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Excerpt: "The nine 'Justices' have just heard oral arguments in an Ohio voter registration case. If their decision goes with Secretary of State Jon Husted, it would mean Republicans like him throughout the United States will be able to scrub from the voter rolls millions of citizens merely because they are suspected of wishing to vote Democrat."

Neil Gorsuch with Donald Trump. (photo: Reuters)
Neil Gorsuch with Donald Trump. (photo: Reuters)

Are the Supremes About to Give Trump a Second Term?

By Bob Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman, Reader Supported News

22 January 18


he US Supreme Court may be about to make a second Trump term inevitable.

The nine “Justices” have just heard oral arguments in an Ohio voter registration case. If their decision goes with Secretary of State Jon Husted, it would mean Republicans like him throughout the United States will be able to scrub from the voter rolls millions of citizens, merely because they are suspected of wishing to vote Democrat.

In Ohio alone, millions of Ohio voters have tried to vote on Election Day over the past four presidential elections, only to find their names were erased from the poll books.

What’s technically at stake is whether the federal government has the right to demand fairness in purging voter registration rolls. Or will the secretaries of the various states be free to purge whomever they want?

In other words, it’s supposedly a “state’s rights” case.

But this is a country where an attorney general who fought for state’s rights to avoid accepting racial integration is now overriding the explicit choice of some thirty states to enjoy legal marijuana.

In Ohio, Secretary Husted has become infamous for his extremely aggressive partisan purges. The state has roughly 5.5 million voters. GOP secretaries of state have become experts at the selective purging game.

In 2004, then-Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell stripped some 309,000 voters from the rolls, and nearly all came from heavily Democratic cities – Cleveland, Cincinnati, and Toledo. In Cleveland nearly a quarter, 24.96% of all voters, were removed from the voting rolls.

Blackwell simultaneously served as co-chair of the state campaign to re-elect Bush/Cheney. Despite the obvious conflict of interest, Blackwell was officially in charge of running that election. The election was decided by less than 119,000 votes, giving George W. Bush a victory over John Kerry, who never said a word.

As many as 300,000 of those votes were flipped on electronic “push and pray” machines by a Bush family consigliere operating on an unbid state contract with a bank of servers in Tennessee between 12:20 a.m. and 2 a.m. election night.

Between the 2004 and 2008 presidential elections, an extensive study conducted by the Free Press, examining all of the voter registration rolls in the state’s 88 counties, found that 1.25 million had been scrubbed from the rolls. Again, these purged voters were overwhelmingly from Democratic precincts.

The latest Husted tactic is to mail letters to citizens who have not voted in the last two elections. He demands they write him back to confirm where they live. Husted’s letters do not contain return envelopes.

The now-defunct welfare rights organization ACORN and the Obama campaign had to engage in a massive project to re-register the voters before Election Day.

In the run-up to the 2012 presidential election, the Free Press exposed the fact that 1.1 million voters had been purged, according to public records. The purges were highest in poor, minority, and urban precincts.

The rural county boards of elections that are overwhelmingly Republican rarely strip any voters from the voting rolls.

In other words, if you receive junk mail from the secretary of state, along with all the other junk mail you get, it’s not enough that it got to you without bouncing back. Husted instead demands a personal response, or else he will void your right to vote.

Part of his public excuse is that citizens who have died may remain on the voter rolls. But the obvious solution would be to link directly with the state’s coroner offices and integrate death notices into the management of the voter rolls.

Husted is also notorious for seizing on minuscule miscues to pitch ballots. An omitted middle initial, a name that has changed, forgetting to write your birthdate on an absentee ballot, or putting something on the wrong line … all are fair game for Husted to make sure you don’t cast a ballot, or that if you do it’s a provisional which he will then pitch in the trash depending on your age, skin color, or social class.

In the 2016 election, Husted’s office failed to send absentee ballots to more than a million citizens, again virtually all in urban areas.

What can’t be explained is why, in a computer age with unlimited hard drives in a state that requires voters to show ID at the polls, you would strip any registered voters unless you knew they had died or you had evidence they no longer lived in the county.

Should the Court allow this to continue, GOP secretaries of state around the US can be counted on to purge voter rolls deep and wide enough to swing almost any election.

The White House recently established a national commission to move the stripping to a new level. Blackwell was a charter member. So was Kris Kobach of Kansas (KKK) who pioneered the use of the Crosscheck computer program to strip the rolls in some thirty GOP-controlled states.

Last month Trump suddenly, without explanation, abolished the commission. But as investigative reporter Greg Palast has shown, the registration stripping has been moved into the Department of Homeland Security. Where Kobach’s commission was opaque, now the partisan purge process will be essentially invisible. State officials who refused to provide critical information to Kobach may now have no choice with DHS.

In other words, America’s Trump-run FBI/KGB/Savak apparatus may now have the power to silently and invisibly remove enough potential voters to elect and re-elect whomever it wants.

That might include not only Trump, but Husted, who is running to become Ohio’s lieutenant governor, and Kobach, who wants to be governor of Kansas.

This and much else could turn on the Supremes’ decision on the Ohio case. Should Husted’s right to purge whomever he wants from the voter rolls be confirmed by the Court, our sham elections will become an even bigger charade.

Bob Fitrakis & Harvey Wasserman have co-written The Strip & Flip Disaster of America’s Stolen Elections: Five Jim Crows & Electronic Election Theft, available at, along with The Fitrakis File. Harvey’s History of the US can be had at your social media marketing partner


A note of caution regarding our comment sections:

For months a stream of media reports have warned of coordinated propaganda efforts targeting political websites based in the U.S., particularly in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election.

We too were alarmed at the patterns we were, and still are, seeing. It is clear that the provocateurs are far more savvy, disciplined, and purposeful than anything we have ever experienced before.

It is also clear that we still have elements of the same activity in our article discussion forums at this time.

We have hosted and encouraged reader expression since the turn of the century. The comments of our readers are the most vibrant, best-used interactive feature at Reader Supported News. Accordingly, we are strongly resistant to interrupting those services.

It is, however, important to note that in all likelihood hardened operatives are attempting to shape the dialog our community seeks to engage in.

Adapt and overcome.

Marc Ash
Founder, Reader Supported News

+46 # tedrey 2018-01-22 14:56
Moreover, it is obvious that the State itself cannot decide who are the eligible voters. This very Amendment was drawn up precisely to prevent the State from doing exactly that. If the voting privilege of any eligible voter (citizen of the United States, resident of the State, non-criminal) is abridged in any way, the State's voting privilege must be abridged in proportion.

And just who is a citizen of the United States? Look at Section 1 of the same Amendment.

"All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside."

All persons! Not just ones who can afford an identity card, or who return a postcard mailed to their address, or are on a list drawn up for some different purpose. It is up to the State to make sure that every citizen that wishes to vote actually can do so.

"No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States." Of which privileges and immunities, voting is obviously paramount. This could hardly be clearer.
+37 # tedrey 2018-01-22 15:11
So the Constitution plainly demands that all American citizens must be allowed to vote; and there is a real sanction against the State if it does not. Could someone point this out to the Supreme Court?

P.S. This is not symmetrical, by the way. Whether intentionally or inadvertently, there is nowhere in the constitution any sanction against a non-citizen voting. Surprising, but true.
+2 # randrjwr 2018-01-24 16:43

How about submitting this whole comment piece as an Op.Ed. to the New York Times, Washington Post, LA Times, etc., etc.? Everyone needs to know this and I doubt that many do.
+1 # tedrey 2018-01-28 13:23
If you look up the "Writing for Godot" feature in Reader Supported News for August 3rd, 2012, you can read the whole post, slightly longer as I was aiming for the 2012 election. I printed it there after it was ignored by the very mass media you suggest.

I was glad that RSN printed it although there has not been a single reader's comment on it for over 5 years. Your comment here is the first boost I've gotten for it, randrjrw, for which I thank you.

By the way, in the same place you can find two more of my posts, on the Syrian conflict and on the DNC platform, which suffered the same fate. I wish the NYT or WaPo had printed them, but maybe they had better, or at least more noted, posters to fill their column.

Getting the nation's attention is not easy, or everybody would be doing it. (:-)}
+29 # Indie 2018-01-22 15:22
Now we can see just how corrupt the Roberts court is.
+14 # economagic 2018-01-22 17:16
We've known how corrupt the Roberts Court is since eight years ago yesterday, and likely before. We are now seeing how Mr. Gorsucks further tilts the table.
+39 # Salus Populi 2018-01-22 15:32
... and still no reaction from the mainscream media or the Democrats, the former of whom are determined to pretend our voting system is not rigged by ignoring the enormous amount of evidence that it is -- since keeping fascists in office is good for the filthy rich who own or run the corporate state -- and the latter of whom, wanting to be me-too Rethug Lites and keep their coffers full by doing the bidding of the same masters, and having seen how effectively they could use similar corrupt tricks of the trade to banish genuine challengers like Sanders from the convention scene, are more than willing to become the permanent minority party as long as they get enough of the swag.
+42 # Jaax88 2018-01-22 15:38
I keep wondering as I read about this stuff if I am still in America or has that sign been taken down and replaced by one saying,
"You are now a stranger in a strange land."
+9 # DongiC 2018-01-23 03:23
The sign has been replaced for several years now. Otherwise, the Republicans would never win a national election.
+40 # sashapyle 2018-01-22 15:49
As Stalin said, “It does not matter who votes. It matters who counts the votes.” Marching in the streets, signing petitions, writing your congressman, registering voters, turning out the vote—none of it matters in the slightest if this is how elections are run.
+7 # economagic 2018-01-22 22:06
Stalin may or may not have said it, but "Boss" Tweed, the mid-19th century political boss of NYC's Tammany Hall, the greatest political "machine" ever assembled, said something very similar before his life ended in jail for stealing money.
+12 # lorenbliss 2018-01-23 15:01
Wake up, people! More like "Welcome to the Fourth Reich," for what we are witnessing in the Trump/Pence Regime is (A)-the end, forever, of the United States as we knew it; (B)-in all probability the end, forever, of Mother Earth as we knew her and (C)-at the very least, the final victory of Nazism over Homo Sapiens Sapiens and therefore the end of whatever might have remained of our species' potential benevolence. And no, there is not one scintilla of rational hopefulness remaining to us -- not as long as our moral imbecile president is allowed to keep his Christian End Times finger on the thermonuclear and/or environmental apocalypse buttons. We have reached that point in our nationhood wherein we literally have nothing left to lose save our own lives...
+12 # Robbee 2018-01-22 17:05
Are the Supremes About to Give Trump a Second Term?
By Bob Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman, Reader Supported News
22 January 18

well writ! bob & harvey are the best! also click play to hear bob discuss this crucial issue!

if the gang of 5 conservative supremes again foils democracy, this time people should rally every day we go without! - national strike, anyone?
+11 # keith brooks 2018-01-22 17:06
+7 # chapdrum 2018-01-22 17:08
Democracy inaction [sic], just the way the Republicans like it.
+13 # AlexG 2018-01-22 17:42
Partisan purging of voter rolls by dishonorable state officials is inherently unconstitutiona l on any number of grounds, but it's likely to continue --and even worsen-- until a more ideologically balanced USSC adjudicates such cases, and provides DOJ-enforced rules to minimize it.
MEANWHILE: Democrat Party officials in states like Ohio need to get off their arses and strongly focus their pre-election efforts on getting all likely-Democrat voters properly signed-up & registered according to the "current rules," no matter how unfairly those still-technical ly-legal registration rules are being illicitly toyed-with in the interim by the GOP.
Much the same kind of outrageous, voter registration 'shit rigging' just happened to Bernie Sanders-leaning , Independent voters in California's/Ne vada's/NY's 2016 presidential primaries -- although in those instances, the culprit was the Democrat National Committee's influence over those same states' 2016 Presidential Primary elections & voter registration processes, that allowed this same kind of voter purging to occur [in favor of Hillary at the expense of Bernie Sanders.]
Much of the USA's federal & state election system has become rotten & corrupt in bith major parties, via these and other kinds of procedural/vote r ID manipulations; though, IMO, current-day Republicans are, quantitatively, the most brazen in perpetrating such anti-democratic , nation-ruining obscenities.
-23 # 2018-01-22 18:46
Ohio (and many other states) do not remove voters names from voter registries when they die or move. This has led to many jurisdictions listing more voters than they have inhabitants! And this fact invites massive voter fraud -- any partisan can easily cast absentee votes for dead or relocated registered voters.

There is of course the additional issue of undocumented immigrants voting -- it is only a couple of percent of them that do so in spite of President Obama's veiled encouragement to them just before the last election ("First of all, when you vote, you are a citizen yourself. And there is not a situation where the voting rolls somehow are transferred over and people start investigating, et cetera. The sanctity of the vote is strictly confidential in terms of who you voted for. If you have a family member who maybe is undocumented, then you have an even greater reason to vote,") but they have cast up to over a million votes in at least one national election.

I oppose voter ID and some other Republican plans but progressives need to put forth their own proposals for keeping the voter roles clean in ineligible or dead voters.

Lee Nason
New Bedford, Massachusetts
+8 # kyzipster 2018-01-23 10:49
It's fascinating to me how this propaganda can inform the beliefs of so many people. Trump seems to believe it, ordering investigations of non-existent voter fraud.

Apparently there was a Tweet circulated about a report of millions of illegal aliens casting votes, this morphed into news articles that appeared on a number of far right internet portals and Facebook. This is partly what was uncovered by fact checkers.

"That report was based on data from a Harvard survey of people. But the data was flawed, which created flaws in the subsequent report.

The authors of the survey say a small percentage of respondents, who are citizens, accidentally misidentified themselves as noncitizens on the survey. This is because the respondents didn’t read the question carefully and accidentally selected the wrong response to the question.

How do researchers know this? One of the authors of the survey, Brian Schaffner, said people changed their answers later when they were asked about their citizenship.

"When we took out people who changed their answer on the citizenship question and only look at people who answered consistently that they were noncitizens, we found no reported noncitizens who voted," Schaffner told PolitiFact."
+1 # AJNorth 2018-01-25 00:48
"Apparently there was a Tweet circulated about a report of millions of illegal aliens casting votes..."

Those would be the relatives of all those people on rooftops celebrating the attacks on 11 September 2001.
+1 # AJNorth 2018-01-25 00:53
As he left Independence Hall on the final day of deliberation at the close of the Constitutional Convention of 1787, a lady asked Benjamin Franklin, "Well Doctor what have we got — a republic or a monarchy?"

"A republic," replied the Doctor, "If you can keep it.”

(From the notes of Dr. James McHenry, a Maryland delegate to the Convention, first published in "The American Historical Review," vol. 11, 1906, p. 618.)

The overall integrity and fairness of our states' voting systems (not to mention voter turnout) — together with the outcome of Robert Mueller's investigation (assuming, of course, that it is allowed to reach its proper conclusion) — will determine whether we in fact can.

Sic transit gloria mundi — or at least that of the United States of America.
+15 # Billsy 2018-01-23 12:39
Sorry but there is ZERO empirical evidence of voter fraud historically or recently. It's been dismissed as a potential problem due to both the inefficiency of such a means of rigging an election and the severe penalty for anyone caught engaging in such an attempt. Elections are rigged where votes are counted & amassed not at the individual voter level. The simple fact that these purges are exclusively executed by GOP secretaries of state targeting minority (sic Democratic) voters while restricting access to polling stations in heavily Democratic districts such as inner cities proves that their intent is voter suppression not fraud prevention.
+3 # TimBuc2Dan 2018-01-24 14:15
We also need ATM style voting machines not made by Republicans so that we a) have a voting receipt and b) an internet posted vote record tally that we can check it against. Face it folks, the Republicans can't win any other way than to lie cheat steal purge while accusing others of what they are the only ones doing. Even the religious vote isn't enough to put them over the top and they know it. Why aren't the Democrats demanding this, if it's good enough for the banks then it's good enough for us. Our right to vote is all we have and they're now trying to take even that away from us, we mustn't allow this to happen!
+23 # krazykwiltkatt 2018-01-23 18:20
Who needs the Russians when we have the Republicans interfering with our elections?
+5 # TimBuc2Dan 2018-01-24 14:03
Depending on how the Supreme Court votes in the Ohio voter registration case it may very well be all over for not just the Democrats but the voters as well.

For the Republicans just can't win unless they lie cheat rig and steal their way into office and if the SC agrees with the Ohio Secretary of State John Husted then the purge of voters nationwide will commence. This is actually against the law according to our Constitution but then the Republicans have been ignoring that for years by using corrupt courts and members of their own party who hold office and are more than happy to do their bidding.

If the Democrats don't start using the ammunition in the form of these issues which are blatantly out in the open for all with eyes to see, then we may never see a Democrat elected to any office ever again. DACA? We have a much bigger problem at hand one which should have been apparent long ago and that is that the Republicans are playing for keeps this time. It's time the Democrats stopped playing nice, the Republicans don't do nice. What good does it do to hold the moral high ground if they don't or aren't able to accomplish anything. As for the people the only weapon we have is money, after 911 go back to buying they said, how fast did United Airlines stock drop after that man was dragged off their plane? We stop buying, they pay attention, we can bring all of it to a standstill with a nationwide spending opt out for a day week month our choice hit em where it hurts folks!

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