I've been racking my brains for a good wedge issue to unite all Democrats and moderate Republicans
against the extremist anti-democratic far right and the embarrassment (of riches) that is the Oval Office
record contains no lack of alarming issues but what I was specifically seeking was an issue that is both
generic yet serious enough to generate widespread concern and the most universal agreement that
immediate action ought to be taken so we can, ya know, so we can "speak with one voice" and
"get the message out" and all that cool stuff.
And by George (oh, sorry), I think I've got it. I'm in a very baby stage, here, sort of testing the
notion to see if it's as hot an issue as I think, and whether this is something that might really
arouse widespread passion and so on. Of itself it's fairly important but I'm wondering if it's
important enough that it could be an effective political tool?
Anyhow, I thought I ought to share this information with you:
Below is a letter I wrote to the author of an article on how touch screen voting machines can be
"error prone" that recently appeared in Salon. Links below it connect to that Salon article and to
other information on the subject.
"Error prone" is understating things just a tad. Touch screen voting machines can be rigged to
cheat in ways that are 100% undetectable. There is no paper trail and no way to audit the votes.
Laws protect the software and source code from scrutiny. Even if the code could be reviewed,
it would be the work of a moment for a technician to substitute honest code for something insidious.
The largest vote machine manufacturer is a right wing extremist whose life ambition is "Christian
dominion over worldly affairs". Among other charmless notions he has bankrolled is the execution
of homosexuals and jail for the nonreligious.
There is a quiet but burgeoning movement within the Republican Party to purge itself of moderates.
Example: my district is about half and half Dems and GOP. Our moderate GOP congressman was
unseated with the help of a stealth campaign of Right Wing Religious Republicans from Orange County
who would rather see a Democrat have that seat than let a Republican who opposed "partial birth abortion"
retake it. Rep. Kuykendahl lost by 37 votes.
The "NO RINOS" (Republicans In Name Only) movement will become better known as time goes on.
The point here is that Republican moderates have just as much to fear from the potential for touch
screen mischief as do Democrats.
Voting is the core power that separates citizens and subjects. The potential for mischief with
touch screens is easy to explain. And the beauty of it is that there is no excuse for it. People
may have been dazzled by all the things done in the name of national security and anti-terrorism
like The Patriot Act and the Bush Doctrine and Homeland Security.
Many may not fully understand why dismantling the Government Printing Office is a blow to their
freedom, but would they be so accepting if they thought it possible they were being cheated of a vote?
I suspect that might still matter. Certainly it could be explained in a 30 second paid ad, for instance
and might galvanize people?
Dear Mr. Manjoo:
A friend and I recently began to compile data on voting equipment with the intention of alerting
people in a position to help stop the trend toward paperless voting. We're not finished with our
homework but I just read your timely article raising some concerns about the accuracy of touch
screen voting equipment and I wonder if you are aware that virtually all the voting equipment
owners and makers have staunchly right-wing extremist political agendas. (see example below).
While perhaps troubling, of itself an owner's strong political bent is not evidence of fraud or an
intent to commit fraud. Still, the nature of paperless voting may be an irresistible invitation to
commit fraud. Programming a computer to undetectably skew a vote count is not terribly difficult
and unless the owners waive the nondisclosure laws it is impossible to review the software for "bugs".
Even if the only problem with this equipment is the erosion of voter confidence because the
possibility of undetected fraud exists, that alone is reason enough to abandon them immediately.
It is wrong to expect the public to trust a voting system that does not create a physical audit trail.
Election Systems & Software (ES&S) - AKA American Information Systems (AIS), AKA Data Mark.
68% controlling interest - Ahmanson 35% McCarthy Group 45% World-Herald Company, Inc.
Harold Ahmanson owns a 68% controlling interest in the nation's largest elections company. Ahmanson
is well known in California as the owner of Home Savings & Loan, and is notorious for bankrolling extremist
groups like Chalcedon Institute, a Christian extremist think tank on whose board Ahmanson sat for 20 years.
Chalcedon's goal is Christian dominion over all worldly affairs, and it maintains that democracy is
heresy. Other quaint and charmless notions Chalcedon also advocates include death penalty for
homosexuals, jail the nonreligious, all 'humanism' is demonic.
Are we smart to allow voting machines we can't verify?
Would we be naive to trust voting machines we cannot audit? Would we be naive and insane to trust
them if their owner is a man who is as anti-democratic as the Mullah Omar?
What would motivate a man who has made his life's work the replacement of current federal and state law with
a narrow interpretation of Biblical law to own the lion's share of the nation's largest voting equipment company?
Let's see... this is a toughie. Citizen vote is the core component of democracy. Mr. Ahmanson's
stated goal in life is to destroy democracy. Would it be reasonable to entertain the possibility
that given this man's values he might sincerely believe he was doing God's Will by sabotaging
elections to favor the Christian candidates he has vowed to see rule the world? Just asking.
Surely Republican and Democrat citizens alike understand that a badly corrupted voting process, is
the end of our free nation. Some will cite past elections that were corrupted or imperfectly
tallied but that is exactly the point. Presently we are able to confirm votes and recount ballots
and make corrections. The new equipment removes this from the equation and there is no reason we
should ever trust any institution to the degree that we waive our ability to audit it.
Last, I am not a paranoid person and I think I'm fairly realistic about defeat.
I think you know I don't have a 'sour grapes' mentality.
But I can't help but be very unsettled by the fact that this November, no exit polls were conducted
because the Voter News Network experienced a "computer glitch". Coupled with the fact that last
November the Democrats romped all over the Republicans when Bush's popularity was at 88%.
This year, the proprietary data I had seen immediately prior to the election showed some of the Democratic
candidates were faring much better than the results showed. Sometimes this happens but because of all that
took place before, and because of the danger of touch screens and because of who owns them, I cannot help
but wonder if November 2002 is yet another year in which supposedly "we'll never know".
What do you think? How hot an issue? Could we brand the entire GOP RR with it?
Does it have legs and stuff?
Salon Article on Touch Screen Errors Manjoo Article
The New Republic - Voting Machine Information The New Republic article re Touch Screen voting.
By R. Dugger, an excellent researcher
Talion - Photocopies Documents, other info.: Leftist resource - Excellent research into Ownership
and Board of Dirs. and Political ties to voting machine manufacturers.
Church and State Brief description of Harold Ahmandson's positions and goals
Donation link between Senator and Voting Machine Co. Assorted Byzantine ties exist between some
elected officials and World-Herald's many subsidiaries and partners. One such is Sen. Chuck Hagel -
Rep NE, who was Chairman of AIS and also the lucky recipient of their contributions to his campaign.
XXXXX XXX et al Patent on Voter Machine If anyone can tell you how easy it is to rig a voter machine
to skew results undetectably, it's my husband who is the author of the most widely used punch card counter
in the nation. Additionally, his depth of programming knowledge is unsurpassed by anyone I know of.
We do not and will not have any personal financial benefit from any voting system in use anywhere today
so his credential as an expert is impeccable.
San Francisco Examiner, computer racetrack scam
Three former fraternity brothers surrendered to the FBI on Tuesday in connection
with a complicated horse racing bet on the Breeders` Cup that paid $3 million and
quickly raised suspicions that computers had been rigged. My husband says that what
they did was a lot harder than rigging an electronic voting machine...