Dan Rather Reports – The Trouble With Our Fear Of Facing The Facts

On Tuesday night Dan Rather Reports on HDTV presented “The Trouble With Touch Screens”.

It is well worth watching in its 64 minute entirety. Dan Rather deserves credit for this important and detailed report, however, there are inadequacies in the report that must be acknowledged as well – it is chilling, and devastating, yet mistitled, and incomplete.

Update:  Sarasota reacts to report.

Let me suggest another title “The Trouble With Our Fear Of Facing The Facts”. A fear in Congress, in the media, and in the public that knowing the facts and pursuing the truth is somehow to risky.

Mistitled because a large portion of the 64 minute program was dedicated to the punch card ballots in Florida.

  • The cards worked well for years
  • For the 2000 election inferior paper was used for the cards
  • For 2000 in Florida the employees were told to adjust the equipment, which had the result of causing the hanging chads – especially for the Presidential ballot.

Incomplete because the only scientist interviewed was Michael Shamos who holds notoriously out of the mainstream views. Mr. Shamos is practically alone among computer scientists in his belief that computer voting, especially touch screens, may be made reliable, even more reliable than paper. Interviewing Mr. Shamos alone is like interviewing a climatologist on the staff of Exxon for their views on global warming. I cannot question Mr Shamos’ motives, but I can question any reporter or Senate committee that interviews him alone and thereby implies that he represents mainstream views.

Mr. Shamos and in the end Mr. Rather attribute the problems to foreign outsourcing in the face contradictory evidence:

  • The failed touch screens were manufactured in the United States
  • The Philippines was committed sufficiently to election integrity to convert back to paper ballots
  • There is no evidence that the Sequoia problems had anything to do with foreign inferior paper – and every reason to beleive that both good old fashioned greed was coupled with strategies specifically aimed at throwing the election in Florida into chaos.

Chilling because:

  • It validates the charge that the hanging chad was just a smoke screen to cover the real election count irregularities, and voter suppression in Florida.
  • Raises the real possibility that the chaos and challenges that happened in Florida on election night in 2000 and after was planned in advance.
  • That elected officials in Florida knowingly overlooked problems with voting systems ongoingly.
  • That the Congress has completely failed to effectively investigate the state of election integrity since 2000, to this date.

Devastating because it shows competent people demonstrating the details of known problems. American and foreign workers, technicians, and management who tried to do the right thing, and are today doing the right thing – so far, to no avail.

For Connecticut the implications are significant, yet indirect:

  • We have no reason to believe similar problems cannot happen to us in Connecticut, just because we use optical scan and purchase them from Diebold.
  • Our Legislature, Secretary of the State, and citizens must pursue the facts wherever they lead to assure election integrity.
  • Our votes for President, Senator, and Representative are dininished in value when we cannot trust the integrity of the election process in other states.
  • Our congressional representatives, especially Senator Dodd who championed the Help America Vote Act, must work to investigate and act to provide election integrity.
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