Friday, June 11, 2010

Alvin Greene - How Did He Win?

Alvin Greene
If you've watched or listened to any of half a dozen interviews with South Carolina's recently elected Democratic nominee for U.S. Senate, your head is probably spinning just like mine is.  Here one interview with Fox News' Shepard Smith.  And here's another with the New York Times, and yet another with MSNBC's Keith Olbermann (YouTube). Be forewarned if you are not already up on this story, the videos are painful to watch.  IMO, Alvin Greene is hardly U.S. Senate material.

Vic Rawl
As Alvin Greene notes, "60% of the vote is not luck." So how did this fellow, who seems not to have campaigned at all for the position (no campaign war chest, no Web site, no rallies or events), wind up beating a much more legitimate contender, Vic Rawl?  House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-SC) is calling for an investigation and suggesting that Mr. Greene is someone's "plant."  In other words, he questions how this unemployed veteran (who was let go by both the Air Force and the Army) who qualified as an indigent just a few months ago (Greene was assigned a public defender on a felony porn charge) was able to come up with the filing fee of over $10,000.

What to me is even more intriguing is how, apparently, 100,000 people voted for him.  Some suggest his name was on the top, alphabetically.  Others say that since you can vote for any candidate regardless of how you are registered in SC, there must have been a large number of Republicans who added to the vote total in an effort to get the most ineffective Democratic candidate possible to run against incumbent Senator Jim DeMint.

Bottom line, though, even if he was planted in the race, he obviously did not do what it takes to run away with the vote from an established politician.  Bradblog adds some very important, albeit disturbing, information to the picture:
But the "plant" theory doesn't explain the extraordinary numbers that Greene reportedly received at the polls on Tuesday, if not in the absentee voting. While it's possible all of this could be an issue of dirty tricks by Republicans who are allowed to vote in SC's open primary, there were, apparently, no known efforts by the GOP to push for Greene votes --- certainly not enough to account for the staggering 59 to 41 victory Greene reportedly sailed to on Tuesday.
Brad Friedman goes on to explain: 
South Carolina uses ES&S' 100% unverifiable Direct Recording Electronic (DRE, in this case touch-screen) voting machines at the polling place. The machines, also used in many other states (such as Arkansas, where we recently reported exclusively on the disappearance of thousands of votes on May 18th, which neither state or local officials are able to explain to this day) are both oft-failed and easily manipulated in such a way that it's almost impossible to detect the systems have been gamed.
Welcome to red flag time, as reported by Politico:
In Lancaster County, Rawl won absentee ballots over Greene by a staggering 84 percent to 16 percent margin; but Greene easily led among Election Day voters by 17 percentage points.
What could possibly explain why Rawl succeeded so swimmingly in the absentee ballots and yet failed so miserably in the votes supposedly cast on South Carolina's Diebold machines?  Politico goes on to report:
In Spartanburg County, [Rawl campaign manager Walter] Ludwig said there are 25 precincts in which Greene received more votes than were actually cast and 50 other precincts where votes appeared to be missing from the final count. 

"In only two of 88 precincts, do the number of votes Greene got plus the number we got equal the total cast," Ludwig said.
Please visit and support Bradblog and, who have been on the case of these paperless, record-free voting machines for a decade. What happened in the South Carolina Democratic primary may not have a significant impact in the overall scheme of things, since everyone seems to have confidence that Senator DeMint will win his re-election bid no matter who he runs against.  But our lack of attention or interest in how we vote and how our votes are counted invites unscrupulous partisans to mess with the voice of the people. Beyond figuring out who gave the 10G to Alvin Greene, let's make sure we figure out how the staggering disparities in this SC race happened.
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