Greg Palast reported on how millions of registered voters, mostly African-Americans and Hispanics, were removed from the voting rolls in Ohio, North Carolina and other states.
He reported how there still are electronic voting machines that can be hacked, and how, in Ohio, a new safety feature on these machines was deliberately turned off.
So there is no question that there was vote rigging. The question is whether this was what gave Donald Trump and the Republicans their margin of victory.
Voters were removed from the rolls by a system called CrossCheck. The system checks to see whether people of the same name vote in different jurisdictions. Palast said as many as one in six African-American voters lost their right to vote through CrossCheck.
I happen to know through Google that there are a number of men named Philip Ebersole throughout the country. Assuming that all or most are registered voters, my voter registration could be canceled without me ever knowing about it until I came to vote.
Now this wouldn’t happen to me because (1) I live in upstate New York and (2) Ebersole is now a typical Hispanic or African-American name. If I lived in North Carolina and my name was Philip Washington or Philip Rodriguez, it might be a different story.
Along with this were the more usual forms of voter suppression—inadequate voting machines and long lines in Democratic wards, harassment of voters and so on.
This may be the explanation of why the election results were so different from the exit polls. The exit polls may well have accurately described how people voted—just not how the votes were counted.
When Donald Trump complained that the election was rigged against him, many Democrats responded that it is impossible to rig an election. In hindsight, they fell into a trap.
I don’t see how it is possible to challenge the result. It is possible to demand a recount of ballots, but you can’t recount votes that never were cast.
I am not claiming—because I don’t know—whether vote rigging provided Trump with his margin of victory. His appeal to prejudice, plus his appeal to justified anger at the status quo, may have been enough for him to win legitimately. At this point I just don’t know.
The stability of democracy requires acceptance of the outcome of elections. But Republicans never accepted the legitimacy of President Obama’s victories, nor would they have accepted Hillary Clinton’s victory as legitimate if she had won. I think Democrats have every reason to treat Trump in the same way that Republicans treated Obama.
The GOP’s Stealth War Against Voters by Greg Palast for Rolling Stone.