March 13, 2004

Vanity Fair Floodlights E-Voting Politics

In "Hack the Vote," VF probes the partisan politics, murky accountability and lurking felons inside the e-voting systems industry and the government procurement decisions regarding it. As author Michael Shnayerson prefaces it, "this is a story of good intentions gone awry, of Congress bamboozled into thinking the machines were ready when they weren't, of county and state election officials softened over lavish dinners into endorsing one kind of machine over another, with some later induced to take jobs at voting machine companies. And like most American stories its about money -- big money, $3.9 billion, showered on the states to buy the machines, and buy them fast." Vanity Fair, April 2004, p.158.

The article provides an overview of the rogue's gallery of the players in government and in the private sector (including the convicted felons) who have been close to several surprising political upsets in states using the new D.R.E.s -- direct recording electronic voting systems. It provides some sympathetic background on the role of Bev Harris, to whom the Diebold email archive was leaked, and her new book "Black Box Voting: Ballot Tampering in the 21st Century." (Talon 2003).
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A perennial favorite of sophisticated readers for its rich writing and photography, and its eclectic journalism of "people, personalities and power," Vanity Fair announced in its inaugural issue (1860), that it "looketh upon all politics as vanity, and will, therefore, persistenty intermeddle therewith." Vanity Fair, 1860, p. 13

Vanity Fair content is not available online. Subscribers received the April issue this week -- its the one with Keira Knightley (Bend it Like Beckham and Pirates of the Caribbean) on the cover. Other articles include "MacBush," a satire of the Bush presidency as a Shakespearian tragic drama; "The Laptop Brigade," about weblogger's infusion of "passion and independence" into journalism; Dominick Dunne's diary on the Martha Stewart trial; and Marie Brenner's investigation of forced marriages of Islamic girls in France, "Daughters of France, Daughters of Allah."

See also "Bev Harris on E-Voting and DMCA" (Unintended Consequences, Feb. 24, 2004)

Posted by dougsimpson at March 13, 2004 08:42 AM | TrackBack