I was once walking through a less than ideal section of Brooklyn; a grim, gray, sad street with shuttered stores covered in obscene graffiti – the iconic American landscape – and on a front stoop was a flowerpot. The only flowerpot on this sad, sad street. It was big, and it was literally chained to the stoop. A thick, heavy metal bike chain was wrapped around it and threaded through the iron stair railing. Because clearly, in this part of town, whatever isn’t chained down will be promptly carried off – even a bunch of half-dead daisies.
Meanwhile, far to the north in a similarly ill-favored area of Washington Heights, I once saw three men nearly kill each other over the accusation -- I gathered -- of stolen hubcaps. Right in the middle of the street, with half the neighborhood watching, they came close to summarily executing some poor dude next to a stripped low-rider.
Americans protect their shit, this we know. From the hubcaps of the downtrodden to the obscene home entertainment centers of the suburbs, to the obscener estates and multi-billion dollar investments of the upper classes – we guard our possessions with chains, guns, complex home alarm systems, even basement “panic rooms” where the wealthy can hide in a personal lockbox with the family jewels when the barbarians arrive at the gate.
We protect our borders with fences and cameras and military drone planes. We protect our airplanes with full body scanners and free-massage groping at the gate. We protect our kids with vaccinations, our pets with implanted chips, our merchandise with bar codes, our ideas with patents.
Such obsession with protecting what’s ours . . . except in one fascinating instance. Our vote. Our ballot. The one physical mechanism of our much vaunted -- some would even intone "sacred" -- democracy.
That? We don’t even think about that! Not once. Never.
In fact, not only do we not care about the safety of our ballots, we are engaged in a competitive (we’re Americans, after all) race to devise the most unsafe systems possible for casting and counting our votes.
Right now we cast and count our votes using totally unverifiable computerized voting machines and tabulators manufactured by a small cartel of right-wing extremists who won’t let anyone view their software.
But that’s clearly unfair! The spirit of free-market entrepreneurialism demands a more level playing field. Let everyone get their chance to rig votes in America!
Mail-in voting and early voting are being pushed into states across the country. There’s no solid chain of custody, so the ballots are highly vulnerable to creative fraud and tampering by anyone who might get access. Two truly unsafe systems!
But neither is as INSANELY unsafe as Internet voting.
Without question, this is the most insecure system possible, open to manipulation or hacking by paid insiders, rogue professionals, or any IT geek in his mother’s basement wearing a Guy Fawkes mask. No voter will have a clue whether the tally was accurate, whether their vote even made it into the queue or was eaten in Cyberspace. No security! No oversight! No paper ballot to maintain the illusion of accountability, or risk its implementation! A completely faith-based voting system!
Check out these recent articles and be amazed:
In fact, Los Angeles is right now in the process of "modernizing" its elections for millions of voters, and Internet voting is actually on the table as a legitimate technology. If you want to get in on the dialog about this with their official board, you can find the Voting Systems Assessment Project (VSAP) on Facebook.
There’s only problem with all this technological innovation around voting, our focus on efficiency at the expense of accountability. When we allow our voting system to be hijacked – our votes counted in secret by computers, or our ballots left unsecured in the physical world – we don’t just lose our ballot. We lose democracy and control over our country.
Have you noticed?
Please. PLEASE! Let’s not make our voting system LESS secure. Let’s go the other way – let’s put a chain around it. Let’s care about it as least as much as some poor woman in Brooklyn cared about her daisies, or some pimp cares about his hubcaps.
Because if we don’t care enough to protect democracy, we don’t deserve to keep it. And we won't. That’s all.
Hand-counted paper ballots. Because democracy is not faith based.
For more on the issue of vote-by-mail, see 89 Articles About Why Voting By Mail Is A Very Bad Idea
To learn how our votes have been rigged for the past 40 years by corporate-controlled computers, check out THE EVIDENCE
To learn how to have a real election using hand-counted paper ballots, check out HAND COUNTED PAPER BALLOTS NOW!