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Poll Workers in Belarus Report Ballot Tampering, is This a Warning for U.S.?

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BY JACKSON CURTIN

2020 has been a year of “Jebus, what else could happen?”, which each time asked, the results have been this, this, this, or this. The list goes on really. We should probably stop asking that question.

So to pile on, there have been many speculations made about the upcoming election. From Microsoft alleging that the same Russian hacker group that hacked Clinton has targeted Biden’s campaign to the very real actions by Trump’s administration to limit the USPS in order to devalue absentee ballots before the election.

Even if the evidence based claims don’t alarm you, then the weird ones should. Russian News Publications for example (of course), have been making claims that Kremlin lead hackers have leaked voter information from registered voters in Michigan. The problem with that claim is that all the information claimed to be “leaked” are public records. In-fact, it used to be delivered to your door:

Photo by Adam Lehman

Michigan of course denies any such event. But even still, Russian propaganda machines are working hard to discredit the U.S. election in the eyes of other countries. Which is odd because America is already the butt of Europe’s jokes. According to this New York Times article, Kremlin linked agents in Ukraine and Russia are acting in force to back Trump. To which end is anybody’s guess. Personally, I like to think their plan of action is a little more like jazz.

The man LOVES Charles Mingus. Photo from Wiki Commons

To be honest shit looks bleak enough already. But there’s another potential threat that we should take seriously.

Recently poll workers in Belarus reported that they were systematically instructed and threatened to commit fraud at local polling stations. According to the Associated Press, poll workers were told to “sign a document summing up its result, with the vote totals left blank”. This of course was not an isolated incident. Poll workers from the capital in Minsk to small farming villages showed evidence to reporters of voting fraud at the ballots. To citizens in Belarus, this is nothing new.

Dictator for Life Alexander Lukashenko took power in Belarus in 1994 against his Left-Wing opponent. Lukashenko ran as a populist, on a “cleaning up corruption” platform. Once elected, his political platform shifted, and became more authoritarian. Every election since 1994 has been surrounded by reports of voter fraud by the Right-Wing government.  

Some will say these comparisons are alarmist thinking.

I feel like this most days now.

But is it? After this last year can anyone honestly say they would be surprised if it were to happen here?

Frankly, the voting rights for American citizens are under attack, and it’s happening directly from our elected leaders. Senator Ben Sasse recently called for a repeal of the 17th Amendment in this Wall Street Journal Op-Ed. Doing so would mean that senate elections would no longer be by popular vote, but instead by a governing body not unlike our current Electoral College. The same Electoral College that was kept as a way to count slaves as a population; but not grant them any true voting rights. And since then it’s been used by conservative politicians to restrict the vote of disenfranchised people through tactics like Gerrymandering, voter registration laws, voter ID laws, and using census information to unjustly claim that immigrants are committing voter fraud. Which, no, they aren’t.  

You probably need this puppy pic by now

So, what do we do with all of this?

Well, the first thing you can do is contact your elected officials and let them know in no uncertain terms that you want your representation to be upheld, and that the values of democracy are maintained. Registering to vote and then voting are also good ones. You can also do a quick search and see what community action committees are available in your area.

(Editors Note: You can also find ways to help turn out Democratic voters in swing states right here. And if you want to join the phone banking crew Stuart is part of, email him at Stuart@BrokeAssStuart.com)

We need to be vigilant about our voting rights, and exercise them. Now more than ever.

Because if the Trump Administration is capable of this, we cannot leave them a single inch.

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Broke-Ass Stuart - Editor In Cheap

Broke-Ass Stuart - Editor In Cheap

I've been called "an Underground legend": SF Chronicle , "an SF cult hero": SF Bay Guardian, and "the chief of cheap": Time Out New York, but to those familiar with my work, I'm just "that douchebag who writes books about cheap stuff and drinks a lot".

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