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Voting Machines Violate
Constitution - Who Will Launch Legal Challenge?
by Lynn Landes 4-15-03
Wanted - one or more really good constitutional lawyers. Why? Voting machines. We need to challenge their use in our elections.
Voting machines violate the Constitution and threaten what's left of American democracy like no terrorist ever could. Only a handful of private companies sell and service the machines that register and tabulate votes in U.S. elections. And it's all done in complete secrecy. We've lost control of our election process and Congress doesn't seem to notice or care.
If this isn't fascism, I don't
know what else to call it.
Over the last several years, particularly in 2002, election results in the U.S. have come under increasing suspicion due to widespread voting machine "glitches" and unexpected election upsets. In an overwhelming number of these questionable elections... Republicans won. That makes sense. Republicans, such as U.S. Senator Chuck Hagel (R-NE), long ago cornered the market in voting machine sales and service.
Some people think that voting machines can be made 'secure' by incorporating technical safeguards and standards, but that misses the point in law. Once the machine is in the polling booth critical parts of the voting process become unobservable and, therefore, violate Articles I & 2 of the Constitution and the Voting Rights Act. But, to my knowledge no individual or organization, such as the NAACP, ACLU or Common Cause, have challenged the constitutionality of voting machines. Although plenty of distraught candidates have gone to court accusing the voting machines of miscounting their votes, but to little avail.
In a November
1996 article for Relevance magazine, Philip O’Halloran wrote, "Many
court cases involving allegations of fraud were brought against vendors of
electronic systems. There were no convictions. Was there ever any proof of
tampering presented? No. Part of the reason for this may be that during the
litigation the plaintiffs were never given access to the vote tabulating
program, and hence there was no opportunity for anyone to establish evidence to
either prove or disprove the allegations. We should point out that even if the
court allowed the plaintiff’s experts to inspect the source-code, there would
be no proof that the code provided to the court was, in fact, the selfsame code
used in the particular election in question."
They're barking up the wrong
tree anyway. How can a machine-produced vote ever constitute a legal vote?
Isn't it merely circumstantial evidence of a vote produced by a machine that may or
may not have been cast by a voter? In Bush v. Gore the Supreme Court said, "A
legal vote is one in which there is a 'clear indication of the intent of the
Voting machines reflect the
action of the machine first and the intent of the voter ...maybe. W
When machines are in the voting booth three violations of federal law take place:
inability to observe if
voting machines properly register votes
inability to observe if
voting machines properly count votes
inability to enforce the
Voting Rights Act, because of the inability to observe if voting machines are
properly registering or counting votes
of the Voting Rights requires that Federal Observers observe whether votes are
tabulated." Civil Rights statutes state, "Observers are
authorized to watch all polling place activities, including assistance to voters
and the counting of ballots." However,
voting machines constitute a concealed tabulation of the vote which cannot be observed by Federal
Examiners, making the examiner's role in that regard moot and the federal Voting
Rights Act unenforceable. Nelldean Monroe, Voting Rights Program
Administrator for the U.S. Office of Personnel Management admitted to this
reporter in November of 2002 that there is no training and no opportunity for
Federal Observers to observe the accuracy of voting machines.
There is significant case
law that upholds the constitutional right to have votes cast and counted
properly. The Supreme Court held in the following three cases:
Allen v. Board of Elections
(1969) - "The Act further provides that the term "voting"
"shall include all action necessary to make a
Reynolds v Sims (1964) -
"It has been repeatedly recognized that all qualified voters have a
constitutionally protected right to vote and to have their
Wesberry v. Sanders (1964) - "It
is in the light of such history that we must construe Art. I, 2, of the
Constitution, which, carrying out the ideas of Madison and those of like views,
provides that Representatives shall be chosen "by the People of the several
States" and shall be "apportioned among the several States according
to their respective Numbers." It is not surprising that our Court has held
that this Article gives persons qualified to vote a constitutional right to vote
and to have their votes counted."
But that's not happening. Our votes are not being cast or counted openly or properly. As far as we know some madman from Midland is counting them.
Lynn Landes is the publisher of EcoTalk.org and a news reporter for DUTV in Philadelphia, PA. Formerly Lynn was a radio show host for WDVR in New Jersey and a regular commentator for a BBC radio program. She can be reached at (215) 629-3553 / firstname.lastname@example.org.