Will Election 2004 Turn Into Fiasco Like
Last Presidential Vote Debacle May Be Repeated Yet Again— But This Time Even
By James P.
This election has the potential to make the fiasco
of 2000 appear innocent by comparison, experts of all political persuasions
agree. Both major parties are dispersing thousands of high-powered lawyers to
critical polling places throughout the nation, Republicans and Democrats
looking for anything to challenge the election in court.
Electoral reforms launched after the Florida
fiasco of 2000 have only been partially implemented. There is fear throughout
the land that confusion—which caused some voters to mistakenly vote for Pat
Buchanan in Florida—will again prevail.
Computer experts have also warned that electronic
voting machines invite fraud. Where there is no “paper trail” a hacker could
break into the system and change the outcome, they have repeatedly warned.
American Free Press has reported on multiple occasions about the systemic
problems with electronic voting.
High voter turnout and close contests could delay
the final results for days, they warn.
“What happened in 2000 might never be repeated
again, but some of the ingredients that produced chaos four years ago still
exist,” said Doug Chaplin of electionline.org, a non-partisan research group.
Already there have been reports of elections games
on the part of the Republicans and Democrats.
Just days before the election, thousands of people
from the inner cities of the nation were registered, some by buses touring the
neighborhoods and signing them up on the spot and others driven to registrars’
This raises the issue of illegal aliens voting. Some
election analysts estimate that a million illegal aliens voted in 2000. Under
the “motor voter” law, it is easy for non-citizens to register, many while
obtaining drivers’ licenses.
And that is just the beginning.
There have been allegations that Republican
officials in Nevada threw away voter registration cards of Democrats.
And, in perhaps one of the most outlandish cases,
Chad Stanton, 22, was arrested in Ohio after delivering hundreds of bogus voter
registration forms. His defense? He claims that he was paid in crack cocaine by
a woman affiliated with the National Association for the Advancement of Colored
People to fill out the forms.
Independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader has
repeatedly made charges that high-paid lawyers for the Democrats and
Republicans have regularly intimidated supporters and volunteers across the
country who have tried to help his campaign.
Because of the terrorist attacks in Madrid, which
turned around Spain’s national election, security is on high alert at polling
places. At some, it is invisible with no uniformed officers. At others, the men
in blue are conspicuous.
Another area of concern is the so-called
provisional ballots. The Help America Vote Act, another response to the 2000
election, allows voters who show up at the polls and believe they are
registered, but whose names are not listed, to cast provisional ballots that
will be counted if their registration is subsequently confirmed.
But states have different procedures for
determining eligibility, and 28 mandate that votes cast in the wrong precinct
not be counted. A federal judge in Michigan ruled Oct. 19 that the state must
count provisional ballots cast in the wrong precinct but in the correct city or
town. A dozen lawsuits are pending across the country that could affect the
validity of provisional ballots.
“Many people are afraid provisional ballots will
become the hanging chads of 2004,” Chaplin said.
The outcome could depend on how much rain, snow or
TV soap operas depress the turnout in an election expected to see a record
number of voters, some of whom may actually be American citizens.