As The New York Times Fails to Report on the Payola He and His Group Have Received from the Voting Machine Companies...
By Brad Friedman on 7/21/2007, 1:54pm PT  

Blogged by Brad from Houston...

Christopher Drew at New York Times follows up his article yesterday on the possible/pending death of the Holt Election Reform Bill (HR 811). In today's piece, however, he begins to report on the fact that there are alternatives to DRE touch-screen machines which offer the same interface for disabled voters, but without the dangers, as I opined about yesterday.

Of course, even that option --- an electronic assistive device that offers touch-screen voting and/or audio voting for disabled and blind voters --- is not good enough for Jim Dickson of the American Assoc. of People with Disabilities (AAPD), who is quoted by the Times as continuing to use his considerable access and ability to bully Congress members into sticking with DREs only. What the New York Times fails to report when mentioning Dickson is that he's received thousands of dollars from various voting machine companies who also prefer that every American be saddled with their shitty, unaccountable, inaccurate, easily-hackable DRE technology.

Christopher Drew and the NY Times have a responsibility to disclose that point when quoting Dickson as a source in their stories. They were the ones, after all, who reported on Dickson and the AAPD having "received $26,000 from voting machine companies" in 2004 alone.

Instead, Dickson is reported by the Times only as "a lobbyist for the American Association of People with Disabilities...whose group prefers the touch-screens."

That Dickson --- Vice President for Governmental Affairs of AAPD, "a broad coalition of 36 national disability-related organizations," according to his bio page --- is, again, hijacking election reform and the inevitable move to paper ballots for the entire country ought to be the actual lead in Drew's otherwise well-researched piece today. Unfortunately, it's not even mentioned.

That he and Ralph Neas --- President of People for the American Way (PFAW), the staunchest and most well-moneyed supporters/hijackers of Holt's legislation, who fought a dishonest battle to keep the bill from banning DREs from the get-go --- are well-aligned from their days together at the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights (LCCR) is also an important detail that has been largely absent from the what little mainstream coverage there has been about the entire affair.

As well, Farhad Manjoo at Slate has more details today on the latest insider battles now going on concerning the bill. Of note, even VerifiedVoting.org, who had previously been staunch supporters of the Holt bill, are now coming about against the proposed compromise legislation that would require paper trails added on to DREs. That's good to see, but one wonders how they could have been so supportive of previous versions of the bill which also did exactly that.

For the most part, as revealed by both articles, the compromising insiders allowed into the late battle, of course, tend to include only those with the access and the money to buy it. Regular old voters and election integrity advocates, and even disabled voter advocates (like Noel Runyan, and those who do not advocate the use of dangerous DREs), are decidedly absent from the last-minute negotiations/compromises being sought, reportedly, by Steny Hoyer and Nancy Pelosi on behalf of House leadership.

CORRECTION: Our initial report said that AAPD's Jim Dickson received money from "voting machine companies such as Diebold". While the New York Times has reported money he's received from "voting machine companies", we don't yet know if it was Diebold, specifically, as in the case of the National Federation for the Blind (who received $1 million from them) or other voting machine companies specifically. Either way, Dickson has been generally less than forthcoming on the issue when asked about it by various folks, including The BRAD BLOG.