Voters who are trying to avoid the voter fraud and "stolen election" hanging chad scandals of the 2000 and 2004 Presidential elections have lined up early to cast their votes. However complaints are already coming in about electronic voting machines which are switching votes cast for Democratic candidate Barack Obama to his Republican rival John McCain.
According to multiple news reports, voters in West Virginia say that electronic voting machines changed their votes from Barack Obama to John McCain when they cast their ballots during early voting last week. Voters in Jackson and Putnam counties have related experiences that when attempting to vote for Senator Obama and other Democratic nominees, including Sen. Jay Rockefeller who is seeking reelection, the electronic voting machine placed the check mark next to the Republican nominee. source
Barack Obama has surged ahead in the polls with a 12 point lead in the US Presidential race. John McCain has continued his smear campaign against Barack Obama with voter fraud allegations involving ACORN. Many political pundits are arguing that despite Barack Obama's lead over his opponent it is still possible for him to not win by a landslide victory due to the Bradley Effect. Democracy Now discusses switched votes, ACORN and the Bradley Effect at around the 11:50 minute mark.
CNN Investigates Voting Machines Switching Votes In West Virginia!
AMY GOODMAN: Professor Mark Crispin Miller, the Bradley Effect that is being discussed, explain what it is and how you feel it's being used.
MARK CRISPIN MILLER: The Bradley Effect is a theory which holds that African American candidates do better in pre-election polls than they do in elections, because white racists are shy about admitting to pollsters that they wouldn't vote for a black man. So they will tell pollsters, "Sure, I'll vote for him." Then they sneak into the polling booth and listen to the inner Klansman, you know, they vote as racists.
Now, the problem with this theory is that there are almost no examples of its having happened. It's named for Tom Bradley, the mayor of Los Angeles, who ran for the governor of California and did much better in polls beforehand than he did on Election Day. Well, it turns out, if you study that race, that the reason why he lost was that a lot of bad news about his tenure in Los Angeles came out just before the election. That's the reason why people often lose elections. There are only two races that we know of where the Bradley Effect may arguably have obtained, both in 1989: Doug Wilder's run for the governor of Virginia and David Dinkins's first run for the mayor of New York, where Dinkins didn't do as well as we thought he would. Well, in his second run, the polls were dead on.
The point is, we're talking about two races that may form the basis for this idea that Barack Obama, with his enormous lead, may lose because of millions and millions of closet racists, you know, who will say one thing to pollsters, out of a fear of not seeming politically correct, and then vote a different way. I'll tell you why I worry about this. Something that you very, very badly need to steal elections, aside from the apparatus and the volunteers and all the money and everything, is a narrative. You have to have a convincing rationale to explain an upset victory. Four years ago, the rationale was millions of values voters materialized on the horizon at the end of the day, and like Jesus with loaves and fishes, they suddenly multiplied and voted for Bush, and then they disappeared. Well, there's no evidence that that actually happened. But it served as a narrative. This time, I'm afraid the primary narrative will be racism: Barack Obama actually lost, despite all predictions, because so many Americans are racist.
I think that this is, first of all, unverifiable. We don't know that it's true, whereas we do know all the stuff about vote suppression and election fraud. But I'm afraid that people will be encouraged to accept this line to prevent them from taking a hard look at the real reasons why Obama may have "lost"-and I put "lost" in quotation marks.
AMY GOODMAN: Mark Crispin Miller, I want to thank you for being with us. Mark Crispin Miller is a professor at New York University and author of, well, the latest book he edited, this came out just this summer, Loser Take All: Election Fraud and the Subversion of Democracy, 2000-2008. source
In a presidential campaign that has provoked an array of questions about race, one of the most persistent has been whether white people lie to pollsters about whether they would support a black candidate, a theory known as the Bradley effect.
Pundits often discount black candidates' leads in polls, saying support never materializes at the voting booth.
But many political experts say that while racism inevitably will play a role in whether some voters will choose Sen. Barack Obama, white people being surveyed seem to be pretty honest with pollsters about their biases.
The Bradley effect is an idea based on former Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley's unsuccessful race for governor of California in 1982. Though a Field Poll showed the African American candidate ahead of his opponent, George Deukmejian, by as much as seven points in the week before the election, Bradley lost the race. Pollsters theorized that some white voters said they would support Bradley but did the opposite once they got into the voting booth.
In this presidential race, in which Obama is ahead of his rival, Sen. John McCain, according to numerous polls, many say they are concerned about racism but not a Bradley effect. source
AMERICA'S VOTING MACHINES NOT READY FOR 2008 ELECTION
WV Voting Machines Switch Votes from Obama to McCain
Early voting in the presidential election has already begun in many states, and problems are already emerging at the polls. In West Virginia, voters in at least two counties using touchscreen voting machines have claimed their votes were switched from Democrat to Republican. Six voters reported having this problem in Jackson and Putnam Counties. In both counties, Republicans are responsible for overseeing elections. One voter, a retired nurse named Shelba Ketchum, said, "I hit Obama, and it switched to McCain. I am really concerned about that. If McCain wins, there was something wrong with the machines.” Election officials blamed voters for not being more careful. Both counties use machines made by Election Systems & Software.
McCain Supporters Harass Obama Voters in North Carolina
In North Carolina, over 200,000 residents have already cast ballots in early voting. In Fayetteville, a group of John McCain supporters heckled and harassed a group of mostly black supporters of Barack Obama as they voted on Sunday. The Washington Times reported the McCain backers shouted and mocked the voters as they walked into the voting place. The website Facing South reports the McCain supporters likely broke the Voting Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits anyone from intimidating or threatening a person for voting or attempting to vote. On that same day in Fayetteville, North Carolina, thirty people reported having their tires slashed after attending an Obama rally. source
Three Putnam County voters say electronic voting machines changed their votes from Democrats to Republicans when they cast early ballots last week.
This is the second West Virginia county where voters have reported this problem. Last week, three voters in Jackson County told The Charleston Gazette their electronic vote for "Barack Obama" kept flipping to "John McCain".
In both counties, Republicans are responsible for overseeing elections. Both county clerks said the problem is isolated.
They also blamed voters for not being more careful.
"People make mistakes more than machines," said Jackson County Clerk Jeff Waybright.
Shelba Ketchum, a 69-year-old nurse retired from Thomas Memorial Hospital, described what happened Friday at the Putnam County Courthouse in Winfield.
"I pushed buttons and they all came up Republican," she said. "I hit Obama and it switched to McCain. I am really concerned about that. If McCain wins, there was something wrong with the machines.
"I asked them for a printout of my votes," Ketchum said. "But they said it was in the machine and I could not get it. I did not feel right when I left the courthouse. My son felt the same way.
"I heard from some other people they also had trouble. But no one in there knew how to fix it," said Ketchum, who is not related to Menis Ketchum, a Democratic Supreme Court candidate.
Ketchum's son, Chris, said he had the same problem. And Bobbi Oates of Scott Depot said her vote for incumbent Democratic Sen. John D. Rockefeller was switched to GOP opponent Jay Wolfe.
"I touched the one I wanted, Rockefeller, and the machine put a checkmark on the Republican instead," Oates said of her experience Thursday. source