Projected New Senate: 50 Democrats 50 Republicans
News from the Votemaster
We have two new polls today. Out in the big red state of Montana, State Senate president Jon Tester (D) is pulling away from incumbent Sen. Conrad Burns (R-MT). According to Rasmussen, Tester now leads 52% to 43%. Tester shows that home-grown Democrats can do well in dark red states, although Burns' close ties to disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff also play a role here. I have compiled a list of Democratic senators and governors in red states and Republican senators and governors in blue states. Take a look.
In Ohio, Rep. Sherrod Brown (D) is still holding a small lead against incumbent Sen. Mike DeWine (R-OH), 47% to 41% according to Rasmussen.
In other Ohio news, the Democrats have replaced Stephanie Studebaker with Dick Chema in OH-03. Studebaker dropped out of the race in August after she was arrested for domestic violence. Seems to me like a real bummer. Getting arrested for fighting with your husband doesn't have the cachet of getting arrested for taking a couple of hundred thousand dollars from Jack Abramoff. Political Wire has a number of good links to the Studebaker case, including some audio. Chema has little chance against incumbent Mike Turner (R).
You'd think that a country that could put a man on the moon could count the votes in an election without the system failing constantly. Think again. There have been giant snafus in multiple states recently, the best documented one being recorded by computer security expert Avi Rubin. However, today the Washington Post reports more problems.
When the equipment fails, legal challenges abound. If you want to follow all the ins and outs of election laws and court challenges, a good place to look is at Election Law Blog, which is written by Rick Hasen, a law professor at Loyola University in LA and a specialist in election law.
Add to this the fact that Prof. Edward Felten of Princeton has shown that the voting machines can be hacked we have the potential for another Florida-style mess about which party controls Congress.
Providing a voting system that works and people believe in is not that hard. Honest. Other countries do it. In France, each voter gets a small white envelop and a set of cards in different colors, each printed with the name of a candidate and party. The voter goes into the booth and inserts the chosen card into the envelope, keeping or discarding the other cards. He or she then seals the envelope and deposits it in the ballot box. After the election, the envelopes are opened in the presence of all the parties and sorted on color. It is really not very hard. Given the U.S.'s love affair with technology, a voting machine that printed a user-readable ticket, like an ATM machine does, which could be deposited in a ballot box would work fine. If there were a dispute, the computer-generated paper tickets could be counted by hand.
The real irony here is that Diebold, which makes voting machines with no paper trail, is also one of the largest manufacturers of ATM machines, which definitely have paper trails. When the customer (a bank, in the case of ATMs) says "I want a paper trail" the customer gets one.
And, as usual on Sundays, there is a new cartoon today.
See the details of the Senate and House races with photos, maps, links, polls, etc.
If you like this site, please announce it to news groups and blogs and tell your friends about it. If you have your own blog, please click on "For bloggers" above.
-- The Votemaster