What is the Big Lesson of the UK 'Brexit' Vote for Americans? It Was Done With Paper Ballots
The decision by a majority of UK voters to reject membership in the European Union in Wednesday's hotly-contested referendum has been a devastating defeat for the corporatist domination of the European political and economic scene. It throws the corporate duopoly in the UK into turmoil, and also has the EU bureaucrats and the banking elite in Brussels and the financial capitals of Europe in a panic, lest other countries' voters, as in Spain and Italy, or even France and the Netherlands, decide to follow suit. (Spain had a national election Sunday which left the country in limbo, with no party gaining a majority, and with the new Unity Podemos left coalition in a position to rival the old pro-capitalist Socialists for leadership on the left which could ultimately lead to a departure of Spain from the EU.)
But for the US, which is not a party to the EU, there is also a huge lesson: 'Brexit,' despite being opposed by the political establishment -- Conservative and Labor -- and by the corporate elite of London's City, the financial capital of Europe, won this vote. And the reason the opponents of UK membership in the EU were able to win against all that powerful opposition, has, in no small part, to do with the fact that all the voting was done on paper ballots.
Compare that to the US, where voting, for the vast majority of people, is done on machines, in many cases electronic machines that leave no paper trail of individual votes, or even of vote totals per machine. We are always hearing reports of faulty -- or hacked -- machines that are "flipping" votes, so that someone can cast a vote for a Democratic candidate or party slate and see it switched to Republican, reports of entire tallies for a day's voting being simply lost, machines that don't work, forcing would be voters to wait for hours to vote on a limited number of machines that supposedly are working, limited polling places because county or city governments claim they can't afford to buy an adequate number of machines, a shortage of paper ballots when machines fail, etc.
The list of excuses goes on and on. And why, one might ask, does America vote by electronic machines instead of on readily verifiable paper ballots? The only possible official reason for doing our voting in a way that is costlier, more complicated for voters, and less reliable and trustworthy into the bargain has to be pressure from the corporate media, whose sole interest in our elections is the "horse race" leading to a meaningless competition to get the results out first. Why should it matter though, how fast results are available? If you think about it, whether we learn the results of an election an hour or two after the voting ends, or the next day, or even several days after the voting, so what? Why, in fact, do we allow news organizations like AP or the New York Times to "call" elections based on faulty algorithms that make extrapolations of early counts in specific targeted voting districts based upon prior years' experience?