Thursday, August 02, 2012

Absentee Ballots: could this time be different? ... by gimleteye

It is clear that someone at the Miami Herald has decided it is time to dig into the absentee ballot nightmare in Miami. The practice of boleteras "advising" elderly and confused voters how to vote is so common in Hialeah as to have become standard operating behavior. Turns out to be good business for campaign consultants who understand how close elections can be won or lost on manipulating absentee ballots. Combined with voter suppression -- a practice by the Rick Scott-led Florida GOP -- the scales of justice tip sharply to rigging elections.  News Alert: The Absentee Ballot Broker  Deisy Cabrera in Hialeah was just arrested.

For the most part, political officials know how this game is being played and most have remained silent on the importance of illegal tactics. The net effect is to sharply increase public disgust and apathy. Both work against candidates who might be inclined to mount campaigns on discussion of issues and in favor of candidates who focus on raising gobs of money to afford the mechanical aspects of modern political campaigns: mail lists, targeted messaging, and careful application to media and television.

As such, absentee ballot fraud is one part of election mechanics that serve the dismal purpose of blurring the meaning of party affiliation. In other words, if elections are all about playing a game that is manipulative in its essentials, what does it matter if you affiliate as a Republican or a Democrat? (This describes the atmosphere that elevates a career politician like state senator Ron Saunders who is a Democrat in name, only, finding a business partner for his Tallahassee bar, Sloppy Joe's started famously in Key West, with former GOP state chair, Jim Greer.)

The blurring has even further effects, like propelling the Tea Party as the extremist wing of the Republican Party to put even more pressure on Republicans who had lost any sense of what "moderate" means, even before the Tea Party had emerged.

Collectively, these phenomena are bound together by fear: fear of personal finances, fear for the jobs market, fear for housing, fear for inflation of food prices, of education, and fear of foreshortened horizons. There is nothing new in this, except that the 2012 version is more toxic. It emerges as a result of massive and grinding economic dislocations that grew out of globalization and the mispricing of economic risk, leading to a rapid and unprecedented consolidation of wealth to top wage earners and jeopardy to the rest. Yes, tapping into fear is a well-established political practice. But there are gradients on the scale of fear and right now, the needle has pushed on the fear dial into the danger zone.

A poor abuela in Hialeah is likely to wonder; with all the problems she has making ends meet, through which pervasive fraud or black-market economic activities are just standard ways of getting through the week, who cares if someone wants to buy her vote? She could use a good breakfast. And what does it matter, anyways, she will wonder. Her vote doesn't count when politicians are all corrupt.


Anonymous said...

Why elevate this issue to Rick Scott and the dupes in Tallahassee...this scandal is all about Gimenez and his cronies hanging on to the reins of our metropolitan government. They are buying absentee ballots to control the $7 Billion purse at County Hall. This is not the Koch Brothers or Karl Rove, this is in-your-face election theft by people we all know! Where is the outrage? Vote against these scheming thieves!

Grillo said...

I beg to differ with Anonymous. This scandal is about ALL elected positions that appear on the ballot: local, state and federal. It is completely irrelevant if the perpetrators of this fraud are connected to local, state or federal campaigns. They are all corrupting the only means that the American people have to express their political choice. To think otherwise is absurd.

Anonymous said...

It appears that this ballot fraud is about operatives that take advantage of old, sick, handicapped individuals who might not ever vote except for the people "helping them" or just paying someone for the ballots and filling them out themselves. To just blame locals is inaccurate. The state legislature make it very easy for this type of election fraud to take place when they eliminated controls on absentee ballots. Many elected officials now serving lost both early voting and election day contests, but somehow were elected due to absentee ballots.
The system is broken and needs to be fixed.

Anonymous said...

In response to Grillo, I am not saying this is not a problem at all levels of government. But, we are witnessing the the corruption right here and now during a race for the second most powerful position in the State of Florida after the Governor, the Mayor of Miami-Dade County. Rather than rail against the larger political theoretical problems of our democracy, we should be laser focused on this corruption that is unveiling its ugly face in our midst. I am furious and want to see the candidates that engage in this practice punished.

Anonymous said...

Please open the ballots and show for whom Deisy Cabrera was obtaining votes. As in 1997 in the City of Miami, those candidates forfeit the race.

Anonymous said...

I cannot believe and hope its not true that Mr. Gimenez is involved in the AB voting. I would think his work would speak for him.
Some of these candidates are desperate to win and will do illegal things to get elected.
It will be interesting to see if any of the Garcias for example: Luis Garcia or Pedro Garcia are dealing in Absentee Ballots. I am anxiouus to see the ballots that will tell us the story.

Anonymous said...

Luis Garcia has hired Tirador. Do not vote for him!!!!!!!!

Geniusofdespair said...

Don't be a jerk, we have to get Barreiro out. He has his own version of Tirador. Plus he is in the nursing home business.

Anonymous said...

South Florida a stressful mean place to live