* In many places there are no paper ballots to audit at all.
* Where there are ballots, state laws vary as to whether an audit it even possible (in Florida, for example, audits are possible only after the results are certified, rendering them functionally useless.)
* Where there are ballots, they may sit for weeks before an audit, vulnerable to tampering. (As Rosenfeld knows, since he once offered excellent work in Ohio on the 2004 election, where two officials were sentenced to the maximum in prison for rigging a partial recount in Ohio's largest county, and where 56 of 88 counties destroyed some or all of their ballots in defiance of a federal court order.)
* State election rules prevent any meaningful recourse for voters who fear their votes were lost or stolen.
* The corporate entities who enjoy legal protection for their voting systems proprietary hardware receive great preference in courts, usually keeping an independent investigation of the vote counting system off limits to litigants.
* Legal action means years in the courts, and then no guarantee of a non-partisan judgment.
Case in point: how well did that post-election audit work out for Al Gore?
Meanwhile, what if candidates refuse to take action and fight for a recount, as John Kerry did in 2004? These decisions are made for internal political reasons far more than any objective sense of justice or duty to voters.
Rosenfeld also offered this remarkable description of my Harper's article:
Will millions of votes disappear on paperless machines? That's the thesis of Harper's November cover story. It posits that voting machines that rely on computer touch screens and memory cards in key swing states like Pennsylvania and Virginia might massively fail- losing big blocks of votes.
I can only assure readers that this is not - in that place called Reality - remotely the actual thesis of my article. (I think it would have been nice of Rosenfeld to at least read it before he dismissed it as faulty).
Some days ago I found myself on a nationally syndicated radio show, NPR's To the Point with Rosenfeld as a fellow guest. He continued voicing what seems to be his driving complaint: "There are other more serious problems to worry about in our voting system."
Let's be clear. No one in the election integrity community, has ever claimed that computerized vote rigging is the only threat to our elections. But to claim e-vote rigging is not a threat? The only way you can do that is to willfully ignore the rumbling, fire-spitting Vesuvius (or is it more like Mordor's Mount Doom?) of evidence that has been building up over the past few decades.
Brad Friedman's independent BradBlog.com alone has ten year's worth of archived reports on election fraud; I plowed through them for 6 months while researching my article for Harper's. We're talking literally thousands of election-fraud related documents and links, plus the stories, films and books produced by Black Box Voting, Votescam.org, the Free Press, OpedNews.com, Mark Crispin Miller, Greg Palast (who is offering his latest NYT best-selling book, "Billionaires and Ballot Bandits" for free through election day), Richard Charnin (his new book on implausible polling discrepancies "Matrix of Deceit"), the Election Defense Alliance (their new book is "Code Red: Computerized Elections and the New American Century"), The Center for Hand Counted Paper Ballots (Dr. Sheila Parks' new book is "While We Still Have Time: The Perils of Electronic Voting and Democracy's Solution") and many more investigators and civic groups.
I have a data hub on my website for researchers interested in this issue, and I'm happy to help people navigate the waters: http://www.votescam.org/the_evidence
Citing a few cherry-picked reports, Rosenfeld writes: