Guest Blogged by Katherine Forrest of The Commonweal Institute
Why Georgia? There's strongly suggestive evidence that the 2002 senatorial election in Georgia was stolen. That was the first election in which Diebold DRE (Direct Recording Electronic, usually touch-screen) voting machines were used statewide. Republican Saxby Chambliss beat front runner Democrat Max Cleland, with an astounding 12-point reversal of the vote count compared to pre-election polls. A last-minute "patch" had been applied covertly by Diebold staff to multiple voting machines throughout the state.
Now the Senate race hangs in the balance in Georgia again...
Incumbent Saxby Chambliss is facing a strong Democratic challenger, Democrat Jim Martin, in a run-off election on December 2. And guess what--Georgians still vote on Premier Election Systems (the new name for Diebold) DRE voting machines without even a voter verifiable paper audit trail.
This race affects the whole country, not just Georgia. Democrats are seeking a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate so they'll be able to pass legislation to correct some of the disasters of the past eight years. As of today, they hold 58 of the 60 seats needed. This makes the upcoming Georgia and still-undecided Minnesota races critical.
It's time for America to wake up. In a democracy, citizens' ultimate power--our only true power--lies in our ability to vote, and have our votes counted correctly. We don't only vote for those we might like to have lead us, we also vote OUT of office those who are not serving the needs of the people.
One of the top priorities for the next Congress and the incoming administration should be to sort out this voting mess once and for all. No more unverifiable DREs. No more blocking citizen observers from the vote tallying process. No elections without automatic audits of a substantial percentage of the ballots. No more outsourcing our elections to corporations. No more disenfranchisement, caging, and other tricks to keep citizens from voting. We're supposed to be the leading democracy in the world, a model for others; let's make that more than wishful thinking.
And in the meantime, keep your fingers crossed that Georgia won't be stolen again.