How the 2020 election is already being rigged

Greg Palast is an outstanding investigative reporter.  For the past few years, he’s been working on voter suppression and election rigging.  He says the 2020 election is already being rigged in favor of the Republicans.

Because of the coronavirus pandemic, a lot of us Americans will vote by mail instead of risking in-person voting.  But under present rules, Palast noted, mail voting is easy to tamper with.

Historically, 22 percent of mail ballots are thrown away and never counted.  This doesn’t happen at random, Palast said.  The ballots that are thrown away are disproportionately black and Hispanic voters.

Mail ballots are not secret.  The person counting your ballot knows who you are and how you voted.  If he or she says the ballot isn’t filled out correctly, they are not going to be questioned.

Voters don’t automatically get mail-in ballots.  In many states, the state sends postcards—postcards that look like junk mail—asking if you want a mail-in ballot.  Not every citizen gets one.  If some states, if you haven’t voted in the last few elections, you’re considered “inactive” and are stricken from the mailing list.

Then there are technical requirements for filling out the ballot correctly.  In some states, voters have to include copies of their photo IDs.  Try doing that if you don’t have a copier at home.  Kinkos and other copying companies are closed during the pandemic.

Eight states, including Wisconsin, Minnesota and North Carolina, require mail-in votes to be signed by a witness, Palast wrote. Three states, including Missouri, require the signature on the mail-in ballot to be notarized, he said.  Alabama requires a notary and two other witnesses.

All but six states, he wrote, check your signature on the mail-in ballot against your signature on the voter registration rolls.  Whether or not it matches is a subjective decision by a possibly partisan election official.

I’m not saying Democratic leaders are not inherently more honest than Republicans.  The Democratic Party has a long history of voter suppression and election rigging, especially to disenfranchise black voters in the South.

But at this moment in history, it is the Republicans whose power depends on manipulating the election process.

It’s highly unlikely that there will be in-person voting in the 2020 Presidential election.

So long as the coronavirus lingers, it’s going to be dangerous to stand in line to vote and handle voting machines that have been touched by others.

It’s highly likely that large numbers of polling stations will be closed, for both good and bad reasons.  I don’t know how many poll watchers are so dedicated that they’d risk their lives to participate in the democratic process.

So what can be done to ensure honest mail-in voting.  Here are Palast’s ideas—

  • Eliminate witness and notarization requirements.
  • Eliminate requirements to mail in an ID or a copy of an ID.
  • No one should be denied a ballot because they’re on an inactive list.
  • No one who’s been purged in the last two years should be denied a ballot.
  • Eliminate exact signature match.
  • Make all mail-in ballot envelopes postage paid.
  • Allow ballots to be forwarded so those that have had to move due to the COVID-19 lockdown can still vote.

Source: Greg Palast

Palast went on to note that it’s possible to win even in a rigged election.  The Republicans haven’t disenfranchised low-wage workers, minorities and young people.  They’ve just created obstacles that will shave their vote totals.

But these obstacles can be overcome.  Here’s Palest on how to make sure your vote is counted—

  • Check your registration at or your secretary of state or your county clerk’s office.
  • Check your ballot for mistakes and have someone double-check it for you if possible.
  • Don’t use red pen. Don’t use a pencil. Use a black or blue pen.
  • Make sure your name and signature match the ones you used on your registration. (Eg. Don’t use your middle name or initial if you didn’t include it on your registration.)
  • Don’t use an X instead of filling in a bubble.
  • Use the correct envelope,
  • Use the correct postage.

Source: Greg Palast

Palast claims that the Democratic Presidential candidate would have won every election from 2000 on if not for voter suppression and election rigging against voters likely to vote Democratic.

In 2016, Hillary Clinton lost Wisconsin by 22,000 votes, but, according to Palest, an estimated 50,000 of the 182,000 University of Wisconsin students were excluded from voting because they lacked proper ID.  A concealed carry gun permit is legal ID in Wisconsin, but not a student ID card.

Trump carried Michigan, another swing state, by 10,700 votes in 2016, but 75,355 votes in inner-city Detroit were never counted because of broken voting machines.

And so on.  There are other examples in recent interviews with Greg Palast and undoubtedly even more in his forthcoming book, How Trump Stole 2020: The Hunt for America’s Vanished Voterswhich is due out June 2.

Why haven’t Al Gore, John Kerry, Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton or Joe Biden made a big issue of this?  What hasn’t the Democratic National Committee made voter registration a top priority?  It’s almost as if they’d rather accept the results of a corrupt system than challenge it.

Afterthought and Correction

I misstated the estimated number of University of Wisconsin students who’d been prevented from voting in 2016.  The corrected figure is listed above.  I don’t claim to know how many votes have been suppressed.  I don’t know how much this has affected the outcome of Presidential races.

It is a known fact that purges of voter registrations in Florida in 2000 for bogus reasons cost Al Gore the election.  It also is a known fact that voter suppression is a Republican victory strategy.

What’s surprising to me is the passivity of the Democratic leadership in the face of all this.  The Democrats complain about the Electoral College, which is pretty much baked into the system.  They complain about alleged Russian interference, whose impact is almost undetectable.   But they shut their eyes to this.


Greg Palast – Investigative Journalism.  All his recent interviews.


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2 Responses to “How the 2020 election is already being rigged”

  1. Fred (Au Natural) Says:

    That does not compute.

    Traditionally the GOP fights any relaxation in the voting process with everything it has. Progressives have consistently fought to open up the process to make it easier to vote with extended voting periods instant registration and vote by mail.

    Conspiracy theories like this are generally nonsense. They serve to heat up the true believers while at the same time providing a ready excuse in case of defeat.

    The example was given of votes that were not counted due to broken voting machines. Though this is true, you cannot blame the GOP for broken voting machines in a massively Democratic city in a Democrat-controlled state with a law on the books prohibiting recounts of ballots from failed voting machines. Would not mail-in ballots have been more reliable?

    I found it difficult to believe that 182,000 U-Wisconsin students didn’t have driver’s licenses, besieged their polling places with student IDs, and were turned away. That didn’t happen.

    As far as I can tell, the problem is that many students were voting in districts they weren’t officially registered in. You may live at school in Madison but your WIDL says you live in Milwaukee. Or maybe you are out-of-state. ID and actual residence need to match or you are voting for offices and ballot measures in a district you’re not an official resident of.

    Imagine that I’m registered in the city of Santa Clarita city, LA County, CA but I move to UC Bakersfield in Kern County and try to vote there without changing my registration. I’d have exactly the same problem many U of Wisconsin students had. I’d have to reregister on the spot.

    More onerous requirements for voting credentials were thrown out by a federal judge earlier. Wisconsin is not a voter-friendly state by any means.

    One fix is to vote absentee for the location you are registered in. But it has to occur to you in a timely fashion that you need to do that.

    The other solution was to re-register at the polling place – which Wisconsin allows. It would have been a PITA but the loss of votes was not 182K as was implied. Incompetent GOTV effort is the real crime. If you are going to get out the college vote, this is a concern you need to address. Having them register properly is step one. Failing to change the law, ya gotta work the system ya got.

    IDs from accredited post-secondary institutions are allowed as voting IDs in WI if you bring an enrollment verification document. (That just sounds stupid to me. The student ID should BE the enrollment verification.) But again, if you are exhorting people to vote, you need to inform them of all the “gotchas” they have to avoid.

    Trump may be an evil mendacious SOB hoping to suppress turnout but that doesn’t mean the local, state, and national Democratic parties didn’t make numerous mistakes that abetted his rise to power. You should ALWAYS look inward for your own flaws before blaming external conditions.


  2. philebersole Says:

    Fred, my point was not to argue against mail voting, but to have a system in which every American citizen who wants to vote, can vote and in which all votes are counted fairly.

    Unfortunately, this is not something that can be taken for granted.

    Voter suppression and election rigging are an important component of Republican strategy. This has been written about for years.

    Voter suppression and election rigging do not in themselves determine the outcome of the election. They only make it harder for certain groups to be represented.

    And they are not the only reason the Democrats lost. I did not vote for Hillary Clinton in 2016 and, as of now, I don’t expect to vote for Joe Biden. But that’s irrelevant to the question of who gets to vote and how the votes are counted.

    I did misquote Greg Palest about University of Wisconsin student voting. Thanks for pointing how implausible that was.


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