Tennessee Democratic Party Chair Chip Forrester released a statement on Friday saying that Secretary of State Tre Hargett should be fired for "refusing to do his job" and for "using his office to obstruct the voting rights of all Tennesseans."
Sean Braisted says Forrester is over the top, making "outlandish claims with very little to back them up," and that the "notion that the GOP (via the SOS) is involved in a massive conspiracy between 95 county election commissions to commit felonious election fraud is not backed up as of yet by any real evidence."
While I don't think anyone (except maybe Forrester in his strongly worded statement) is accusing the GOP of conspiring to commit "felonious election fraud," there is clear and very real evidence of an organized effort to undermine election reforms in Tennessee. Go read that and tell me how you interpret it as anything short of an effort to discourage voter registration, suppress voter turnout, inject big money into elections, make it impossible to verify election results, and install hand picked election officials to oversee their schemes.
The only thing that isn't clear is the motive. It may be as simple as "because they can." More likely, it's to gain every possible legal advantage going in to the 2010 elections.
As for the Secretary of State's recent statement defending his refusal to comply with the Voter Confidence Act, Mary Mancini has the point by point rebuttal with actual, you know, facts and stuff.
Mainstream media is taking a pass on the controversy. They are too busy mourning the death of journalism to go do some journalism as part of their "fourth estate" duties, one of which is to watch over this most fundamental element of representative democracy. Other than a couple of bloggers and a "colorful" activist (who got a visit from the TBI courtesy of the Secretary of State's office for his trouble), nobody seems to care.
Except Chip Forrester, who resorts to making "outlandish claims" in an effort to get someone, anyone, to pay attention. Good for Chip Forrester.
P.S. This Republican talking point about optical scan ballots being the same technology used in the recent Iranian elections is absurd and an insult to our intelligence. They're comparing the State of Tennessee to Iran? Give me a break. Who cares how you count the votes if you don't plan to count them in the first place? If, on the other hand, you plan to count the votes (which is what we do in America, right?), isn't it better to use a system that allows you to verify the votes are actually being counted and count them manually if you have to?
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