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July 20, 2006

Republicans, paper trails and HR 550 (Holt): No easy answers

By Mark C. Miller, author of "Fooled Again"

Now, we must ask ourselves: Would that movement (to thwart millions of 'opposition' voters) be frustrated, its agenda thwarted, by the use of paper trails? Evidently not--since members of that very movement also back the Holt bill with enthusiasm.

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EMAIL FROM MARK CRISPIN MILLER MILLER'S response to Michael Scherer's Salon article (see below):

I hate to rain on anyone's parade, but this is not a good idea.

Why is our democracy at risk? Is it just because those DRE machines don't leave a paper trail? Or is it that the Bush Republicans detest democracy, since they cannot wield power without subverting the electoral system? The fact is that they're pushing an agenda that could never win majority support in the United States--from liberals or conservatives. They've therefore had no choice but to commit election fraud, repeatedly and on a mammoth scale, deploying every trick and tactic in the book, and then some.

As I point out in Fooled Again, the Bush Republicans used paperless machines to cut the Democratic vote, not only in Ohio but from coast to coast--but they also cut the vote in states and counties that did not use paperless machines; and in those places that did use them, the Busheviks also relied on many other means of disenfranchising the majority.

They kept Americans from registering, tossed out or passed over countless ballots (including absentee ballots), wiped the names of (at least) tens of thousands from the voter rolls, carefully dispatched too few machines to Democratic precincts nationwide, used "challengers" to bully countless would-be voters into going home or staying home, mounted vast disinformation drives to mislead countless more, arranged a most fortuitous computer glitch so as to keep some two million expatriates from voting absentee, and otherwise transported this whole nation, white and black alike, back to the catastrophic epoch of Jim Crow.

The problem, then, is civic, not just technical, concerning the fanatical persistence of a full-scale movement deeply hostile to the letter and the spirit of our Constitution.

Now, we must ask ourselves: Would that movement be frustrated, its agenda thwarted, by the use of paper trails? Evidently not--since members of that very movement also back the Holt bill with enthusiasm. As the Salon piece points out, Mary Jo Kiffmeyer, Minnesota's Secretary of State, has now testified in favor of the bill. It is more than relevant to note that Kiffmeyer is a stalwart Bushevik and theocratic maniac, who has publicly deplored the separation of church and state, and who did everything she could to slash the Democratic vote in Minnesota in the last election. (That appalling story is in Fooled Again, pp. 138-39.) Her record is so dismal that she's now in trouble, facing a strong challenge by Mark Ritchie, who knows full well what she has done to the electoral system in his state and means to change the situation. That such an operative as she--and David Cole, and John Groh of ES&S, and other Bushist agents--would support this measure tells us all we need to know about its usefulness.

We have heard it argued that the Holt bill is a half-step in the right direction, and that some reform is surely preferable to none at all. In this case that's a dangerous self-delusion. Sometimes "compromise" can only make things worse, as there really is no valid "middle way." So it is with torture, and illegal wars. Whatever "compromise" serves merely to protract such horrors is finally nothing but abetment, however well-intended it may be.

And so it is with the far-right crusade against American democracy. We must oppose that drive in every way we can--and that means not allowing its own managers to cast themselves as champions of electoral "reform."

Taking the paper trail to Washington: The dangers of electronic voting machines got tallied Wednesday on Capitol Hill. By Michael Scherer
http://www.salon.com/news/feature/2006/07/20/voting/print.html

Submitter: Joan Brunwasser

Submitters Website: http://www.opednews.com/author/author79.html

Submitters Bio:

Joan Brunwasser is a co-founder of Citizens for Election Reform (CER) which since 2005 existed for the sole purpose of raising the public awareness of the critical need for election reform. Our goal: to restore fair, accurate, transparent, secure elections where votes are cast in private and counted in public. Because the problems with electronic (computerized) voting systems include a lack of transparency and the ability to accurately check and authenticate the vote cast, these systems can alter election results and therefore are simply antithetical to democratic principles and functioning.


Since the pivotal 2004 Presidential election, Joan has come to see the connection between a broken election system, a dysfunctional, corporate media and a total lack of campaign finance reform. This has led her to enlarge the parameters of her writing to include interviews with whistle-blowers and articulate others who give a view quite different from that presented by the mainstream media. She also turns the spotlight on activists and ordinary folks who are striving to make a difference, to clean up and improve their corner of the world. By focusing on these intrepid individuals, she gives hope and inspiration to those who might otherwise be turned off and alienated. She also interviews people in the arts in all their variations - authors, journalists, filmmakers, actors, playwrights, and artists. Why? The bottom line: without art and inspiration, we lose one of the best parts of ourselves. And we're all in this together. If Joan can keep even one of her fellow citizens going another day, she considers her job well done.

When Joan hit one million page views, OEN Managing Editor, Meryl Ann Butler interviewed her, turning interviewer briefly into interviewee. Read the interview here.


While the news is often quite depressing, Joan nevertheless strives to maintain her mantra: "Grab life now in an exuberant embrace!"

Joan has been Election Integrity Editor for OpEdNews since December, 2005. Her articles also appear at Huffington Post, RepublicMedia.TV and Scoop.co.nz.

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