Abu-Jamal's Radio Broadcasts
cure for the problems of democracy is more democracy."
John Dewey (1859-1952) U.S. philosopher and educator
In this time
of election fever, when both the Democrats and the Republicans spend
hundreds of millions of dollars on TV and radio advertising to draw
the American people back to another campaign, the very real threat
is looming of yet another stolen election in America.
spectacle of hundreds of election officials, and later dozens of
state judges poring over piles of election stubs, checking for 'pregnant
chads', and other such indicators of electoral choices, allowed
people around the world to question the nation's commitment to democracy.
Some nations, like Cuba, offered to send election overseers and
checkers, to insure that Americans conducted the proverbial 'free
and fair elections.'
In the aftermath
of the Florida election debacle of November, 2000, jurisdictions
all over the country have opted to change their election machinery
for new, computerized systems.
There are approximately
30 U.S. states which use, in some of their counties, computerized
machines, among them, some called 'black box' computerized systems,
like the widely known Diebold machines, which are used in California,
Georgia, Maryland, and among other places, Ohio.
In late 2003,
Walden O'Dell, Diebold's CEO, turned up at a major Bush fundraiser
(which he organized) where the company executive raised $600,000.
In a letter to contributors, O'Dell assured them that he was "committed
to helping Ohio deliver its electoral votes for the President next
year." (*Newsweek*, Mar. 3, 2003)
With Diebold computerized voting machines, Ohio's 23 electoral votes
may be virtually safely deposited in Bush's winning column. That's
because these machines, and several like them, are vulnerable to
internal and external tampering. Avi Rubin, a computer-security
expert at John Hopkins University has described such machines as
threatening to the nation's democracy because of their minimal security
safeguards. In an article for the *Baltimore Sun*, Rubin wrote:
I still believe
that the Diebold machines, and ones like them from the venders,
represent a major threat to our democracy. We have put our trust
in the outcome of our elections in the hands of a few companies
(Ohio-based Diebold Election systems, Sequoia Voting systems, which
is based in California and Election Systems and Software in Omaha,
Nebraska). They are in a position to control the outcomes of our
elections, and there's no way anyone can know if they, or someone
working for them did something underhanded. And meaningful recounts
are impossible with these machines. (Fr. Avi Rubin, "An Insider's
View of Vote Vulnerability", *Baltimore Sun*, Mar. 10, 2004)
these new, computerized machines leave no paper trail. In the event
of a demand for a recount, there will be nothing to recount! Diabolical,
It's been four
years since the votes of hundreds of thousands of African-Americans,
tens of thousands of Haitian-Americans, and thousands of Jewish
Americans, had their votes sabotaged and stolen in the tropical
swamps of Florida. Despite all the spit and noise and anger of those
days, we now stand on the brink of a repeat without paper.
Florida, we may have seen the omen of what is to come. In March
2002, a City Council election took place for the municipality of
Boca Raton. A man named Danciu expected to win his race by a landslide
but instead lost by 16% of the reported vote. Voters there complained
about the Sequoia computerized voting machines, saying that it appeared
like their votes for Danciu went instead to his opponent. Danciu
went to the Palm Beach County election officials to demand a recount,
by checking the company's software code. When Palm Beach sued for
the codes, the judge denied them, citing the company's rights to
trade secrets. No codes. No recount.
This is an election
that will not be decided in the election booths. It will be decided
in the bytes and bits of electronic computer code, and democracy
will, once again, be left in the mud.
Steve Moore, "E-Democracy: Stealing the Election in 2004,"
*Global Outlook*, Spr. '04, pp. 3-6. www.globalresearch.ca)
2004 Mumia Abu-Jamal
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© copyright 2003 by Mumia Abu-Jamal.
All rights reserved.
Reprinted by permission of the author.