Are Fair Elections Still Possible In The USA?

In response to this article in the British newspaper The Independent yesterday.

Given the concerns over the legitimacy of the last presidential election I was wondering how US dopers feel about the methods that are being put in place for future elections. The particular points that would frankly horrify me if I were a US citizen raised by this article are:-

Elections will no longer be under the full control of democratically elected or certified independent people

Not only is there no way to independently check the machines themselves, but there is no paper record to be checked either.

Is this true and, if so, are America’s democratic traditions in danger? Why aren’t the people in the streets rioting? And what exactly is it that you guys have against a small piece of paper and a pencil?

( Might I add that over here we had a serious problem with poor and less educated people as regards to operating these machines. Alot of wrong voting due to that… democrats tend to have black and poor voting for them… )

The article certainly is scary... and not that unfeasible. I suggest printing out results to allow for a recount like it was done here. Especially if your gonna use Windows.

I’d like paper ballots with corresponding receipts and a count of voters kept by ledger.

I’d also like tight controls on voter eligibility, with only citizens resident in the community that meet all criteria allowed to vote there.

A paper trail is essential. In fact, a simple paper ballot works quite well.

This is not the first time election fraud with voting machines has been raising eyebrows; here and here are two links to similar articles from last year.

The real question in my mind is why this hasn’t been getting any major coverage in the American press. Is it the Liberal Media Bias™®© at work?

Yes, the US is now a dictatorship.

I can’t understand how you foreigners have such a blinkered, biased, xenophobic and delusional understanding of the United States.

If voter fraud occured in this case, well, it certainly wouldn’t be the first time. Voter fraud is a perennial problem, going back to the machine politics. And to claim that fair elections are no longer possible in America…when these particular voting machines are not in widespread use in America…is simply delusional.

And bringing up the 2000 presidential election is simply pathetic, since if you remember the election was decided by recounting PAPER BALLOTS. You remember that, don’t you? Remember the hanging chads? Why did you bring up this entirely unrelated issue? Oh yes, because you are convinced the US is a dictatorship.

You should be ashamed of yourself.

I doubt very much that the US is going to descend into a rigged election banana republic.

However the lack of a central elections office does make the introduction of universally accepted methods harder to implement. Elections though are state run if I remember what I’ve learned on these boards. The idea that 50 states of varying political views are going to somehow rig the election machinery to ensure a particular party will win in 2004 is dubious.

Lemur866 I think they’re talking about simple paper ballots marked with an X in the circle next to the voters choice. No chads involved.

Lemur866 , I assume that rant was directed at me?


Of course. But do you not think that the government shoud be introducing systems that make this easier to detect, rather than a system which, with no paper trail at ll, makes it impossible to prove that anything has in fact happened.

Again, if you are refering to the points I made, rather than the article referenced, then you will notice the question mark at the end of “are fair elections still possible in the USA?”. With regard to the use of the voting machines your sentance should read " these particular voting machines are not yet in widespread use". From the article:-

The other point to make being that in the US electoral system, as with many other Western democracies, the elections are decided in key swing areas - if there is a potential for fraud in a few small areas, that could swing the whole election.

Erm, I’m pretty sure I made a passing reference to the 2000 election as context. The point being that there were concerns expressed with regard to people with an interest in the outcome of the election (eg Katherine Harris) being able to influence the way the election was conducted. And that I would have expected that steps would have been taken to ensure that this could not be so. Nothing to do with hanging chads I’m afraid…

When did anyone say this exactly. The point is that there are serious concerns that are being raised. It worries me as an inhabitant of the world that the democracy of the world’s only superpower could be at risk of compromise. If I were an American citizen I would be very concerned indeed.

Lemur866 , why exactly is it that you believe that there is nothing to worry about? You haven’t really said other than throwing random diatribe about. Whcih part of the article cited do you think inaccurate? You contend that electoral fraud has always occured, so it can’t be that you believe that everyone in anyway connected with US democracy is inherently honest, but you have no problem with the introduction of systems that would appear to allow more potential for undectable and widespread fraud to take place.

I love it when a conclusion is used to prove a premise. It’s such a refreshing change from that old stale “logic” stuff.

Avenger, the technique you used is a well known logical fallacy knowns as “poisoning the well.”

Suppose I started a discussion: “Is Avenger a big poopy-head with a stinky butt?” Yes, I phrased it as a question. But merely phrasing the question that way poisons the dialogue. No, I didn’t ASSERT that you are a poopy-head. But

You could have titled your post: “Does electronic voting undermine democracy?” or some such other realistic concern. But instead you chose a loaded, biased, poisonous cheap shot against the United States.

I have no real love for electronic voting. If you want to complain about electronic voting, post away. But you wrote your post in a biased, xenophobic, and hateful way. That is, if fair elections are not possible in the US, then the US is a dictatorship. You implied that the US is a dictatorship in a sneaky, dishonest way. You poisoned the discussion. You implied that we should be rioting because we were living in a dictatorship.

Again, you should be ashamed of yourself.

Yes, just not in Florida.

Which is as reasonable as saying “Are legitamate elections still possible in California” Zenster

Coming from someone named, “Grey,” I find that utterly hilarious.

The technique that is being used by Lemurk is simply misleading. The real issue raised by the articles in the OP is that the electronic voting machines software is unreliable, deeply compromised and highly suspect wrt the Georgia races in 2000. The fact that they are all produced by big time Republicans, cannot be independently examined and leave no paper trail or other method of cross-checking is deeply alarming.

Fair elections may be possible in the U.S. but with these voting machines, they’re looking unlikely.

Zenster, I hadn’t thought of that. It is damn funny! :slight_smile:

Grey, thank you for having a sense of humor. It’s a commodity sorely lacking in this forum* and many others.


The article posted in the OP specifically mentioned US elections in Georgia… most other places wouldnt put a “you can be sued” if the government tries to check on how the machines are working.

Lemur866 , as I have made quite clear, I posted the OP in light of an article I had read. I have not seen any other writing on this subject and, following the example of our esteemed Prime Minister, am well aware of the danger of relying on one uncorroborated source. The article, in case you haven’t actually read it, begins with the following paragraph:-

I then came to this message board and posted an OP posing this very same question to try to get some idea of whether this was an accurate article and maybe some evidence against the arguments put forward in it to gain a more balanced view. The OP was mainly made up of questions as, as I have said, my knowledge on this subject did not go much beyond the article referenced. You don’t appear to have any evidence or interest in even discussing the subject. Please buy a dictionary and look up the words “biased” “hateful” and “xenophobic”. If someday anyone is any of these things towards you, I’m sure you will realise the difference.

Rashak Mani , the article does mainly discuss Georgia, but it does imply that the conditions are standard when these machines are sold

If the machines have been purchased by 37 states, it would seem logical that some Democrats have been involved in these purchases. Does that mean that said Democrats are in league with the Republicans? Seems like a conspiracy theory to me.

Also, I was offended by the question as to why we weren’t rioting in the streets. :mad:

Only if they knew about the issues being raised here, such as the political ties and the potential security holes. By all indications, these topics are still not widely known.

I’d like to think that, if a majority of Americans knew that there are some serious questions about those new-fangled voting machines, there would be a large outcry from the public demanding an investigation. The integrity of a vote is one of the bedrocks of this country.

And the fact that most folks don’t know that something screwy may be happening is IMO an indication that the whole “evil liberal media bias” is a myth.