By Jerry Alatalo
“When the people is master of the vote it becomes master of the government.”
– ARISTOTLE (384-322 B.C.) Greek philosopher
isk exposure… Every student of accounting comes to learn about risk exposures and ways to eliminate them. Risk exposures represent defects in accounting systems which, if left uncorrected, allow criminals in organizations to steal money, products from inventories, critical information and all forms of valuable assets. Therefore, eliminating risk exposures is one of the important tasks and challenges for persons designing accounting systems, whether for a mom-and-pop business, medium to large, complex corporations, or public entities such as schools, public safety agencies, Defense Departments, etc. of all sizes.
Every student of accounting familiar with the term risk exposure and its meaning will, when considering electronic voting machines, optical scanners and automated tabulators of vote counts, immediately recognize the risks of such system “tools” for stealing votes. Simply put, it is impossible to guarantee that voter preferences in elections where electronic means become used are accurately recorded, 100% verifiable, and/or reliable. It doesn’t matter when talking about glaring defects in America’s voting system whether one “voted” for Clinton, Johnson, Stein or Trump in the 2016 U.S. presidential election – this matter is important for people of every political ideology without exception; the point is that risk exposures exist in the current election system because there is no way of knowing if election theft occurred or not.
Those risk exposures can and must be eliminated. Accountants at the world’s largest corporations and public institutions have designed systems which handle massively complex and numerous transactions, involving billions of dollars, while successfully eliminating virtually all possible risk exposures. Certainly a much stronger election system, where the voting “transaction” process carries far fewer variables – consisting of much less complexity – should offer no serious obstacles to those tasked with designing a theft-proof satisfactory reform.
Hand-counted paper ballots, using the old-fashioned selection of preferred candidates using pen or pencil and simple filling in of the box, provides the best alternative moving forward for obvious reasons, including that close, contested races become easily decided through recount. Electronic voting makes recounts nearly, if not absolutely, impossible; because the program language built into electronic machines are “proprietary” – the intellectual property of the corporations and their owners which manufacture them – no government officials responsible for managing elections can check to make certain no theft occurred.
Public elections officials tasked with running a clean vote have no control over that portion of the voting process using technology which is privately owned and secret. Continuing to allow private companies and their owners – potentially vulnerable to bribes and other forms of voluntary or coercive corruption – to control the most critical aspects of the voting process only invites high levels of persistent suspicion, doubt, apathy and non-voting among the people at best – or high levels of election theft at worst.
Making voting easier by designating election day a national holiday, perhaps on a Sunday as opposed to workday Tuesday, is another reasonable and simple-to-establish reform worthy of serious consideration. Such a simple but profound change would result in an easier process for citizens and a far larger voter turnout.
Professor Mark Crispin Miller has written extensively on the U.S. election system and its very real risk exposures, including as author of books focused solely on this most important of all democratic processes. He offers simple, fundamental, yet powerful reforms which – once enacted – hold genuine promise for greatly improving the fairness, accuracy and trustworthiness of elections in the United States of America.
(Thank you to Mark Crispin Miller at YouTube)