‘Stealing America: Vote by Vote’: Film sounds alarm over electronic voting systems

Thomas Paine, the author of “Common Sense,” described voting as “the primary right by which other rights are protected.” This quote begins “Stealing America: Vote by Vote,” a new documentary demonstrating how this right might be eroded.

Filmmaker Dorothy Fadiman has compiled a withering case against allowing computerized voting systems — easy to manipulate and hard to police — to take over our election process. In most places, of course, they already have.

There’s testimony from computer hackers about how easy it is to hijack voting procedures, and some examples of how it was done in the past.

In addition, Fadiman traces the history of exit polling over the last three decades. In the past, exit polls were those things that allowed network news channels to call an election five minutes after voting closed. It was always really annoying — it sort of took the fun out of counting ballots — but they were invariably right.

Much to the astonishment of pollsters (and the periodic embarrassment of newscasters), all that has changed lately. Exhibit A is — everybody say it together now — the Florida presidential count in 2000.

The exit polls established that more Florida voters meant to cast their ballots for Al Gore than George W. Bush in that election, and the networks dutifully reported the results. Florida would be the deciding state, and Gore would win the presidency.

The ballots that were actually counted, however, did not correspond to the exit polls, and a few hanging chads later, the contest was in doubt and the Supreme Court was called in.

Funny story about what happened next … oh, never mind. The point of the movie is that Florida 2000 was not an exception, but an example of a disturbing trend.

Fadiman covers the irregularities reported in Ohio, an important swing state, in 2004. The system was clogged with computer malfunctions, slowness, and the disconcerting phenomenon of voters pushing the button for their candidate only to see the other guy’s name light up.

Most of the stories in the film have Democratic candidates as the victims of polling-place shenanigans, and given the presence of lefty stalwart Peter Coyote in the narrator’s chair, the sympathies here are undoubtedly one-sided.

But the subject is one that Democrats and Republicans alike should be freaked out about. Voting fraud happened long before computers came along, but in the Brave New World a single mouse click can change history. It’s not paranoid to be troubled about that, it’s common sense.

Talk to us

More in Life

Ancient White Park cows belonging to Burt Degroot Wednesday afternoon on a pasture on Ebey Island April 1, 2020 (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Snohomish rancher raises an ancient breed of cattle

The distinctive British horned livestock have been around since the Middle Ages.

A pile of shoes by the front door can be annoying, but it is also evidence of loved ones living together under one roof. (Jennifer Bardsley)
Remembering to cherish the things a mom takes for granted

Here’s to the noise, the mess and the laughter that fills life between now and when the kids are grown.

Dr. Paul on battling adversity when it feels like a ‘dark night’

The Dalai Lama says: There are only two days in the year that nothing can be done — yesterday and tomorrow.

In the Netherlands, pot users go to coffeeshops — not jail.
A coffee shop conversation about marijuana in Amsterdam

If you pass a shop in the Netherlands full of plants displaying a Rastafarian flag, it doesn’t sell much coffee.

TAP Air Portugal rescheduled my flight — can I get a refund?

TAP Air Portugal reschedules — and then cancels — John Schmidt’s flights. He wants a refund, but the airline is offering a voucher. Who is right?

Rowan Catel and Carlos Narvaez perform in Olympic Ballet Theatre’s production of “Efanora,” premiering on YouTube on April 2. (Into Dust Photography)
Olympic Ballet Theatre returns with two virtual performances

“Efanora” and “In a Clearing” explore pandemic-era themes of loss, fear and grief through movement.

Close up of malus blossom in bloom
Six flowering crabapple trees you can fall in love with

Crabapples don’t have much of a following in the Northwest — yet. Extend the tree-blooming season with these varieties.

Madison Hu stars as 'Anda' in "Voyagers."  (Courtesy of Lionsgate/TNS)
‘Voyagers’ an interesting sci-fi allegory, but characters fall flat

A group of teenagers blast off on an interstellar mission that will take 86 years — meaning they’ll live their entire lives on the ship.

Everett Public Library presents “Introduction to Mushrooms of the Pacific Northwest” April 13 via Crowdcast. (Herald file)
Outdoors classes and activities around Snohomish County

The listings include Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest updates and REI Lynnwood workshops.

Most Read