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How to Steal an Election

As the last two presidential elections have shown us, winning the hearts of swing voters is not always enough to win an election. Sometimes other tactics are necessary to tip the vote in your favor. A 2000 election favorite, of course, was electronic voting machine “malfunctioning” and “caging” or challenging the eligibility of voters on election day to intimidate them or make them turn away. In fact, in 2002 the Supreme Court decided that the State of Florida had committed election fraud by employing these and other technique to tip the vote in favor of Bush. Yet few are aware of NAACP v. Harris and, of course, the outcome of the case did nothing to dismantle a presidency that Bush stole.

And this year opportunities to disenfranchise voters and tip the election abound.

One advantage 2008 has over 2000 is the foreclosures. That’s right—The GOP in Michigan have been preparing for months to suppress voters with the use of “election challengers.” These guys show up to the polls and contest voters’ eligibility. Due to foreclosures, thousands of people in Michigan now have a different address from the one they put down when they registered. Wisconsin as well is working to enforce a policy that would require the address on voters’ driver’s licenses to match that on their registration forms. The assumption is that if the addresses don’t match, then the voter is invalid. An NYU study recently released shows that the cases of fraud conducted on part of the voter is virtually non-existent whereas fraud conducted by political parties and the state is rampant.

Another tactic is to intimidate the naïve and scared new voters, found primarily at universities and better known as college students, where voter turnout is expected to be in record numbers this year. The Montgomery County registrar of elections in Virginia issues the following memo:

“The Code of Virginia states that a student must declare a legal residence in order to register. A legal residence can be either a student’s permanent address from home or their current college residence. By making Montgomery County your permanent residence, you have declared your independence from your parents and can no longer be claimed as a dependent on their income tax filings — check with your tax professional. If you have a scholarship attached to your former residence, you could lose this funding. And, if you change your registration to Montgomery County, Virginia Code requires you to change your driver’s license and car registration to your present address within 30 days.”

Of course there are always the old, trustworthy methods of vote-stealing, such as hacking computerized voting machines (which have been proven to be so easily that a literally monkey can do it), blocking roads to the polls in certain neighborhoods, and requiring photo I.D.s at the polls. But if one wanted to steal an election, the options are numberous and the time is ripe.

–Jamie Wong