Sunday, September 17, 2006

Blistering E-Voting Article in WaPo--and on Drudge!

It's happening.  The national tide is turning.  The Washington Post has come out with a major article on possible e-voting irregularities in the November elections--especially in the wake of the Maryland debacle.

And, amazingly enough, a link to the article is featured right now on the Drudge Report, ensuring its dissemination to million of wingers and moderates around the country.

Combine this with the ever-more prominent Princeton-Diebold story all over the the cable networks, and there's absolutely no question that this issue is going to reach a nexus in the American consciousness.  

From the article:

An overhaul in how states and localities record votes and administer elections since the Florida recount battle six years ago has created conditions that could trigger a repeat -- this time on a national scale -- of last week's Election Day debacle in the Maryland suburbs, election experts said.

In the Nov. 7 election, more than 80 percent of voters will use electronic voting machines, and a third of all precincts this year are using the technology for the first time. The changes are part of a national wave, prompted by the federal Help America Vote Act of 2002 and numerous revisions of state laws, that led to the replacement of outdated voting machines with computer-based electronic machines, along with centralized databases of registered voters and other steps to refine the administration of elections.

But in Maryland last Tuesday, a combination of human blunders and technological glitches caused long lines and delays in vote-counting. The problems, which followed ones earlier this year in Ohio, Illinois and several other states, have contributed to doubts among some experts about whether the new systems are reliable and whether election officials are adequately prepared to use them.

No shit.  Honestly, where was the WaPo on this..oh...a year ago?  Or two years ago?  I guess late is better than never, though...

In a polarized political climate, in which elections are routinely marked by litigation and allegations of incompetent administration or outright tampering, some worry that voting problems could cast a Florida-style shadow over this fall's midterm elections.

"We could see that control of Congress is going to be decided by races in recount situations that might not be determined for several weeks," said Paul S. DeGregorio, chairman of the federal Election Assistance Commission, although he added that he does not expect problems of this magnitude.

This is HUGE.  If there's one thing Americans don't want, it's a repeat of Florida 2000.  Americans won't put up with it.

What is clear is that a national effort to improve election procedures six years ago -- after the presidential election ended with ambiguous ballots and allegations of miscounted votes and partisan favoritism in Florida -- has failed to restore broad public confidence that the system is fair.

You don't say?  Maybe that's because freaking REPUBLICANS were put in charge of it.  Can you name me one American institution that the public does have more confidence in since the GOP was put in charge?

In 2004, some Democrats alleged widespread voting irregularities in Ohio, including questionable vote-counting and problems with machines in Democratic-leaning precincts. Nonpartisan election experts have said the problems were not so severe to call President Bush's victory, by about 119,000 votes, into question.

Oh my God!  A mention of the fraud!  A mention of the fraud!  The silence is broken!  (/snark)  But again--better late than never.  After long discussion of individual problems, it continues:

Beyond technical bugs, questions remain about whether the machines are vulnerable to vote fraud by hackers.

For several years, prominent computer scientists have taken aim at the electronic voting machines, which in essence are computers. In analyses of the software that runs widely used models of the machines, and in tests on specific brands, the scientists have shown how they could manipulate the machine to report a vote total that differed from the actual total cast by voters.

How much bad news about these machines will the American people take before they demand a change?  But it doesn't stop there.   The article moves to the issue of registration rolls...

Democrats and Republicans remain at odds over voter registration rolls. The Brennan Center for Justice, a liberal advocacy group, recently showed that properly registered voters in Florida, New Jersey and Kentucky were being removed from voter databases through electronic purges.

"Voter suppression doesn't happen with intimidation on Election Day, but rather through silent and sometimes secret government actions in the weeks leading up to an election," said Michael Waldman, the center's executive director.

Blow it open, guys.  Blow it open.  Greg Palast ain't alone out there anymore.

Finally, a note on the politicization of voting structures:

Further clouding the election process is the fact that, in many states, the administration of elections remains in political hands -- run by secretaries of state or other officials who run for office with partisan affiliations and who often have designs on higher office.

Like Blackwell?  Har har.

Robert Pastor, director of a commission on election reform organized by American University and headed by former president Jimmy Carter and former secretary of state James A. Baker III, said this tradition should be abandoned.

"The Carter-Baker commission identified 87 steps that need to be undertaken," he said. "Regrettably, almost none of them are being done right now. I would start by establishing statewide, nonpartisan election administration."

No shit.


The tide is turning.  The American people are waking up.  Even the right-wingers can't dodge this issue anymore--and November elections are going to be UGLY.

Let's keep up the pressure on this issue, and support the traditional media--and yes, even the GOP propagandists--that have now finally been dragged kicking and screaming to actually deal with it.  Keep the focus.

As for what each of us can do, it's very simple: Encourage each and every one of your friends and family members to vote Absentee.  There's no guarantee their votes will be counted otherwise.


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