Stealing the Election Again?
The Bush Thugs Get to Work
August 20, 2004
By Brad Friedman
The Florida 2000 election was clearly an aberration of our democracy
on more levels than one may care to count.
From the elderly Jews "voting" for Pat Buchanan on the butterfly
ballot, to the grossly racist and inaccurate corporate purging of
"felons" from the voter rolls, to the military absentee ballots
postmarked days after the election but left unchallenged by a cowed
Gore campaign, to the staged
demonstrations - meant to look like a voter uprising - of "angry"
Republican campaign workers storming the vote counters, to the Florida
Secretary of State/Bush Campaign Co-Chair "confirming" the count
of uncounted ballots... etc., etc., etc.
To put it bluntly, it was a debacle and a blight on our country's
record of free, fair, honest and open elections.
And yet, I was prepared to look back at it all it as a one-time
anomaly of a bitterly divided country and a virtually tied state
run by the brother of the Republican nominee as he was looking to
find that one foot in the door to snatch the deciding edge in a
nearly evenly divided national electorate.
In other words, it sucked, it was un-American, un-democratic and
un-seemly, but it was over and it could never happen again.
Am I na´ve, or what?
That "one-time anomaly" was likely nothing of the sort. And it
looks like the Bush Bros. may be preparing a repeat performance,
seeking any and all opportunities to squeeze out just enough votes
to win again. Or perhaps more appropriately, squeeze out enough
votes to make it look as though they've won again.
column from Bob Herbert in Monday's New York Times may
be an ominous sign of who and what is at work in Florida again for
this year's crucial Presidential election. The elderly black vote
in Florida is crucial to a Kerry win, and so the piece is particularly
ominous and frightening:
State police officers have gone into the homes of elderly black
voters in Orlando and interrogated them as part of an odd "investigation"
that has frightened many voters, intimidated elderly volunteers
and thrown a chill over efforts to get out the black vote in
The officers, from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement,
which reports to Gov. Jeb Bush, say they are investigating allegations
of voter fraud that came up during the Orlando mayoral election
Officials refused to discuss details of the investigation,
other than to say that absentee ballots are involved. They said
they had no idea when the investigation might end, and acknowledged
that it may continue right through the presidential election.
The state police officers, armed and in plain clothes, have
questioned dozens of voters in their homes. Some of those questioned
have been volunteers in get-out-the-vote campaigns.
I asked [Geo Morales, a spokesman for the Department of Law
Enforcement] in a telephone conversation to tell me what criminal
activity had taken place.
"I can't talk about that," he said.
I asked if all the people interrogated were black.
"Well, mainly it was a black neighborhood we were looking at
- yes,'' he said.
He also said, "Most of them were elderly."
When I asked why, he said, "That's just the people we selected
out of a random sample to interview."
One woman who was questioned is quoted in the column as asking
"Am I going to go to jail now because I voted by absentee ballot?"
Joseph Egan, an attorney for one of the 73-year-old vote workers
being "investigated," speaks of the blanket of fear and intimidation
that is beginning to emanate through the community:
According to Mr. Egan, "People who have voted by absentee ballot
for years are refusing to allow campaign workers to come to their
homes. And volunteers who have participated for years in assisting
people, particularly the elderly or handicapped, are scared and
don't want to risk a criminal investigation."
If this is the one story that has been picked up by the media
about possible chicanery in the Sunshine State, imagine what may
be going on that we don't yet know about down there.
When I received an email last night asking me to become an "Election
Protection Volunteer," it seemed perhaps to be a bit of overkill.
This morning however, I'm beginning to think differently. If the
people won't step up to ensure a free and fair election this time
around, who will? Jeb's thugs? James Baker? The Supreme Court?
And with the margin of victory as close as it could be, how na´ve
would we be to make the assumption that BushCo won't do anything
and everything again this time to "win" the election once more.
it's been said: "Fool me once... shame on... shame on you...
... ... if ya fool me, ya can't get fooled again."
Brad Friedman is a freelance writer and software designer. He
is also a proud "Liberal Hollywood Elitist" sharing all of the great
esteem and many rewards that come with it. His blog can be read