Thursday, April 22, 2004
The problems of the 2000 Presidential election are far from being solved according to a new study from the U.S. Commission of Civil Rights. Some details:
...The commission's criticisms focused on the failure to implement President George Bush's Help America Vote Act (Hava), passed in October 2002, which promised $4bn (£2.3bn) to help states overhaul antiquated voting machinery - notably the notorious punchcard devices that caused so much trouble in Florida - and sought to set up a nationwide system of provisional voting for people who believe they have a right to vote but find themselves omitted from the official list.
Almost half of the states have requested exemptions from updating their voting equipment, and 41 out of 50 have requested extensions until 2006 to consolidate voter registration lists at state level so they can more easily be checked for accuracy. "It will be difficult if not impossible for states to build the necessary election infrastructure by November," it concluded.
The commission report can only heighten the anxieties of an electorate already alarmed by a growing controversy over touchscreen voting machines being introduced - with Hava money - in many parts of the South and West. The machines make meaningful recounts impossible and rely on software developed by companies with strong ties to President Bush and his Republican Party. California is expected to decide this week whether to decertify its touchscreen machines.
The debate over the health of America's electoral procedures is turning into a partisan fight, with Republicans dismissing the concerns as Democratic politicking unworthy of serious examination. When the Commission on Civil Rights convened an expert panel in Washington this month to discuss its report, the Republican Party delegation walked out before the proceedings began, one panel participant, Rebecca Mercuri, a Harvard University voting machinery expert, said.
Perhaps I'm just wasting my breath here, going on about the direction our country is headed. What if the "electoral process" is a sham and Diebold has voting machines in States that will swing the election to Bush, regardless of actual ballot counts? I keep telling myself that there is no conspiracy that big. And then I read this and feel helpless again.
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