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Reply #44: Recommendations for letters: Reference Solomon's Op Ed and .... [View All]

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pat_k Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-27-04 02:23 PM
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44. Recommendations for letters: Reference Solomon's Op Ed and ....
Highly recommend a reference to Solomon's Validate the Vote Op Ed in your letters (included at the end of this post).

I also recommend asking each Senator you contact to take the following two actions:

Action 1

Issue a statement calling upon each state to subject its election to independent audit to validate the results and investigate charges of discrimination. Good quote from the Op Ed:

No reasonable argument can be offered against disclosure and accountability. We can afford whatever expense, inconvenience, distraction and possible embarrassment may be caused by an election audit and congressional investigation. What we cannot afford are unresolved doubts about the legitimacy of our democratic government.


The audit must include an investigation into whether or not the voters in the state were given an equal opportunity to exercise their voting rights, regardless of racial, socio-economic, absentee, overseas, military or civilian, partisan, or whatever status.

<See the "What We Require" section of this declaration for thoughts about scope.>

Action 2

Issue a statement to put states on notice that you <the Senator> shall object to and vote to reject the Electoral Votes from any state that fails to validate its election. No matter what the margin of victory.

And further, because the results of a discriminatory election are unacceptable, you <the Senator> shall object to and vote to reject the Electoral Votes from any state that has failed to demonstrate that minority voters, poor voters, overseas voters, or voters from one or the other party were afforded an equal opportunity to exercise their voting rights (equal opportunity in qualifying/registering to vote, casting their vote, and having their vote counted).

Argument: If you allow the results of a discriminatory election to stand because the margin of victory is large, you are taking the position that election officials are free to discriminate to any degree so long as their state leans heavily for one candidate or the other. This is an Immoral, Un-American, and Unacceptable position. Electoral votes given pursuant to a discriminatory election are to be rejected. Period. There must be consequences.

See this document for talking points.

And, finally, if you send a snail mail letter, consider enclosing the We the People Do Not Concede flyer (filename=wedemandscrollparch.jpg). Email host@unioncountyfordemocracy.org if you have a problem downloading it or printing it.

----------



By Ian H. Solomon

November 26, 2004

MOST MAINSTREAM newspapers have already dismissed stories of voting fraud and voting rights violations in the November election as baseless or irrelevant. Sen. John Kerry's concession is supposed to demonstrate that there is no story here. Give up, go home, it's all over.

But it's not over.

The legitimacy of our democratic process is an issue more important than Mr. Kerry's future or the results of 2004. That legitimacy has been called into question repeatedly over the past few weeks, and doubts will linger as long as credible indications of error, negligence, disenfranchisement and fraud are not addressed.

We would like to believe that voting irregularities were identified and corrected, that participants fulfilled their duties appropriately, that the machines performed reliably and that the total discrepancy between voter intention and recorded results was less than the margin of victory in relevant contests.

But that conclusion must be reached on the basis of evidence, not blind faith. My own observations as a volunteer poll watcher in Florida do not give perfect confidence.

As many experts had warned, the electronic voting machines used across the country were vulnerable to glitches and possible tampering, including the over-recording of votes and the "disappearance" of valid votes.

We experienced a troubling number of memory card failures where I was based in Volusia County, for example, and we tried to minimize the disruption to voters even though data security was compromised. In Franklin County, Ohio, a machine error resulted in an extra 4,000 votes for President Bush. In Guilford County, N.C., a machine error cost Mr. Kerry 22,000 votes. Similar problems were experienced in Nebraska, Indiana and other states. These glitches that we know about have reportedly been fixed, though a re-vote is necessary in a different North Carolina county.

Disturbingly, several Web sites have demonstrated the ease of hacking into the AccuVote TS machines made by Diebold Election Systems, the company that for $2.6 million recently settled a lawsuit by California over voting machine problems. Another major manufacturer of electronic voting machines, Election Systems & Software, has also been subject to criticism for machine breakdowns and vulnerability. There is no evidence of fraud, but neither manufacturer has assuaged widespread concerns about inappropriate partisanship and unreliability.

There is also reason to question the competence of election officials in resolving registration and voting problems. Many voters were denied the opportunity to cast a regular ballot or to vote within a reasonable period of arriving at the polls.

At one heavily black precinct in Volusia County, for example, more than 10 percent of those turning out to vote were unable to cast a regular ballot. Many of these voters simply departed after waiting in line for several hours and then being told by poll workers that their provisional ballots "would not be counted." Knox County in Ohio reported voters waiting in line for over nine hours. In Warren County, Ohio, observers were barred from monitoring the vote-counting process.

How can we expect voters - especially young, disadvantaged or newly registered voters - to have faith in our voting system? How can we expect our allies to take seriously U.S. efforts to hold elections in Iraq and elsewhere? How can we be confident that the most fundamental principles of American democracy - one person, one vote; rule by the people; transparency in government - are not in jeopardy?

American legitimacy demands that the news media, the parties and all political leaders take seriously the challenges presented by the 2004 election: We need an audit of the election process, validation of the election results and corrective measures to ensure the legitimacy of future elections.

To begin with, that means supporting the audit efforts already under way. Recounts are expected in Ohio and New Hampshire, and election results may be contested in Florida, New Mexico and other states. Grass-roots organizations have requested voting data from precincts across the country, and scientists from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the University of California, Berkeley and other universities have begun to analyze surprising voting patterns.

This should be a priority for Congress, with vigilant participation by independent news organizations. The complete process - from registration through vote tallying, including all equipment and procedures - must be thoroughly and publicly assessed.

No reasonable argument can be offered against disclosure and accountability. We can afford whatever expense, inconvenience, distraction and possible embarrassment may be caused by an election audit and congressional investigation. What we cannot afford are unresolved doubts about the legitimacy of our democratic government.

Ian H. Solomon is associate dean of Yale Law School.

Copyright 2004, The Baltimore Sun -- reproduced here for educational/information purposes.
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