Technically Speaking Commentary
“Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have found out the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them, and these will continue till they are resisted with either words or blows, or with both. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress.” – Frederick Douglass
Of the many notable quotes by the renowned abolitionist, Frederick Douglass, this is my favorite. Years before I came across this prophetic declaration, my father had imparted similar wisdom in much blunter terms:
Folk will treat you no better than you allow them to treat you.
In other words, if you allow someone to mistreat you all the time, and you’re crying and praying that one day, they will stop and beg your forgiveness, then you have just fallen for the okey-doke.
I take that same attitude when it comes to those who ask for my vote. Each election cycle, my social media feed runs over with donate buttons and promises to stand for me. My mailbox is cluttered with mailers promising to represent me. When I’m driving along the street, I’m greeted with big smiles promising to protect me. When I turn on the television or radio, I’m bombarded with tattle-telling and finger-pointing and more promises to fight for me.
After all of that promising to stand for me, represent me, protect me and fight for me, don’t you think the most basic thing our elected officials should be able to do is apply those principles when it comes to our vote? Especially, in light of the following facts we’ve learned since the election:
- The Russian government interfered in the 2016 presidential election in sweeping and page 1, paragraph 2 of the Mueller report, and it has not been denied. It is a fact no elected official, to date, has disputed. To do so, would be foolish. Although, given the current political climate, there is still a chance the idea may be floated by a Russian troll and picked up by Sean Hannity and Fox News.
- There is credible evidence that Russia, China, North Korea, Iran, as well as some perceived allies, are carrying out these attacks right now, and even more so as the 2020 election approaches. Robert Mueller concluded his press conference with that warning, “[t]here were multiple, systematic efforts to interfere in our election. And that allegation deserves the attention of every American.”
- Voters in Texas and Georgia who reported incidents of the AccuVote TS flipping their votes from Beto O’Rourke to Ted Cruz, and Stacey Abrams over to Brian Kemp, weren’t making false accusations. In fact, the September before the 2018 mid-term election began, noted University of Michigan computer science professor, J. Alex Halderman, testified before Congress that the vulnerability had been known for nearly two decades and then and demonstrated it. He also noted that it would be impossible to determine the number of inaccurate votes because the AccuVote TS doesn’t retain a physical record of your vote. We also learned that even with recent upgrades to Touchscreen Voting Machines, the default option is not to print a ballot, which studies show most voters accept, even in those instances where the voter actually wanted a ballot printout.
- com released an article as recently as September 2016, about how election officials in Shelby County Tennessee—which includes Memphis—discovered that as much as forty percent of the ballots cast in predominantly precincts had not been counted. The officials would not have known if Bennie Smith, an African America computer programmer who likes to analyze elections, hadn’t discovered the error and had physical evidence to back it up.
- We also learned that in August 2018, a precinct in Habersham County Georgia, a small rural county, had once reported 670 ballots cast even though there were only 276 registered voters.
- Last week it was revealed that more than 80% of the computers in voting machines use Windows 7 for the operating system. The software is more than ten years old and Microsoft recently announced it would no longer provide patches or support for it after January 2020. If you’ve ever used a computer that’s over five years old, I’m sure you know what I mean.
Knowing all of this, wouldn’t you think after all those promises your elected official would tell you where they stand on the issue and give you some assurance that your vote, your voice, would be protected and counted correctly? I don’t know about you but I and the Westside Gazette want to know.
Over the past few weeks the Westside Gazette has extended invitations to several elected officials to answer our concerns. We’ve had some promises, and I hope they come through. Some have not yet responded; I hope they will. We will air each interview on the Westside Gazette website (https://thewestidegazette.com).
It is our hope that you take note of those who respond to this vital concern, remember those who don’t, and by all means, don’t fall for the okey-doke.