It was about 48 hours after the polls closed on November 6, 2012 when Defiance County, Ohio Elections Director Pamela S. Schroder got the late-night text on her phone from another Ohio county elections official. It’s the type of message no elections official wants to get. There was talk on television of vote rigging in Defiance County. Schroder looked at the text on her phone and thought “Why us?” Fortunately for Schroder, while the text was real, the talk wasn’t. It is part of a story line on the ABC drama Scandal. Scandal is a primetime drama on ABC starring Kerry Washington as public relations “fixer” in Washington, D.C.
The show features a variety of salacious storylines, but the one that caught Schroder by surprise that November night is a vote rigging storyline. In the show, produced by Shonda Rimes (despite electionline’s best efforts, we could not reach Rimes for comment), a cabal of five people — the first lady, a PR executive, a Supreme Court justice, a Texas businessman and the president’s chief of staff — all scheme to get the president elected. Part of that scheming was paying a hacker to rig the vote in one small Ohio county — Defiance, population 38,884.
Why Defiance? Why Ohio? Schroder has no idea. “It’s an interesting county name?” Schroder speculated. “We have an Indy car championship driver, several professional baseball players, the movie—“Prizewinner of Defiance, Ohio,” but we really have NO idea.”
… Pamela Smith with Verified Voting agrees that the show is a bit over-the-top, but does feel that it could provide a cautionary tale for voters. “It’s silly but it’s not,” Smith said. “I don’t actually see it, so I went on Apple TV and watched an episode.” Smith noted that some voting systems are more securable than others and she said the show could have an impact on public perception and make voters wonder about the systems used in their jurisdiction. “I wouldn’t necessarily want people to think that all voting systems are suspect, but I don’t want them to think that they aren’t either,” Smith said. “People need to be vigilant on an on-going basis.”
Smith and Nolan both agree though that an audit of a voting system would prevent something like what happened on Scandal from well, happening. “If you have an evidenced-based election and you have an auditable system and you are doing audits, then you have the evidence to reconstruct the outcome if there were a question,” Smith said.
Full Article: electionlineWeekly.