Sunday, February 26, 2006

From the Tinfoil Archives: Alaska

The fairness of the 2004 elections is not a politically correct topic to discuss. If you as much as mention the possibility that not all votes were properly counted or recorded you are a tinfoilist. This horrible political group includes anyone who believes that politicians might actually wish to exploit the built-in problems of a voting system which belongs to private corporate interests and which does not leave a paper trail. And which uses a program that even I could probably crack in a few hours. If you write any of this you are going to be tarred and feathered (still wrapped in your tinfoil) by all respectable people, whether wingnuts or moonbats or the wishy-washy muddy middle.

So I'm waiting for the tar-and-feathers brigade, because I'm going to mention that there are indeed problems with the way we vote and if there are such problems then democracy itself is in peril. For example, see what is happening in Alaska:

The state Division of Elections is once again refusing to give its electronic voting files to the Democrats, arguing that doing so presents security risks to state government and the election system.

Releasing the files could allow someone to use an easily available data-management program, like Microsoft Access, to manipulate the data without the knowledge of the Division of Elections, said director Whitney Brewster.

The state denied the request in a letter dated Feb. 22, more than two months after the Alaska Democratic Party filed a public records request seeking the data file, which contains the final vote tallies for the 2004 general election.

The accuracy of the vote is in question, the Democrats said. Even the division's Web site contains glaring errors, with huge discrepancies between the number of votes cast statewide for each candidate and the number of votes cast district by district, they said.

"The public deserves clear, accurate data about the election," said Democratic spokeswoman Kay Brown. "We wonder why they're so determined not to shed light on this."

The Division of Elections initially said Jan. 19 that the file could not be released because it was proprietary information belonging to Diebold Election Systems, the contractor hired to provide Alaska's electronic voting machines.

Several days later, Diebold consented to the release of the records. But the Division of Elections, after two extensions totaling more than two weeks, denied the request.

What is so bad about a pen-and-paper system? Sure, it takes work and time and people but isn't democracy worth that much?