The primary mover in "The GOP's Stealth war on Voters" in the Rolling Stone, was a man named Kris Kobach. Back when it was first reported the original article was about voter purge software and how he was problematically purging valid voters from the voter rolls. This software played a major role in the 2016 election. Trump is rewarding Kris by naming him to head a Commission to make voter caging nationwide!
How Caging worked in 2016
On August 24th 2016 Greg Palast wrote in the Rolling Stone an Article titled "The GOP's Stealth War Against Voters," That:
"When Donald Trump claimed, "the election's going to be rigged," he wasn't entirely wrong. But the threat was not, as Trump warned, from Americans committing the crime of "voting many, many times." [Rolling Stone]
There is almost no evidence of people actually voting multiple times, of people voting who shouldn't, or of people voting in more than one district. The assertion that in person voter fraud is a real issue, is agitation propaganda. It is designed to justify practices of voter suppression. And it is practicing the "Big Lie!"
"Like all weapons of vote suppression, Crosscheck is a response to the imaginary menace of mass voter fraud. In the mid-2000s, after the Florida-recount debacle, the Bush administration launched a five-year investigation into the allegedly rampant crime but found scant evidence of wrongdoing. Still, the GOP has perpetuated the myth in every national election since." [Rolling Stone]
Instead what undermined:
"undermine[d] democracy in November [was] the culmination of a decade-long Republican effort to disenfranchise voters under the guise of battling voter fraud." [Rolling Stone]
Crosscheck as Grifter Politics
The problem is that gerrymandering, Caging and other grifter politics worked for them!
"The latest tool: Election officials in more than two dozen states have compiled lists of citizens whom they allege could be registered in more than one state – thus potentially able to cast multiple ballots – and eligible to be purged from the voter rolls." [Rolling Stone]
This was "crossheck," championed By Kris Kobach, who has now been tasked by Donald Trump to scale up efforts nationwide!
"The data is processed through a system called the Interstate Voter Registration Crosscheck Program, which is being promoted by a powerful Republican operative, and its lists of potential duplicate voters are kept confidential. But Rolling Stone obtained a portion of the list and the names of 1 million targeted voters. According to our analysis, the Crosscheck list disproportionately threatens solid Democratic constituencies: young, black, Hispanic and Asian-American voters – with some of the biggest possible purges underway in Ohio and North Carolina, two crucial swing states with tight Senate races." [Rolling Stone]
The purpose of the purges was to suppress voting by forcing legitimate voters off the roles for the "crime" of having similar names to someone else!
The headline in the original article indicated "tens of thousands." But the real numbers in post election analysis suggest more like more than a million voters were being purged from voter roles for the "crime" of having a name that was similar to someone elses by a rigged program used in 20 states named the "Interstate Voter Registration Crosscheck Program." Other post mortems suggest numbers more like 8 million voters. The one that Kris Kobach wants to apply nationwide.
Strach, Kobach and the other Grifters at Work
Kim Strach sold Voter suppression by claiming that:
"Recently, North Carolina Board of Elections chief Kim Strach testified to her legislature that 35,750 voters are "registered in North Carolina and another state and voted in both in the 2012 general election." [Rolling Stone]
She would later deny she'd suggested massive voter fraud, but though the Editor's note says:
"This quote was taken from the power point that accompanied Strach’s testimony. In a subsequent letter, she informed us that during her presentation she "stressed that we were not suggesting that 35,750 voters had committed any type of fraud. My testimony was that the data we received from the Crosscheck Program showed that in the 2012 general election, there were 35,750 people who voted in North Carolina whose first and last names and dates of birth matched persons who voted in the same election in another state.” [Rolling Stone]
She had implied that 35,750 voters were fraudulently voting. And since many folks have similar names to one another, this was deliberate deception. For example, if Crosscheck were applied here in Maryland, since there are a number of "Chris Holte's" in the country besides me, and even, including my oldest son, another one in my household. Crosscheck going by first and last name alone would force me off the voting roles. Though she dislaims that:
"we were not suggesting that 35,750 voters had committed any type of fraud." [Rolling Stone]
She contradicts herself in her next line.
"My testimony was that the data we received from the Crosscheck Program showed that in the 2012 general election, there were 35,750 people who voted in North Carolina whose first and last names and dates of birth matched persons who voted in the same election in another state.” [Rolling Stone]
The Term is Caging
Strach was presenting misleading testimony. Worse, the purges put the onus for verifying voter registration on the voters thrown off of it.
"Every voter that the state marks as a legitimate match receives a postcard that is colorless and covered with minuscule text. The voter must verify his or her address and mail it back to their secretary of state. Fail to return the postcard and the process of taking your name off the voter rolls begins." [Rolling Stone]
The term for these kinds of "prove you should vote" letters is caging.
This mail piece in "Crosscheck" is classic "caging" -- where corrupt officials send mail to an address, and if the person doesn't respond --> takes some kind of abusive legal action. In this case letters go to students, soldiers, or others, at a wrong address deliberately. Or in a form where the average person would throw them away as junk mail.
Kris Kobach had been caught in 2005 in Kansas doing voter caging.
"Back in 2005, Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach — who as chair of his state's Republican Party championed an illegal voter suppression technique called "caging" — launched a program called Interstate Crosscheck to compare voter registration data across states and ferret out evidence of double voting." [Facing South]
So instead of going to jail, he expanded the program to 20 States. Now instead of jailing Kobach, he's on a Commission created by Trump to expand the program to every state.
Hackable Voting Machines, Gerrymandering, Crosscheck and Voter Suppression are used to Stop your Vote.
Crosscheck was successful. Gerrymandering has been successful. There is evidence developing that the voter counts in some states were "flipped or altered. Just before the 2016 election A judge ruled that crosscheck had illegally purged elections:
"A federal judge in North Carolina, a battleground state in the presidential election, ruled Friday that state officials illegally dropped voters from the registration lists and must restore them." NBC report
The NAACP would sue, but there is no evidence that North Carolina actually restored those voters.
"NAACP filed a Federal Lawsuit" [NAACP]
The lawsuit didn't change the election.
What To Do
Mike Farb, who runs a website devoted to combating election hacking suggests numbers more like 8 million voters purged. His website: https://www.unhackthevote.com/ works to document the problem and suggest solutions.
We need to support unhack the vote and local efforts to fight caging, gerrymandering and flipped elections. Most important, if you ever get a letter in the mail disputing your right to law you need to answer that letter, both in writing and loudly to local press and government.
We also need to join or create local democratic clubs so we can vet our candidates, find candidates and fight deception and misinformation. Ultimately it may take some constitutional amendments to make our system less hackable. But we can do a lot ourselves if we work together. This last election was the nadir of politics. Our Democracy is i trouble!
- Sources and Further Reading:
- Results of Bush's Investigation [http://www.nytimes.com/2007/04/12/washington/12fraud.html]/dd>
- Mike Farb on Twitter: https://twitter.com/mikefarb1
- unhack the vote: https://www.unhackthevote.com/
- Rolling Stone
- URL taken 5/12/2017
- The Moscow Project
- True the Vote suppresses voter caging and vote suppression while claiming to be championing voter involvement.