Election Day approaches, and with it a test of our election system's integrity. Who will be allowed to vote; who will be barred? Who will get paper ballots; who will use electronic voting machines? Will polls be open long enough to accommodate what is expected to be a historic turnout?
Veteran activist Harvey Wasserman has co-written four books on elections and voter rights. He says John Kerry won
'The GOP is trying to disenfranchise these 200,000 people by challenging their right to vote, asking the secretary of state here, Jennifer Brunner, to let the counties investigate and knock off the voter rolls, if they choose to, people who have minor discrepancies in their Social Security numbers or driver's license numbers. And the secretary of state has rightfully showed that many of these mistakes come from typographical errors when the numbers are entered in at the agencies.'
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that only the U.S. Department of Justice can purge these new registrants from the voter rolls. Republican House Minority Leader John Boehner, of
Wasserman's two main concerns about the integrity of the election are mass disenfranchisement through computerized purging and the failures of electronic voting machines, which can skew vote tallies and cause impossibly long lines at polling places (as can the provision of too few voting machines, whether they work well or not). These issues are both coming to a head in
Brad Friedman of BradBlog.com told me: 'Sequoia is one of the big-four voting-machine companies. Of course, they have failed in state after state.' Friedman also reports on 'vote flipping,' a problem with electronic, touch-screen voting machines. 'It's West Virginia, it's Tennessee, it's Texas, Missouri, Nevada ... people go in and vote for a Democratic straight-party ticket or for Barack Obama, and the vote flips to a Republican or some other candidate.' The companies claim the machines can be calibrated to work properly. Friedman disagrees: 'These machines need to be pulled out, because even when they work, the problem is that there is absolutely no way to ever verify that any vote ever cast on a touch- screen machine like this has been recorded as per the voter's intent.'
In response to video of
The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People has sued
Thousands of lawyers and citizen-activists will be monitoring the polling places on Election Day. People are posting videos of election problems at videothevote.org. When you go to cast your vote, take a friend or neighbor, take your ID and take a camera as well. Election protection is everyone's job.
Denis Moynihan contributed research to this column.
Amy Goodman is the host of 'Democracy Now!' a daily international TV/radio news hour airing on more than 700 stations in