Whether Those Who Hate America and Democracy Like it Or Not.
PLUS: A Song to Fight for Democracy By...
By Brad Friedman on 10/8/2005, 11:05am PT  

{Blogged by Brad on the road...}

The fight for democracy in America --- even as we still scratch our head with continued wonder that a "pro-democracy" movement is actually necessary in the United States of America in 2005 --- continues to be a difficult one. But the fight is well worth it. Even as our victories tend to come in small, but continually accruing pieces.

We're not supposed to be talking about this issue at all, 11 months after November 2nd, 2004...and yet more and more are doing so every day. The Mainstream Corporate Media may not get it yet. But the ranks of great patriots who give a damn about their country continues to burgeon as the noise in favor of an accountable democracy increases every day due to the folks like the good readers of The BRAD BLOG who take their civic duty to heart.

Here are just a few of the latest positive signs in the continuing fight for a free, fair, verifiable and transparent democracy that many would prefer we simply didn't even discuss. We will continue to do so nonetheless. The burden is well worth carrying. The rewards for doing so are well worth the effort.

Debra LoGuercio, editor of Winters Express and columnist in Daily Republic and elsewhere, makes it a hat trick with her third column in as many weeks on our tenuous Electoral System. She was haunted by the siren sounded by our first article on the Diebold insider we dubbed DIEB-THROAT, who alerted us to the Dept. of Homeland Security website where a Cyber Alert was issued last year prior to the election about the vulnerability to hackers in Diebold's central tabulator software. That vulnerability has, by Diebold's own admission, never been addressed.

In her latest column titled "E-voting fraud is an American issue" LoGuercio joins the ranks of those of us who continue to be stunned at the remarkable indifference by the Mainstream Corporate Media to what DIEB-THROAT refered to as "one of the greatest threats democracy has ever known":

So many topics, so little column space. And yet soooooo much e-mail. In the media, we talk of a story having �legs,� meaning that it just keeps running. It seems the topic of electronic voting fraud is a centipede.

I've accumulated a mountain of studies and reports on Diebold's electronic voting machines since I wrote the Dieb-Throat columns, all pointing to the same conclusion: The software can be hacked - undetected - relatively easily by someone with the technology skills.
Why isn't the national media all over this topic like stink on a monkey? Why are we hearing about Brad and Angelina rather than a story that may shatter the foundation of American democracy if it's true? Maybe it's just not sexy enough. Maybe it won't move enough Viagra. Or maybe the grotesquely wealthy owners of the national media don't want this issue to come to light.
Maybe that's why people are frantically encouraging me to keep pushing the issue, as if they're pinning their hopes on me. If that's the case, we're in big trouble. In the media world, I'm not even a small fish in a small pond. I'll keep on splashing, but it's hard for a guppy in a mud puddle to make waves.

However, it brings to mind a children's story about Swimmy, a little fish that encouraged all the other little fish to swim together in the formation of one large fish. Working together, they survived the perilous waters among the sharks. That's what all us little fish must do - swim together.

Again, read her full column to find out about her response from AP and NBC affiliates when she contacted them about all of this, and see if you can find a way to help swim together with her efforts. It's well worth it, and the support means the world to folks like us who go out on a limb on these matters...even when doing so may be neither popular nor the easiest thing to do.

In the meantime, there are signs that more and more folks are taking notice of what is going on and walking out on that limb as well. C-NET's News.com ran an article yesterday by Declan McCullah headlined "E-voting hobbled by security concerns".

The first couple of grafs:

It's been nearly five years since Americans received a painful education on the perils of traditional voting machines in Florida and almost one year since the 2004 election revealed perplexing irregularities in Ohio's vote tabulation methods.

Yet no uniform security standards exist for electronic voting machines. Even though they were used to tabulate a third of the votes in last year's presidential run, nearly all electronic voting machines in use today remain black boxes without external methods of verifying that the results have not been altered or sabotaged.

The article covers both the ongoing concerns, and the internal debates --- even amongst election reformers --- about how and when to produce and count paper ballots...or "receipts" as they are regrettably becoming known in many circles.

On the point of the difference between reformers on these issues, I hope to produce a one-page "Declaration of Democracy" in the next couple of weeks, a page on which we worked diligently at the Portland Election Reform summit. I believe we can bridge the differences between reformers on these matters to get everyone on the same page. I've been working hard on that effort personally behind the scenes, and hope to have something to show for it in the next couple of weeks. Just by way of a heads-up...So that perhaps we may be able to "swim together" on these issues.

A second article from News.com published yesterday over at ZDNet covers a similar discussion on the problems with E-Voting vulnerability and the need to open the software for inspection:

Overlooked bugs and malicious code pose a plausible threat to software on electronic voting machines, a panel of election experts said Friday.

And finally, there it was yesterday...smack dab in the middle of The New York Times: a full-page ad that asks the the too-obvious questions, "Would you trust a bank that refused to issue ATM receipts? Will you trust your democracy to voting machines without them?"

The ad calls for support of Rep. Rush Holt's (D-NJ) H.R. 550 "Voter Confidence and Increased Accessibility Act of 2005" which we generally support as a good first step towards accountability. (You can send your words of support as well to your folks in congress quickly by using Velvet Revolution's easy Email generator here.)

Here's the very welcome ad, signed by many election reformers. Amongst them, our friend the heroic Robert Koehler (listen to our interview with Koehler at the Portland Summit as broadcast on The BRAD SHOW by clicking here and selecting HOUR 3.)

To read the full text of the ad in PDF format, click it, or click here.

Let's all keep swimming...together...

If you need some added inspiration to keep up the fight for democracy, we'll strongly recommend this great song [mp3], courtesy of Victoria Parks. "It's well worth fighting for..."