Tuesday, July 27, 2004

It's already happening

A true story from today's Paul Krugman column:

It's election night, and early returns suggest trouble for the incumbent. Then, mysteriously, the vote count stops and observers from the challenger's campaign see employees of a voting-machine company, one wearing a badge that identifies him as a county official, typing instructions at computers with access to the vote-tabulating software.

When the count resumes, the incumbent pulls ahead. The challenger demands an investigation. But there are no ballots to recount, and election officials allied with the incumbent refuse to release data that could shed light on whether there was tampering with the electronic records.

This isn't a paranoid fantasy. It's a true account of a recent election in Riverside County, Calif., reported by Andrew Gumbel of the British newspaper The Independent.

This is enough to make you wonder if voting machines will be the end of democracy. If people can't trust the results of an election, they'll have no faith in -- or support for -- their government. And no amount of wingnut bluster or Faux News propaganda will change that.

Last night, Republican talking head Victoria Clarke (late of Rummy's Pentagon) said that Al Gore had made a mistake in bringing up the Florida fiasco: She just didn't think people were still obsessing about it.

Maybe not in the circles you travel in, Ms. Clarke -- but those of us who got screwed are still outraged. And we will NOT get screwed again.


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