By: Mark Hemingway
Commentary Staff Writer
10/26/10 6:12 PM EDT
Clark County is where three quarters of Nevada’s residents and live and where Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s son Rory is a county commissioner. Rory is also a Democratic candidate for governor.
Since early voting started, there have been credible reports that voting machines in Clark County, Nevada are automatically checking Harry Reid’s name on the ballot:
Voter Joyce Ferrara said when they went to vote for Republican Sharron Angle, her Democratic opponent, Sen. Harry Reid’s name was already checked.
Ferrara said she wasn’t alone in her voting experience. She said her husband and several others voting at the same time all had the same thing happen.
“Something’s not right,” Ferrara said. “One person that’s a fluke. Two, that’s strange. But several within a five minute period of time — that’s wrong.”
Clark County Registrar of Voters Larry Lomax said there is no voter fraud, although the issues do come up because the touch-screens are sensitive. For that reason, a person may not want to have their fingers linger too long on the screen after they make a selection at any time.
Now there’s absolutely no independently verified evidence of chicanery with the voting machines (yet), but it is worth noting that the voting machine technicians in Clark County are members of the Service Employees International Union. The SEIU spent $63 million in elections in 2008 and is planning on spending $44 million more this election cycle — nearly all of that on Democrats. White House political director Patrick Gaspard is formerly the SEIU’s top lobbyist, and former SEIU president Andy Stern was the most frequent visitor to the White House last year.
Just in Nevada, the SEIU has given a lot to groups that are heavily vested in the state — in just one prominent example, the SEIU gave $500,000 to the Patriot Majority PAC, which has spent $1.3 million against Reid’s opponent Sharron Angle. They’ve and have dropped large sums directly on candidates:
Joe Heck (R)
Dina Titus (D)
Sharron E. Angle (R)
Now the county voting technicians aren’t unique here — many of Clark County’s employees are also represented by the SEIU. But it is worth mentioning, the SEIU is hyperpoliticized and has seen its fair share of corruption. (It certainly seems more questionable than Diebold, the voting machine manufacturer with Republican ties that was at the center of many conspiracy theories on the left during the Bush administration.)
Unions increasingly have a major financial stake in election outcomes, both as a matter of their own election expenditures, and as a function of what they stand to gain if their legislative agenda is enacted. Should they really be responsible for tabulating the votes? That’s certainly something voters ought to think long and hard about.
Below is Clark County’s SEIU contract — On Page 75, in Appendix A, voting machine technicians are listed as positions represented by SEIU.