November 23, 2004
What's it worth to me?
In the comments here, Kevin asks:
If the e-slate totals change significantly, maybe even enough to justify a new election under House procedures, would it be worth it to you because it would drive home the need for a transparent (paper) audit trail?
I think Vo wins a new election anyway. But I do think it would be a GREAT opportunity to shore up some of our concerns as citizens (not partisans) about e-voting machines. If it happens, that is. Thoughts?
That's a hard question, and not because I'd be concerned about a Heflin-Vo rematch. If the tradeoff were simply a new election in return for the discussion, then my answer is an unqualified Yes, it would be worth it. However, much as I want this issue on the forefront, I'd be afraid that exposing a problem in this manner would cause electoral chaos nationwide, and that for sure is not a prospect that I relish. On the other hand, I doubt we'll ever really have this discussion without a demonstrably screwed-up election as the catalyst. Maybe it's better to have it now where the contest in question is relatively low profile, I don't know.
I guess I want to force the question but I'm more than a little scared of what lies behind the door. I do know that even if the manual recount here gives us the same result again, the concerns about non-verifiable voting haven't gone away. Maybe Andy Taylor's blustering will help break down some of the partisan divide on this. If that happens, I'll take back the nasty things I've said about him. Well, the nasty things I've said about him in this case, anyway.
Posted by Charles Kuffner on November 23, 2004 to Election 2004
I don't think a change in the eSlate totals is grounds for an election contest. An election contest can only be concerned with the questions outlined in the law:
A recount creates a new result to the election, even if the vote totals don't change.
A contest means they throw out the whole election. What about all the votes that e-slate counted correctly?
If we don't like e-slates, thats fine. But using e-slate was part of the rules of the road going in. It was implemented by a Republican County Clerk under an election code that Heflin voted on in the House.
The Republicans are going to try and make it the issue so they can change the rules after a good-ol-boy lost to a Vietnamese immigrant.
Nobody who loves their freedom should take this kind of thing lying down.
If having to do the Heflin/Vo election over is the price to get us a paper trail, then I say go for it. It's not as if control of the House is at issue, after all.
I don't have any patience with the "chaos" argument. As I recall, that was one of the reasons cited for Bush v. Gore, to avoid the "chaos" of having the Senate possibly contest Florida's electors, since the recount would have gone past the Dec. 12 "safe harbor." If "chaos" is the price for a fair election, I choose to pay that price.
I doubt we'll ever really have this discussion without a demonstrably screwed-up election as the catalyst.
They already had one in N. Carolina, and they're probably going to have to do that election over as a result. That would not have happened if they'd had a paper trail! As we've been trying to say all along, it's not just the possibility of fraud that worries us. But it looks to me like we'll have to have a "demonstrably screwed-up election" in every state where the election officials have their heads up their asses on this issue.
Let's wait and see what the recount says. If the eSlate totals differ by more than a handful of votes, something's wrong, and since we don't have a paper trail, we have no way to know which count was correct. Actually, we have no way to know if either count was correct. Actually, we have no way to know that even if the counts do match, and that's the whole problem!