Breaking News for April 1: An apparent simultaneous software glitch in thousands of Diebold electronic voting machines across the country during the night accidentally released word that Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain will officially win the general election on Nov. 4.
Release of the preset presidential election results months prematurely could become a serious embarrassment to the company whose expensive and allegedly unreliable electronic voting machines have been so controversial in some places.
"We really don't know how this happened," a company spokesman told The Ticket, "but we stress that all the congressional election outcomes are still sealed. So there's still some mystery. And we're asking the news media to suppress the presidential news results in order to maintain the national political suspense for another seven months." Obviously, the appeal for secrecy worked on other websites but not on The Ticket.
The computer error is certain to affect negatively the television....
audience ratings on election night, since viewers will have known the winner for exactly 31 weeks. So election night's mounting popular vote counts, the states changing colors, electoral college totals and pleasant people with perfect hairdos predicting state outcomes and discussing what it all means will look like the sham it is, except this time viewers will know it.
On the positive side, the candidates will continue raising millions and campaigning to help fuel the nation's stumbling economy. McCain's writing staff has already set aside his September nominating acceptance speech to begin crafting the January inaugural address. And Republicans can make their inauguration travel and hotel arrangements well in advance and book Wayne Newton.
Also, the fact that neither New York Sen. Hillary Clinton nor Illinois Sen. Barack Obama is going to win anything anyway may help tone down the harsh rhetoric that has characterized their Democratic Party competition in recent days. Both will know by breakfast today that they're competing in useless primaries for a worthless nomination. And the superdelegates won't be so super anymore.
Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy, an Obama supporter, issued an immediate statement urging Clinton to stay in the race as long as possible because one-candidate debates are pretty boring, although even in her absence CNN's commentators will still declare Clinton the winner.
Spokesmen for both parties said their national conventions would go ahead as planned -- the Democrats in Denver and the Republicans in St. Paul -- because they've already paid for the convention centers, and late-summer TV shows are usually lame.
News of McCain's upcoming victory confirms the long-held and often-expressed suspicions of Rep. Ron Paul's supporters about a vast media-corporate conspiracy to ignore the Texan's hopeless, longshot presidential campaign and suppress both his poll numbers and primary voting results to prevent his certain sweep.
Word of the Diebold computer malfunction first leaked shortly after midnight on April Fool's Day on the Onion satirical website. McCain supporters were spotted in several cities celebrating prematurely. The website's exclusive compelling video report is here.
-- Andrew Malcolm