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helderheid Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-28-06 11:10 AM
Original message
Your Vote At Risk
Your Vote At Risk: thanks to www.protectmyvote.org staff

People struggled and sacrificed to win the right to vote. If you are a citizen - no matter where you were born, no matter who you are - you deserve to vote the same as any other American. Voting is very important. It lets you decide who will represent you and who you trust with important offices. In this way, you help guide the future of this country. Your vote is your voice and we will help you protect your right to be heard by voting.

Voting should be simple and easy, but that's not always the case. Former Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris made unfair partisan decisions which removed qualified voters from the registration rolls and prevented votes from counting. Voting problems in Florida led to weeks of confusion which ended with Bush's appointment as President by the Supreme Court in 2000. In 2004, Ohio's partisan elections procedures prevented many African Americans and voters in poor neighborhoods from voting. Difficulties were reported nation-wide. Machine and human error as well as corruption, manipulation and partisan actions endanger your vote.

The Help America Vote Act (HAVA) was supposed to help voters, but didn't fix many of the worst problems. Some people say it's made matters even worse. This law uses federal funds to push states into adopting electronic voting machines. Despite proven security flaws, the voting machine companies have privatized our elections. Bob Ney, convicted former congressman from Ohio, sponsored HAVA. He resigned under investigation for having unsavory ties to the Diebold voting machine company and accepting improper donations.

Many people question Ney's role in writing this legislation which uses tax money to fund private industry in this drastic change. Computer experts express grave concerns about the voting machines. Limited testing consistently exposes insecurity in the electronic voting machines. Election machines should be certified by federal and state officials, but serious questions remain. Machine companies influence and control the regulation and testing processes!

Most local elections officials lack the experience, resources, or staff to run elections on these machines without bringing vendors into their internal operations. Local officials must rely on the vendors to run key aspects of elections. Most voters remain uninformed about the known flaws and vulnerabilities, and elected officials lack access to complete testing data. It's up to you to protect your voting rights.

We can protect our voting rights through:

* public education and involvement;
* closely monitoring elections;
* demanding new laws to protect elections;
* filing lawsuits to investigate and remedy unacceptable activity;
* maintaining real security for paper ballots and paper records;
* requiring strong audits of electronic voting results to ensure their accuracy;
* demanding voter verifiable paper ballots for all elections, starting November 2006.

We strongly suggest you demand paper ballots when you vote on Election Day!

More information: www.protectmyvote.org

Mike Hersh

- Maryland State Coordinator, National Staff, Progressive Democrats of America - http://www.pdamerica.org
- Chairperson, Montgomery County Progressive Alliance - http://www.mc-progressivealliance.com
- Silver Spring Council - MoveOn.org Operation Democracy - http://www.moveon.org
- Steering Committee Camp Democracy - http://www.campdemocracy.org
- Steering Committee Democracy for America / Maryland - http://www.democracyforamerica.com
- Member, The After Downing Street Coalition - http://www.afterdowningstreet.org

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helderheid Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-28-06 11:21 AM
Response to Original message
1. .
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neoblues Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-28-06 11:29 AM
Response to Original message
2. Uh... but...

When I finally reach the room where the voting machines and elections volunteers are, they will have a table at which they check my id, give me an electronic card, and direct me to another table that is identified with a particular range of letters for last names. At that table, they will check my photo id and/or voter registration card, find my name on the list of voters for that precinct, and direct me to an open electronic voting machine (black box with screen). Each of these tables and everyone there will be senior citizens who are nearly all just volunteers--I've never seen anyone who appears more official than that. There isn't a table for suggestions or complaints, just the tables and personnel I've described--with the slight possibility that someone there somewhere is an actual, paid, official from the board of elections.

At what point, exactly, am I to "demand paper ballots when" I "vote on Election Day!"? And, given that I'm there to vote--meaning the critical election is already here--what point is there in trying to demand a "paper ballot"? Seems a little late to be trying to demand anything.

Don't get me wrong; I appreciate the need for and value of a paper ballot, it's just that the suggestion to demand a paper ballot at that particular time and place doesn't seem to me very likely to accomplish anything except to create a significant annoyance to the elderly elections voluteers and potentially get me arrested for causing a disturbance.

By the way, formally speaking, no one actually has a "right" to vote; it's not in the Constitution. Our states decide how to operate elections and, at least, when we follow their rules our votes shoulc be collected and the results are supposed to decide most offices--but the most important one, the Presidency is far more complicated--and doesn't necessarily get decided by our votes (enter the Electoral College; Congress and now the Supreme Court). Yet, even here, I agree--voting should be a guaranteed "Right", protected by law--and so any tampering would receive a much more powerful response. Alas...
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