Friday, November 20, 2009

GOP : ACORN :: Democrats :

Diebold? That seems roughly correct. Diebold may have been engaged in some nefarious (or, more likely, negligent) activity, but they weren't really anywhere close to the center of the Republican universe.

The difference, of course, is that while progressives have to deal with the black box voting people at conferences and rallies and such (and they have a point! It's just not my #1 issue!), they tended to be shunted to the side. And while I think lefties tend to exaggerate the importance of Glenn Beck, Michelle Bachman, Louie Gohmert, and the like, the GOP has still mainlined the crazy a bit more than Democrats did during their out years.


low-tech cyclist said...

And more significantly, the underlying problem that the Diebold conspiracy theorists pointed to was a very real one: that of unverifiable election results.

Even if we're agnostics over whether it's already been done, we can all agree that if nobody can double-check the voting tallies coming out of the black box, then our elections are vulnerable to being stolen by those who have the keys to the box.

A number of states using electronic voting machines have since legislated fixes for this, and that's a good thing for democracy.

But the underlying problem exposed by the ACORN 'issue' is...what? That leaving it up to individuals to self-register is really stupid and leaves a lot of people disenfranchised, creating a void that organizations like ACORN fill to try to get people registered?

I'm good with that issue; let's fix it - let's figure out a system for the state to register almost everyone eligible to vote.

Of course, that's not what the Republicans want to do; their remaining hopes of doing well electorally are based in part on keeping potential Dem voters unregistered.

So when they bring up ACORN, we need to counter with the logic of doing something about the problem that ACORN attempts to fix.

Neil Sinhababu said...

I agree, LTC. In terms of more broad fixes for the election process, moving election day to the weekend or something would definitely be the way to go.

janinsanfran said...

In the case of both the Diebold conspiracy folks and the ACORN conspiracy folks, what underlies is the notion that we can't trust reported election results. The 2000 Florida fiasco laid bare that, in fact, where margins are very close, it is nearly impossible to get an "accurate" count. We saw that in San Francisco in the early 90s when we passed (or didn't) a stadium bond by 400 some votes.

Results people trust only emerge when the numbers seems to confirm people's intuitive sense of what the outcome should have been. At tiny margins, there's always something to argue about.

An experiential sense that elections are run well and fairly by procedures that seem to make sense is probably the main remedy. That is awfully hard to achieve when election officials are seen as partisan (and are elected partisans) and when election mechanics are grossly underfunded (until there is a scandal).

I actually think the hullabaloo in the last decade has helped some with the latter.