HAVA nice election day
The November 7, 2007 episode of Voice of the Voters, finds the heroin (Mary Ann Gould) attempting to make sense of the actions of the US Department of Justice. In order to make better sense of a seemingly irrational action, our intrepid host employed the expertise of those most knowledgeable on the events now taking place in the Empire State.
Just what is happening in New York? Glad you asked…Bo Lipari, Executive Director of the New Yorkers for Verified Voting shared the news that the DOJ has notified the NY State Election Board that since they have accepted the $50,000.000.00 incentive monies associated with HAVA, that they are now obligated to purchase and utilize electronic voting machines, regardless of their current state of operational “integrity”.
How has this come to be? Well, NY has established a higher operational standard for any voting machine that could be considered for use as an official vote collection and tallying device. New York’s standard exceeds those of HAVA, and the DOJ is suggesting that NY should accept the present technology as is. Wisely, NY has to this date held their ground by resisting the use of outrageously flawed electronic voting machines.
But the DOJ is forcing the issue. As a byproduct of this new action, the DOJ’s efforts may reverse the Microsoft setback, and support their notion that source code is proprietary, and that escrowed data should not be available for public consumption. (Possibly a provision concerning proprietary rights of corporations need be passed when their proprietary secrets can compromise the integrity of the individuals sacred word.) This may all be decided in the next couple of weeks as it is now on the desk of a NY State Judge, and his decision may be a pivotal decision in the struggle between corporate election forces and grassroots soldiers, i.e., American citizens.
The voting war continues, and it seems that moneyed interests are speaking louder than original intent.
Lipari closed his portion of the program with the inevitable and required encouragement that citizens become and remain watchdogs of democracy, and that we should all keep a very close eye on the results of the actions between the State of New York, and the DOJ.
Next in the line up of on air voices was John Bonifaz who almost immediately reiterated that HAVA is being used to force the issue in New York. This common theme of the Federal Government bullying the States became a common thread throughout the broadcast.
Borrowing from the Governmental Force tactic, John suggested that forcing Congressional investigations similar to those used against Big Tobacco companies, where CEO’s were forced to testify before congressional committee under oath as to the effects of smoking on human beings could blow the lid off of the under mediatized issue of voting integrity. He is on to something there. He is also correct about DOJ’s leverage being diminished if New York agrees to return the $50,000,000.00 incentive monies to HAVA. Will they do such? The clock is ticking, and no matter which way this falls, it is going to be expensive. However, fifty million dollars in the grand scheme of thing is chump change when measured against a compromised voting system.
Bonifaz’s observation that that DOJ is cherry picking enforcement issues points out that the only rules in a knife fight is that there ain’t no stinking rules. That kind of an observation implies that relationships between governmental bodies and election systems manufactures are a dubious marriage and bode poorly for the democratic process. John noted that privatization of elections is a “Core Threat” to democracy, and that those companies positioned to profit financially are poised to do whatever it takes to sell their product.
Of that there is no doubt. Money moves the world, and to find the truth, one always follows the money trail. Private vendors of electronic “voting” machines shamelessly manufacture devices that are controlled by a digital intellect that can be manipulated from near or far, by forces nefarious or legitimate. The impact on democracies original intent is of little interest or importance to corporate bean counters who seemingly do not care if they work for ethical or criminal employers.
As per usual, John, like all grassroots operatives ended the discussion with encouragement for citizens to become and remain involved in the process. Specifically, he suggested working the polls to both learn the process, and to be a watchful fair witness.
Mary Ann closed this segment of the show with an eloquent and meaningful timeless quote from Edmund Burke, “Bad Laws are the worst sort of tyranny”.
Next in the line-up was the dynamic Andi Novick, who had just the day before been granted an audience before the New York Board of Elections during their regular meeting. The ground rules of which usually prohibit citizen vocalizations, however, Novick was able to speak her piece even with the presence of the media.
Novick has the perspective that, when given lemons find a way to make lemonade. She thinks that this Government onslaught may reveal that electronic voting machines are impossible for the next election, and that a hand count is the only practical solution. I so love simple solutions. But when asked by Mary Ann about the inclusion of optical scanning technology as a form of a check, Novick balked. She simply does not trust the human race to use the technology as intended. Kinda reminds a fella of when the colonists noted that for elections to be secure and accurate that transparency needed to be mandatory. It is the old trust thing rearing its ugly head again, and again, and again…..
A discussion of the potential for civil litigation brought about by us common folk ensued, and Novick noted that Election Boards are reluctant to intervene because of the voting grassroots interests being wide and varied. This astute observation again points to the dire need for the voting integrity grassroots organizations to find common ground and become a single sword point.