Why We Should Ban Voting Machines

Por Venezuela Real - 9 de Noviembre, 2006, 9:20, Categoría: Electorales

Jed Diamond
Comunity Connections
November 08, 2006

As another election draws near, I remember elections past when I was growing up in Southern California.  My parents were what might today be called "progressives."  They believed in the rights of all people—young and old, rich and poor, black and white.  Even then, they believed there was a need for a third party.  They didn’t believe either the Democrats or the Republicans truly spoke to the needs of the average person.  I’ll never forget election nights.  They would cast their vote for a candidate who I learned never had a chance to win.  However, what I remember most was a strange occurrence that took place late in the evening.

Once the polls were closed and the votes were cast, a group of people met to go over the votes and be sure they were accurate.  There was a representative from the Democratic Party, the Republican Party, and the progressive party who my parents supported.  The atmosphere was very cordial.  It was understood that for democracy to succeed there must be checks and balances on those in power.

Although no one talked about elections being stolen, it was accepted that votes must be reviewed in the presence of representatives of the people. 

I remember having a sampling of the official ballot boxes emptied and the votes tallied.  All those present had to agree on the votes and certify that they were accurate.  I remember feeling elated when our party got one of its rare votes.  Although it was clear we weren’t going to win, I felt that democracy’s promise had a chance to be met because we knew the votes were accurate.  If we lost this election we’d try harder to get more progressive people to vote in the next election.

Now we have voting machines.  There is no paper trail to review.  We are asked to trust an electronic system that even the most naïve of us knows can be rigged.  In the name of “greater efficiency” we are giving over our fundamental rights to have our votes count, to machines that are flawed.  Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility in 2001, citing work by the Caltech-MIT Voting Project said, “Our best efforts applying computer technology have decreased the accuracy of elections, to the point where the true outcomes of many races are unknowable.”

Two quotes of note: 
"Democracy is more in the counting of the votes than the casting of them."
    Crispin Hull, Canberra Times, Australia
• "Those who cast the votes decide nothing, those who count the votes decide everything."
   Joseph Stalin

I did a Google search on “voting machine fraud” and was treated to 2, 130,000 entries.  I don’t have time to read them.  But I don’t really have to read them to know what I think we should do.

Maybe I’m old-fashioned.  I mean, I am 62 years old.  But it seems to be that our country would be a whole lot better off if we returned to the time when people voted on paper ballots that could be counted, re-counted, and reviewed by impartial observers.  Let’s “just say no” to voting machines. 

What do you think? 

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