Election safeguards “fluff”?

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votingNow that the alternative fact universe is portraying everything as hunky-dory with our election system, the “Republican-led House Administration Committee voted Tuesday to shut down the federal agency set up to help states improve their election systems.”  Rep. Gregg Harper (R-Miss.), chairman of the committee, said the Election Assistance Commission (EAC) has “outlived” its usefulness and should be ended as,”We don’t need fluff.”  Rep. Robert Brady (D-Pa), in dissent, argued the EAC helps states run “fair, accurate and efficient elections”and provided the states with important support in the last election.

However, the need for a secure and transparent voting system is needed more than ever.  As reported recently in “Rolling Stone” magazine, a system called Crosscheck developed by one of Trump’s advisors, Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, appears to be nothing more than a purge system to “disenfranchise voters under the guise of battling voter fraud.”  In use in over 28 states, election officials have compiled confidential lists of over 7.2 million suspects which “disproportionately threatens solid Democratic constituencies.” However, there has been found that “no more than four perpetrators…have been charged with double voting or deliberate double registration.”  Some of the biggest voter purges resulting from the use of the system have been done in Ohio and North Carolina, two crucial swing states.

Another front in the battle for fair elections continues with the use of voting machines that can be easily hacked.  As reported in the 10-year-old, Emmy award-nominated HBO movie “Hacking Democracy,” the same voting machines demonstrated to be so easily corrupted to flip votes are still in use today and were used in the 2016 elections. Susan Pynchon, a local activist in the film and founder and Executive Director of Florida Fair Elections Coalition, says that things have gotten even worse in Florida since the film was made.  Senseless restrictions on vote recounts were placed into law stealthily by way of a large elections bill and most people aren’t aware of the negative impact this will have on future recounts that may become necessary.

A transparent, fair and accurate voting system is needed for a free democracy and much more work needs to be done on a number of fronts with citizen participation. There is no time to become complacent and believe the partisans and corporations that have the power and ability to control elections in secret are doing so with our best interests in mind.

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