Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Scattershooting Arizona and Brussels

But thankfully no more about war-mongering at AIPAC.

-- The Apache State sets this week's record for futility, incompetence, and/or fraud at the polling place.  Be sure you understand the difference between unicorns (Greg Abbott's voter "fraud") and actual election fraud.

1. Lines were so long people literally spent an entire work day waiting in line

The queues were lengthy because the election administrators failed to properly allocate resources.

Maricopa County (Greater Phoenix, nation's sixth largest city, 1.5 million people as of 2010) Recorder (the chief elections official) Helen Purcell blamed the voters for the delays.

Purcell may have been responsible for a new Maricopa County record: The last ballot in her county wasn’t cast until after midnight local time, or 3 AM Eastern time. The elections are such a mess in Arizona that the Secretary of State and the Office of the Maricopa County Recorder are admitting they can’t handle running an election. Both Purcell and Secretary of State Michele Reagan support legislation that will turn the administration of elections over to state party organizations.

2. Clear voter suppression in Latino neighborhoods

Just click over and read about it, and then ask yourself if you're surprised that a place that elects Joe Arpaio sheriff conducts its elections this way.

It gets worse.

3. Democrats mistakenly registered as independents, given provisional ballots

As Arizona voters were still waiting to cast their ballots, US Uncut reported on allegations that voters who had previously registered as Democrat were instead listed in the voter database as “independent” or “no party listed.” In Arizona’s closed primary system, independent voters are denied their voice by having to vote with a provisional ballot. But what voters classified as “independent” who cast provisional ballots don’t realize is that their ballots are never counted.

Emphasis mine.  A reminder: NEVER ACCEPT a provisional ballot if offered.  It's nothing but a pacifier.  Its sole purpose is to fade heat; to shut you up, making you think you participated in an election when you actually did not.

42-year-old Kelly Thornton, who worked as an Election Day Technician in Yavapai County voting center 5 on Tuesday, told US Uncut that roughly two thirds of voters who came to her precinct had been mistakenly identified as independent by the election software. All of those voters were subsequently forced to cast a provisional ballot.

“One man was a lifelong Democrat who was listed as independent. He left the precinct, went to his house, and came back with a card showing that he was registered as a Democrat,” Thornton told US Uncut. “But when I called the election center (administered by the county recorder’s office), they told me to just give him a provisional ballot anyway.”


Thornton was also given a script by the Yavapai County recorder’s office to read to voters, verbatim, when they asked if their provisional ballots would be counted. The script outright tells the voter that if they cast a provisional ballot when the system lists them as independent, their vote will not be counted...

This is where it gets ugly for Democrats.

“I called the Arizona Democratic Party office around 1 PM, and I said, ‘Something is not right here.’ They said someone would call me back, and nobody called me back,” Thornton said. “This is the exact same thing that voters have been experiencing in Pima and Maricopa County all day.”

Given that one of Bernie Sanders’ largest bases of voter support comes from independents, it isn’t hard to see why the Vermont senator lost Arizona handily: his core supporters’ ballots weren’t counted.

So when you hear calls from Democrats for Bernie Sanders to drop out -- on the heels of the calls that Sanders isn't/wasn't a Democrat anyway, that he should play by the Democrats' rules, i.e. superdelegates -- be clear on the understanding that these are the rules they are talking about.

Democrats predictably might just blame Purcell, the Republican elections official, who is certainly the right and proper scapegoat.  She's of course blaming all the dysfunction on Democrats for registering wrong.

Helen Purcell might be worse at her job than Harris County's own Stan Stanart, which makes this episode a similar Catch-22 we have in Texas' largest county: not enough Democrats voted in the election when Republicans like Purcell and Stanart were on the ballot themselves, due in no small part to the Republicans in charge practicing voter disenfranchisement of Democrats as hard as they can ... and round and round it goes.  Like the water in the toilet when you flush it.

There's more at the link about how this set things up nicely for Hillary Clinton's comfortable win in the Grand Canyon State last night (or this morning), and it's certainly not one of the two reasons I anticipated when I predicted nearly a year ago that Sanders would be ultimately be denied the Democratic nomination.  The bottom line, unvarnished ...

Still, for Sanders to emerge as the nominee, he has to win a majority of the remaining states and win by some very big margins. On Saturday, Alaska, Hawaii and Washington hold Democratic caucuses. 

-- As a result of yesterday's (or today's) returns, calls grow louder for Bernie to take a seat on the bench.  Markos Moulisas has no standing -- whatever he believes about the power of his influence -- to bring the contested primary to an end, or even to censor posters to his blog who disagree with his choice of presidential candidates.  Yesterday, in the richest of ironies, he sent me a blegging e-mail, touting Daily Kos traffic stats and asking me to chip in $5 'to continue their work'.

So over and done with that guy and his shitty blog.

But more to the point: when Bernie finally does leave the race, he's taking a lot of Democrat votes with him somewhere.  Whether they are going to the Greens' Jill Stein, a futile Sanders write-in campaign, or back to sleep on the couch is to be determined.

More and more people are coming to the same realization I did last summer, and there's significantly more anecdotal evidence on my social media feeds -- and, I'm guessing, yours -- that indicates D voters in droves are getting off the bus.  Probably doesn't mean anything for Hillary's electoral prospects countrywide, but could have severe ramifications for Democrats downballot in places like Harris County.  This is more evidence that Clinton's value at the top of the ticket in Texas is unlikely to change the electoral color of the Lone Star State.

No need to get your hopes up, Chuck; any early poll will probably be done by the Texas Tribune/UT/YouGov conglomerate, which has consistently demonstrated its extraordinarily lame predictive value on its best day, and its absolute worthlessness this far out.

-- As the results in the two states with heavy Mormon populations that voted yesterday suggest, Trump is a hard sell in the LDS caucus.  Ted Cruz took advantage with an ad showing a little too much of Melania Trump's assets, and that started the weekly catfight we have come to expect now from the GOP 'presidentials'.

Nothing to add.

-- In the aftermath of a horrible day in Belgium, one message is clear: Yerp, specifically the EU and its "capital" city of Brussels, faces the most serious threats of instability from terrorism of every kind that can be conceived.  Anarchy and chaos cannot be very far away now, with immigrant xenophobia in full rage throughout the continent before the Belgian attacks.  Read this comment at No More Mister Nice Blog and decide for yourself whether the deep-seated problems, particularly in the Molenbeek ghetto, are understated or not.

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