Jan Brewer is Arizona Secretary of State (and, in 2004, was also co-chair of that state’s BushCo “re-election” drive). Yesterday she formally announced her bid for re-election–and lost her cool when challenged by a vocal group of demonstrators. They were there to protest Brewer’s very stealthy move, late on Dec. 31, to force DRE machines down the collective throat of Arizona’s voters.
She called the demonstrators “anarchists” (and, of course, “conspiracy theorists”). While it was hardly an appropriate term for citizens intent on making our election system function properly (“patriots” would be more like it), Brewer’s use of that preposterous epithet was quite appropriate for Brewer herself, a staunch commando of the Christian right.
I’m pleased to say that I played a small role in yesterday’s brief drama. Those “comments made Thursday morning about Diebold” on the radio were made not only by the “talk show host” (Charles Goyette on Air America) but by yours truly. As a guest on Goyette’s morning show, I called for Arizonans to turn out for Brewer’s announcement and say no to her promotion of the DRE machines.
She’s trying to buck an ever-growing tide against the use of such suspicious gizmos: New Mexico’s Secretary of State just halted a purchase of 800 Sequoia Edge machines that had been planned by several counties, and Connecticut’s SoS announced a similar delay, citing a number of “security concerns.” As you should know from these emails, the same “concerns” are having an impact in several other states, including California, Pennsylvania, Illinois, New York, North Carolina and Wisconsin.
But let us not get lost in the minutiae of each state’s laws and politics. The real problem here is that each state–and, often, each county–is on its own. We badly need a uniform election system, non-partisan and federally supervised.

As a good friend put it to me in an e-mail this a.m.:
This whole goddam process has got to be federalized. You can’t have states with different political interests making piecemeal decisions that affect the popular vote. Looking at it from a state by state point of view is like looking at which cantons in Switzerland want to remain neutral and which ones want to go with the nazis. It doesn’t fucking matter.
State secretary defends purchase of voting machines

By Howard Fischer

PHOENIX – Secretary of State Jan Brewer on Thursday defended the decision to purchase touch-screen voting equipment from the Diebold Corp.
Her comments came during and after what was supposed to be a routine announcement by the Glendale Republican who wants another four years in office.

But a small group of protestors, apparently mobilized by comments made Thursday morning about Diebold by a Phoenix radio talk show host, showed up with hand-made signs decrying the purchase.

A Brewer campaign worker had to call Capitol police to have the protestors moved back so Brewer could give her speech – a speech which boasted of the state getting rid of the last punch card ballots as part of her accomplishments since being elected in 2002 but one that never mentioned the Diebold contract.

But Brewer, responding to media questions, called the noisy protestors “anarchists” and said they were off base.

“I don’t think there is a problem with the Diebold equipment,” she said. Brewer said a committee investigated the bids and the machines passed on the guidelines.

“I think that there are a lot of conspiracy theorists out there that are trying to blow this completely, totally out of proportion,” she said.

Read more.

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