Scandal‘s “Whiskey Tango Foxtrot” aired February 14.  I want to remind everyone please not to get sidetracked by all the exciting sub plots in this Beltway TV series.  The main story is the rigging of a presidential election. The election was rigged by five people, some of whom were very close to Fitz (Tony Goldwyn), the Republican president now in office. They got him elected by rigging electronic voting machines in Defiance, Ohio, thus enabling him to carry the state of Ohio.

Logo of ABC's Scandal

A look at David, a heroic figure from the TV show Scandal, and the real world history of election rigging.

Since being betrayed by two people he trusted and relied on heavily — Olivia “fixer” Pope (Kerry Washington), love of his life and Cyrus (Jeff Perry), his chief of staff — Fitz is now distancing himself from both of them. Olivia has told Cyrus that Defiance will never be over.

David Rosen (Joshua Malina) was front and center this week, not only in the episode but also by appearing in a ½ hour interview before the show, in which viewers could submit questions for him to answer.

I submitted a question that did not get aired: “Wasn’t he afraid that he would get killed because he is investigating the rigging of the election?” He did answer my question, though, by saying in answer to another question that when he gets the script weekly, he looks at the end of it to see if he is going to die that week.

David was a truth-telling Assistant U.S. Attorney who was looking into the rigged election in Defiance, Ohio.  He had enlisted the help of James Novak (Dan Bucatinsky), Cyrus’ husband. When James was called to testify about the rigging of the election, he lied and said he knew nothing about Defiance and nothing about a rigging. And so David lost his job. James was trying to protect his family, his newly adopted baby girl and his husband Cyrus. Hard choice.

We don’t know much about David, not his past nor his secrets. He is likeable and honest, at least as far we know.  Relentless in his pursuit of the rigged election in Defiance, he has much courage and integrity. For a show full of secrets, I am eager to know his past and his secrets. I wonder if he will ever forgive Abby (Darby Stanchfield) for betraying him by stealing the memory card from Defiance out of his safe. Also, I wonder if he has he ever betrayed anyone and why and, if so, what did he do to make amends for it, if anything. Is he able to forgive? Will he betray anyone in the present?

I like David and love the role he is playing. I also cannot help but wonder, however, why with such a diverse and interesting cast, there is still a straight white man playing the hero here, the one who is going to help save the world by exposing the rigged election — as is usually the case on TV, radio, film and everywhere else.

Just to hammer in the real life story of the rigging of a presidential election:

In the real life backstory, in the voting that took place in the 2000 presidential election, the Diebold AccuVote OS [optical scan] electronic voting machines were most likely hacked in Volusia, Florida. As with the touchscreens seen in Defiance, Ohio, the tampering can be done without leaving a trace. Each machine is supposed to have one memory card. In the middle of the night, in Volusia, a second memory card [called "card no. 3"] “mysteriously appears” in precinct 216 and negates 16,022 votes for Gore.

On February 19, 2013, in a phone and email conversation with Cliff Arnebeck, Ohio election attorney, he told me that, “in the voting that took place in Ohio for the 2004 presidential election, I believe we can trace how the computers were hacked by SMARTech.…Michael Connell, Karl Rove’s high tech operative, testified that SMARTech had been placed into his contract with the Ohio Secretary of State and that they, rather than he, were responsible for the security issues created by their computers in Chattanooga, Tennessee.”

Connell was a hard-right-anti-abortionist-true-believer, who died, suspiciously, in a small airplane crash after testifying under oath. Like the characters in Scandal, he also had a personal agenda. He viewed abortion as murder and wanted an anti-abortion president. We will probably never know the real story of what happened with the fraud via the electronic voting machines in Ohio in 2004. For more detailed information, read Victoria Collier, Bob Fitrakis, Craig Unger. Thanks to Deltadoc of ePluribus Media for his most wonderful help with this.

The solution to the rigging of elections by hacking into electronic voting machines is public oversight of our entire election process, including publicly observed, secure, hand-counted-paper ballots (HCPB) elections.

You can read all my blogs about Scandal on the website of the Center For Hand-Counted Paper Ballots in the “News” column on the right hand side of the home page.

Sheila Parks is an ardent feminist, internationalist and peace & justice work. She is the founder of the Center for Hand-Counted Paper Ballots and the author of WHILE WE STILL HAVE TIME, The Perils of Electronic Voting Machines and Democracy’s Solution: Publicly Observed, Secure Hand-Counted Paper Ballots (HCPB) Election.