The Daily Sandwich

"We have to learn the lesson that intellectual honesty is fundamental for everything we cherish." -Sir Karl Popper

Location: Boston, Massachusetts, United States


Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Quibbles (wobble, but they don't fall down)

I mentioned that I was going to write to the guy responsible for the weak-kneed attitude toward the admission of kooky voting machines in Texas. I wasn't surprised by the response, but I had hoped for something a little more 'adult.'

Here's how it went:


Well, I don't think most folks come to my site for in-depth news reporting. I hope not.

I suppose I might write a slightly different kind of commentary after the fact -- perhaps with more "gravity," even -- but this was very much an "of-the-moment" rumor and it seemed to me what recipients of the email most urgently needed to know right then was:

1) Is the implication that Democratic voters in Travis County are being targeted as victims of voter fraud justified?
2) Is there really a problem with the voting machines in Travis County? If so, what is it?
3) What steps can voters there take to avoid their vote being compromised?

Underneath my commentary I linked to four news articles plus a memo from the Travis County Dem Party headquarters that gave all the additional information you or anyone else may have been interested in. It seems to me my pages are more readable and useful when my own commentary is short and whatever in-depth coverage exists is made readilty available through external links.

Lastly, to be honest, I took a cue in my handling of the rumor from the official Democratic Party response, which was to the effect that the reported problem was not a machine malfunction, but rather voter error. "We thank everyone who has written or called in with their concerns," said the statement in closing. "We understand these concerns considering what happened in Florida in 2000. But here in Travis County, Texas in 2004 there is nothing to worry about."

Thanks very much for writing.

David Emery

Eh. I suppose that hearing him say that in retrospect he might have done it differently was something. I'm just going to take hold of the fact that he's having second thoughts and tell myself that it's making a bit of a difference. I'm not printing the text of the message that I sent, but it was very tempered and sensible-- and like my NewsHour encounter, I got a rationalization instead of an actual response to my letter. But again we see that these people are listening. So start writing letters. Things aren't going to change if we don't speak up. And it can be a very cathartic experience-- especially if you're as pissed off as I am.