Sunday, September 03, 2006

Subverting Democracy Right Here At Home

Ok. Go ahead and call me a pessimist and a cynic. You can’t tell me it’s not without good reason.

I have been diligently following the various election problems and voting troubles across the USA since the 2000 presidential debacle that ‘gifted’ control of our nation to the PNAC. I have been scouring the internet, blogosphere, and even scanning the piss-poor mainstream media reporting for incidences of voter fraud, machine breakdowns, poll worker malfeasance, voter disenfranchisement, and the rampant corruption that exists as a result of HAVA between GOP legislators and the electronic voting machine manufacturers. I am not happy with what I am hearing. In addition, recent court decisions are not favoring an honest and verifiable electoral process. The recent case of CA-50 is a prime example of how lawmakers and judges play their cards wisely to usurp power. The people be damned!

Defenders of the status quo, consisting mostly of the various secretaries of state and paid representatives of voting machine companies, expect the American people to blindly ‘trust’ the elections. “No one would ever dare tamper with the American Democracy!” they argue. Now, someone please tell me why I should assume the system to be honest? Is it because someone’s grandmother was a poll worker at some time, and she was an obviously earnest and upstanding human being? Maybe it seems perfectly reasonable that an oatmeal-cookie-baking grandmother wouldn’t tamper with an election, but what about the politicians or the interests who have so much to gain from the outcome? Do you think the players just pack up their balls and go home quietly when the game is lost? Not a chance. They seek every advantage before, during, and after each contest, up to and including, unfortunately, subverting the process. Think about what is at stake for them.

It is strange to me that so many people would readily admit that almost 100% of those in politics on any level are in some way corrupted yet, when it comes to the very process that gets them into office, these same criminally-minded corporate servants are treated as being beyond any reproach? Are you saying that there is no-way-in-hell that politicians would try to influence and election by resorting to dishonesty, either in advertising or practices? Oh, how naïve some must be! Anyone who still imagines that our elections have always been honest and treated by those seeking power with deepest reverence needs to visit their local library and head straight for the history section. Read a little about the influences of Tammany Hall or the history of Chicago politics.

There is no reason to blindly trust anyone for anything. I have no implicit faith in any form of governance. I want evidence; the sort of evidence as produced by the checks and balances provided through transparency, oversight, and public scrutiny. My vote is to be held as a sacred, sealed, and secret ballot only at the point when I cast it. After that, it doesn’t become subject to the sole jurisdiction and discretion of a bureaucrat or the proprietary intellectual property of a voting machine company. My vote does not become a matter of national security and nor do I fear identity theft should the vote be recounted. That vote is the property of the American people in collective and is to be counted openly for that collective to witness. Voting is not an act of faith. There should be no closed doors and secret meetings when and where the votes are being tallied. If they have nothing to hide, then they shouldn’t mind being watched while they do it. This legislatively required electronic voting process doesn’t make elections more honest, it only makes dishonesty more convenient and further shrouded in the nomenclature of computer lingo and legalese.

The process of counting those votes must never be a clandestine affair limited to the prying eyes and fingers of those who hold a stake in the outcome. The sad reality we face is that candidness in gathering and recounting the vote is becoming a scarce event, often routinely denied or subverted by political operatives, corporate stooges, or judges. This deceit is a shameful statement of how far American politics has divested itself of any moral character or high ground in the debate over freedom and democracy around the world. Our government insists upon open elections overseas while making excuses for not having it here at home.

All we are asking for is verifiable elections. You know; the kind with receipts and open honesty. That seems to be too much to ask from our government these days. They claim it is either too cumbersome, or too expensive, or too late, or too early, or too divisive, or too contentious, etc. ad nauseum. These conflict-of-interest-ridden liars conjure more lame justifications for their political trickery in pursuing an unsupervised and unaccountable election processes than my ex-wife had excuses for avoiding sex. I must admit, however, that at least my ex-wife came up with a good reason now and then.

Qui Bono?

Many thanks to the Brad Friedman, Clint Curtis, Black Box Voting, and many others for keeping the concept of honest and verifiable elections alive! Please visit their sites. Draw your own conclusions, but at least give them a chance to present their cases. I think you will be dismayed and surprised at the same time.

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