HUGO AND THE VOTING MACHINES….Via Mark Kleiman, I see that an e-voting company based in Venezuela is under investigation:

Federal officials are investigating whether Smartmatic, owner of Oakland, Calif.-based Sequoia Voting Systems, is secretly controlled by Venezuelan President Hugo Ch?vez, according to two people familiar with the probe.

….Concerns about Smartmatic are keen on the eve of the Nov. 7 election, given fears that someone with unauthorized access to the electronic system could create electoral chaos. Some critics believe that if the Venezuelan government is involved, Smartmatic could be a ”Trojan horse” designed to advance Chavez’s anti-American agenda.

My guess is that there’s nothing improper going on here. But who knows? What’s more, if a minor round of chest-thumping xenophobia and Hugo Ch?vez bashing is the only thing that will get conservatives to finally pull their heads out of the sand on this issue, I guess I’m willing to pay the price. As Mark says, “Actually, I’m pleased. Maybe this will finally get the black box issue the attention it deserves.”