14 November 2012

Is the U.S. right rigging elections?

After reading an article in the November 2012 issue of Harper's ("How to Rig an Election" by Victoria Collier), I'm not as surprised that Barack Obama won the recent presidential election as I'm surprised he was allowed to win. The article points out that most votes in the U.S. are now tallied by voting machines, a technology with "enormous potential for electronic skulduggery." Furthermore, this technology has been outsourced to "a handful of secretive corporations with interlocking ownership, strong partisan ties to the far right, and executives who revolve among them like beans in a shell game."

The Election Defense Alliance—a nonprofit organization specializing in election forensics—working with independent statisticians who have compared decades of computer-vote results to exit polls, tracking polls, and hand counts, found that "when disparities occur, they benefit Republicans and right-wing issues far beyond the bounds of probability." The combination of privatization and computer technology is, it seems, corrupting American democracy.

In addition to the rigging, the author insists that Americans "have actually lost the ability to verify election results." And all this has happened "without public knowledge or consent."

As a student of democracy, I found the article fascinating. It is either the epitome of paranoia or an exposé of "one of the most dangerous and least understood crises in the history of American democracy." Read it here and take your pick.

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