We had better get busy.
It appears that the Democratic leadership will provide Democratic voters with no guidance this election year, about how to protect the votes, and potential votes, of Democrats. We have had three national elections, beginning in 2000, in which there have been successful, organized efforts to suppress Democratic votes. What does it say about the fortitude, foresight, and strategic capability of this organization that we will face a fourth election worse off than we were in 2000?
Because this year, having reached the deadline for HAVA compliance in the states, the vast majority of voters will have their votes recorded on electronic voting equipment. As the Brennan Center Task Force has recently reported in its findings on Voting System Security (p. 2), "When the goal is to change the outcome of a close statewide election, attacks that involve the insertion of software attack programs or other corrupt software are the least difficult attacks." (http://www.brennancenter.org)
I don't know of any election integrity activist who claims that all elections, everywhere, are compromised. I do know a great many activists who believe that our election system has the kind of systemic vulnerabilities that make it much easier for those, with malicious intent, to do a great deal of damage in key states, and in key elections. If elected officials- of all parties- had as their goal, the protection of the American democratic system; then they would have placed the security of the election system at the top of the agenda in 2001. Election security is national security.
Recently, Brad Friedman of Bradblog.com was interviewed on Ring of Fire about the Special Congressional Election in San Diego. The following question was asked: Why had Francine Busby, the "losing" Democratic candidate, conceded before the election results had been certified? The response: Because she, like all Democratic candidates, had been instructed by the DCCC not to touch the voting integrity issue. (http://www.bradblog.com/?p=3051... scroll down to "Brad on Ring of Fire: 7/8/06" and click)
Now, I ask anyone who has been awake since Ohio 2004: Is there any issue more relevant to Democratic candidates and voters than the voting integrity issue?
If Democratic leadership does not understand this, than you and I are sailing in a captain-less vessel; and we are about to hit our fourth iceberg. I suspect that, as in the past three national elections, what happens on the Day After the election this November, is going to be as important to the election outcome as Election Day. We should all get in touch with those sick feelings of disbelief that we experienced after previous elections. It just might give us the incentive and the courage to stand up, speak out, and find a way to make "Remember Ohio 2004" our motto for November 8, 2006. You and I need to pick up the oars and man the cannons. We are the only ones left to fight this fight. It is well past time to draw a line in the sand. The Ukrainians and the Mexicans have passed through this sea. Is democracy as important to us as it is to them?
Mary Howe Kiraly is a voting activist living in Maryland.