United States

Nov 2, 2012

Voter fraud plagues ramshackle US voting system

Bob Fitrakis, a professor of political science and founder of news site The Free Press talks to Guy Rundle about voter fraud and voter machine issues.

Guy Rundle — Correspondent-at-large

Guy Rundle


Slightly worn funky armchairs, a blackboard with cute drawings and local versions of coffee — the “short north”, a heavy espresso, named for the district of Columbus, where it’s based. A dozen or so people — most with laptops; kids doing college work on a cold wet afternoon and Columbus’s ageing hippie (there’s one in every town) with chest-length grey beard, Creedence souvenir baseball cap, bifocals reading the street press. I scan around, looking for a meeting.

At a big table near the front window, a table of a dozen young people talking animatedly. Must be it. “Hi” I say, hauling my backpack to rest — I’ve come straight from the airport — “I’m the reporter from Australia. Sorry I’m late.'” They look bemused. A silence. “Um, is this the Occupy election observer meeting?”. I glance at the literature on the table. It’s some whacky pyramid-selling scheme. The energetic leader is no community organiser, she’s more a Mitt Romney type.

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25 thoughts on “Voter fraud plagues ramshackle US voting system

  1. John Bennetts

    I cannot believe that dirty tricks are only the prerogative of the Republicans. Not Democrats as well?

    I’m a bit of a left-winger, but so much of what I read from Guy comes from one direction that I wonder whether Crikey needs a second reporter walking in Guy’s tracks, balancing the record.

  2. Venise Alstergren

    JOHN BENNETTS: The article doesn’t have the lyricism so much a part of Rundle’s coverage of American politics. However, just allow your mind to picture an old town hall-the interior of same. Can’t you imagine the squalid mentality of these sort of people?

  3. John Bennetts


    I sure can do the imagining, etc. This is one of a great string of articles. However, I wonder whether there isn’t balancing stuff coming back the other way and, if so, why it isn’t reported. Surely the Democrats aren’t all angels.

  4. Dawn Baker

    John, I think these dirty tricks are played against those who traditionally vote Democrat (the poor of whatever persuasion). The US media is a huge right wing circus, usually operated through Fox. If you look at a graph showing countries’ belief in evolution, the US is second last! The separation of church and state is perilous and a continually hard fought thing. And the election where Gore lost by a whisker in Florida was directed by the court. I read lots of US sociology and social media, and its scary. I don’t think we have anything remotely like this here.

  5. Venise Alstergren


    I think it’s the old Don Chip thing. Both lots are bastards but the Republicans are the bigger bastards. As for keeping the bastards honest-how, when?

  6. moonkid

    My understanding is that the Democrats are a rather varied, centrist political party. There’s no doubt that their members have been involved in dubious activities from time to time, but they also have a lot of good people who do good things. If you split the Dems down the middle into two parties, you might have a “balanced” two-party political system. By contrast, the Republicans are essentially a legitimate criminal empire – their power is built on corporate influence, media compliance, exploitation based on fear (often by appeals to religion), and outright falsehood and fraud. All of this is backed up by copious evidence, as in the Harper’s article that Guy links to.

    It’s like the climate change debate – providing artificial media “balance” on an issue by giving equal air-time to two opposing parties is not balance at all when one of them is just plain wrong.

  7. michael r james


    That’s pretty silly. You think the American right wing press (Fox, WSJ etc) would not be all over it if there was even the tiniest hint of Democratic electoral fraud?

    The reasons are obvious.
    First, the minorities (blacks, Hispanics, the poor & disadvantaged) who are most susceptible to voter suppression and intimidation are overwhelmingly Democrat voters.

    Second, the election will be decided in about 8-10 key states and within those a few big ones, namely the two biggest Ohio (20 electoral college votes), Florida (27 EC), Michigan (17), North Carolina (15 EC) and many of the others: Virginia (13 EC), Colorado (9 EC), Iowa (& EC) and Nevada (5 EC) have Republican state administrations who control the electoral process. Even Pennsylvania (21 EC) which the GOP are hyping as “in play” (it’s not) has a Republican state gov. In fact of the swing states only Colorado (9 EC) has a D state gov. It took the Supreme Court (itself having a right-leaning majority) to throw out just last week a Ohio state attempt at naked voter suppression. By contrast the #1 & #3 biggest states, California (%% EC) and NY (31 EC) are firmly democrat and are not in contention.
    Thus, even if Democrats were inclined towards the same dirty tricks they simply don’t have the opportunity in the states that matter.

    Third, you may disagree, but it is the Right, all around the world, who have a ineradicable sense of entitlement to government.

  8. michael r james

    Aarggh. No Edit button. Colorado should not be in R list. Calif has 55 EC. Probably a few other typos but you get the picture.

  9. Limited News

    The most dangerous aspect of the US voting system is that there are no across-the-board rights for candidates to have scrutineers present as the vote is counted. Of course, electronic voting machines make scrutineering totally redundant – the vote count is often just invented, especially in primaries, when the most important choices are decided eg Ron Paul the peace-monger vs Wall St shill Romney.

  10. John Bennetts

    Thanks, folks. I get the gist.

    Here’s hoping that Guy can keep the flow coming till the result is known.

    Moonkid, imagine the argument if somebody was to propose a referendum that the phrase “In Dog We Trust” be removed from the currency.

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