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Reply #10: How I framed the issue: [View All]

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Donna Zen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-10-04 01:10 AM
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10. How I framed the issue:
Perhaps this letter will be taken as just another partisan rant by someone who wanted to live in a country with a stable foreign policy, better healthcare, and meaningful fiscal reforms; but you would be mistaken. This letter is an attempt to clarify the issue at the heart of the recent discussion of what went wrong when America went to the polls 2004. Specifically, Im concerned about the honesty, and verifiability of voting in our country. After all, without a system that works better than the current one, we cannot sustain our democracy. Is it partisan to want to protect and defend the Constitution? I hope not.

With all of the reporting, the little there has been, and the uproar, the word conspiracy gets tossed around without let up. Well, to take the conspiracy out of the equation, give up the thought about who won or lost. Focus instead on did the system work.

Before the election even took place there was plenty of evidence that things were going wrong. The usual hacks were successfully suppressing minority votes, throwing out registrations, and going to court to keep Americans from voting. These are the same people who keep shouting about patriotism and defending our freedoms. Sad, isnt it? (Ask them about their actions and their promoting of such a flawed system, and then step back while they spit the word conspiracy at you.)

When the big day finally arrived, many votes either didnt add up or added up too conveniently. Long lines left people who wanted to exercise their right to vote standing in the rain for hours. Boxes of spoiled and provisional ballots filled the dusty backrooms. Does this seem like a great country expressing its great ideal: one person, one vote?

Voting in America demands two simple precepts: the vote must be secret and the vote must be verifiable. Simple but tricky. The machines can spit out a receipt at an ATM and be verifiable because your bank account is no secret. What a machine cannot do is produce a verifiable secret.

Could we come up with a system that satisfies both requirements. Absolutely. That is not the question; the question is do we have the will? Considering the medias usual attempts at sensationalism, and the political posturing, I am afraid the answer is a resounding No.

Now I have a confession to make: I vote with a number two pencil on a piece of paper which is counted by my neighbors who I trust. Heck, Ive even volunteered and done the job myself. I can assure you, my vote is handled with care. My town is about the size of any polling place.

But Americas votes by in large have lost their importance. By the time the next so-called election day rolls around, the exercise of machine voting will have completely erased all attempts to be verifiable. Just push the same button twice and the same answer will reappear. Magic. Good for the overcharging vendors but bad for democracy.

Which brings us back to the purpose of my letter. I am writing to tell you that the path we are currently traveling on election day, will bring you a country that will never see another Lincoln or Jefferson or Kennedy. Not having the press megaphone, there is nothing I can do to save this situation other than write this sorry letter. But in the end, each and every journalist and anchor person and political spinner will lose right along with me.

The voting system in our country doesnt work, and as of today, things are not looking as if the people with the power to effect change care to save themselves.
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