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Reply #198: You also need to factor in the huge resistance [View All]

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Home » Discuss » Archives » General Discussion: Presidential (Through Nov 2009) Donate to DU
marions ghost Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-16-05 11:14 AM
Response to Original message
198. You also need to factor in the huge resistance
on the part of the public to recognise the extent of "systematic bias" and fraud within the election system. This writer from Florida
makes some excellent points about that:

---------------------

The Miami Herald Feb 03, 2005
ELECTIONS
Ukraine vote yields important lessons for U.S. democracy
BY LANCE DEHAVEN-SMITH

(excerpt)
"...unlike this year's presidential election in Ukraine, the 2004 presidential election in the United States was left intact despite legal challenges and protests. In large part this was because U.S. election laws and political culture fail to take into account the potential for systematic bias in election administration. U.S. laws and public opinion focus, instead, on the possibility that unscrupulous candidates might arrange for votes to be cast illegally by individuals using false identifications, forged absentee ballots, or other ruses.

Election shenanigans were common in the 19th Century and in much of the 20th, but in recent years they have been eclipsed by scattered mischief that is carried out or abetted by public officials responsible for election administration. One factor that has contributed to this shift from the conspiratorial tampering of the past to the massive fraud that is so prevalent today is the poorly conceived effort to remake government in the image of the private sector. In recent years, civil-service protections for government employees have been greatly weakened, and many governmental functions have been contracted out to private corporations.

These changes in American public administration have created a new spoils system that makes massive fraud likely in today's elections because it effectively ties public employment and government contracts to election outcomes. In Florida and Ohio, for example, many corporations, public officials and government workers had a vested interest in the reelection of President Bush. No conspiracy was needed to orchestrate their activities. Multiple biases with cumulative effects could be (and were) introduced into the election system through the independent efforts of numerous individuals acting on their own initiative in the pursuit of the same objective. Until U.S. election laws are reformed to guard against massive fraud, our elections will remain vulnerable to systemic abuses.

To be sure, bias in election administration could probably be prosecuted today under existing laws. Certainly, officials in Florida and Ohio appear to have violated their official oath to uphold the U.S. Constitution and the constitutions of their states. They may have also broken federal civil-rights laws by intentionally weakening the voting power of African Americans. However, these acts of massive fraud have gone unpunished -- and, indeed, uninvestigated -- because most Americans have yet to recognize the new form of election tampering that is undermining our democracy."

Lance deHaven-Smith is professor of public administration and policy at Florida State University.
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