HACKING DEMOCRACY takes a nonpartisan, clear-eyed look at the secrecy, cronyism, and incompetence of elections in present-day The us as it captures a citizen’s movement intent on taking back elections–and democracy itself.
Hacking Democracy tells the tale of a brand new-day David and Goliath. On one side stand three corporations in the voting machine business, led by Diebold. On the other stands Bev Harris, a concerned citizen from Seattle. When touch-screen voting machines are installed in her community, she comes to a decision to do a little analysis. Harris discovers that black boxes are not exactly fool-proof—-far from it. As technology experts attest, the code is liable to manipulation. Worse yet, after-the-fact changes are undetectable. So, Harris forms a grass-roots organization and proceeds to dig deeper. If that means dumpster-diving, so be it. Starting in 2004, Simon Ardizzone and Russell Michaels accompany Harris around the country to document her mission. Over the course of three years, they find several troubling instances of corporate malfeasance and computer malfunction. Foremost among consequences, her findings lead the State of California to file criminal charges against Diebold. Since most American votes are counted by computer, this is not a trivial matter. Like This Film is Not Yet Rated, which reveals the inner workings of the MPAA, Hacking Democracy sheds light on a secretive process that has effects on all Americans–even those unfortunates who can’t be bothered to vote. Finally, they still have to live with the results, accurate or in a different way. –Kathleen C. Fennessy