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View Diary: Terry out. Get Howard in. (382 comments)

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  •  What's happening and what to do (none)
    Let's be clear on what's going on.  I see loads of people assigning blame to one person or another, and I think that this is not particularly constructive.  That said, I'm not sure what I'm going to say is particularly constructive either, but I'm hoping it will get people thinking.

    The big picture, in my mind, is that the Republicans want to lock up control of all branches of government.  If they can get control at the state levels, they can gerrymander (as in TX) and ensure that they get more of their people into the U.S. House and Senate.  This then means that they are capable of ramming through judicial appointees. Additionally, it means that they can change local election rules, determine who gets to be in charge of elections (think Katherine Harris in FL).

    Don't forget about where we lost this time: FL and OH.  Both states are using some form of electronic balloting.  As a computer programmer, I was once quite enamored with the possibilities here.  I have since utterly and completely changed my mind.  The problem is that while the source is closed (security through obscurity), and while it is a felony (because of the DCMA) to peek at the code without permission of the Republican leaning Voting Machine Companies, it is possible to write into source any number of ways to ensure that your candidate gets on top.  So talking about "recounts" using such machines are meaningless.  

    Now some districts, you say, use paper trails.  While this is fine, as long as there is no suspected tampering there will be no recount.  And just because you think there was tampering doesn't mean that you can get a Republican appointed judge to order a recount of the paper receipts.

    Am I alleging that there was cheating? No, but I am saying that it is certainly very possible considering all the tactics that have been employed in disenfranchising voters in FL and OH.  It would be very interesting to compare exit polling statistically with results in areas where elections were not in contention.  For example here in West Chester, PA, the results for Kerry/Bush in Ward 3 were 62.78% for Kerry and 36.46% for Bush.  This is fairly close to some of the exit polls I've seen.  If a significant number of exit polls in non-contested areas are compared to results from these areas it may be possible to predict the actual results (within some margin of error) from the exit polling data.  In the case that areas in FL and OH depart from these trends, it may be evidence that there was tampering with the voting machines.  The evidence would not be conclusive, but it would be interesting none-the-less.

    In addition to the use of electronic means to possibly ensure the win, we know that Republicans have:

    1. Tried to disqualify absentee ballots in some areas (including northeastern Philadelphia) on the grounds that they didn't get to see the list apriori.  At this moment I believe that in Philly, they were successful.
    2. Changed polling places at last minute in majority democratic areas.  This happened in Philadelphia as well as in my Ward in West Chester.
    3. Disqualified voters in FL based on past felony convictions despite ruling of the FL supreme court.
    4. Managed to be allowed to challenge "questionable" voters at polling places in Ohio. Again, this was a last minute thing made possible by the OH Supreme Court.
    5. Systematically removed non-whites from voter roles in FL, NM, and OH.
    6. Distributed misleading literature to minorities which said roughly "you can't vote if anyone in your family has had a traffic violation, etc..."

    So what I'm getting at is this.  First: I'm not sure our game was bad at all and that were the playing field fair (I know - not in politics), our side would have won.  Second: I suspect that the cards are stacked against a democratic win in the future, no matter what we do.  

    If all of this is true, as I suspect, the question is: what can we do about it legally without stooping to dirty tricks?  Any thoughts?

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