Tuesday, June 13, 2006

"I Am Shocked, Shocked That Gambling...ur, Vote Rigging Is Going On In Here"

As a responsible Leftist, I am evidently supposed to hold as a core issue that electronic voting machines are evil and that the 2004 Presidential election was stolen. Today, a Bob Herbert New York Times op-ed states that pretty much everyone knows Ohio was stolen by the Republicans due to voter suppression (the column is one of those "Times Select" pay things, but some of the column can be found at Raw Story). Herbert's op-ed has generated another round of hyper-righteous indignation over at DailyKos about Ohio, electronic voting, Diebold and anything else possibly, remotely connected with elections such as that all Republicans are mean, nasty cheaters.

I am unmoved for the following reasons:

1. Vote fraud and fixing has been in place since the first flicker of democracy.

2. Vote rigging is not a Republican-only activity. As a Texan, I lean toward the shenanigans of Lyndon B. Johnson, but I must admit that Richard Daley's work for John F. Kennedy is the ne plus ultra of the artform.

3. The people/party in power get to set more rules, and this includes elections. Does this affect outcome? Sure. As we so incredibly naive as to be surprised by this?

4. Given that some level of vote rigging and fraud are commonplace and to be expected, the way to overcome this is for the party not in power to win by more than 47 votes (or whatever piss-ant winning margin conspiracy theorist Democrats claim would have been the result had....). Statistical ties go to the incumbent.

5. People who clamor against electronic voting and for a "paper trail" are the same people who try to argue that writing checks and mailing them is safer than paying bills online. As if a signature on a piece of paper means jack squat. As if putting something in a mailbox is any safer than sending an IP packet to a server. As if....

6. Any system, whether writing paper checks or stuffing paper ballot boxes, is subject to rigging and fraud. Electronic voting included.

7. I have nothing against being vigilant in these matters. What I object to is the hyper-righteous indignation from those on the Left that this is somehow new and that computers make it more pernicious than good older-fashioned rigging.

8. At the heart of the conspiratorialists argument seems to be the utter disbelief than anyone, any country would ever possibly vote for George W. Bush. Trust me, I share the loathing of W and his policies, but even with extensive vote suppression, fraud, and rigging a large percentage of voting Americans voted for this tool.

9. Face it, fellow Leftist folks, a very sizable number of voting Americans disagree with us. Yes, this number might not have been 50%+1 in 2004, but it was big enough to make things another statistical tie, and thus vulnerable to the well-honed election shaping that has been practiced since antiquity.

10. The solution, of course, is to annihilate the opposition regardless of voting method. Regardless of how many voting machines go into African-American precincts in southern Ohio. To quit bitching about how the opposition isn't nice and get the massive numbers of non-voters to vote. To have inspiring candidates who don't just pander to the least common denominator. To put in place things like a national Election Holiday. Maybe to even make voting for President as easy as voting for the next American Idol.

11. I look forward to the days after the annihilation, in which Democrats will be nationally accused, with reason, of rigging future elections. It will make LBJ, JFK and Richard Daley proud.


KathyF said...

I tend to agree.

Joey said...

In my opinion, Gambling is something that every human being has the right to do, and politicians should keep their noses out of what people do for entertainment or within the comfort of their own homes.