Have you ever wondered what Trump is trying to cover up by his unproven claims of voter fraud? Greg Palast explains it all in this little paperback.
As Palast stresses, it is no longer enough to vote in the current anti-democratic climate in which we live. You have to make sure you are registered to vote, you have to vote early, you have to make sure you are following all the ridiculous rules that states have set up as hurdles and you have to check that your vote was counted. These rules apply even more if you are a young voter, a person of color or working class.
If you aren’t familiar with Palast, he is a journalist and investigative reporter in the fine tradition of the muckrakers of the early 1900s in this country. He has written four bestsellers, including “The Best Democracy Money Can Buy,” which is now a movie on Amazon Prime. He has been extremely persistent in uncovering voter suppression techniques of GOP politicians such as Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp — formerly Georgia’s Secretary of State — and former Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, both of whom controlled elections in their states.
Kemp is known for removing hundreds of thousands of low-income, young and minority voters from the voter rolls in Georgia. He turned the names over to Kansas official Kris Kobach, who is known for voter suppression techniques that are based on race. The lists, Palast says, are 99.9 percent wrong. Kobach pioneered the nefarious Interstate Crosscheck, once adopted by many states, that purged voters based on similar first and last names, such as “James Brown” and “Mohammed Mohammed,” with no regard for different middle names or different dates of birth.
Stacey Abrams would surely have won the election if Kemp, as Secretary of State, hadn’t purged half a million voters from the rolls. She lost by 40,000 votes. She has since teamed up with Palast in her new group, Fair Fight, to put the “purge by postcard” before a court. At least 340,000 had never moved from their registration address, but they still lost their vote.
In February of this year, Palast won a spectacular legal victory against Kemp to compel the state of Georgia to open its files on the mass purging of over half a million voters from the polls. In fact, Federal Judge Eleanor Ross ruled that Kemp’s defense was so weak that no trial was needed! Of course, it took Palast six years to achieve this victory.
You might know about some of the GOP tactics, but Palast explains them all and includes an interesting interview with Abrams. Did you know that African Americans are forced to use provisional ballots 282 percent more than whites, and Hispanics use 300 percent more provisional ballots than white people? This was discovered in the bipartisan Cooperative Congressional Election Study.
Disparities between genders and age groups are also stark. Women’s ballots are 152 percent more likely to be provisional than men’s, and provisional ballots cast by people between 18 and 29 outnumber those cast by people above 65 by an astounding 1,122 percent. This book is full of amazing facts.
Palast says there are a “gazillion” ways for your vote to not be counted or be spoiled, but when the U.S. Civil Rights Commission looked at the number of such ballots, it found the chance your vote will “spoil” (will not be counted) is 900 percent higher if you’re Black than if you’re white.
Palast doesn’t ignore the voter suppression the U.S. has inflicted on other countries, especially in Latin America. Trump, with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi concurring, backed Juan Guaidó — a white man educated in the U.S. who Palast says would invite Exxon to Venezuela — over Nicolas Maduro, a person of color and former president Hugo Chavez’ successor, who believes in Venezuelan control over their oil.
The material is similar to that covered in the documentaries “Rigged: the Voter Suppression Playbook” (available on the film’s website) and “Suppressed: the Fight to Vote” (available on Vimeo), about Georgia elections, if you can watch them. They are both excellent movies.
Also, if you don’t have a lot of time to read, you could choose to read just the comic in this volume by Ted Rall (whose work has been in The New York Times and The Washington Post, among others), which summarizes Palast’s points in 50 pages that he calls “How to Steal an Election: Vote Thieves, the Art of the Steal.”
The language in this book is salty and colloquial — not at all academic — so it’s easy to read, except for being upsetting. Since I have known about voter suppression, I have wondered why the candidates who won the popular vote (former Vice President Al Gore and Hillary Clinton) did not complain, and in Clinton’s case did not even support Jill Stein’s investment of $9 million in trying to count the 75,355 votes uncounted in Detroit.
Palast says you can blame Russian interference but if you question an election, you’re against the good of the country — or you are a conspiracy theorist.
Very few politicians feel they can complain about voter suppression. Abrams, for one, has complained. There is a lot of fear about people’s vote not being counted, and some press is being given to the purging of African American people’s votes.
“Voter suppression is simply class war by other means,” concludes Palast.
Read more of the Oct. 21-27, 2020 issue.