Thursday, April 29, 2004

Election Fraud Onli in da Pilipins?
Read This!!

My grandfather was the Vice-Mayor of our town in Northern Cebu ever since I could remember. He was a personal friend of the acknowledged political warlord that time, and therefore was with him even as the warlord jumped from one party to the other.

Now, everyone knows how political warlords in the 60's and 70's clung to their power. They used the three G's - guns, gold, and goons.

Our town, naturally, was a bailiwick of the warlord since the Mayor, my grandpa and the councilors were all allies. They, however, always delivered for the party without any need for the 3 G's.

At one election voters trooped to the polls to elect a President and 8 senators. The incumbent President (you know who) was running for reelection and was intent to win at all cost. The warlord was allied with him. This time goons from other places were deployed in our town. And people from our town were assigned as goons in other places.

Grandpa who was in his 70s came home fuming mad after casting his ballot. He told me that the goons assigned to his polling place did not recognize him. They were right inside the booths looking at the ballots as the voters filled them up. Grandpa told me he was hit on the fingers with a stick by a goon and was reminded who to vote for.

Grandpa was terrorized by his party's goons to vote for the complete slate of the party. What a sweet irony! It would have been more ironic had it been local election day; he would have been forced to vote for himself.

My father, who was a card-carrying Liberal, had his own experience with the 3G's. He ran for Mayor in a town in Zamboanga del Sur during one local election. As the poll closed and counting started that day, their party was already celebrating victory. They were enjoying a clear lead. But when the official returns from the mountain barrios came they lost by a slim margin.

It is election time again. And stories abound about how Philippine elections are characterized by fraud and violence. Comparison with American elections always come to the fore.

From the UK Guardian of March 2, 2004 we read this:

Stealing an election used to take some doing. Sometimes the dead had to vote. At other times it took the intervention of the supreme court, as in Florida three years ago. Maybe not a theft in that case, but certainly a spirited getaway.

With new voting equipment in use today in California, Georgia and Maryland for the Super Tuesday primaries, it now may be possible to hijack the results with nothing more than a phone call into a computer modem.

Electronic theft may not be necessary. Last time around, election officials in at least two swing states launched a coordinated campaign to inhibit many residents of inner city areas from voting. Tens of thousands were wrongly denied a say in the Gore-Bush race in Missouri and Florida. They were disproportionately Democrats.

Here's some humor from the same article:

Things used to be so much more straightforward than this. In an election in the 1980s, the incumbent mayor of Jersey City, an old industrial centre in northern New Jersey, feared that he had lost the support of his most elderly constituents. Many of them lived in city-owned apartment towers. On election morning workers removed the control panels of the lifts "for routine maintenance".

His opponent rounded up weight lifters from nearby gyms to carry voters down the stairs to vote and then haul them back up. The challenger won.

A google search will also get one to this:

The history of this IRS gag order is instructive. It began with the fraudulent election of Johnson to the Senate in 1948. It has been well established by both conservative and liberal historians that Lyndon Johnson's election to the Senate in 1948 was won by massive voter fraud. Known as "Landslide Lyndon", this mean-spirited political operative was elected by only 87 votes. His challenger, Coke Stevenson challenged his election and presented credible evidence that hundreds of votes for Johnson had been faked. Johnson, however, was successful in blocking Stevenson's effort by the clever use of court injunctions.

Or how about searching for Chicago's Richard Daley and his reign as political warlord.