A spirited, data-driven argument that our computerized voting system is frighteningly vulnerable to corruption.
In his first book, Simon brings his considerable experience on voting matters to bear; he is the executive director of Election Defense Alliance, a nonprofit voting rights watchdog. He argues that what at first appears like a triumph of progress, the widespread application of new voting technology, actually generates myriad opportunities for partisan sabotage. First, the allure of greater convenience comes at the price of transparency: newly secretive elections basically take place in the “impenetrable darkness of cyberspace.” Second, the technology is largely under the control of conservative organizations committed to winning at all costs, and aided by a “right-wing media machine” enthusiastic to serve as an accomplice. The result is a massive “red shift,” a disparity between the tabulated success of conservatives in elections and their projected success, which the author believes could only be explained by pervasive fraud. The scope of the book is broad, covering related topics like campaign finance and gerrymandering, and includes an instructive discussion of exit polls and Internet voting. The author also discusses a host of hotly contested and potentially manipulated elections, presidential and otherwise. Much of the work is written in a “Q&A format,” which makes for highly readable prose, especially helpful since some of the positions necessarily depend on complex statistical analysis. The book’s partisan approach, however, will limit readership by painting a picture of sheepish Democrats victimized by Republican wolves. The author sometimes omits information that subverts his thesis and offers discredited positions. For example, Dan Rather was not fired from CBS because he had the temerity to question George W. Bush’s military record but because he engaged in what was widely viewed as a transgression of journalistic standards. Overall, the text offers an often rigorous account of an important issue.
Despite its many virtues, this book may not appeal to those outside the choir to which it aims to preach.