The constitutional case against partisan gerrymandering

The Chicago Tribune, via Verified Voting: The constitutional case against partisan gerrymandering

The case against partisan gerrymandering is not hard to make. It frustrates democracy by preventing voters from evicting those in power. It penalizes voters of one party or the other by deliberately diluting their electoral strength. It renders the consent of the governed largely moot.

Virginia saga continues

Last time we editorialized that the Virginia race that came down to a single ballot and a drawing was noting to be alarmed at, nothing but a close vote.  Yet, there is a new twist,  with many voters in Virginia registered in incorrect districts.  In the district in question just a single voter incorrectly voting in the district or incorrectly excluded could have changed the result. Virginia: Thousands of Virginians may have voted in the wrong state House districts

We cannot trust computers, communications, or officials with elections

Recently two serious structural flaws in computer chips have been disclosed (they were discovered several months ago). So far, the understanding is that one will be difficult to fix and the other impossible, without a new computer architecture.  See:  The World Grapples with Critical Computer Flaws <read>

We cannot say it enough, “Ultimately, computers cannot be protected from fraud and error.” We also cannot trust officials to operate flawlessly. Fortunately, there are solutions.

No New York, Virginia is not like Florida 2000

From the New York Times: Virginia: Voting Mess Was Never Supposed to Happen After Bush v. Gore 

I don’t know where the impression was left that somehow we would not have close elections after 2000.  There are some analogies here but not everything is the same.

Editorial:

Close elections happen.  Each voter and each vote is critical to the result.  Every error by voters, by officials, by machines, and by fraud can change the result. When it is this close it truly is a crap-shoot, even when one candidate or the other wins by a hand-full of votes.  What is needed is a process that is of high-integrity, every step of the way, followed by a fair, per-established adjudication method.  In our opinion that is exactly what is happening in Virginia. A far cry from 2000 and Gore v Bush.

Yes, Virginia your vote does count [if you do vote]

The Virginia House election does remind us. From the Hill: Tied Virginia election proves every vote actually does count

  • Just as one more vote would have made a winner. One vote less on either side would have lost.  So, those who voted can all take credit for the result.
  • This was bigger than it seems.  The final adjudication will determine which party controls the Virginia House.
  • There is no Santa, democracy is in our hands.

Lots of Smoke in Broward County, after ballots destroyed

From Alternet via TruthOut: Was the Heated 2016 Democratic Primary Rigged for Debbie Wasserman Schultz?

“I see what I would call a high likelihood of massive incompetence. Either that or there is fraud. I don’t think you should see numbers this big in this many precincts.”

“This is really weird.” He continued that they ought to be reconciling the number of voters with ballots and if they’re not doing it, “they’re grossly negligent.” Jones served on the Election Assistance Commission’s Technical Guidelines Development Committee for four years, but said “I’ve never seen a county that looks like this.”

Fake News from from “respected sources”, travels fast, with and without correction

Many respect and trust mainstream sources like the Washington Post and CNN. Yet, every source makes mistakes and has biases. Unfortunately, usually accurate sources make mistakes and worse, do an inadequate job of correcting them.  Another reminder from Glen Greenwald at the Intercept: The U.S. Media Suffered Its Most Humiliating Debacle in Ages: Now Refuses All Transparency Over What Happened

Friday was one of the most embarrassing days for the U.S. media in quite a long time. The humiliation orgy was kicked off by CNN, with MSNBC and CBS close behind, with countless pundits, commentators and operatives joining the party throughout the day. By the end of the day, it was clear that several of the nation’s largest and most influential news outlets had spread an explosive but completely false news story to millions of people, while refusing to provide any explanation of how it happened.

The spectacle began on Friday morning at 11 a.m. EST, when the Most Trusted Name in News™ spent 12 straight minutes on air flamboyantly hyping an exclusive bombshell report that seemed to prove that WikiLeaks, last September, had secretly offered the Trump campaign, even Donald Trump himself, special access to the DNC emails before they were published on the internet. As CNN sees the world, this would prove collusion between the Trump family and WikiLeaks and, more importantly, between Trump and Russia, since the U.S. intelligence community regards WikiLeaks as an “arm of Russian intelligence,” and therefore, so does the U.S. media…

It’s impossible to convey with words what a spectacularly devastating scoop CNN believed it had, so it’s necessary to watch it for yourself to see the tone of excitement, breathlessness and gravity the network conveyed as they clearly believed they were delivering a near-fatal blow on the Trump/Russia collusion story..

Incredibly, to this very moment — almost 24 hours after CNN’s story was debunked — Wittes has never noted to his more than 200,000 followers that the story he so excitedly promoted turned out to be utterly false, even though he returned to Twitter long after the story was debunked to tweet about other matters. He just left his false and inflammatory claims uncorrected…

So numerous are the false stories about Russia and Trump over the last year that I literally cannot list them all. Just consider the ones from the last week alone, as enumerated by the New York Times yesterday in its news report on CNN’s embarrassment:

 

I recommend reading the whole piece, the lists of false stories, and watching the embedded videos.

 

What’s the matter with Wisconsin (and almost every state?)

Recent Headlines:

Wisconsin: Walker makes it harder for candidates to get a recount in close races

Former Trump Advisor: Scott Walker Has ‘Rigged’ 5 Elections 

Editorial: What is wrong with this picture? 

“Go FCC Yourself” or lose the last best hope for Democracy

The Trump Administration is doing all it can to kill the Internet as we appreciate it. It is time to follow John Oliver’s advice;
1. Go to http://GoFCCYourself.com
2. Press “+Express” on the right near the top
3. Fill in the form and comment. e.g. “Keep the Internet free, keep it under Tittle II…”

Colorado Completes Nation’s first Risk Limiting Audit

Now it’s in the history books: Colorado has become the first state to complete a “risk-limiting audit” designed to catch mistakes when ballots are tabulated…

“Colorado is a national leader in exploring innovative solutions for accessible, secure and auditable elections,” [Matt} Masterson [Chair of the U.S. Election Assistance Commission] said. “Colorado’s risk-limiting audit provided great insights into how to conduct more efficient and effective post-election audits. The EAC is eager to share some of the lessons learned with election officials across America.”

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