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German High Court Outlaws Electronic Voting

A Censored Headline and why it Matters:
German High Court Outlaws Electronic Voting



Justices of the German Federal Constitutional Court. Image
Michael Collins

(Oct 20--DailyCensored.Com) The justices above are clearly the most rational group of high level functionaries in the industrialized world. They did what no other court would do in Europe or the United States. They effectively outlawed electronic voting. On March 3, 2009, the German Federal Constitutional Court declared that the electronic voting machines used in the 2005 Bundestag elections for the German national parliament were outside of the bounds of the German Constitution.

They reasoned that electronic voting is not verifiable because citizen votes are counted in secret. It is obscured a technology inaccessible to all but a very few initiates. Most importantly, the German high court noted, electronic voting machines don't allow citizens to "reliably examine, when the vote is cast, whether the vote has been recorded in an unadulterated manner" Mar. 3, 2009.

The written opinion effectively bars electronic voting in future elections based on the complexity of voting machines and the inability of voters to watch their vote being counted. This raises the bar of acceptability well above the meaningless solutions offered by "paper trails" for touch screen voting or the so-called "paper ballots" for computerized optical scan voting machines, the most popular form of voting in the United States.

Germany's 2009 Bundestag elections were conducted with hand counted paper ballots.

Have you heard that one of the world's leading economic powers, the fourth largest economy in the world, banned electronic voting; said it was undemocratic? Given the multitude of problems encountered in the U.S. and the number of questionable election results, wouldn't it make sense that when Germany banned electronic voting and replaced it with paper ballots, there would be at least a days worth of national coverage in the United States?

Nothing like that occurred. The Associated Press (Times of India) story on the verdict danced around the periphery of the world media market with coverage in Turkey, India, Australia, and Ireland. But there were no major media takers for the AP story in the United States.

There was every reason to carry the story. In a 2006 Zogby poll, 92% of the 1028 registered voters surveyed said they agreed with this statement:

Citizens have the right to view and obtain information about how election officials count votes - 92% agree. New Zogby Poll On Electronic Voting Attitudes Aug. 21, 2006

That's exactly the proposition that the German court upheld. Surely there was an audience for the German decision but there was hardly a word from corporate media.

Why did this happen?

There are certain vital stories that the U.S. corporate media won't touch. The most prominent censored headline is "Over One Million Iraqi Civilians Dead in Conflict." This figure has been known since 2007 while a previous survey showing 650,000 dead was spiked in 2006. The Iraqi civilians died as a result of internal conflict unleashed by the U.S. invasion in 2003. Had Bush-Cheney not invaded with the approval of a sleep walking Congress, these people would not have died as they did.

Another vital story that isn't covered is election fraud, fixing an entire election. The corporate media simply can't raise the possibility that election fraud exists. The preliminary steps enabling election fraud through computerized voting are outsourcing elections to private vendors; the lack of any verifiable connection between your vote and the voting machines processes; and, security risks.

However, corporate media are more than happy to cover the nearly nonexistent "voter fraud" stories about masses of illegal voters showing up at the polls. The Bush administration was only able to produced 24 convictions of citizens and non citizens combined over a three year period.

The media will discuss electronic voting malfunctions but they simply won't connect the dots. Computers function as programmed, by definition. "Malfunctions" during vote counting are part of any given program. When the errors benefit one side of the political equation, it is highly relevant to raise questions about intentional "errors." However, the treatment of these stories is always within the context of computer problems instead of a broad inquiry into why elections are outsourced to private vendors and the resulting risks and problems and. U.S. elections will be virtually dominated by one private firm out of Omaha, Nebraska, ES&S.

German Citizens Prevail

A recent article by elections activist Kathleen Wynne, former Associate Director of BlackBoxVoting.org, told the story of the story of the landmark German case with a link to an extensive radio interview with litigant Dr. Ulrich Wiesner (Electronic Voting Declared Unconstitutional in Germany).

Physicist Ulrich Wiesner, PhD and Prof. Joachim Wiesner, PhD, an eminent German political scientist, brought suit against the use of electronic voting machines in the 2005 Bundestag elections. The evidence gathered supported the findings of the court described above. While both Wiesner's on the suit have PhD's and distinguished careers, they brought the landmark case on their own as citizens. Undeterred by the odds and the dismissal of German politicians, they stood by their cause and won.

It's a great story, father and son team prevail against huge odds to ensure that all Germans get their vote counted. But none of the majors here bit.

These articles constitute most of the serious coverage of this story in the United States. Paul Lehto wrote two articles for OpEdNews.com on March 3 and 19, 2009: Germany Bans Computerized Voting, Will Hand Count in 2009 and German high court honors US democratic principles. Activist Bev Harris wrote a commentary on 3-19-09: Let's get off the hamster wh..., BlackBoxVoting.org. Newsweek ran an insightful column in its education section on June, 2009, We do not trust machines. While AP ran the story, it wasn't picked up and featured by any major media outlet in the United States. The International Herald Tribune also covered the decision but its sister paper, The New York Times, dropped the ball.

The Wynne article told the story of the citizens who made the decision happen, the Wiesner father and son team. Deadline Live with Jack Blood, the radio show, carried a comprehensive interview of German litigant, Dr. Ulrich Wiesner and follow up discussions with Kathleen Wynne and Bev Harris

But that's it. The highest court in the nation with the world's fourth largest economy makes law that bans electronic voting after determining that computerized elections are fundamentally opposed to democratic principles. The decision applies directly to the electronic voting systems used in the United States. What do we hear from the U.S. corporate media? Just about nothing.

In this case, when a tree falls in the forest and just a few people hear it, it's no big deal. But it should be.

END

For more information on hand counted paper ballots and evidence for this case, see:
Center for Hand-Counted Paper Ballots

VoteRescue.org
Hacking the Electoral Law, Ulrich Wiesner, PhD, 23rd Chaos Communications Conference (PDF)

This article may be reproduced in whole or in part with attribution of authorship and a link to this article.

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