Now, even your paper ballots aren't safe.
Harvey Wasserman on the Smirking Chimp delivered some horrifying news that will no doubt dredge up PTSD among those who remember the '00-'04 elections all too well.
Republican-connected ES&S has just bought up Diebold's electronic voting machine division. The United States is the only industrial country in the world in which virtually all of its voting tabulation systems are controlled by corporations inextricably tied to one political party.
The sale of Diebold's voting machine division to ES&S will hopefully be blocked by Attorney General Eric Holder on the basis of anti-trust violations but it would be a pyrrhic victory at best. As Wasserman states:
For even if Holder does void this purchase, ES&S and Diebold in tandem will still control four of every five votes cast on touchscreen machines. As the US Supreme Court seems poised to open the floodgates on corporate campaign spending, the only difference could be that those who would buy our elections will have to write two checks instead of one.
That includes optiscan and other machines that still electronically tabulate paper ballots for the few states who still use them (including Massachusetts). The implications would be catastrophic during not just the upcoming midterms but the next general election of 2012. The Republican Party could easily steal back control of both houses of Congress not to mention the White House, a ballsy move that's been supported by both the Supreme Court and lower courts that allow companies such as Diebold from revealing their proprietary source code.
With the advent of HB3 and the removal of over 1,000,000 voters (no doubt most of them Latino and African Americans) in Ohio, getting coverage from the judicial system who insist that proprietary knowledge is more important than the democratic electoral process, we could be in for some rude surprises courtesy of a Republican Party that has the audacity to make claims of voter fraud on the part of ACORN.
But, as always, the news gets worse. For Wasserman goes on to remind us,
The merged ES&S/Diebold now also controls the electronic voter registration systems in many counties and states. With that control comes the ability to remove registered voters without significant public accountability. In the 2004 election, nearly 25% of all the registered voters in the Democratic-rich city of Cleveland were purged, including 10,000 voters erased "accidentally" by a Diebold electronic pollbook system. So in addition to controlling the vote counts on touchscreen and optiscan voting machines, the merged Diebold/ES&S and sympathetic hardware and software companies that service computerized voting equipment will control who actually gets to cast a vote in the first place.
All this means is that GOP-connected ChoicePoint, the scumbag company in Alpharetta, GA that had purged over 150,000 Floridians from the voter rolls in 2000 on the dodgy claim that they were ex felons (most of them weren't) will be out of a job.
Diebold or ES&S? ChoicePoint or Diebold and ES&S? Paper or plastic? Does it make a difference? All we're seeing is one fox relieving another one at the end of his shift at the henhouse. And, like Wasserman says, only a very vocal grassroots uprising will prevent massive electoral fraud on the part of the GOP and can save the '12 elections. But with the '10 midterms coming up, it's already too late to avert what may be a massive, artificial sea change in Congress.
And I don't count on us taking to the streets in protest of the tainted results as Iran, Afghanistan and Mexico did.