RSN Fundraising Banner
FB Share
Email This Page
add comment

writing for godot

Broken Political Machine Oversees Creation of Broken Voting App to Restore Election Integrity.

Written by Paul mcconnell   
Tuesday, 18 February 2020 04:04

A few days out from the Nevada Caucus and one thing seems certain. The Nevada Democratic Party, with tacit, if not the full support of the Democratic National Committee, has taken steps to ensure an atmosphere of confusion in this critical third contest where a tone will likely be set that will once again cast doubt on the will of the people, and whether any of the 2020 Democratic Presidential Candidates will carry the majority support of minority and working class voters in particular.

A recent article in Politico by LAURA BARRÓN-LÓPEZ, 02.16.2020) indicates that after scrapping the Shadow App that was the cause of the Iowa Caucus meltdown, and Nevada’s software of choice going in to this election cycle, not to mention the software that all the precinct captains had trained on up until two weeks ago, State Party officials have cobbled together an ill-defined and unofficial assortment of network modalities - a little 4G connectivity here, some tethered hotspots there, a handful of open wireless connections at assisted living facilities for seniors and casino Convention Centers - coupled with an army of un-vetted volunteers from the woodwork and wormholes to assist those technologically reluctant or challenged Captains in the seamless use of a Google spreadsheet vis-a-vis iPads that a substantial number of these well-intentioned and loyal Captains have no direct knowledge of or training with according to the Politico piece.


Here’s the text of a tweet sent out by the Nevada Democratic Party enlisting volunteers to the effort. Seriously, when I read this, I don’t even know where to begin. It is so ridiculous, on so may levels, especially when you consider that the Party hasn’t been able to train its own Precinct Captains, let alone an army of volunteers, and I quote, no experience necessary.


Help the Nevada Caucuses
Let us know if you could be interested in being a technical volunteer for the Nevada Caucuses on Saturday, 2/22. Each technical volunteer will pair up with a Precinct Captain — in real life! — on the day of the caucus. You would need to be able to commit to volunteering from Friday, 2/21 - Sunday, 2/23. This request is being made on behalf of the Nevada Democratic Party ( Sign up below!

1 - Yes! This is IRL not a virtual volunteer ask. You have to travel to Nevada for this.
2 - No! You do NOT have to have caucus experience or live in Nevada. We will train you.
3 - No! You do NOT have to be a registered Democrat. You just have to want to help.
4 - Yes! There is a plan. You can read more about the Nevada Caucus plan in an article linked from this tweet:
5 - No! You may not participate in the Caucus and do this too. We will need your undivided volunteer energy all day on Sat, 2/22.


Like I said, where do you begin? Is this really where our election process finds its full expression? That we are enlisting untrained, unaffiliated, unregistered, non-citizens, to help administer our election technology to our cherished Democratic stewards, via Twitter, no less?


And to top it all off, apparently, there are no transparent or systematic means of reporting the results of early voting, which is already underway, and thereby incorporating those votes into meaningful first alignments, second re-alignments and so on, which is critical to the allotment of delegates. In other words, how are these early votes going to be counted in at the precinct level to help determine a candidates viability?


One might blithely observe here that early voting is actually a calculated way of not counting votes in this situation, especially if the results are not desirable to certain elements of the Democratic Party.


A question that leaps out and begs to be answered after Iowa, and in the face of an almost certain repeat in Nevada, and, is shaping up to be a theme in this years’ Democratic primary going forward, is why?


Why, in the name of whatever banner you choose - election security, transparency, ease of reporting, reliability, voter confidence, etc - would any State Democratic Party, let alone the Democratic National Committee, sanction such a last minute hack of election engineering when the systems we had in place just four years ago, or eight years ago, or twelve years ago for choosing our nominee were just fine according to most?


Considering those elections of our collective, recent past, does anyone remember such incompetency going in, this early on, in what promises to be a shit show and epic tear down of Democracy?


If it keeps up and right now all signs point to yes, this is how it’s going to be until the controlling interests of the Democratic Party get the answer they want, which is the maintenance of their very lucrative status quo. That’s the bottom line here. These primaries are not really meant to express the will of the people. They are being engineered to the point of irrelevance by Party shadows behind the scenes using overly complicated systems and technologies that allow for little to no transparency. If we’ve learned anything about elections in our brief history it is that free and fair elections (and by extension, election processes) are tantamount to a functioning Democracy. When the people are confused or unsure or just plain being ripped off at the polls, they don’t vote, and when the people don’t vote, we don’t have a true Democracy.


I don’t presume to have all the answers here but I don’t think a technological smokescreen is the way to go. The old standardized test taking technology called a #2 pencil worked pretty well when you consider what we are seeing as the alternative these days. I personally have never had much use for folksy wisdoms or homilies having been exposed to my fair share growing up in rural Pennsylvania, but maybe there’s something to that old adage about not fixing something that’s not broken.


More likely, however, is that what we are witnessing is an already broken and corrupt system protecting that which is beneficial to its brokenness, by breaking the system further. It’s a riddle I know, but that also fits right in to the confusing part, look no further than the enigma that is our current President if you doubt me.


But back to this case, the Democratic establishment, through the ultimate and prevailing oversight of the Democratic National Committee, and the real reason the Party is such a mess, is not taking any chances with the Progressive wing of the party, and the grass roots movement that it has inspired and coalesced around. They are pulling out all the stops to quash the Progressive movement, including throwing a billionaire Republican at it, and overseeing the state’s election software and security with no check on its authority. Side note: Even after the 2016 hack and evidence citing Clinton favoritism (over Sanders) in exchange for large donations from the Clinton foundation, and all the firings of top DNC officials along the way, the DNC had the chutzpah, according to testimony from James Comey, to deny the FBI access to their servers.


Side note: the DNC has a CEO. In other words, it is a business. And like most businesses, its foremost concern are profits.


And more recently, we have Iowa, and just the other day, according to a Yahoo News article, it was revealed that the DNC was intimately involved with the development and oversight of the Shadow Inc. software that ground the Iowa Caucus to a standstill, and forever buried the actual results of that contest in a mountain of confusion. Of course the DNC at first tried to distance themselves from this debacle, putting the blame squarely on the Iowa Democratic Party, and its state chairman Tony Pryce, who has since resigned, clearly taking one for the team.


From the outset, the DNC and chairperson Tom Perez have insisted that they were only vaguely familiar with this new election tool when it seems that as early as July 2019, according to the text of a draft contract between Shadow Inc. and the DNC, they were involved with the “oversight” to the point of forcing Shadow to use outside contractors of the DNC’s choosing. Here are excerpts from a redacted version of this report that was recently obtained by Yahoo news and reported in an article by Hunter Walker:

“Consultant agrees to work with the DNC Services Corporation / Democratic National Committee (‘DNC’) on an on-going basis as Consultant develops the software,”

Further language in the contract stipulated that Shadow would agree to:


“provide DNC continual access to review the Consultant’s system configurations, security and system logs, system designs, data flow designs, security controls (preventative and detective), and operational plans for how the Consultant will use and run the Software for informational dissemination, pre-registration, tabulation, and reporting throughout the caucus process.”


That sounds pretty involved to me. But more importantly, why the discrepancy between their distance from the problem when it first occurred, and this latest report? And why all the well-documented secrecy in the run up to Iowa about the app and its use in the first place?


What does it mean when the DNC, which is made up of a very specifically curated and well connected group of Democrats, funded by very specific political interest groups, meddles in our elections in secrecy, presumably in order to maintain the dysfunctional status quo because they supposedly know best, when in fact they are taking part in a class war against the working people and the grass roots?


That’s a rhetorical question. We all know what it means, of course. It means our Democracy is in a tail-spin and headed for a major crash and burn if we don’t pull our nose up and stabilize. It also means that things won’t be getting better for working people, or the planet anytime soon, because why would they? What’s different this time?


Indeed, the establishment Democrats and their co-conspirators in the mainstream media are doing much more damage to the American Brand, not to mention the Democratic Party, than the Republicans could have ever dreamed. But what’s worse really, is that we are all, as fellow citizens, and fellow beings, made to suffer their greed and corruption and ineptitude. The DNC is laying waste to what’s left of the party, and maybe ultimately, that’s a good thing, since the majority of so-called Democrats can’t seem to lead or govern any better, or any more so, than the Republicans. It truly is a bi-partisan melt down. I’ll give that to both parties: they finally found a way to work together.


There is a sliver of hope though and that alone is a miracle given the tenor these days. I’m talking about the Progressive movement as it has taken shape over the last handful of years, and is making headway with the youth culture and people of color especially and only seems to be getting stronger. As someone who came of voting age during Ronald Reagan’s first term, and has been waiting his whole adult life for an antidote to neoliberalism, this is the moment, however frustrating it may be to witness the attempted genocide of Democracy and the planet, that one could certainly make the case that it is the Progressive Movement, in this moment, that gives America and American Democracy the best chance to survive, especially in these shadowy times.



As it is, we no longer have the luxury of incrementalism, which is a popular refrain from those who begrudgingly acknowledge the movement and its traction. As everyone knows, whether or not they accept it, or are prepared to deal with it, time is running out on climate and the planet, and the kind of response necessitated by this late stage, and any stage for that matter, is real, structural change. Like one candidate likes to say, change that can only occur from the bottom up.


In solidarity. your social media marketing partner
Email This Page


THE NEW STREAMLINED RSN LOGIN PROCESS: Register once, then login and you are ready to comment. All you need is a Username and a Password of your choosing and you are free to comment whenever you like! Welcome to the Reader Supported News community.