Saturday, November 8, 2014

America's Third World Voting Systems A Disgrace

First Published in DelawareLiberal on November 8, 2014 by Progressive Populist


Voting across the country is in chaos.  Our state by state patchwork of voting rules, laws, ID's, machines, processes, poll worker training and counting  can only be described as third world.  I believe these systemic flaws contribute to the national malaise about voting participation.  For many it is a pain in the butt.  Others, a huge inconvenience.  For many a discouraging experience.

What are the flaws?  Inconsistency on voting rules, laws and rights from state to state.  Poor quality training of poll workers.  Proprietary machines owned and operated by private corporations, some of whom do not hide their partisanship.  Nor do they particularly hide the inferiority of their technology.  We make registration as difficult as possible for many.  Especially minority and young voters whose votes are deliberately suppressed by policy from the Republican party.

Voting rights and election protection advocates have pointed out this absurdity from what is often promoted as the world's greatest democracy. But nothing happens to rectify the innumerable defects in the system and process.  It is time to give all Americans, regardless of their State of residence, equal and reliable access to their participation in the electoral system.  It should become a national priority.  This is a national embarrassment.

The 2014 mid-terms once again painfully illuminated the problem.  The reports are still flowing in from election protection groups.  One source on which I rely for reporting on voting problems is Brads Blog.  Brad Freeman has passed along many examples, close to twenty states, where irregularities have been reported.   Verification is still underway but here are some examples.

Chicago- 2,000 election judges were notified just before election day that their training was not complete and therefore they should not report for duty November 4.  It caused unopened polls, delays and frustrated voters across the city.
Virginia-Machine vote flipping.
North Carolina-Wrong data was sent to polling sites, including wrong information on voter polling locations.
Michigan-Software failure.
Indiana-Machines would not boot properly in some counties.
Connecticut-Computer glitches caused a court to order some polls to stay open later to rectify.
Georgia-At least 40,000 registrations were not processed.
Missouri-Ferguson ran out of ballots.
Florida-The infamous Broward County compute voter ID system failed.
Arkansas-Poll workers asking from wrong ID's, machine vote flipping.
Alabama-ID requirement inconsistencies across the State.
Texas-Statewide registration database transmission failed; machine failures in largest County, No provisional ballots ordered, total confusion on ID requirements due to Federal Court last minute intervention.
Maryland-Touch screen vote flipping.
New Mexico-major drop in motor voter registration.
California-L.A. county double voter registrations.
Colorado-Duplicate and incorrectly printed ballots.
Tennessee-Machine vote flipping.  Incorrectly printed ballots.

We really don't know how this might have impacted individual contests.  Under this chaotic system, we mostly cannot ever know.  America, can't we do better, or do we not care?