Top Scoops

Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | Scoop News | Wellington Scoop | Community Scoop | Search

 

Why hurricane Ike demands paper ballots on Nov. 4

Why hurricane Ike demands paper ballots on November 4


by Bob Fitrakis & Harvey Wasserman
September 17, 2008

Hurricane Ike has made it clear that paper ballots must be made available for all voters in Ohio and throughout the nation on November 4.

Ike has blown all the way up into the Great Lakes region with devastating impact. Power has been knocked out and airports shut by gale-force winds up to 78 miles per hour. Days later, hundreds of thousands of Midwesterners remain blacked out, and casualties still mount. Ohio Governor Ted Strickland has declared a state of emergency, with up to 2 million Ohioans still without power.

A repeat performance on election day could change the course of US history if paper ballots are not universally ready.

A bitter battle now rages here in the Buckeye State over whether the Secretary of State’s office should provide as many paper ballots as voters might want.

Under current arrangements, half or more of Ohio’s may show up to the polls and be forced to cast their ballots on electronic touch-screen machines. Of 5.4 million ballots cast in 2004, George W. Bush’s official margin of victory was less than 119,000 votes.

Touchscreen machines of the type deployed through Ohio are prone to failure, even without a storm. Diebold has admitted that its software regularly drops votes and cannot be guaranteed to provide a reliable count. That they can be easily rigged has been confirmed by the Carter-Baker Commission, the Brennan Center, the Government Accountability Office, Princeton University, the Conyers Committee, Ohio’s officially-sponsored Everest Study and others.

Voter rights organizations throughout Ohio have called on Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner to decertify all electronic voting machines and rely strictly on paper ballots. As of now, Brunner plans to allow the machines to be deployed, even though their software is considered “proprietary,” and no reliable recount can be done with them.

A Democrat, Brunner has publicly stated a preference for making paper ballots available to any voter who wants one. But the Republican Party, which controls the state legislature, and the conservative Columbus Dispatch editorial board, claim this would cost too much money. So Brunner has caved to pressure and currently plans to provide enough paper ballots for just 25% of the electorate.

Ike makes it clear this could be catastrophic. A similar storm on election day could knock out virtually all the state’s touchscreen machines. Without sufficient paper ballots, hundreds of thousands of Ohioans would lose their right to vote. Given Ohio’s pivotal role, the entire presidential election could be once again tainted.

Brunner needs to make good on her repeated pledges to administer a full and fair election. The only way to do this is with universal access to paper ballots, which she must now guarantee.

The same must be done throughout the United States. A nation spending its blood and treasure to allegedly bring democracy to Iraq and the world can certainly afford to spend whatever it takes to make sure all Americans can vote on election day, and get their votes reliably counted.

*************

Bob Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman are co-conveners of the National Conference on Election Protection, to be web cast September 26-8 from www.freepress.org, where their AS GOES OHIO: ELECTION THEFT SINCE 2004 has just been published.

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Top Scoops Headlines

 

Any Questions: Scoop Launches New Q&A Website

It’s an easy way to find out party positions and allows you to view candidates’ answers side by side. It’s also a way for you to make your voice heard this election, and get the parties talking about the things that are important to you. More>>

ALSO:

Rawiri Taonui: The Maori Election

The election battle for the Maori seats 2017 opened last year when Maori Party President Tuku Morgan announced a peace deal with the Mana Movement aimed at securing all the Maori seats and holding the balance of power. More>>

Scoop HiveMind Project: Universal Basic Income - Are We Up For It?

This is an opportunity for you as one of the 4 million potential funders and recipients of a Universal Basic Income to collectively consider the issue:
1. Is UBI is a desirable policy for New Zealand; and
2. How should a UBI system work in practice. More>>

ALSO:

Lyndon Hood: National Announces Plan To Hit Youth With Big Mallets

The National party has announced its youth justice policy, which includes a controversial plan for recidivist serious youth offenders to be hit over the head with a comically large rubber mallet. More>>

ALSO:

Lyndon Hood: This ->

It's been brought to my attention that Labour's new campaign slogan is "Let's do this". A collective call to action. A mission. I myself was halfway out of the couch before I realised I wasn't sure what it was I was supposed to do. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Hivemind Report: What New Zealanders Think About Affordable Housing

Ordinary citizens have had very few venues where they can debate and discuss as to what they believe has led to the crisis in affordable housing and how we might begin to address this. The HiveMind on affordable housing was about redressing the balance. More>>

ALSO: