WASHINGTON, D.C.—Thursday’s request by New York senator Hillary Clinton for an independent study of the nation’s voting system before the November election comes amid growing fears that the Bush administration may try to fix the vote in a tight election. According to Clinton’s press aides, Clinton and a group of other top congressional Dems asked the Government Accountability Office “for a thorough independent review,” adding, “We already know of the potentially serious problems posed by the widespread use of electronic voting machines.”
Clinton’s press aides went on, “There are, however, other problems that have received little notice but have great potential to disrupt the election process and cause voters to be disenfranchised on November 2.” The group asked the GAO (which just last week changed its name to Government Accountability Office, from General Accounting Office) to take a look at protections for voter registration and requirements for identification and to see whether voter rolls are properly purged of dead people and felons—and also to see what safeguards are in place to guard against “erroneous purges.”
There may be more to fear than just those problems. Wayne Madsen, who worked at the National Security Agency (NSA) during the Reagan administration and currently is a journalist, sketches a more plausible scenario than the recent trial balloon floated by the administration-controlled Election Assistance Commission about possibly postponing the vote if there is a terrorist attack. Here’s Madsen’s scenario, step by creepy step:
If, on November 2, Kerry is ahead in key battleground states, then Bush will announce an imminent terrorist threat in California and maybe Washington state.
By 5 p.m. EST (2 p.m. on the Pacific Coast), Bush HQ will know whether Kentucky and Indiana—key states—are lost. If it looks like they are going down the drain, then the White House will flash the go-ahead, and the U.S. Northern Command (which has military jurisdiction over the U.S.) will, along with the Homeland Security Department and California authorities, declare an imminent terrorist threat.
Polls will remain open, but everyone will be trying to get out of urban centers as fast as they can. Traffic jams will cause panic and make people change their plans to vote after work. “A number of working-class voters in urban centers,” Madsen theorizes, “will either be caught up in California’s infamous freeway traffic and be too late to get to their polling places or be more concerned about their families and avoid voting altogether.”
The people mostly likely thrown off balance who will decide not to vote will be middle- and low-income Californians—the Democratic base. Well-to-do voters (Republicans, more often than not) will likely have cast their ballots early.
By reducing the turnout among urban Democrats, Bush HQ will thus be manipulating the state’s 54 votes into the Republican column. If things get worse for Bush as the Eastern vote comes in, the “terrorist alert” can be expanded to Washington state, where panicky rush-hour traffic jams in cities like Seattle can reduce the Democratic vote there, too.