Integrity of America's Voting System Is in Danger

The Register Guard (Eugene, OR), November 23, 2004 | Go to article overview

Integrity of America's Voting System Is in Danger


Byline: GUEST VIEWPOINT By Dianne Lobes For The Register-Guard

It's the story you're not seeing in the mainstream media yet. You learned the basics of it in first grade, though. This is a country of "one person, one vote," and the sanctity of your vote is a sacred trust between you and the United States of America. You have the right to vote, and to have that vote counted.

We need to protect this sacred trust. Democracy cannot be maintained on blind faith, though our first-grade hearts believe otherwise. The proclamation of a sacred trust and its reality are two different things.

"We have a republic to defend," said Bev Harris, executive director of www.blackboxvoting .org. But according to the mass of evidence she and other voting experts have accumulated, our republic and its much-vaunted voting system are in grave danger.

Harris, a savvy investigator from Seattle, is not referring to terrorism, but to the growing cascade of voting irregularities that have been reported across Ohio, Florida and the country as a whole.

Ohio is the home of Diebold Election Systems, a major purveyor of touchscreen voting machines that, unlike the ATMs the company also manufactures, have no paper trail. Without a paper trail, no recount is possible. The voting machines - the "black boxes" of Harris' Web site - feed into a central tabulator run by secret Diebold software.

That tabulator can easily be hacked, inside and out. Anyone having access to the computer can change, in a minute, results compiled by the secret software and remain undetected. The democracy in this process is undetectable, too.

Many, many reports of miscounts by computer voting machines have been heard at several public hearings organized by grass-roots groups in Ohio. Sometimes, the machines registered the wrong candidate for president, or counted votes backward.

In Ohio, an analysis of the Franklin County Board of Elections' allocation of voting machines consistently showed that far fewer machines were provided to the Democratic city of Columbus, with its large ethnic population and increased voter registration, than to the primarily Republican, white, affluent suburbs.

Freepress.org states, "The Columbus Board of Elections' own document records that, while voters waited in lines ranging from two to seven hours at polling places, 68 electronic voting machines remained in storage and were never used on Election Day. …

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