If the fix is in, it doesn't matter whether Barack Obama really deserves to be the Democratic nominee, he'll never get a fair chance to compete for the presidency. Debates about whether the Junior Senator from Illinois is Black enough or whether whites will be willing to vote for an African-American are moot so long as the sanctity of the ballot box can't be guaranteed. If the fix is in, it doesn't matter whether Barack Obama really deserves to be the Democratic nominee, he'll never get a fair chance to compete for the presidency. Debates about whether the Junior Senator from Illinois is Black enough or whether whites will be willing to vote for an African-American are moot so long as the sanctity of the ballot box can't be guaranteed.
The problem is that the Diebold Corporation is at it again, and the voting machine company appears to be already in the process of quietly perpetrating the mother of all vote frauds. In case you forgot, Diebold is the manufacturer of the electronic tabulator which counted the majority of the votes in the last two U.S. presidential elections.
I first called for the United Nations to monitor polling places all across the country after Diebold's wholesale disenfranchisement of Blacks in Florida decided the controversial 2000 race. And I reiterated that demand in 2004 after irregularities in Ohio put Bush back in office for another four years.
Now, judging by what went down virtually unnoticed in New Hampshire on January 8th, we're again in dire need of U.N. observers during the 2008 primary season, just to give the democratic process a chance to unfold untainted by fraud. For, while the punditocracy has been busy dubbing Hillary Clinton the Comeback Kid and attributing her surprise victory to women rallying to her support in the wake of her eyes welling up on camera, no one's looking for a more plausible explanation than that overly-publicized Muskie moment.
The cold hard truth is that on the night of the New Hampshire primary, all the scientifically-conducted exit polls had predicted an Obama two-digit win. Given the +/-4.5% margin of error, this means it wasn't a question of whether Barack would win, only by how much. However, everybody forgot that Diebold would be counting the votes electronically in 81% of the state's precincts, while the other 19% were being tallied by hand.
And wouldn't you know, when the results were announced, there was a statistically-significant difference between the tallies based on a paper trail and those recorded by Diebold's machines? As reported by a watchdog organization called CheckTheVotes.com (see below), Obama garnered 38% of the votes counted by hand, followed by Clinton with 34%, Edwards with 17% Richardson with 5% and Kucinich with almost 2%. By contrast, Diebold's tabulations had Clinton finishing first with a whopping 40%, while every other candidate had lower percentages than in the hand-counted districts. The computers had Obama dropping to 35%, Edwards to 16%, Richardson to 4% and Kucinich to 1%.
Does it seem suspicious to you that all the candidates but Clinton did worse when the votes weren't verified, especially in the wake of the precedent of the prior Diebold debacles? Unless an outcry is raised, and steps are taken immediately to monitor the electronic tallies in the upcoming primaries, it is readily apparent that the only Democratic machine Hillary will need to prevail is the one programmed by Diebold.
Lloyd Kam Williams is a film and book critic, and an attorney and a member of the NJ, NY, CT, PA, MA & US Supreme Court bars.
Chart courtesy of CheckTheVote.com
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