UPDATE: Troubling Irregularities and Some Uplifting Moments: About Voting Today in Massachusetts — by NormanB (“Deviations form the Norm”)

 

Lots of people voted early, via absentee ballot. That makes their vote twice as likely to get tampered with, according to C-Span last week.

 

 

In case you didn’t hear, Vegas has been paying off on the Presidential race for two days already. In case you didn’t know, they don’t pay when they lose. In case you’re not aware, I won’t tell you who won – I don’t want to spoil your surprise.

Here in Western Massachusetts – the most “Liberal” or Leftmost part of the state – Republicans often don’t contest political races. Sometimes Socialists do. And Independents. And Greens and Libertarians. Democrats always win.

We had good things and bad things happening at the polls today. My partner and I were planning how we would negotiate the buses to go to vote, and what else we would do during the hours we would need to be out in the world: It looked like it would take hours, to fit in with the bus schedule. Then a friend called. He had just moved to the neighborhood. He had given himself a mission today to carpool-shuttle automobileless voters to their respective polling places. We were in luck. We took the ride. We voted. I heard him offer rides to others.

Then our friend went to vote himself. Nothin’ doin’. He was disallowed from voting, he thought at first it was perhaps because he’d moved within the town in the past year. It was actually because he had been purged from the voter rolls. Amherst removes voters from the rolls who don’t fill out the town census, obviously hoping to skew the voter pool into a much more Conservative body: Twenty thousand or more students can be purged like that. That’ll teach’em democracy!

When I was similarly purged before, and my partner too, we both merely had to say “No” and were then allowed to go ahead and vote. I found it very troubling that that procedure was no longer being followed.

UPDATE: My friend, the Good Samaritan, told another friend about what happened to him, being disallowed. She went to vote at the same polling place. She complained about the way our friend had been cheated [Election-rigged]. The Election official there said that he could vote via Provisional Ballot. She called him. He came in and voted. Happy ending!

I’ve been wondering about these crowded polling places I’ve heard about, and how that restricts voting in Florida. It was never a problem to vote in Florida when I lived there up to 1995. And it has never been a problem for me voting here in Mass. We walked in, and only two or three were in line in front of us. Right away, though, twenty more people queued up behind us. Why doesn’t everybody across the country have enough poll workers to get it done? Is it because in Florida there isn’t enough money appropriated to pay poll workers?

There was a policeman in the polling place. That’s never happened before. There’s usually a friendly, smiling retired cop greeting people out in the hall. This guy was young, maybe his first time at it. If he sticks with it, maybe he’ll be the smiling friendly guy one day.

One thing that troubled me quite a bit was: What happened to the Greens? (The ones I just voted for in the 2012 Massachusetts Green Rainbow Party Primary this fall!) Here’s the problem: I voted in the Primary. I voted for every office. I voted for a Green for each office. Independents may have voted in the Green Primary. That would allow people who are actually not Greens to choose our nominee, which would not be fair, and might be considered Election-rigging. A local attorney who’s a Green was quoted in the paper saying this threatened our ability to name our own nominee.

Be that as it may, we voted a month or two ago, and none of those Green Rainbow nominees appeared on the ballot. This was clearly Election-rigging. Even if the local lawyer filed suit to remove the non-Greens from the Green Rainbow slots on the ballot, that should have still left Greens in all the races on the ballot. Instead, the only Greens appearing on the ballot were the Presidential ticket, Jill Stein and Cheri Honkala (for whom I voted).

Ellen Story, Stan Rosenberg, and Jim McGovern ran unopposed for State Rep, State Senate, and the US House of Representatives, respectively. In the Primary I voted for a qualified Green to oppose each of them today, but, as I said, they [apparently illegally] ran unopposed. They’re all on the side of Marijuana, but we local activists had to pressure Ellen and Stan into their current positions.

We had one of the Leftmost Congressmen in the country, John Olver. If you’re out there reading this, Representative Olver, thank you for your many years of dedicated selfless service in the US House, and thank you for your charitable gift to the local soup kitchen. (I know you were trying to be anonymous and modest; but I saw you!) John Olver has been a supporter of Marijuana, Civil Rights, economic reform, peace, the environment, equal marriage, and many other things good. Thank You God for giving us John Olver. They don’t make ‘em him like that any more.

The Democrat-controlled Massachusetts legislature gerrymandered John Olver the hell out of here. Yes, in the state legislature, they’re Democrats, but not necessarily “democrats,” if you get the difference. John Olver and Barney Frank had served the Commonwealth for decades, good Liberals, good Democrats and good democrats, longtime Marijuana Legalization supporters: Olver and Frank had already announced their intentions to run in today’s Election, but then came the closed-door meeting in the smoke-filled room: The state “Democrats” redrew the districts of Olver and Frank. Both Olver and Frank then announced their retirements. Here they gave us McGovern, who’s from nowhere near here: We’ve had a local Rep forever, but no more.

James McGovern is pretty good. He’s damn good: He’s spoken out on the US-sponsored War Crimes in Bahrain, perhaps the only elected official in the entire nation with the guts to do that. War Crimes are not cool. I’ll support McGovern in trying to stop them.

I don’t approve of McGovern and Olver going along with the other Democrats on the Congressional investigation into Attorney General Eric Holder’s apparent Felonies and War Crimes in the Fast and Furious case, calling the procedure against Holder a “Witch Hunt.” It looks like there’s sufficient evidence that he is actually a witch, and that a special prosecutor needs to be brought in immediately to prepare the case against Holder.

Besides offices big and small, we also got to vote on five questions or initiatives. Question 1 would Legalize assisted suicide. Question 2 would allow auto repair shops not associated with auto dealers equal access to repair parts and information. Question 3 Legalizes Medical Marijuana. In the state’s published voter guide, the opponents of Question 3 claimed that if it passes, practically anyone in the state can Legally grow Marijuana in the back yard. (And that’s supposed to get us to vote against it?!) I don’t think that back-yard scenario is exactly correct, but I voted for the new law anyway.

Massachusetts is one of eighteen states where people are voting today on Marijuana and Hemp measures, North Dakota would have made it nineteen, but the scheduled Election was [I think improperly] removed from the ballot.  http://my.firedoglake.com/normanb/2012/11/04/debates-today-tomorrow-plus-2012-marijuana-voters-and-investors-guide-plus-a-right-to-left-look-at-presidential-candidates-parties-factions/

We’ve seen a horribly disturbing case of attempted Election-rigging here at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst: For decades, the UMass Cannabis Reform Coalition (CRC) [to which I belong] has had an office on the ground floor of the Student Union building, the most traveled area in the center of the University. A particular student with an apparent Nazi bent got control just weeks ago the University’s Student Government Association. New though he was, somehow the University embued him with extraordinary power: He evicted the CRC from its office of decades of tradition:

This greatly restricted the availability of information and the electorate’s ability to organize on behalf the ballot issue there, the office where more organizing had happened on this issue than anywhere else in the state. But then came the Nazi tactic: The Election-rigging student claimed that someone unknown had painted a Marijuana leaf on the door of the CRC office (where one had years earlier been painted). Then came the Nazi tactic: Collective Punishment: No one knows who did the ‘defacing,’ but everyone in the CRC [and everyone depending on us to keep up the struggle for their Rights] is now being punished through the University’s allowing the use of this Nazi tactic:

The club may lose its official accreditation, through these Election-rigging efforts. It seems lawsuits could be in order, perhaps from voters interested in the issue, and from the general student body, and from the CRC members, and from the town citizens, whose longstanding annual Marijuana celebration, Extravaganja, is sponsored and carried out by the CRC. Saturday night, somebody knocked over my “Vote YES On Question 3″ sign and the garbage bin too, which probably weighs over 100 pounds: It took some work to knock it over.

Question 4 on our ballot today was a non-binding but very important instruction to our incoming US Senator: Introduce legislation and/or an Amendment to the US Constitution ruling that (1) Corporations are not People; and (2) Money is not Speech: That is, that spending on Election can be limited Legally.

Question 5 is another important non-binding question, instructing our incoming Senator and all of our elected officials to immediately institute the Green New Deal, which is part of Green Party Presidential candidate Jill Stein’s platform. The text of Question 5 does not use the words “Green New Deal,” but it does call for hiring millions for environment and health and safety and manufacturing, and to divert money from the Military, etc.

I was born in Virgina, and lived in Florida most of my life. I lived in Ohio too. I’ve lived in the “battleground states,” where they get Presidential ads, and where their votes really count a lot more toward electing the President than ours do here in Massachusetts. But you know what? In Massachusetts, I can wear my beard as long and scraggly as I want – not that it’s anybody’s business, but sometimes I get acting gigs when my beard impresses people. In New England, I can walk around dressed any way I want. I feel more relaxed being around like-minded people who aren’t likely to discriminate against me.

The state always goes Democratic in the Presidential race. Sometimes it goes Republican in the statewide races, Governor and Senator. Though Scott Brown was the first Republican Senator elected in a long time, we’ve had three Republican Governors since I moved here in 1995. I think Scott Brown got in, not on his own merits, but largely in reaction against President Obama’s improper imposition of an interim Election to replace Ted Kennedy. Voters reacted against this manipulation as they did in Wisconsin during the attempt to recall of Governor Scott Walker: People don’t want their local Election cycles disrupted for the purposes of the national Parties.

The Special Election was staged for his [Obama's] convenience and prestige, in clear violation of both the Massachusetts Commonwealth Constitution and the United States Constitution: Our law and state Constitution had a clearly defined procedure for replacing any Senator who might die in office. But President Obama demanded that we change for him, which the state did, in clear violation of the US Constitution’s ban on ex post facto laws in Article I (written more than a decade before the Bill of Rights). It is unconstitutional to change the rules relating to an Election after the fact, i.e., after the Senator to be replaced upon death has already died.

We’ve held Elections wherein the electorate overwhelmingly voted to instruct our elected officials to Legalize Marijuana. Democratic US Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren, Scott Brown’s opponent, has said that if elected she will defy the will of the voters on this important issue, and instead will not seek to Legalize. She did say that she would probably vote For the Medical Marijuana Legalization measure on today’s ballot, but that’s a largely empty gesture on her part, when coupled with her pledge not to try to Legalize it.

No Green was listed on the ballot today for US Senator. I voted for a Green anyway.