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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Addressing the Threat of GOP Electronic Voter Fraud

At the Atlantic Andrew Cohen’s post, “Think the Florida Recount Was Bad? Just Wait Until November 6” merits concern and attention from all Democrats. Cohen warns:

You think the hanging chads in Florida were bad in 2000? You think the patch of procedures, appeals, and standards of review was crazy? At least a human being was looking at those ballots. At least some of the rest of us were able to look at that human being looking at those ballots. At least there were ballots to be seen. In 2012, on the other hand, loose technology, lax industry oversight, political indifference, and partisan bigotry mean there is the potential for mischief — and by that I mean democracy-crushing voter fraud — on a scale that would make the high drama and low comedy of November 2000 seem mundane.
How about thousands upon thousands of votes instantly disappearing from the electronic count of one candidate, or being added to the count of another, with no paper trail left behind? How about electronic voting machines whose programs can be breached and hacked — patched for fraud, is the new term — from thousands of miles away? How about new voting technology controlled largely by corporations with strong partisan ties? Not only can it all happen in two weeks, there is a viable case to be made that it’s already happened — in both the decade before and the decade since Bush v. Gore.
And of course the great irony of it all, one of the most under-reported stories of this campaign, is that the politicians and activists who have tried so hard this election cycle to make it harder for poor, ill, and elderly voters to vote are some of the ones most closely aligned with the operatives who can, with a click, determine the outcome of the coming election. Instead of securing accurate voting rights for all, they want to deprive voting rights for some…

Cohen quote from an article by Victoria Collier in the November issue Harper’s *, titled “How To Rig An Election,” (excerpt only online):

Old-school ballot-box fraud at its most egregious was localized and limited in scope. But new electronic voting systems allow insiders to rig elections on a statewide or even national scale. And whereas once you could catch the guilty parties in the act, and even dredge the ballot boxes out of bayou, the virtual vote count can be manipulated in total secrecy. By means of proprietary, corporate-owned software, just one programming could steal hundreds, thousands, potentially even millions of votes with the stroke of a key. It’s the electoral equivalent of a drone strike.

Cohen adds:

…According to VerifiedVoting.org, there are more than 45 million registered voters in America whose electronic votes will not be backed up with a paper record. In Pennsylvania, the vast majority of counties fall into this category. Speaking of which, how much do you trust the folks running your own state’s electronic voting?

There is a lot to be alarmed about in Cohen’s article, as well as Collier’s. Cohen has some suggestions for reform, as well. Do read the rest of Cohen’s post.

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