Counting the votes
You can debate all you want about how much democracy a country has, but it’s much easier to decide: How much democracy does a country want?
As that old saying goes: “It’s not who votes that counts, it’s who counts the votes.”.
The whole point of elections is they’re one of the few ceremonies where the public and the elite — whose interests are often polar opposites — are able to agree on the meaning.
And then the public invariably trusts the elite to count the votes without any outside electoral observers. Big mistake. Using Twitter rather than printed leaflets (as used to be done in the old days) to organize it, everyone who believes the election was stolen comes out onto the street in the same place and sees how many there are.
Gosh, that’s quite a lot. Something has to give. I guess it’s up to the elite to decide how unpleasant this is going to get.
In the UK the candidates and their colleagues are allowed to go to the count where it is all done visibly. It’s difficult to kick up a stink about something going wrong when you’ve actually witnessed the slips of paper pour from the ballot box and seen with your own eyes how few of them have a cross next to your own name.
Officially, it was a computer error. And the software was proprietary and secret because of its commercially sensitive nature — commercially sensitive in the way that a toxic waste leak into the town’s water supply is commercially sensitive.
As I said, don’t get me started. Americans didn’t get out on the street and halt the process of ratifying the election, the declared result stood. They didn’t want democracy as much as Iranians evidently do.
Meanwhile, there’s the Open Rights Group 2007 report into UK electronic voting systems, which is well worth a read.