Unless you’ve just returned from a voyage to Mars or a hell of a bachelor party, you’ve no doubt heard the saga of Alvin Greene.
Just in case, a brief recap: Greene, 32, apparently unemployed and recently discharged from the military under “other than honorable conditions,” placed his name on the South Carolina Democratic party ballot as a candidate for the US Senate. To the astonishment of everyone, Greene took 60% of the vote defeating career politician Vic Rawls. Greene claims to have paid the $10,400 filing fee from his own resources. (“I saved for two years”). Greene apparently did no campaigning, produced only a few copies of a black on green (get it?) campaign flyer and spent most of the primary sitting with his infirm father, where they share a house.
Democrat pols are beside themselves, claiming everything from Greene being a Republican Manchurian Candidate to a plant abetted by disgruntled anti-incumbent Democrats.
First, let’s get the joke out of the way: Being a retarded criminal (charges pending for obscenity) in no way disqualifies Greene from running for the Senate. In fact, if he is elected and leaves his home town of Manning SC for Washington, he will raise the aggregate IQ of both cities. There’s nothing in the Constitution to prohibit Greene from taking a seat in the Senate. He needs meet only the requirements of age, citizenship, and residence. In the past the Supreme Court has ruled against the Congress establishing any more rigorous rules for a candidate. Such changes can be made only by an amendment to the Constitution. Absent proof of voting fraud, Greene’s a legitimate candidate, though unlikely to win against incumbent Republican Jim DeMint.
Fox News claims Greene “demonstrated a lack of understanding about key policy issues.” This hardly distinguishes him from most of the people presently seated in either house of Congress. Their lack of understanding of the basic principles of economics and the contents of the US Constitution is appalling.
You’re free to surf the web for conspiracy theories and other skullduggery that might account for Greene’s win. I will posit only one theory which I honestly hope proves to be correct. First, some background:
The majority of votes in US elections are cast on electronic voting equipment. This equipment is grossly substandard by current cryptographic protocols. Housewives with no particular cryptographic skills have hacked local voting machines; professional cryptographers have demonstrated undetectable hacks of entire voting systems. Election commissions know this, politicians know it, and, most of all, manufacturers of voting machines know it but all choose to ignore it. Why?
- Because electronic systems give us rapid results. No waiting for two or three weeks like the folks in the third world do. We want our official results within hours after the polls close.
- Cryptographic systems are almost impossible to implement and secure when they are in the hands of poorly trained and sometimes corrupt personnel.
- A paper audit trail, the ONLY way to guarantee that the results of electronic voting reasonably reflect the will of the people, is cumbersome and expensive. No one wants to think about dealing with the tons of paper that would be necessary to provide auditable voting. Mind you, electronic systems can be used with reasonable safety but only when there is a paper trail that can be used to verify the electronic results when the validity of a vote is in question.
- Voting machine manufacturers engage in “security by obscurity” assuring their customers that their systems are safe because how they work is (sshhhh) “secret.” Security by obscurity violates Kerckhoffs’ principle, a 150-year-old fundamental concept in cryptography.
- One former manufacturer, Diebold, recently sold their electronic voting system to Premier Election Solutions. Diebold insisted that their name be removed from all existing Diebold voting machines. Why? Because they knew their system was crap and, as the largest manufacturer of ATM’s in the country, Diebold did not want their name associated with the inevitable scandals coming in the electronic voting business.
So here’s my theory: A group of cryptographically savvy hackers, determined to demonstrate the vulnerability of our electronic voting systems, conned Greene into registering as a candidate but doing nothing to garner votes. These hackers then jiggered the South Carolina electronic voting system (12,000 iVotronic machines built by Election Systems and Software of Omaha NE) to give Greene the win. Their purpose in doing this, I hope, is to expose electronic voting systems of all types as a serious hazard to our republic. If you want to prove that these systems can be compromised, what better demonstration than the ‘election’ of Alvin Greene.
Chris Whitmire, South Carolina’s election commissioner says his department “has not detected even a hint of fraud or hacking.” That’s the whole point, Chris. These systems can be taken over by hackers without their leaving any trace that they were there.
If I’m right, someone will step forward (perhaps anonymously) with evidence of massive fraud in the South Carolina Democrat primary. Time will tell; meanwhile, crack open a brew and watch the show.