There were several interesting moments in the Republican Platform committee meetings earlier this week. One of them was this one, where a Nevada delegate by the name of Pat Kerby earnestly tried to offer an amendment to the voting rights platform to require a hand count of paper ballots.
Republicans, at least mainline party faithful Republicans, don't especially want elections that can be verified. We know this from their embrace of electronic voting machines that are so easily hacked to throw elections one wonders why they bother with Voter ID at all. Mr. Kerby was genuinely concerned about stolen elections, I think, though I also think he believes 2008's landslide was stolen.
Brad Friedman broke it down for all of us after seeing my tweets in real time:
The poor fellow seemed to want the right thing, but by the time other members of the Committee amended the amendment, several times over, the original was completely gutted in favor of electronic computer tallies with no actual way to verify the accuracy of those tallies.
It seems the good-natured Kerby never knew what hit him, as he generously supported each change to his amendment, deferring to others who appeared to know more about voting, like fellow committee member Kansas Sec. of State Kris Kobach (responsible for the state's polling place Photo ID restrictions to help curb non-existent polling place voter fraud in Kansas, as well as serving as the author of Arizona's infamous anti-immigrant "Papers Please" law, most of which was found unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court recently.)
Here is the language Mr. Kerby began with:
We recognize that paper ballots are the best way to insure [sic] a fair election. "Let ambition counter ambition," as Madison said. When all parties have representatives observing the counting of ballots in a transparent process, integrity is assured. We strongly suggest that all electronic voting systems have a printed paper ballot so that preliminary electronic results can be verified by a hard count of paper ballots.
After a few interventions by delegates who were also election officials, and of course the helpful Mr. Kobach, this is how it read:
We recognize that having a physical verification of the vote is the best way to ensure a fair election. "Let ambition counter ambition," as Madison said. When all parties have representatives observing the counting of ballots in a transparent process, integrity is assured. We strongly support the policy that all electronic voting systems have a voter verified paper audit trail.
In between, there were a few fascinating remarks like the one made by Lt. Governor Cawley of Pennsylvania, who declared that unverifiable voting systems are just fine, and he loves the ones in Pennsylvania a lot, especially the touch-screen voting systems that are so easily corrupted.
And then there was the North Carolina lady who serves on the Mecklenburg County Board of Elections. She doesn't worry about electronic voting. She worries about those troublesome paper ballots. Who knows whether they ensure voter integrity, whatever that is?
Brad breaks it down much better than I do, but it was a fascinating case study in watching a genuine grassroots effort by a likely Ron Paul delegate get shot down in flames subtly, carefully, and completely. No ballot integrity for the Grand Ole Party. That would be too much like fairness.