Spoiling America

Greg Palast

Excerpted from Greg Palast and Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s “Steal Back Your Vote” investigative comic. You can download all 24 pages at www.StealBackYourVote.org.

Odd thing about the 207 voters of precinct 999 in Dona Ana County, New Mexico.

Not a single one could choose between George Bush and John Kerry in 2004.

Or at least that’s what their ballots said.

The Secretary of State at the time told me, “Some of those people just can’t make up their minds.” Dirt-poor Dona Ana is 63% Hispanic and the precinct is made up entirely of overseas voters, mostly the Chicano soldiers in Iraq or on duty. The machines say that Hispanic soldiers don’t care who becomes their commander-in-chief.

Or maybe, the machines failed to register their votes.

Few Americans realize that in 2004, 1,389,231 ballots were never counted because they were “spoiled.” How do ballots spoil? They get left out of the ‘fridge? No, they’re supposedly unreadable, blank, or just somehow lost in the machines.

Here’s an unfun fact: not everyone’s vote spoils the same.

The U.S. Civil Rights Commission found that the chances of an African-American voter losing their vote is 900% higher than a white voter. Hispanic votes vanished at a rate 500% higher than Anglo votes.

Something’s rotten.

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