A revitalized federal commission on election oversight invites public input just as a major national study predicts massive problems in 2016 because of outmoded election tabulation software.
The much-embattled and belittled U.S. Election Assistance Commission wants public comments to help guide its work following appointment in January of three commissioners and renewed funding after GOP congressional critics sought to shut it down.
Meanwhile, U.S. localities face a crisis in tabulating votes accurately and securely because many of them are using outdated software that can fail or even be hacked. That’s according to America’s Voting Technology Crisis, a study by the Brennan Center, which announced its findings last month at the National Press Cluband in an Atlantic Magazine article.
“The 2016 campaign is already underway, with nearly two dozen candidates vying to be the next president,” wrote study co-authors Lawrence Norden and Christopher Famighetti. “Americans may have no idea who they will vote for next year, but they are likely confident that when they show up at the polls, their votes will count. And for the vast majority, of course, they will. But with rapidly aging voting technology, the risk of machines failing is greater than it has been in many years.”
This column is part of the Justice Integrity Project’s extensive coverage of election-tampering strategies. These include both the kinds of financial and technology snafus decried by the Brennan Center and also the more partisan if not sinister plans by elections operatives to thwart wins by the opposition.
Democrats emphasize restrictions on registration and access to polls, including limits on voting hours and absentee ballots. Republicans claim “voting fraud” of ineligible voters casting ballots, thereby justifying tighter restrictions.
Independent analysts, including our JIP, allege also that polling and election tabulation software have been corrupted at key locales and times to swing important elections. My 2013 book Presidential Puppetry: Obama, Romney and Their Masters (revised and updated this month) summarizes the compelling evidence for such corrupt practices while noting also the reasons why the Election Assistance Commission, similar authorities, the major political parties, and the mainstream media (including foundations) are extremely reluctant to probe the evidence.
Indeed, Congress failed to name any members of the EAC for years and withheld funding, thereby thwarting its original mission upon its creation in 2002 of helping states administer honest elections.
Therefore, the reconstituted EAC’s invitation for public input ideally enables more focus on the full range of threats to fair elections. This would go beyond those problems that a politically fragile federal body is likely to probe — or even the important dangers that the Brennan Center has been highlighting.
Today’s column is a news analysis (rather like our report last spring on the success of Nigeria’s election due to vigorous anti-fraud measures) and our overview of election fraud allegations, first published in 2011 and since updated.