Rolling Stone has an interview with Republican DeForest Soaries, the first chair of the federal Election Assistance Commission. He basically claims the EAC was a joke; an agency that was set up so that politicians could say they “did something” about the 2000 election fiasco in Florida.
Soaries goes on to lament the fact that there are no standards about what is acceptable in elections as far as machine failures and waiting times:
Here’s what I found troubling. Look at Ohio. Is a two-hour line appropriate or inappropriate? We don’t have an answer to that question. What we say is that democracy means that you have the right to vote without intimidation and undue burdens. But if you stand in line for six hours, technically, today there is no document, no standard, no law that says that that’s wrong. And the problem is this is six years after Florida 2000! What number of votes is an acceptable number to lose in any race? We don’t have a performance rate for machines. If we discovered that of 10,000 Diebold machines model XYZ, 1,000 break down during the day, is that acceptable or unacceptable? If it were a toaster we could tell you, it were a tire we could tell you. If a certain tire malfunctions a certain number of times then they have a recall.
We have no basis for having a recall of any particular type of voting equipment because there are no standards. And when we do have standards, even these standards are required to be voluntary. So is a one percent error rate good? Is a two percent error rate good? 5,000 votes cast, only 4,000 counted? Is that success or failure?
So when you ask me about Ohio, you can recite to me the worst data that anyone has unearthed in Ohio, I would have to say to you — very technically — so what? What does it violate?
It may violate your sensibilities, it may violate my sensitivities, it may violate someone else’s sense of fair play. But the Secretary of State of Ohio has proven that you can get straight through an election by saying: We broke no law. You see the problem?
That is indeed a problem. It raises the specter of an election that was stolen fair and square! Republicans could say, “Sure we stole the election; but it was all 100% legal!” and they’d only be lying a little bit. I’m sure it wouldn’t be 100% legal, but since they were in charge in Florida in 2000 and in Ohio in 2004, they were able to make the laws and set (or strip) the standards. This is a classic conundrum in democracy: Who watches the watchers? Who polices the police? Who votes in the election officials that count the votes?
Soaries is right. This system is an embarrassment; a national disgrace.
So what did our elected representatives do today? Did they tackle the problem of election reform? Did they work hard to fix a broken system in time for the 2006 midterm elections?
Useless fucking pieces of shit! The goddamned bigots did nothing but try and split the electorate and rally their base by pushing a hateful, pointless and utterly un-American piece of legislation designed to discriminate against a small and vulnerable group of Americans who have done nothing wrong.
I’m so fucking proud. [/sarcasm]