Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Voting fraud? But so what? 

Olbermann remains commited to covering the voting fraud story, I hope.
Because what I cannot figure out yet in reading the internet stories on the voting problems is this: did the overvotes give Bush Ohio and Florida? Or not?
This is the "so what?" part of the story that we haven't reached yet.
There are two mutually-exclusive story lines here.
The right-wing blogs seem convinced that the voting fraud stories prove their belief that those low-down dirty Democrats tried to steal the election by signing up fraudulent voters who would vote illegally for Kerry. It was this belief that they used to justify the harrasment and intimidation and attempted disqualifications before and during the election; now they think it explains the overvote counties in Ohio. It also, for them, confirms their inner conviction that patriotic Americans simply couldn't have voted for Kerry.
The progressive blogs, on the other hand, are convinced that the fraud stories prove their assertion that electronic voting machines, particularly the optical scan vote counters, were rigged so republicans could steal the election for Bush. This also supports the long-standing fears about Diebold, whose CEO famously promised to deliver Ohio for Bush. And again, it confirms the inner conviction that sensible Americans simply couldn't have voted for Bush.
Of course, I tend to believe the progressive blogs are correct, while the right-wingers are wrong.
But what is missing so far in both storylines is actual human testimony -- someone coming forward to say, yes I registered a bunch of phoney democrats, or yes, I programmed a vote-counting computer to triple-count the Bush votes. And I cannot find yet a summary or analysis of who actually got the votes -- were the 93,000 Ohio overvotes credited to Bush? Or to Kerry? Did the disproportionate Bush votes in heavily Democratic Florida counties actually make the difference in turning Florida, or was there a sufficient margin in the rest of the state to render these votes meaningless anyway?
I disagree with Digby, who says the overall 3-million vote margin likely provides sufficient legitimacy to Bush's presidency -- it DOES matter who actually won the electoral college.

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