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kpete Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-23-06 11:15 PM
Original message
PAUL KRUGMAN - When Votes Disappear
When Votes Disappear
By PAUL KRUGMAN
Published: November 24, 2006

You know what really had me terrified on Nov. 7? The all-too-real possibility of a highly suspect result. What would we have done if the Republicans had held on to the House by a narrow margin, but circumstantial evidence strongly suggested that a combination of vote suppression and defective or rigged electronic voting machines made the difference?

Fortunately, it wasnt a close election. But the fact that our electoral system worked well enough to register an overwhelming Democratic landslide doesnt mean that things are O.K. There were many problems with voting in this election and in at least one Congressional race, the evidence strongly suggests that paperless voting machines failed to count thousands of votes, and that the disappearance of these votes delivered the race to the wrong candidate.

Heres the background: Floridas 13th Congressional District is currently represented by Katherine Harris, who as Floridas secretary of state during the 2000 recount famously acted as a partisan Republican rather than a fair referee. This year Ms. Harris didnt run for re-election, making an unsuccessful bid for the Senate instead. But according to the official vote count, the Republicans held on to her seat, with Vern Buchanan, the G.O.P. candidate, narrowly defeating Christine Jennings, the Democrat.

The problem is that the official vote count isnt credible. In much of the 13th District, the voting pattern looks normal. But in Sarasota County, which used touch-screen voting machines made by Election Systems and Software, almost 18,000 voters nearly 15 percent of those who cast ballots using the machines supposedly failed to vote for either candidate in the hotly contested Congressional race. That compares with undervote rates ranging from 2.2 to 5.3 percent in neighboring counties.

more (not sure about firewall)
http://select.nytimes.com/2006/11/24/opinion/24krugman....
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Bozita Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-23-06 11:37 PM
Response to Original message
1. Time for courage

http://select.nytimes.com/2006/11/24/opinion/24krugman....

Reporting by The Herald-Tribune of Sarasota, which interviewed hundreds of voters who called the paper to report problems at the polls, strongly suggests that the huge apparent undervote was caused by bugs in the ES&S software.

About a third of those interviewed by the paper reported that they couldnt even find the Congressional race on the screen. This could conceivably have been the result of bad ballot design, but many of them insisted that they looked hard for the race. Moreover, more than 60 percent of those interviewed by The Herald-Tribune reported that they did cast a vote in the Congressional race but that this vote didnt show up on the ballot summary page they were shown at the end of the voting process.

If there were bugs in the software, the odds are that they threw the election to the wrong candidate. An Orlando Sentinel examination of other votes cast by those who supposedly failed to cast a vote in the Congressional race shows that they strongly favored Democrats, and Mr. Buchanan won the official count by only 369 votes. The fact that Mr. Buchanan won a recount that is, a recount of the votes the machines happened to record means nothing.

Although state officials have certified Mr. Buchanan as the victor, theyve promised an audit of the voting machines. But dont get your hopes up: as in 2000, state election officials arent even trying to look impartial. To oversee the audit, the state has chosen as its independent expert Prof. Alec Yasinsac of Florida State University a Republican partisan who made an appearance on the steps of the Florida Supreme Court during the 2000 recount battle wearing a Bush Won sign.

more...
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usregimechange Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-24-06 01:12 AM
Response to Original message
2. This one is going to get a lot of rec votes.
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Richard Steele Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-24-06 01:25 AM
Response to Reply #2
3. As well it should. K&R
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usregimechange Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-24-06 09:11 AM
Response to Reply #3
16. Agreed.
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Richard Steele Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-24-06 11:02 AM
Response to Reply #16
18. 52 votes in 12 hours! Good call. nm
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stephinrome Donating Member (494 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-24-06 02:55 AM
Response to Original message
4. K&R n/t
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Judi Lynn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-24-06 03:12 AM
Response to Original message
5. Hoping Krugman's article will put a dent in the block of citizens who haven't heard, yet,
about this Republican travesty in Sarasota.

From his article:
....Ive been shocked at how little national attention the mess in Sarasota has received. Here we have as clear a demonstration as were ever likely to see that warnings from computer scientists about the dangers of paperless electronic voting are valid and most Americans probably havent even heard about it.

As far as I can tell, the reason Florida-13 hasnt become a major national story is that neither control of Congress nor control of the White House is on the line. But do we have to wait for a constitutional crisis to realize that were in danger of becoming a digital-age banana republic?
(snip/)
Thanks to kpete for the chance to read this.
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bananarepublican Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-24-06 03:14 AM
Response to Original message
6. Were the "wrong candidates" all from "the right"? n/t
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Fly by night Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-24-06 06:29 AM
Response to Reply #6
10. They usually are. BTW, welcome to DU.
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DoYouEverWonder Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-24-06 04:42 AM
Response to Original message
7. Time to throw the damn machines out
Now that the DEMS have control of Congress, I hope this issue is a top priority.

There is no good reason why these machines should be so 'buggy'. Pen and paper, with hand counts if necessary is much cheaper and certainly more reliable.

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exlrrp Donating Member (598 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-24-06 08:38 AM
Response to Reply #7
14. Vote the Oregon Way
Edited on Fri Nov-24-06 08:41 AM by exlrrp
here in OR, everybody's an absentee ballot. You register, then get your ballot in the mail You can mail it back or for folks like me who don't trust the mails, there's drop boxes. I drove up to the county seat and put mine in the box, it made it seem more like voting.
I did a diary on this over at Kos and was raked over the coals by an administrator who took offense at the fact that I said I enjoyed it more than any other states sytem I have voted under (AK, CA, HI, LA, GA) He said the fact that I enjoyed it didn't make it an honest election, which I nevr said anyway. He couldn't convince me that an election you don't enjoy is more honest than one you do. ( some of those adminstrators at Kos are real tightass,Really PC)
One of the things I like about this is that you have the ballot with you at home and can discuss it with your Sig Other or whoever. Sure enough someone at Kos brought up that this could be abused by the patriarch of the family dominating and oppressing others to vote his way. Well, if this happens at all, it happens in other states too and anyway, this is an almost solid blue state so we're happy with the way it works
The important thing is, is that, although counted by machine this leaves a paper trail that can be recounted if necessary. I would never trust a system that doesn't leave a paper trail.
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DoYouEverWonder Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-24-06 08:47 AM
Response to Reply #14
15. Paper ballots are a must
but Early Voting, ie in person is better then absentee.

The Repugs (at least in Florida) love absentee voting because it is easy for them to 'harvest' ballots. The come the inactive voter lists on a weekly basis for people they can vote for. They even send out ops in the poor neighborhoods with high levels of illiteracy, to 'help' people vote.
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jaybeat Donating Member (729 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-24-06 12:15 PM
Response to Reply #14
20. Vote by Mail op-ed in WaPo and bill to take nationwide
Vote by mail works, increases turnout, costs less, leaves a paper trail, and is immune from problems caused by bad weather, not enough machines, long lines, untrained/incompetent poll workers, working people unable to get to polls, etc., etc., etc., not to mention most kinds of election fraud, especially the electronic kind. (Mailed-in ballots are counted by optical scanners, but leave a paper trail which can be counted by hand.)

See this editorial by Oregon's (terrific) Secretary of State, Bill Bradbury, from this past Sunday's Washington Post:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/20...

The system has proven to be fraud-free. Oregon is one of only two states in the nation to verify every single voter signature against the signature on that voter's registration card. Our process is transparent and open to observation. Finally, the returned paper ballots, which are the official record of the election, can be recounted by hand.


Our Senator, Ron Wyden (D), is planning to introduce a bill to take Vote by Mail nationwide.

http://wyden.senate.gov/media/2006/11072006_VBM_Electio...

The great Yogi Berra said it best: 'It's Dj vu all over again.' Except instead of the boys of October, we're talking about the long lines and broken machines of November. Allegations of election fraud and voter suppression were once rarities, today they're business as usual for the American voter. It's time to stop throwing taxpayer dollars at a broken system. Oregonians have a solutionVote by Mail.




:yourock: :woohoo: :kick:
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ProSense Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-24-06 05:27 AM
Response to Original message
8. Chuck Hagel's company; he's former CEO of ESS
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neoblues Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-24-06 06:11 AM
Response to Original message
9. Anybody wonder whether the margin would have been bigger...
but for not only the traditional Republican dirty tricks/chicanery, but for potential electronic vote fraud? The fraud wouldn't even stand out as much in a midterm election anyway--there aren't the same kind of "battleground" states.

Seems to me, if I had electoral fraud powers (and was willing to use them), but I feared that if I used them people would catch on--and demand investigations--perhaps with Democrats in control of Congress... so if I used it, I might lose it... I would save that capacity for the 2008 General Election. It would work to my advantage as well--since it would give the appearance that the system worked/works and that all those who were clamoring for reform were just blowing smoke, and I'd still be able to make a real difference, when it counted the most. After all, the mid-term elections, even though they went against the Republicans, left the Democrats with modest to very small majorities--and the Democrats are practically hamstrung anyway, because of an insane Republican President, inability to actually reverse (restore to proper) alot of the key Republican policies (things like Tax Cuts and more) because everyone has to worry about not upsetting the voters too much prior to 2008. So despite the appearance that the powers that have interferred with previous elections maybe didn't really exist and everything is just fine for 2008, it may be that we'll really find out otherwise when it's too late.

Therefore, we'd better make damned certain that the electoral system is secure and robust, transparent and properly documented/paper trailed before 2008 comes around. Just in case.

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Fly by night Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-24-06 06:31 AM
Response to Reply #9
11. Go to Election Reform forum; there's ample evidence 3-4+ million votes were ...
... "disappeared" nationwide. Read the Election Defense Alliance threads.

We need to get rid of these machines and we need to do it now.
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mom cat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-24-06 10:42 AM
Response to Reply #11
17. See also the excellent analysis by TIA:
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FraDon Donating Member (316 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-24-06 07:02 AM
Response to Original message
12. On paper ballots (haiku)
On paper ballots
freely cast; fully counted.
One voter, one vote.

- But of course there's Stalin's view:

It's not the people
who vote that count, but rather
those who count the votes.
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brentspeak Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-24-06 07:13 AM
Response to Original message
13. Total outrage. Jennings was clearly robbed.
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nam78_two Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-24-06 12:05 PM
Response to Original message
19. K&R/nt
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Raster Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-24-06 01:37 PM
Response to Original message
21. When will the so-called liberal press and web wake up to the fact that
Edited on Fri Nov-24-06 02:18 PM by Raster
certain elections ARE DIRTY, DIRTY, DIRTY! "Liberal" websites such as DailyKos and Salon do a tremendous disservice to democracy by continuing to deny electoral fraud. And speaking of Salon, what ever happened to Farhood "no election fraud" Manjoo? Hopefully his deceptive ass has been shit-canned.
:kick:KICK FOR DEMOCRACY!!!
65!
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Morgana LaFey Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-24-06 07:55 PM
Response to Reply #21
25. Thanks for reminding me of one of the things I REALLY disrespect
about Kos.

No excuse for him, either. I consider it cowardice.
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Raster Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-24-06 07:59 PM
Response to Reply #25
26. It is cowardice. I remember reading a piece recently that pointed out
that the only people vigorously denying electoral fraud have been certain liberal websites. No other. Still to this day, bringing up the issue of electoral fraud is enough to get one banned from Kos. And this supposedly one of the stalwarts of online liberalism.
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Donkeykick Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-24-06 05:40 PM
Response to Original message
22. Our area voted with an ink pen and paper.
Complain until you see it where you live. ;)
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SoCalDem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-24-06 05:54 PM
Response to Original message
23. the ONLY solution is a TWO part ballot
Edited on Fri Nov-24-06 05:55 PM by SoCalDem
every state would use the SAME format

5 x 7 cardstock (PAPER)

Never more than THREE choices

Column #1

congress..Pick ONE

Column #2

senate..Pick ONE

Column #3

president...Pick ONE

Some years there would only be TWO choices, some years only ONE (for congress)

Each column would be alphabetically listed with a BOX next to the NAME...not across from it

At the TOP of each column would be an option for

"No vote"

just below it would be

"write in"

Each person gets a "card ballot" and whatever else their state uses and then they vote.

If people are handicapped and cannot write or see well enough to use that card, they could and should be offered assistance or offered a DISABLED ONLY PAGE on the Diamond studded Diebolds, ES&S,Sequoia,Chavez-Votomaticos..or whatever.

For the 99.99999 percent of the people who CAN use a sharpie pen, they should be using the recountable, storable , standardized cardstock ballots..

If they want to go to court to see who really won that 4th district council seat or who's the new animal control officer, they can have at.. I'm not interested...BUT I DO care if the duly elected congressperson/senator/president from that state gets his/her votes all counted..

It's a cheap and easy fix.. (which is why they'll never do it)
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CatWoman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-24-06 05:59 PM
Response to Original message
24. entire, free, article here
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Hekate Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-25-06 12:08 AM
Response to Reply #24
29. Thank you for that link! I love Krugman
Can't get through to the NYT any more... Paul Krugman is a voice of sanity.

Hekate

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Raster Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-24-06 10:49 PM
Response to Original message
27. Another Kick
My friends, we live in a time of Karmic Electoral Irony. The Congressional seat vacated by Cruella de Harris--the one bushco* threw her as payment for throwing 2000--is the one that will probably do the most damage in exposing electoral fraud. This is a no win situation for this Florida district. If the Judge doesn't grant another election, they lose by default--everyone already assumes it's rigged. If they do allow a re-vote, the results will only prove tampering and fraud.

Krugman basically says we dodged a bullet. bushco* couldn't believably beat the point spread, and that's probably the only thing that saved our democracy. This is our wakeup call. We must put our electoral house in order, or be subject to continued partisan tampering and manipulation.

And let's not leave it to Congress to fix. Congress has never really taken reforming the electoral mess very seriously. Truth be told, most of Congress would prefer that the Average American not be too involved in the matters of government. Congress likes the perception of "of the people, for the people and by the people," but in reality, the interests of the people frequently take backseat to those of corporate pimps and paymasters. Congress is one big whorehouse and the majority of the floozies are for sale. The lobbying system that surrounds Congress is nothing but institutionalized bribery.

These last few elections of dubious character--2000, 2002, 2004 and 2006--have caught the eye of a normally apathetic electorate. Some very interesting questions are finally being asked. And it doesn't take an idiot to realize that giving one party the control of the election infrastructure is a VERY, VERY bad idea.
:kick:
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Swagman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-25-06 12:05 AM
Response to Original message
28. I hope the Dems investigate the whole voting process
I can't believe how the vote has been corrupted in just a few years.
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