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Column: Will Someone 'steal' This Election?

This story was written by Tommy Wright, Spartan Daily

The past two presidential elections have come down to a single battleground state with allegations of the GOP stealing the election. Whether or not there are any legitimate threats that will affect this election, the claims of tampering and fraud are already starting. What happens this year may affect elections in the future.

In 2000, the election came down to Florida. At the time, George W. Bush's brother, Jeb, was the governor of the state. Katherine Harris was the secretary of state in Florida as well as the co-chairwoman of the Bush campaign in the state.

Four years later, Kenneth Blackwell did the same double duty in Ohio. He was also secretary of state and co-chair of the Bush campaign.

The chief executive and chairman of Diebold, a company that made electronic voting machines that were used in the 2004 elections in Ohio, told President Bush in a letter that he would help the Bush campaign in the state, according to a November 2003 New York Times article.

"I am committed to helping Ohio deliver its electoral votes to the president next year," wrote Walden W. O'Dell.

Those seem to be conflicts of interest that may have turned both elections for Bush.

Rep. Corrine Brown said the 2000 election was "stolen" by the Republicans. Robert F. Kennedy Jr. came to the same conclusion over the 2004 election.

I agree that the Bush campaign did everything it could, legal or not, to win the past two presidential elections. I also see the McCain campaign doing and saying anything it can to win this election. An example was in the final debate when McCain tried to get voters to come to the conclusion that Obama is trying to steal this election.

"We need to know the full extent of Sen. Obama's relationship with ACORN, who is now on the verge of maybe perpetrating one of the greatest frauds in voter history in this country, maybe destroying the fabric of democracy," McCain said.

According to the CBS News Web site, McCain spoke at a rally sponsored by the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, or ACORN, in 2006. The association's Web site states that it is a nonpartisan social justice organization.

The fraudulent registration forms that were turned in by ACORN will not affect the election. Mickey Mouse was one of the names on the forms turned in by ACORN, according to a New York Times article on Monday. Unless Mickey Mouse shows up on Election Day with valid identification, he will not be able to vote.

According to the U.S. Election Assistance Commission Web site, first-time voters must present proof of identification.

An article on the Time Magazine Web site states that Democrats say the voting fraud charges could scare people away from the polls. It also stated that Republicans say the fake registrations mean that polling should be closely watched. The writer concluded that this could cause delays and confrontations that could lead to less people voting.

The New York Times article quoted a voting expert from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard saying that the McCain comment was intended to portray Democrats as the party that will steal the election.

The expert, Alexander Keyssar, went on to explain how the GOP could be trying to "'set the groundwork for more laws and procedural obstacles' to be enacted by the states before the next presidential election."

So although the election is still five days away and nothing has been decided yet, the Republicans may already be looking ahead toward 2012. I am hoping that Tuesday night will be an early night, with Obama blowing out McCain. If the election is a blowout, it will be hard for either side to claim that it was stolen. But te theft of 2012 may have already begun.

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