I hope you savored the moment. Yesterday, Monday December 11, voting rights advocate John Brakey won a court order â€“ in Montgomery, Alabama no less â€“ requiring every county to keep copies of their ballots after the voting Tuesday.
Now, you may think that in a democracy, in the United States of America, in the 21st Century, you wouldnâ€™t simply throw away ballots, announce a winner, and say, â€œtrust us, we counted the ballots fairly.â€
But this is not exactly America, nor the 21st Century.Â This is Alabama; Alabama after the 2013 Supreme Court ruling that gutted the Voting Rights Act.
Then, by 6pm Alabama time, the voting rights victory dance came to an end. GOP state officials, in an “ex-parte” (i.e. private) meeting with an Alabama Supreme Court judge, obtained a “stay” of the ballot protection, effectively killing it. Alabama counties may now destroy ballot images, destroy any record of the true vote.
But theyâ€™ll tell you the winner: Likely Republican Judge Roy Moore, the former chief of the court that just blocked any possible challenge to a suspect election.
Even without Judge Mooreâ€™s cronies taking away this protection of voter ballots, the GOP had nine other methods already in motion to prevent a true and fair election. If the Democrat Doug Jones loses, it wonâ€™t be to Judge Moore; rather, it will be to Jim Crow and the ten little cheats perfected by the GOP.
Before you read on about vote theft way down south in Dixie, get the full vote-heist story, captured on film in Alabama.Â Itâ€™s in the post-election edition of the movie, The Best Democracy Money Can Buy: The Case of the Stolen Election.
No, itâ€™s not the one on Amazon or iTunes.Â This is the NEW update–#TrumpStoleIt edition, which will go commercial next year.
We didnâ€™t get to Alabama by flapping our armsâ€”we had to pay for tickets, cameras, lawyers, and feed our team of indefatigable detectives.
It is our habit, by instinct and long experience to get to the places where news will be made.Â Help us continue the hunt.
Now, read onâ€¦
The TRO (Temporary Restraining Order) that Brakey won, then lost, would have stopped what I call the â€œBaldwin Ballot Banditâ€ trick or, as my co-author Bobby Kennedy calls it, â€œgood old ballot box stuffing.â€
Background:Â In 2002, Gov. Don Siegelman won a close re-election. But, after the Associated Press announced the result, rural Republican Baldwin County locked the courthouse doors. Beginning at midnight, GOP officials claimed to have counted thousands of ballots that they mysteriously â€œfoundâ€â€”enough to flip the election.Â No one was allowed to see those ballotsâ€”if they even existed.
This is what the Brakey TRO intended to stop.
Â [For the full story of the Baldwin County Ballot theft, see â€œStuffed,â€ by Bobby Kennedy Jr..Â Itâ€™s chapter 28 of The Best Democracy Money Can Buy, a Tale of Billionaires & Ballot Bandits, the 2016 edition of my bestseller.Â Donate $50 for the book and Iâ€™ll sign it to you with my thanks.]
So, how will they steal it?Â Let me count the ways (nine of them).
The ID con.Â Within hours of the Supreme Court slicing up the Voting Rights Act of 1965, Alabama passed a law requiring all voters to have a photo ID from a DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles).Â And the very next day, the state shut down almost every DMW in the ten Black-Belt counties.
â€œCaging.â€Â Itâ€™s a felony crime, but that didnâ€™t stop Judge Mooreâ€™s campaign chief, Brett Doster, from committing this vote theft crime for the George W. Bush campaign in 2004.Â I know, because I have Dosterâ€™s own confidential emails.
(How I got them â€“ well, thatâ€™s another story. Youâ€™ll just have to read the book.) Hereâ€™s a bit of one of the emails.Â Bobby Kennedy Jr explains how this â€˜cagingâ€™ trick steals votes (from The Best Democracy Money Can Buy):
Crosscheck.Â In 2015 I got a call from Hank Sanders of Selma, Alabama.Â His name was missing from the voter rolls.Â Thatâ€™s Senator Hank Sanders.Â Despite his post, heâ€™d been removed mysteriously.Â I flew down and solved the mystery.Â The perp:Â Donald Trumpâ€™s operative, Kris Kobach of Kansas.
Kobach created a list of 239,801 Alabamians he tagged as â€œpotentialâ€ duplicate voters.Â I got my hands on about a third of that list â€“ how? donâ€™t ask â€“ and itâ€™s overwhelmingly names of Black, Hispanic and Asian-American voters.Â Yet, Alabama has arrested not one double voter.Â Itâ€™s Jim Crow all over again.
â€œSpoiling.â€Â The Alabama ballot has nothing on the ballot but the Senate race and, in some counties, a local referendum.Â But it also has a box for â€œparty-lineâ€ votes.Â Vote for â€œDemocratic Partyâ€ and also vote for the Democratic candidate, your vote can be tossed in the â€œspoilageâ€ bin, not counted, because they can decide, arbitrarily, that you â€œover-votedâ€ â€“ voted twice.Â Itâ€™s a technical gotcha that is used selectivelyâ€¦i.e. against Black voters.
I saw the â€œover-voteâ€ spoilage trick eliminate 700 Al Gore votes in Gadsden County, Florida in 2000.Â (Thatâ€™s more than the 537 votes that supposedly elected George W. Bush.)
And I saw it again in November 2016 in Detroit, Michigan, where 70,355 ballots were not counted (in part, because of the same over-vote trick).Â Throwing out those Detroit ballots gave Donald Trump a supposed 10,700 margin to win Michigan.
OK, letâ€™s review:Â Thereâ€™s
1. Ballot stuffing
5. Blocking (the ID con)…
…and five more tricks, including that old GOP standby, purging â€œex-consâ€ not allowed to vote.Â Except Iâ€™ve yet to find an ex-con purge list thatâ€™s anything other than a con itself.
Thereâ€™s one certain way to stop these vote suppression games.Â One candidate, named Barack Obama, told our team:Â You canâ€™t steal all the votes all the time.Â Turn out so massively, they just canâ€™t steal it.
Martin Luther King Jr led 35,000 marchers over the Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama, to the capital Montgomery.Â Along the way, four marchers were murdered by the Klan.Â But by time the marchers got to the capital, the Voting Rights Act was on its way into law.
A young Hank Sanders was there.Â Last year, making the film with him, the elder Senator Sanders demanded I walk over the Pettus bridge with him.Â â€œYou have to walk over the bridge every chance you getâ€”because the right to vote is always in jeopardy.â€
We will see if enough Alabama citizens will cross that bridge tomorrow to overcome the trickery and flim-flam that Alabama calls an election.
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