Wednesday, October 22, 2008 at 8:52 a.m.
In the final countdown to the presidential election, many Americans may actually hit zero, thanks to predicted failures of new voting machinery and rules.
This just leaves the curtain of the voting booth open for the machinations of GOP operative Hans von Spakovsky and his ilk.
Not only anti-Democratic but also anti-democratic, Von Spakovsky used to be on the Federal Election Commission, but he kept pissing in the voter pool and was finally forced out.
That doesn't mean he's not actively practicing voter fraud while railing against it. See Rolling Stone's new piece by Bobby Kennedy Jr. and Greg Palast, "Block the Vote."
For more Hans brinkmanship, see my late 2007 stories "The GOP's Hounding of Voters" and "Hans Off Our Elections!"
And don't forget fixer Karl Rove, who's now larval in the Fox News cocoon. Tell me he's not about to weave some webs to trap voters.
Even without those two goniffs, big problems loom for the quadrennial attempt at democracy. It's so scary that even the British are on the side of the colonists. They're running around our countryside with warnings of none if by land, zero if by sea. Today's Guardian (U.K.) plays it up big, in "Ballot debacle predicted for November 4":
A "perfect storm" could be building for US election day on November 4 because of a combination of sky-high voter interest, new ballot machines and a shortage of poll staff, the independent Pew group warned yesterday.
The Washington-based group set out a long series of problems still facing the US despite reforms aimed at avoiding a repeat of the 2000 and 2004 debacles.
Extracted from the report (PDF) at Pew's electionline.org, here's a lengthy passage — lengthy because it's important:
[Voters] will encounter an election system that, while significantly changed since 2000, is in many respects no less settled after nearly eight years of debate and change.
Many of the old machines, laws and procedures that were blamed for the problems in 2000 are gone. But new machines, laws and procedures have themselves raised questions that continue to fuel controversy and concern as November approaches. Yet the biggest challenge in 2008 may not be changes to the system but the potentially record number of voters prepared to use it.
For nearly eight years, policymakers, election officials, and advocates have upgraded the plumbing of the nation’s election system — replacing some sections while patching and plugging others — all in the hope of keeping Americans and their votes flowing smoothly.
In two weeks, however, voters will crank the pressure sky high.
An open seat for the White House, fueled by deep partisan, geographic, race and class divisions on issues at home and abroad, is about to result in a likely record number of voters turning out to vote on (and increasingly before) Election Day.
The question is no longer exclusively "will the system work?" Rather, it is "can the system handle the load?"
Nevertheless, vote early and vote often. And all you college grads out there: You might as well go to the polls because the job of democracy may be the only one available. From this morning's Wall Street Journal:
"For '09 Grads, Job Prospects Take a Dive"
College seniors may have more trouble landing a job next spring than recent graduates, as employers trim their hiring outlooks in response to the slowing economy and financial-sector turmoil.
Employers plan to hire just 1.3% more graduates in 2009 than they hired this year, according to a survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers.
That's the weakest outlook in six years and reflects a sharp recent downturn. Just two months ago, a survey by the same group projected a 6.1% increase in hiring.
Wi-Fi it. Go ahead and order another triple-shot frappucino, go back to your table, and see if anything clicks . . .
NO PARTICULAR ORDER:
AP: 'US airstrike kills 9 Afghan soldiers at checkpoint'
N.Y. Daily News: 'RNC spends thousands on dresses, make-up for Sarah Palin & family'
N.Y. Post: 'GOP'S SHOCK "TERROR" ATTACK: MAILING TARGETS OBAMA'
Guardian (U.K.): 'Pound tumbles as Bank head cries recession'
Wall Street Journal: 'Joe the Plumber and GOP "Authenticity": It's hard to reach out to workers while cracking down on unions' (Thomas Frank)
N.Y. Times: 'Some Cut Back on Prescription Drugs in Sour Economy'
Guardian (U.K.): 'Cyber-attack theory as al-Qaida websites close'
Wall Street Journal: 'Gay Marriage in Peril in California'
Wall Street Journal: 'U.S. to Ask Analysts if Lehman Misled'
Wall Street Journal: 'Recession Fears Pummel Futures'
Wall Street Journal: 'Obama Opens Double-Digit Lead: New Poll Shows McCain Ceding Ground on Taxes, Values; Palin Loses Shine'
Wall Street Journal: 'Iran, Qatar, Russia Form Gas Alliance'
Wall Street Journal: 'McClatchy's Advertising Woes Mount'
Wall Street Journal: 'Network Audience Keeps Eroding: Upswing in Delayed Viewing on DVRs Isn't Likely to Offset Prime-Time Declines'