Election stuff

On a more serious note, there's been a lot of excitement about the Democrats taking back Congress after some 12-odd years. I think it's great that they won, but I think their victory is causing a bit of oversight on a critical issue that has totally vanished since election day, i.e. the significant issues that were cropping up with electronic voting platforms.

Given the slim margins and the intense polarization of recent elections, you would think that any hint of a miscount would be blasted out to the public. Maybe it has, and I just haven't noticed it because I've been working until midnight for the past two weeks. But my sense is that the discussion has been more about the Dems coming to power, Rumsfeld resigning, and Pelosi becoming the first female speaker of the house. Given the overwhelming feeling that this election went the right way, it seems a little bit inappropriate to talk about how things in the election went wrong.

I'm not saying that the election was stolen or that there was massive vote-theft. But there are some things that are worrying. This catalog of voting-issues news stories includes several troubling items, such as:

* Williamson County. iVotronic touch screen machines count every vote three times.
* Marion County. Doris Anne Sadler, Marion County Clerk, is unable to retrieve the votes from 520 ES&S iVotronic machines
* Waterville. Diebold scanners malfunction. Results show 27,000 votes in a town with 16,000 registered voters.
* Lancaster County. A third of the county's 232 polling stations experienced malfunctions on the Hart InterCivic eScan ballot scanners. In many cases, the memory cards were test cards, not set up for election results.
* Knox County. Circuitry in a Hart InterCivic eSlate fails, calling into question over 2600 e-ballots. Knox County Election Commission Chair Pamela Reeves explains what happened to the machine. "Apparently, what it did was it smoked. I don't know what caused it to smoke, but it was literally smoking. So they unhooked it at the time. Of course, we don't read the votes and we didn't know there was a problem until we went to read the votes Tuesday night."

And so on. According to an article in the Miami Herald, 18,382 votes either weren't cast or were miscounted in Sarasota county. Unfortunately, the voting was electronic and has no paper trail, closing out the possibility of a recount. Given that the 2000 election came down to some 500 votes in Florida, I think this should be a fairly serious concern for anyone that cares about who gets elected.

So, hurray for the Democrats and all of them getting elected. Let's just hope that they're secure enough in their victory to demand an investigation into voting practices in preparation for 2008.
If this is something that concerns you too, you can sign an on-line petition, or maybe it's send an e-mail to your senator, for paper trails and accountability at Get It Straight by 2008.



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