(Article changed on February 5, 2013 at 08:06)
Crime of Century Scandal ABC Needs an Activist in the Writing Room
By Sheila Parks
Shonda Rhimes and her crew did it again - standing ovation -
for the episode Truth
or Consequences, aired January 31st. Millions of Americans watching the dramatic
television series Scandal saw one way
an operative could rig an election. Although the series is fictional, the process
it revealed could be a real one.
This episode opens with an official showing a memory card to
a small group of people, as he explains that Defiance County, Ohio has brand
new touchscreen electronic voting machines.
This memory card will be inserted into the touchscreens in the morning
before the polls open. He adds that the
memory card stores and tabulates votes and eliminates paper ballots -- thus making
progress. So he says. What the people
are not told is that touchscreen voting machines -- and also optical scan
electronic voting machines -- can be easily hacked. Then we see Jesse Tyler (Adam Shapiro) from
Cytron exchange the demonstration voting machine for another one from his
backpack -- reprogrammed for the hack, of course -- so that Fitz (Tony Goldwyn)
wins the election.
Cytron is a fictional Internet security company that also
secretly develops software unofficially used for electronic voting
machines. In the demo in Defiance, the
machine is clearly marked "Cytron Software Voting System." Lobbyist and oil tycoon Hollis Doyle (Gregg
Henry) has sent a package to Tyler
at Cytron which explodes when he opens it, killing him and 7 other people. Hollis presumably kills Tyler because he is asking for more millions
from him for the machine swap out and/or to silence him.
The scene then flashes to one in which David Rosen (Joshua
Malina) -- a truth-seeking Assistant State Attorney -- tells Hollis that he is
questioning him because he (Rosen) has information that an explosion at Cytron was
an attempt to cover up evidence that the election had been rigged. Olivia Pope (Kerry Washington), who is having
an affair with the president of the USA and who also was in on the rigging of
his election is now riddled with guilt and shame and is now telling the truth. She is the one who told Rosen about Hollis.
Rosen puts it to Hollis in startling and plain language: ""I have reason to
believe that you were part of this conspiracy... and you had co-conspirators,
possibly ones at the highest reaches of the White House"I will be talking with
these individuals, looking to make a deal in exchange for their cooperation in
revealing the details of this scheme to rig the election and subvert the will
of the American people."
It would be so wonderful if Scandal would integrate more real life events into the fictional
drama. Perhaps by fictionalizing them, as with the rigged election
itself? Or perhaps by incorporating events that really happened.
This would give viewers an idea of what was going on around the real rigged
election in real time. These events should have gotten much mainstream media
coverage. They got little, if any. Hearing about them in the context of Scandal might very well inspire people
to act now and stop the rigging that will surely continue until we use publicly
observed hand-counted paper ballots in all our elections.
In real life:
2004, whistleblower and software computer programmer Clint Curtis testified under oath
to a Congressional Commission on Election Fraud, that in 2000, Tom Feeney
(R), then speaker of the House in Florida,
tried to hire him to write software that would rig electronic voting
machines. Feeney was also a registered
lobbyist and attorney for Yang Enterprises in Florida [yes, that is correct, Feeney
held all those positions] where Curtis worked. Curtis
refused; he was at that time a life long Republican. He is now a Democrat.
January 6, 2005, Stephanie Tubbs Jones, the first African American from
Ohio to be elected to Congress, spoke and tried to prevent the
certification of Ohio's electoral votes in the 2004 presidential election
because there was evidence of "election irregularities" in some
counties. She stated, [at 37.29 and
43.20 minutes] "I, Stephanie Tubbs Jones, a representative from Ohio,
and Ms. Boxer, a Senator from California, object
to the counting of the electoral votes of the State of Ohio on the ground
that they were not, under all of the known circumstances, regularly
representatives, most from the Congressional Black Caucus, joined Tubbs
Jones and Boxer; no senators did so.
blog from the January 17 episode for more details about
the rigging that took place in Ohio.
tried to persuade Senator Kerry not to certify the Ohio electoral vote. The Coalition
Against Election Fraud [which I co-founded] held nightly vigils for a week
outside his Beacon Hill home in MA. We also left him written documents. (No
soap.) Then we boarded a plane and went to Congress to our dream team of
Senators, asking them not to certify the vote in Ohio
(no soap again, except for Boxer, whom we did see and who did, along with
Tubbs Jones, vote not to certify Ohio's
O'Dell, president, chair and CEO of Diebold Corporation in 2004, and also
a huge fund-raiser for the re-election of Bush, said he would help deliver
electoral votes to Bush. Although
no Diebold touchscreens were used in Ohio in the 2004 general election,
other corporations' touchscreens were -- the paperless ES&S iVotronic
and Infinity DRE from Microvote, also paperless
Rhimes and the other Scandal writers say, through David Rosen
and James Novak (Dan Bucatinsky) - a reporter who Rosen has been feeding info
to about the Defiance
rigging - that this is the "crime of the century." I agree and so do many others. This is a story that belongs to the American
people. I would like to sit in the writers' room and share my experience and
knowledge on this matter of election rigging and the solution.
Brief Bio: Sheila Parks, Ed.D. has been involved with the current wave of voting rights since the crimes, including the rigging, of the 2000 Florida presidential election. She is the founder of the Center for Hand-Counted Paper Ballots and the author of WHILE WE STILL HAVE TIME: The Perils of Electronic Voting Machines and Democracy's solution: Publicly Observed, Secure Hand-Counted Paper Ballots (HCPB) Elections. She is an ardent feminist, internationalist and peace & justice activist.