Are Fair Elections Still Possible In The USA?

The liberal media – consisting almost entirely of and a couple of other websites … IS all over this story. The problem is, none of the broadcast media are liberal. The Repubs have written off the Internet and print so long as they can control radio and TV. Seems to be working, too.

Ok, I have to ask, why blame the Republicans? If the above information is right then it’s 37 states introducing these machines. Not being an American are all those states controlled by Republican legislatures and/or Governors?

I still say you need a central elections office, universal standards and paper/pen ballots. :slight_smile:

I don’t think anyone is blaming the Republicans; rather, they’re blaming the companies making the machines, refusing to have their stuff inspected for impartiality, trying to hide instances of malfunctions and vote-counting errors, and making heavily-slanted political donations.

And again, if the people buying the machines don’t know there’s a problem, would they even think to ask about them?

I just finished reading through the posted article and I have to admit its fairly disturbing, albiet the ‘evidence’ listed is circumstantial or opinionated. One key question I’d ask is why? Why do the 3 listed companies require those specifications to do business? Why are they the sole arbiter, why can’t state employees be part of the process (or some independant agency to monitor the vote), why no paper trail (appearently they ARE hooked up for a thermal printer…why not use it)? These restrictions make no sense to me. The biggest ‘why’ though is…why are the states going along with these ridiculous restrictions?? There must be some reason. Does anyone know?

Why isn’t the democratic party screaming about this either? If its some kind of Republican conspiricy, I’d think they’d be up in arms about it. I’ve heard very little about this. I hadn’t even heard that the Georga election was contested or possibly fraudulant. Granted, New Mexico is pretty far from Georga, but I’d think I would have heard something about that here.

If you believe the article, it seems the software used is deeply flawed. They have a number of ‘experts’ who I assume actually ARE experts, that appearently have been through the source code (!! ) and have found it to be a mess, according to them. They go on and on about how it has numerous security flaws, was poorly written, is buggy, and has mysterious backdoors which would allow for a single user to cast multiple ballots and even more darkly:

They also say that the software has not been certified, which would seem to make the election itself illegal. Is it being taken to the courts to be overthrown? I’d think it would be a slam dunk by the Democrats on this issue, as the machine appearently wasn’t certified (according to the article).

All this just kind of raises my skeptical button though…its all SO blatant and obvious I have to ask myself why this isn’t on the front pages? Why isn’t there a huge uproar in the Democratic Party over this…after all, Georga is traditionally a Democratic state, and appearently they’ve just had an election stolen from them. Not sure if I’m buying the arguement put forth by the article that they (the Democratic party in Georga) isn’t raising a stink because they bought the things are are embarrassed now. Or IS there a huge uproar and I’ve just missed it somehow?

I don’t know the truth here. It could certainly be that these machines are either poorly written, buggy and full of security holes, or even that they are, by design, coded in such a way as to actively influence an election. Certainly a few machines in certain key states could be very influential in doing something like this, and its a major concern.

Its hard for me to believe though that the states would buy something this flawed without throughly testing and certifying them, but I conceed (having worked as a private contractor before for the government) that our government employees aren’t always the most rigorous in persuit of their jobs. Its also hard for me to believe that if one of the major parties in this country was getting blatantly screwed, they wouldn’t be making a horrible stink (and rightly so!!) over this. I’d think they’d be screaming from the roof tops about this. Its just not credible that they don’t know whats happening, or see the potential for the presidential election, if they’ve been screwed out of a number of elections already.

If anyone has any additional information on this besides the one article, that would be helpful.


I have a question for you, Avenger- have you stopped beating your wife? :rolleyes:

“Are fair elections still possible in the USA” assumes that fair elections have stopped. In fact, not so at all.

First- it is hard for dudes to keep a secret. Widespread vote rigging like that would require a good number of dudes to be in on the secret- and then the beans would be spilled, along with the cat out of the bag. :smiley:

True, the article is alarming- not because of voting FRAUD IMHO, but becuase of voting errors & omissions. There are just too many glaring mistakes & problems.

Voting needs a paper trail, I’ll agree.

This is different to the “have you stopped beating your wife” question. The question, although a bit antagonistically worded, is not loaded as far as I can see.

“Have you stopped beating your wife” is an example of a question where either a yes or a no makes you look bad, whereas with “Are fair elections still possible in the USA” a yes implies that not only are they possible now, but they were possible before, while a no means that they were possible some time ago but not any more. The question does not, to me at least, assume that fair elections have stopped, it asks whether they have.

Having said that I have to agree with the rest of your post. It’s very unlikely that there’s some kind of conspiracy going on but I am worried about the low qualityof these machines along with no paper trail.

Is there something inherently wrong or flawed with counting paper put-your-cross-here votes and having the volunteer counting of same overseen by all parties and independent witnesses; cheap, near-perfect and it’s worked for hundreds of years ?

Imho, vested interests tend to only want change when the system isn’t working well for them.
And, as above, why on earth isn’t this a bigger story in the US ?
From that article:

"Roxanne Jekot, who has put much of her professional and personal life on hold to work on the issue full time, puts it even more strongly. “Corporate America is very close to running this country. The only thing that is stopping them from taking total control are the pesky voters. That’s why there’s such a drive to control the vote. What we’re seeing is the corporatisation of the last shred of democracy.”

Remember that with the “winner takes all” electoral system in the USA you only need to “change” a few hundres or a few thousands in millions of votes to turn a whole State to your own ends. So any fraud if true… doesn’t need to be a big thing. We don’t need to be talking about MASS frauds… so its not as implausible as some might think.

Now if its some local overzealous Republican party member.... or a country wide things is another story.

Is it still possible for Avenger to not beat his wife?


Just to assure everyone that I really didn’t put hours in thought into the title of the thread. You know, I was just going for something short, snappy and indicative of the discussion I was trying to start up.

If the present title displeases you, we can offer the following selection:

“Does electronic voting present a threat to democratic freedom?”

“Could future US elections be compromised by a lack of independent oversight?”

“What are the implications for democracy in the US of the introduction of widespread electronic voting.”

Back on the subject, I am slightly surprised by the lack of further evidence either way that has been presented here. People who have expressed concern at the article have generally not had anything further to support it. I posted assuming that others would have heard more about this than me but again, it seems that very little has been made in the US press (although some of the things that came out about the 2000 election re:Florida broke first in the British media, so maybe that isn’t so surprising?). People who seem generally (and in some cases quite violently
:wink: ) ill-disposed to the notion that there is anything to worry about, have yet to offer anything at all in the way of evidence that the facts, arguments and potential conflicts of interest and lack of safeguards described is not a true representation.

If there hasn’t already been one, there will be one sooner or later, and more probably sooner than later. Vote fraud has a long, sordid history in the U.S., and the longer you look at it, the sordider it gets. These machines appear almost to have been DESIGNED for vote fraud. Sooner or later, the Tab A of partisan crooks will find its way to the Slot B of the flawed voting machines, and predictable things will happen.

It could very well have happened already in Georgia, which has a long history of suppressing the black vote.

I think this is a point the Dems have missed and the Repubs have hit … with the very evenly divide between the two parties, it doesn’t take a widespread conspiracy to swing a vote, just a few little nudges in the right precincts in the right states, as was demonstrated by other means in 2000.

I’ve read about this issue for over a year. I’ve found articles about it on and links to articles about it on

Bartcop is a very partisan site but does have links to some balanced articles.

New information from Wired

Looks like they’re backing down on the paper record issue but I still think it needlessly complicates voting. If Canada, a country of 30 million people covering 6 time zones, can use paper lists and Xs in boxes to do a federal election in 1 night, surely states covering 1 time zone could do the same.

Great article in the NY Times yesterday dealing with this issue. One of the highlights is that the electronic machines used in Europe would not only be expensive but in New York State are actually illegal! (The voter must be able to see all the candidates at once).

From Slashdot, which I would strongly assume to be not controlled by the Media, liberal or otherwise - Diebold internal memo leaked

I confess that I have not read too deeply into this issue, but it appears that this internal memo discussed flaws in the election equipment which Diebold manufactures, and was leaked to the public. Diebold has apparantly issued a cease and desist letter to those whom they feel are providing access to these memos, by way of links to the widely mirrored files.

I think one reason that the story isn’t bigger in the U.S. is that a lot of political types are “people people” and not very tech oriented. They’d rather delve into the character of this or that candidate, or endlessly debate policy points, than bother to look at a technology issue – even if the issue is such that it could render all their debates meaningless. I note there are a total of 35 posts to this thread at present – compare it to posts on the Plame scandal, who the Democratic frontrunner is/should be.

I guess I’m saying my fellow partisans – of both stripes – are a bunch of dummies in this respect.

Yeah, I’m saying it. :stuck_out_tongue:

I’m seconding you. Yeah, not American, but what are you going to do? :smiley:

Are fair elections still possible? Were they ever really “fair”? Seems it wasn’t long ago that candidates were picked by “machines” in “smoke-filled rooms”. And how long ago did the president actually get elected by the general population?

Good point hermann.

As DrDeth put it, the OP was a “have you stopped beating your wife?” type loaded question. It assumes that elections were ‘fair’ in the first place. From what I have been told fair and fully representative elections are not held as they are an infingement of personal freedom.