US Should Stand Down Criticism Of Ukraine Election
US Should “Stand Down” in Criticism of Ukraine Elections
-American election system has deeper problems
By Dan Spillane
(SEATTLE) 11/24/04 - While there has been widespread criticism of recent elections in Ukraine, where Putin’s central power system may have unfairly trounced the pro-western candidate favored in election exit polls, far less attention has been given to similar (and perhaps worse) problems in US elections.
Like the Ukraine, exit polls in the US predicted a different winner than the winner claimed after the polls closed. Like the Ukraine, the most politically powerful candidate may (or may not) have used underhanded means to achieve victory.
However, unlike the Ukraine 2004 election—which is getting world-wide media attention, the chronic and widespread problem of non-enforcement of election law in US states has gotten little media attention. To wit, the US relies on the supposed enforcement of the rule of law by individual states, and the US Justice department—but that enforcement is therefore entrusted to partisan officials in the executive branch at both the federal and state level. So guess what? The rule of law is never enforced. When is the last time you heard about an enforcement action involving US Secretaries of State, US voting equipment, or the companies that make equipment?
For example, with regard to the infamous election 2000, despite that at the time, Florida law clearly required punch-card machines that were certified and tested so that they left no chads…nevertheless, that equipment never met the law, as evidenced by so many “hanging chad” stories in the media afterwards.
In fact in election 2004, the very same root problems of 2000 were again manifest, as (incredibly) Florida and other states relied on the very same regulatory system and standards that led to the 2000 debacle. Indeed, both the 2000 and 2004 elections relied on the very same book--the 1990 voting equipment standards. Standards that, it turns out, are enforced far less often than, let’s say, financial accounting standards in the 1990s…or more recently, FDA standards. In short, the rule of law in US elections relies on a book that is never read, much less applied.
Yet this time around, in 2004, with the more widespread use of electronic machines that don’t produce a paper ballot, problems were less obvious. So it has taken longer for warning signals to emerge. However, scientists and activists had found serious statistical anomalies with results, such as in the State of Florida. And most recently, voting investigator Bev Harris discovered (no kidding) “mysterious” brown garbage bags containing alternate copies of electronic machine receipts in a Florida county, even while other counties refuse to produce evidence that elections were carried out under the rule of law. Which means they probably weren’t. In fact, US election problems are so bad, even the US General Accounting Office knows election law isn’t enforced. After complaints about the recent 2004 election, the GAO warned nothing could be done by them to insure election law is met.
So the US should stand down in criticism of Ukraine elections, because its own elections aren’t carried out under the rule of law. Moreover, the current administration claiming victory is under one and possibly two criminal investigations, which weren’t adequately covered due to problems in the US media. Ultimately, the US has little, if any, democratic or moral high ground to stand on and criticize others—such is best left to more established democracies such as France, Germany, and others.