Saturday, September 13, 2008

This is no way to hold an election

I have not commented much on the upcoming election, except for making my support of the Obama/Biden ticket clear. The reason why I haven't done so, is because I expect all my readers to have made up their minds already, and because I frankly find the possibility of a Republican victory depressing beyond words.

So, this post is not about the upcoming US election, but rather about the US election process.

Considering the fact that the US has been a democracy for a long time, it's hard for me to understand how badly the whole process of voting works out in the US. After each election we hear numerous stories about the problems people have had with getting to vote. These problems are especially widespread in poor neighborhoods, which means Blacks are dis-proportionally dis-franchised. There have been some evidence that some of these problems are to some degree caused intentionally by people who find it politically convenient if the affected group of voters don't get to vote. Other problems are on the other hand caused by incompetence, which people in position to do something about this, don't care about.

How can a country claim to be a democracy when people are blocked from voting?

Another great problem is that people can't be sure that their vote is counted, even if they get to vote. This was best demonstrated in Florida in the 2000 election. However, that's hardly the only time when this has been demonstrated - there have been numerous examples of problems with voting machines, yet again, it seems like the people in positions to do something about this don't care.

This should be completely unacceptable in a country that claims it's a democracy.

Even worse, there are countless ways in which the voting machines can be hacked - they well described in this blogpost: Hacking Your Vote (sent to me by Dalager). The post doesn't tell anything new, but it's a good summary of the possibilities.

One of the most important tasks in a democracy is to ensure that people can't commit voting fraud, yet the electronic voting machines are still in use. How can that be accepted in a country which claims it's one of the oldest democracies in the world?

I have said in jest in the past that I think the EU should send observers to ensure that the US elections are fair. Maybe we really should?

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