Saturday, November 13, 2004

Clearly, it is racism and it is systemic 

Buzzflash pointed me to Greg Palast's article on the large number of "spoiled" ballots and provisional ballots from black precincts in Ohio -- Kerry won Ohio - just count the ballots at the back of the bus -- as well as the high numbers of such ballots in hispanic and Native precincts in New Mexico. Clearly, this is racism, and it is systemic -- the term "systemic" means that an apparently "neutral" procedure is actually racist in its result. Women have identified and fought systemic discrimination for years in areas like "minimum height" requirements for police and fire departments. Now, blacks are seeing this kind of discrimination in US voting regulations and procedures.
Palast notes the Republican "caging" strategy whereby they developed lists of hundreds of people in black precincts to challenge, thereby forcing them to cast "provisional" ballots which then would not be counted due to technicalities.
Ohio also refused to purchase card reading machines in black precincts, so voters could not check to make sure their punch card ballot would count. The result was almost 100,000 "spoiled" ballots -- this is clearly also systemic racism.
No wonder the exit polls showed Kerry winning in Ohio -- black people emerged from their polling stations and said yes, they had voted for Kerry -- little did they know that their vote would not be counted.
By the way, I have scrutineered and poll captained a number of elections in Canada, and the number of "spoiled" ballots in our polls you could count on one hand -- we have this little thing called national standards, you see.

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