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Tuesday, November 7, 2006

Here We Go

posted by on November 7 at 8:08 AM

We can start distrusting the election results, oh….. NOW.

Voting machines began wreaking havoc the minute the polls opened Tuesday, delaying voters in dozens of Indiana and Ohio precincts and leaving some in Florida with little choice but turn to paper ballots instead.

In Cleveland, voters rolled their eyes as election workers fumbled with new voting machines that they couldn’t get to start properly.

“We got five machines - one of them’s got to work,” said Willette Scullank, a trouble shooter from the Cuyahoga County, Ohio, elections board.

Election officials in Delaware County, Ind., planned to seek a court order to extend voting after an apparent computer error prevented voters from casting ballots in 75 precincts. Delaware County Clerk Karen Wenger said the cards that activate the machines were programmed incorrectly.

Not everyone thinks it’s going to be a fiasco, though. The spokespeople for the companies that make the voting equipment are much more sanguine…

“Elections have hundreds and hundreds of moving parts, and most of those parts have to do with humans,” said Michelle Shafer, spokeswoman for Sequoia Voting Systems Inc. “There will be isolated issues throughout the nation I’m sure. That’s just the normal part of elections. Overall we feel confident things will go pretty well.”

Joining the chorus of la-la-la-la I can’t hear you was the Florida Secretary of State.

Secretary of State Sue Cobb said she didn’t expect serious problems with the touch-screen voting machines this time.

History has shown that the machines are far more accurate than paper so we’re quite confident in it,” Cobb said. “There is absolutely no reason to believe that there will be any security issues, any hacking going on.

See? Everything’s fine.

UPDATE :: The way to combat this is certainly not to throw up your hands and decide not to vote. The only way to overcome all these irregularities is to win by a larger margin than the problems cause. So, don’t be scared, VOTE.

RSS icon Comments


and just to stay on topic this is an even better write on what to expect
nevertheless I'm still voting, so I have a right to be pissed off later.

Posted by sputnik | November 7, 2006 8:28 AM

One problem, aside from the usual trickery, is not hiring and training credible poll workers. Instead, states procure 104 year old volunteers who can't see straight, let alone learn how to troubleshoot a voting machine. And then people are "surprised" when the equipment doesn't work and no one can fix it.

BTW, clever ploy by the GOP and Diebold to have their machines 'malfunction' the morning of election day in certain districts.

Posted by Gomez | November 7, 2006 8:46 AM

Hey, Anthony - I get your point, but... scaring the hell out of the voter on the morning of election day ain't so solid a strategy, dig? Voter suppression is a job for the GOP and Karl Rove, not a progressive weekly in the bluest part of the state.

Posted by Vote Anyway | November 7, 2006 8:46 AM

Um, Anthony's just linking an AP article, so it would be the AP, not Mr. Hecht, who's 'scaring the hell out of the voter on the morning of Election Day.'

Posted by Gomez | November 7, 2006 8:48 AM

This is the best possible result. If the machines are all fucked up and people cast paper ballots, there's a paper trail.

Posted by Gitai | November 7, 2006 8:49 AM

It's not that simple, Gitai. If someone waits in line for an hour and doesn't get to vote because the machines aren't functioning and they have to go to work, they're disenfranchised.

Posted by Gabriel | November 7, 2006 8:59 AM

Gomez - Thanks for the clarification. As an unfrozen caveman, I still have difficulty understanding the subtle nuances of your era's fancy electronic media - who is linking to whom, hypertext this, hyptertext that, blog, blog, blog. I am flumoxed by this magic box you call a "com-pyut-r."

Posted by Vote Anyway | November 7, 2006 9:04 AM

Just take your mouse and click on the button that says Start and select Shut Down. Then select Shut Down again. Then hibernate.

Or ask Geico if they got around to doing that research on cavemen you requested.

Posted by Gomez | November 7, 2006 9:09 AM

Back in MY day, we had the voting machines like we saw in the John Waters Movie "Pecker": You went into the little room, slid a lever, and the machine reset itself, while closing a curtain.

You voted, and then pulled a big lever, and it recorded your vote and opened the curtain. It was all mechanical, so they were quite accurate.

Of course, we don't make those in this country anymore. I miss those machines. You really felt like you were voting.

Posted by Catalina Vel-DuRay | November 7, 2006 9:16 AM

I'm certainly not suggesting (nor is the AP), that the proper response to this nightmare is not to vote. The only way to overcome these problems is for the Dems to win by a large enough margin that it won't matter. So this shouldn't scare anyone into staying home, Vote Anyway, it should scare you into voting and making sure everyone you know votes.

Posted by Anthony | November 7, 2006 9:17 AM

Gomez, the state doesn't "produce" these people, these are the people that choose to volunteer. You could take a day off work and volunteer if you wanted to, but you don't.

Don't blame the state, look in the mirror.

Posted by Seth | November 7, 2006 9:31 AM

Anthony - Well said. Thanks for the update on your post.

Posted by Vote Anyway | November 7, 2006 9:34 AM

Maybe they shouldn't be volunteers. Perhaps we should hire professionals.

Posted by Gitai | November 7, 2006 9:41 AM

Two words: Absentee Ballot.

Posted by COMTE | November 7, 2006 9:55 AM

This one's worth a read as well:


by Greg Palast
for The Guardian (UK),
Monday November 6, 2006

Here's how the 2006 mid-term election was stolen.

Note the past tense. And I'm not kidding.

Posted by Dani | November 7, 2006 10:01 AM

This one's worth a read as well:


by Greg Palast
for The Guardian (UK),
Monday November 6, 2006

Here's how the 2006 mid-term election was stolen.

Note the past tense. And I'm not kidding.

Posted by Dani | November 7, 2006 10:01 AM

Pay my bills, Seth, and I'll think about it. Some of us actually need our wages.

Or maybe the nation's states need to reform their policy w/r/t who works the polls.

Posted by Gomez | November 7, 2006 10:31 AM

Also, now that I think of it, that's a really dumb comment on your part, Seth, given these problems are happening across the country and we don't use such systems here.

Posted by Gomez | November 7, 2006 10:32 AM

You know, I was all set to comment on what a good post this was and how it is really important that we go vote in large numbers so the margins will not even be close (If I hear the word re-count today I might end it).
But now after reading everyone's post I am freaked out and scared to death. I will read Palast's article this evening, when I am either dancing with a lampshade on my head or crying my eyes out under a blanket.

Posted by Dianna | November 7, 2006 10:54 AM

I'm at the point of throwing up my hands about Ohio and Florida. The election machinery there is too broken, too relentlessly corrupt. And there seems to be no will to change it.

Posted by Orv | November 7, 2006 11:36 AM

Knowing people who live or have lived there, Ohio and Florida as a whole are relentlessly seedy and corrupt in every way. Election fraud is not a huge surprise in hindsight.

Posted by Gomez | November 7, 2006 11:42 AM

Hit the polls this morning at 7: They refused to let my sister vote because she was tagged for needing ID and had forgotten it. It took 45 minutes for them to figure out how to get the new fangled voting machine to work (of which they only had two). I realized on my way to work that roughly nine initiatives hadn't been included on the ballot that I filled out.

This is going to be really, really bad. I am resigning myself to a "shocking" last minute resurgence of Republican support that keeps their majority in both the house and senate. In a few years, when things are even worse and there's no way to cover up the deception any more, we'll discover that the Republicans fixed the elections in 2000, 2002, 2004, and 2006.

Posted by dewsterling | November 7, 2006 11:42 AM

Wouldn't it be something if this Republican corruption was part of a giant power/money pyramid scheme that the Democrats were in on?

Posted by Gomez | November 7, 2006 12:25 PM

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