Dobbs: Voting machines put U.S. democracy at risk

NEW YORK (CNN) — Democrats and Republicans are desperately trying to nationalize the midterm elections, now only 48 days away.

Democrats are seeking to focus voter attention on President Bush’s conduct of the war in Iraq, while Republicans are trying to convince voters that the president and all Republicans should be given credit for the conduct of the war on terror, and the fact that there has not been a terrorist attack on U.S. soil since September 11, 2001.

And voters will also choose which party to support on a host of other issues, local and national: illegal immigration, border security, the state of the economy, the escalating cost of health care, failing public schools, record budget and trade deficits, and the declining standard of living for the middle class.

Voters will be deciding whether the promise of challengers or the performance of incumbents merits their votes. The most recent polls reveal a national public mood that is now more supportive of a still unpopular president and about evenly divided over their preferences for, or tolerance of, congressional Republicans and Democrats. In other words, less than seven weeks before we go to the polls, there is every indication that the partisan quest for power on Capitol Hill will be close.

But there is additional uncertainty about the outcome of our elections that is intolerable and inexcusable, and which could make the contested 2000 presidential election look orderly by comparison. As of right now, there is little assurance your vote will count. As we’ve been reporting almost nightly on my broadcast for more than a year, electronic voting machines are placing our democracy at risk.

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