Voter suppression in Brooklyn, USA

Democratic election officials in Brooklyn aremay be using the same tactics to purge voter rolls as used by Republicans in Florida, Wisconsin and other states.  Investigative reporter Greg Palast has the story.

Greg Palast

Greg Palast

Francesca Rheannon, whom you may know as the host of Writers’ Voice radio, did the civic thing by volunteering to work the polls in a town east of New York City.

“I just got off my 17 hour shift as an election official. In my election district, out of 166 Democratic voters, 39 were forced to file affidavit ballots. The last [election] I worked in, exactly ONE voter needed an affidavit ballot.”

That’s nearly one of four voters. Why? Their names had gone missing from the voter rolls.

An affidavit ballot (called a “provisional” ballot in most other states) is a kind of placebo ballot.  You get to pretend to vote – but the chance it will actually be counted is …well, good luck.  If your name is wrongly removed, kiss your vote – affidavit or not—goodbye.

Rheannon’s experience was hardly unique.  In Brooklyn alone, over 125,000 names were quietly scrubbed from the voter rolls in the five months leading up to the primary.

To put it in prospective, the number of voters purged equals about half of the number who got to vote. Scott Stringer, the New York City Comptroller will now audit the Elections Board–now that the election is over. Hey thanks, Scott.

Neal Rosenstein, the lead voting rights attorney for the New York Public Interest Research Group, which plans legal action, notes that part of the problem is that partisan hacks sit on the Elections board in New York—hacks from both parties.

Brooklyn is under the control of the Kings County Democratic Party, one of the last of the big city machines.  Would they attack their opponents’ voter registrations? 

I don’t have to guess: in my wasted younger days, I was in the Brooklyn County elections office with the hacks where we were assigned by the Party to challenge voters’ signatures en masse.  (I wouldn’t and nearly lost my state job.)

Am I saying the machine “fixed” the election for Hillary Clinton?  Without further investigation, it would be irresponsible for me to pronounce judgment.  Some of the purged may have moved, some have died.  But those who waited in line only to fill out affidavit ballots are unlikely to be deceased.

If the Machine had been aware of the mass purge underway, would they have stopped it? As they say in Brooklyn, Fahgeddabouddit.

Source: Greg Palast.

Although I voted for Bernie Sanders in the New York Democratic primary, I’m not inclined to complain about election rules that favored Hillary Clinton.

I have in mind the rules that restricted voting to registered Democrats and made it hard for people to change their registration to Democrat at the last minute.

The time to protest the rules of a game is before the game begins or after it ends.

But denying people their right to vote is something else.  It is not only the denial of a basic American right, but it is a corruption of the election process.  Voter suppression is an outrage that should be unmasked and punished wherever it occurs.

I doubt that the Brooklyn voter roll purge was specifically intended to benefit Hillary Clinton.  Brooklyn was the core of her strength in New York state; all other things being equal, she would want a higher turnout rather than a lower turnout.

And of course the suburban town where Francesca Rheannon volunteered was almost certainly controlled by Republicans

Without evidence to the contrary, I’d attribute the purge to local politicians wanting to retain their own power—including those local politicians who are part of the Clinton network.


New Yorkers File Emergency Lawsuit Over Voter Registration Problems on Primary Day by Sarah Mimms for VICE News.

New York voting fiasco just the warmup for the November game by Greg Palast on his web site.

Greg Palast on how the New York and US elections are being stolen by Yves Smith for naked capitalism.

Election Fraud Proven at Audit by Chicago BOE- flipped precinct by 18pts from Bernie to Hillary on Daily Kos (hat tip to naked capitalism) [added 4/22/2016]

The (un)Democratic Primary: Why We Need a New Party of the 99% by Kshama Sawant for The Unz Review [added 4/22/2016]

If You’re Going to Accuse a Democratic Campaign of Election Theft, You Should Offer Some Evidence by Joshua Holland for The Nation.  Heinlein’s Rule.   [added 4/22/2016]


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