There are some bumps in the hardware Americans use for in-person voting. The machines used to capture and relay voting preferences come from three vendors whose code is secret. Hackers have managed to penetrate at least one of these systems experts report. Other systems have a gap between the moment voters indicate choices and generation of a paper record. Some experts say hackers could penetrate that interval. So-called Ballot Marking Devices present problems and not just in Alabama. California’s biggest county, Los Angeles, is the proud owner of $900 million in new balloting systems that have drawn the ire and dismay of numerous experts who at this moment are mounting a campaign to oppose certification.
Meanwhile, how could the alternative, mail-in balloting, fail? Let us count the ways: Half a dozen states don’t even allow it, even in a pandemic. Only the narrowest sliver of Texas or Louisiana voters will be excused from standing in hours-long lines on Nov. 3. Then there’s the matter of postal flakiness, of a mysterious sudden. Mail delays and removal of sorting devices could mean millions of ballots miss deadlines unadjusted in the face of pandemic or post office malfunction. Fair is fair. Cheating is cheating. Matching signatures on the outside of ballots will present some challenges. I read that a breathtaking (and potentially election-tipping) 20% (!!) of New York’s mail-in ballots were disqualified in their recent debacle of a primary. That’s worrisome.
So why not feel panic?
In the face of the implacable idiocy, intrinsic racism and anti-democratic essence of the Electoral College, most states’ sentiments are irrelevant. We are left with an election in which only Michigan and Pennsylvania, possibly also Wisconsin and Minnesota, matter. That’s democracy??? On what planet?!
Yeah, fear is in the room. The demonstrated incompetence – even lack of interest in governing – of the current administration appears not to matter in the coming count. We have giant crowds of unmasked supporters, crowded into enclosed areas, who listen to the disjointed rantings of a malignant narcissist and we the majority seem powerless to do much about any of that. The reign of facts has ended. Science appears irrelevant. Sentiment rules. Majorities appear pointless and powerless. There is no system to rig. Every point of contact is a point of failure.
So why not be consumed by fear?…
Rest assured that if this election can be stolen – by the Russians and/or their agents in Washington – there will be few or no actions to repair the broken system that betrayed the majority.
We seem to be at an end to a glorious experiment. In the face of manipulated mass media, ascendant disinformation and epistemological derangement, democracy must fail. Well it might. On November 3, or thereafter, when the last halting returns are reported from unprepared and overwhelmed states, we will either begin wholesale restructuring of our polity or…speaking for myself, surrender the hope and ambition that brought our forebears to these shores.
We do what cries out for attention and fix our creaking, gamed and shattering system or I will add my shoulder to the shoving that will pitch America, and all it once stood for, into the pit.