Joins NY Times in Finally Going on Public Record!
Though also remain inexplicably allergic to investigating Election 2004!
By Brad Friedman on 11/28/2004, 3:06pm PT  

As The NY Times finally did yesterday, Newsweek follows in-step today by covering the problems with E-Voting and it's lack of paper audit trails, etc.

It's encouraging for the much-needed election reform movement that such articles are finally making their way into the Corporate Media. Yet I find it still somewhat beguiling that these organizations are finally willing to report on the lack of verifiability at the root of our country's democracy, how easy it may be to tamper with the results and how the end result is a lack of confidence in the outcome --- Yet with all of those acknowledged problems, the same Corporate Media still proves wholly unwilling to actually investigate the enormous body of data recently gathered via such troubling means a mere three weeks ago!

In other words, they acknowledge that possible trouble exists with the technology, but they are seemingly unwilling to expend any resources to determine if such trouble did exist in the November 2nd election! Newsweek even goes so far as to title their piece "Four More Years to Finally Get It Right". As if to say, nothing to see last November 2nd, but let's look ahead to '08.

In any case, here's a few key grafs from Steven Levy's Newsweek piece.

On those of us who have been dubious about what went on in Election 2004 and our refusal to take the questionable results lying down...

Is it time for these folks to shut up already?

To the contrary, their curmudgeonry serves an important purpose. The nature of the ATM-style voting terminals used by a third of the country in 2004—and set to increase over the next few cycles—doesn't merely invite controversy. It makes doubt a permanent part of the process. The problem is that the new devices have no way of proving to the voter that his or her choice is reported in the final tally. Researchers have demonstrated that the machines themselves are not foolproof—and, worse, are potentially susceptible to vote-stealing schemes.

Really? Glad you've admitted that, but wouldn't you do even better by investigating if that may have actually happened?!

And then Levy closes by pointing to the concerns that those of us pushing for Election Reform have been pointing out for a while. He aptly mentions that the concerns are not only with E-Voting itself and finishes (ironically enough) by spanking those who don't yet seem to get it...

Of course, verification is only one component of voting reform. Why is it that the companies that make the machines are run by executives who favor one party over another? For that matter, why is it that the so-called referees of the process are often partisan politicians themselves? When tackling the problems of provisional ballots, supplying precincts with sufficient voting machines and handling recounts, wouldn't it make sense to have neutral parties in charge?

After the 2000 debacle, one might have expected that our leaders would move mountains to make the next election an exemplary one. The fact that we cannot convince the doubters proves otherwise. Don't call them paranoid, but recognize their passion for fairly run, accurately tabulated elections. If only their zeal were more contagious.

The sentiment is much appreciated. But what Levy fails to point out here is that the "2000 debacle" is what put these "leaders" in power in the first place! It's small wonder then that they'd wish to tamper with that easily-gamed system.

Levy quickly mentions "legislation that would have mandated such protections in 2004 was bottled up in Congress," but he conveniently or lazily doesn't mention that the "bottled up" legislation was "bottled up" by the Republican leadership in both the House and Senate (specifically by Hastert and Delay) who wouldn't allow these bills to even come up for a vote!

But let's not hold any actual feet to any actual fires. We wouldn't want to piss off our well-earned sources now would we?

Both this piece and the Times piece I pointed out yesterday are indeed encouraging and bode well (hopefully) for reform in '06 and/or '08 to a certain extent. But one would have thought the even more-obviously outrageous 2000 election would have kept us from being where we are today at all.

So while the emerging willingness of these Corporate Media outlets to finally acknowledge that these issues even exist, they would be far better off investigating whether any of the items they warn about actually occurred in this go-round. There's certainly ample evidence to look into if they decide to actually leave their offices and look into it!

Without attention and hard news reporting on the matter from such outlets, I see no reason why Election '04 will offer any greater incentive to force lawmakers to reform the system. If the well-reported-upon debacle of 2000 didn't do the trick, why would the picture the media has now succeeded in painting of a "relatively trouble-free" 2004 election encourage anybody to change anything?!...Especially with even more of those lawmakers --- the ones who were able to gain from the dubious system --- now entrenching themselves in the same halls of power that decided not to correct the problems last time?!

CONTACTS...(Please be polite!)
Steven Levy, Newsweek Columnist: steven.levy@newsweek.com
Mark Whitaker, Newsweek Editor: mark.whitaker@newsweek.com
...Or, TheBradBlog@cville.com&Subject=Please Investigate and Report On Voter Irregularity, Mistabulation and Fraud in Election 2004!">Email both at the same time with a BCC to me so I can track numbers!