Dead Voters


Let us be clear: in the United States, the squalid intimidations and Kafka-esque bureaucratic disenfranchisement surrounding the 2012 Presidential Election demand the presence of independent electoral monitors. The United States is witnessing a systematic attempt by right wing and Republican operatives to disenfranchise millions of its citizens under the pretense of preventing the propaganda phantom of ‘instances’ of fraud at the American ballot box. Given the panoply of American paranoia, vote suppression by reactionary and racist forces is perhaps the only authentic conspiracy in town. The number of measurable or even tenuously substantiated fraudulent votes cast (including those of  ‘dead voters’ who, if they can be said to exist, comprise those who cast a legitimate absentee ballot hours or days before their death is registered) in US Presidential elections during the period of recording number between zero cases and almost zero cases. To indulge the conspiracy for a moment, let us grant even without evidence that there could have been 100 cases of malicious criminal voting fraud since the beginning of the presidency of George W. Bush. Let’s imagine 100 cases since Bush’s election and the exaltation of the neo-con agenda, that happy domino that was to depose Saddam Hussein and slap a monolithic democracy down upon Iraq, Afghanistan and the broken sceneries of a global theater. The cost of the neo-con domino in those countries alone until 2012 is more than 6500 US military deaths and many more tens of thousand injured and maimed. Civilian casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan, it is safe to say, number in the tens and hundreds of thousands.

Evidently, the Republican Party is willing to protect the principle of the vote elsewhere with thousands of American dead (whose military IDs may not be sufficient to allow them to vote in certain US constituencies). It’s not easy to say if any of the American ‘dead voters’ that voter suppression advocates on the Right claim to have counted were military personnel who cast absentee ballots immediately before their deaths. But what is violently clear is that the Right, the neo-cons, the Republicans are willing to sacrifice thousands of US citizens and trillions of deficit dollars to insist upon a version of universal suffrage abroad while committing ballot box terrorism at home. They examine no hypocrisy of their own. The equation is quite simple though: if you are willing to disenfranchise domestic voters so cheaply, then you have ceased to value the lives of the Americans who you send abroad to die for the right to of others vote in a foreign field. With hundreds of thousands of men, women and children killed to defend the neo-con version of democracy overseas, would it be so unspeakable if one ghost voted at home? The truth is that the US does not need election monitors flown in, it is already being monitored and found wanting.

James Reich – Author of 'I, Judas' (Soft Skull Press, Oct. 2011) and 'Bombshell' (Soft Skull Press, July 2013). Work has also appeared at/in The Rumpus, Bold Type Magazine, Headzine, The End of, and others. Also: Musician w/ post-punk band Venus Bogardus.