Voter Suppression, not 3rd party voters, elected Donald Trump

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Voter suppression got Trump elected in 2016. Third party voting was one factor, but not the critical factor.  This was the first Presidential election not under the supervision of the Voting Rights Act, and Republican officials took full advantage of this lack of oversight to disenfranchise thousands of voters. Voters who couldn’t vote elected Donald Trump.

Voter ID required - New Hampshire

NH Polling Place sign – from Wikimedia Commons

Below is a table with vote totals from four states, which Trump won electorally  in 2016. Vote totals were taken from official state canvasses, completed in December 2016, after all provisional ballots had either been counted or found ineligible.

They show that 3rd party voters (Johnson & Stein) voted in numbers exceeding the DJT – HRC margin, but that in most cases, the number of voters prevented from voting far exceeded these numbers.

Pundits: Stein didn’t cost Clinton the election

Political pundits such as 538’s Nate Silver , WSJ’s Tau, and  TheHill’s Jeffries point to Gary Johnson’s taking equally from Clinton and Trump, and say that there is no realistic scenario in which Stein voters cost Clinton the Presidency.

If only 90% of the extra Stein voters had voted for Hillary while the rest voted for Trump or stayed home, Michigan is the only state that would have flipped. In none of these scenarios did Jill Stein voters cost Hillary Clinton the presidency.

It’s harder to say who Johnson hurt more since he tended to pull more evenly from both sides of the political divide.

Nate Silver of 538 combs through the weeds in his piece, Jill Stein – Spoiler or Scapegoat?. Even the New Yorker’s Toobin, no friend of “narcissist” Jill Stein, writes 

It’s difficult to count uncast votes, but there were clearly thousands of them as a result of the voter-suppression measures.

Voter ID laws were passed in these (and many other) states which disenfranchised hundreds of thousands of poor, elderly, students, and people of color. This was intentional – and done in order to keep Democrats from voting. 

State Jill Stein Gary Johnson Hillary Clinton Donald Trump Margin DJT-HRC Suppressed voters
Michigan 50,700 173,057 2,268,193 2,279,805 11,612 300,000 1
Wisconsin 30,980 106,442 1,382,210 1,409,467 27,257 200,000 2
Pennsylvania 49,941 146,715 2,926,441 2,970,733 44,292 >26,0003
Florida1 64,399 207,043 4,504,975 4,617,886 112,911 -1.500,000 ex-felons4

A variety of tactics were used to suppress votes. The most popular one was to implement strict voter ID laws, but voter list purges and direct turning people away at the polls, scaring them away with bogus threats to invoke jail time for unpaid traffic tickets, and polling place closures in Democratic neighborhoods were also strategically used.

Besides the four states documented here, American Progress has documented voter suppression in Ohio, Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia, and Texas. Colorado is an all-mail-ballot state (Thank you, Angela Giron!) and so we have one of the safest elections in the country, as well as one of the highest voter turnout (ballot turn-in) rates.

Bigger problem than Russian meddling.

1 In Michigan, American Progress states:
Poll workers in Michigan incorrectly told voters that they needed to show identification to vote. While Michigan does have a voter ID law, it does not require an ID to vote; instead, voters have the option of filling out an affidavit swearing to their identity. There are no hard data on how many Michigan voters were improperly turned away for lacking an ID. In Michigan, exit polls also didn’t match computerized vote totals.

2″Voter turnout in Wisconsin was at its lowest levels in 20 years and decreased 13 percent in Milwaukee, where 70 percent of the state’s African-American population lives.300,000 voters in Wisconsin lacked the strict new voter IDs to vote. This kept black people and students from being able to vote, in many cases.

3Pennsylvania may have manipulated votes directly – exit polls did not match recorded vote totals. Pennsylvania was the state that put Trump over the 270 vote total. It was also the state that Trump called for vigilante poll watchers, and for which officials bragged about suppressing the Democratic vote.

4 Floridians will get a chance this November to repeal the Jim Crow-era law that prohibits felons from voting even after their sentences are served. However, the 1.5 million Floridians affected (1 in 4 African American males) will not be able to vote in 2018.

Blaming “Jill Stein Voters” for Donald Trump’s victory, and all the damage he has caused to our democracy, allows  Democrats to remain caught in a vicious circular firing squad of blame and prevents moving forward. It also  marginalizes the millions of voters who mobilized for progressive ideas.

Since I was asked via comment about the “methodology” leading to the determination that these hundreds of thousands of votes were suppressed, I would ask people to click the links to see. In most cases, voter suppression was determined by a Federal judge who said that the voter ID laws were clearly designed to suppress minority voting.  In some cases, these laws have been overturned. In many, they have not. This is why I continue to bring this up. If we are to get our democracy back, we have to  get all hands on deck to empower all voters to vote. We need to vote ourselves, encourage and register others, support public officials who support free and fair elections.

Here in Colorado, we have had two Republican Secretaries of State who have railed against Colorado’s election reforms: same – day registration,  mail-in ballots, etc. At the same time that they have been complaining to the base, they have been eager to take credit for making Colorado the safest state to vote, and with one of the highest voter participation rates in the country.

Our current Secretary of State, Wayne Williams, eagerly jumped on the Trump train when he was asked to provide voter data to the “Crosscheck” database. Crosscheck is a transparent attempt to purge voter rolls;  yet Williams cooperated wholeheartedly.

We need to elect Jena Griswold as Secretary of State, and to keep Colorado as the state with the election system that the rest of the country wants to emulate.

mamajama55

About mamajama55

Teacher in northern Colorado. Nosy, curious, persistent.

26 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. Gray in Mountains says:

    Excellent work , MJ!

  2. VoyageurVoyageur says:

    There is blame enough to go around and voter suppression, while a real and ugly thing, doesn't let the Jilliots off the hook.  Like a basketball game lost 78-77, every missed shot can be said to make the difference.

    For evil to triumph, it is only necessary for good people to vote for Jill Stein.   If they had rallied behind Hillary and worked for her, and not sniped and whined at every opportunity, yes, we would have won.  

     

    To be sure, the Jilliot contribution to Trump's victory is not as obvious as Ralph Nader's tipping Florida to Bush.  But Jillliots were part of the problem and no amount of shouting " squirrel! "" to misdirect attention can gloss over the Jilliot contribution to Trump's victory.

  3. RepealAndReplace says:

    I never cease to wonder how one can accurately count the number of people who did not vote, and had they done so, they would have voted for a particular candidate.

  4. Conserv. Head Banger says:

    "……Wayne Williams, eagerly jumped on the Trump train…….."  If I recall correctly, he provided information that was already publicly available. 

    • DavieDavie says:

      Available to the public is not the same as immediately bundling it up and presenting it to a scam panel with a bow on top.  Just ask any person that wants access to "public" documents, and is handed an onerous bill for "services" rendered.

      • PseudonymousPseudonymous says:

        $50.  File the form here.  Another $50 if you want when they've voted.  Not onerous, or mysterious.  This is a silly attack on Williams.  I get that politics is often silly, though.

        • DavieDavie says:

          Pardon me for not making my point clearer.  The outrage with SoS Williams was his eagerness to supply this information in a neat bundle to the bogus "investigation" unlike the majority of SoS's that saw through this sham.

          I extended the example of public records to CORA requests such as this by newspapers:

          This does not mean that a bill for researching and retrieving records will necessarily be inexpensive, as shown by the $16,025 in fees in the Mountain-Plains case. Citizens and journalists often are deterred from requesting public records because the cost can be so high.

          • PseudonymousPseudonymous says:

            Except there's no evidence that the SoS abuses that process the way the metro district in your story did.  Also, this information is literally "bundled up for presentation" to any member of the public.  That's why there's a fee schedule with a bunch of products on it.

            Go see it here, where a citizen, who bought the information, put it online. You can even download a copy for your own use.

            Public information is public, and I don't want public officials to be in the business of deciding which members of the public are "worthy" of receiving it.  Today, he denies Kris Kobach, tomorrow the ACLU.

            • mamajama55mamajama55 says:

              Williams immediately gave Kobach's bogus "Voter Integrity Commission" what it asked for. And Williams' smarmy ass-kissing deference to Trump was downright nauseating:

              Just three states — Colorado, Missouri and Tennessee — commended Kobach's attempt to investigate voter fraud in their respective statements.

              "We are very glad they are asking for information before making decisions," said Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams, a Republican. "I wish more federal agencies would ask folks for their opinion and for information before they made decisions."

              Williams had to know that it was not a legitimate request, as Trump and Kobach had preceded it by proclaiming that there had been "millions of fraudulent votes".

              Williams knew that wasn't true – he even said that he had "seen no evidence" of millions of fraudulent voters. I like Mike Littwin's take on it: How could Wayne Williams miss that the voter-fraud panel is the real fraud? Answer: Williams couldn't. He didn't.

              But he chose to legitimize it anyway, praising the Kobach commission’s request.

              The Kobach commission was eventually disbanded. Some of its researchers were not the kind of people you wanted to have your personal information.

              Williams knew the commission was bogus.  So even if he didn't provide the requested birthdates and SSNs and previous criminal histories of voters, even if all he did was provide what Kobach could have bought on a CD, he provided it quickly, without the scrutiny he should have given it, and provided an air of legitimacy to a fundamentally illegitimate project.

              Speaking of the ACLU, that organization had a distinctly jaundiced view of the Kobach commission.

              • PseudonymousPseudonymous says:

                There are a hundred reasons to hate Wayne, but of course it was a legitimate request, because the information he provided was public and available to any member of the public upon a properly formatted request.  Hate him for what he said.  Hate him for not being sufficiently enraged at the notion that he couldn't run a clean election.  But, enough with the "he gave them the informations!!!!!!" already.  Also, what scrutiny?  He's not entitled to scrutinize a request for public records.  HE HAS TO PROVIDE THEM UNDER THE LAW.

                As for the ACLU, feel free to ask them how they'd feel about Wayne deciding who does and doesn't get public records.

                I’ve used public records to tell stories about public agencies that they don’t like. I’ve worked for public agencies and provided public records to people I know will abuse that information. Because that’s the only way government works. And, because it’s the law.

                • mamajama55mamajama55 says:

                  OK. So if the Trump's Voter Integrity Commission's was a legitimate request, why didn't  Kobach just "buy a CD"?

                  Why go through all of this "We want their SSNs and birthdays and criminal histories," "Wait….No, we don't," nonsense?

                  Obviously, because Kobach wanted to politicize it. He wanted to see how far he could push the envelope in promoting this "Millions of fraudulent voters!" tweet shitstorm.  He wanted to see which secretaries of state were easy to intimidate. (WW raises his hand)

                  And Williams helped. And his waffling and obsequiousness drove hundreds of Coloradans to withdraw their voter registrations or to make them confidential.

                  Now, as a Democratic activist, sometimes we can't find people we need to find – their records are hidden. All because of Wayno's Waffling.

                  So I do share your frustration with the continuing fallout from this little venture. And maybe Wayno has learned not to piss off suspicious Colorado voters.

                  Seems I struck a nerve. But rest easy, I get that publicly available data is publicly available. You may go back to petting your peeve now. Or peeving your pet, whichever.

                  • PseudonymousPseudonymous says:

                    Kobach wanted information he wasn't entitled to for his nefarious purposes.  He was refused by the SoS.  Kobach is corrupt as fuck.  That's not Wayne's fault.

                    Also, I've never claimed that the commission's pursuit of data was well-intentioned or legal.  I'm confused, honestly, why you brought it up.  I've only said that Wayne's provision of public records to them was proper.

                    As for folks unregistering.  I can't be in their minds, so I have no idea why they thought that unregistering, when all that information and vastly more about them is already out in the world, was valuable.  Also, those un-registrants' records aren't hidden.  The site I mentioned above has registration records dating back to 2013.  Thank heavens for public records.

                    • mamajama55mamajama55 says:

                      I brought it up because the diary is about voter suppression – and Wayne Williams gave the Kobach voter suppression project an aura of legitimacy by his hasty and obsequious cooperation and praise.

                      Most other Secretaries of State made a different choice.  Six of them never gave Kobach a thing. The Mississippi Sec State told Kobach to "Go jump in the Gulf of Mexico!"

                      It's wishful thinking, I know, but it would have been nice if Wayno had at least asked for $50.

                    • DavieDavie says:

                      Articles from the Denver Post might help:

                      Here is a sampling of voter comments:

                      “It seems like an assault on our personal freedoms — of speech and privacy first and foremost.”

                      “I have concerns that my individually-identifiable information would be misused for illegitimate purposes. I sincerely hope that the Denver Elections Division does not support, or respond to, any such requests involving private information in the future.”

                      “I am sending this email to state my objection to providing any private information to the commission, should the Denver Elections Division (or the Colorado Secretary of State) be pressured in the future to provide such information.”

                      “Again, thank you for your efforts in protecting our voting integrity. What we are also gravely concerned about is the follow-up letter coming from the Department of Justice. Their demand seems very ominous. Will our confidential forms protect us from their demands? It appears that the DOJ may have more clout against the states who want to protect voting rights.”

                      “I am officially requesting that you DO NOT release my name to the federal government, in terms of my act of voting, or my voting record, or any information at all. Voting should remain a citizen’s private duty, and there is no need to do this. “

                      “Due to the decision to have my information given without my permission, I would like to have the form sent to me that allows me to unregister as a voter. Please send ASAP.”

                      That's how voter intimidation is designed to work.

                      Coloradans are canceling their voter registrations by the hundreds in the wake of the Trump administration’s blanket request for voter information earlier this month, alarming county elections officials who say they’ve never seen such a surge of withdrawals in their careers.

                      “People are concerned and confused about all of this,” said Amber McReynolds, Denver’s elections director. “We have the same concerns. At this point nobody really knows what (the commission) is doing.”

                      “I think it brings up another question for the legislature that they may want to consider,” McReynolds said. “Voters did not and have not been aware that this info that’s being provided is public.”

                      I believe the final tally was over 4,000 voters withdrawing their registrations.

                    • PseudonymousPseudonymous says:

                      Except that those quotes also betray the lack of understanding that the same information that Kobach requested is routinely provided to all sorts of folks all the time without the consent, or obviously, knowledge of the voters.  I expect a CORA request would show all sorts of unpleasant organizations gathering that data for their uses.

                      Also, mama, a majority of states didn't refuse the commission.  The article you pulled was too early in the process.  As noted in the article here, only 15 states and DC declined to provide data.  Several others hadn't yet decided, and a majority had complied or agreed to, with the caveat that, as with Colorado, they would only provide public records.

            • mamajama55mamajama55 says:

              Congrats! You got the last word, by virtue of having no more reply boxes in this thread. Hey, I don't make the rules.

              BTW…nice cat on your avatar. A psychedelic calico.

  5. Diogenesdemar says:

    The Family Circle — “Not Me, 2018” . . . 

  6. Diogenesdemar says:

    So now, I spose’, I’m left wondering just how much Stein’s campaign suppressed otherwise would-be Clinton voters from making that choice . . . 

    • mamajama55mamajama55 says:

      If that's a serious question, Dio, it may be answerable. Some of the pro-Stein Facebook memes, which were shared widely, were authored by Russian hackers.

      I saw some of these, and the tipoffs were usually the really bad grammar and spelling, and the over-the-top hostile or sometimes slanderous or even pornographic visuals and memes. I reported several of these to FB.

      To be fair, Stein's and Bernie's campaigns disavowed these whenever they were brought to their attention. Some of the so-called"Bernie Bro" stuff was gross, and was eventually found to have been Russian propaganda.

      But it still doesn't answer your question, about how many would be Clinton voters were swayed.

      My point in this diary is that no matter how wrong-headed or deluded or propagandized "Jill Stein Voters" were, they still had the right to vote, as any citizen does. And there were GOP politicians and officials that conspired to take that right away from hundreds of thousands of them, along with all of the Trump and Clinton and Johnston and other voters.

      • VoyageurVoyageur says:

        Nobody is claiming Jilliots didn't have the right tovote.  But they aren't the only ones with rights.

        The rest of us have the right to call them jilliots!

        Cuz they is Jilliots and helped put stinky boy in the White House.

        • RepealAndReplace says:

          Of course they have their constitutional rights to do stupid things like vote for Jill Stein. Not only do we have the right to call them on their stupidity but we have an obligation to do that.

          I thought that after Ralph Nader in 2000, the LWNJ's would have learned that sometimes they need to suck it up and vote for the lesser of two evils. And Al Gore was the significantly lesser of two evils. 

          MJ only enables them by providing them with cover and a pass (it was the Russians that did it! it was voter suppression that did it!) rather than call them on their shit.

          • mamajama55mamajama55 says:

            The election was stolen from Al Gore, too….so blaming the Naderites for that is also pointless.

            But you and V do love arranging Dems into your circular firing squads  and of course you can continue to scream "Jilliots!!" if that floats your boat.

            I would guess that you don’t get out and talk with unaffiliated voters much; if you did, you’d find that blaming them for voting 3rd party (or not voting), is less persuasive than running good candidates who speak to their pocketbook issues. At the doors, people are talking education, healthcare, childcare, and jobs.

            You could shake a finger in their face and yell, “Trump is your fault, idiot!” and see how that goes.

            I just said I'd continue to remind you that voter suppression is a much bigger problem, and who the real enemies are. Since that's what the entire diary is about, I think I've sufficiently made my point for now.

            • VoyageurVoyageur says:

              The entire diary is about punishing people who disagree with you on any point, as your attacks on Pseudo prove.  How dare he defend the Secretary of State for releasing public information to members of the public that you don't approve of!

              And Nader stole the election from Gore.

              • mamajama55mamajama55 says:

                Argued (civilly) with Psuedo, didn't "attack" him. You may want to learn the difference, at some point.

                • VoyageurVoyageur says:

                  You railed at him in your usual pompous and didactic scolding.  You sneered at his "pet peeve" when he merely cited the law you were so determined to ignore.

                  He thoroughly, and yes, civilly, routed you on every point.

                  Have a nice sulk.

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