'I think you've gotta have 'em...Having a real ballot, I think is important' The Republican Presidential Candidate Says
Go Figure...
By Brad Friedman on 11/5/2007, 6:12pm PT  

Several weeks ago we excoriated Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA) for his unsubstantiated claim, made during a recent Republican Presidential Debate, that "We have right now a real danger of people that are illegally in the country being rounded up, herded into the polls, we've seen that in California, voting illegally."

Multiple attempts to contact both his presidential campaign and congressional office for specifics on the allegations he was making went unanswered. So we best-guessed, and detailed, what we believed he was likely referring to, along with our final conclusion that, barring any information to the contrary from him, he and his claims were "entirely full of shit."

But fair's fair, and we're happy to recognize the odd moments when Hunter says or does something that isn't "entirely full of shit," especially when it has to do with paper ballots.

In this case, his response to our pal Jake Soboroff, who caught up with him in Iowa to interview him for the Why Tuesday? "Candidate Challenge" concerning election reform issues, is --- of the candidates Soboroff has gotten on tape so far (more on that below) --- the only one to directly point out the need for paper ballots in American elections...


As Hunter tells Soboroff in the video posted at left...

I like paper ballots. Because, I think you've gotta have 'em. I've been there in the Broward County [FL] courthouse, when they were looking at the real ballots and decided whether there were marks on them or not. Having a real ballot, I think is important.

I'd like to end up with something that's a hard copy. That can be looked at, and whatever perforation or punch or mark was on it, you'll ultimately have two or three people decide in that little courtroom, like they did in Broward County. It's an imperfect system, but at least you'll have something in your hand, and you won't have to speculate with a bunch of numbers.

We hate to say it (no, really hate to say it), but of the candidates Soboroff has spoken to so far, Hunter's comments are the most direct and, um, correct on this point.

John Edwards --- who has spoken a bit at some appearances (when asked) about the need to get rid of electronic voting machines and requiring paper ballots --- has yet to respond to the challenge. Gov. Bill Richardson could have, and should have, bragged about his having signed a bill banning DREs and requiring paper ballots in New Mexico, but he didn't.

Of course, Dennis Kucinich has spoken directly to the point on the Peter B. Collins radio show (text and audio here), where he reiterated his withdrawal of co-sponsorship for Rep. Rush Holt's Election Reform Bill (HR 811), in part, because of its failure to ban DRE voting systems. In the previous Congress, Kucinich filed legislation calling for hand-counted paper ballots in presidential elections. He has yet to refile the measure in the current session, however.

Beyond that, it's rather amazing how little most of the candidates that Soboroff has spoken to seem to understand the problems of our electoral system, and how most of them seem to stammer and stutter when asked about their plans to reform it.

Other video responses to the tenacious Soboroff's challenge --- including the amusing one in which Fred Thompson refused to talk to him --- are all linked right here.

P.S. Soboroff, who lives in L.A., and is occasionally in town, stopped by The BRAD BLOG World News Headquarters this afternoon for a sit-down with yours truly. You can look forward (or not) to the results of that, he tells us, next week, and likely again in the week after (we do go on and on, ya know).