Home / Be The Change / Government Corruption / Land of the Free? Harvard Study Ranks America Worst in the West for Fair Elections

Land of the Free? Harvard Study Ranks America Worst in the West for Fair Elections

As if further proof could possibly be needed of the sorry state of the American electoral process, a new study just ranked the United States dead last in electoral integrity among established Western democracies.

The Electoral Integrity Project (EIP)’s 2015 Year in Elections report is an independent research project by 2,000 elections experts from Harvard University and the University of Sydney in Australia assembled to examine the world’s elections.

The EIP states that “the core notion of ‘electoral integrity’ refers to agreed international principles and standards of elections, applying universally to all countries worldwide throughout the electoral cycle, including during the pre-electoral period, the campaign, and on polling day and its aftermath. Conversely, ‘electoral malpractice’ refers to violations of electoral integrity.”

“The report gathers assessments from over 2,000 experts to evaluate the perceived integrity of all 180 national parliamentary and presidential contests held between July 1, 2012 to December 31, 2015 in 139 countries worldwide. These include 54 national elections held last year.

“Forty experts were asked to assess each election by answering 49 questions. The overall 100-point Perceptions of Electoral Integrity (PEI) index is constructed by summing up the responses,” Salon explained.

According to the EIP, U.S. elections scored lower than Argentina, South Africa, Tunisia, and Rwanda — and strikingly lower than even Brazil. Specifically compared to Western democracies, U.S. elections scored the lowest, slightly worse than the U.K., while Denmark and Finland topped the list.

But, while certainly revealing, the U.S.’ low ranking — which places the nation in the second, or “good,” tier and perilously close to the “moderate” third tier of five possible — could hardly come as a shock to Americans.

Indeed, the 2016 elections have proven the system so rigged, even those who’d previously still harbored illusions our democracy is fair, have begun to come to terms with the truth: the political establishment’s corporatist plutocrats choose their own to install in the White House every four years.  

Hillary Clinton ‘winning’ Wyoming’s primary despite being summarily trounced by Bernie Sanders in the popular vote — with her 44 percent to his 56 percent — simply evidence the latest example of the farcical illusion of choice revealed by EIP. Superdelegates — who aren’t beholden to vote for a candidate according to the popular choice and could potentially sway the nomination — are causing an even greater uproar among Democrats fed up with the establishment’s obvious favorite candidate, Hillary.

On the other side of the political spectrum, Trump’s challenge to the status quo has incited a furious scramble by the GOP establishment intent to thwart his nomination — no matter his sizable popular support. With rumors flying of a contested or brokered Republican National Convention, it’s possible the establishment will succeed — despite Trump’s own prediction the move will incite riots. To wit, Trump called out the delegate system as “rigged” on Thursday, following Colorado’s lack of primary and subsequent choice to award all of its delegates to Ted Cruz.

Though voting ostensibly remains a right instead of a privilege, as highlighted by John Oliver recently, voter ID laws have drastically curtailed people’s ability to simply vote for the leader of their choosing under the guise of fighting (effectively nonexistent) voter fraud. Even further to the point, many states requiring IDs to vote have such wildly inaccurate voter records that many people end up turned away at the polls — in some cases, when their information hadn’t changed since the previous election.

Though reasons why the United States has reached this new low in fair elections are complex, critics often point to the tidal wave of corporate cash after the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United. But this may be somewhat misguided. Would removing cash automatically bring some voting power back to the public? Perhaps to an extent. But it also ignores the will of the establishment to ensure its rulers always win — in other words, where there’s a will there’s a way.

Perhaps the EIP’s revealing report can convince people that participating in the illusion isn’t solving anything — and that ruling ourselves through the creation of such workable systems through agorism, among other ideas, are ultimately the most favorable for us all.

 

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  • fahrender

    Does it say anything notable that this was dated more than two weeks ago and appeared on my facebook page two days ago and I’m the only person to make a comment?

  • Jonathan Simon

    Well THIS seems to have drawn a crowd! And wondering how many, if any, of those 2000 “election integrity experts” (full disclosure: no one asked me) wrote in anything about the unobservable computerized vote counting process, its manifest vulnerability and the media-suppressed forensics that demonstrate the systemic targeted exploitation of that vulnerability to electronically manipulate and alter outcomes. If Americans don’t start acting to demand the right to count OUR BALLOTS observably in public, and assume that duty, then the demise of our democracy in on Americans.

    • Leslie Bianchi

      Statistically, counting is a flawed method with a guaranteed % error in large enough numbers, that’s mathematically proven but usually is not significant unless the vote is close. Kind of funky when you think about it.

      Machines are the way to go, here’s a possible way it could work: voter machines should provide a receipt with unique Id that includes the date and time identifies the state and district and the machine on a voting ID receipt and if requested a copy of your vote. That machine stores the date time and Id and an image of your vote as back up and not only counts the votes but sends your vote encrypted simultaneously to a federal government protected site that decodes the id and encryption and does an independent count. Plus your cell phone or any post office can scan your voter ID receipt and print out or email how you voted.

      There is a date, time and your polling location and machine ID that is readable so the actual vote can be located

      Mail in votes provide a duplicate you keep. Anyone can verify their vote was counted and accurately processed.

      If the fed doesn’t match the state, or anyone’s vote wasn’t counted or was altered, all hell should break loose and someone’s ass should end up in prison.

    • Nik Gibbs

      You could have it both ways. Voter selects candidate using machine, machine prints paper ballot, voter confirms ballot and drops in box. The machines tot the tally on the night, and conscientious citizens have until January to count them to their satisfaction also. (Then, if the counts mismatch, a nominated federal official will drop the flag for “the second amendment people” to start shooting, and everything can proceed in a transparent and orderly fashion.)

      • Jonathan Simon

        Hey Nick, I think you’re on to something here! On a more serious note, the sudden concern with outsider hacking, coupled with a complete refusal to contemplate the far greater vulnerability to insider rigging, is mind-boggling.

      • Kevin N

        Some of these electronic voting machines do have an audit system built in, that allows verification and printouts, allowing checks later for any recount separate form the collated results later that can’t be checked. But, most counties and states deliberately DISABLED this feature on their machines. I wonder why? They’ve set the voting system up that makes any real audit or recount impossible.

  • Adam Grabski

    Election fraud that puts the wrong person in office should be punished with 20 years in prison no plea bargaining no pardons

    • MisterWIzard

      Where would you start, who’s first?

      • AMS

        GOP management that stole the 2000 election from Gore for starters.

        • Jan Masleid

          Attny’s Cliff Arnebeck and Bob Fitrakis have been trying since the Bush/Kerry/(Rove) 2004 election.

          Unfortunately, the burden of proof has been very steep. It’s a shame that laws couldn’t have been be passed to get around the proprietary nonsense that electronic voting machines cannot be inspected and are allowed to be secret in the U.S..

          trustvote dot org

  • Surly Curmudgen

    Take a bow you racist bigoted progressive liberals.

    NO! Voter ID requirements have not deprived anyone of casting their vote, on the contrary voter ID has increased voter turnout and confidence in their vote significantly.

    • MisterWIzard

      Ahh, to live in such a delusional world! If you think unfairly applied “voter ID” laws have not denied people the right to vote, you’ve been living in some alternative universe for the past several months. Along with arcane and convoluted laws in many states regarding simply applying for and receiving an acceptable ID (not everyone drives), thousands of potential voters in several states have been denied the right to cast their votes.
      Perhaps you truly believe your own statements, unfortunately they in no way reflect upon reality.
      And when you start out your tirade calling people racists and bigots, well you really just come off as looking like a complete asshole…….

      • Surly Curmudgen

        The left in the past did not accord minorities to be human let alone having rights. Today’s left view minorities only as a tool to be used to further their agenda and ideology.

        The Democrat party has fostered and encouraged racism and bigotry from their beginning to the present day.

        • Leslie Bianchi

          Wow that’s no win argument. Don’t you think minorities have enough intelligence to research the issues and vote intelligently?

    • Leslie Bianchi

      If voter ID was reasonable and when necessary backed by a phone bill or notorized statement of who you are, I’d be inclined to agree. But voter ID is specifically designed to make it harder to vote if you don’t drive, changed your maiden name, attend college, or were born before birth certificates were well kept or born at home so a birth certificate might not be available.

      Two issues about voting. 1 are you a citizen. 2. Are voting in the district you live it. When people move, managing that is complicated. You ought to be able to update your address and vote.

  • Zekov

    It’s now or never, folks. We need some #electionjustice

    • Leslie Bianchi

      What we need is a democrat as president and a democratic majority in the senate so we get a Supreme Court that will make change possible. And while I think of it. We need to end gerrymandering and force redistricting so politicians need the public to back their votes.

  • Bobs_Vendetta

    How many of these academic studies and investigative reports do we need to see before the corporate media decides this is a story worth reporting?
    Or have they decided this is a story that should not be reported?
    Apparently, the loss of our democracy is something the networks and major papers have decided we shouldn’t know about.
    If we did know, then they would need to explain to us how things are supposed to work in an oligarchy.

    • Jan Masleid

      The media is being named in an Ohio RICO lawsuit for being complicit in past elections. We’re not going to be hearing about any election fraud issues (whether electronic voting machine/ or outright voter fraud) on television or online any time soon. This predates HRC’s run for office.

      There have been multiple studies released at this point if you look for them. There are lawyers literally risking it all over this right now. Anyone who gives this any attention is considered a conspiracy theorist (or a sore loser) as if no one comprehends that older, privately owned electronic voting machines can be illegally accessed.

      Why is it that a company’s proprietary patent laws are respected more than maintaining the integrity of our vote? I thought that voting was the foundation of our democracy and that people actually died for this freedom. Why are these machines considered whatsoever fair when they are apparently easily manipulated by the right IT individuals?

      If one doesn’t wish to give statistical credence to current exit poll data then one might want to look at the patterns of observable data. No discrepancies were observed (between raw exit poll data and voting machine data) on the Republican side in the 2016 primaries. No discrepancies were observed in states where traceable paper ballots were used. I believe the states with observable discrepancies were largely those that utilize electronic voting machines. Statisticians have calculated this out to be extremely high.

      No one wants to think that anyone is so powerful that they could be allowed to get away with this. No one wants to admit that this ”happened on their watch” either. All I know is that there should be transparency, checks & balances and safeguards in elections. A study from Harvard Univ. & Australia on electoral issues ranks us abysmally low as far as western democracies of long term standing. It is apparently well known around the world that our electronic voting machines are tamperable and that we continue to allow it for some reason.

      Currently ‘election fraud’ has become highly partisan in nature as we now have access to all manner of issues like never before. However, in actuality, these lawyers (Harvard grad. attny. Cliff Arnebeck and attny./prof. Bob Fitrakis) have been trying to prove this same fraud in a court of law since Bush/Kerry/Rove in 2004.

      It is a real shame that the burden of proof for these lawyers to present a solid RICO case has been so steep. Lawsuits should have been unnecessary at this point in time. This issue predates HRC’s run for president but, unfortunately, may now implicate some aspect of her run. Is it possible that her campaign did not realize that voting machine fraud was an issue being studied?
      (Just my personal take on it)

      trustvote.org

      • Bobs_Vendetta

        Excellent post. “Why is it that a company’s proprietary patent laws are respected more than maintaining the integrity of our vote?” I’ve been asking that very question since 2004. There is no good answer. Only the indication that the powers that be decided that an actual democracy was no longer acceptable to them.
        Election fraud predated Clinton 2016. But the fraud this year was deliberate and too widespread for the Clinton campaign not to be a part of it. However, it was also too widespread for others in the Democratic Party establishment not to be a part of it.It’s an open question how far and how deep the corruption goes.

    • Xtalline

      Yeah all those “experts” who are really just indoctrinated, elitist morons.

  • PoliticallyAcceptableTarget

    The real threat comes from electronic voting machines. No govt access to code, no paper trail, minimal security protections & completely privatized (Code can be written however corporations want. That means they can basically decide who wins if they’d like). Yup, that’s the integrity of your democracy for you.