By Leo O'Drudy
Beware. An election this close is ripe for manipulation and trickery. It is widely known that John F. Kennedy won the razor-thin 1960 election because of massive fraud in Illinois. Nor is this merely a phenomenon of decades ago.
Conservatives should not forget that California Congressman Bob Dornan was cheated out of his congressional seat in 1996 by Mexicans and Mexican-Americans who were ineligible to vote.
And Louisiana legislator Woody Jenkins would be a United States Senator today if the corrupt New Orleans political machine hadn't engaged in highly questionable tactics. This year there are more fun and games being planned by the Left.
A federal judge sided with Puerto Ricans who had sued to be allowed to cast votes in the presidential election. While the 1st Circuit Court of Appeals struck down the ruling, the activists may try an emergency appeal to the Supreme Court, or simply come back next election. At least these people seem to care about following the legal niceties.
Supporters of Vice President Al Gore and national nag Ralph Nader have been trying to have their cake and eat it too. Websites such as NaderTrader.org and voteswap.com have popped up; trying to get Nader supporters in swing states to swap their votes with Gore supporters in states that are foregone conclusions for Gore or Governor George W. Bush. That way, leftists can ensure that Bush does not win the key swing states, and also that Nader racks up enough popular votes in meaningless states to ensure the 5 per cent total necessary to get the Green Party federal funding in 2004. While election authorities have shut down some such sites that have sprung up, the game of whack-a-mole may miss some moles. One who was caught was a senior staffer for a Member of Congress, who used his taxpayer-financed government email address to register as a Nader vote swapper. He explained it later as "a mistake".
Sadly, the Right is not immune to such games either. Some conservatives who live in foregone conclusion states are beginning to whisper to each other that they, too, should vote for Nader. After all, if Nader gets that magic 5 per cent, he and his Green Party will get federal funding and will for years to come be the same thorn in the side of the Democrats that Ross Perot and his merry band had been for so long to the GOP.
And then there are the apolitical and amoral types who are just after the almighty buck. The Voting Integrity Project has been waging a valiant battle against a murky and sinister effort calling itself VoteAuction. Hopping from website to website and country to country ahead of its pursuers, it claims to have lined up tens of thousands of Americans who are willing to sell their vote to the highest bidder. When authorities had backed it into a corner, VoteAuction claimed to be merely a parody of the American "election industry", but it has now seemingly resumed its efforts to match up vote buyers and sellers.
All this seems a long way from the old-fashioned idea that you should look at the candidates, determine which has the best qualifications, character, and philosophy, and cast your vote for him. You have only one vote. It is your voice. I advise you to be careful what you ask for with it. And keep a sharp eye and a loud voice ready for any scheme to negate your vote with cheating and fraud.
Leo O'Drudy is a host of FCF's radio show "New Nation" and of the Friday edition of "Direct Line", FCF's live interactive TV show.
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