I look at the news of elections coming in Pakistan, Russia, votes on constitutional changes in Venezuela... and I think of the USA's last two flawed presidential selection events... and I wonder, "have we entered the era where elections WERE??
Have elections become a joke, a sham, a ploy used by people and groups with great power to steal the ultimate power-- of leadership of a nation?
Have we entered a "post-election-era" when elections that people trusted and believed were an integral part of democracy have become a thing of the past, perhaps even a mythic concept now questioned as to whether they ever really existed.
We look at any of the above elections and how can we not wonder whether they will be manipulated or fixed? Who will benefit? Putin, Musharaf, Chavez!!
It is a sad travesty of justice that here in the USA, after two flawed, corruption marred and influenced elections, the elected representatives in congress have failed to PASS legislation which changes the rules so elections in the US can be trusted. Even when one well-intentioned legislator, Russ Holt, tried, his legislation was corrupted and ruined by an either incompetent or corrupted aide, who allowed corporations to re-write Holt's initial draft so it was made worse than current, existing law.
There are voting integrity and election reform activists all over America. They are working hard, with passion and integrity at local and national levels. But still, we face the situation today, where three international elections are greatly suspect. And it is impossible not to at least partially blame the US-- the seat of modern democracy-- for failing to clean up its own act.
The USA's failure-- the congress's failure-- to enact tough, clear legislation that requires paper ballot records that are the only record used for recounting is a huge failure that is letting down democracies all across the planet.
There's a senate bill floating around, by Diane Feinstein, that's even worse than Holt's unacceptably flawed bill. And sadly, selling out democracy and the American people, People for the American Way and moveon.org have, settled for far too little, having supported the Holt bill. Shame on them both. That bill would allow a president to appoint an election commission, without congressional authorization, that would be the final arbiter of elections. That's like inviting Bush to appoint Rove, Cheney, Scalia and Scooter Libby to "impartially" decide election disputes. Is "disgusting" too kind a word?
We're soon going to be seeing, here in the USA, primary elections. Who's to say that these can not and will not be tampered with, as it has been proven it is so easy to do?
The threat to democracy we face in the USA has travelled around the world. If the US were to install solid, tamper-proof, trustworthy laws and policies for federal elections, these could be quickly cloned all over the world, as the gold standard.
Instead, we see questionable, untrustworthy processes that leave all the elections in the world in doubt.
It is time for the US congress to get tough with election standards, to stop settling for less, to refuse to accept privatization of the election process-- a process at the marrow core of democracy. It is not too late for congress to pass legislation that requires, that for federal elections-- for US senators, congresspeople and president, that only paper ballots be counted and kept as the official record for recounts-- Period!! No exceptions!!
This could still be done in time for the first elections in the first primaries. The congress should do it. Failure to do so should be recorded in history along with all the other failures of this pathetic 110th congress. It is sad that a Democrat led congress could go down in history as being the one that failed on Iraq, failed on protecting the constitution by failing to impeach Cheney and Bush, failed on protecting our troops by allowing them to be kept in Iraq by corporation motivated right wing globalist neocons and they failed to do enough, in so many ways, to protect Americans and the American economy from hemmorhaging, perhaps mortally.
We need to let the members of congress know that they do not get to run again, as incumbents, if they fail to do their job, protecting the constitution, protecting democracy, protecting our jobs, our troops, our economy.
The Right wing talks about protecting us from terrorists while all the time, holding the back doors wide open to allow invaders and attackers in so many other forms to just sweep in, destroying so many parts and aspects of the USA that we hold sacred. These traitors MUST be exposed and the truth laid bare. It is not too late for this congress to do what must be done on all the fronts I've described. But it must happen VERY soon.