By Brad Friedman on 8/20/2008, 10:34pm PT  

Blogged by Brad Friedman on the road to Denver...

Congrats to our friend Ellen Theisen of VotersUnite.org for both her tremendous report on private vendors undermining our public elections (about which she guest blogged here yesterday) and her long-overdue appearance on CNN's Lou Dobbs Tonight on Wednesday to discuss it (appx 3 mins, video courtesy of Alan Breslauer)...


Great to see Ellen finally recognized for all the tremendous work that she and BRAD BLOG stalwart John Gideon have been doing for so long at the non-partisan election watchdog Voters Unite!

That said, two minor-ish complaints about the Dobbs segment above...

Both complaints are luxuries, given the dearth of serious coverage of these issues (not) found everywhere else in the mainstream broadcast media, other than on Dobbs' show. Given the good work that both he and reporter Kitty Pilgrim have done on this issue over the last two years, they ought, by now, to well understand and appreciate these two "complaints."

1) The problems America has are with election irregularities, not "voting irregularities" as mentioned in the segment. As we've noted many times, the voters are doing just fine. Please leave them alone, Lou and Kitty! Thanks.

2) Dobbs notes in his intro that "a third of the nation will still be using e-voting machines in November." But surely both he and Pilgrim should well understand by now that far more than just "a third of the nation" will be using such machines. Paper ballots are also counted on proprietary, optical-scan machines made, controlled, programmed, and serviced by the same private vendors, in almost every county in the country. Such systems are equally as hackable as touch-screen systems, even if they are moderately safer, due to the fact that at least a hand-marked paper ballot exists to accurately reflect voter intent (presuming chain of custody of those ballots is secure). If anyone has any question about the safety of optical-scan systems, please see this horrifying clip from HBO's Hacking Democracy where a Diebold op-scan system is hacked before your very eyes, resulting in an entirely flipped mock election.

Beyond that, thank you Lou and Kitty, and kudos again to Ellen!