We are.

A few years ago, I signed up for emails from Black Box Voting. Without authentic elections, what’s the point of any democratic action? The paper trail-less, non source code-inspectable “black box” machines scared the hidden ballots out of me.

Yesterday, I got an email from them. Here are some worthy excerpts to get us all thinking:

(Warning: You might really hate this story.) This story represents months of original research by Black Box Voting. We went into this looking for the defense industry contractors we’d heard had lobbied for the Help America Vote Act (HAVA). That legislation has been blamed for the touch-screens (DREs) that showed up all over America. Well, that’s not what we found. The real story on who was behind HAVA may come as a surprise to you. It was to us..

I forgot that the voting machinery was promoted after the 2000 election by the HAVA. What I remember is Diebold’s “promise” to deliver results for Bush. BBV goes further:


Many of the HAVA reformers believed that with DREs, people with less education would be more likely to fill out the whole ballot. In fact, they reasoned, the DRE machines would be easier to use for educationally disadvantaged populations, minorities, non-English-speaking voters, and the disabled.

As their report found, most of these claims were unsubstantiated or contradicted by real-world results. Black folk, for example, don’t actually seem to trust the machines. This is a painful irony considering who promoted the machines in the first place:

While many election reform activists are under the impression that touch-screen (DRE) voting machines were some sort of Republican plot to take over America, the truth is that lobbying for the DRE-seeking “Help America Vote Act” came primarily from the foundation of the Democratic Party itself.

Activists throughout America have expressed surprise at the Democratic Party’s unwillingness to pull DREs off the shelf. One reason is simply this: To do so would damage the credibility of those who lobbied for HAVA.

This is a painful, painful indictment. We won’t demand change, because it would be embarrassing and call into question our previous actions. Hmm, where have I seen this movie before?

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