Thursday, July 29, 2004
GOP Flier Questions New Voting Equipment
St. Petersburg Times Article (in GuvWurld News Archive, links to original)
"The liberal Democrats have already begun their attacks and the new electronic voting machines do not have a paper ballot to verify your vote in case of a recount," says a glossy mailer, paid for by the Republican Party of Florida and prominently featuring two pictures of President Bush. "Make sure your vote counts. Order your absentee ballot today."
Voting absentee as a response to this crisis of confidence is like wearing a condom to ward off the flu: the precaution bears no relation to the problem. We have no BASIS for confidence in the legitimacy of US elections for many more reasons than just the growing pattern of unreliable results produced by electronic voting machines. Among these, consider the farce of competition between the two major political parties. As an example, think about the large number of Congressional seats deemed "safe," and the relative handful thought to be up for grabs. Further evidence can be seen in the response to this story:
The mailing surfaced at the Democratic National Convention Wednesday and stirred outrage by Florida delegates and elected officials.
"I've seen that advertisement. It's appalling," said Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson. "It is an acknowledgement that there are excessive error rates with touch screens even by the party in power."
"That is awful. That is disgusting. Despicable," said state Sen. Ron Klein, D-Delray Beach. "Why use dirty tricks to scare people?"
"It's unbelievable," said state Sen. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Weston. "They're the ones who won't certify a machine to attach a paper trail."
The feigned indignation shouldn't fool anybody. Are they mad that our elections have no credibility or that the Republicans are undercutting their ability to complain about it? Regardless, neither side is trying to create a more accountable government through greater competition of ideas, and neither side is making a meaningful effort to reform our kangaroo elections. The status quo works for those in power. An illusion must be maintained so Americans don't become too "disillusioned" and realize the Consent of the Governed is being denied, ignored and otherwise deemed irrelevant. This is the crux of the myth of democracy.