking day it seems to get worse. There is a cancer that boosts the greed and need for power, and absolutely wipes out any capacity for ethics.

    And Trump admires Putin. I literally don't wonder why.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. I don't know where you live, if you don't think your right wing politicians have contacts with this bunch, look harder. We've had them over in The UK since the last GE.

      Delete
  54. Much of this administration, including the co-opting of the Growth and Opportunities Project and campaign make rather coherent sense considered as the Business Plot v. 2.1.

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  55. As usual, excellent & important writing.
    And driving me to drink "occasionally," as I tell my doctors.
    Humans. Some of us are no better than pond scum. Really.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Others of us are far better though and are always working hard and caring and fighting to make things in the world we all share better and, please, let's never forget that.

      Delete
  56. I think what you've said is absolutely true. I also think that this database will immediately be used by Trump's company to sell stuff or just to sell the database and for Trump's re-election campaign to use, both to target their voters and discourage ours. They used Facebook to target Dems with stories designed to discourage Dem voter turnout, how much more effective will that be if they have info on all of us?

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  57. Trump didn't lose by 3 million votes; he lost by almost 10 million — to all candidates not named "Trump". Clinton wasn't his sole opponent.

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    Replies
    1. Which is why the US of A really badly, immediately, needs to change to a preferential or run-off voting system.

      Delete
  58. <snark>Apparently voting, as well as health care, is to be made a privilege.

    We welcome the new overlords of our democracy! Oh, wait…

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  59. Well, after the response of the Oregon Republican Secretary of State, I can offer up another motive...they don't want to pay for the data, and they were fishing for more data than is included in the voter regs. Registration and voting records can be obtained by any campaign or pollster for a fee, and the Trump campaign should have had that information in their database already.

    I don't like Dennis Richardson, but he flat-out said that providing SSNs and driver's license numbers is illegal under Oregon law--and the commission was welcome to get the data as long as they paid the same fee for it that campaigns and pollsters did. So ante up, buddies--$500.

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  60. My level of fear is already keeping me up at night. I am not a felon, not dark skinned, not a Muslim. I am a poor, old, white woman.
    I am also a raging liberal. I'm afraid that if the current administration isn't dethroned (including McConnell and Ryan), I will live out my days begging for food and sleeping under a bridge.

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  61. Really nothing to add to a discussion where all has been said. So, thank you, and here's my first donation.

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  62. We have the worst horrid right wing nut jobs in charge in Texas. They're way to the right of most conservatives.

    Think they legally can't gi r the last four digits, but I'd bet my info is there already.



    ReplyDelete
  63. These RW think tanks have connections to our Tories, home grown RWNJs, who are now calling to register students in their home constituency. This is because suddenly they started voting in long time Tory constituencies, in our recent General Election one in Canterbury was lost to Labour for the first time since the constituency was founded!
    As usual, Jim a well written and astute analysis, thank you.

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  64. To Serve America: IT'S A COOKBOOK

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  65. It'll make it so much more convenient to adjust the algorithms to throw the races while avoiding any mandatory recount ranges.

    "Although many felons (and prior felons) can’t cast a ballot in America—an estimated 6 million citizens will be disenfranchised in 2012 due to felony convictions—these particular felons are apparently free to design and manage our entire elections industry."

    https://harpers.org/archive/2012/11/how-to-rig-an-election/5/

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  66. Jeez, after complaining for years about federal overreach, NOW these guys are OK with the government setting up a huge voter database? It seems the things they most complain about are actually their fondest wishes as soon as they're in power. Hell, FEMA camps probably would get a thumbs up from these folks at this point. Oh, and as an ex-pat I wonder if TSA will have visibility into this database. I mean, they're already looking at people's social media, right? What could be more anti-Trump than having voted for someone else?

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  67. "Rightly or wrongly, that’s how our Founders designed things (whether or not we should change that is a discussion for another time)."

    When? Please, really, if not now - then WHEN!?

    So, okay, I'm an Aussie.

    But y'know what, my nation is really heavily influenced in whole lotta ways by the US of A.

    America says "Jump!" Australia doesn't even ask "How high?"; its already got both feet high in the air. It isn't alone in this pavlovianesque response globally either.

    The USA has one huge impact on the world.

    Who its POTUS is, makes a massive difference.

    How it selects its POTUS makes a whopping big difference.

    So.

    Is it too much to ask that that process of POTUS selection be fair and reasonable and democratic and stuff?

    Is it really so much to ask when my countrymen, some of my friends will be risking their lives, when our whole planet is powerfully shifted by what your leaders do; that the way you choose your leaders, your POTUS, is actually fair and just and reasonable and good?

    Because right now, I really don't think it is.

    Please, pretty effin' please can we have a United States electoral system that gives equal value to every citizens vote rather than disenfranchising the populous states like California and disproportionately, unfairly empowering the smaller states like Wyoming?

    Can we have an end to jerrymandering and, lets be honest racist voter suppression laws?

    Can we have an end to term limits that hamstring and make into "lame ducks" great President's like Obama who already have far too much against them despite their better characters and policies?

    Is it too much to ask for a preferential (or run-off election a la France) voting system that enables voters to rank say Nader first then Gore then Bush the Lesser and have Gore actually win not Bush the lesser when votes are truly counted?

    Is it okay with you if you have mandatory voting like we Aussies do where everyone has to at minimum get their name crossed off the voting roll even if they then vote informal by spoiling their ballot or donkey voting?

    And, for pity's sake, though I've already obliquely said it, I'll say again because it bears emphasising; can you please get rid of your unfair, anti-democratic electoral college* - and I'm tempted to add your whole Congress to that given what it did to Obama but I won't because, FSM save us, its now likely our best hope of some sort of brake on Trump's tyranny.

    * How do Californians, New Yorkers and others bear that? Do they just not know? Do they just go along becoz Tradishn or what?

    Isn't it time now for this discussion and some major reforms?

    After all, your system has ended up with Trump in power despite three million of you voting for the qualified, vastly superior woman leader instead. If that's not a sign things are badly wrong & need changing then what is?

    ReplyDelete
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    1. A lot of Americans are on board with nearly everything you've said, and have been for years. Getting rid of the Electoral College though, will require amending the Constitution; and you should look up the details of the Amendment process if you're unfamiliar with them. Even if everyone is on board, it's not a simple thing. In the current environment - where one of the 2 major parties has directly benefited twice within a generation from that process - it's going to be a knock-down, dragged-out fight (and that's before you get to the arguments against eliminating it, some of which are sound). Plus, you never know what *else* might come out of a Constitutional Convention held right now, given all the forces in play. I understand the frustration (no really, you have no idea), but if you take a closer look at the big picture you might find yourself being careful what you wish for.

      Delete
    2. Yes and thanks, I see what you are saying there but I still think the USA really badly needs some key political reforms and needs them, well, I was going to say yesterday but last year would be better.

      Delete
    3. It doesn't just have to be a Constitutional Convention. Amendments can be passed by being ratified in Congress and then by a (2/3?) majority of states. Its only happened once (1787, which I'm not even sure you can count for the application we're talking about here).

      As for what would be the easier path to actually dealing with election issues, I dunno. But you're right in saying a Constitutional Convention is mighty dangerous. Once its okay to open up the Constitution, many scholars believe there would be no limit to what amendments could be proposed.

      Delete
    4. Thanks, smart Aussie, who knows more about American elections than most Americans do.

      Delete
  68. Yet again, Jim nails it up against the wall for all to see.

    I have yet to understand what "military status" has to do with any of this.

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  69. If I were a hard-right conservative, I would not only be on board with Trump's commission (and by "commission" I mean witch hunt). I would tell people, "Obama ruined freedom and democracy for me. If freedom means liberal rule, I will happily give up my unalienable rights to keep the Republicans in power permanently." The scary thing is, I think a few of Trump's supporters actually do.

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  70. Just as you cannot make a person who does not value evidence and facts to suddenly value evidence and facts, we cannot be surprised when people that do not want a democracy do what they can (and have been for many a decade) to destroy democracy. We're talking about people with the desire to be the boot on everyone's necks. We're talking about people that want to force the world to abide by their interpretations of their religious doctrines (though they won't abide themselves).

    You can't make them value what they don't want. It's up to those that still want and value a democracy to do something about getting it back.

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  71. "The most fervent believer in voter fraud after the most diligent and thorough investigation can’t produce more than one or two fraudulent voters, let alone millions." And those were generally votes FOR THE REPUBLICANS.

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  72. It's obvious that they knew many states would tell them to get stuffed at their request for this information. And it is equally obvious, with their incessant repetition of, "What are they trying to hide?", that they are going to sell that refusal, with the enthusiastic help of their media enablers, to Donnie's mouth-breathing supporters as de facto proof of rampant voter fraud. The sad thing is, it will probably work.

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  73. And all of this is prelude to even bigger act. The "it can never happen again" kind.

    Pence, a militant christianist, will need to be in the driver's seat for that part. Impeachment proceedings will happen, but the likely outcome is going to be even uglier than our current variety.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Do we really believe that Trump is going to be impeached? With a GOP controlled Congress and SCOTUS? I honestly don't know if there's anything that would tip those scales any more.

      Delete
  74. The best rebuttal to charges of massive voting fraud that I can offer is simple human nature. Too many people would have had to be involved; someone would have talked by now.
    Demanding that states provide the information serves only one purpose, intimidation of current and future voters. Almost all of the information is out there already; compiling it is just a matter of crawling through public information. Bots can do that really well as long as they have a human available to handle the "captchas." Think about the last time you were asked "Which of these streets have you never lived on?" when registering for an account.

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  75. If I tried to buy someone's vote, they'd likely vote the opposite and take my money anyway. They'd probably be right to do so.

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  76. I've been an Election Judge since 2009, and if the system we have in Ramsey County, MN is typical of local election systems nationwide, then voting illegally is deceptively difficult.

    While I haven't seen much of the back end stuff, at the polling places themselves the voter rolls are stored in three-ring binders, which are updated annually. Additionally, we have another binder called the Precinct Finder which locates your polling place based on the address you give to the Election Judge.

    Absentee voters are logged as such on the voter roll before election day, as are any registered voters who have any sort of challenge (felony convictions and the like). When you come up to the table, the Judge will ask you for your name and address (we don't need to see your ID) If you're not on the roll, you're sent to the Precinct Finder. If you try to vote with an absentee marker, you will have to talk to the Head Judge (I don't recall the exact procedure, but we have experts in such matters on call throughout Election Day). There are procedures for answering other challenges, but they've never come up in any of the precincts I've worked at, so I don't recall how they work. If someone hasn't voted in 4 years, their names are automatically stricken from the rolls and they need to register again. We also have a system in place to handle reported deaths that hadn't made it in time to be updated. Otherwise, you sign next to your name and you get a receipt which you exchange for a ballot.

    If you're not registered, you can go over to Voter Registration for same-day registration. The registration process requires two Judges from different political parties. If you've had a name change or change of address, you need to register to vote again. Here, you do need to present ID, and there is a list of acceptable forms of credentials that is prominently displayed in the polling place. A valid and up-to-date driver's license, state or tribal ID, or up-to-date US passport will make the process go smoothly, but you really only need a photo ID (including an expired driver's license) with your name and a rent receipt or utility bill dated in the past 30 days. If you don't have those, you can have someone vouch for you. If they do so, they are taking personal responsibility for the legality of your vote (falsifying your registration information is a felony), and they have to have registered to vote in that precinct already. After being registered to vote, you are given a receipt to exchange for a ballot.

    Ballots are initialed by two Judges from different political parties, and their handling is closely monitored by the Head Judge and Assistant Head Judges (the Assistant Head Judges assigned to a precinct are required by law to be from different political parties) throughout the day, including comparing the vote-counter's running tally to the number of voter receipts hourly throughout the day. The ballots are on paper, and are fed into a vote-counting machine which stores the physical ballots locally. All elements of the machine other than ballot input are kept under lock and key. At the end of the day, the vote tally process is monitored by two Judges from different political parties.

    From the voter's perspective, unless they're registering to vote, all they have to do is provide publicly available information to get their ballot. Given that, it's easy to see why Voter ID laws are popular in certain areas, but anyone who's familiar with the system knows that it's unnecessary - we have enough checks and balances to make even small-scale voter fraud difficult at best.

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  77. Long time reader, first time commenting. Also first time donor, for I am very grateful for your hard work and words in this post and others. Thanks for everything you do, Jim, and please have a drink on me.

    You do an excellent job of vivisecting the insanity that is The Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity. I believe that in addition to being a nausea-educing waste of time and taxpayer money it's utter rubbish because they already have this information*. The call for state voter records is nothing more than a public-facing move in the power grab chess game of wealthy white American oligarchs in their never ending efforts to amass ever more power.

    Forgive me, was I raving?

    Every time I think about the deeply creepy power of big data I'm reminded of that final scene from 'Sneakers,' where the villain says, "There's a war out there, old friend. A world war. And it's not about who's got the most bullets. It's about who controls the information. What we see and hear, how we work, what we think... it's all about the information!"

    Pretty prescient for 1992, eh? Do you think the players were already there back then? Deep Root Analytic. Data Trust. Cambridge Analytica. Do you think anyone could have guessed what happens when insanely sophisticated data manipulation crashes into human psychology and the whole unholy marriage gets weaponized to target voters and influence elections? All this madness, and they're doing it for the money. Sheesh. Please excuse me, I have to go rock in the corner while muttering and eating my hair.

    I know, I know, this all smacks of conspiracy theories of my own, as well. But no one, least of all the GOP and the data firms themselves, is denying that this is exactly what happens:
    https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/mg9vvn/how-our-likes-helped-trump-win

    Fortunately people much smarter than me are thinking about this. One bright spot I've heard about is AdNauseum, which I love for it's prank-the-man playfulness. AdNauseum and other privacy enhancing technologies that use "data obfuscation as their core tool of resistance. Nissenbaum defines obfuscation as “The production, inclusion, addition or communication of misleading, ambiguous, or false data in an effort to evade, distract or confuse data gatherers or diminish the reliability (and value) of data aggregations.” In other words, obfuscation doesn’t make data unreadable, it hides it in a crowd."**

    Hope springs eternal.

    I'm consistently impressed by your ability to stomach the psychotic ravings of POTUS, Jim, as well as sift through tedious government documents with clarity. Thank you for doing this and translating it for us here.

    Most of all, thank for your calls to action. You've certainly inspired me. Thanks also to my fellows here in the StonekettleVerse. We have work to do, and we shouldn't even think about trying to do it alone.

    -JB


    *sources:
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-switch/wp/2017/06/19/republican-contractor-database-every-voter-exposed-internet-12-days-researcher-says/?utm_term=.4f481388f5dd

    Props to Angela above for this one: http://money.cnn.com/2017/06/19/technology/voter-data-leaked-online-gop/index.html

    More on Chris Vickery: http://www.zdnet.com/article/chris-vickery-data-breach-hunter/

    ** http://www.ethanzuckerman.com/blog/2014/10/06/helen-nissenbaum-on-ad-nauseum-resistance-through-obfuscation-and-weapons-of-the-weak/

    https://adnauseam.io/

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  78. Two words: Cambridge Analytica
    I don't trust the lot of them. And, yeah...a wee bit paranoid also.

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  79. Oh! Another bright spot is Represent.Us. I dig the work they're doing and the friendly way in which they present information.

    From Caitlin Johnstone:
    "If you can spare five minutes, please check out this well-made video about the extensive Princeton University study which found that the wishes of the public have no impact whatsoever on US policy making, while there is a near-direct relationship between the wishes of moneyed interests and US policy making":
    Corruption is Legal in America
    https://act.represent.us/sign/the-problem/?source=homepage_2


    Links:
    https://represent.us/

    https://medium.com/@caityjohnstone/the-real-reason-the-elites-keep-killing-single-payer-1fbaa24c2c22

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  80. They're spearphishing...
    Cambridge Analytica.
    This article lays out exactly what they're doing. Along with Putin's database of big data, they plan on owning the world.

    https://medium.com/join-scout/the-rise-of-the-weaponized-ai-propaganda-machine-86dac61668b

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    1. SonofaBIZNITCH.....never heard of this site before but Jim, you might want to check this out. The field of Psychology really could rule the world with this AI if this is even halfway legit in terms of its claims.

      Delete
  81. Actually, if you include the 7.8 million votes for Johnson and Stein, Trump lost the popular vote by well over 10 million votes.

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    Replies
    1. It doesn't work like that. As many votes for Stein were actually votes against Clinton, and as many votes for Johnson were actually votes against trump , so it probably is a wash(purposefully not capitalizing because tiny hands).

      Delete
  82. You know, it's hasn't been a very big part of the discussion on the National scene, but Orange County, California voted for Hillary. Frankly, I'm a little flabbergasted a bigger deal hasn't been made about this. The last time Orange County went to a Democratic candidate it was 1936, FDR was up for his second term, and the Depression was in full swing with war on the horizon. 1936! That's 80 years! Orange County gave us Nixon and (arguably) Reagan, it's home to the only mass-circulation Libertarian paper in the country, and it's the reason we have Rohrabacher, Issa, and my own Rep. Mimi Walters (all on the cusp now, btw). I haven't been able to find it in ages, but I distinctly remember hearing that some campaign flunky for Dole jokingly said, "We won like 3 states and Orange County" after Dole lost. (The joke being that, since the OC was basically a lock for the Rs anyway, that tally should give you some idea of the magnitude of the relative landslide for Clinton.)

    The Democrats flipped The Unflippable OC in 2016.

    So some of you may have noticed, and I'd like to thank Jim for noting here, the front and center spot California is recently taking as a target for the Rs:

    "...the obvious unspoken implication is that those states are hiding something. And the only thing they could be hiding is 3 million people who voted illegally for Hillary Clinton. Right? I mean, California, right?"

    Mmmhmm.

    It's no accident Kobach specifically mentioned California. And it's no accident California (and Chicago) landmarks are the most prominently featured in the most recent NRA ad. Flipping The OC is a bellwether, the Republicans know it, and they have no idea what to do about it.

    "They don’t think you’re an American. They are coming for you. And you’re looking right at it."

    Yeap, that was the conclusion I arrived at as well. But however they deal with Cali, the "problem" won't be "fixed." Watch your six y'all, but keep in mind the other side has its momentum too.

    We'll have our chances.

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  83. Well-said and researched as always. BTW Connie Lawson, my SoS and, from what I read in your essay, a member of this Commission, went on record in the Indianapolis Star that she would not turn over the information the Commission sought either due to Indiana law prohibiting such.

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  84. Mr. Tool of Satan,
    I read your essay. As always, Cootos.
    I listened to this interview last week or so ago on NPR and I wanted to reach through the dash board and say simply "If it's PUBLIC information go get it your dam self." Second if you are worried about how the information is stored, or how the election software and hardware are connected to the Net for Hacking purposes, then look at the Hardware and software. TFP...
    P.S. I didn't have time to read any of the other comments I hope I am not duplicating efforts.

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  85. I'm a military spouse that has voted predominantly Democrat between three states since 2006. One of those states is giving information over freely to the commission. So, I'm wondering if my whiteness and attachment to the military is going to be my saving grace, or, the fact that I am liberal and attached to the military is going to get me in front of a firing squad. This is like the Red Scare, only run by less intelligent people with worse motives.

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  86. A view from Canada:
    Population (current) of the USA = 326 million
    Legal voters = 150 million (46 %)
    Turnout last election = 55.5 %

    Population (current) of Canada = 36.6 million
    Legal Voters = 25.6 million (68.5%)
    Turnout last election = 70 %

    Numbers above via Wikipedia (just take as roughly accurate?)

    In Canada, registering for voting is primarily done at a Federal level, via part of your income tax submission. This is not the only way - but the main way Elections Canada collects the voter list. No, I don't know what safeguards there are to separate SIN number and tax information.

    'Greatest Democracy on Earth'???
    Not on the face of the hard numbers.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "'Greatest Democracy on Earth'???"

      Do you really think the people reading this particular blog go around saying that? Who are you talking to?

      Delete
  87. If refusing to turn over information means that you're hiding something - doesn't that mean Donald Trump's refusal to turn over his tax returns means that he's hiding something?

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  88. I live in Hawaii, which besides being the home of the thrice-cursed Obama, is staunchly Democratic and has been almost since inception, despite an enormous military presence (and yep, some of those guys and gals vote with a D). I wonder what tack those who wish to disenfranchise anyone who voted agin' 'em will take with us? Carpet bomb? Hand it back over to the Hawaiians? The options boggle the mind.

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  89. Excellent as usual Jim.
    The other point of concern I have is, not only is voter registration the preview of the states (spelled out as such in the constitution), but that the legislatures of 33 states are Republican controlled, 4 are split between chambers, and 13 are Democrat controlled.
    If voter fraud existed (it doesn't, but if it did)66% would be happening in states completely under the control of the GOP. 8% would be happening in states that have both parties sharing power which really means those voter rolls have been scrutinized by both sides. 26% are happening in states that are controlled by the Democratic Party, and they are the ones that concern the voter fraud crowd.
    Of those 13 states 3 are solidly, veto-proof Democratic, the other 10 could flip, they are where data mining would be most productive, and where voter purges will cause the greatest shifts.

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  90. On the rare occasion that anyone is actually caught voting twice, it would be interesting to learn their party affiliation. If "they" ever did find that mother lode of illegal voters I suspect it might be nearly a 50/50 split between R & D. Of those 3 million folks who had no right to cast a ballot in 2016, I wonder what Trump would have to say about the approximately 1.5 million votes that were illegally counted for him? The "very excellent" Wharton School of finance must have required at least one class in statistics. Forget 3 million - let's say they caught 1,000 illegal voters. Just think - what are the actual odds that they ALL belong to one party?

    JZinFL

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    Replies
    1. There WAS an example of such in just the last Presidential elections, a woman was caught voting for Trump....twice!

      Trump's words about voter fraud are simply baseless pandering, same with the Trumpians. You really think they are actually interested in the "integrity of elections" and such? No! If they were they would be eager to "root out voter fraud" even if such an action ends up HURTING their own party! This would be the perfect example of principles over party.

      Yet Trumpians are utterly a ok with voter fraud if it's committed to help THEM win. The real reason why they are against voter fraud is because the people that they claim mostly commit voter fraud are the "illegals" who are most likely to vote for Democrats. In fact Trump's own tweet shows this very clearly. There are millions of voters who voted illegally which is how he lost the popular vote according to him, and also according to facts, they must all have voted for Hillary because she won nearly 3 million more votes than him!

      Let that sink in for a moment, the most important takeaway from Trump's tweet was not the number of voters or the consequences of voter fraud, no the main takeaway was that these "illegals" all didn't vote for him. So outrage! It's incredibly implausible that millions voted illegally and even if they did, it's just as implausible that all of them voted for Clinton. This is a conspiracy theme that Trumpians have built up for themselves for years, so much so that it is no longer distinguishable from the truth for them.

      The real concerns that they have against "voter fraud" is how it helps them, not win, and for the politicians, how they can use this issue to help themselves secure a win. It's not about the integrity of elections at all, to these people winning is all that matters.

      Delete
  91. Yet another fine article, Chief. If you want more to keep you up at night, Google "polls redshift."

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  92. The emperor has no clothes(gag) and everyone is afraid to tell him. He is such a child. If they don't tell him soon, they will have to find a way to make him 3m. Americans who were illegal just to sooth his flattened ego. Yup, there gonna waste a ton of money on this circus act.

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  93. Jim,

    We just received a TRUMP AGENDA SURVEY from the Chairwoman of the RNC. Since I am registered Dem and my wife is registered Rep, the Survey was addressed to her.

    You need to get a copy of this if you can.

    The purpose of the Survey is to give the RNC REAL feedback that they can point to that shows where the American people stand - so they can counter the phony poll numbers and slanted "studies" put out by the Democrats and their special-interest allies.

    The paragraph above is taken from the Survey.

    So here is a Survey mailed only to registered Republicans that will give the RNC indisputable evidence of what the AMERICAN people want. The RNC wants response with seven business days so that they can rush a summary report to Republican Congressional leaders and the White House as soon as possible

    My wife and I have never voted straight party lines. This type of shit may drive us to change that policy.

    A RNC Survey sent to only Republicans that purports to represent what the AMERICAN people want?

    Yeah, I believe that shit.


    CS in Fl

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  94. I didn't have time to read all of the comments (in case it was addressed), but something I read recently is startling. In about 10-15 years, 70% of the country's senators will represent only 30% of the population. Many people think demographic trends are against the right wingers, but this is a very strong trend that would give them a stranglehold on government. It will keep the electoral college results much tighter than we think as well.

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  95. Damn, my cat just stepped on my keyboard and erased my original response...correct me if I am wrong because this post just freaked the high unholy HELL out of me as a Master's student in Homeland Security-Cybersecurity Policy....but in addition to being a major violation of the Constitution regarding privacy, civil liberties, and civil rights, and a major violation of states rights...but isn't this also information that could be used for the following:

    1. Credit checks
    2. Criminal background checks
    3. State and Federal firearms licenses/registrations?

    Isn't this the kind of thing the NRA has been having nightmares about for years?

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  96. If the information is publicly available, why does the commission need to even ask anybody else to get it for them? Why not simply make it available to themselves the same way every other member of the public makes it available to themselves?

    They have internet access, right?
    They can pay fees, right?
    What is publicly available is by definition already available to them, so what, exactly are they whining about?

    Do they want information that is NOT publicly available?
    That would seem to be a violation of their own description of the information they desire.

    Hmmm....

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  97. With all this mess about alleged voter fraud, wouldn't it be the best idea to introduce a national identification card, like most other nations have - even developing nations like Afghanistan of Gambia?
    And introduce resident registration, while you're at it?

    This would not only make voter eligibility easy to check, but it would also resolve a lot of other issues, like undocumented immigrants, unreported employment, identity theft and generally speaking make the US way easier to administrate.

    But apparently some people don't want the US to be easy to administrate.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Erp8IAUouus

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    1. First of all, what mess? I mean aside from what Trump made up, there's no voter fraud issue. This has been checked time and again. There have been problems in individual states but none of it has to do with voter fraud.

      Please reread the article for reasons why a national voter card wouldn't work. It'd just be volunteering to do what Trump is asking for and (for good reason) not getting. It'd be putting the states' biggest responsibility when it comes to managing and protecting our democracy into the hands of a few people with an agenda.

      Delete
  98. Also, their is a very troubling side effect to this. In some states there is large numbers requesting to have their names removed from the voting rolls. which is achieving the same voter suppression effect that they are trying to achieve

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  99. I think what you've said is absolutely true. I also think that this database will immediately be used by Trump's company to sell stuff or just to sell the database and for Trump's re-election campaign to use, both to target their voters and discourage ours. They used Facebook to target Dems with stories designed to discourage Dem voter turnout, how much more effective will that be if they have info on all of us?

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  100. As always, well thought out and well written.

    And important.

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  101. Nothing distinguished about this ridiculous panel and nothing distinguished about the man who created it. In fact, 45's entire administration is the most undistinguished bunch I have seen in my 6+ decades of life.

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  102. You are easily one of the most eloquent writers in modern times on the web. Love your wit and writing

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  103. "The Commission requested not just a list of registered voters, but "dates of birth, political party, last four digits of social security number if available, voter history (elections voted in) from 2006 onward, active/inactive status, cancelled status, information regarding any felony convictions, information regarding voter registration in another state, information regarding military status, and overseas citizen information."

    And that’s a lot more than just publicly available information."

    That's not entirely true. In the letter such information was only requested conditionally, "if publicly available under the laws of your state."

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  104. Is this the post FB deleted out of the group? If so, I hope you will reinstate it into the group now that the settings are Private. This essay is one of my favorites.

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  105. It must eat D. Joffrey T. alive that he still lost the popular vote, despite all the support the Russians gave him.

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  106. http://www.kentucky.com/news/local/watchdog/article162848728.html

    A kid shoots a kid on average every 7 weeks in KY.

    Maybe you should just automate reposting of your Bang Bang essays

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