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Voting–Republican Style

Keywords: voting machines

Jul 11, 2004 | Intervention Magazine

We sell the voting machines, we program the voting machines, and we count the votes. You can trust us. We are the Republicans.

By Mick Youther

One thing we learned from the 2000 election is that our voting system is a mess. Have things gotten any better? The government seems to think that the answer to all our voting problems is paperless electronic voting machines, and it is using our tax dollars to entice states to buy these new machines. So far, things are not looking too good.

? ?[In Boone County, Ind.], an electronic system initially recorded more than 144,000 votes in an election with fewer than 19,000 registered voters??–NY Times, 1/31/04

? ?In the 2002 election, brand new computer voting systems used in Florida lost over 100,000 votes due to a software error. Errors and irregularities were also reported in New Jersey, Missouri, Georgia, Texas, and at least 10 other states.?– Rep. Rush Holt (D-NJ), press release, January, 2003

? ?Incorrect software programming has now been identified in over 100 elections, often flipping the race to the wrong candidate, even when the election was not close. No one knows how many elections have actually been misprogrammed, and as we eliminate paper ballots, no one will ever know.? —Bev Harris, author of ?Black Box Voting: Ballot-Tampering in the 21st Century?, BuzzFlash Interview, 10/1/03

Electronic voting machines breaking down or making random mistakes is bad enough, but there is something even more ominous about this rush to paperless, electronic voting.

? ?There is a long history of election irregularities that suggests that vote fraud using voting machines has been occurring. Republicans appear to be the main beneficiaries. In the 2002 election 74% of upset elections went to Republicans by as much as 9-14% outside of the margin of error, according to reporter Alastair Thompson of Scoop.?– The Baltimore Chronicle, 8/15/03

? ?It appears that voting technology is a topic that the Republican leadership wants to tightly control. It is without doubt that Republicans own most of the companies that manufacture, sell, and service voting machines. And President Bush and the Republican Congress appear determined to control and limit oversight of the elections industry.? — Lynn Landes, dissidentvoice.org, 4/13/04

? ??in 2004, most votes will be ‘counted’ by paperless, unverifiable, eminently hackable computer systems, privately owned and secretly programmed by Bush supporters from the Religious Right and the military-intelligence complex.?– Chris Floyd, Moscow Times, 9/12/03

? ?The 2004 election rests in the private hands of the Urosevich brothers [Bob and Todd], who are financed by the far-out right wing and top donors to the Republican Party.?– Lynn Landes, EcoTalk.org, 4/27/04 (Their companies, Diebold and ES&S, will count about 80% of all votes cast in the upcoming U.S. presidential election.)

? ?The voting industry is spending literally millions of dollars, and going through amazing feats of contorted logic that can best be described as marketing gymnastics, to convince us that we should discontinue proper auditing. They want us to eliminate the ballot which you verify, and trust the secret system instead.?– Bev Harris, author of ?Black Box Voting: Ballot-Tampering in the 21st Century?, BuzzFlash Interview, 10/1/03

? ?Using these machines is tantamount to handing complete control of vote counting to a private company, with no independent checks or audits. These machines represent a serious threat to democracy.?– Professor David Dill, Stanford University, [infernalpress.com], 6/20/03

Would Republicans really stoop to rigging voting machines to win? Judging from what they did in Florida?s 2000 election, the answer is yes?Absolutely. The Republicans learned that, no matter how many laws and rules they have to break to win an election, once they’ve won, it’s all over but the crying. Nobody will do anything about it. President Bush is their proof of that.

There are Democratic bills in Congress trying to assure a verifiable election, but they are being held up by you-know-who. Let your Congressperson know what you think about casting your vote on Republican machines with no verifiable record, and visit these sites to see what else you can do to assure a fair election.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation

Verified Voting

Working for Change

Black Box Voting

Retrofitting paperless machines with printers is expensive and would probably cause more problems than it solves; but there is already a simple solution to our problem?hand-marked paper ballots counted by human beings. It has been found to be the most accurate system available (MIT study–Voting Technology and Uncounted Votes in the United States, 9/25/02), and it could easily be adopted by every precinct in the United States in time for the November election.

Do you want it fast, or do you want it right? This may be our last chance to get it right.

Mick Youther is retired and lives in beautiful Southern Illinois. You can email your comments to Mick@interventionmag.com

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