Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Your Name's Too Long to Vote with God

So yesterday's Washington Post reports:

U.S. Senate candidate James Webb's last name has been cut off on part of the electronic ballot used by voters in Alexandria, Falls Church and Charlottesville because of a computer glitch that also affects other candidates with long names, city officials said yesterday.

Although the problem creates some voter confusion, it will not cause votes to be cast incorrectly, election officials emphasized. The error shows up only on the summary page, where voters are asked to review their selections before hitting the button to cast their votes. Webb's full name appears on the page where voters choose for whom to vote.


Thus, Democratic candidate Webb will appear with his first name and nickname only -- or "James H. 'Jim' " -- on summary pages in Alexandria, Falls Church and Charlottesville, the only jurisdictions in Virginia that use balloting machines manufactured by Hart InterCivic of Austin.


Every candidate on Alexandria's summary page has been affected in some way by the glitch. Even if candidates' full names appear, as is the case with Webb's Republican opponent, incumbent Sen. George F. Allen, their party affiliations have been cut off.

Now, I'm not the kind of person who spends time pondering how Building 7 came down, but here I begin to smell the scent of conspiracy. The Democrat? His name gets zipped. The Republican? He loses his party affiliation right when it's not necessarily the best time to stand proud and tall with that R after your name.

It doesn't help when you do a quick search into Hart InterCivic and discover Black Box Voting says:

From Chapter 8, Black Box Voting book - "What you won't find on company Web sites" (

For initial funding, Hart went to Triton Ventures, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Triton Energy, a firm that primarily exploits oil fields in Colombia. Triton, in turn, is a subsidiary of Amerada Hess.(1)

The $3.5 million awarded by Triton in 1999 didn’t last long, but the Help America Vote Act, with its massive allocation of federal money, hovered just over the horizon. In October 2000, Hart picked up $32.5 million more from five sources. 45 In 2002, it raised another $7.5 million. (2)

RES Partners, which invested in Hart’s second and third rounds, is an entity that represents Richard Salwen, retired Dell Computer Corporation vice president, general counsel and corporate secretary, who had also worked with Perot Systems and EDS. Salwen is a heavy contributor to George W. Bush and the Republican Party. (3)

Hart’s most politically charged investor is an arm of Hicks, Muse, Tate & Furst, which was founded and is chaired by Tom Hicks. Hicks bought the Texas Rangers in 1999, making George W. Bush a millionaire 15 times over. Tom Hicks and his investment company are invested in Hart Intercivic through Stratford Capital. They are also heavily invested in Clear Channel Communications, the controversial radio-raider that muscled a thousand U.S. radio outlets into a
more conservative message. (4)

(1) – Hoover’s Company Profiles, 11 March 2002; Triton Energy Limited.
(2) – InformationWeek, 2 October 2000; “Cost Of Compliance”
(3) – Austin Business Journal, 8 November 2001; “Investors cast $7.5M vote for Hart InterCivic.”
(4) – CN group web site and

So, we've got oil fields in Colombia, George W. Bush, and Tom Hicks, the man who made Alex Rodriguez the most hated man in New York City.

I keep having this feeling that all the pre-election day polling and all the exit polling is going to be wrong November 7. And I keep inching closer into looking into real estate prices in France.


Blogger Shakespeare's Sister said...

The Democrat? His name gets zipped. The Republican? He loses his party affiliation right when it's not necessarily the best time to stand proud and tall with that R after your name.

Yeah. That whiffs. Big time.

3:16 PM  

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