What democracy looks like in the US, February 2008

Update, March 6: democracy largely (albeit imperfectly) prevailed in the LA County mess; 47,153 “double bubble” votes were counted in Los Angeles County. What about Ohio? We shall see …

My update in the the Double Bubble Trouble thread says:

The LA Registrar of Voters says it may not be possible to determine voter intent! Please sign Courage Campaign’s “Count every vote” petition asking for a full recount! 25,000 signatures so far; latest update and discussion of why this claim is nonsense on Brad Friedman’s blog; the latest update from Courage Campaign is here. PeteTV has a video and transcript at So this is what it feels like to be disenfranchised. Please help spread the word!

Update, February 28: Votes will be counted in LA — Courage Campaign says “we won!”

Elsewhere: Brad Friedman has a detailed update on the Washington State Republican caucuses; they’ve once again been called for McCain with 96% reporting — the state party chair says they may not be able to count all 100%. TPM reports that the Huckabee campaign is threatening legal action. There were major problems in Louisiana; the New Mexico Democratic recount is proceeding with 2,800 provisional ballots qualified so far; John Gideon’s Daily Voting News has links.

(originally posted February 12)

In addition to Washington, California (where there are still at least 800,000 uncounted ballots), and New Mexico, there have been reports of significant problems in Louisiana, Georgia, Arizona, and most recently New York — and let’s not forget the New Hampshire recount, which revealed gaping problems in the “chain of custody” for ballots. What a mess.

What’s even more chilling is the lack of responsiveness by some politicians. The “Double Bubble Trouble” LA County situation had led to 40% undervotes in 2004 and 2006; nobody did anything. A Clinton spokesperson ‘s response was along the lines of “this was known for months and ‘our’ voters knew what to do.” NBC/NJ’s Adam Aigner-Treworgy quoted McCain’s straight talk about the Washington mess when 13% of the votes, including entire counties, were still uncounted: “I know that state parties declare elections when they have sufficient evidence as to who’s won and who’s lost. That’s not unusual in any way.” [By the way, the political patron of they guy who prematurely announced the results is the head of McCain’s committee in Washington State.] It’s not pretty.

The end result is good: more pressure for transparency, more exposure of backdoor deals and corruption. Penalties and lawsuits based on their performance here will increase the financial pressure on vote fraud companies like Diebold, ES&S, and Inkavote (or whatever they’ve changed their names to these days); Diebold just restated their earnings by $300,000,000 and announced layoffs, and I’m sure the others who had to buy back their machines after decertification in California aren’t in better shape. Federal investigations are going forward. The huge spotlight on this mess will accelerate the cleanup.

But man, it sure isn’t pretty.

For now, the best ways to help are to sign the Courage Campaign’s petition, participate in the discussions online and off, and get the word out — both about the petition and the extent of the problems. None of this has gotten significant coverage in mainstream media; try to let your local media outlets know about it (is there a local angle?) as well as any media contacts you might have.