Saturday, July 12, 2008

Mark Crispin Miller and Hacking Democracy

Mark Crispin Miller is a NYU professor and author of several books and plays including Fooled Again, an account of the theft and the cover-up of the theft of the 2004 election. Here he weighs in on the op-scan controversy in New York State:

NO op-scans in New York!

As a friend of Bo Lipari, and longtime champion of New Yorkers for Verified Voting (NYVV), I do regret that I must disagree profoundly with them on the matter of how New York casts its votes. While they call for replacing this state's lever system with op-scans, I see op-scans as unacceptable. As computerized machines, they don't permit the sort of open vote-count that democracy requires, but only partial and belated audits--a lousy substitute for the simplest and most honest counting method of them all: one that we can all observe together.

Moreover, those op-scans are manufactured and maintained by the same suspicious private companies that make and service DRE's: Diebold/Premier, ES&S, Hart InterCivic and the latest incarnation of Sequoia. These companies are as opaque as the machines themselves; and they're in bed with the Republicans. If they were in bed with the Democrats, they would be no more acceptable. The fact is that their very source is tainted, so they have no place here in New York (or anywhere else).

Finally--and unsurprisingly--those suckers can be hacked with ease, and clearly have been. (The New Hampshire primary, where Clinton won the op-scan-counted votes by some five points, while Obama won the hand-counted ballots by a little over six, is only one of many instances of fishy outcomes where they use op-scans instead of DRE's.) As Andi Novick reminds us...the hackability of op-scans was made crystal-clear in HBO's great documentary Hacking Democracy.

Hacking Democracy will be shown on Sunday, July 13th at 2:00 pm at The Muddy Cup, 305 Main Street, Poughkeepsie, NY. Andi Novick will be on hand to answer question about the NY VOTERS litigation and to sign up volunteers.

Mark Crispin Miller will be speaking at Vassar College on September 8th, 2008 in an event sponsored by Vassar College American Studies Program and Re-Media Election Transparency Coalition. Watch these pages for further information.

- Joanne Lukacher