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No comments, In Series: Election Integrity

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  If you happened to tune in to the ABC tv hit Scandal last night, you'd see our issues sexed up beyond our wildest dreams about five years ago, when a group of us in Bucks County, PA, lamented that our exigent issues weren't reaching the public because they weren't sexy enough.

  We giggled at the predictable jokes ("Sex it up!"), and that's as far as it went. Other issues attracted far more support and reaction.

  But throw in an illegitimately elected POTUS, a wildly jealous FLOTUS, a factotum, voluptuous mistress/protagonist, a Karl Rove clone, and a staff wildly dancing around this titillating soap opera, and presto, we have a concerned, well-informed following eager to do its part to clean up our electoral system once and for all.

  That's microwave outreach, if it will happen, post the momentous presidential election 2012 that catalyzed Rove's on-camera tantrum and otherwise seemed to make things hunky-dory for the Democrats (closet Greens, some of us) and hence all of humanity, forever.

  Rove thinks there's a Democratic conspiracy to keep libs in office until 2020. Well, there's an EI etc. conspiracy to keep democracy going even longer than that, so get used to it, Spinach, you who I just found out inhabits the same quadrant of DC that I do. It is so tempting to hang out there, address released to the public by Craig Unger in Boss Rove, and throw rotten vegetables each time he emerges, head spinning with skeemz.

  Last night (Feb. 6), the key to the illegal election of the wrong POTUS, sizzling with brazen skullduggery--the rotten card inserted into an electronic machine in Defiance, Ohio, to swing the vote--made its debut into tv land, no Maltese falcon. Ohio, that swing state empowered to decide every presidential race. No GOP candidate has ever made it to the oval office without Ohio's electoral votes.

  I hope the elementary technology was clear to most viewers. I had to explain it to my mom, a perfectly intelligent and alert nonagenarian who reads and effectively digests her Trenton Times and NPR analyses every day.

  In the real, equally scandalous but less sexy reality we face day to day, the progs are fighting back, and sometimes winning, like a mechanical guy up at bat being pitched to nonstop, no breaks allowed.

  The Roves, the oilmen, and the Neocons are busy pushing voter ID everywhere they can, opposing early voting, and blatantly and blazingly intent on that most used of all vote-stealing device, redistricting, which I urged the New York Times to map out graphically the other day, complete with day-glow colors. How the shapes of those "redistricts" would boggle: one a string bean hugging a state border (Texas), others tiny, others huge, but all equally represented in the HR.

   Cleveland-Columbus would comprise one district with one vote and millions of voters (it doesn't quite yet), as would a vast, Republican one containing about sixteen voters. That's their vision of democracy. Only, it already turns out, there are more of those Republican sprawls than Democratic mash-ups, so that already in Congress, though Dems gained more than a million more votes than the GOP all told, there is more GOP representation in the House and hence the vote, and even now, despite alienation from the Tea Party, they are more likely to vote as a bloc than the Dems. What happened to the term Blue Dog? Why don't we hear it that much anymore?

  But most of that you already know. In California, there is already an experimental push toward I-voting (Internet voting), which makes e-voting look flawless. I-voting is about as safe and accurate as putting your social security number and other vital stats onto the front page of the New York Times online (circulation about .5 million vs. 3.5 million paper editions [including Sundays]).

  The Pew Center on the States just released a report on election administration nationwide, its Election Performance Index (EPI), which rates the states according to seventeen "measurable" criteria that include " polling location wait times, availability of voting information tools online, the number of rejected voter registrations, the percentage of voters with registration or absentee ballot problems, how many military and overseas ballots were rejected, voter turnout, and the accuracy of voting technology."

  Sources included the U.S. Census Bureau's Current Population Survey Voting and Registration Supplement, the Election Assistance Commission's Election Administration and Voting Survey, the Election Assistance Commission's Statutory Overview, state election division records, and others.

  The targeted elections occurred in 2008 and 2010, with a 2012 update to be added at the end of this year.

    Predictably, Mississippi rates last, followed by . . . not the rest of the South but the two true-blue paragons California and New York. Oklahoma is also low on the list, even though it has used optical scanners exclusively since the 1990s, forbids interference in its electoral procedures by the vendor, and uses the same-model machinery statewide. The scanners were alpha rated by EI people in the mid-2000s, before they were judged to suffer from the same modes of hackability as DREs, with paper records considered their virtue, though manifold problems were soon publicized about even that advantage.

  Most of us still use them. And laugh at the obvious, preferable way to go, hand-counted paper ballots (HCPB).

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A jack of some trades, writing and editing among them, Marta Steele, an admitted and proud holdover from the late sixties, returned to activism ten years ago after first establishing her skills as a college [mostly adjunct] professor in three (more...)
 
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