As a young boy, I lived in the colonies. Peaceful if not idyllic to start with, things began to run out of control. The flames were fanned by ancient tribal hostilities and anti-British sentiment. The powers that be reckoned an election might help. My parents went to vote on the fateful day. I accompanied them. My father wore his suit, my mother her favourite homemade dress. Armed police were about the polling place, rather relaxed, not taking a lot of notice of the piles of ballot papers freely available from a table. Aged seven, I was invited to vote. My parents declined on my behalf, presuming this to be local humour. On leaving the polling booth, a native very politely asked of my mother a whispered question. He removed his hat, as was the custom, held it before him with both hands, bowed his head and, as if interrogating his feet, wondered aloud,
“Excuse me Missy, who did you vote for?”
My parents had only voted because it was expected of them and the whole village would be set a good example when seeing us walking from our bungalow to the compound. My mother, somewhat startled, not at all political, not aware of the Feng Sui of the leanings of the territory and, presumably having just put a cross in a box fairly randomly, replied,
“I don’t know.”
Upon hearing this the native tellingly replied, in a considered voice, sounding and looking genuinely puzzled,
“Excuse me Missy, if the English don’t know who to vote for, how are we supposed to?”
A tale often re-told.
Was the United States of America a colony? I think it was. Did they know who to vote for on November 3rd? Maybe. Do they know exactly who voted and how often? Possibly not.
According to Kelly Bower of Book Club Chicago, the big American cities were previously a byword for political fraud. In between the wars, shootings and bombings were employed in Chicago elections. Primaries were known as ‘pineapple primaries’, pineapple being a slang expression for hand grenade. In the 1928 primary elections, there were 62 bombings and two political figures were murdered. A Chicagoan ‘Democrat Machine’ emerged, one mastered by Richard J. Daley who was major between 1955 and 1976. An impressive run of 21 years but not quite as impressive as Richard M Daley, who managed 22 years after eventually succeeding his own father.
Electoral rolls were rigged. Dead people remained registered, allowing someone else to take that vote. Names were taken off tombstones and added to voter registration cards as if still alive. Democrats would pretend to be Republicans and get positions as election judges, allowing two Democrats to judge every polling place.
Security at those polling places was provided by the city whose ruling party was being voted for. Security, therefore, turned a blind eye. The poor and homeless voted Democrat in return for a drink and a warm meal. The more fortunate were paid $5 a time. Any ballots left over at the end of the day were filled in by the precinct captain, another of the Mayor’s city employees.
Ward committeemen could go to nursing homes, register the resident and “help” them to vote. The nursing homes themselves turned a blind eye as they depended upon the city which inspected them. In today’s more technological times, nothing like that could happen. Or could it? Let’s start with that technology.
In October, President Trump claimed that 50,000 Ohio voters had received the wrong absentee ballots (mail-in or postal votes). “Out of control. A Rigged Election!!!” he claimed. For once, the President was understating his case.
The elections board in Franklin County, Ohio, conceded that more than 250,000 inaccurate absentee ballots had been sent out. Some ballots contained an incorrect congressional race, while others had the correct information but were sent to voters in a different precinct. This had been caused by a technology malfunction. One Saturday afternoon, ‘someone’ had altered a setting on a high-speed scanner. None of this evidence prevented the BBC from emblazoning the President’s tweet with a banner reading, “NO EVIDENCE.”
Meanwhile, in Allegheny County, 29,000 voters received the wrong ballots. An ‘image mapping error’ meant that voters received the ballot of the next person on the register. However, the elections division received only 20 complaints, suggesting the vast majority of voters were unaware they had the wrong paperwork. All 29,000 were sent a second ballot giving them two votes each. Local radio station, WESA, announced with gusto that, “Only one ballot will be counted for each voter.” Really?
If you think that nobody cares about Allegheny County and that it’s an electorally insignificant little dot on the map in the middle of nowhere, read on.
Allegheny County is the administrative name for Pittsburg, the second biggest city in the vital swing state of Pennsylvania. That’s the Pennsylvania which the networks declared had ‘Won it for Biden’ on the morning of Saturday 7th November. 58% of Allegheny/Pittsburg voters are registered Democrats, only 28% Republicans.
At the time of writing (Saturday 7th November), the count continues even after the result has been announced by the networks. In Pennsylvania, Biden is 37,000 (0.55%) votes ahead of Trump. 415,000 Biden votes came from Pittsburg. In a close contest, can voter fraud in one district swing an entire state and change the course of an election?
A former steel producing area, the population has been dropping since the 1970s. During this time the number of registered voters has kept on rising. Has the electoral register been unable to keep up with changing times?
Earlier this year, Pittsburg’s CBS Local said the following,
No one’s alleging that dead people are voting in Allegheny County, but at the Board of Elections, there are tens of thousands of registrations for voters who are deceased, moved away or haven’t voted in several years that need to be culled from the rolls.
“I would concede that we are behind in culling our rolls. We are in the process of doing so,” said Elections Manager Dave Voye.
There are 957,000 registered voters in Allegheny County but the elections [manager Dave] concedes that about 140,000 — more than 15 percent — are inactive.
‘Haven’t voted in several years’ can mean a number of things, including ‘in jail’. According to election manager Dave’s figures that leaves 817,000 active voters in the county. However, at the recent Nov 3rd Presidential Election, 942,000 were registered to vote
In 2016, Allegheny provided 366,934 votes for Hilary Clinton. Since then, the Democrats have added 49,000 votes to their tally, helping to give them a Pennsylvania majority of 37,000, flipping the state and its electoral college votes to them. Which begs the question, just how easy is it to register to vote in Allegheny County?
A look at their voter registration form is telling. Photo identification is requested but not required. If you don’t even have a Social Security number then just tick the box next to, “I do not have a PA driver’s license or a PennDOT ID card or a Social Security number”. From the following list, you are then invited to provide a non-photo ID that includes your name and address:
- Confirmation issued by the County Voter Registration Office
- Non-photo ID issued by the Commonwealth
- Non-photo ID issued by the U.S. Government
- Firearm permit
- Current utility bill
- Current bank statement
- Current paycheck
- Government check
These are not required either, as you don’t need to have an address to register to vote. Just tick the box beside, “I do not have a street address or permanent residence (use map on back).”
‘Use map on back’ isn’t another example of colonial humour. On the back of the form there is a little box containing North, South, East and West compass points, accompanied by the following instructions:
“If you are homeless, use the map to the right to show where you spend most of your time. How to fill in the map:
- Write the names of the roads or streets nearest to where you live.
- Draw an X to show where you live.
- Use a dot to show the location of landmarks, such as schools, churches, or stores, and identify them by name.”
Remember, with the Democrat vote being double the Republican vote, if you hover over Pittsburgh in a helicopter, dropping voter registrations, twice as many of them will land on Democrats as Republicans.
Pittsburgh’s WESA National Public Radio website catalogues a long litany of problems with the mail-in ballot. Some voters have not received their ‘secrecy’ or return envelopes with the ballot. Declaration envelopes have only been partly printed. The elections office never answer the phone. The gum on the envelopes doesn’t work. Mail-in ballots are unsealed and impossible to seal. Laughingly, the secrecy envelopes remain open. You are allowed to secure them with stickie tape but are not allowed to put your signature across it. I wonder why not?
People have been told that their ballot is on its way to them, after they’d already completed and returned it.
Worryingly, voters have been informed that they were being sent a mail-in ballot even though they hadn’t requested one. Subsequently, these ballots have not arrived. Again, laughingly, this is excused as “attempting to educate Pennsylvania voters about the mail-in ballot process.”
Equally worryingly, if you make a mistake on the ballot, you can initial an alteration, or ask for another ballot to be sent to you. Although the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania does not allow early voting, you can vote early all the same by going to a county election office and filling in a mail-in ballot there and then. Mail-in ballots can be dropped off in council offices as well as polling places.
If you’d like to be an election worker, tick a box on the voter registration form. According to the US Election Assistance Commission, regarding Pennsylvania poll workers, mental incapacity does not disqualify you. You will be paid $20 for transmitting ballot boxes. Being convicted of offences under the Election Code does disqualify you but only for four years. To be an overseer you do not have to attend any training.
In conclusion, a lack of ID required to register to vote, large numbers of ballots available to inactive voters (the dead, left the area or in jail) and the ease with which duplicate ballots have been issued, causes great concern. Added to an unsuitable application process for poll workers and the insecurity of ballots when in transit, this author is led to have no confidence whatsoever in the outcome of the vote in Allegheny County, hence Pennsylvania and therefore the Presidential Election.
Multiply these shenanigans across the whole of the United States and we are presented with a totally unreliable election result. In a culture war weary USA, whether the Trump deranged courts will have the courage and gumption to agree, remains to be seen.
The Goodnight Vienna Audio file