Electoral DysfunctionOne Florida official exposes a gaping flaw in the electoral system - and is ignored by everyone, including California
~ By ANDREW GUMBEL ~
on Sancho is a rare, if not unique, figure in America's blasted electoral landscape, a county election supervisor who actually cares about the reliability, transparency, and public accountability of his voting systems. Since his bailiwick is Leon County, the area in and around Florida's state capital, Tallahassee, he also has a unique vantage point on what arguably remains the most electorally dysfunctional state in the union, and he provides regular, withering commentary on the anti-democratic skullduggery of the other Bush administration, the state government led by George W.'s brother, Jeb.
For both these things, he is now being hung out to dry.
Specifically, Sancho is being cold-shouldered by the three voting machine manufacturers certified to sell equipment in the state of Florida - Diebold, ES&S, and Sequoia - after he had the temerity to investigate and publish details of an alarming security flaw in one of their products. None is currently prepared to do business with him at all. The Florida state authorities, meanwhile, have told him that if he doesn't hurry up and buy an updated system from one of the three vendors he risks finding himself in violation of federal law and having his office taken over by the state.
It's a chilling scenario. A public official takes steps to defend the integrity of elections in his county, and he is promptly identified as a threat who needs to be removed. It would be bad enough if the Sancho affair were limited to Florida, but really it has implications all over the country. The more we find out about the expensive computerized systems being installed in county after county, and state after state, the more it becomes apparent that the processes to inspect and certify them are wholly inadequate and may well be opening the door to election-stealing on a scale this country has never seen before.