It is time for all Americans to look at the role of elections in our American nation. Are elections a way of determining public opinion and transferring those opinions to government policies? Alternatively, are elections a way of minority power groups to achieve power by exploiting technicalities or by manipulating voter rolls and voting systems? This writer believes that the answer to these questions essentially determine if we have a real Democracy or not.
Electronic voting machines in America count more than enough votes to change election outcomes if they are hacked or intentionally manipulated. The machines are made and controlled by large corporations often with close partisan political connections. Often these corporations seem to have selfish political agendas of their own. The computer codes that control the vote counting are not standard or generally available to the public. They are instead the private property of those large corporations and secret. Voting and vote counting should be never be privatized.
Republican politicians have used legislative processes to deny huge numbers of voters their voting rights by treating former felons as permanent second-class citizens. Residency requirements are often used to deny many college students the opportunity to vote where they live.
In many states, Republican officeholders have abused their offices to control the distribution of voting machines, kick legal voters off the voting rolls and to keep citizens from registering to vote. Florida in 2000 and Ohio in 2004 had Republican officeholders acting as the top government official controlling the election process and as Bush-Cheney campaign officials.
We need a national commitment to reform our system of elections to make voting universally clean, accurate and public. Any politician from any Party who seeks political advantage from tampering with voter rolls, voting systems or voting rights should be shamed out of politics. We should look at severely criminalizing behaviors of officeholders that seek partisan political advantage from manipulating voting systems and procedures. Vote tampering should be a serious felony and the only felony that permanently denies voting rights in America.