Greg Palast is back with a timely new book, “Billionaires & Ballot Bandits: How to Steal an Election in 9 Easy Steps.” In the book, which is illustrated by Ted Rall and with an introduction by Robert F. Kennedy Jr., Palast warns of more than a decade of Republican elections theft – and explains how they do it. Make a minimum donation to support Truthout and receive a copy of the book – and you’ll also get Palast’s “Why We Occupy” DVD free, which includes a Palast talk, a rant by Lee Camp, and a variety of other video segments.
Mark Karlin: The Republicans don’t just aim to steal elections in one way. They have a variety of methods to mug democracy. Can you explain a few of them?
Greg Palast: Karl Rove – “Turdblossom” as Bush called him – has a computer-data-mining system called DataTrust, which he’s joining up with a data-mining computer system set up the Koch brothers called Themis. These are voter-eating machines, designed to juice the attack on voter rolls by GOP secretaries of state. Ready for this? Over 22 million names were purged from voter rolls in the last two years. Those figures are from the US Election Assistance Commission – hidden in plain sight. And who gets purged?
Black voters, Latinos, Native Americans. In Colorado, the Republican secretary of state purged 19.4 percent of voters – that’s one in five! In the book, she’s the Purge’n General. Obama took Colorado in ’08. He can kiss it goodbye.
My co-investigator and I, Bobby Kennedy, called the secretary of state of California, a Dem, who told us her GOP predecessor blocked 42 percent of new voter registrations because they had “suspicious” names – like Mohammed. For this reason, despite massive voter drives and the increase in Latino citizenship, Hispanic registration has dropped by 1 million since 2008. Caramba!
In all, 5,901,814 legitimate votes and voters were tossed out of the count in 2008. In ’12 it will be worse. Way worse.
Mark Karlin: Why do you think there isn’t more public outrage about the GOP attempting to crush democracy?
Greg Palast: Because Democrats are in on it, too, and that’s the sick, sad truth. In New Mexico, a solid Democratic state where Latinos are half the citizenry, Bush carried the state and the GOP has the governor’s mansion. Why?
Because the Hispanic Democratic elite of that state don’t want no poor folk voting – or jackasses like Bill Richardson would never win a primary. When I called the secretary of state, Becky Vigil-Giron, to ask why, in one poor Hispanic precinct, there was not a single vote for president recorded, she told me that, “Those people can’t make up their minds.”
“Those people.” I’m glad to say she’s on her way to prison. But she’s a Democrat.
So, Republicans and Democrats steal votes from the same people: the poor and voters of color.
But on a strict numerical scale, 90 percent of the victims are Democrats, though they are victimized by both parties.