Also allows ink for 'Internet Voting' voting shill, lobbyist...
By Brad Friedman on 9/20/2012, 4:33pm PT  

Meanwhile, as the War Over Which Americans Get to Exercise Their Right to Vote rages on, concern about how the votes of those who do get to vote, will (or won't) be tabulated, goes largely unnoticed. Again.

USA Today takes a moment to mention that point in an unbylined editorial headlined 'Electronic voting is the real threat to elections'. Their headline may understate the very real concerns about access to the polls, because these two issues --- both access to the polls and accurate, transparent tabulation of ballots --- have always been two sides of the same coin.

Both issues must be assured for an election with anything close to integrity.

But, given the, necessarily, extraordinary focus on the first issue this year, access, it's nice that the paper has taken a moment to highlight just a few of the continuing causes of concern for the actual tabulation of votes. Nothing has gotten better since 2010 or 2008 or even 2004. We've covered all of the examples for reasons to be concerned that they point to in the editorial, of course, and many more, over the years here at The BRAD BLOG.

And, naturally, since the paper is still a corporate media outlet, they just had to "balance" their fairly decent, fact-based editorial with an additional "opposing view" editorial, filled with a bunch of misleading, dishonest bullshit about Internet Voting, of all things, from a corporate lobbyist hack...

First, here's the beginning of the paper's not-terrible, largely fact-based editorial (NOTE: The links in the following are their own, not ours, most of our coverage of these matters was in far greater detail, as regular readers will know)...

The process is...shockingly vulnerable to problems from software failure to malicious hacking. While state lawmakers burn enormous energy in a partisan fight over in-person vote fraud, which is virtually nonexistent, they're largely ignoring far likelier ways votes can be lost, stolen or changed.

How? Sometimes, technology or the humans running it simply fail:

•In March, malfunctioning software sent votes to the wrong candidate and the wrong municipal election in Palm Beach County, Fla. The mistake was corrected only after a court-approved hand count.

•In an election in Pennington County, S.D., in 2009, a software glitch almost doubled the number of votes actually cast.

•In Carteret County, N.C., 4,530 electronic votes simply disappeared in 2004 when the voting machine ran out of storage capacity and no one noticed until too late.

•In 2010, a University of Michigan assistant professor of computer science and three assistants hacked into Washington, D.C.'s online voting system during a test. They manipulated it undetected, even programming it to play the Michigan fight song. While inside, the hackers blocked probes from Iran, India and China. Washington officials canceled plans for online voting.

Experiences like these argue for great caution about expanding electronic voting, but too many states are choosing convenience over reliability. Sixteen states, for example, use electronic voting devices with no paper backup, according to a study by the Verified Voting Foundation, Common Cause and the Rutgers School of Law.

This means there's no way to know whether the machine has recorded a vote accurately or, for that matter, recorded it at all. And there's no way for elections officials to conduct a verifiable recount if things go wrong.

The paper does not have all of their facts straight in the rest of the editorial, and they seem to misunderstand both the solution (which is publicly hand-counted paper ballots at the polling place on Election Night) and don't seem to fully appreciate the very serious concerns of paper ballots tabulated by optical-scan computers. Still, given the dearth of coverage elsewhere once again this election season, we're glad they took a moment to notice any of it, frankly.

Of course, since this is still the corporate mainstream media, their definition of "Fair and Balanced" is, at best: when telling the truth about something, be sure to "balance" it with an "opposing view" from a corporate lobbyist shill who just pulls things out of their ass. And so they include a link to an "opposing" editorial from Bob Carey, identified by the paper as "president of the Abraham & Roetzel government affairs firm. Until May of this year, he was director of the Defense Department's Federal Voting Assistance Program."

Not noted by the paper is that Carey was the former Legislative Affairs director for former Republican Senators George Allen (who went on to disgrace himself by using a racial slur during a campaign event) and Spencer Abraham (who went on to become George W. Bush's Energy Secretary.)

Also not noted by USA Today, at least not in plain language, is that Abraham & Roetzel is a corporate lobbying firm.

In Carey's misleading and obnoxiously-headlined "opposing view" piece, "Paper voting system is broken", Carey makes the pitch for unsecurable, unverifiable Internet Voting, naturally, as that is also what he pushed for while at the Pentagon, despite the near-entirety of the computer science and security world's unambiguous warnings against it.

We can't find record of Abraham & Roetzel actually serving as a registered lobbyist for for-profit Internet Voting firms such as Scytl or the failed Everyone Counts (where former U.S. Elections Assistance Commission chair Paul DeGregorio has cashed in on his former title by serving as Chief Operating Officer), but Carey was just allowed to make one helluva pitch for their business in the pages of "The Nation's Newspaper".

It looks like the voters get just half-a-loaf, if that much, from USA Today's coverage. But even that much is more than we've gotten elsewhere of late when it comes to the privatized, unverified, unoverseeable computer tabulation that will be used once again to determine the President, the balance of Congress, and local races and initiatives in all 50 states this November.

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