Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Was the Election Rigged?

I've gotta admit that I harbor many of the same that doubts about the 2004 election results that Mark Crispin Miller raises in Salon.com.

Miller, a media critic, pulls no punches and declares that the election was rigged. I know for sure that the election wasn't entirely clean. What election is? But would I endorse his bold claim? Ultimately, my gut tells me that he's right. Rove and the Repugs probably hedged their bets to get Bush back in the White House.

As Letterman just quipped, "a warning to Ohio: the crooked voting machines are due back in Florida."

Many people, Republicans and Democrats alike, will immediately reject Miller's concern about vote fraud as a conspiracy theory, but why shouldn't we be skeptical about virtual voting and other dubious technologies that could relatively easily be used to rig an election. After 2000, I don't know why there weren't outside observers, from the UN or wherever, monitoring this election.

Anyway, here're Miller's remarks from Salon.com.

Mark Crispin Miller is a media critic, professor of communications at New York University, and author, most recently, of 'Cruel and Unusual: Bush/Cheney's New World Order.'

First of all, this election was definitely rigged. I have no doubt about it. It's a statistical impossibility that Bush got 8 million more votes than he got last time. In 2000, he got 15 million votes from right-wing Christians, and there are approximately 19 million of them in the country. They were eager to get the other 4 million. That was pretty much Karl Rove's strategy to get Bush elected.

But given Bush's low popularity ratings and the enormous number of new voters -- who skewed Democratic -- there is no way in the world that Bush got 8 million more votes this time. I think it had a lot to do with the electronic voting machines. Those machines are completely untrustworthy, and that's why the Republicans use them. Then there's the fact that the immediate claim of Ohio was not contested by the news media -- when Andrew Card came out and claimed the state, not only were the votes in Ohio not counted, they weren't even all cast.

I would have to hear a much stronger argument for the authenticity, or I should say the veracity, of this popular vote for Bush before I'm willing to believe it. If someone can prove to me that it happened, that Bush somehow pulled 8 million magic votes out of a hat, OK, I'll accept it. I'm an independent, not a Democrat, and I'm not living in denial.

And that's not even talking about Florida, which is about as Democratic a state as Guatemala used to be. The news media is obliged to make the Republicans account for all these votes, and account for the way they were counted. Simply to embrace this result as definitive is irrational. But there is every reason to question it ... I find it beyond belief that the press in this formerly democratic country would not have made the integrity of the electoral system a front page, top-of-the-line story for the last three years. I worked and worked and worked to get that story into the media, and no one touched it until your guy did.

I actually got invited to a Kerry fundraiser so I could talk to him about it. I raised the issue directly with him and with Teresa. Teresa was really indignant and really concerned, but Kerry just looked down at me -- he's about 9 feet tall -- and I could tell it just didn't register. It set off all his conspiracy-theory alarms and he just wasn't listening.

Talk to anyone from a real democracy -- from Canada or any European country or India. They are staggered to discover that 80 percent of our touch-screen electronic voting machines have no paper trail and are manufactured by companies owned by Bush Republicans. But there is very little sense of outrage here. Americans for a host of reasons have become alienated from the spirit of the Bill of Rights and that should not be tolerated.

1 comment:

jason brown said...

I read an excellent article in Vanity Fair about a year ago. It was about a grandmother who investigated the companies behind the electronic voting machines. All of them gave heavily to the Republican party and very little if at all to the Democrats. I have not been able to find a copy of the article online.