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E.W.Jackson

Voters in Virginia have decided on a Tea Party candidate to run alongside Ken Cuccinelli in November’s gubernatorial election—Bishop E.W. Jackson will be the Republican nominee for lieutenant governor. A former U.S. Marine and Harvard Law graduate, Jackson and his wife also founded Exodus Faith Ministries, a Christian church in southern Virginia.

In 2008 and 2012, Virginia elected Barack Obama by 53 and 51 percent of the vote respectively. In 2012, E.W. Jackson ran for a Virginia U.S. Senate seat in which he received less than 5 percent of the vote in the Republican primary. On Saturday, however, voters in the state elected one of the most conservative and intolerant candidates on the ballot—Jackson does not hold back when it comes to strongly denouncing people and ideas he disagrees with.

Here are the five most outrageous statements made by E.W. Jackson.

Photo: markn3tel via Flickr.com

‘The Idea Obama Is a Christian Is Laughable’

VJackson.and.EWjackson

During a sit-down interview on the Victoria Jackson Show, Bishop Jackson made some strong—and incorrect—statements about President Obama. “The idea that Barack Obama is a Christian is laughable,” he said. “Barack Obama is at best a confused man, is at worst has the sensibilities, and I don’t know how this combination works, of an Atheist and a Muslim.”

This is not the first time he has attacked President Obama’s faith. While running to be the Republican nominee for a U.S. Senate seat, Jackson said during a public engagement, “Now I know there’s a lot of argument—‘is he a Muslim?’ I can tell you this, he certainly does have a lot of affection and favor for Islam. That seems to be his priority. I’ve heard him talk about Islam in ways I’ve never heard him talk about America. Well, Christianity, I don’t even think about that with him. I really don’t. I mean, come on, that’s a joke.”

You can watch the interview and the speech here.

Connecting Planned Parenthood To The KKK

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Jackson’s clear anti-choice stance led him to make extreme claims against the non-profit women’s health organization Planned Parenthood, which aside from providing perfectly legal abortions also provides adoption services, makes resources available for victims of rape and domestic violence, and even offers “spiritual counseling on reproductive matters.”

In a made-for-YouTube video, while standing in front of photos of Martin Luther King Jr., Harriet Tubman, Dred Scott, and Frederick Douglass, Jackson unleashed a full attack on Democrats, saying, “The Democrat Party [sic] has created an unholy alliance between certain so-called civil rights leaders and Planned Parenthood, which has killed unborn black babies by the tens of millions. Planned Parenthood has been far more lethal to black lives than the KKK ever was. And the Democrat Party [sic] and the black civil rights allies are partners in this genocide.”

Calling For A Mass Exodus From The Democratic Party

E.W. Jackson

E.W. Jackson also founded his own PAC, Staying True To America’s National Destiny (S.T.A.N.D.), which aims to uphold “the traditional family and our Judeo-Christian history and values as the Foundation of our Constitution and culture.”

During a S.T.A.N.D. press conference last year, Jackson called for a mass exodus from the Democratic Party. “The Democrat Party [sic] has demonstrated itself to be so antithetical, so inimical to the values we hold dear, that it is time for us to come out of that party en masse. We are here to call for a mass exodus of Christians and Jews, black, white, Hispanic, Asian, Filipino to come out of the Democrat Party [sic]—it has turned its back on us, it is time we turn our back on them.”

What brought on this call for mass evacuation from the Democratic Party? Jackson’s outrage came from learning that the Democratic Party had decided to embrace same-sex marriage.

You can watch the press conference in full here.

AP Photo/Steve Helber

African-Americans Won’t Vote For President Obama

Voting.in.VA

In a Dick Morris-like calculation, Jackson predicted in 2012 that black voters would not be mobilizing for Obama because of his support for same-sex marriage. “When the Democrat Party [sic] said we’re making same-sex marriage a part of our platform and the president came out in support of it, I think those were straws that broke the camel’s back and people say ‘you know, we’ve had it.’ Black folks have voted overwhelmingly against these things when they’ve come up on state constitutional questions and now I think many are saying, ‘you know what, I voted for this president the first time, I cannot vote for him again and I cannot support this party because it’s in rebellion against God.’”

According to 2012 exit polls, President Obama faced no difficulty with the black vote — 93 percent of the black voters in Virginia took to the polls for the president.

AP Photo/The Virginian-Pilot/Amanda Lucier

Attacks On The Gay Community

Virginia Gay Rights Parade

E.W. Jackson saves his most derogatory and hateful comments for the gay community. Jackson connected homosexuality and pedophilia, and made strong claims that gays are “frankly very sick people psychologically, mentally and emotionally,” they are incapable of love and their very presence is an attempt to “poison our children, divide them from their parents and the teaching of the church and basically turn them into pawns for that movement so that they can sexualize them at the earliest possible age.”

Jackson not only condemned the Democratic Party for their acceptance of same-sex marriage, but criticized CPAC for the same thing. He also called for the repeal of  “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” deeming it “a disaster of historic proportions and it must be reinstated.”

There is no shortage of similar offensive comments expressed by Jackson;, however, in looking ahead to the November election, he may be interested in knowing that 56 percent of voters in Virginia agree with Democrats and support marriage equality.

AP Photo

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The Arizona 2020 election "audit" under way

Screenshot from azaudit.org

As ongoing threats by Trump loyalists to subvert elections have dominated the political news, other Republicans in two key states—Florida and Arizona—are taking what could be important steps to provide voters with unprecedented evidence of who won their most close and controversial elections.

In both battleground states, in differing contexts, Republicans are lifting the curtain on the data sets and procedures that accompany key stages of vetting voters, certifying their ballots, and counting votes. Whether 2020’s election-denying partisans will pay attention to the factual baselines is another matter. But the election records and explanations of their use offer a forward-looking road map for confronting the falsehoods that undermine election results, administrators, and technologies.

In Republican-run Florida, the state is finalizing rules to recount votes by incorporating digital images of every paper ballot. The images, together with the paper ballots, create a searchable library to quickly tally votes and identify sloppily marked ballots. Questionable ballots could then be retrieved and examined in public by counting boards to resolve the voter’s intent.

“The technology is so promising that it would provide the hard evidence to individuals who want to find the truth,” said Ion Sancho, former supervisor of elections in Leon County, where Tallahassee is located, who was among those on a January 4 conference call workshop led by the Division of Elections seeking comments on the draft rule and procedures manual revisions.

Under the new recount process, a voter’s paper ballot would be immediately rescanned by an independent second counting system—separate from what each county uses to tally votes. The first digital file produced in that tabulation process, an image of every side of every ballot card, would then be analyzed by software that identifies sloppy ink marks as it counts votes. Several Florida counties pioneered this image-based analysis, a version of which is used by the state of Maryland to double-check its results before certifying its election winners.

“The fact that it has overcome opposition from the supervisors of elections is telling because the number one problem with the [elected county] supervisors is [acquiring and learning to use] new technology; it’s more work to do,” Sancho said. “The new technology doesn’t cost much in this case. Everyone has scanners in their offices already because every voter registration form by law must be scanned and sent to the Division of Elections.”

The appeal of using ballot images, apart from the administrative efficiencies of a searchable library of ballots and votes, is that the images allow non-technical people to “see” voters’ intent, which builds trust in the process and results, said Larry Moore, the founder and former CEO of the Clear Ballot Group, whose federally certified technology would be used in Florida recounts.

But Florida’s likely incorporation of ballot images into its recount procedures, while a step forward for transparency, is unfolding in a fraught context. In 2021, its GOP-majority state legislature passed election laws that are seen as winnowing voters and rolling back voting options. In other words, it may be offering more transparency at the finish line but is also limiting participation upstream.

The new recount rule is expected to be in place by this spring, months before Florida’s 2022 primaries and midterm elections. Among the issues to be worked out are when campaign and political party officials and the public would observe the new process, because the election administrators do not want partisans to intentionally disrupt the rescanning process. These concerns were raised by participants and observers on the teleconference.

The Arizona Template


In Arizona, Maricopa County issued a report on January 5, “Correcting the Record: Maricopa County’s In-Depth Analysis of the Senate Inquiry.” The report is its most substantive refutation of virtually all of the stolen election accusations put forth by Trump loyalists who spent months investigating the state's presidential election.

Beyond the references to the dozens of stolen election accusations put forth by pro-Trump contractors hired by the Arizona Senate’s Republicans, the report offered an unprecedented road map to understanding how elections are run by explaining the procedures and data sets involved at key stages.

The report explained how Maricopa County, the nation’s second biggest election jurisdiction (after Los Angeles County) with 2.6 million registered voters, verified that its voters and ballots were legal. It also explained key cybersecurity features, such as the correct—and incorrect—way to read computer logs that prove that its central vote-counting system was never compromised online, as Trump supporters had claimed in Arizona (and Michigan).

“I’ve never seen a single report putting all of this in one place,” said John Brakey, an Arizona-based election transparency activist, who has sued Maricopa County in the past and routinely files public records requests of election data. “Usually, it takes years to understand all this.”

Taken together, Florida’s expansion of recounts to include using digital ballot images, and Maricopa County’s compilation of the data and procedures to vet voters, ballots, and vote counts, reveal that there is more evidence than ever available to confirm and legitimize election participants and results.

For example, Maricopa County’s investigation found that of the 2,089,563 ballots cast in its 2020 general election, one batch of 50 ballots was counted twice, and that there were “37 instances where a voter may have unlawfully cast multiple ballots”—most likely a spouse’s ballot after the voter had died. Neither lapse affected any election result.

“We found fewer than 100 potentially questionable ballots cast out of 2.1 million,” the report said. “This is the very definition of exceptionally rare.”

When Maricopa County explained how it had accounted for all but 37 out of 2.1 million voters, it noted that the same data sets used to account for virtually every voter were also used by the political parties to get out the vote. Thus, the report’s discussion of these data sets—voter rolls and the list of people who voted—offered a template to debunk voter fraud allegations. This accusation has been a pillar of Trump’s false claims and is a longtime cliché among the far right.

It is significant that this methodology, indeed the full report, was produced under Maricopa County Recorder Stephen Richer, a conservative Republican who has repeatedly said that he had voted for Trump, and was fully endorsed by Maricopa County’s Board of Supervisors, which has a GOP majority and held a special hearing on January 5 to review the findings.

In other words, the report is not just a rebuttal for the Arizona Senate Republican conspiracy-laced post-2020 review. It is a road map for anyone who wants to know how modern elections are run and how to debunk disinformation, including conspiracy theories involving alleged hacking in cyberspace.

“There is not a single accurate claim contained in [Arizona Senate cybersecurity subcontractor] CyFIR’s analysis of Maricopa County’s tabulation equipment and EMS [election management system],” the reportsaid, referring to accusations that counts were altered. “This includes the allegation that county staff intentionally deleted election files and logs, which is not true.”

When you add to Maricopa County’s template the introduction of a second independent scan of every paper ballot in future Florida recounts, what emerges are concrete steps for verifying results coming from Republicans who understand how elections work and can be held accountable.

Of course, these evidence trails only matter if voters or political parties want to know the truth, as opposed to following an ex-president whose political revival is based on lying about elections. However, more moderate Republicans seem to be recognizing that Trump’s stolen election rhetoric is likely to erode their base’s turnout in 2022, as Trump keeps saying that their votes don’t matter.

“You’ve got Republican buy-in,” said Florida’s Sancho, speaking of his GOP-ruled state’s embrace of more transparent and detailed recounts. “And Republicans, more than anyone else, should be concerned about whether their votes were counted as cast and as the voter intended.”

Steven Rosenfeld is the editor and chief correspondent of Voting Booth, a project of the Independent Media Institute. He has reported for National Public Radio, Marketplace, and Christian Science Monitor Radio, as well as a wide range of progressive publications including Salon, AlterNet, The American Prospect, and many others.

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Photo by Tom Williams via Reuters

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