The Presidential primary process is settling into full swing now, as I am constantly reminded by emails from various political and activist groups. Everyone’s eyes are on the Democratic showdown between Hillary Clinton and Barak Obama, and the news is rolling in hard and fast every day. Hillary calls Obama a slum-lord, Obama brings up Hill’s stint on the Wal-Mart corporate board; who’s talking today about race, gender, and of course change? It’s all very exciting, and I have watched the primaries like some people tune into the playoffs, cheering and booing during the debates, the speeches, and the polls (which have turned out to be about as reliable as a weather forecast). It’s a thrilling time, but before we get too carried away, I feel compelled to mention a few sobering facts. Like how, if you are voting in the Democratic primaries your vote only sort of counts. And that’s even without considering the rotten machines which have never been remedied. Not to mention that many of us won’t get to vote at all, even though we are paying for the privilege.
We are two elections in to the Presidential primary races, and already it has begun: conspiracy theories that the votes have been tampered with. And now, thanks to Dennis Kucinich we’re starting to get some evidence that, indeed, something is not quite right with the way we conduct elections. Now, you don’t have to believe that someone deliberately hacked the machines. It’s possible that the optical scan machines are simply not always scanning. The results are speaking for themselves, though. The original vote was not accurate.
We have had plenty of evidence for seven years that our electoral system is shot through with flaws. The 2004 Presidential election merely underscored this point. And here we are again, after years of neglect and head-pats, facing an election that no one in their right mind is going to believe accurately reflects the votes cast. No matter who wins the 2008 Presidential election, if the system is not fixed, there will be many who question their right to hold the title of President of the United States. Why, in a country where we hold the democratic process in such high regard, has so little effort been made to ensure that election results are valid? Why have our Congressmen not demanded careful oversight of elections (in order to ensure that no one is unfairly disenfranchised or discouraged from voting), and proof of security and 100% accuracy from the voting machines our tax dollars purchase? For that matter, why have the American people, as a body, not been demanding more from our representatives?