Because it’s not like it’s important that the voting machines actually work
August 16, 2008 3 Comments
So there still seems to be a few bugs in the software of the new electronic voting machines and no one seems to care:
Flaws in voting machines used by millions of people will not be fixed in time for the presidential election because of a government backlog in testing the machines’ hardware and software, officials say…
As a result, machine manufacturers and state election officials say states and local jurisdictions are forgoing important software modifications meant to address security and performance concerns. In some cases, election officials in need of new equipment have no choice but to buy machines that lack the current innovations and upgrades…
Officials don’t seem to be worried, since it’s not like any of the places that are having problems are, say, incredibly important swing states with big electoral college numbers or anything.
In Ohio, for example…
In Ohio, for example, which requires federal certification, election officials found that in this year’s presidential primary the touch-screen machines used in 43 counties, or by more than three million voters, dropped at least 1,000 votes as memory cards sent data to the central server in each county. The discrepancy was caught and corrected before final tallies were calculated, but election officials say the risk is too high. The newer software being provided by manufacturers fixes the problem, but it has not been certified, and so the state cannot use it.
Cuyahoga County, the most populous county in Ohio, plans to use a type of optical scan machine that lacks safeguards to prevent election officials from tampering with the ballots and affecting tallies, said the Ohio secretary of state, Jennifer L. Brunner. Those safeguards do exist on a later model, she said, but it remains uncertified.
Right. Because it’s not like there were any problems with vote counting in Ohio in 2004 or anything.
The reports were especially disturbing in Ohio, the critical battleground state that clinched Bush’s victory in the electoral college. Officials there purged tens of thousands of eligible voters from the rolls, neglected to process registration cards generated by Democratic voter drives, shortchanged Democratic precincts when they allocated voting machines and illegally derailed a recount that could have given Kerry the presidency.
A precinct in an evangelical church in Miami County recorded an impossibly high turnout of ninety-eight percent, while a polling place in inner-city Cleveland recorded an equally impossible turnout of only seven percent. In Warren County, GOP election officials even invented a nonexistent terrorist threat to bar the media from monitoring the official vote count.
But the problem this year is contained, right? We learned our lesson from that whole debacle, right?
Election officials in Illinois, Iowa, North Dakota, Washington and Wisconsin told of similar frustrations.
These machines were brought in following the confusion of the 2000 debacle in which a poorly designed paper ballot led to a complete overreaction at every level of government. Special thanks go out to the Republican leadership, to which the felonious leadership of the top electronic voting machine company were heavy contributors.
The new machines got put in. And Ohio was an unmitigated disaster for democracy.
The reason for the delay in testing and certifying the new machines is, of course, because nothing was done about this until the Democrats took over Congress in the 2006 elections and were able to set up a commission to make sure somebody was at least reviewing the fucking machines before we used them to decide the future of the free world.
The slowdown began in February 2007 when the commission took over the certification process that was previously performed by a volunteer program operated by the National Association of State Election Directors. Until then, the association had arranged for private testing labs to scrutinize the machines, using standards set in 1990 and 2002 by theFederal Election Commission. That process was widely criticized as being inconsistent and rife with conflicts of interest.
But of course, while the Republicans are shifty, profiteering screwheads, the Democrats really aren’t much better at getting things done. Instead, they are hemming and hawing and blaming the past. it’s the Democrat way.
Since the commission took over the certification process, no new equipment or software has been certified.
Advocates for better election systems say one reason for the delay is that the machines are fraught with problems that should have been detected earlier, giving manufacturers more time to make improvements. Had there been stronger standards before the commission took over, they say, the current level of scrutiny would not be necessary.
Come on, people. We’ve let the United States of America become a fucking Banana Republic. Democracy is our thing, man. It’s What We Do.
If we can’t get our shit together enough to figure out how to vote – something that seemed to be working pretty well everywhere except Florida until these stupid fucking optical machines were brought in – it’s no wonder we – and the rest of the world – have lost all confidence in the government those machines elected.