THE BLOG

Voting Machines Must be Nationalized

Once again, case after case of voting machine fraud cram the blogosphere. But this time, rather than outraged, Democrats seem to be more cynical, even resigned. We console ourselves with the hope that Obama's lead will be too great for the Republican owned machines to steal the election.

It's almost as if we've given up, helpless victims of this untouchable, all powerful technology.

Nonsense.

Because of the danger to our economy, the government just seized control of the multi-billion dollar financial system. Because of the threat to American democracy, we must nationalize the voting machine industry.

The compelling case against allowing private industry to determine our elections rests upon the predictable flaws of human nature: the most massive electoral fraud in America's history has been perpetrated since the introduction of touch screen voting machines.

Right now, the voting machine you will be using on November 4 most likely is sitting in your local election commission's warehouse, protected by little, if any, security to prevent tampering.

And, because of the voting machines' proprietary technology, only the manufacturer - such as Deibold or Carson - can legally access them. Whether purchased or leased, local election officials are prohibited from independently verifying their machines' integrity.

As we have all learned, it is relatively simple to program a predetermined outcome, with an undetectable bug that turns itself on when the polls open, and vanishes after they close.

A federal government monopoly would manufacture voting machines employing the same degree of security enforced by the Treasury to print currency.

To further safeguard against tampering, the voting machines would be shipped under security to election commissions around the country. In between elections, their integrity would be guaranteed by storage in a secure federal facility.

The 2002 Help America Vote Act funds states to purchase or lease voting machines from private companies. The government could offer honest voting machines at little, or no cost. Moreover, by furnishing all polling places with sufficient equipment, people no longer will be forced to wait hours in line to vote. And, to minimize the inevitable delay caused by glitches, the contract could provide for a standby technician on election day.

Many people will not bother to go to the polls in this election, because they seriously doubt that the touch screen machines will honestly count their vote. Yet, in what amounts to a show of disrespect - that does not go unfelt by people so far unmoved by the campaign - neither candidate has even mentioned this widespread, legitimate concern.

Obama should make an unequivocal promise to nationalize voting machines. Making a vote for Obama a vote to guarantee that this will be the last election which forces people to trust in the discredited touch screens, might just be the issue to win over more than a few of those still undecided voters.