A rigged election?

After eight tense and almost pointless hours, with media pundits pointing to the collection of blue and red states on the big board and making very obvious statements about what needs to happen for either candidate to win, George W. Bush was acclaimed as the president of the United States of America.

I would say he was re-elected, but then he was never really elected in the first place. The manual recount in Florida was halted, investigations into malfeasance by election officials dropped, and the very partisan Supreme Court made the final call. That was 2000. And one can’t help but think that the world would be a very different place if Gore had stood his ground and forced every single ballot to be recounted.

In 2004, the election results appear to be cut and dried. Nascar Dads and Security Moms, ultra-religious types who believe marriage is a sacred bond between a man and a woman, and all those that believe in the war on terrorism as it’s currently being fought, came out in droves to support the administration – somehow outnumbering all the minorities, college students, liberals and traditional democrats out there.

End of story? Not quite.

While there is no lingering debate over hanging chads this year or tales about confused seniors and butterfly ballots, there is some concern over widespread voter intimidation and disqualification in swing states, as well as a rather compelling story about electronic voting. And the very real possibility that the 2004 election was somehow rigged.

If you’re not into conspiracy theories then stop reading, because there’s very little concrete evidence of e-voting fraud (at least not yet) with no certifiable paper trail or auditing system to follow.

If you believe in second shooters on grassy knolls, MK Ultra experiments, Area 51, faked moon landings and have a theory how Cadbury gets the caramel inside a Caramilk bar, then keep reading.

First of all, about one-third of Americans voted electronically in 2004, using a variety of different systems from touch-screen systems to paper ballots with optical scanners. Some systems even provided voters with paper receipts of their selections.

Most of these e-voting results were okay, and generally verified by exit polls – the polling of individuals outside of voting stations to find out who they pulled the lever for.

There were a few notable exceptions. One of them was in – you guessed it – Florida. The other was Ohio, where the manufacturer of voting machines just happens to be a huge Republican supporter. Ohio also had its fair share of problems with paper ballots, and a number were spoiled or thrown out for a variety of suspicious reasons.

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