Tuesday, 10 January 2012

New Hampshire Primary Begins Iowas Vote Count From Last Week Still Not Certified

Written by  Kurt Hyde

As New Hampshire voters go to the polls in the nation’s first presidential primary of 2012, the results of last week’s Iowa caucuses have still not yet been certified. The Iowa GOP leadership decided to accumulate the vote totals of the caucuses at a secret location based on a threat that they received from a group called Anonymous.

But now, the secrecy decision by the Iowa GOP leadership is beginning to haunt them. KCCI-TV in Des Moines reported that one of participants in the vote count, Edward True of Moulton, Iowa, compared his totals to those posted by the Iowa GOP and found a discrepancy. The discrepancy is in Mitt Romney’s favor by 20 votes. True’s total for Mitt Romney at his caucus was 2 votes, but the Iowa GOP showed 22 votes.  

The newscast went on to state that a spokeswoman for the Iowa GOP said that because True was not a Precinct Captain nor a county chair, “He had no business talking about election results.” That’s not how America was founded. The credibility of a witness is not based on the status of the person, but rather on his own merit. That’s why our U.S. Constitution forbids granting of titles of privilege to persons and the Declaration Independence states that all men were created equal.

One of the announcers at KCCI-TV speculated that this 20-vote discrepancy might mean that Rick Santorum was the actual winner. That might be the case if this is the only discrepancy. But this is a good time to review why most states in America have had laws in the past mandating that the vote counts and vote accumulations be done in public.  That is because altering precinct results has been used as an electoral fraud tactic.  

Revising precinct totals was used in the infamous 1948 Senate primary runoff in Texas. Tracy Campbell reported in the book Deliver the Vote how a similar tactic was used to steal the Senate nomination. The totals in infamous Ballot Box 13 in Alice, Texas, were 765 for Lyndon Johnson and 60 for Governor Coke Stevenson. Lyndon Johnson, despite all the shenanigans already committed still lost by 113 votes. That’s when the Johnson people altered the “7” in the 765 to make it a “9.” The extra 200 votes in that one precinct where about 800 votes had been cast were believable. Because Governor Coke Stevenson’s people had already seen the previous precinct totals, they were able to identify the revision and zero in on Precinct 13. Because Johnson’s people had privileged access to that Ballot Box and the precinct records, they were able to stuff the ballot box with the extra votes and add the extra names to the sign-in sheet. It was an obvious fraud, but the party leaders had their orders and they refused to be convinced. Lyndon Johnson went on to the Senate and eventually became President. In 1977, after party boss George Parr and Lyndon Johnson died, Luis Salas, the election judge over Ballot Box 13 confessed on KHOU-TV that they added the 200 votes as directed by George Parr in the presence of Lyndon Johnson.

There is no good reason why the Iowa Caucus vote counts were done in secret, and there’s no good reason for keeping them secret after the supposed threat has already fizzled. If the threat of disruptions were credible, the party leadership should have affirmed the decentralized nature of the caucuses. That would have protected against disruptions as Anonymous would have had to disrupt more caucuses than they have people. The Iowa GOP should have also encouraged openness by witnessing the vote counts and making video recordings of the announcements. Especially now that events have shown that the threat which supposedly came from Anonymous had about as much credibility as a threat of disruption by the Tooth Fairy, the process should be opened immediately to the public. That is the American way to run an election, because it not only protects against vote fraud, it also makes the vote count provably correct, thereby giving American citizens confidence in their public processes.  

This is also a wake-up call to states across the land that no longer have laws mandating public vote counts that they should once again make public vote counting the law across the land.

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Editor's note: Some small changes were made to paragraph describing Johnson's vote rigging — the main change is that there were about 800 votes cast in the precinct, not 1,000.