The Fiasco Waiting to Happen
. Ok, a lot of bloggers in the neighborhood (that is, the ideological neighborhood) have been talking about problems with eectronic voting machines. Some suspicious things have been happening in some elections, and both sides are making allegations (or at least, voicing suspicions). The short version of the story is that some electronic voting machines make it difficult, if not impossible, to check the results. So far I haven't seen anything that I would call direct evidence of vote tampering, but that's not the point. At least, not yet. Assume for a moment that there was serious vote tampering in some election last November. With many of these electronic voting machines, it would be impossible for anyone to check. This is a serious problem, and as the title of this post points out, it's a problem that I think everyone in the country is going to learn a lot more about before it gets fixed. I hope you enjoyed the Bush v. Gore debacle as much as I did, because I predict that there will be many more three-ring circuses involving disputed election results unless the federal government steps in to deal with this.
To get yourself up to speed on this issue (and get ahead of the curve, so that you already know the ins and outs of the issue even before the major media really start taking an interest), start with this
post on a blog I've recently discovered called Balkinization
. The author, Jack M. Balkin, is a distinguished professor of Constitutional and First Amendment Law at Yale University. He also, as it happens, is a co-author of Processes of Constitutional Decision Making
, which is the case book I'm currently using in my Constituional Law course. Anyway, this post gives you a nice overview of the issue, and also supplies links to several news sources and bloggers who have discussed it previously. Read this stuff, it's frightening. It's obviously frightening to democrats. The 2002 midterm elections provide lots of circumstantial evidence that vote tampering has already taken place. In Georgia, Senator Max Cleland enjoyed a wide lead that deteroriated steadily until election day. Last minute polls show that his challenger, Republican Saxby Chambliss, led by a single point. In the end, Chambliss won by a significant margin. Looking at the vote distribution county by county in Georgia, the results are peculiar. [Follow the first link on the Balkinization post for more information.]
Let me reiterate: I'm not claiming that the Georgia Senate election was stolen. I just saying that the results were peculiar, and that they are unverifiable. But it isn't just sour-grapes Democrats who should be afraid of this. I've also heard some stories about irregularities in New Jersey which favored Democrats. It doesn't matter which party benefits from illegal vote tampering, voters of all political affiliations should be outraged.
You'll never have a fair election. In every election, ethics are overlooked, laws are evaded, and people fight tooth and nail to win. This is inevitable. The concern with many of these new electronic voting systems is that they open up a whole new avenue of election-rigging unlike anything we've ever seen before. And if it's done well, it's undetectable. Something has to be done to protect against this, and soon. The first step is finding out what's going on. Follow the links, read the articles.