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Vic Rawl: 'Systemic' Failures In South Carolina Voting Systems

A candidate in South Carolina's Democratic Senate primary has called for an investigation into his defeat. Former Rep. Vic Rawl announced Monday that
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A candidate in South Carolina's Democratic Senate primary has called for an investigation into his defeat. Former Rep. Vic Rawl announced Monday that he was protesting the election that resulted in Alvin Greene as the Democratic candidate.

"There is a cloud over Tuesday's election. There is a cloud over South Carolina, that affects all of our people, Democrats and Republicans, white and African-American alike," according to a statement released by the Rawl campaign.

"The strange circumstances surrounding Tuesday's vote require a thorough investigation. For better or worse, this protest process is the only platform currently available for that investigation," said Rawl.

In the statement, Rawl suggested that the voting systems in South Carolina were in question. "And let me be clear: regardless of the outcome of this protest, a full and unblinking investigation of this election and the overall integrity of South Carolina's election system must go forward."

Appearing on MSNBC's Countdown Monday night, Rawl furthered a theory that voting systems are suspect.

"There are numerous complaints. Everything from having my name show up on a Republican primary ballot to all sorts of issues with regard to the computer cards, with regard to the difference between the absentee votes versus the actual vote during the day of the machine voting. We are convinced that there is something amiss with regard to either the software or the machines themselves," Rawl told MSNBC's Keith Olbermann.

"My understanding is they're machines that have been -- there have been serious problems with them in Arkansas and Florida and Louisiana and other places. They have a history. The biggest problem, of course, they didn't have a paper trail whatsoever," Rawl continued.

Since the election, Democrats have become increasing convinced that something was amiss with Greene's unlikely win.

Greene handily defeated opponent Vic Rawl in Tuesday's primary, winning with 59 percent of the vote to Rawl' 41 percent, despite not having run any sort of visible campaign, not having set up a campaign Web site, and being unemployed. And it quickly emerged that Greene is facing a felony obscenity charge over an incident in which he allegedly showed a college student obscene photos from the Internet.

House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-SC) suspects Greene is a "plant." Clyburn is familiar with dirty tricks in South Carolina elections. "I know a Democratic pattern, I know a Republican pattern, and I saw in the Democratic primary, elephant dung all over the place. So I knew something was wrong in that primary. And this result tells us that," Clyburn told CNN Sunday.

NBC's David Gregory asked Senior White House Advisor David Axelrod Sunday if Greene was a legitimate candidate. "It doesn't appear so to me. It was a mysterious deal," said Axelrod.

The Brad Blog's Brad Friedman has also theorized that voting machines may have been tampered with. Green managed to receive more votes that were actually cast in 25 counties. And while Rawl won the absentee ballots by 68 points, Greene won on election day by 18 points.

The vast majority ballots cast on voting day were on unverifiable electronic voting machines, according to Friedman.

South Carolina uses ES&S' 100% unverifiable Direct Recording Electronic (DRE, in this case touch-screen) voting machines at the polling place. The machines, also used in many other states (such as Arkansas, where we recently reported exclusively on the disappearance of thousands of votes on May 18th, which neither state nor local officials are able to explain to this day) are both oft-failed and easily manipulated in such a way that it's almost impossible to detect the systems have been gamed.

Rawl has assembled a panel of experts to advise him on filing the protest.

"We feel from the three different sets of experts that we're dealing with, one, of course, is dealing with the statistical analysis of the data. The second of course is the political outcome of the races historically and the third group is dealing with the software and computer science aspect of it. All three groups indicate that there are difficulties, and it appears to be systemic," said Rawl.

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