"We have not had a crisis in the elections process.
We have had a civics education."
Sharon Priest, Arkansas Secretary of State,
head of the Nat. Association. of Secretaries of State
Registrars: Thieving Liars
Historically, Currently and Forever Dishonest
Vote counters have been a problem for humanity throughout the history of
popular rule. Voter counters have debased the will of the people from Greece
through Rome to America. Often in the name of states rights they trample
"As long as I count the votes, what are you going to do about it?"
Boss Tweed, Tammany Hall, New York.
"It's not the people who vote that count, it's the people who count the
Joseph Stalin, Soviet Dictator
"The Election of 2000 threw a glaring spotlight on a simple fact: The
American election system, which sits at the very heart of global democracy,
is in disrepair."
"It's a silent scandal, and the problem is getting worse with increases
in absentee voting which is the easiest way to commit fraud."
"But show me a close race, and I'll show you voter fraud."
"Whatever bloats your vote." Authors' summary judgment on America's
Registrars: Foot in Mouth but No Mad
At a meeting of Secretary of States (February, 2001), a number of suggestions
were made. These suggestions are listed and refuted in
Politicized Voting Reforms
You'd think you get the straight dope from the horse's mouth, but one
observes "nowhere in the report are there discussions of national uniformity
in regard to voting standards, what constitutes a vote or endorsement for
a particular voting machine or technology." In summary, the primary problem
is not only not addressed but obscured in the traditional political solution:
Where are fines and penalties for officials stealing elections? Where is
the prison time? Where is the revocation of the pensions? Remember, what
the president of this association said:
"We have not had a crisis in the elections process.
We have had a civics education."
What a wonderful way of glossing over political corruption: It's not a crisis,
just a civics lesson!
Was she on vacation last November and December in Florida? She went onto
say that there was "no need to reinvent the wheel." Horse and buggy
attitudes 100 years after the Wright brothers flew at Kitty Hawk indicate
an altitude of aptitude that should not be present in voting halls let alone
in the heads of voting officials.No need to fear Mad Cow Disease among the
Secretary of States.
As noted repeatedly throughout these writings, politics has become the pollution
of problem-solving by introducing irrelevant factors. True to form, the
politicians' smoke and mirror proposals obscure the real, simple problems:
Dishonest vote counters.
Ludicrously in the face of nationwide voting fraud, some vote counters adopt
the Caesar's wife defense. "Not only am I chaste, but I should be above
suspicion." Ok ... how come so many pregnant chads? With the numerous news
accounts (100+), no one was found supporting the registrars and their actions
except the registrars, the politicians and the salesmen.
How can you tell when a registrar is lying? Lips are moving. I used to think
that lawyers belong in jail and economists in hell with the politicians in
purgatory. Now I believe the politicians should not be alone without their
bedfellows, the facilitators of their
habitual crimes. Using on-line
democracy, we can and must create a new
of officials responsible for counting votes.
The following quotations are the basis on which the writer drew and supported
his conclusions about the general, almost universal corruption of officials
responsible for the integrity of our voting. These conclusions were buttressed
by his own
by the Voter Registrar in Richmond, Virginia, which was assisted
by over 30% of the 135 Voter Registrars. If you don't accept this conclusion,
you should review this condensation of observation from newspapers across
the land--liberal and conservative.
Conflict-of-Interest Charges Escalate as Vote Dispute Continues in Florida
All key players are major figures in political parties. No non-partisan citizen
Vote Recounts in Oregon Are by Hand, by Law
Redundancy: "Each item goes through one stack and hands it over to the other
team which tries to verify the count."
How Vote Counting Remains Politicized
"As long as I count the votes," Boss Tweed once infamously said, "what are
you going to do about it?"
In the end partisans count votes.Elected or politically appointed officials
control the process at the local level, partisan state officials control
it at the state level, and judges subject to partisan pressure make the final
A 'Modern' Democracy That Can't Count Votes
Alice is where operatives stuffed Ballot Box 13 with 200 votes to save Lyndon
B. Johnson's political career. The extra ballots were cast in
alphabetical order and marked in the same handwriting and with the same dark
Because ballots can be bought, stolen, miscounted, lost, thrown out or sent
to Denmark, nobody knows with any precision how many votes go uncounted in
For weeks, Florida has riveted the nation with a mind-numbing array
of failures: misleading ballots, contradictory counting standards,
discarded votes--19,000 in one county alone. But an examination
by The Times in a dozen states from Washington to Texas to New York shows
that Florida is not the exception. It is the rule.
With his cigarette lighter, Bruneau softened a lead plug that sealed the
machine. With a pair of pliers, he removed a copper wire embedded in the
plug. With a screwdriver, he took off the back cover and a Plexiglas lid
protecting the vote counting mechanism. With a Q-Tip, he prodded the
counter digit by digit, manipulating the vote total as easily as
he might reset an alarm clock.
The late Earl Long used to say that he wanted to be buried in Louisiana so
he could stay politically active.
Apart from their expense--an estimated $100 million to outfit Los Angeles
County, for instance--some election officials do not trust them. Some of
these systems provide no paper records for recounts or disputed elections.
Star Tribune/Cox News Service
Chads and undervotes an old problem in Florida,
Was the Florida ballot preventable? Were there warning signs? You bet there
were: big red flags. They certainly were raised a dozen years ago and likely
as far back as 1982! [The mother of mis-votes was Miami which was not
Not only was the system broken, but it appears elections officials were allowed
to tamper with ballots as early as 1982 when they themselves were tearing
chads off cast ballots.
In Selma, a Landmark of Civil Rights Can Still Be a Struggle
WSJ (box insert)
Recent Absentee-Ballot Fraud Cases
[30% of States listed]
As Absentee Voters Increase In Numbers, Fear of Fraud Grows
"Elderly Are Primary Targets of Professional 'Brokers' Despite Reform Efforts.
[A politiqueras (vote brokers)] "collected about 240 absentee ballots from
local senior citizens, many of them illiterate Mexican immigrants who don't
[Absentee balloting] doesn't become an issue when a race isn't close. But
show me a close race, and I'll show you voter fraud."
"But show me a close race, and I'll show you voter fraud."
Gloating Rights. Viewed From Abroad Florida Debacle Sullies U.S. Brand
Fixing the System: Lessons From States Hold Hope for Reform
The Election of 2000 threw a glaring spotlight on a simple fact: The American
election system, which sits at the very heart of global democracy, is in
Every turn in the five-week postelection standoff gave a glimpse of a different
systemic flaw: a crazy-quit of standards from one county to the next; antiquated
equipment that miscounts ballots and disenfranchises many voters in low-income
areas; an inability to ensure the integrity of the swelling volume of absentee
Officials to urge election reforms [the problem was voting, not elections]
11 far-reaching recommendations and asks that the federal government provide
the money to implement them. [All are equivocating with slippage and no mea
Nowhere in the report are there discussions of national uniformity in regard
to voting standards, what constitutes a vote or endorsement for a particular
voting machine or technology.
For a review of the proposals and a rebuttal, click
Election Revisions Suggested
We have not had a crisis in the elections process. We have had a civics education
... no need to re-invent the wheel.
They [registrars] steered clear of pushing for a uniform standard among among
the states. In fact, many said they want assurances Congress won't delve
too deeply into the ways states conduct elections, arguing that each has
developed its own individual process.
Secretaries of state make election recommendation
In fact, many said they want assurances that Congress won't delve too deeply
into the ways states conduct elections, arguing that each has developed its
Updating Voting Machines could take nation decade
If the nation decided to dump its antiquated voting machines tomorrow and
get new ones, it wouldn't be able to it.
Sometimes, salesmen feel the pressure to perform what they consider improper
favors for election officials. One, who asked not to be identified for fear
of losing business, told of encountering an election supervisor in a
small Georgia county who listened to a sales presentation, then asked, "What's
in it for me?" The salesman ignored the question, and the official repeated
"This is no different from other government procurement," says Caleb, an
election analyst with the non-profit Center for Voting and Democracy. "Kickbacks
happen, and favored contractors win despite not having the lowest bid. Politics
affect it, too. Anytime there are hundreds of millions of dollars being spent,
there is an incentive for that to happen."
FROM SELMA TO FLORIDA Election Reform, Meet Politics
This collision of responses to the last election is rapidly widening the
racially tinged divide in American politics. And it partly explains why the
two major parties are already at a standoff over so many issues surrounding
the machinery not just the machines of elections.
Blind to Voter Fraud
Voter fraud continues to be an underreported story, "It's a silent scandal,
and the problem is getting worse with increases in absentee voting."
Rampant flaws leave citizens without voice in democracy USA Today
"The whole process is enmeshed in the party system ... When parties get
in a position of control, they often try to take some partisan advantage."
With the partisan stakes so high Keyssar is skeptical that any meaningful
reform will occur. Too many politicians have too much at stake: "My
pessimistic view is that what we're going to end up with is a lot of new
machines, because that's the easiest thing to do," he says. "The legal and
constitutional problems, the fact the (election) bureaucracy is a giant patronage
network ... Those things aren't likely to change."
New York Times
Little Change Forecast for Election Process
Despite the outcry over last year's presidential election, the next national
election will probably occur under virtually the same circumstances as the
last, with the same unreliable voting systems and under the same dizzying
hodgepodge of rules that vary from county to county across the nation.
"There is no technical fix to the problem," said Thomas Mann, a scholar at
the Brookings Institution. "There's no possibility of a uniform national
ballot. There are contradictory findings on the accuracy of different voting
Setting national or state standards for ballots and recounts might have seemed
a logical response to the mess in Florida. But it is becoming increasingly
clear that elections officials are resistant to giving up turf. And untangling
the roles of federal, state and local officials is emerging as a central
Sharon Priest, secretary of state in Arkansas and president of the National
Association of Secretaries of State, said she could accept statewide standards
but she rejected national standards.
"Frankly," Ms. Priest said, "we don't have to have the feds tell us everything
that we have to do."
She gave perhaps the gloomiest assessment on the future of election reform:
"Unless there's a real uprising on the part of people in this country who
will call their congressmen and senators and say, `Elections are important
to us and democracy comes at a price, and we're willing to pay that price
do something!' then I'm not sure, running into budgets now, that
anything's going to get done."
Election reform at mercy of elected officials. USA Today
Below the surface, experts say, is a dirty little secret: Those with political
power in both parties don't want to upset the system that got them where
''I have come to the conclusion that the only way you can do anything about
elections is to take all the hired guns of both parties and lock them in
a house, and keep them out of sight until you've resolved it,'' says former
representative Al Swift, D-Wash., who until 1994 served on the House panel
that oversees election matters. ''They are totally paranoid, they believe
that any change will hurt them, and they are often flat wrong.''
Pressure to standardize voting equipment and practices is being fiercely
resisted by local election officials, who jealously guard their control over
the administration of elections. At the same time, makers of voting equipment
are lobbying to make sure any legislative fix is friendly to their brand
of voting machine.
''The history of political parties in this country is that each party believes
fervently in the right to vote of its own supporters, and is not too sure
about everybody else.''
Elections are 'local responsibility'
The National Association of Counties, whose members are on the front line
of running elections, has warned states and local governments not to solely
rely on the federal government for election reform.
In a report to be released this week, the association also cautioned local
government about possible federal encroachment on local control.
''The administration of elections is and must continue to be a local
responsibility,'' the report said. ''The commission recommends that reform
should be undertaken within the present system rather than creating new systems
or imposing nationwide procedures on states and local governments.''
''We should not look for a single dramatic solution but for a sustained effort
to eliminate all sources of error,'' said Kenneth Mayfield, a Dallas County
commissioner and vice president of the organization.
Already running behind for 2004, voting-machine exec says USA
Voting hardware and software must be approved by the National Association
of State Election Directors, then by each state where the new technology
would be used. But the group has months of backlogs. [When did the voters
give away this right?]
"Definite Key to Better Voting: Catching Errors at Their Source"
The real culprits appear not to be punch cards, but central-counting systems
....We now know that precinct-counting systems help to significantly decrease
Human Factor Was at Core Of Vote Fiasco, Washington Post
"Many counties used sophisticated voting equipment designed to catch ballot
errors -- but two decided simply to switch off the mechanisms."
"The supervisors -- all but one of them elected by popular vote -- are so
famous for their independence that a post-election report by the Florida
Senate asserted that some "often intentionally disregard" election laws.
The rest of the time, they made individual decisions as they saw fit."
Indeed, elections officials routinely made judgments about voter intent at
several stages in the election process.
Matthew Hendrickson, a sailor aboard the cruiser USS Ticonderoga, mailed
his overseas absentee ballot from Puerto Rico on Nov. 13, six days after
the Election Day deadline. He knew the presidential race was undecided and
he wanted Bush to win. Records show that Duval County included his vote in
He showed them the place on the pre-printed mailing labels that identified
the voters' party identification. Contrary to standards of fairness, elections
officials in Manatee and Okaloosa counties knew voters' political affiliation
before deciding whether their votes would count.
Star Tribune & AP
Civil rights panel reportedly finds fault with Florida balloting; no
Overzealous efforts"to purge state voter lists most harshly affected blacks
Blacks were nearly 10 times as likely as whites to have their ballots rejected
Fifty-four percent of votes rejected during the Florida election were cast
by black voters, according to the report, scheduled for a commission vote
Friday. Blacks accounted for 11 percent of voters statewide.
010618 New York
Entrepreneurs Stump for Their Voting Devices
This has led many companies to hire elections officials to give them credibility
and connections within the stable, close-knit and aging world of election
States sift through voting registration confusion
"Mark Wolosik, manager of the county Elections Division, blames the discrepancy
[more registered voters than adults of voting age] on state and federal "motor
voter" laws that took effect in 1995."
Deborah Phillips, president of the watchdog group Voting Integrity Project,
said 10 percent to 25 percent of voter rolls nationwide may be filled with
"deadwood" - people who have moved or died.
Senators Hear Bitter Words on Florida Vote
Blacks in Florida were at least 10 times more likely than other voters to
have had their ballots rejected last Election Day.
How Bush Took Florida: Mining the Overseas Absentee Vote
Thanks to a network of local lawyers who had advised his brother Jeb, the
governor of Florida, on judicial appointments, Mr. Bush had a ready source
of politically connected legal talent to argue on his behalf before the 67
county canvassing boards.
I have met more bad election officials than good
ones. Arrogance, power, greed and pettiness come to mind.
Fortunately, the simple system to eliminate them and their evil deeds
does not require any participation from or interaction with
them--see VoteTime. The time spent distinguishing the good
from the bad is best spent creating the replacement.
More importantly, the bad will metastasize all kinds of decay.