SO NOTHING WAS NEFARIOUS?
I'd like to quote an excellent letter by election law scholar Paul Lehto, in regard to Nate Silver's editorial in the New York Times. Lehto nails it:
"A major reason (besides being apologists) why people can "see nothing nefarious" in election results is that it is so difficult to see anything whatsoever...
"Remember it is secret black box voting boxes we are talking about. Data is extremely hard to come up, except for the conclusory election results numbers that pop out of the black boxes ...he [Nate Silver] 'sees nothing nefarious' because he can see so very little (much like the rest of us) because of the very nature of the voting system.
"What is decisive in terms of where people come down on this issue is their underlying attitude toward things they can't see or investigate.
"If it is one of trust, they will find some small ledge of data to support the entire election because it is really trust they operate on. If it, instead, is an underlying attitude of accountability, then circumstances like Waukesha are concerning at least ... who can rationally be in favor of unaccountable government or unaccountable elections?
"...those who implicitly advocate "trust and confidence" in elections have put the cart before the horse: trust and confidence is a state of mind that should only be earned and must be re-earned with each election, and only after investigation reveals that all necessary checks and balances were in place in a properly designed voting system and that the checks and balances, including transparent observability and others, worked as they were intended to work.
"..But we can't have confidence right now just a few days after an election when we are missing so much information from Wisconsin, and much of what we do know stinks or is suggestive of mistakes and fraud. But Nate Silver simply, and erroneously, takes an entirely different approach that ignores accountability and instead looks for a silver lining of the "numbers jibing" and the like upon which to attach his presumed and pre-existing trust and confidence."
Good stuff, Paul Lehto. In other words, we should not be urging the public to trust what the public cannot see and authenticate. We have a structural problem with US election procedures, and instead of focusing on politics, we should be working together to restore the public ability to see what's going on.
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Government is the servant of the people, and not the master of them. The people, in delegating authority, do not give their public servants the right to decide what is good for the people to know and what is not good for them to know. We insist on remaining informed so that we may retain control over the instruments of government we have created.
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