Concerned about voter roll purges and uncounted votes

During the election Donald Trump repeatedly said, “The election is going to be rigged.” At the time I figured it was just that he knew about the Russian hacking and false news, and FBI Director James Comey’s October surprise until I started listening to Stephen Miller, Trump’s senior advisor, who said the president’s “authority will not be questioned.” Miller also said in an interview with Amy Goodman, “Right now, as a result of the president’s order, greatly expanded and more vigorous immigration enforcement activities are taking place. It is true that Operation Cross Check is something that happens every year. But this year, we’ve taken new and greater steps to remove criminal aliens from our communities.”

For several years the Republicans have been using a system called “the Interstate Voter Registration Crosscheck Program” to purge voters from the election process.

The man behind this crosscheck program is Kris Kobach, the Kansas Secretary of State. It appears to be funded by the Koch brothers and their fellow Republican millionaires. Kobach has convinced some 30 states at last count (including New Mexico) to submit to him a list of the state’s voters. These go into a huge database that supposedly checks for identical names (to eliminate double voting). Sounds good doesn’t it.

They supposedly match first and last names, middle names or initials, date of birth and the last four digits of the voter’s Social Security number. But according to Rolling Stone and other investigators who obtained lists, it appeared that in many cases just the first and last names were used. This means if you are named George Washington, and a huge percentage of black Americans are named Washington, or Jose Garcia (Hispanic) or Kim (Asian) and your name appeared in more than one state both (and often several more) states purged the name. They also noted that heavily ethnic or poorer communities were targeted.

So when Mr. Washington (or Garcia or Kim) went to vote his name was not on the list. If Mr. Washington complained loud enough and long enough a provisional ballot might be provided. [It took me more than an hour to get a provisional ballot when my voter registration was changed from Democrat to Republican.] But was it counted?

According to Greg Palast, a crosscheck expert, there is a category of ballots called “spoilage ballots” that don’t get counted, including provisional ballots and mail-in ballots. Palast went on to say that there were more than 2 million of these in the last election that didn’t get counted, including in states where Trump squeaked out a win.

Did you ever wonder why all the polls before the election showed Clinton winning? And did you wonder why the exit polls which have a tremendous record of being reliable showed Clinton winning? And did it ever occur to you when Trump said that he didn’t believe the polls that he may have had some foreknowledge?

There’s a good reason for this. As of August 2016, 7.2 million crosscheck names had been found in 15 states. We’re now up to 30 states (including New Mexico) participating in the program, so were 15 million names purged?

Not only do we need serious independent, nonpartisan investigations into Russian hacking and who knew what and when. We need to know if the Trump campaign folk don’t want these investigations because someone there really is a Russian stooge. We also need serious nonpartisan Justice Department investigation into the Cross Check program, its legality and just how it is and was being used to deny legal voters the right to cast their ballot.

Ann Ruhnka, Moriarty

 

Silence about sexual assault makes it more likely to happen

I am writing to voice my complete disbelief at the cowardice of the Moriarty-Edgewood School District has operated from as their school has been affected by the devastating, life-altering effects of sexual assault.

In late October, allegations surfaced regarding former Moriarty High School assistant football coach Damien Hyatt, who according to the Albuquerque Journal, faces 24 sex charges including “12 counts of raping a minor, sexual exploitation of a minor, criminal sexual contact, witness bribery and four counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor, were related to his tenure as assistant coach at Moriarty High School.” On January 27, 2017, KOB 4 reported, “Damien Hyatt was accused of raping a girl with a medical condition at the school in 2011 when he was a student there.” … MESD had the opportunity to open the conversation about consent and mutual trust and respect in sexual or romantic relationships or how to get help if other students should find themselves in an unsafe sexual or abusive situation. The school had the opportunity to provide access to therapists or local rape crisis representatives trained to support young men and women through these struggles and they chose not to. … Ask just about any Moriarty High School alumnus during the time in which Mr. Hyatt was a student at Moriarty High and many seemed to be of the opinion that, even prior to 2011 and the corresponding allegations, dangerous patterns toward women seemed to be at play. However, due to his mother’s position at the school and the small town politics often influencing the dynamics of the school, teachers and administrators seemed to turn a blind eye to the behaviors they noticed. … This silence, this apathy, this cowardice to do the ethically righteous thing is unacceptable. If the school district’s staff, teachers and administrators won’t stand up and do the right thing, how can we possibly expect them to be the role models we rely on to shape our children? Where is the public outcry from parents? Why are they not demanding an even more appropriate response from the school board and administrators? Even our own local media sources have failed to hold the school responsible, barely covering the initial occurrence in October but never following up again regarding the 2011 allegations. … If, as a community, we don’t speak out, what type of complacency for sexual assault will we have created?

Molly Landsen