by John Hawkins | March 8, 2005 8:34 pm
The kookiest member of the Kerry clan, Teresa, is now spinning conspiracy theories to explain how her husband could have lost the election despite his wildly popular “I fought in Vietnam and I’m not George Bush” platform. The Seattle Post-Intelligencer has the latest on the election from the woman who almost became the loopiest first lady in American history…
“COUNTING THE VOTES: Heinz Kerry is openly skeptical about results from November’s election, particularly in sections of the country where optical scanners were used to record votes.
“Two brothers own 80 percent of the machines used in the United States,” Heinz Kerry said. She identified both as “hard-right” Republicans. She argued that it is “very easy to hack into the mother machines.”
“We in the United States are not a banana republic,” added Heinz Kerry. She argued that Democrats should insist on “accountability and transparency” in how votes are tabulated.
“I fear for ’06,” she said. “I don’t trust it the way it is right now.”
So wait a second, I’m confused. Are the two brothers she’s talking about rigging the election or is someone hacking into the “mother machines” and skewing the vote that way? Oh and what the hell is a “mother machine” supposed to be? I doubt if she knows herself.
Let me also add that the “two brothers” she’s talking about are Bob Urosevich who’s president of Diebold & Todd Urosevich who’s a veep at ES&S. So first off, they’re not programming these machines in their basement somewhere. So, if there’s a big conspiracy going on, there would almost have to be a company full of people in on it which is highly unlikely. Furthermore, as to whether they’re “hard right” or even Republicans or not, I’ve seen that tossed out there on a lot of these nutty “The election was rigged, rigged, I tell you” websites. However, the only evidence I’ve ever seen presented to support it was that when the brothers put together Data Mark back in the early eighties, a large chunk of their funding was supplied by a conservative. Not that it would matter even if they were Republicans since almost everybody in the country is either a member of the GOP or the Democratic Party, so it’s not realistic that you could run a large company without partisans of some stripe on board.
In any case, there are flaws in every system and mistakes that are going to happen in each election no matter what system you use. There just is no magic bullet that’s going to satisfy everyone. Consider the following:
— You want to hand count the ballots? Not only will that take much longer, you bring human error and partisanship into the process.
— You want to go back to the old punchcard system? Ok, then the percentage of spoiled ballots goes up dramatically and you increase the chances of seeing the sort of debacle we had in Florida in 2000.
— You want open source coding on the electronic machines? That dramatically increases the chances of tampering — at least in the sort term — because anyone who was tempted to do mischief could examine the code for errors to exploit.
— You want to have the electronic machines print a hard copy of each ballot? Diebold can already do that if it’s necessary for a recount although the names of the voters casting the ballots are kept anonymous:
“When a voter casts their ballot using the Diebold touch screen system, the ballot selections are immediately encrypted and stored in multiple locations within the voting station. When stored, the order of cast ballots is scrambled to further insure ballot anonymity. The image of each and every ballot cast on the voting station is captured, and can be anonymously reproduced on standard paper should a hard copy of ballots be required for recount purposes. Once voting concludes at a precinct, a printed election results report is printed as a permanent record of all activity at each voting station. This printed record is used to audit the electronic tabulation of votes conducted during the election canvas process, when final, official election results are reported.
What it comes down to is that no matter which way we go, it’s not going to satisfy the people who are complaining. In 2000, the liberals were whinging about punchcard machines and now in 2005, their beef is with optical scanners. The reason it changed is because the real source of their complaints is that their side LOST. What they should do is act like adults, get over it, and move on instead of speculating about bizarre, perfidious plots to rig the election…
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