Letters for December 9-15, 2004
Beat 'em, Bust 'em
Or democracy dies: In reference to the University of California at Berkeley analysis of suspicious Florida voting results cited in the December 2 Tailpipe ("Paperless Trail"), two things jump out.
1. In 2000, 575,143 people in Broward County voted for either George Bush or Al Gore; 209,801 more people voted for Gore than Bush. In 2004, 698,547 people in Broward voted for either George Bush or John Kerry; 209,199 more people voted for Kerry than Bush. Even though more people voted for the two major party candidates in 2004, slightly more than half of the additional voters cast ballots for Bush, or so we are told.
2. In 2000, 422,683 people in Palm Beach County voted for either George Bush or Al Gore; 116,781 more people voted for Gore than Bush. In 2004, 541,375 people in Palm Beach voted for either George Bush or John Kerry; 115,999 more people voted for Kerry than Bush. Again, slightly more than half of the additional voters voted for Bush.
These results seem counterintuitive. These are two heavily Democratic counties.
It almost seems as if computers that tally the totals were rigged. To paraphrase a moderately notable line of cinema dialogue: "This is the issue. There is no other issue." And that issue involves the integrity of our voting process, one that too many local Democrat officeholders, Republican state officials, and Republican partisans apparently fail to appreciate.
If there is never again going to be any evidence to examine to determine whether an election was conducted fairly and counted properly because of paperless electronic voting machines, what is the point of participating in the electoral process? Why advocate positions and beliefs, why organize, why donate money, why volunteer time and effort, why bother to even show up to vote if the results can be rigged without ever leaving any footprints in the South Florida sand?
Any county commissioner in Broward or Palm Beach or any local or state officeholder who attempts to block the necessary reforms to assuring transparency in electronic voting needs to have his or her head on a stick. Preferably the process of hoisting them would be figurative -- by means of the ballot. In recent months, New Times has done an excellent job of telling us who these people are. Let's go get 'em.
Hell with Scripps
Start riding your bike! Hey, excellent piece ("Scripps Script," Bob Norman, December 2). Everglades restoration is a total flim-flam. Take a look at this site, http://amap.no/acia. The truth is that by the time Scripps is built out, 2035, close to a quarter of the Everglades will be gone due to the Arctic ice cap's disappearing. This is the worst model, but with billions of tons of carbon dioxide going into the atmosphere not taken into account, such as the burning wells in Iraq and the exponential increase in fossil fuel use by China, the worst-case scenario is probably the most plausible. Sadly, this is irretrievable and irrevocable, and our government knows it.
A phalanx of fetishes: In response to the letter sent in by the whining old shopkeeper ("Whither Goeth the Goth?" Letters, November 25): choice, variety, alternatives. The goth scene is finally thriving with some much-needed variety. The owner of the Fetish Factory cannot stand any competition or variation to his formulated plan of financial "scene domination." He owns the fetish store, he sells the clothes required to get in the party that he throws once a month, and yet a fetish party does not a goth scene create.
Monopolies are oh so unattractive. Now, the gothic scene has grown from one fetish party a month to six other nights for real devotees: Vamp, Cabaret, Privilege, Virtue, Mass, etc., including live music. I say, "Bravo, Joseph Bonilla! Where would the real goth scene be without you?"
C'mon, get real: My son was one of thousands disenfranchised in this past election ("Vote Interrupted," Bob Norman, November 4). He requested his ballot by e-mail about two months before the November election. In all, the ballot was requested by e-mail and also by telephone about six times. Two weeks before the election, the person I spoke to claimed his ballot had been mailed that week. It was never received.
The Thursday before the election, I again called, and the volunteer assured me that the ballot was being sent FedEx.
It was never received. My son did receive his ballot the Friday after the election, which of course was moot by that point. He said that one of the postmarks was October 25. It isn't the post office's fault.
I volunteer at the Democratic Executive Committee headquarters, and we were flooded with calls before the election from people who had not received their ballots. Every day, we faxed these people's names, addresses, etc., to the Supervisor of Elections Office. Of course, my son's name was on that list.
It seems to me that this issue as well as the issue of the voting machines has been swept under the rug. Republicans may claim that Democrats are sore losers, but with all of the information coming out, it is hard to believe that this was anything close to a fair election. Had it been fair, as much as I hate the outcome, I could live with it. I only hope that some of these problems, i.e., the absentee ballots and the unreliable and easily corruptible machines, will be addressed and solved... though it is hard to be optimistic in this atmosphere.
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