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OpEdNews Op Eds    H1'ed 5/7/10


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Does the US want a back door into other nation's elections?

Someone had to say it. So I will.

The United States has been cheerleading the concept of concealed vote counting round the world in a most unhealthy way, unless it is sham democracy we are really after.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton testified before congress in glowing terms regarding India's e-voting system,[1] yet these opaque electronic voting machines conceal key election processes from the public, putting control into the hands of government insiders -- hardly democratic, and in India's corruption-prone environment, downright dangerous.

Despite Clinton's earlier assurances, Indian e-voting machines have recently succumbed to manipulation by a team of researchers. Here's what one of them had to say about India's e-voting system:


I've studied electronic voting machines for years, but I've never had such a strong sense that actual fraud might be taking place. There have been dozens of reports from around India that politicians have been approached by engineers offering to manipulate the machines to steal votes. My Indian coauthor, Hari Prasad, was himself approached by a prominent party and asked to help them with such manipulations! ... there are probably a million people in India with the necessary electronics skills. -- Alex Halderman, one of a team of researchers who proved the Indian machines can be used to illicitly control election outcomes.[2]

Is it that certain US leaders are woefully uninformed, or might it be that there are some in high positions who discreetly believe that elections must be controllable? ("If necessary.")

At least one US leader believed just that. Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger was so appalled at the prospect of a democratic Chilean election installing a president of whom he disapproved that he said,


"I don't see why we need to stand by and watch a country go communist because of the irresponsibility of its own people."
--Henry Kissinger, June 27, 1970

To paraphrase journalist William Blum, there's one thing the United States hates more than an international leader deemed politically undesirable, and that is a democratically ELECTED politically undesirable leader.

Depite successive US expenditures to control the Chilean election, Salvador Allende was democratically elected in 1970. Kissinger subsequently began lining up support for a military coup.

According to the CIA, the US had no vital national interests within Chile. The world military balance of power would not have been significantly altered by an Allende government. But according to Kissinger, Chile was a virus that would infect the world with its ideological platform.


With every e-voting system ever examined succumbing to multiple election-control attacks, and when no reputable computer scientist will claim that a concealed computerized system can be secured against insiders (like government custodians and the vendors they select), enthusiasm by US leaders for such systems is getting hard to explain without a bit of skepticism.

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Bev Harris is executive director of Black Box Voting, Inc. an advocacy group committed to restoring citizen oversight to elections.
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