This story cuts to the bone the machinery of democracy in America today. Democracy is the only protection we have against despotic and arbitrary government, and this story is deeply disturbing.
Imagine if you will that you are a political interest group that wishes to control forevermore the levers of power. Imagine further that you know you are likely to implement a highly unpopular political agenda, and you do not wish to be removed by a ballot driven backlash.
One way to accomplish this outcome would be to adopt the Mugabe (Zimbabwe) or Hun Sen (Cambodia) approach. You agree to hold elections, but simultaneously arrest, imprison and beat your opponents and their supporters. You stuff ballot boxes, disenfranchise voters who are unlikely to vote for you, distort electoral boundaries and provide insufficient polling stations in areas full of opposition supporters.
However as so many despots have discovered, eventually such techniques always fail – often violently. Hence, if you are a truly ambitious political dynasty you have to be a bit more subtle about your methods.
Imagine then if it were possible to somehow subvert the voting process itself in such a way that you could steal elections without anybody knowing.