What Can YOU do to Save Elections?
COALITION FOR VISIBLE BALLOTS
Posted 6/08 by Vickie Karp, National Chair
November 2008 is around the corner and we are headed for another presidential "selection" in which 85% of all votes will be cast and/or counted on fraudulent electronic voting machines. There is absolutely no reason in the world to have confidence that the actual "winner" of that election will be the true choice of We the Peoplejust as there is no reason to even believe that the candidates we're told we'll be choosing from are even our true choices.
It is a frustrating situation, isn't it?
We want to help!
This new section of our website will be an "Action Center" resource for actions citizens can take between now and November toward reclaiming elections away from corporations (the e-voting machine vendors) and back into OUR hands--the citizens'.
I'll be detailing for you how to get your own election integrity group started, or how to find one in your area to join; how to get educated on this issue; I'll detail actions that we have been taking locally in the Austin, Texas area through VoteRescue, at the city, county, and state levels, and give you the "ammunition" that we are using, such as links to reports of hacks and scholarly studies that condemn the software of all of the major voting machine vendors; interesting actions being taken in other parts of the country. We will post sample and actual letters and statements we are using as we meet with officials who have a hand in either certifying these machines for use, (Secretary of State); executing our elections with them (County Clerk); or funding the continued drain of cash they represent to our taxpayer dollars (County Commissioners). We will also be posting powerful "Letters to the Editor" that you may be able to use in your area with the appropriate modifications.
Additionally, we will be posting and sending out other powerful resources for actions, such as Bev Harris' new 2008 "Citizens' Tool Kit" which details a myriad of citizen actions which she has devised.
We also invite you to send in your own ideas for actions that YOU have taken or are planning to take in your city, county or state, so that we can post your ideas HERE and let you add to this resource of information for everyone's benefit!
The truth is, there is now such a mountain of evidence available clearly condemning of the machines and their laughable "security", that it is no longer a matter of whether or not we can prove the machines are fraudulent it's only a matter of whether citizens can make their "elected" officials acknowledge it by "forcing" them to look at the evidence ---or, hear it at a County Commissioner's Court meeting, or a legislative committee session, or a City Council session (usually recorded on TV and played on local channels so the public gets to see and hear it too); and then follow up with the demand that the computers are taken out of commission, BY THIS NOVEMBER; we recommend that we all demand that our cities, counties and/or states go back to hand-counted paper ballot elections, with enhanced security procedures.
I will take a minute here to describe in more detail our solution to how elections should be executed without any computerized voting equipment, since that is the Big Question we are always asked. This description handles many of the objections we've heard time and time again on the topic of hand-counted paper ballot elections:
What Would an (Improved) Hand-counted Paper Ballot Election Look Like?
* It would involve, ideally, Election Day as a holiday, first of all, freeing up more citizens to work on election day and participate in hand-counted paper ballot elections.
* If needed, citizens could then be sent a notice to work on Election Day, the way they are currently enrolled to serve on a jury.
* Citizens representing all parties involved in the election would help execute and monitor the election, and help count the votes.
* With the savings involved by not using the electronic voting machines (and their renewed software licensing fees; storage fees; software upgrades; extra training costs to election employees), each Election Day worker could be given a raise and paid a little more than they are currently (Is that a whopping $4.50, or is it $6.00 per hour?)
* Large, urban precincts would be split up and reduced to no more than 1000 -1500 voters or less apiece for enhanced ease and speed of counting ballots.
* Video cameras would be trained on the ballot box all day, including the counting procedure. Public access TV and/or local TV stations could also be encouraged to tape there all day.
* "Fresh" Election Day workers, representing all parties with a vested interest in that election, would be called in to count the ballots at the end of the day
* One person reads the votes off the ballots; another person (or people, from another political party) observes that person
* A third person marks the tally sheet; another person (or people, from another political party) observes that person
* The ballot box never leaves the table or the precinct until all the votes are counted and all counters and observers agree on the totals.
* The totals are posted at the precinct level.
* HAVA compliance The 2002 "Help America Vote Act" mandates that one voting system per precinct be available that would allow the disabled to vote without assistance. Electronic voting was promoted as the "solution" to HAVA compliance, the deadline for which was each state's mid-term election in 2006. In order to get a portion of the $3.86 billion dollars in federal HAVA funds, the 2006 deadline had to be met, hence the rush by the states to purchase electronic voting systems.
Now there are two non-electronic methods of voting available that fulfill the HAVA mandate for the disabled: The "Vote-PAD", and the "Equalivote". We propose that one each of one of those voting methods be used in each precinct, thereby totally eliminating the use of any electronic systems whatsoever.
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Thus ends our Introduction to the Action Center. I will begin the "Action Center" at the beginning: How to find others to enjoin with for the purposes of taking action, and we'll go from there. This is a "work-in-progress", and I'll be adding to this segment of our site over the next few weeks to try to give you as much useful information as possible.
With hopes to inspire more of you to ACTION ~
Vickie Karp, National Chair