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« Conservatism's Not a Dirty Word | Main | A Day Late, A Billion Dollars Short - Maybe »

The Illusion of Voting Integrity

In the Cowboy trick, an individual from the crowd is given a video camera; Penn says he's going to make a tiny plastic cow disappear from his hand, and he asks the audience member to film the vanish as the feed is projected onto a large screen for the rest of the room. While the mark focuses on Penn's flamboyant hand gestures--and the impertinently nonvanishing cow--Teller rearranges the entire stage in plain view. The audience cracks up; even when the poor sap looks up from the viewfinder, he fails to notice that anything is different.

"The idea for this trick came straight from science," Teller says. "We thought it would be fun to show people how bad they are at noticing stuff." Called change blindness, the phenomenon is illustrated in a video (on YouTube) that inspired the duo. Shot in 2007 by British psychologist Richard Wiseman, it ostensibly documents a simple card trick--the backs of the cards in a deck are magically transformed from blue to red. But during the course of the video, Wiseman's shirt, his assistant's shirt, the tablecloth, and the backdrop all change color, too. Most viewers watch the card trick unspool and miss the other alterations. Attention, it turns out, is like a spotlight. When it's focused on something, we become oblivious to even obvious changes outside its narrow beam. What magicians do, essentially, is misdirect--pivot that spotlight toward the wrong place at the right time.

-- Wired Magazine

Penn and Teller are latecomers to this game.  In the case of preserving the integrity of the voting system, the Democrats got there long before them.  While they keep you focused on all-paper voting, the butterfly ballot, or whether or not this or that Diebold! Diebold! Diebold! system has a paper receipt, they're busily changing the rest of the set.

Merely in terms of basic voting integrity, the Democrats in this legislative session killed bills that would have assured that voters were Colorado residents, that they were citizens, and that they actually were who they claimed to be. 

In the meantime, there was also a bill introduced that would have doled out driver's licenses to non-citizens.

The two big parts to voter security are making sure that 1) the voter has the right to vote in that jurisdiction, and 2) the voter is who he says he is.  The Democrats continue to make it virtually impossible to validate either parts of that equation.

When Secretary of State (Democrat) Bernie Buescher threatened to take people whose latest voting precinct was the cemetery off the rolls, the ACLU, Common Cause, and every other lefty group screamed loud enough to wake those voters.  And there's now a move at the federal to prevent independent organizations from comparing voting records to other public records for validation - the very records that are supposedly good enough for an individual to use as identification at the polls.

Democrats will respond that there's never been a large-scale prosecution of voter fraud.  Well, if you treated accounting the way they treat voter records, there'd never be any prosecutions for money-laundering, either.

The next step is to allow voters to register online.  Of course, every other week we read about Chinese hackers breaking into the electrical grid or stealing the plans for our new fighter jets before they've been finished.  And then, there's the fact that government files are the single biggest source for identity fraud.

So see?  While you're focused on whether or not the ATM you trust your savings with is good enough to count your votes, they're re-doing the entire set.  You don't want to know what it's going to look like when they're done.

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