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?
My best guess on the last is that too few people realize that voting irregularities are not just conspiracy theories, they are real and verified fact. The machines we use to cast our votes are insecure and unreliable, and there is no reason they should be. You don’t have to believe that the 2004 election was “stolen” in order to recognize that the system is damaged and must be repaired. It doesn’t matter whether the machines have ever been hacked. They could be, and that is intolerable in a society which claims to base its representation on the will of the people.
Still sound “loony tunes” to you? By all means, don’t take my word for it. There are plenty of well-respected sources to fuel your righteous indignation. Please remember, as you read through the sources listed here, that not only are these your votes being potentially ignored or altered, but also your tax dollars paying for the privilege.
- Maryland’s 2004 independent review of its voting systems The inspecting agent claimed that the Maryland system, comprised of Diebold touch-screen voting machines contains considerable security risks that can cause moderate to severe disruption in an election. Diebold apparently fixed a bunch of machines some time after the election, but they continue to have problems.
- An Information Security Institute (John Hopkins University) report on Diebold’s AccuVote-TS machine found significant and wide-reaching security vulnerabilities. Diebold responded to their findings here, and the Institute rebutted Diebold’s rebuttal here.
- The Democratic National Convention report on voting irregularities in Ohio during the 2004 Presidential election found more than one quarter of all voters in Ohio reported some kind of problem on Election Day, including long lines, problems with registration status and polling locations, absentee ballots and provisional ballots and unlawful identification requirements at the polls, as well as significant problems with the voting machines used.
- Ohio is not the only state with problems. What is listed on this page is only the tip of the iceberg, a representative sample.
- Despite improvement, These problems have not been adequately resolved.
- These problems can be fixed.
No other election year issues really matter if we can’t ensure that every single vote cast is counted. As the numbers come in from the first hand recount of the election season, we are getting a clear demonstration that this is not the case. No election is valid if the results could be compromised. It doesn’t matter if they have been, we should never have to wonder. Please, take a few moments and write your Congressmen and your local board of elections and demand reform immediately.