My copy of the November Harper's Magazine arrived today, with a surprisingly front-and-center article on the state of America's vote-counting technology. It's a well-researched piece, with much of it depressingly familiar to many progressives who followed the tin-foil-hat-tainted theories of the 2004 election. It reviews the recent history some of us know: the ESS&S / Diebold coziness, Bev Harris and hackable GEMS system, the Help America Vote Act Trojan horse, Chuck Hegal, Max Cleland, the exit poll disparities in Ohio and elsewhere in 2004 that all exhibited a "red shift" to the Right.
The article then brings things up to date.
Some argue that the Democratic victories in 2006 and 2008 disprove the existence of the red shift. However, this may be a misinterpretation of complex political upheavals that occurred in each of those election years.... Post-election analysis did in fact suggest extensive red-shift rigging. But in both election cycles, these efforts simply failed to overcome eleventh-hour events so negative that they drastically undercut the projected wins for the G.O.P.Those events were Mark Foley's exposure (and G.O.P. leadership cover-up) in 2006 and the collapse of Lehman Brothers in 2008. But in 2010, the article details how the victories of Scott Brown, Rick Scott, Scott Walker, and Jim DeMint each left evidence that the computer-counted tallies were suspect.
The most depressing part of the article is how the subject of election counting integrity is not even discussed, by either the press or progressive politicians.
Why? No doubt the fear of being branded a conspiracy theorist inhibits many - that term having long served as a cudgel to suppress discussion of all sorts of crimes against democracy... "For Democratic legislators and candidates, openly questioning the integrity of American democracy feels like committing political suicide", says Ben Ptashnik. A former Vermont state senator, Ptashnik ran for office in 1996 specifically to spearhead the state's Clean Election Act - whose provisions were largely struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court nearly a decade later.It's a sobering look at an issue I, for one, thought was more or less over. Reading it makes the obsessive poll tracking lately, here and in the press, seem rather pointless - if one suspects there is an electronic thumb nudging both polling and final results, from president down the entire ballot.
The article is by Victoria Collier in the November Harpers.