They're Late to the Game, But We'll Take Whatever We Can Get....
By Brad Friedman on 1/2/2008, 10:33am PT  

The Election Integrity advocate gets quoted in graf 3 of an AP story on Election Integrity. Go figure...

DENVER - With the presidential race in full swing, some U.S. states have found critical flaws in the accuracy and security of their electronic voting machines, forcing officials to scramble to return to the paper ballots they abandoned after the 2000 Florida debacle.

In December alone, top election officials in Ohio and Colorado declared that widely used voting equipment is unfit for elections.

"Every system that is out there, one state or another has found that they are no good," said John Gideon of the advocacy group Voters Unite. "Everybody is starting to look at this now and starting to realize that there is something wrong."

Nice. That, as opposed to the EI expert showing up, maybe, in the penultimate graf, only to be finally countered at the end by the voting machine company spokeshole or election official who then lies: "Everything's just fine! Our machines work great!"

What runs via AP matters, as its picked up by, um, everybody. So it's good to see them covering this issue finally, with our buddy John Gideon getting the featured prominence he deserves, in a story which will likely be widely read.

And now to be both beggar and chooser: there's a minor error or two, a couple of dubious points in the story, and, most notably, a quote or two (one from the CO SoS) that underscores the failure of AP, and the rest of the corporate media, to adequately report on this issue, at least up until now...

One erroneous point reported: "The Help America Vote Act of 2002 required that states have electronic equipment in place by 2008." But that was thankfully changed, in a later update of the same story, to the slightly more accurate: "The Help America Vote Act of 2002 in effect required that states have electronic equipment in place by 2010."

There are, of course, the usual voting machine company apologists quoted, and a dubious assertion or two, such as: "There are no documented cases of actual election tampering involving electronic voting machines."

But we'll take the fact that AP is running a serious story on Election Integrity at all, to be a very encouraging sign. Even if it's belated enough that little may be doable in its wake to offer any real integrity or confidence during the '08 election cycle.

Had they run such stories over the last several years, while folks like Gideon and ourselves were running around with our hair on fire and being largely ignored, a guy like Mike Coffman, the Republican Sec. of State of Colorado, couldn't have gotten away with his quote in the story where he says, in response to his state's recent certification testing of e-voting machines finding every damned one of them to be inaccurate, vulnerable to tampering, lacking in any real security, or all of the above: "I was surprised."

Oh, were ya, Mike? Okay. We'll give you the benefit of the doubt this morning (not that you deserve it) and blame the media for your failure to know what the hell was going on, in the most important aspect of your own job. And, here's hoping AP's George Merritt, and others there, will follow up, and continue to report on only the most important story to this nation and its future.

As Benazir Bhutto reportedly said before she was assassinated: "Democracy is the best revenge."

Yes, but that only matters if you actually have a democracy, as the people of her country well know, even while this country continues, for the moment, to get farther and farther away from a real one.