culture, politics, commentary, criticism

Wednesday, December 07, 2005
"Are we having democracy yet?" It's tough to talk democracy abroad when we can't even practice it at home (
The potential perils of electronic voting systems are bedeviling state officials as a Jan. 1 deadline approaches for complying with standards for the machines' reliability.

Across the country, officials are trying multiple methods to ensure that touch-screen voting machines can record and count votes without falling prey to software bugs, hackers, malicious insiders or other ills.

These are not theoretical problems -- in some states they have led to lost or miscounted votes.


In North Carolina, more stringent requirements -- which include placing the machines' software code in escrow for examination in case of a problem -- have led one supplier, Diebold Inc., to say it will withdraw from the state, where about 20 counties use Diebold voting machines.

A different type of showdown is brewing in California, where Secretary of State Bruce McPherson says he might force makers of the machines to prove their systems can withstand attacks from a hacker. One such test on a Diebold system -- Diebold machines were blamed for voting disruptions in a 2004 California primary -- is planned.

The state has been negotiating details with Harri Hursti, a security expert from Finland who uncovered severe flaws in a Diebold system used in Leon County, Fla. (He demonstrated how vote results could be changed, then made screens flash "Are we having fun yet?")
The simple fact that Diebold withdraws from a state that wants to place its code in escrow reveal its total unreliability. And the simple fact of our high tolerance for voting unreliability exposes American democracy as a sham. And, finally, given the evidently flimsy foundation of American democracy, all the White House rhetoric about spreading democracy around the world amounts to nothing but a lethal pack of lies.

And yet Americans remain blissfully complacent, despite the observation that "A quarter of the American public are voting on machines where there's very little protection of their votes."

The fish indeed rots from the head, but the body isn't complaining nearly enough.

Greatest Hits · Alternatives to First Command Financial Planning · First Command, last resort, Part 3 · Part 2 · Part 1 · Stealing $50K from a widow: Wells Real Estate · Leo Wells, REITs and divine wealth · Sex-crazed Red State teenagers · What I hate: a manifesto · Spawn of Darleen Druyun · All-American high school sex party · Why is Ken Lay smiling? · Poppy's Enron birthday party · The Saudi money laundry and the president's uncle · The sentence of Enron's John Forney · The holiness of Neil Bush's marriage · The Silence of Cheney: a poem · South Park Christians · Capitalist against Bush: Warren Buffett · Fastow childen vs. Enron children · Give your prescription money to your old boss · Neil Bush, hard-working matchmaker · Republicans against fetuses and pregnant women · Emboldened Ken Lay · Faith-based jails · Please die for me so I can skip your funeral · A brief illustrated history of the Republican Party · Nancy Victory · Soldiers become accountants · Beware the Merrill Lynch mob · Darleen Druyun's $5.7 billion surprise · First responder funding · Hoovering the country · First Command fifty percent load · Ken Lay and the Atkins diet · Halliburton WMD · Leave no CEO behind · August in Crawford · Elaine Pagels · Profitable slave labor at Halliburton · Tom Hanks + Mujahideen · Sharon & Neilsie Bush · One weekend a month, or eternity · Is the US pumping Iraqi oil to Kuwait? · Cheney's war · Seth Glickenhaus: Capitalist against Bush · Martha's blow job · Mark Belnick: Tyco Catholic nut · Cheney's deferred Halliburton compensation · Jeb sucks sugar cane · Poindexter & LifeLog · American Family Association panic · Riley Bechtel and the crony economy · The Book of Sharon (Bush) · The Art of Enron · Plunder convention · Waiting in Kuwait: Jay Garner · What's an Army private worth? · Barbara Bodine, Queen of Baghdad · Sneaky bastards at Halliburton · Golf course and barbecue military strategy · Enron at large · Recent astroturf · Cracker Chic 2 · No business like war business · Big Brother · Martha Stewart vs. Thomas White · Roger Kimball, disappointed Republican poetry fan · Cheney, Lay, Afghanistan · Terry Lynn Barton, crimes of burning · Feasting at the Cheney trough · Who would Jesus indict? · Return of the Carlyle Group · Duct tape is for little people · GOP and bad medicine · Sears Tower vs Mt Rushmore · Scared Christians · Crooked playing field · John O'Neill: The man who knew · Back to the top

. . .