Tuesday, October 13, 2020

A new low in American "democracy"

Every US election, we're used to seeing long lines of voters, and reading stories of widespread gerrymandering and voter suppression (including things like flyers falsely telling people their assigned polling place (!) has moved or that voting will be on a different day, and robocalls threatening that people will be arrested at polling places). But American "democracy" seems to have hit a new low this week, with California Republicans setting up fake "ballot dropboxes" so they can literally steal people's postal votes:

California authorities have launched a criminal investigation into unauthorized ballot boxes that the Republican party has placed in several counties, with authorities warning that these set-ups are illegal.

The boxes have appeared in Fresno, Los Angeles and Orange counties at locations including political party offices, campaign headquarters and churches, according to the California secretary of state. The GOP admitted Monday that it owned the boxes and defended the practice.

As for what happens to ballots deposited in these fake dropboxes, who knows? But it probably involves an incinerator, at least for all those voting Democrat.

I'm equally horrified and boggled by this. How could anyone living in even a nominally democratic state possibly think that this was an acceptable political tactic? But then, the whole problem is that there is one party in America which thinks that the USA should not be even nominally democratic, that people shouldn't be allowed to vote (or vote for anyone other than them), and are willing to do almost anything to achieve that. The only difference between them and post-Soviet dictators like Putin and Lukashenko, who hold fake elections and fix the results, is what they think they can publicly get away with. And in the US, sadly, that seems to be anything short of storming polling places with armed goons and beating voters in the streets (though we may yet see that from Trump's militias this election cycle).

Hopefully, the people responsible for this attack on democracy will end up in jail. But they're part of a wider problem, which the US needs to deal with. If the Democrats manage to overcome Republican cheating and fraud to win power (as the polls suggest they will in a fair vote), then they will need to legislate to ensure free and fair elections nationwide. Otherwise, US claims to "democracy" will continue to be an increasingly bad joke.