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Could the US election be stolen? October 20, 2008

Posted by trouble97018 in Politics.
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Courtesy AFP

With John McCain and Barack Obama already swapping accusations of widespread voter fraud, experts warn that a bitter and protracted fight could ensue if the race to the White House is decided by a narrow margin.

The legal battle over election rules has already made it all the way to the Supreme Court as Republicans fight to block potentially false registrations from being validated and Democrats struggle to prevent voter disenfranchisement.

Compounding the problem is the decentralized US electoral system, which hands often partisan local officials the power to make rules and maintain the voter registration rolls.

“I’m hoping it’s not close,” said Richard L. Hansen, a professor who specializes in election law at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles.

“I am certain there will be problems on election day.”

An estimated nine million new voters have registered for the hotly contested November 4 election, and the Obama campaign says Democratic registrations are outpacing Republican ones by four to one.

The McCain campaign contends that an untold number of those registration forms are false and warns that illegally cast ballots could alter the results of the election and undermine the public’s faith in democracy.

Republicans have launched a slew of lawsuits aimed at preventing false ballots from being cast, the most high-profile an attempt to challenge as many as 200,000 of more than 600,000 new registrations submitted in the battleground state of Ohio that was blocked by a Supreme Court ruling Friday.

They point to investigations into whether liberal-leaning community organization ACORN deliberately submitted false voter registrations as proof of “rampant” and widespread fraud which McCain said could be “destroying the fabric of democracy.”

But the Obama campaign said this was just a “smokescreen” to divert attention from Republican “plotting” to suppress legitimate votes and to “sow confusion and harass voters and complicate the process for millions of Americans.”

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