Nice election, we’ll take it

Obama’s decisive win shouldn’t let us lose sight of just how badly in need of reform our electoral process is—and just how close we may have come to another stolen election. On Friday, October 31st, Mike Connell, GOP IT specialist and Rove protege, found himself in an Ohio court being accused by a member of the Ohio bar of stealing the 2004 election in favor of George Bush. Connell asked for several days to prepare his deposition, claiming he was too busy to testify until after Election Day; attorney Cliff Arnebeck told him that was like the robber saying he couldn’t show up in court because he was busy getting ready to rob the bank.  The judge ordered Connell to be in court on Monday; Connell showed up with a battery of GOP lawyers and denied all wrongdoing under oath.  But any ability he had for maneuvering was at an end.

And that’s where things stood when the whistle blew. Whether or not another game-changing scheme really was in the works, in hindsight Obama’s lead was probably too pronounced to allow for any believable vote-fixing that would impact the national results.  But the fundamentals of the process—the use of private contractors, the lack of any standards from state to state, the ability of local elections officials to influence results, the proliferation of unreliable electronic voting machines, etc.—leave the door open for future thievery.  And there’s been multiple reports of irregularities in the Senate races still being counted. So this remains an issue that the broader public desperately needs to wake up to. Still, it’s worth taking a moment to recognize the outstanding NGOs and journalists who worked so tirelessly to keep this issue top of mind in the run up to the election:  in particular, BlackBoxVoting, Brad Friedman, Mark Crispin Miller, Greg Palast, Velvet Revolution, and of course the folks at Rolling Stone.

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