Some of you might recall the book, Whats the Matter with Kansas? which explored the rise of conservatism populism. Well, let me add another state: Whats is going on in South Carolina?
Oh my fellow Americans, we have a problem on full display down in South Carolina. I dont know what happened, and no one else seems to know, either.
The problem is not simply that Alvin Greene prevailed over Vic Rawl in the Democratic primary for U.S. Senate. The problem is that no one seems to know why Greene, an Army veteran and political novice, who did not campaign or fundraise, won a stunning victory against Rawl, a former Charleston County councilman and judge who, having been elected four times to the South Carolina legislature, ran a smart, well-funded campaign.
The primary result is a mystery to Washington insiders and South Carolinians alike. Therein lies the problem. We dont know what happened. About a decade after Bush v. Gore, our electoral systems continue to lack transparency.
I received so many calls and reports about massive voting irregularities, inexcusably long lines, dysfunctional voting machines, confusing ballots and voters being turned away that I thought I was suffering from flashbacks to the 2000 presidential election.
A decade later, I vividly recall the urgent phone call from my sister, wondering why she needed to present an electricity bill in addition to a photo ID when she was already registered to vote, and the relentless media focus on the veracity of punch-card voting machines, with their hanging, pregnant and dimpled chads.
South Carolinians vote using DRE touch screen machines that do not produce a verifiable paper trail. In addition, irregularities abounded, including complaints by voters who pressed the screen for one candidate only to have the other candidates name appear, and machines that repeatedly failed despite the best efforts of poll workers to fix them.
Greens 59-41 percent win was so against all political odds that, at Rawls request, South Carolina Democratic Party officials recently met to consider overturning the June 8 primary results and ordering a new election. Because the DRE machines have no paper record of votes cast, state party officials have two choices: trust the vote totals of the DRE machines or throw out the entire election.