On Contact: Voter fraud, stealing elections
Chris Hedges discusses the potential for voter fraud in the 2020 presidential election with investigative journalist Greg Palast.
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Chris Hedges:Welcome to On Contact. Today we discuss the potential for voter fraud in the 2020 Presidential Election with Investigative Journalist Greg Palast.
Greg Palast: You know, I have a lot of support from the Congressional Black Caucus. And in Wisconsin, I was actually brought in to help the state defend against the attack on their voter rolls by rightwing billionaires as brought in by Lieutenant Governor, who is African-American, Mandela Barnes. My problem with the Democratic Party is their White Congressional Caucus, which is afraid to touch the issue of race because when we're talking about vote thievery, an election manipulation, Chris. We're talking about race. It's Jim Crow. It's Jim Crow all over again. It's just more sophisticated, it's now Dr. James Crow Systems Analyst. But the Democratic Party is not there.
CH: As the November Presidential Election approaches, little looks good for Donald Trump. The COVID-19 pandemic because of grotesque mismanagement is out of control ravaging states such as Florida and Texas that Trump needs to win to be reelected. Joe Biden despite his weakness as a candidate is on average eight percentage points ahead of Trump in national polling and in some polls that figure is as high as fourteen percent. The unemployment rate officially is over 11% and could double by the end of the summer. The economy is in a tailspin. And as bad as this unemployment rate is many economists say official figures because they do not count those who stopped looking for work and count many who were furloughed as still employed, is actually between 16% and 20%. But Trump and the Republican Party are masters at voter suppression. They employed a variety of schemes from refusing to send out mail-in ballots to massive purchase of voters from the rolls in 2016 to block votes especially of the young and people of color who most probably would've voted for the Democratic Party nominee. In 2016 an estimated 5,872,857 ballots were cast and never counted. In addition an estimated 1,982,071 voters in 2016 were blocked from casting their ballots. That is a total of 7,854,928 votes and voters who were left uncounted. There's little doubt that the Republican Party under tremendous pressure will employ and expand these and other nefarious tactics in a desperate bid to retain power. Joining me to discuss the danger of massive fraud in the upcoming Presidential Election is Investigative Journalist Greg Palast author of How Trump Stole 2020. So, Greg, you've investigated various schemes that the Republican Party establishment has used throughout the country to cancel out votes. Just enumerate what they are.
GP: Wow. You got some time, Chris? That's why I wrote a whole book about it. Number one, we start out with the wipeout, a voter's off the voter rolls. This number is so shocking that I--that I got to tell you to get ready for it. 16.7 million Americans were erased off the voter rolls in the last two years, 16.7 million overwhelmingly young voters, voters of color, and I got to tell you, most of them don't know it. They're going to be surprised when they don't get their mail-in ballots or they're thrown out of polling stations. That's the--that's the number one purge. The second thing is I got to tell you are--the nasty little secret of American democracy, Chris, is that we don't count all the ballots. So, you mentioned the 5.9 million votes--ballots that were not counted in 2016, that's from the Elections Assistance Commission. These are US Government figures which are hidden in plain sight. So, we disqualify ballots. We use fancy words under vote, over vote, spoiled. However, you want to break it down, we literally take 1.9 million ballots that were cast in precinct and throw them in the garbage. Now, they're never counted, disqualified, that's the official number. But here's the other official number that should--that will explain why they're throwing out these votes. According to US Civil Rights Commission the chance of your vote being disqualified, spoiled, not counted after you cast it is 900% higher if you're black than if you're white, 900% higher, 500% higher if you're Hispanic. And it's literally as a statistician it's almost beyond calculation how bad it is for American Natives when they try to cast the vote, and these are all voters of color and the color is blue.
CH:Let's talk about the ways they do it because it's really dirty. I mean, for instance one of the things that you found--and you--I saw this in your great film on voter suppression is that they'll take a name and claim that it's double voting. But these names are almost always names that would, you know, come from the African-American community or the Latin--Latino community. So, talk about that tactic and the--and the other tactics that they use to erase voters from the roll and declaring them ineligible. I mean, for instance that they haven't voted in the last two elections, which doesn't have any legal basis. You can't remove somebody's capacity to vote legally. So, just talk about the ways that they have done this.
GP: Okay. So, starting out with--you mentioned the system created by a guy called Interstate Crosscheck, created by a guy, as you'll find the book called Kris Kobach of Kansas. If you can't remember that name just remember KKK. Mr. KKK who was [INDISTINCT] State of Kansas created a hit list of people to remove, which he called Interstate Crosscheck, got a lot of press pray--praising him from the mainstream press saying he was hunting down all the people voting and registering in two states, which is a crime. No reporter until I got in for Rolling Stone ever asked for the list, for the names, who were these evil double voters? Why aren't you arresting them? They didn't arrest anyone, 7.2 million suspects. And you'll see in the book there's a chapter called 358 James Browns. So, 358 James Browns were removed from the voter rolls of Georgia based on this hit list from Mr. KKK because he found, believe it or not, a James Brown in Detroit, and a James Brown in Baltimore, a James Brown in Phoenix, of course, they were matching and they're saying it's all the same voter, so they're removing them. Even though it's James Edward Brown…
CH: Let me just--let me interrupt--let me interrupt you because this is…
CH: …from the book. They often…
CH: …have different middle names.
GP: Yeah. And they have--you can even--I actually…
CH: Right. They're erasing the middle name to make…
CH: …the name essentially match.
GP: Yeah. So, you go James Thomas Brown--and this is an exact--this is a real example, James Thomas Brown and James Edward Brown are supposed to be the same voter. But here's the trick, how do they know it's black? Well, it's simple. So, I asked the Secretary of State of Michigan, "What color do you think Michael Brown is?" I gave him a list of whole Michael Browns where not one middle name was matched that he'd removed. They removed 50,000 voters in Michigan. Fifty thousand voters in 2016 with names like Brown, and Garcia, and Kim, and Park, and Ho. So, what's happening is they take the common names. Eighty-five--the one hundred most common names in America according to the census are minority names like Garcia and Rodriguez. There are 832,000 Garcias in America, Chris. And so, if you're--like our expert said, if your name is Jose Garcia, you've been--you're being accused of voting in 29 States. I'm not kidding you, this is the stuff that they're doing. They're not arresting anyone for double voting. They're simply erasing them because these clearly aren't double voters. But, yeah, at 1.1 million voters almost all voters of color were removed from voter rolls using this--that's just one system. You also mentioned this thing of--it's kind of called Use it or Lose It or Purged by Postcard, what happens, you missed an election or for example, they blocked you from voting. Wisconsin, you walk in, you're a young person, you hand in your student ID, they say that's no good. You walk away, you didn't vote. Now, they take away your registration. They say, oh, you skipped the election. You're "inactive." Now, what is an inactive voter? Not someone who sits around eating potato chips on a couch instead of going to the gym. An inactive voter is someone who's missed one or two elections. Now, as you mentioned, federal law says, you can't lose your vote because you choose not to vote. That's--you have the right in America to vote. You have the right in America not to vote. But they're going to take away your vote anyway because they know that these so-called inactive voter list is two-to-one democratic. Even more it's overwhelmingly young people, voters of color, they know it. Now, I was in Atlanta, Chris, in 2018 and as I say the book really begins where I'm observing and investigating this kind of test drive, the mass purging, wipeout of voters. And I'm at the voting station and there's a woman in hysterics. I mean, just tears pouring out of her eyes. She's with an older woman dressed to the nines, 92-year-old, Christine Jordan. She's been--she was going to be voting for the 50th year at the same school in Atlanta. They threw her butt out of the vote--a polling station, a 92-year-old woman. They wiped out her registration. This is Martin Luther King's cousin. And with--so, it got a lot of press when I filmed the--King's 92-year-old cousin being thrown out of a polling station. But what the press [INDISTINCT] was that she was one of three hundred forty thousand voters illegally removed by the GOP Operatives in Georgia. That was their test drive of the system. That's a third of a million people, Chris, illegally removed. And that was a test drive for the system that's going to win the election.
CH: I mean, one of the [INDISTINCT] you pointed out in the book, Greg, is the way college towns are purged. Just talk a little bit about that because they're clearly targeting areas. I think Madison, Wisconsin, if I remember correctly from the book is one of the cities where college students were just erased from the rolls.
GP: Absolutely. In fact that right as we speak, you'll see in the book I have some unusual situation. The book was actually finished just shortly, so it's very fresh. The State of Wisconsin Republican legislature said you got to wipe out. You have to wipe out a hundred and fifty-two thousand names off the voter rolls. Now, we looked at The Guardian. We looked at this, it's mostly voters--student voters in Madison, African-American voters in Milwaukee. Why are they removing these voters? They say, "Oh, they've moved away. They moved out of the state." Well, look, if you moved out of Milwaukee, you shouldn't vote in Milwaukee, right? So, I asked one of the people on their list, Sequanna Taylor, "Did you move out of Milwaukee?" And she said, "I don't think so. I'm Milwaukee County Supervisor." So, that's--but she was guilty of voting while black. Understand it's an--it's an African-American woman who's a County Supervisor in Milwaukee. So, she was on the hit list. But I got to tell you that I had experts go through that hit list and see who actually moved. The experts who work with Amazon, eBay, et cetera, they know where you were last Thursday. So, they know who's moved. But they found that the list was 74% wrong. You got a hundred thousand people who are going to lose their votes, mostly students. Now, what about students? They are moving. They move dorm room to dorm room. They move couch to couch in their friend's places. But you don't have to reregister just because you went home for the summer. You're not supposed to lose your vote because you've moved to another dorm room. They understand how it works and that's why they can target students this way.
CH: When we come back, we'll continue our conversation about voter fraud with Investigative Journalist Greg Palast. Welcome back. We continue our conversation about voter fraud and the consequences for the 2020 Presidential Election with Greg Palast. So, also, there are other mechanisms which you highlight in the book, early voting. Talk about that as a tactic to erase voters from the rolls.
GP: Well, what's happened is they were stopping black people from voting all over the nation by having these massive long lines. So the federal government said, "Well, now you have to create systems for early voting so people can go ahead." But you have states like Ohio which, remember, Obama won twice, and suddenly weirdly, it swung over to--it swung over to Trump. Part of that was 800,000 voters were wiped out by the GOP, off the voter rolls. And then what happened is they took early voting and they said, "Oh, let's make early voting fair." You'll love this, Chris. "Let's make it fair. We're going to have one polling station for every county so it's fair." That meant they literally have a county in Ohio with 6,000 residents including the cows, okay? And they gave one polling station for Cleveland creating seven-hour lines for black people voting early. And when I say the 70% of African-Americans vote early in Ohio, I was with a church group, five hours, five hours waiting in line in Dayton. And then when we got to the end of the line, they didn't give them regular ballots as they've done when Obama was running. They started giving--handing out absentee ballots. And absentee ballots, as we're gonna find out when you're mailing in your ballot, absentee ballots gets thrown out all the time very easily. So it's deliberately giving people ballots that they knew they could disqualify later. We wait five hours in line to get a ballot that's not gonna get counted. It's ugly and that's how Trump won Ohio.
CH: Let's talk--before we talk about--I want to talk about Georgia, but let's talk about also the issue of paperless ballots.
GP: Yeah. Well, one of the problems of course with paperless ballots, if you want to turn back and say, "Well, what was on that sheet?" It's electronic. I had a weird situation in Ohio. I was with Attorney Robert Fitrakis, and went into a courtroom two days before the '12 Election. And he was ask--you know, the new voting machines, electronic voting machines actually take snapshot of your ballot, number it in order, timestamp it, and also seal it with special software where it can't be tampered with. Well, believe it or not, there's a little switch in the mechanism by the company that makes the machines in Ohio that you just turn it on. Believe it or not, county--Republican-controlled counties in Ohio literally turned off the anti-hacking software. They turned off the ballot copying security measure so you can't recount the ballots. They deliberately turned off those switches. And we went into a courtroom. I was observing a courtroom when a judge said, "Well, it's going to be too difficult or expensive for them to actually protect the ballots." And all it is it's a little switch on the machine, on the software. You want to--it literally, when you turn it on, it says, "Do you want to have ballot protection? Do you want to have anti-hacking security?" So they turned this off. So I don't know what's--what happened in Ohio but I can tell you this, if you're not committing a crime, why are you covering it up? That's the problem. I call those the amnesia machines. You go…
CH: Well, let's talk about--you bring it up in the book about the disparity between exit polling and results. And you say that's really another piece of evidence that exposes fraud?
GP: Oh, yeah. Okay. The--I have in How Trump Stole 2020. I actually have a picture of the United States State Department guidelines to--that--to determine whether an election is fair and honest. And the number one thing that that the US State Department looks at is exit polling. And if exit polling doesn't match the official count, you know there was thievery. By the US Government's own standards, and we rejected elections in Ukraine, in Peru, in Serbia, we should not have accepted the results in Wisconsin, and Michigan, and Pennsylvania because the exit poll showed Hillary winning, and in fact two of those states crushing Donald Trump. So what happened? What happened? How can you have exit polls? People just walk out of the polls, they say, "How did you vote?" They--you know if you voted. What you don't know, Chris, is if they counted your vote. Again, the nasty secret of American democracy is we don't count all the votes. So you have votes which are disqualified. So you have this--so therefore, for example in Michigan back in 2016, 87 vote scanning machines. Those are machines that count the ballots, 87 machines in Detroit broke down and couldn't count the ballots. So literally, 75,000 ballots in Detroit were never counted. Now, someone walks out of a polling station, speaks to an exit pollster, say, "How did you vote?" "Oh, it's in Detroit. Hillary Clinton." They know that they voted for Hillary Clinton but they didn't know if their vote didn't count. Now 75,000 ballots in Detroit, that's not exactly Trumpville Motown. So 75,000 ballots almost certainly overwhelmingly for Clinton in Detroit were not counted because of broken machines, and yet Donald Trump supposedly won by 10,700 votes. So you see the exit poll showing Hillary Clinton winning because she did. That's what--the exit polls weren't wrong, she did win. And Trump, the only reason he got the state is by literally not counting those ballots, and of course throwing off--people off the boat.
CH:But we should be clear [INDISTINCT]
GP: Go ahead.
CH: …what you point on the vote that Trump's margin of victory was very, very small.
CH: And just, you know, elaborate on that a little bit because it--you know, the massive numbers of voters who were denied access to the process would've, you know, swung the election by massive amounts against Trump.
GP: Well, I have to tell you, for example--okay, I told you 75,355 ballots to be exact, were not counted because of the broken machines in Detroit. That is--that's seven times Trump's victory margin of 10,700. So literally, Hillary Clinton's presidency is sitting in those pile of uncounted ballots. Now, if you go--then you switch…
CH: But that's not Michigan. That's not other states as well, as you point out?
GP: Oh, that happens everywhere. But in Michigan, absolutely, we can literally count the ballots that gave Hillary that state, and they're sitting there in a pile. Then you go to Wisconsin. Supposedly, Trump won Wisconsin, by what, 22,000 votes out of 3 million in Wisconsin. How did that happen? The--and again, the exit poll show Hillary won. There's a reason why she didn't [INDISTINCT] she wasn't an idiot. She had Wisconsin locked. What she didn't figure was the steal. And the steal for example included two weeks before the elections, just two weeks, Chris, before the election. They changed the voter ID laws. So that for--so that you have to have a photo state ID. Fine, there are a hundred and eighty-two thousand students in the University of Wisconsin system. They've got their state photo ID. But guess what, that photo ID does not work in Wisconsin to vote. If you want to use your state ID you have to change--you have to go to the university's--to the dean's office, change to a vote-worthy ID. By the way, that office happens to be closed right now but, hey, hundred and eighty-two thousand students disenfranchised two weeks before the election. And now, by the way, and that's several times obviously Trump's victory margin in Wisconsin in addition, 50,000 African-American voters. According to the University of Wisconsin study, 50,000 African-American voters were not allowed to vote in the 2016 Election because there's change to requiring an active photo ID. Because, you know, the--what happened was--yeah, you can use your driver's license but who doesn't have a driver's license? People who don't drive, who don't have cars, urban, poor, low-income, take buses, they're known as Democrats, right? This is what it is. Fifty thousand were denied the right to vote. And yet Trump is supposedly the winner by 22,000 votes. That's why Hillary didn't campaign there because if everyone voted, or their votes were counted, she had a walk. The problem is the Democrats, and why didn't Hillary figure the steal because, I got to tell you, with my reporting, we were shouting it from the rooftops, they're stealing Wisconsin with both hands and they're doing it again. They're doing it again, Chris. You know, but the Democratic Party is missing in action.
CH: Well, and that's a good--I mean, that's a good point you raised in the book. So, you know, Russia stole our elections, Russia stole our elections. Why don't they discuss this, you know, incontrovertible fraud that is massive throughout the US Electoral System?
GP: Well, when I say they, there's two parties here. You know, I have a lot of support from the Congressional Black Caucus. And in Wisconsin, I was actually brought in to help the state defend against the attack on their voter rolls by rightwing billionaires as brought in by Lieutenant Governor who is African-American, Mandela Barnes. My problem with the Democratic Party is their White Congressional Caucus, which is afraid to touch the issue of race because when we're talking about vote thievery, an election manipulation, Chris. We're talking about race. It's Jim Crow. It's Jim Crow all over again. It's just more sophisticated, it's now Dr. James Crow Systems Analyst. But the Democratic Party is not there.
CH: Let's just talk briefly about Georgia because that's a kind of case study in your book, but it's a pretty egregious study, and shows the potential for what we could be facing in a few months.
GP: I mean, it combined the ugliest stuff. You'll see in--that's where they first practiced removing voters from the voter rolls under new system saying, "Oh, if you didn't vote we're going to send the--we'll send you a post card. If you don't answer the post card, you lose your vote." Now, these post cards sent to voters of color, young people, people who've missed election, or they just moved within their neighborhood. You don't have to re-register but they're sending them cards. Now, it looks like junk mail and it's supposed to look like junk mail. It's brilliant. And the result was they removed half a million voters from the voter rolls. And I hired experts to go through it and I found--again, that was that 92-year-old Martin Luther King's cousin was on it, but there were 340,134 people illegally removed. They said, move [INDISTINCT] move. You could see them right there. They're not dead, they're walking, they're talking to me, but they're removing these voters. And it's brutal. I--they were--they know--for example, I had a soldier from--coming back from Iraq, served two tours of duty. He moved into Georgia and they said "Well, he moved…" And what they did was they removed him because he said he moved out of Georgia. And by the way, Stacey Abrams was the one who found that case looking through my--when I showed her the list of illegally removed voters. But, of course, that--again, that soldier was guilty.
CH: Wait. Can I just interrupt you? I mean, we should be clear that this swung the election to the Republican candidate and Stacey Abrams lost, even though she was polling very well. I just want to close because you talked about this as a possibility of using these tactics to swing the final vote of the Presidential Election, because nobody gets the 270 votes needed for the Electoral College to the House of Representatives. And I didn't know this until I read your book, that even though the House of Representatives have Democratic majority each state only gets one vote. Well, I'm going to let you explain it, which means that, you know, if they're able to muddy up--especially in contested states like Florida, the voting system enough and it does go to the House, Trump becomes president. Explain that process.
GP: Okay. What happens is this is why Trump is screaming about fraud in mail-in ballots because you are going to have an implosion at the post office, they're re-funding the post office. You're going to have literally millions of votes that didn't get to the voters in the first place as they were purged, they withheld them. We saw--by the way, they took another test run in Georgia. Did you see those long lines? Do you know what those long lines were? We talked to ACLU about this. It's--most of those voters in line asked for absentee ballot and never got it. One in ten people asked for that ballot, never get it. So then you're going to have people don't get the ballots, people who are mailing the ballots, they're late. They're not post marked, they're messed up. There's going to be disputes over literally millions of ballots. One in ten absentee ballots is never counted, disqualified, so you're going to have fights over literally millions of ballots and you're going to have Republican legislatures like Florida, or Michigan, or Wisconsin, where Biden is expected to win now. But they'll say, "Oh, all these fraudulent votes from Bolivia so we can't certify the election." That way Biden does not get those electoral votes. The Electoral College can't put together 270 votes for a Presidential candidate. It goes to the house under Article 12 of the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, Article 12 said it goes to the House. Every state gets a single vote. Donald Trump re-elected constitutionally. Look out.
CH: I'm going to stop there. Thanks. That was Greg Palast, Investigative Journalist on potential voter fraud in the 2020 President Election. Thanks, Greg.
GP: Fantastic, Chris. Thank you.