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Land Shark Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-12-05 10:52 PM
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E-Voting to be Gone Sooner Than you Think
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Edited on Sat Feb-12-05 10:56 PM by Land Shark
DREs Will Be Gone Sooner Than You Think, Because Who Will Rise to Defend Secret Corporate Vote Counting??

(edited to state that the $100 bet below can be accepted only by established DU member with verifiable screen name, disclosed identity in private message to me, and over 100 posts as of this posting. Offer expires 2/14/05 at 1:00 a.m. EST.)

The key is to frame the issue as one of secrecy. Then to make the public realize that secrecy in vote COUNTING kills democracy.

My attorney has made case law before where none thought possible, but ejecting secret vote counters from our elections is not based on a novel legal theory at all.... (WA case Birklid v. Boeing)

It's my belief, based on actual interest around the country, that various other jurisdictions will soon get sued to remove DREs because of secret vote counting, shortly after our lawsuit is filed. We will publish how we did ours so others don't have to reinvent the wheel. Soon, if we collectively
know what is good for us, many people will want to be the first on their block to sue, and you can have cocktail parties with activists and ask others as an icebreaker: "Have you filed your suit yet?"

One way to stop DRE purchases is to point out to elections officials that their legal counsel will have to advise them of their possible legal exposure if they privatize vote counting to a corporate hard drive. They should budget for this exposure if they want to turn our democracy into even more of a joke. And even in the doubtful case that citizens have no legal right to observe the counting of the votes to verify its integrity for themselves in some particular state jurisdiction other than Washington state, this issue will only grow and likely result in officials spending money to take away citizens rights spotting their opponents in the next election at least 5 percentage points, perhaps 20 or more.

This should be able to prevent DRE purchases, at least by accountable elected officials.

Don't raise money for attorneys' fees, unless necessary just to keep the lawyers' doors open as in Ohio. Don't quote me or other lawyers may get upset, but if a lawyer wants to charge more than that needed to stay alive, go find a more patriotic lawyer.

I'll go out on a limb and say DREs will be shut down in Snohomish county before the end of 2005. Soon everyone will be able to see the lawsuit online and send the link to their local auditors and election officials for them to evaluate. Anyone that wants to bet against that, email me back, the amount of the bet is $100 per USE person accepting the bet (individual bets between me and any person accepting, for $100).

The minute "the people" (more than just us, but we have a big role in educating the people) realize that they own this democracy and that democracy is nothing without a citizen-verifiable counting of the vote, then they will instantly have the motivation to ask the trespassers on our democracy to leave immediately. It will take no more courage than it takes to tell a trespasser to leave your personal property. Therefore, at the instant the people realize that democracy is ours, at that instant victory becomes inevitable.

Another myth: it will take "courageous" lawyers, etc., to stop this.

I mean c'mon. If a foreign country made a "modest proposal" to not demand any of our airports, cities or factories, but merely required us to hand over the votecounting to them under secret unverifiable circumstances, what would that be but an attempted takeover of democracy or act of war? Would we need "courageous lawyers" to put a stop to it? As soon as there was a critical mass, there wouldn't be a day of peace until the occupiers left.

If you keep your eyes on the prize and really concentrate on why this is wrong, not just for Kerry supporters but for all of democracy, then you will be focused like a laser beam on that's wrong instead of distracted by a million details. That in itself makes everyone more clear and more persuasive.

If you can not find a lawyer to do this for real cheap (and you can raise money for that) after you present them with a persuasive case, then leave that lawyer's office and go find a more patriotic, qualified lawyer willing to sacrifice some billable hours for the good of her country.

Start lobbying people who've never been lobbied before. Get a group of people who will first go into the elections office and IF AND ONLY IF you have a nice chat with someone there so they know you, then start sending them a daily letter, email or phone call, and have your closest thousand friends to the same. Peacefully picket the elections officials homes every Saturday at nonthreatening hours. Realize that everyone can be a leader and you don't need to wait around for a lawyer or an "organizer" to help you.

There can be no compromise with invisible vote counting. The secret vote counters can NOT stick their hands all the way into the pockets of democracy and then negotiate to back out HALF way. Secret or invisible vote counting must be terminated, with prejudice. (Open source code: good idea, but still invisible and unverifiable by average active non-expert citizen) The ultimate standard is whether the average citizen can see for herself it's fair without needing to hire an expert.

A hundred technical tweakings of bills and amendments will cost you everything and get you little. Keep your eyes on the prize, as MLK said. Not on the details and the diversionary brushfires started by bad bills.

The power, as always is in framing and creating the AGENDA. All the debates under that AGENDA are the necessary but ultimately trivial bleatings of bureaucratic detail. The AGENDA is OPEN (OBSERVABLE), FREE, FAIR, TRANSPARENTLY VERIFIABLE BY AVERAGE CITIZENS WITHOUT EXPERT HELP elections.

We can still debate under such a general standard, but if we can agree on the test for democracy with integrity, whatever we come up with will be acceptable in the end if it complies with the test we've framed.

And if not, a very popular referendum can be fashioned around the language we can all agree on. How many people will vote to retain secret vote counting? Everyone that votes to retain will have the votes counted by their political enemies! : )

Previous post on the lawsuit at:

Paul R. Lehto, Attorney at Law
2829 Rucker Avenue, 3rd Floor
P.O. Box 1091
Everett, WA 98206-1091
425-257-2297 (voice)
425-258-5041 (fax)

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