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Corporations and State

Photograph of two Roman statues. from: PWCD - Corporations and State

Opinion

Written by: m.wilson

“While corporations have certainly become increasingly powerful and pose a challenge and threat to democracy, I argue that we must understand the inextricable interrelation between the state and the corporation in order to understand corporate power today.”

(Jessen, 2020) 

Is it really a sue-able offense to express dissatisfaction with state matters that affect every citizen, and are so absolutely fundamental to American citizenship as the process of voting? Now that corporations are suing reporters and media outlets for speaking negatively about election equipment, it seems like a good time to put the brakes on right here and say “NO.” Citizens, journalists, and others should not be getting sued by the United States election. It doesn’t seem like the American way of doing things; it’s suppressive, and it just doesn’t seem free

EXACTLY WHAT IS SOLVED WITH A LAWSUIT?

There have always been election controversies. Such as the case of the Michigan and Florida primaries in 2008. Hilary Clinton, who would have been the first female presidential nominee of a major party, had won, twice over. However, the delegates of the candidates were entirely nullified, despite being officially tallied and certified by the secretary of state, in both states. The results had been snuffed out by the Democratic Party for breaking the rules. Clinton then won the popular vote again in 2016, but that didn’t quite work out either. And while never having a female president, some of us may have ‘thought,’ once again, that it must have been the rules.

So if someone like me had gone on television and started yelling about it, I would not be expecting to pay billions of dollars for my trouble. And it is entirely unfeasible for women especially, to be getting sued by election machine makers. There are going to be problems with elections, and Americans cannot give the companies the power to take their free speech and our democracy away.

ELECTION EQUIPMENT IS BUT A TOOL OF THE CHURCH

Citizens need to be alleviated from the demands of the church, some of them – horrible practices, meant to spare the soul from the fires of hell. So it’s a little bit scary to hear people talking about the election as if it weren’t run by machines and human beings. Concerns about voting equipment – integrity are nothing new, and there are frequently very serious problems with these machines that call vast quantities of votes into question in just about every election.

According to ProPublica – 2020 was supposed to be the year that touchscreen voting equipment would be updated in about a quarter of all voting states; same as when punchcard machines were replaced after they were legally discredited following the 2000 presidential election. The last punchcard machine being used in 2014 (Verified Voting, 2021).

“I’ve been given absolutely no good reason why we should buy these things. There’s not one good reason. So therefore it just reeks of corruption, that we’re prioritizing vendors over voters,” 

-Democratic state Sen. Elena Parent (npr, May 2019)

ES&S = roughly 55% / DOMINION VOTING SYSTEMS = 30% / & HART INTERCIVIC = 15%

Purchasing Equipment Expense paid trips and gifts are an aspect of voting equipment selection because the corporations have to stay in the loop and generate sales via various conferences and such. And while it doesn’t seem appropriate to place county election officials in that position. It’s just normal to feel favoritism to an entity one has a good working relationship with, and who could perhaps provide employment after the world of politics has run out of gas.

“These companies’ litigiousness creates a barrier to competition that becomes a barrier to improving our elections.”

-Dan Wallach Rice University (ProPublica, Oct 2019

YES LAWSUITS…

According to NPR, ES&S, Dominion Voting Systems, and Hart InterCivic dominate the voting market, and which are reportedly responsible for an endless litany of seriously impactful lawsuits that have prevented counties from doing certain things like updating their equipment in some instances – and which are getting larger and more expensive. Prior to the Smartmatic USA lawsuit against Guliani and Powell for $2.7 billion – false claims; and Dominion Voting Systems, again Giuliani and Powell $1.3 billion – libel; there was, for example:

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The ES&S lawsuit against both the state and county of Colorado for deciding to purchase statewide uniform voting equipment – In 2016 ES&S sued Jill Stein (Green Party presidential candidate) for requesting information about the voting machines she needed to ask for a recount. In LA County, ES&S sues the two other companies that bid to build new machines – patent infringement (based upon specific functionality requests). Two years ago ES&S sued Cook County of Illinois for awarding a voting machine contract to another company. ProPublica also reported that in 2018 ES&S threatened Audit USA – a nonprofit advocate, security researchers, and anyone planning to attend the conferences, with a lawsuit if it posted equipment information online and/or tested their voting machines for hacking vulnerabilities. Experts say that these actions are characteristic of a corporation attempting to remain competitive in the market. This is our election!

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“globalization has brought about a global structure in which state power is not the exclusive governing principle anymore.”

The focus or argument against “globalization” may not simply be a form of disapproving American nationalism in some cases but a potential context for which to view the bounds of power as they exist between corporations and state – and how that affects the people in the absence of state control. Where this relationship lacks clarity may be where the reality must be evaluated on a case by case basis demonstrating a corporation’s interests, as entities rely on or are affected by the state.

IT’S THE ELECTION!

We can’t have corporations suing citizens over the loss of contracts. If an election seems off the mark, people need to be able to address that. Period. If counties, politicians, journalists, and citizens: decide not to use the equipment, want to update what they have, want to add some of the best features to a new design, want to request information, want to recount votes based on that technical information, want to test the machines for security, want to do business with a different vendor, want to talk about or protest against outdated machines that aren’t working properly etc. – they should not be silenced, demoralized, and financially ruined. Corporations become “dominant” in capitalist societies. However, it seems like American principals are clearly defined, intuitive, and second nature enough to each citizen to prevent the undermining of its core power structure, which is the people.

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