liberal ["liberalis" L - suitable for a freeman, generous; "eleutheros" Gk - free] (adj) generous, open-minded, not subjugated to authoritarian domination; (n) one who believes in liberty, universal suffrage and the free exchange of ideas. elite ["eslire" Fr -- to choose fr.L "eligere" -- choose] (n) the choice part; best of a class; the socially superior part of society.

Friday, November 12, 2004

more on voting 11/02/04

The New York Times has put out an interesting piece, featuring this paragraph:

But rebuttals to the Florida fraud hypothesis were just as quick. Three political scientists, from Cornell, Harvard and Stanford, pointed out, in an e-mail message to a Web site that carried the news of Ms. Dopp's findings, that many of those Democratic counties in Florida have a long tradition of voting Republican in presidential elections. And while Ms. Dopp says that she and dozens of other researchers will continue to analyze the Florida vote, the suggestion of a link between certain types of voting machines and the vote split in Florida has, at least for now, little concrete support.

Their "rebuttal" is that our experts have a different opinion than your experts. This is the same argument that they accuse Dopp and the bloggers of using. Where is the scrutiny of the statistics, the hardware and the integrity of the tabulations?

As fallacious as the suspicions of fraud on the Florida panhandle may be, Zeller begs the question by ignoring the real issue of transparency, verification and equality of access to the polls.

As far as experts are concerned, Piven and Cloward asserted that

This dispute is not readily resolved by reference to available facts, since much of what passes for data on fraud consists of anecdotal charges by contemporaries, including the reformers themselves. While such charges cannot be dismissed out of hand, we must regard them as the opinions of highly motivated observers. Moreover, the bearing of fraud on turnout is complicated, as Argersinger points out, by the fact that fraud also took the form of intimidation or of deterring voting, or of stealing ballots, which deflated turnout.

Cloward, Richard A. and Piven, Frances Fox, Why Americans Still Don't Vote And Why Politicians Want It That Way, Beacon Press, Boston 2000, pp. 25, 26.

The point is this, that fraud has been taking place in many guises throughout the history of American elections. Although many of the historical allegations and their effects are of questionable veracity, the multifarious instances of fraud belie any posture of fairness and complacency on the part of the electorate and the media they rely upon for investigative reporting.

What about access to the polls, provisional and absentee ballots, registration scrub lists, malfunctioning voting machines, spoilage of votes and arbitrarily changing rules for recounts? If anyone needed evidence of intent, it's pervasive, and always has been.

Rather than dismissing the possibility of fraud in the November 2004 elections because a few statisticians and experts couldn't agree or justify their preliminary numbers, the press and the electorate need to be showering this process in bright glaring sunlight. Fraud, intimidation, irregularities and errors took place. They always have and they always will

Unitil we become that incredible, unanimal, mankind, and not until

as e.e. cummings put it. The papers should help unearth, expose and rectify the injustices against disfranchised voters, instead of conspiring with the special interest advertisers and corporate clients to sweep fraud allegations under the rug and promote business as usual until the next election. After all

Election machinery has always been something more than an instrument through which the will of the voters could be made known. It has been the means of influencing the verdict of the electorate. Any change in the machinery affected the fortunes of the major factions contending for political power ... No factor is more constant in explaining the development of election machinery than this one.

McCormick, Richard P., The History of Voting in New Jersey: A Study in the Development of Election Machinery, 1664-1991. Rutgers University Press, New Brunswick, NJ p. 217


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