Friday, September 3

Military Disenfranchisement Ballot box Activities

Apparently if you are a soldier and want to cast a vote you have 2 not so secure options, Fax and E-mail. After watching Nueremberg on the Hudson this week, I guess Rove has chosen to phone in the election this year. Another stake in the heart of the democratic process, from the NYT.

Members of the military will be allowed to vote this year by faxing or e-mailing their ballots - after waiving their right to a secret ballot. Beyond this fundamentally undemocratic requirement, the Electronic Transmission Service, as it's known, has far too many problems to make it reliable, starting with the political partisanship of the contractor running it. The Defense Department is making matters worse by withholding basic information about the service, and should suspend it immediately.

The Defense Department is encouraging soldiers to use absentee ballots or fax votes directly to local officials, when possible. But it also provides an alternative: Omega Technologies, a private contractor, will accept soldiers' faxed and e-mailed ballots on a toll-free line, and then send them to the appropriate local elections office. Handling ballots is always sensitive, but especially so when, as in this program, they are not secret. An obvious concern is that votes for a particular candidate could be reported lost in transit, or altered.

Omega Technologies is not an acceptable choice to run the program. Its chief executive, Patricia Williams, has donated $6,600 in this election cycle to the National Republican Congressional Committee, and serves on the committee's Business Advisory Council. And while everything about the conduct of elections should be open to public scrutiny, Omega is far too secretive. In an interview, Ms. Williams refused to say who would handle military votes, and whether they could engage in partisan politics. "I will not allow the public to invade the privacy of the employees of Omega," she said.

Wow, this is just another in a long train of ballot tampering activities, and frankly the only reason I am nervous about the election. If we had a fair voting process, President Gore would be leading, whatever lipsticked pig the publicans would have nominated, by a large margin. If we had a fair election this year, Kerry wins running away. This is truly disgusting, and I would presume that Kerry will be addressing this. Whether the press will bother to report on this and other disenfranchisement activities, we can only hope.
The Defense Department has taken a "trust us" attitude. Soldiers have to trust that military higher-ups will not try to learn their political choices and hold it against them, and that local elections officials at home will not reveal those choices. The voters have to trust that no one at the contractor or the Pentagon will make errors, or intentionally alter ballots. In a democracy, matters like these should not have to be taken on faith.
Welcome to the Henhouse, Fox, if you need anything just let us know. Wow I did not know that we had evolved into a Faith Based Representative Republic. Yeehhaa.