Would range voting reduce election fraud?

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Election fraud has been rampant throughout US history

Ohio 2004: As Rolling Stone's comprehensive report shows, there was a systematic conspiracy to heavily manipulate the vote in the critical state of Ohio to favor Bush in the 2004 Bush-Kerry presidential election. (Some of this is also discussed more briefly and concretely on our own page and some more Ohio stories are here.) I do not know if the resulting dishonest totals were enough to swing the election, but they certainly produced an effect of the necessary order of magnitude.

The manipulation methods used were similar to (but probably even more extensive and blatant than) those used in Florida 2000, where the dishonest biases definitely were far more than enough to (and did) swing the election to Bush and away from Gore.

It is interesting that the Rolling Stone piece was written by Robert F. Kennedy Jr, whose uncle also won his presidency with the aid of massive fraud in 1960 that swung Illinois into his column. And RFK Jr's father RFK was instrumental in covering up that fraud by (as US Attorney General – RFK having been appointed by JFK despite never having tried a case in a courtroom and with as his main "qualification" being that he'd worked for the rabid anticommunist alcoholic nut job Senator Joseph McCarthy) shutting down all federal investigation into election fraud charges. After JFK was assassinated, his presidency went to Lyndon Johnson, whose entire career rested on the ultra-massive election fraud of his first senatorial "victory." In fact Johnson's 1948 Texas senatorial victory may have been the single most massive and blatant election fraud in all of American history and there is absolutely no question Johnson honestly lost. [It is described in many sources including R.A.Caro's biography of LBJ.]

We highly recommend Gumbel's book about US election fraud throughout history. Here's a few press articles about the Florida 2000 Felons list and another and here's one about the New Hampshire phone-bank jamming contract also described in wikipedia.

Election fraud been the direct cause of some democracies simply ending

India 1975: In June 1975 the High Court of Allahabad found sitting Prime Minister Indira Gandhi guilty of employing a government servant in her election campaign and Congress Party work, which constituted election fraud. So the court ordered her removed from her seat in Parliament and banned from running in elections for six years.

Gandhi refused to resign, declared a state of emergency, granted herself extraordinary powers including eventually the right to make decrees while bypassing parliament, launched a massive crackdown on civil liberties and political opposition including jailing political rivals and journalists (thousands in all), cutting off electricity to opposition newspapers, and dissolving opposition-controlled state legislatures. After 19 months she fortunately restored democracy and unjailed her opponents, operating under the delusion that she would be lauded and re-elected. She was immediately crushingly defeated.

Costa Rica's 1948 Civil War, which led to a new government in 1949 (with a new constitution, and awarding the vote to Blacks and women) started with allegations of election fraud and with the sitting government refusing to accept the election result.

Those cases of election fraud ended comparatively happily. But other cases were not so happy.

Nigeria 1965: same scenario led to a civil war in 1965 followed by military rule interspersed with brief periods of pseudo-democracy for the next 34 years.

So it is very important to get rid of election fraud; not only does it hurt democracy, it (and even mere allegations of it) can destroy it utterly.

Why does election fraud keep persisting that everybody knows about? Why don't its victims, at least, protest, publicize, and investigate it?

After Nixon lost to Kennedy in 1960 in an election in which his loss in Illinois and probably his popular-vote loss US-wide was definitely the result of fraud, and his loss in Texas also contained fraud which may have been enough to swing that state, (e.g. Fannin County cast 6138 votes, 75% for Kennedy, despite only 4895 people being on the rolls; In Angelina County, in one precinct, only 86 people voted yet the final tally was Kennedy 147, Nixon 24), and Illinois and Texas combined would have been enough to elect Nixon president – Nixon did not challenge the results. Nixon was dissuaded from doing so by Eisenhower, who threatened to disown Nixon if he pursued the matter. Nixon, who greeted guests at a 1960 party with the line "we were robbed," viewed this as Eisenhower once more stabbing him in the back, but realized he had no chance of success. (Eisenhower had to suffer having Nixon as his Vice President and disliked him.) So Nixon dropped his plans to fight and acted as though the reason was his personal "unselfish gracious nobility" and because he was a "good sport," not a "sore loser," but the true story was revealed later – and also the true story of Nixon's "nobility" with Watergate and the Nixon tapes. According to Nixon's friend and biographer Ralph De Toledano (conservative Newsweek and later National Review journalist) Nixon falsely claimed that it was he, not Eisenhower, who was the one "nobly and self-sacrificingly" deciding on restraint, despite Eisenhower who was mad as hell and wanted to challenge. "This was the first time I ever caught Nixon in a lie," said Toledano, who recounted the true story in the 1969 update of his Nixon biography. But it would not be the last!

Some Republicans did pursue challenges "independently" of Nixon, but they were easily quashed. E.g. in Cook County Illionois, Judge John M. Karns, a Daley crony, quashed 677 indictments. (Ironically, Gore's campaign chief in 2000 was Daley's son; Daley had been the presumed chief architect of the fraudulent Kennedy victory in Illinois in 1960.) There were nevertheless several convicted and jailed. Many of the cheating methods could not be corrected by a recount, reported by the Chicago Tribune as "once an election has been stolen in Cook County, it stays stolen."

Similarly, it is very interesting how the Democrats in 2004 and 2000 were extremely tame about complaining about these manipulations and exposing them. Incredibly, it was the Libertarian and Green parties who asked for – and paid for – an Ohio recount but not the Democrats!! (And they later correctly noted that the recount they got was unsatisfactory and broke Ohio's own laws about how to do recounts, and hence demanded another recount, but they never got one. Bet you didn't hear much of that story in the US press, did you? Usual US media shutout of third parties.) And yes, the Democrats did take it to the supreme court in 2000 and lost, but their argument was very carefully constructed not to mention the main massive forms of manipulation, and only to be about incredibly minor nonsense like hanging chads as though it all was just an innocent counting mistake which could be corrected by carefully examining some chads.

Why the perpetual amazing lack of protest and investigation? We have a theory about that.

We believe this is because both the Republicans and Democrats benefit very heavily from a rigged and crooked system, they both use similar election manipulation techniques, and so they both do not want to rock the boat and endanger their cushy 98% predictable re-elections by illuminating and reforming the system. Sure they'd each like to beat the other – but that is a secondary priority.

If that theory is correct, then election reform will never come from the Republocrat duopoly that is forced upon us by plurality voting. But it therefore will be very aided if the US adopts range voting and thus gets rid of cushy 98% predictability and duopoly, while at the same time beneficially reducing both ballot spoilage and the effectiveness of gerrymandering.

Not convinced of our "conspiracy theory"? OK, consider the outrageous 2003 gerrymander of Texas conducted by DeLay and the Republicans to ensure themselves control of the US House. The Democrats did protest that, but notice how carefully their protest was phrased. Did they object to gerrymandering per se? NOOOO! That was fine. In fact, the Democrats previously had gerrymandered Texas themselves, although less radically than the GOP did it the other way. Check the before and after maps (jpg) of the Texan gerrymander. The Democrats merely objected to the gerrymandering being done not in a census year! Hey! Bad! That broke the unwritten contract, the unwritten rules of the gerrymandering game! But abolishing thievery itself? Of course not. We would not even consider that. Our problem is merely its timing.

Still not convinced? OK, consider the fact that, after the Ohio 2004 loss for Kerry in the presence of massive pro-Bush manipulation, only one Democrat senator – which it all it would have taken – was willing to say boo (and in 2000, zero were). That is, the few House Democrats in the "Congressional Black Caucus" (including John Conyers) called the Ohio results into question, whereupon it would have taken just a single senator to stand with them to trigger a House and Senate floor debate and investigation over the Ohio irregularities. They had also conducted an effort after the previous 2000 election to refuse to certify the electoral college vote for Bush. One by one, the lawmakers strode to the House well to challenge the vote, but in each case, an impassive Vice President Al Gore denied their motions, noting that they needed at least one senator's official sanction to mount a formal protest. In the Gore case, every single Senator, unanimously, refused. And it is not as though the Democrats and Kerry were unprepared for or ignorant of all this, and this also was not because every single Democratic Senator believed Ohio was just fine and dandy. E.g, here is one of them venting: "It was terrible," said Sen. Christopher Dodd, who helped craft reforms in 2002 that were supposed to prevent such electoral abuses. "People waiting in line for twelve hours to cast their ballots, people not being allowed to vote because they were in the wrong precinct -- it was an outrage. In Ohio, you had a secretary of state who was determined to guarantee a Republican outcome. I'm terribly disheartened."

This non-protest and non-investigation was plainly (and this was not disputed) an organized decision by the Democratic party leadership. And the reason for that decision? Because they were not "sore losers"? No, I do not think so. That was merely the cover story. The reality was, this was an excellent opportunity to put the spotlight on election abuses and to cause reform, and this was the single time maximally far ahead of the next election and hence such that any sore-loser image would have maximal time to be dissipated by factual evidence. So there simply was never going to be any better time and opportunity for the Democrats to push for election reform, but they intentionally and unanimously chose not to. So you can be sure they aren't going to push for it at some worse time and worse opportunity.

So have a nice day, those of you who regard the USA as a "democracy" – for you, ignorance is indeed bliss.


Elections in the USA are highly manipulated by a number of methods including gerrymandering, massively biased registration procedures, illegal "caging," massively biased removals from voting rolls, "accidental" misdirection of voters, and massively biased allocation of and mode-setting of voting machines, among others. Election fraud/manipulation is known to have altered at least two US presidential elections (Bush-Gore 2000 and Hayes-Tilden 1876), clearly swung Illinois to Kennedy in 1960, and may have swung Ohio to Bush in 2004. This is not even counting massive "Jim Crow" measures in the early 1900s which systematically almost entirely stripped Southern Blacks of their voting rights and gave the Democratic party five decades of permanent 1-party rule throughout the South. Election fraud not only alters election results, it has destroyed entire countries and led to lasting dictatorship and/or war. The protests of those defeated by election fraud and/or manipulation have been incredibly faint in the USA. Why? Our theory is that both sides continually benefit heavily from the same election-rigging techniques and any protest – and most election reform more generally (and investigations leading toward it) such as abolishing gerrymandering – is therefore counterproductive for both sides and hence is not undertaken. If this theory is correct, then range voting, by eliminating 2-party domination, will have a hugely beneficial effect on election fraud in the USA.

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