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Thu

09

Nov

2006

What Vote-Theft Conspiracy?
Thursday, 09 November 2006 18:39

by Dave Lindorff,

The big losers on Election Day were of course President Bush and the Republican Party, but there was another loser too: the conspiracy theory that had it that a slick operation run out of Karl Rove’s office, and working in cahoots with the makers of the electronic voting machines increasingly being installed by voting districts around the country would steal the key elections electronically.
I always felt that this conspiracy theory was over the top, and that it moreover was having the pernicious effect of creating massive cynicism about elections that would keep many people from voting who otherwise might have.

  There's no way to know how many people didn't go to the polls because they decided that it would be a waste of time, but I sure have heard plenty of people saying, over the past year, "What's the point? The Republicans are going to steal the election anyway."

Well, if they were ever going to steal an election, this would have been the one to do it to. The last thing a criminal president whose popularity is in the cellar needs is a Congress armed with subpoena power in the hands of the opposition party. Surely, if Karl Rove could have tinkered with the numbers on those voting machines in just a few dozen districts, or in states like Montana or Virginia where the margin was a few thousand votes, and where the key voter registrar officials were fellow Republicans, he would have done it.

Instead, we saw dozens of congressional races and a handful of key Senate races switch to the Democrats, and sometimes by the narrowest of margins.


I am certain that Rove and his legions of dirty tricksters did their level best to intimidate and discourage minority and low-income urban voters from going to the polls. Greg Palast and others have ably demonstrated how Republicans have mastered the art of removing people from the rolls who should not be removed, of tricking people into thinking they'd registered to vote when they hadn't, and of threatening some groups of voters--mostly blacks and Hispanics--into not voting for fear of being arrested on some trumped-up charge. There have also been plenty of documented cases of Republican Party attempts to establish burdensome and illegal photo ID requirements. All these things have certainly lowered Democratic vote totals by millions of votes.

But the systematic tampering with voting machines that some warned would happen and that people have claimed happened in 2004 and 2000, simply didn't occur--and I suspect didn't occur those years either.

I’m not saying it couldn't be done from a purely technical point of view. Techies at Princeton have proven that the machines made by Diebold can be hacked. Others have hacked machines made by Sequoia Systems. And certainly if ATM machines can be made reasonably safe and reliable, voting machines should be able to be made equally so. But all that being said, showing it can be done, and actually having it done are two very different things.

Certainly the idea of having elections that use electronic voting machines which keep no paper record of votes is stupid and is just asking for trouble. Just consider the election district where a voting official forgot to push "save" to record the vote totals before turning off the machine! Or consider the Virginia Senate race, where they can't really do a recount even if Sen. Allen wants one, because a third of the voting machines have no paper record of what voters did. We don't do our ATM business without a receipt, or buy gas at a pump by credit card without a receipt, so why on earth would we accept the idea of voting without a receipt?

So let's fix the system so it has a verifiable paper trail.

But let's also stop the paranoia about massive vote-stealing conspiracies.

Karl Rove is about as much a genius as George Bush is a talented leader. The sinking ship of the Bush administration and the Republican Party is proving that. The way I see it, if you can be beaten by the current Democratic Party, you've got to be pretty pathetic!

Instead of telling people that the Republicans are going to hack the vote, we should be telling people that voting is a critical responsibility. We should also be fixing the election system so that the real threats to a fair vote--the impediments to voting that we know are being erected by Republicans--become illegal.

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Jim said:

0
Naive?
You acknowledge that the voting machines can be hacked. You acknowledge that Rove et al capable of extreme tactics in perverting the vote outcome. You also say that that doesn't prove that they did hack the machines in 2000 & 04. All true.

But given the nature of Rove et al, I think the boot is on the other foot. You would need to prove that they DIDN'T hack them. That is the more reasonable position.

It would seem that the voting machines weren't tampered with (Lieberman?) this time but the question is surely "Why not?" and not concluding, against the evidence, that the machines were not tampered with in 2000 and 2004.
 
November 10, 2006
Votes: +0

enemy of the people said:

0
...
The devil's advocate for a moment.
the last thing rover and his buddies could do is operate in the bright light cast upon their efforts. Any funny stuff and they would have been exposed. Conversely they, in their demented ways, might be satisfied with "letting this one go." After all, shrub is lame regardless of the outcome, handing over a pot full of crap to prove the demopublicans are clueless will give them a renewed mandate, and the breather will renew their fires for '08.
Their long-term goal is total fascist domination and, just like the North Vietnamese decades ago, they will pay whatever price they have to in order to achieve total domination.
Dems: Rest on your laurels at your peril.
 
November 10, 2006
Votes: +0

Jim said:

0
...
Here's one avenue for investigation re why the machines weren't hacked. http://www.bbvforums.org/cgi-b...45174.html
 
November 10, 2006
Votes: +0

Shawn Sanders said:

0
...
This election outcome is a little pill, a placebo for the people? Nothing will really change at all, it'll be same old game just toned done for a while. "Yes folks the greatest Democracy in the world works, see what happens, the bad guys are mostly gone". Yet corporate America will keep plundering and robbing the American people, and the rest of the world, much the same as it is now. This Class War will continue unabated, with things staying more ‘the same’, then the amount that they will be different. The money all piling up at the top of the system.
 
November 10, 2006
Votes: +0

the fall said:

0
the fall
the republicans let the democrats win so they could take the fall when the economy collapses within the next 6 to 18 months.
 
November 10, 2006
Votes: +0

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