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The Gross National Debt

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

So let's transport ourselves to the land of A Perfect World and suppose for a minute that all the complaints we hear about the Democratic party are suddenly resolved:

Problem solved, right?  Wrong.  One critical issue is not being properly addressed.

Follow me over the fold.

Over the past 4 weeks (according to Daily Kos' fine search utility), 75 diaries result from a search of the words "Electronic Voting".  Naturally not all of these diaries are strictly about verified voting or the potential fraud associated with voting machines.  Four of the diaries more or less specifically related to electronic voting and/or vote fraud garnered 100 or more recommendations.  Nowhere on the Most Popular Tags page to the tags "verified voting", "election fraud", "voter integrity", "voter fraud" etc. appear.  The All Tags page fares slightly better, with links to election integrity, verified voting, and voter fraud, to name a few.  Go ahead - click the links.  See the diaries that have been written and note especially how much attention those diaries received.

I'm not saying that the Daily Kos community doesn't pay attention to the issue of verified voting and vote fraud - rather, I would say it doesn't pay enough attention to it.  It is the one issue that, if ignored, could really bite us in the ass.  It is the single most important topic we can make a coordinated effort to address as the midterms approach and 2008 looms large.  It's not worth running a perfect campaign if you still can't win, right?

With little fanfare, USA Today published an article today about an analysis of e-voting machines.  A few snippets:

Most of the electronic voting machines widely adopted since the disputed 2000 presidential election "pose a real danger to the integrity of national, state and local elections," a report out Tuesday concludes.


Among the findings:

  • Using corrupt software to switch votes from one candidate to another is the easiest way to attack all three [of the most commonly purchased] systems. A would-be hacker would have to overcome many hurdles to do this, the report says, but none "is insurmountable."
  • The most vulnerable voting machines use wireless components open to attack by "virtually any member of the public with some knowledge and a personal digital assistant." Only New York, Minnesota and California ban wireless components.
  • Even electronic systems that use voter-verified paper records are subject to attack unless they are regularly audited.
  • Most states have not implemented election procedures or countermeasures to detect software attacks.

My emphasis added.  The study was done by the non-partisan Brennan Center for Justice and added that the three most popular e-voting systems will represent a staggering 80% of all voting machines to be used in the November election.  Jesus.

The good news is that legislation has been proposed to address some of these security concerns.  The bad news is that it doesn't seem to be going anywhere.  Rush Holt (D-NJ) has proposed H.R. 550, known as the Voter Confidence and Increased Accessibility Act.  From Rush Holt's re-election web page:

The Voter Confidence and Increased Accessibility Act (H.R. 550) will:

  • Mandate a voter-verified paper ballot for every vote cast in every federal election, nationwide; because the voter verified paper record is the only one verified by the voters themselves, rather than by the machines, it will serve as the vote of record in any case of inconsistency with electronic records;
  • Protect the accessibility requirements of the Help America Vote Act for voters with disabilities;
  • Require random, unannounced, hand-count audits of actual election results in every state, and in each county, for every Federal election;
  • Prohibit the use of undisclosed software and wireless and concealed communications devices and internet connections in voting machines;
  • Provide Federal funding to pay for implementation of voter-verified paper balloting; and
  • Require full implementation by the 2006 elections

Visit Rush Holt's H.R. 550 page and sign the petition.

More stuff you can do:

Thanks to Kossacks like Steven D and others, most of us already know about the voting machine debacle in the Busby/Bilbray (CA-50) election.  But it is SO much worse than that.

You must get involved if you haven't done so already.  Read the USA Today article I linked above.  Find/publicize/visit watchdog groups for election integrity.  Tell your friends about it - tell other Kossacks about it.  Stay on it, pump it and pimp it until it can't be ignored.  

If these machines stay, we lose.  It's as simple as that.

Update [2006-6-27 18:20:22 by RenaRF]: About four minutes after I clicked "submit", Lou Dobbs did a feature on the whole issue of the study and its findings. He was appropriately outraged. No matter if you love him or hate him, you can Send a message to the show endorsing his coverage of the issue. You can also vote in the Quickvote poll which asks this question:

Do you believe that e-voting machines should be disallowed until their integrity can be assured?

posted by RenaRF at 5:24 PM 7 comments links to this post


Blogger Orange_Cross said...

I have no confidence in the integrity of any voting scheme, the potential for gross abuse exists with all of them. We might as well break pots and pile the debris sky high on the white house lawn, yay, nay, ANARCHY is the only way.

2:00 AM  
Blogger RenaRF said...

Mr. RenaRF, who is not all that politically obsessed, is more and more prone to exclaiming that the "revolution is coming". With each new revelation of abuse and erosion of our inherent, Constitutionally-guaranteed rights, I keep waiting for the cry of outrage and indignation. Yet it doesn't come. Didn't Nero fiddle while Rome burned? I fear completely that we are a nation of Neros.

Thanks for your comment.

8:59 AM  
Blogger Orange_Cross said...

Nero had it right, though he didn't fiddle and he may have stumbled in violence in his becoming emperor, build your culture, increase the eloquence of your population, reject mortal combat and allow people to exchange their ideas in the forum. Corruption of the vote may occur, but the vote itself is such a monster that its going to have to be vanquished by the individual eloquence of heros in our forums. Why trust partisans, or expect them to agree on recounts? We're not a democracy, we're a nation of individuals pretending and perturbed by democracy.

Thank you for your posts.

4:37 PM  
Blogger 木須炒餅Jerry said...


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