And so, in the interest of "fair and balanced" reporting, we get to listen to bed-wetting cries that homosexuals are more dangerous than terrorists, feminists are the the cause of hurricanes, and liberal bloggers working for liberal candidates are scions of anarchy. In other words: hate and fear your fellow Americans.FDR, one of America's greatest liberals in history, famously said, "We have nothing to fear but fear itself." The radical right preaches, "There's nothing to fear but not being afraid enough."Thus the hysterics we see on Fox News and other voiceboxes of wingnuttia. Be afraid. Boogie boogie boogie! Boogie boogie boogie!
Also picking up on this sentiment (I won't assume "echoing" as I doubt he has read this blog, at least lately), Austin Cline at [correction - mg] Jesus' General wrote on Sunday:
This week I'd like to write about the same topic I was going to address last week — it was more timely last week, perhaps, but it never goes out of style: the conservative, Republican use of fear as a political weapon against internal enemies, dissenters, and political opponents. On January 31st, Amanda Marcotte wrote about how conservative pundit Mike Gallagher actually admitted that terrorism would be a good thing for Republican political ambitions:
In Indiana's Marion County, about 175 of 914 precincts turned to paper because poll workers didn't know how to run the machines, said Marion County Clerk Doris Ann Sadler. She said it could take most of the day to fix all of the machine-related issues.
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 there. County Clerk Karen Wenger said the cards that activate the machines were programmed incorrectly.
"We are working with precincts one-by-one over the telephone to get the problem fixed," Wenger said....
...A precinct in Orange Park, Fla., turned to paper ballots because of machine problems. Voting was delayed for 30 minutes or more at some Broward County precincts, where electronic ballots were mixed up and, in one case, a poll worker unintentionally wiped the electronic ballot activators....
...In one of the worst fiascoes, Maryland election officials forgot to send the cards primary voters needed to activate electronic machines at their polling places, and some voters had to cast provisional ballots on scraps of paper.
Baltimore County election director Jacqueline McDaniel said the poll workers had a few problems on Tuesday — one left part of the equipment in his car; another was looking in the wrong place for the electronic poll books.
Is this to be expected?
But voting equipment companies said they hadn't seen anything beyond the norm and blamed the problems largely on human error.
"Any time there's more exposure to equipment, there are questions about setting up the equipment and things like that," said Ken Fields, a spokesman for Election Systems & Software Inc. "Overall, things are going very well."
Going very well in that he and his company got paid very well by the taxpayers. Thank you, Mr. Fields, for your public service.
Florida Secretary of State Sue Cobb said she didn't expect serious problems Tuesday. The Justice Department was deploying poll watchers at dozens of potential trouble spots nationwide.
"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."
Noooo, of course not! Only control of the most powerful government in the world is at stake. No reason why anyone would do to election computers what they have been doing to ATMs, corporate databases, government databases, Social Security computers, and your own computer every day!
If you find this disheartening, it's all the more reason to vote. If you don't vote, it will be that much harder to get these insecure machines running secret code investigated and removed from our elections process.
House Republicans abandoned their small government ideals by passing a law requiring national ID cards -- or that's the net effect of this bill:
The House voted Wednesday to require Americans to show proof of citizenship in order to vote....
...The bill would require everyone to present a photo ID before voting in federal elections by 2008. By 2010 voters would have to have photo IDs that certified they were citizens.
The National ID Card was something Republicans fought vigorously against for decades. Apparently that changed once it became their National ID Card.
Republican sponsors of the voter identification bill said it was a commonsense way to stop fraud at the polls. People need photo IDs to board planes, buy alcohol or cash checks, said Rep. Vernon Ehlers (news, bio, voting record), R-Mich., chairman of the House Administration Committee. "This is not a new concept."
"This is what Americans want," said Rep. John Mica (news, bio, voting record), R-Fla., "They want safe borders and they want safe ballots."
Big Brother is watching you. Questions I have:
Will these new National ID Cards contain the RFID chips that already are compromising privacy and security of new recipients of passports?
Will these National ID Cards be scanned and tied into the voters' electronic voting trail?
What happened to the Goldwater Republicans? Why does the GOP sound more like Stalin's party these days?
ACLU Letter to the House of Representatives Urging Opposition to Federal Election Integrity Act of 2006 (HR 4844) (9/19/2006)
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515
Re: Federal Election Integrity Act of 2006 (HR 4844)
Dear Member of Congress:
The House of Representatives is expected to vote on the Federal Election Integrity Act of 2006 (HR 4844) on Wednesday, September 20th. On behalf of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), and its hundreds of thousands of members, activists, and fifty–three affiliates nationwide, we write to urge you to oppose this legislation. HR 4844 would require voters to present a government-issued photo ID in order to vote in federal elections. In addition, beginning in 2010 voters would be required to present a photo ID that was issued based on proof of citizenship in order to vote. These requirements impose an unnecessary and undue burden on the exercise of the fundamental right to vote for millions of Americans who are eligible, registered, and qualified to vote.
Photo Identification Requirements Amounts to a Poll Tax
As with the other methods of disenfranchisement in American history, such as literacy tests and poll taxes, the photo identification requirement would present significant barriers to voting and have a chilling effect on voter participation. There are voters who simply do not have identification and requiring them to purchase photo identification would be tantamount to requiring them to pay a poll tax. As a significant number of racial and ethnic minority voters, elderly, voters with disabilities, and certain religious objectors do not have photo identification nor the financial means to acquire it, the burden of this requirement would fall disproportionately and unfairly upon them, calling into question its lawfulness under the Voting Rights Act, 42 U.S.C. § 1973. No citizen should have to pay to vote.
The Department of Justice (DOJ) has consistently raised objections to imposing photo identification as a prerequisite for voting because such requirements are likely to have an adverse impact on black voters and will lessen their political participation opportunities. In 1994, DOJ found that African-American persons in Louisiana were four to five times less likely than white persons to have driver’s licenses or other picture identification cards. In addition, the Federal Elections Commission noted in its 1997 report to Congress that photo identification entails major expenses, both initially and in maintenance, and presents an undue and potentially discriminatory burden on citizens in exercising their basic right to vote.
Citizenship Requirements Pose A Substantial Hardship for Some Citizens
Because the overwhelming majority of states do not include citizenship on the driver’s license, most voters will need to get new identification if they choose to vote. Many of the documents needed in order to prove citizenship are not readily available for some citizens. It was not uncommon in many parts of the country for children to born at home without an official birth certificate. In such instances, these citizens would be unable to vote because they would be unable to produce the requisite documentation for a photo ID. While HR 4844 makes a feeble attempt to cover the costs for the photo ID there are many practical considerations that are overlooked that pose a significant hardship for voters -- such as time, locations of photo ID facilities, hours of operation, costs for documentation necessary to receive a photo ID, etc.
No Record Exists to Justify the Need for Photo ID Legislation
Unlike the 14,000-page record of widespread voting discrimination documented during the debate of the Fannie Lou Hamer, Rosa Parks, and Coretta Scott King Voting Rights Act Reauthorization and Amendment Act of 2006, there is little or no evidence of election misconduct based on voter impersonation. In fact, Secretary of State for Georgia, Cathy Cox informed members of the General Assembly that her office had received many complaints of election misconduct involving absentee ballots but no documented complaints of misconduct involving ballots that were cast in-person at the polls. Yet, despite evidence of election misconduct involving absentee ballots, photo identification requirements apply only to in-person voting. This proposed federal legislation is overreaching and amounts to a solution in search of a problem. While election misconduct exists, including improper purges, dissemination of false information about elections and vote tampering, none of these issues are addressed in this legislation.
Effective federal legislation should not erect new obstacles or weaken existing voting rights laws. We recognize that reform of our nation’s electoral systems is critical. But it cannot be done in a manner that unduly prevents legitimate voters from exercising their constitutional right to vote. For the reasons indicated above, we urge you to vote “no” on final passage.
Caroline Fredrickson, Director
ACLU Washington Legislative Office
Laughlin McDonald, Director
ACLU Voting Rights Project
LaShawn Warren, Legislative Counsel
ACLU Washington Legislative Office
Neil Bradley, Associate Director
ACLU Voting Rights Project
1 Letter from Deval L. Patrick, Assistant Attorney General, Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice, to Sheri Morris, Assistant Attorney General for the State of Louisiana (Nov. 21, 1994).
2 Letter from L. Anthony Sutin, Acting Assistant Attorney General, Department of Justice to Congress on amendments to the Bi-partisan Campaign Integrity Act of 1997.
How would you feel if your bank refused to issue a bank statement detailing all transactions? How would you feel if your bank's ATMs did not issue receipts? How would you feel if your bank, doing all these things, just said, "Trust us!"
How would you feel if your bank's president was on the record saying that taking away all your money was his personal goal?
Diebold insists that their machines are secure, and that they don't need voter-verified paper audit-tapes that keep a real-time log of the votes cast -- but this latest attack, which requires only a few minutes to execute, shows that America's votes should not be run on Diebold hardware.
--Er, make that "less than a minute to execute...."
Already this year, glitches have occurred in Arkansas, California, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas and West Virginia. Maryland became the latest on Tuesday, when technical problems, human errors and staff shortages led officials to keep some polls open an extra hour.
The fall elections shape up as the most technologically perilous since 2000, election officials say, because 30% of the nation’s voting jurisdictions will be using new equipment. They include large parts of Missouri, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia, scenes of key Senate races. “If you’re ever going to have a problem, it’s going to be that first election,” says Kimball Brace, president of Election Data Services.
Diebold, Inc., manufacturer of electronic voting machines, has been sending out many cease-and-desist letters to Internet Service Providers (ISPs), after internal documents indicating flaws in their systems were published on the Internet. The company cited copyright violations under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) and demanded that the documents be taken down.
Now EFF and the Center for Internet and Society Cyberlaw Clinic at Stanford Law School are fighting back, seeking a court order on behalf of nonprofit ISP Online Policy Group (OPG) and two Swarthmore College students to prevent Diebold’s abusive copyright claims from silencing public debate about voting, the very foundation of our democratic process.
Nothing like a technology company addressing security flaws in its products by deploying lawyers instead of engineers.
Diebold spokesman David Bear did not return Salon's calls for comment on the Princeton study. In the past, he has denied that such security concerns are notable.
"[Our critics are] throwing out a 'what if' that's premised on a basis of an evil, nefarious person breaking the law," Bear told Newsweek after the March Emery County study. "For there to be a problem here," he further explained to the New York Times, "you're basically assuming a premise where you have some evil and nefarious election officials who would sneak in and introduce a piece of software … I don't believe these evil elections people exist."
Yes, of course. Noooooobody would ever want to change election results! Right. I suppose all the security on ATMs is pointless, too. Let's just leave people's money in pidgeon-hole boxes. People will take only what's theirs, right?
About 80 percent of American voters are expected to use some form of electronic voting in the upcoming election, in which the makeup of the U.S. House will be decided, as well as 33 Senate seats and 36 governorships.