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Boundless Opportunities for Election Season Stories

Greg Gordon (McClatchy Washington Bureau) today had a story that actually made it into the front section of my local paper:

Texas-based Premier Elections Solutions last week alerted at least 1,750 jurisdictions across the country that special precautions are needed to address the problem in tabulation software affecting all 19 of its models dating back a decade.

Premier Elections Solutions is the new monicker for Diebold, the notorious manufacturer of flawed voting machines. Talk about putting lipstick on a pig! But the stink remains.

Let’s consider the topic of this story, though. It’s new, but at the same time, it’s not new. A small cadre of technology experts, bloggers, and patriotic citizens has been trying for years to get the mainstream media to pay attention to the fundamental threats to American democracy that are posed by our flawed election system. All four of the most recent national elections, starting with 2000, have been marked by widespread problems with electronic voting machines, other equipment failures, disenfranchisement, missing votes, intimidation, names dropped from the voting rolls---the list is too long to recite. See the new documentary, Stealing America: Vote by Vote for a view of how pervasive and diverse the problems are.

It’s about time to pay attention, guys and gals. At this point, mainstream media’s inattention has to be added to the list as one of the major threat to democracy. How many letters to the editors and editorial page commentaries will appear after this important McClatchy story? How many further articles will be written or broadcast in other media outlets to advance public understanding of what’s been going on in those 1,750 jurisdictions, and who may have benefited by having that flawed tabulation software in operation for the past decade?

One of the big opportunities for journalists in this election season will be investigating which voters, in which states, will actually be able to rely having their November election votes counted correctly. What action is going on at the citizen level to fight for this fundamental element of democracy? Who’s trying to thwart the fight for election integrity? To what corporations are they outsourcing our democracy?

Grassroots groups are doing what they can to make it easy for you:
Brad Blog is where Brad Friedman regularly posts new developments regarding election insecurity.
Verified Voting has lots of technical information, and also a map that shows which states do and do not require voter-verifiable paper ballots and audits. It shows that eleven states don’t require either a paper ballot record of the vote OR an audit of the alleged results: Texas, Kansas, Arkansas, Louisiana, Georgia, South Carolina, Indiana, Kentucky, Virginia, Delaware, and Pennsylvania. Why not? Who’s blocking public accountability and honest elections in those states? What’s in it for them?
Velvet Revolution is trying to bring attention to a story involving Ohio election attorneys who are using a federal civil lawsuit to investigate and seek depositions from Karl Rove, Michael Connell, Jack Abramoff, and others who they believe pursued a systematic effort to win elections through a strategy involving computers.
Black Box Voting carries out its own investigations of suspicious-looking election circumstances and pulls together items from other groups, as well.
VotersUnite.org is another outfit that does a lot of the digging for you—machine error rates by manufacturer, reported problems by state, etc.

One of the main functions that the mainstream media serve in America is agenda setting. No matter how many problems there have been, no matter how loudly the bloggers scream, and apparently no matter how many elections are stolen, the American public is just not going to pay attention – because they wait until they see that that the mainstream media tell us that we HAVE to pay attention to how our elections are run if we want to have a democracy.

Any readers here who are not members of the MSM may still be able to have an impact, though -- tell your local newspaper, TV channel, or radio station that you want them to run stories about the election system problems.

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