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There are still hurdles in this election - nothing is in the bag yet. There is certainly cause for optimism - a new batch of polls out over the last few days show leads in VA-Sen, TN-Sen, MD-Sen, NJ-Sen, MT-Sen, and more House races, including CT-5 (of personal interest to me and seen by many as a bellweather).

However, we still face some very basic problems:

"...He touched the screen for gubernatorial candidate Jim Davis, a Democrat, but the review screen repeatedly registered the Republican, Charlie Crist."

Of course Florida is having election trouble. No surprise there. But the basic ability of our states to conduct elections is in doubt, and electronic voting machines have not helped.

Electronic voting machines have some serious flaws, and they have historically helped the GOP disproportionately, which shouldn't be surprising, given the manufacturers' financial ties to the Republicans.

Diebold, a major manufacturer of electronic voting machines, is particularly suspect, given their propensity for employing felons, including "a cocaine trafficker, a man who conducted fraudulent stock transactions and a programmer jailed for falsifying computer records" (emphasis mine) in management positions.

Walden O'Dell, CEO of Diebold Inc., was an active supporter of President Bush in 2004, even as his machines were counting the votes in the crucial state of Ohio. One of his fundraising letters declared he was "committed to helping Ohio deliver its electoral votes to the president."

In 2000, a Diebold error nearly caused Vice President Gore to concede Florida early, due to a "faulty memory card" that erased Gore's votes.

There is a lot more to this story. The trouble with electronic voting extends beyond Diebold and outright partisan "hacks" (bad tech pun) to other criticisms, including the basically poor quality of the software used. For more information, news, and some action items, check out blackboxvoting.org.

Until every machine has a verifiable paper trail, we will never be certain that our elections are honest.