23 November 2014

Imagine Hillary Clinton's luck.

When she needed to win a primary in New Hampshire, the machines glitched up, and she emerged with an unexpected margin of victory. Whether it was due to electronic voting breakdowns is not clear. But there was never a a full recount or a thorough investigation of the serious problems that plagued the vote count in that state.

When she needed a victory in Ohio, Republican voters -- urged on by Rush Limbaugh -- crossed over in droves and helped give her one. Cross-over voting may also have been a factor in her critical victory in Pennsylvania. There were also numerous instances of computer tabulation glitches in the Pennsylvania secretary of state's office.

Now the Indiana primary looms ahead. Less than a week prior, the US Supreme Court has delivered a devastating decision on voter ID that could again make a big difference in Clinton's favor.

Contrary to two centuries of American election law, the Court has ruled 6-3 that it is legal for a state to require official photo ID in order to vote. The lead decision in this case, written by liberal Justice John Paul Stevens, acknowledges that there is no evidence of voter fraud to make this requirement vital to the security of the election process. Indeed, it is clearly stated in the minority opinion that requiring photo ID to vote discriminates heavily against citizens who are young, poor, elderly and of color.

The Indiana primary will now be the first in US history with a Supreme Court-certified requirement for photo ID. GOP stalwarts -- led by Limbaugh -- are positively ecstatic. There is simply no doubt this requirement will eliminate hundreds of thousands of Democratic voters in November. It is in place not only in Indiana, but in Florida, Michigan, Louisiana, Georgia, Hawaii and North Dakota. Other Republican-controlled legislatures will hasten to duplicate the requirement, though it's unclear how many can pull it off before this November.

In the meantime, despite indisputable proof that electronic voting machines are the perfect engine for stealing elections, millions of Americans will still be voting on them this fall. In Ohio, e-voting will occur 53 of 88 counties even though Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner's study documented the critical vulnerabilities of Ohio's electronic voting machines.

Whether that will guarantee the election of John McCain remains to be seen, but it certainly won't hurt him.

And whether the photo ID requirement now enshrined in Indiana will deliver the Hoosier State's primary votes to Hillary Clinton is also unclear.

But much of that may be up to Barak Obama. Obama did not rise to help Dennis Kucinich obtain a recount in New Hampshire. He's said little or nothing about GOP cross-over voting in Ohio and Pennsylvania or the electronic glitches. Neither he nor Clinton has taken on the electronic voting machines that were crucial to delivering the White House to George W. Bush in 2000 and 2004.

Nor has Obama risen up the challenge this latest GOP disenfranchisement machine, the photo ID requirement.

In the interim, it seems clear the Republican Party and its conservative bloviator corps is pushing Clinton, and fear the Obama phenomenon.

But will Obama step forward in Indiana -- as did Bobby Kennedy on April 4, 1968 -- to side with the people? If not, then what is the real substance of his campaign?

Justice Steven's lead opinion is worded in a way that leaves open the door to challenge this photo ID law. Obama and/or Clinton can and must file a lawsuit on behalf of every Hoosier State voter who is disenfranchised by this law. If we're to preserve any semblance of democracy in America, there must be a real test of how this law is applied in Indiana on Tuesday.

For example, the African-American woman who challenged the law in the first place had been prevented from voting because her photo ID was an expired driver's license. She also had two additional current identity items including a utility bill showing she lived at the same address. But she was still barred from voting.

You can bet that white suburbanites and rural Republicans will not be held to the same rigid or stringent standards as urban minorities. As Justice Souter noted in his dissent, roughly 6-10% of voting age Americans lack photo IDs. And it's clear who they are.

If Obama doesn't stand up for these disenfranchised voters, he will drop the bottom out of the "Obama Phenomenon". If Clinton is aided to victory in the Indiana primary by this GOP engine of targeted disenfranchisement, and ultimately gets the nomination, it could nonetheless lead to her ultimate downfall.

For only one thing is certain: if this photo ID law is not challenged, and it spreads to other states, or becomes a major factor in November in the key states where it's already in place, it could render this entire Hillary-Obama-Drama moot by putting John McCain in the White House.

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Bob Fitrakis & Harvey Wasserman co-authored HOW THE GOP STOLE AMERICA'S 2004 ELECTION & IS RIGGING 2008 (www.freepress.org) and, with Steve Rosenfeld WHAT HAPPENED IN OHIO? (The New Press). This article was originally published by http://freepress.org.