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This is what demockery looks like!
September 24, 2005 2:48 PM   Subscribe

Project Censored places "Distorted Election Coverage" at number 3 on their list of ignored news stories of the last year. In more recent ignored news a Diebold insider speaks out (which security guru Bruce Schneier considers "sensationalist" but "good information") - just as Diebold shares plunge and top executives flee. In July Diebold's voting machines were rejected by the state of California after "possibly the most extensive testing ever on a voting system" revealed a high incidence of crashes and paper jams. Not to mention the undocumented backdoor in Diebold's GEMS vote tabulator. Meanwhile, in Ohio, two officials of the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections have been indicted by a grand jury on charges that they "did not permit a random selection of precincts for the recount and it did not let witnesses oversee the opening of the sealed ballot cases and the first recount of the votes." And John Conyers is urging Americans to oppose a proposed national ID voting requirement, which he calls a "21st Century poll tax". Is this what democracy looks like?
posted by dinsdale (25 comments total)

 
to answer your question: yes, at the moment, yes.
posted by Substrata at 4:00 PM on September 24, 2005


Is this what democracy looks like?

No, democracy looks like millions voting for future cruise ship singer rejects on American Idol.
posted by Rothko at 4:03 PM on September 24, 2005


One has to wonder how many "back door votes" were necessary to keep Shrub in his position.
posted by clevershark at 4:08 PM on September 24, 2005


For more stuff just like this go to wDemocracy Now!
posted by wheelieman at 4:12 PM on September 24, 2005


Here in Tennessee we have always required that you have an id to vote. It isn't such a big deal. I assume that they need to verify who I am when I go to vote and this is pretty much the only system out there for doing so. If you don't use an ID that you had to pay for in order to verify your identity when you vote, how do you do it?

Also, there seems to be a general paranoia surrounding the issue of National IDs. The "21st Century Poll Tax" link above mentions that "The institution of a National ID card has throughout our history been the tool of every despotic regime the world has known." What it doesn't mention is that Germany, France, Belgium, Greece, Luxembourg, Portugal and Spain also have such a requirement. Why is there such hype surrounding such a seemingly harmless issue?
posted by aburd at 4:13 PM on September 24, 2005


Germany, France, Belgium, Greece, Luxembourg, Portugal and Spain also have such a requirement.
Well, that should put an end to that idea.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 4:23 PM on September 24, 2005


What it doesn't mention is that Germany, France, Belgium, Greece, Luxembourg, Portugal and Spain also have such a requirement.

What you don't mention is that European countries have national ID cards for different reasons, voting not always primary among them.

That aside, issues with a US national ID card is a bit of a red herring, since the US already issues a national ID card that is used for improper or contentious identification purposes.
posted by Rothko at 4:36 PM on September 24, 2005


It is actually sad but true statement of fact: in America, slot machines are *much* more regulated than voting machines.
posted by teece at 4:54 PM on September 24, 2005


One has to wonder how many "back door votes" were necessary to keep Shrub in his position.

Actually one doesn't need to wonder, it was 2.4% of the votes in 2004.
posted by euphorb at 5:24 PM on September 24, 2005


A national ID done right would be a major improvement to the voting system. The govt. already has or can get much more information than should be contained in the ID, so it would not be a further infringement of privacy. It could end a lot of the nonsense we're stuck with in our current system. Make it free, make it a driver's license and voting reg., emergency contact list, living will, medical allergies list, fishing license, Food Stamps, library card, etc. In other words, make it very useful for everyone and it will work very well.

Hell, you could even use it for gas rationing when it comes to that.
posted by wolfey at 5:33 PM on September 24, 2005


Why is there such hype surrounding such a seemingly harmless issue?
Because no one has explained how national ID cards will help. The 9/11 hijackers had seemingly valid IDs, the Oklahoma City bombers were American, the DC snipers were American, the Unabomber was an American.

How would a national ID prevent future attacks?
posted by revgeorge at 6:25 PM on September 24, 2005


This is not what democracy feels like.
posted by If I Had An Anus at 7:06 PM on September 24, 2005


Much credit to dinsdale for this thorough and detailed post.
posted by cleardawn at 7:07 PM on September 24, 2005


Why is there such hype surrounding such a seemingly harmless issue?
“But, Keith, 20 percent don't think the president is legitimate. And worse yet, if you take the other half, those that didn't vote for him, about half of the other side doesn't think the president is legitimate. That just hasn't existed for a long, long time in our system. We need to restore, I think, some semblance of legitimacy and honor to the system.” -- John Zogby
A sizable percentage of U.S. citizens believe the presidential elections have been stolen. In a real democracy our concerns would be met with reforms which open the system, both to scrutiny and to participation. Or at least the honest consideration of them.

Instead the reform we are given is a $20 fee to vote. Can you see how big a slap in the face that is? You can call it hype if you want. I call it a plea for justice.
posted by If I Had An Anus at 7:30 PM on September 24, 2005


You realy thought, you guys, that America is a democracy?

By the way in most of european countries, in addition to an ID card you must be registred in voting list before the election stands.

So before every major election, you have to get registred to vote.
posted by zouhair at 8:26 PM on September 24, 2005


Instead the reform we are given is a $20 fee to vote. Can you see how big a slap in the face that is?

I do see what you mean. A national ID as a proposed solution to all of the voting problems belittles the scale of the problems. I also agree that it having this card as a national requirement isn't going to win us the war on terror.

At the same time, I don't see why this is touted as a civil liberty or privacy issue. The hysterical paranoia surrounding the ID card seems out of line with the real dangers it could cause. Implying, as the link in the post does, that creating a national ID card puts us on a road to becoming a true dicatorship is inflamatory and baseless.
posted by aburd at 8:37 PM on September 24, 2005


Here in Tennessee we have always required that you have an id to vote.

Uh huh. Here in Georgia the Republican governor recently signed in legislation (from the Republican house+senate) that streamlines the ID requirements down to a few photo ID options like a drivers license.

The city of Atlanta is heavily democratic. Guess where it is now impossible to get a drivers license?

But a birth certificate is an option too, you say. Uh huh. Have you ever tried to get a copy of your birth certificate? You need a photo ID.

Mmmmm, disenfranchisy!
posted by intermod at 8:43 PM on September 24, 2005


Strangely enough, I was required to show an "ID" when I voted in Tuesday's primary. I used my voter's registration card.

I have also had to obtain a copy of my birth certificate in the last 5 years. All I had to do was fill out a form and mail it to the county courthouse in the county where I was born with a check for $9 and the names of myself and my parents. I then used this bit of paper along with my driver's license to obtain a United States passport. This passport is sufficient to prove that I can legally work in this country even without producing my original Social Security Card (which was never meant to be anything but a tax ID and I really wish the Feds would enforce the law that says it can only be used for tax purposes). I was also able to obtain a copy of my husband's birth certificate without his even having to sign a form requesting it. Feel warm and fuzzy about identity security yet?

Real ID is a horse of another color, which will make it easier to steal someone's identity, make it harder to function in society, create a dual layer society, drive up the number of people who drive without liability insurance, drive up state taxes/fees, and is frankly a waste of money.
posted by ilsa at 10:01 PM on September 24, 2005


aburd says : Why is there such hype surrounding such a seemingly harmless issue?

Because a national ID card is not a very effective security countermeasure. An ID by itself is a pretty weak form of authentication. Remember, all of the September 11th terrorists had to pass ID checks at several points.

Since national ID cards don't do a very good job of addressing security risks, and require us to sacrifice much in the way of time, money, and personal freedom, they just aren't worth it.
posted by afroblanca at 12:31 AM on September 25, 2005


> Remember, all of the September 11th terrorists had to pass ID checks at several points.

What'd you expect? They had a document that said who they were. Being someone else is a totally different story. If you've never affiliated with anything wrong, you're ID is clean.

The national ID card reallt is a `Good & Trustworhty American Act'

Do you conform?
posted by NewBornHippy at 1:18 AM on September 25, 2005


Is this what democracy looks like?

No. This is what a Constitutional Republic looks like.
posted by rough ashlar at 7:08 AM on September 25, 2005


If it were truly about ensuring a honest voting experience there would be equal pressure to adopt a national ID *and* to have reliable, secure voting machine that provide a paper trail -- the most elementary form of physical evidence -- showing that the tallies are indeed what the machine says they are.

Instead you have a national ID project idea and a secretive, insecure, unverifiable voting apparatus conceived and implemented by people who are openly campaigning for one of the two big parties. Now, national ID cards are useless for security purposes, as even the man in charge of their implementation in the UK have admitted, and there is a mysterious official silence about the easily-manipulated voting machines... it doesn't take a genius to figure out that the voter identity issue is little/nothing more than a red herring designed to take attention away from the issue of voting machines that provide no evidence of tally integrity.
posted by clevershark at 9:13 AM on September 25, 2005


Here in Tennessee we have always required that you have an id to vote. It isn't such a big deal. I assume that they need to verify who I am when I go to vote and this is pretty much the only system out there for doing so. If you don't use an ID that you had to pay for in order to verify your identity when you vote, how do you do it?

Compare signatures? Thats what they do here in Iowa. No ID required, or even requested.
posted by delmoi at 3:32 PM on September 25, 2005


Actualy, I don't think they actualy compare signatures at the polling place. You have to sign in to get your balot, but there is no authentication.
posted by delmoi at 3:33 PM on September 25, 2005


I'm reading this thread and hearing excellent arguments against a national ID, as if debate on National ID was still open. Sorry to say, RealID is Public Law (P.L. 109-13.)

When James Sensenbrenner's "immigration reform" bill containing Real ID didn't pass several times it was introduced, he still got it into law attached to an "Emergency Supplemental Appropriations for Defense, the Global War on Terror, and Tsunami Relief, for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2005".
"To establish and rapidly implement regulations for State driver's license and identification document security standards, to prevent terrorists from abusing the asylum laws of the United States, to unify terrorism-related grounds for inadmissibility and removal, and to ensure expeditious construction of the San Diego border fence.
Is this what democracy looks like?

This is what democracy looks like, to me.

To people like James Sensenbrenner, democracy looks like this.
posted by edverb at 4:05 PM on September 25, 2005


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