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  • vasgothelong vasgothelong Oct 3, 2004 12:33 PM Flag

    But THIS is a tad more serious ...2

    It is all horribly reminiscent of the 2000 vote - with its endless recounts because of "hanging chad" votes - which eventually had to be decided by the supreme court. Bush was handed the presidency even though he lost the popular vote.

    In local elections in March 2002, former mayor of Boca Raton, Emil Danciu, finished third in the vote for a seat on the city council. He had led the poll by 17 points before the election. It turned out that when his supporters tried to vote for Danciu using the touchscreen, the machine registered a vote for an opponent. Cartridges containing vote totals from machines in his own precinct disappeared. Danciu sued for access to the machine's source code but was told it was a secret.

    Two weeks after this, a mayoral election in the town of Wellington was decided by four votes. However, 78 votes hadn't registered on the computer. Then in January 2004, in Palm Beach during another election, 137 votes didn't register. The vote was won by just 12 votes.

    The electronic voting machines were bought by Theresa LePore, who oversaw the Palm Beach election count in 2000. She did not lose her job after that disastrous count, even though she chose the "butterfly ballot" which led to Jewish Democratic voters accidentally voting for an anti-Jewish candidate. LePore will still be in charge in November.

    Questions have also been raised about LePore's independence. A Democratic congressman in Palm Beach is suing LePore to get her to adopt a papertrail for vote recounts. He also paid for a college professor to run against LePore for election for her job as elections supervisor. LePore was championed by the Republican Party.

    LePore ended up overseeing an election for her own job. On polling day, police surrounded the election centre saying there was a terrorist threat. Sarah Steiner, of the Palm Beach Coalition for Election Reform, said it was difficult for voters to find the alternative entrance.

    Absentee ballots had their party affiliation printed on the return envelope, which could have allowed poll workers or postal staff to interfere with votes. LePore's opponent won by just 2%, even though LePore has been described as "one of the most hated politicians in the country".

    In the Miami-Dade area of Florida, another electronic voting system, created by a firm linked to the Republicans, was equally disastrous. One precinct reported a 900% turnout and another showed just one ballot cast out of 1637 registered voters. The machines need to be left on all night to have any hope of working, creating an opportunity for voter fraud.

    In Florida - as in six other states - prisoners do not have voting rights restored on leaving prison. The American Civil Liberties Union says 600,000 people, many black, in Florida are disenfranchised in this way.

    In other cases, 20% of people who registered to vote with the department of motor vehicles didn't get their voting card. There have also been reports of absentee ballots being sold among Florida's Cuban community for #10, and voter registration forms from black people have turned up in rubbish bins.

    (c) newsquest (sunday herald) limited.

    Reprinted from The Glasgow Sunday Herald:

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