Voting is a vital civic process; and so conceiving it as an acceptable commercial enterprise is deeply inappropriate--and dangerous. Certainly no private companies ought to be managing our votes. Those corporations are as unaccountable, and non-transparent, as
Blackwater/XE, Titan, DynCorp, CACI, KBR and all the other outfits that now suck up our tax dollars to conduct the (outsourced) "business" of the state. (Also just like Blackwater and KBR and all the rest, moreover, ES&S and Diebold/Premier and Hart InterCivic, among others, are owned and managed by right-wing Republicans.)
And e-voting is a sucker's game, whether it's monopolized by one big corporation, or largely run by four, or six, or ten. It too is non-transparent, and so should not, cannot, be deployed in any democratic country, or that country is no longer democratic.
(There's also a major practical objection that should be bigger news--or news at all-- in these hard times, with states slashing education budgets, and cutting many other vital programs: All these electronic systems are enormously expensive, costing many millions
that we tax-payers simply can't afford--and couldn't even if those systems were not always freezing, shutting down, miscounting or not counting ballots, flipping votes and otherwise malfunctioning.)
So let's get on the stick, and start demanding that the press, at least, address this issue at long last. (Obama and the Democrats don't want to hear about it.) Otherwise, you can be sure that, in this next election, there will be many more far-rightist candidates installed
through "upset victories" that bear no relation to the wishes of the actual electorate. (And maybe--who knows?--Sarah Palin will find herself "elected" president in 2012!)
If you want a pretty good example of that sort of thing, read Wikipedia's account of "Sen." Jim Bunning's "re-election" in 2004: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jim_Bunning#2004_Senate_race.
Then go read Brad Friedman's reports on the election fraud conspiracy that was going on for years in that state's Clay County. Start with http://www.bradblog.com/?p=7627.
By PETE YOST, Associated Press Writer
WASHINGTON - The largest voting machine company in the country bought its biggest competitor six months ago without advance fanfare. Now the Justice Department is investigating whether to unwind the merger that put a privately held Nebraska company in control of the voting machines in nearly 70 percent of the nation's precincts.
With midterm elections looming and a battle for control of Congress under way, a coalition of election officials from several states and voter advocate groups is pressing the Justice Department to unscramble
the combination of two companies. Critics say the merger could cause foul-ups at the polls on Election Day [CAN YOU IMAGINE SUCH A THING?--MCM], and some even characterize it as a national security risk.
The emergence of one megaplayer in the electronic voting machine industry may be an unintended consequence of reforms [sic] enacted after the presidential election debacle in Florida a decade ago.
Few companies can afford to get into the business due to the expense of developing the electronic voting safeguards that reformers insisted on.
The secretaries of state in California and Connecticut expressed concern about the merger, as did some local election officials in Florida, California and New Mexico.
On the Net:
Election Systems & Software Inc.: http://www.essvote.com/