Hacking Democracy


“The American electoral system is rotten and we need to deal with that,” Ion Sancho, supervisor of elections in Leon County, Florida, told Mother Jones Radio. Sancho and Bev Harris, founder of Black Box Voting, point out the vulnerability of our voting system in an HBO documentary, Hacking Democracy, airing November 2.

The film follows Harris and Sancho as they stumble upon Diebold’s software on their FTP site, dig through trash and find illegally discarded voting records, and stage a mini-election with a computer hacker. In that election, the outcome of the vote is opposite the votes cast: 7:1 instead of 2:6.

As Sancho points out, this is not just a Diebold problem. It is a problem with all electronic voting machine companies: “The other companies are just much better at keeping secrets.” Hacking Democracy should cure anybody of trusting electronic voting machines that do not have a paper trail.

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate

Share your feedback: We’re planning to launch a new version of the comments section. Help us test it.