In November 2018, 92 year old Christine Jordan, a cousin of Martin Luther King and herself a veteran civil rights campaigner, went to in the election vote for Governor of Georgia. She went to the same polling station she had voted in since 1968, but ‘this time…they threw her out…they had no record of her’. She was not alone. Tens of thousands of would-be voters were turned away. How did this happen? Greg Palast has, among other things, been investigating voter fraud in the US for the past twenty years.
As far as he was concerned what happened to Christine was a “test run in Georgia” for “a new votesnatching game” that would be used to help Trump steal the 2020 Presidential election. The man behind the Georgia purge was Brian Kemp, who was both in charge of the election and the Republican candidate for Governor. His problem was that he was up against Stacey Abrams, a black woman in a state where the majority of the population were black. So Kemp purged one in every eight Georgians from the electoral register.
And this was nothing new. Kemp had been keeping black voters off the register for years. In 2014, a drive to register black voters had seen 86,419 forms submitted, 40,000 of which disappeared and were only found after protest from the organisers, but too late to process! Palest had to painfully extract every detail from the Georgia authorities. Of the 665,677 people deregistered, 64,446 had died and 14,021 were in prison, but what of the remaining half million? Because they had not voted in two elections and had not returned a postcard designed to be incomprehensible they were deemed to be no longer resident and were purged.
One in seven of Georgia’s black voters were de-registered in this way. And Kemp is still de-registering people in the run up to the 2020 presidential election. This particular stratagem has spread beyond Georgia to Ohio (432,000 purged), North Carolina (576,000 purged), Arizona (258,000 purged) and so on. Palast provides masses of evidence of this and other scams at work over recent years. In Michigan in 2016 Trump won the state by 10,704 votes, but only because there were over 75,000 votes not counted. In the state, voters filled in a ballot form which was then scanned for the count. In Detroit, a majority black city, 87 scanners were not working or broke down and thousands of votes, mostly cast by black voters, went uncounted. And, as Palast points out, even before the 2016 election there had already been a mass purge of voters in the state.
What of Wisconsin in 2016? In this key state turnout fell from 66 percent of the voting age population to only 56 percent, while for students turnout fell from 67 percent to only 49percent. Throughout most of the country turnout was up. How was Wisconsin handed over to Trump? This was achieved by new ID regulations which among other things excluded student ID cards. Of course, gun permits were allowed. This ID scam is coming to Britain, Palast estimates it will deprive some 3.5 million people, overwhelmingly working class and BAME of their vote. And it continues. It is, Palast insists, an act of class war, aimed at the poor whether they be black or white. It is this, he believes, that explains the Democratic Party establishment’s relative lack of interest in what has been going on over the years.
And there is big money behind the purge campaign: he identifies the multi-billionaire Koch Brothers as being particularly involved. As Palest reminds us and it is something we should never forget: when the rich and big business give money to politicians and political parties, it is an investment!