SharksWithLasers -- Seth Cooper

A CUTTING-EDGE BLOG FOR THE WORLD OF THE 21st CENTURY, Currently operated by Seth L. Cooper, a 27 year-old attorney in Seattle (sethlcooper at comcast dot net)

Saturday, September 25, 2004

MY REVIEW OF FUND'S STEALING ELECTIONS. The book review of John Fund's excellent new work was posted to Amazon a few days ago and remains the only review so far. I'll have more comments on the upcoming election and my views and concerns in future posts.

Stealing Elections: How Voter Fraud Threatens our Democracy
By John Fund
Encounter Books (2004)

Fantastic! Buy this book. (Don't steal it.) [5 stars]

This is an excellent book that I highly recommend for every citizen who cares about our democracy and the integrity of the voting system through which it is repeatedly renewed. John Fund has written an important, concise work that readers will find readily accessible and informative.

I was hooked from page one, where Fund asserts that “the United States has a haphazard, fraud-prone election system benefiting an emerging Third World country rather than the world’s leading democracy.” Those are bold words, but in the chapters that follow Fund chronicles a rash of voter scandals from across the country—from Florida to Texas, from Missouri to South Dakota, and from Hawaii and elsewhere. The voting shenanigans pulled by many of the persons chronicled, the lax procedures and lack of serious law enforcement are particularly outrageous—if not downright SCARY.

Very intriguing was Funds reference to the “conflict of visions” concept proposed by Thomas Sowell and how those competing visions of human nature and reality provide the lenses through which competing political forces view the goals of electoral law. Seeing as this book is a compact one, Fund does not delve too deeply into the philosophical, but this reviewer (who is an admirer of “A Conflict of Visions”) nonetheless appreciates this insight.

Most of the voter scandals discussed by Fund were perpetrated by Democrats (sometimes carried by Democrats battling other Democrats in local primary elections). However, Fund also points out incidents of voter fraud carried out by persons who are Republicans. Crime, including voter crime, is an equal opportunity offense. One need not be a member of a particular party to appreciate the contents of the book and the arguments presented. It should be noted that this book does not dwell upon courtroom litigation and legal arguments, particularly those involved in the 2000 Presidential election fiasco in Florida. Nor does the book spend an inordinate amount of time on the 2000 Florida mess, in general, although Fund does provide some key insights into what really happened in Florida once the dust settled, and much of it will be news to many. In any event, regardless of what may have taken place in recent times, it is of greater importance that citizens understand the voting process problems we have and the urgent need to address those problems.

Fund discusses some recent election reforms prompted by the Help Americans Vote Act of 2002 (HAVA) and poses a number of suggestions near the end of this book. His advice strikes one as imminently sound. The discussion of electronic voting was very informative—showing both its merits and also chronicling some serious technical blunders. (This reviewer leans toward an electronic voting system that provides a printout paper trail.)

An experienced journalist, Fund’s book is well-written and is an enjoyable read. It hits readers with first-rate reporting and solid analysis. With election season now upon us, this book is very timely, and comes highly recommended.

(Albuquerque, NM)


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