October 13, 2003

A Quiet Revolution is Taking Place in US Politics. By the Time It's Over, the Integrity of Elections Will be in the Unchallenged, Unscrutinized Control of a Few Large - and Pro-Republican - Corporations.

Very, very important story. Please pass it on.

Independent (U.K.): "Something very odd happened in the mid-term elections in Georgia last November. On the eve of the vote, opinion polls showed Roy Barnes, the incumbent Democratic governor, leading by between nine and 11 points. In a somewhat closer, keenly watched Senate race, polls indicated that Max Cleland, the popular Democrat up for re-election, was ahead by two to five points against his Republican challenger, Saxby Chambliss."

Published on Monday, October 13, 2003 by the
All the President's Votes?
A Quiet Revolution is Taking Place in US Politics. By the Time It's Over, the Integrity of Elections Will be in the Unchallenged, Unscrutinized Control of a Few Large - and Pro-Republican - Corporations.
Andrew Gumbel wonders if democracy in America can survive

by Andrew Gumbel

Something very odd happened in the mid-term elections
in Georgia last November. On the eve of the vote,
opinion polls showed Roy Barnes, the incumbent
Democratic governor, leading by between nine and 11
points. In a somewhat closer, keenly watched Senate
race, polls indicated that Max Cleland, the popular
Democrat up for re-election, was ahead by two to five
points against his Republican challenger, Saxby

Corporate America is very close to running this
country. The only thing that is stopping them from
taking total control are the pesky voters. That's why
there's such a drive to control the vote. What we're
seeing is the corporatization of the last shred of

Roxanne Jekot
computer programmer
Those figures were more or less what political experts
would have expected in state with a long tradition of
electing Democrats to statewide office. But then the
results came in, and all of Georgia appeared to have
been turned upside down. Barnes lost the governorship
to the Republican, Sonny Perdue, 46 per cent to 51 per
cent, a swing of as much as 16 percentage points from
the last opinion polls. Cleland lost to Chambliss 46
per cent to 53, a last-minute swing of 9 to 12 points.

Red-faced opinion pollsters suddenly had a lot of
explaining to do and launched internal investigations.
Political analysts credited the upset - part of a
pattern of Republican successes around the country -
to a huge campaigning push by President Bush in the
final days of the race. They also said that Roy Barnes
had lost because of a surge of "angry white men"
punishing him for eradicating all but a vestige of the
old confederate symbol from the state flag.

But something about these explanations did not make
sense, and they have made even less sense over time.
When the Georgia secretary of state's office published
its demographic breakdown of the election earlier this
year, it turned out there was no surge of angry white
men; in fact, the only subgroup showing even a modest
increase in turnout was black women.

There were also big, puzzling swings in partisan
loyalties in different parts of the state. In 58
counties, the vote was broadly in line with the
primary election. In 27 counties in
Republican-dominated north Georgia, however, Max
Cleland unaccountably scored 14 percentage points
higher than he had in the primaries. And in 74
counties in the Democrat south, Saxby Chambliss
garnered a whopping 22 points more for the Republicans
than the party as a whole had won less than three
months earlier.

Now, weird things like this do occasionally occur in
elections, and the figures, on their own, are not
proof of anything except statistical anomalies worthy
of further study. But in Georgia there was an extra
reason to be suspicious. Last November, the state
became the first in the country to conduct an election
entirely with touchscreen voting machines, after
lavishing $54m (£33m) on a new system that promised to
deliver the securest, most up-to-date, most
voter-friendly election in the history of the
republic. The machines, however, turned out to be
anything but reliable. With academic studies showing
the Georgia touchscreens to be poorly programmed, full
of security holes and prone to tampering, and with
thousands of similar machines from different companies
being introduced at high speed across the country,
computer voting may, in fact, be US democracy's own
21st-century nightmare.

In many Georgia counties last November, the machines
froze up, causing long delays as technicians tried to
reboot them. In heavily Democratic Fulton County, in
downtown Atlanta, 67 memory cards from the voting
machines went missing, delaying certification of the
results there for 10 days. In neighboring DeKalb
County, 10 memory cards were unaccounted for; they
were later recovered from terminals that had
supposedly broken down and been taken out of service.

It is still unclear exactly how results from these
missing cards were tabulated, or if they were counted
at all. And we will probably never know, for a highly
disturbing reason. The vote count was not conducted by
state elections officials, but by the private company
that sold Georgia the voting machines in the first
place, under a strict trade-secrecy contract that made
it not only difficult but actually illegal - on pain
of stiff criminal penalties - for the state to touch
the equipment or examine the proprietary software to
ensure the machines worked properly. There was not
even a paper trail to follow up. The machines were
fitted with thermal printing devices that could
theoretically provide a written record of voters'
choices, but these were not activated. Consequently,
recounts were impossible. Had Diebold Inc, the
manufacturer, been asked to review the votes, all it
could have done was program the computers to spit out
the same data as before, flawed or not.

Astonishingly, these are the terms under which
America's top three computer voting machine
manufacturers - Diebold, Sequoia and Election Systems
and Software (ES&S) - have sold their products to
election officials around the country. Far from
questioning the need for rigid trade secrecy and the
absence of a paper record, secretaries of state and
their technical advisers - anxious to banish memories
of the hanging chad fiasco and other associated
disasters in the 2000 presidential recount in Florida
- have, for the most part, welcomed the touchscreen
voting machines as a technological miracle solution.

Georgia was not the only state last November to see
big last-minute swings in voting patterns. There were
others in Colorado, Minnesota, Illinois and New
Hampshire - all in races that had been flagged as key
partisan battlegrounds, and all won by the Republican
Party. Again, this was widely attributed to the
campaigning efforts of President Bush and the
demoralization of a Democratic Party too timid to
speak out against the looming war in Iraq.

Also See:
Diebold Voting Machine Owner Committed To Give Votes
To Bush in 2004
Cleveland Plain Dealer 8/28/2003

Will Bush Backers Manipulate Votes to Deliver GW
Another Election?
Democracy Now! 9/4/2003


Strangely, however, the pollsters made no comparable
howlers in lower-key races whose outcome was not
seriously contested. Another anomaly, perhaps. What,
then, is one to make of the fact that the owners of
the three major computer voting machines are all
prominent Republican Party donors? Or of a recent
political fund-raising letter written to Ohio
Republicans by Walden O'Dell, Diebold's chief
executive, in which he said he was "committed to
helping Ohio to deliver its electoral votes to the
president next year" - even as his company was bidding
for the contract on the state's new voting machinery?

Alarmed and suspicious, a group of Georgia citizens
began to look into last November's election to see
whether there was any chance the results might have
been deliberately or accidentally manipulated. Their
research proved unexpectedly, and disturbingly,

First, they wanted to know if the software had
undergone adequate checking. Under state and federal
law, all voting machinery and component parts must be
certified before use in an election. So an Atlanta
graphic designer called Denis Wright wrote to the
secretary of state's office for a copy of the
certification letter. Clifford Tatum, assistant
director of legal affairs for the election division,
wrote back: "We have determined that no records exist
in the Secretary of State's office regarding a
certification letter from the lab certifying the
version of software used on Election Day." Mr Tatum
said it was possible the relevant documents were with
Gary Powell, an official at the Georgia Technology
Authority, so campaigners wrote to him as well. Mr
Powell responded he was "not sure what you mean by the
words 'please provide written certification documents'

"If the machines were not certified, then right there
the election was illegal," Mr Wright says. The
secretary of state's office has yet to demonstrate
anything to the contrary. The investigating citizens
then considered the nature of the software itself.
Shortly after the election, a Diebold technician
called Rob Behler came forward and reported that, when
the machines were about to be shipped to Georgia
polling stations in the summer of 2002, they performed
so erratically that their software had to be amended
with a last-minute "patch". Instead of being
transmitted via disk - a potentially time-consuming
process, especially since its author was in Canada,
not Georgia - the patch was posted, along with the
entire election software package, on an open-access
FTP, or file transfer protocol site, on the internet.

That, according to computer experts, was a violation
of the most basic of security precautions, opening all
sorts of possibilities for the introduction of rogue
or malicious code. At the same time, however, it gave
campaigners a golden opportunity to circumvent
Diebold's own secrecy demands and see exactly how the
system worked. Roxanne Jekot, a computer programmer
with 20 years' experience, and an occasional teacher
at Lanier Technical College northeast of Atlanta, did
a line-by-line review and found "enough to stand your
hair on end".

"There were security holes all over it," she says,
"from the most basic display of the ballot on the
screen all the way through the operating system."
Although the program was designed to be run on the
Windows 2000 NT operating system, which has numerous
safeguards to keep out intruders, Ms Jekot found it
worked just fine on the much less secure Windows 98;
the 2000 NT security features were, as she put it,

Also embedded in the software were the comments of the
programmers working on it. One described what he and
his colleagues had just done as "a gross hack".
Elsewhere was the remark: "This doesn't really work."
"Not a confidence builder, would you say?" Ms Jekot
says. "They were operating in panic mode, cobbling
together something that would work for the moment,
knowing that at some point they would have to go back
to figure out how to make it work more permanently."
She found some of the code downright suspect - for
example, an overtly meaningless instruction to divide
the number of write-in votes by 1. "From a logical
standpoint there is absolutely no reason to do that,"
she says. "It raises an immediate red flag."

Mostly, though, she was struck by the shoddiness of
much of the programming. "I really expected to have
some difficulty reviewing the source code because it
would be at a higher level than I am accustomed to,"
she says. "In fact, a lot of this stuff looked like
the homework my first-year students might have turned
in." Diebold had no specific comment on Ms Jekot's
interpretations, offering only a blanket caution about
the complexity of election systems "often not well
understood by individuals with little real-world

But Ms Jekot was not the only one to examine the
Diebold software and find it lacking. In July, a group
of researchers from the Information Security Institute
at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore discovered
what they called "stunning flaws". These included
putting the password in the source code, a basic
security no-no; manipulating the voter smart-card
function so one person could cast more than one vote;
and other loopholes that could theoretically allow
voters' ballot choices to be altered without their
knowledge, either on the spot or by remote access.

Diebold issued a detailed response, saying that the
Johns Hopkins report was riddled with false
assumptions, inadequate information and "a multitude
of false conclusions". Substantially similar findings,
however, were made in a follow-up study on behalf of
the state of Maryland, in which a group of computer
security experts catalogued 328 software flaws, 26 of
them critical, putting the whole system "at high risk
of compromise". "If these vulnerabilities are
exploited, significant impact could occur on the
accuracy, integrity, and availability of election
results," their report says.

Ever since the Johns Hopkins study, Diebold has sought
to explain away the open FTP file as an old,
incomplete version of its election package. The claim
cannot be independently verified, because of the
trade-secrecy agreement, and not everyone is buying
it. "It is documented throughout the code who changed
what and when. We have the history of this program
from 1996 to 2002," Ms Jekot says. "I have no doubt
this is the software used in the elections." Diebold
now says it has upgraded its encryption and password
features - but only on its Maryland machines.

A key security question concerned compatibility with
Microsoft Windows, and Ms Jekot says just three
programmers, all of them senior Diebold executives,
were involved in this aspect of the system. One of
these, Diebold's vice-president of research and
development, Talbot Iredale, wrote an e-mail in April
2002 - later obtained by the campaigners - making it
clear that he wanted to shield the operating system
from Wylie Labs, an independent testing agency
involved in the early certification process.

The reason that emerges from the e-mail is that he
wanted to make the software compatible with WinCE 3.0,
an operating system used for handhelds and PDAs; in
other words, a system that could be manipulated from a
remote location. "We do not want Wyle [sic] reviewing
and certifying the operating systems," the e-mail
reads. "Therefore can we keep to a minimum the
references to the WinCE 3.0 operating system."

In an earlier intercepted e-mail, this one from Ken
Clark in Diebold's research and development
department, the company explained upfront to another
independent testing lab that the supposedly secure
software system could be accessed without a password,
and its contents easily changed using the Microsoft
Access program Mr Clark says he had considered putting
in a password requirement to stop dealers and
customers doing "stupid things", but that the easy
access had often "got people out of a bind".
Astonishingly, the representative from the independent
testing lab did not see anything wrong with this and
granted certification to the part of the software
program she was inspecting - a pattern of
lackadaisical oversight that was replicated all the
way to the top of the political chain of command in
Georgia, and in many other parts of the country.

Diebold has not contested the authenticity of the
e-mails, now openly accessible on the internet.
However, Diebold did caution that, as the e-mails were
taken from a Diebold Election systems website in March
2003 by an illegal hack, the nature of the information
stolen could have been revised or manipulated.

There are two reasons why the United States is rushing
to overhaul its voting systems. The first is the
Florida débâcle in the Bush-Gore election; no state
wants to be the center of that kind of attention
again. And the second is the Help America Vote Act
(HAVA), signed by President Bush last October, which
promises an unprecedented $3.9bn (£2.3bn) to the
states to replace their old punchcard-and-lever
machines. However, enthusiasm for the new technology
seems to be motivated as much by a bureaucratic love
of spending as by a love of democratic accountability.
According to Rebecca Mercuri, a research fellow at
Harvard's John F Kennedy School of Government and a
specialist in voting systems, the shockingly high
error rate of punchcard machines (3-5 per cent in
Florida in 2000) has been known to people in the
elections business for years. It was only after it
became public knowledge in the last presidential
election that anybody felt moved to do anything about

The problem is, computer touchscreen machines and
other so-called DRE (direct recording electronic)
systems are significantly less reliable than
punchcards, irrespective of their vulnerability to
interference. In a series of research papers for the
Voting Technology Project, a joint venture of the
prestigious Massachusetts and California Institutes of
Technology, DREs were found to be among the worst
performing systems. No method, the MIT/CalTech study
conceded, worked more reliably than hand-counting
paper ballots - an option that US electoral officials
seem to consider hopelessly antiquated, or at least
impractical in elections combining multiple local,
state and national races for offices from President
down to dogcatcher.

The clear disadvantages and dangers associated with
DREs have not deterred state and county authorities
from throwing themselves headlong into touchscreen
technology. More than 40,000 machines made by Diebold
alone are already in use in 37 states, and most are
touchscreens. County after county is poised to spend
hundreds of millions of dollars more on computer
voting before next spring's presidential primaries.
"They say this is the direction they have to go in to
have fair elections, but the rush to go towards
computerization is very dubious," Dr Mercuri says.
"One has to wonder why this is going on, because the
way it is set up it takes away the checks and balances
we have in a democratic society. That's the whole
point of paper trails and recounts."

Anyone who has struggled with an interactive display
in a museum knows how dodgy touchscreens can be. If
they don't freeze, they easily become misaligned,
which means they can record the wrong data. In Dallas,
during early voting before last November's election,
people found that no matter how often they tried to
press a Democrat button, the Republican candidate's
name would light up. After a court hearing, Diebold
agreed to take down 18 machines with apparent
misalignment problems. "And those were the ones where
you could visually spot a problem," Dr Mercuri says.
"What about what you don't see? Just because your vote
shows up on the screen for the Democrats, how do you
know it is registering inside the machine for the

Other problems have shown up periodically: machines
that register zero votes, or machines that indicate
voters coming to the polling station but not voting,
even when a single race with just two candidates was
on the ballot. Dr Mercuri was part of a lawsuit in
Palm Beach County in which she and other plaintiffs
tried to have a suspect Sequoia machine examined, only
to run up against the brick wall of the trade-secret
agreement. "It makes it really hard to show their
product has been tampered with," she says, "if it's a
felony to inspect it."

As for the possibilities of foul play, Dr Mercuri says
they are virtually limitless. "There are literally
hundreds of ways to do this," she says. "There are
hundreds of ways to embed a rogue series of commands
into the code and nobody would ever know because the
nature of programming is so complex. The numbers would
all tally perfectly." Tampering with an election could
be something as simple as a "denial-of-service"
attack, in which the machines simply stop working for
an extended period, deterring voters faced with the
prospect of long lines. Or it could be done with
invasive computer codes known in the trade by such
nicknames as "Trojan horses" or "Easter eggs".
Detecting one of these, Dr Mercuri says, would be
almost impossible unless the investigator knew in
advance it was there and how to trigger it. Computer
researcher Theresa Hommel, who is alarmed by
touchscreen systems, has constructed a simulated
voting machine in which the same candidate always
wins, no matter what data you put in. She calls her
model the Fraud-o-matic, and it is available online at

It is not just touchscreens which are at risk from
error or malicious intrusion. Any computer system used
to tabulate votes is vulnerable. An optical scan of
ballots in Scurry County, Texas, last November
erroneously declared a landslide victory for the
Republican candidate for county commissioner; a
subsequent hand recount showed that the Democrat had
in fact won. In Comal County, Texas, a computerized
optical scan found that three different candidates had
won their races with exactly 18,181 votes. There was
no recount or investigation, even though the
coincidence, with those recurring 1s and 8s, looked
highly suspicious. In heavily Democrat Broward County,
Florida - which had switched to touchscreens in the
wake of the hanging chad furore - more than 100,000
votes were found to have gone "missing" on election
day. The votes were reinstated, but the glitch was not
adequately explained. One local official blamed it on
a "minor software thing".

Most suspect of all was the governor's race in
Alabama, where the incumbent Democrat, Don Siegelman,
was initially declared the winner. Sometime after
midnight, when polling station observers and most
staff had gone home, the probate judge responsible for
elections in rural Baldwin County suddenly
"discovered" that Mr Siegelman had been awarded 7,000
votes too many. In a tight election, the change was
enough to hand victory to his Republican challenger,
Bob Riley. County officials talked vaguely of a
computer tabulation error, or a lightning strike
messing up the machines, but the real reason was never
ascertained because the state's Republican attorney
general refused to authorize a recount or any
independent ballot inspection.

According to an analysis by James Gundlach, a
sociology professor at Auburn University in Alabama,
the result in Baldwin County was full of wild
deviations from the statistical norms established both
by this and preceding elections. And he adds: "There
is simply no way that electronic vote counting can
produce two sets of results without someone using
computer programs in ways that were not intended. In
other words, the fact that two sets of results were
reported is sufficient evidence in and of itself that
the vote tabulation process was compromised." Although
talk of voting fraud quickly subsided, Alabama has now
amended its election laws to make recounts mandatory
in close races.

The possibility of flaws in the electoral process is
not something that gets discussed much in the United
States. The attitude seems to be: we are the greatest
democracy in the world, so the system must be fair.
That has certainly been the prevailing view in
Georgia, where even leading Democrats - their prestige
on the line for introducing touchscreen voting in the
first place - have fought tooth-and-nail to defend the
integrity of the system. In a phone interview, the
head of the Georgia Technology Authority who brought
Diebold machines to the state, Larry Singer, blamed
the growing chorus of criticism on "fear of
technology", despite the fact that many prominent
critics are themselves computer scientists. He says:
"Are these machines flawless? No. Would you have more
confidence if they were completely flawless? Yes. Is
there such a thing as a flawless system? No." Mr
Singer, who left the GTA straight after the election
and took a 50 per cent pay cut to work for Sun
Microsystems, insists that voters are more likely to
have their credit card information stolen by a busboy
in a restaurant than to have their vote compromised by
touchscreen technology.

Voting machines are sold in the United States in much
the same way as other government contracts: through
intensive lobbying, wining and dining. At a recent
national conference of clerks, election officials and
treasurers in Denver, attendees were treated to
black-tie dinners and other perks, including free
expensive briefcases stamped with Sequoia's company
logo alongside the association's own symbol. Nobody in
power seems to find this worrying, any more than they
worried when Sequoia's southern regional sales
manager, Phil Foster, was indicted in Louisiana a
couple of years ago for "conspiracy to commit money
laundering and malfeasance". The charges were dropped
in exchange for his testimony against Louisiana's
state commissioner of elections. Similarly, last year,
the Arkansas secretary of state, Bill McCuen, pleaded
guilty to taking bribes and kickbacks involving a
precursor company to ES&S; the voting machine company
executive who testified against him in exchange for
immunity is now an ES&S vice-president.

If much of the worry about vote-tampering is directed
at the Republicans, it is largely because the big
three touchscreen companies are all big Republican
donors, pouring hundreds of thousands of dollars into
party coffers in the past few years. The ownership
issue is, of course, compounded by the lack of
transparency. Or, as Dr Mercuri puts it: "If the
machines were independently verifiable, who would give
a crap who owns them?" As it is, fears that US
democracy is being hijacked by corporate interests are
being fueled by links between the big three and
broader business interests, as well as extremist
organizations. Two of the early backers of American
Information Systems, a company later merged into ES&S,
are also prominent supporters of the Chalcedon
Foundation, an organization that espouses theocratic
governance according to a literal reading of the Bible
and advocates capital punishment for blasphemy and

The chief executive of American Information Systems in
the early Nineties was Chuck Hagel, who went on to run
for elective office and became the first Republican in
24 years to be elected to the Senate from Nebraska,
cheered on by the Omaha World-Herald newspaper which
also happens to be a big investor in ES&S. In yet
another clamorous conflict of interest, 80 per cent of
Mr Hagel's winning votes - both in 1996 and again in
2002 - were counted, under the usual terms of
confidentiality, by his own company.

In theory, the federal government should be monitoring
the transition to computer technology and rooting out
abuses. Under the Help America Vote Act, the Bush
administration is supposed to establish a sizeable
oversight committee, headed by two Democrats and two
Republicans, as well as a technical panel to determine
standards for new voting machinery. The four
commission heads were supposed to have been in place
by last February, but so far just one has been
appointed. The technical panel also remains
unconstituted, even though the new machines it is
supposed to vet are already being sold in large
quantities - a state of affairs Dr Mercuri denounces
as "an abomination".

One of the conditions states have to fulfil to receive
federal funding for the new voting machines,
meanwhile, is a consolidation of voter rolls at state
rather than county level. This provision sends a chill
down the spine of anyone who has studied how Florida
consolidated its own voter rolls just before the 2000
election, purging the names of tens of thousands of
eligible voters, most of them African Americans and
most of them Democrats, through misuse of an erroneous
list of convicted felons commissioned by Katherine
Harris, the secretary of state doubling as George
Bush's Florida campaign manager. Despite a volley of
lawsuits, the incorrect list was still in operation in
last November's mid-terms, raising all sorts of
questions about what other states might now do with
their own voter rolls. It is not that the Act's
consolidation provision is in itself evidence of a
conspiracy to throw elections, but it does leave open
that possibility.

Meanwhile, the administration has been pushing new
voting technology of its own to help overseas citizens
and military personnel, both natural Republican Party
constituencies, to vote more easily over the internet.
Internet voting is notoriously insecure and open to
abuse by just about anyone with rudimentary hacking
skills; just last January, an experiment in internet
voting in Toronto was scuppered by a Slammer worm
attack. Undeterred, the administration has gone ahead
with its so-called SERVE project for overseas voting,
via a private consortium made up of major defense
contractors and a Saudi investment group. The contract
for overseeing internet voting in the 2004
presidential election was recently awarded to
Accenture, formerly part of the Arthur Andersen group
(whose accountancy branch, a major campaign
contributor to President Bush, imploded as a result of
the Enron bankruptcy scandal).

Not everyone in the United States has fallen under the
spell of the big computer voting companies, and there
are signs of growing wariness. Oregon decided even
before HAVA to conduct all its voting by mail.
Wisconsin has decided it wants nothing to do with
touchscreen machines without a verifiable paper trail,
and New York is considering a similar injunction, at
least for its state assembly races. In California, a
Stanford computer science professor called David Dill
is screaming from the rooftops on the need for a paper
trail in his state, so far without result. And a New
Jersey Congressman called Rush Holt has introduced a
bill in the House of Representatives, the Voter
Confidence and Increased Accessibility Act, asking for
much the same thing. Not everyone is heeding the
warnings, though. In Ohio, publication of the letter
from Diebold's chief executive promising to deliver
the state to President Bush in 2004 has not deterred
the secretary of state - a Republican - from putting
Diebold on a list of preferred voting-machine vendors.
Similarly, in Maryland, officials have not taken the
recent state-sponsored study identifying hundreds of
flaws in the Diebold software as any reason to change
their plans to use Diebold machines in March's
presidential primary.

The question is whether the country will come to its
senses before elections start getting distorted or
tampered with on such a scale that the system becomes
unmanageable. The sheer volume of money offered under
HAVA is unlikely to be forthcoming again in a hurry,
so if things aren't done right now it is doubtful the
system can be fixed again for a long time. "This is
frightening, really frightening," says Dr Mercuri, and
a growing number of reasonable people are starting to
agree with her. One such is John Zogby, arguably the
most reliable pollster in the United States, who has
freely admitted he "blew" last November's elections
and does not exclude the possibility that foul play
was one of the factors knocking his calculations off
course. "We're plowing into a brave new world here,"
he says, "where there are so many variables aside from
out-and-out corruption that can change elections,
especially in situations where the races are close. We
have machines that break down, or are tampered with,
or are simply misunderstood. It's a cause for great

Roxanne Jekot, who has put much of her professional
and personal life on hold to work on the issue full
time, puts it even more strongly. "Corporate America
is very close to running this country. The only thing
that is stopping them from taking total control are
the pesky voters. That's why there's such a drive to
control the vote. What we're seeing is the
corporatization of the last shred of democracy.

"I feel that unless we stop it here and stop it now,"
she says, "my kids won't grow up to have a right to
vote at all."

© 2003 Independent Digital (UK) Ltd

Posted by richard at October 13, 2003 04:27 PM