Here's an ugly little secret about American democracy: We don't count all the votes. In 2004, based on the data from the US Elections Assistance Commission, 3,006,080 votes were not counted: "spoiled," unreadable and blank ballots; "provisional" ballots rejected; mail-in ballots disqualified.Palast explains how even six million votes could go uncounted in 2008:
This Tuesday, it will be worse. Much worse.
The answer is the GOP's secret weapon, the Help America Vote Act, signed by George Bush in 2002. . . .According to Palast, rather than preventing another Florida recount of 2000, "'Help America Vote' Floridated the entire nation."* In fact, Palast has found that 19.4 percent of Colorado's voters have already been removed from the voter registration lists.
Help America Vote empowered secretaries of state to remove fraudulent and suspicious voters from the voter registries. It was the trick used by Katherine Harris in Florida in 2000 when she purged "felon" voters. Except they weren't felons. And now her GOP confrères are doing it in dozens of states, calling folks felon voters, "inactive" voters, suspect voters, whatever.
Concerning the so-called "Provisional Ballots," Palast writes:
So, what happens to the purged voters? They're told to scram when they arrive to vote or, if they squawk, they get a "provisional" ballot on which they can pretend to vote.I suggest you read the whole article.
Now, here are the facts about provisionals: they don't get counted. And there are lots of them. The great unreported story of the 2004 election was that there were more than three million voters shunted to provisional ballots. Over a million (1,090,000) were never counted, just chucked in the dumpster. That's what caused Kerry to lose New Mexico, Iowa and Ohio. This time, because of Help America Vote and a Republican campaign to challenge voters, the number of provisionals will rise, as will rejections.Whatever keeps you from getting a real ballot - purged name, for example - keeps you from having the provisional counted as well. That's because Democrats won the right of every voter to get a provisional ballot, but not the right to have that ballot counted. And how many will go uncounted? Double the 1.1 million loss in 2004 - not just because of the GOP's purge-mania, but because of a vicious little codicil in Help America Vote that went into effect since the last election.
* photo of a tap. "'Help America Vote' Floridated the entire nation." Most tap water in the US is "fluoridated" (water fluoridation, by the way, is a scam).