Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Pick a Number. Any Number 

Following massive electronic vote discrepancies in Alaska, Democrats are suing the state to force the release of Diebold's central tabulator files from the 2004 elections. With breathtaking logic, the state is refusing to release that data -- for if the evidence shows that the election was gamed, someone somewhere might get the idea to game an election:
For example, in the 2004 presidential election, district-by-district counts show 292,268 votes cast for George Bush, but the statewide summary shows 190,889 votes. A total of the district tallies showed U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski receiving 226,992 votes, while the statewide summary showed her getting 149,446 votes.

Elections officials in part have explained that some discrepancies are because early votes for statewide candidates were counted by each of the state's election regions, not by district. The regional totals then were reported for every House district, which inflated those totals, they have said.

Democrats aren't convinced. They filed public-record requests for the "central tabulator file" from the electronic voting system the state uses. The company that provides that system, Diebold Elections Systems, initially argued that the information was proprietary and that the state couldn't release it.

When Diebold withdrew that objection, the state again refused to release the information, this time saying it would pose a security risk that would allow someone to manipulate election data without the knowledge of elections officials.
Now there is some bold reportorial prose. Manipulating data with the knowledge of election officials must be A-OK, n'est-ce pas?

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