Ukraine vs. U.S.

Letter to the editor

Posted: Monday, December 06, 2004

Stolen elections happen someplace else, like Ukraine. U.S. media tell us that Mr. Bush won fair and square. Ukrainians swelling Kiev's Independence Square place a premium on full analysis. We'd serve the integrity of our elections by adopting a healthy measure of Ukrainian skepticism.

While the U.S. media sings lullabies about democratic freedoms, we watch from afar, secure that our election counted all the votes. Ukrainians find such certainty nave. Citing systemic discrepancies between exit polls (highly accurate) and official results, their candidate, Victor Yushchenko, is now negotiating a new election.

Contested elections are tar babies. Denial leads to cover-ups, messy and unpredictable. Commerce and government can be paralyzed; investor confidence threatened, indictments and jail time possible. Do you suppose that's why we've avoided contested elections? Or is it because America's system is fair and open?

If it's the latter, explain election day exit polls in Alaska placing Tony Knowles ahead of Lisa Murkowski, 50-47? Similarly, national exit polls had Kerry ahead by equal or larger numbers. Why are significant discrepancies in exit polls here dismissed by the media, but used by the same talking heads to explain U.S. support for Ukraine's popular candidate?

With one-third of Americans using touch screens with no paper trail, and many more whose votes are tabulated by computers running Diebold software, Ukraine's experience points to back doors in our election system.

Elections are part of the commons; it's in our interest to pay attention.

Douglas Yates


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