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garybeck Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-07-05 11:25 PM
Original message
A way to frame the issue.
Edited on Tue Jun-07-05 11:26 PM by garybeck
One of the hardest things is trying to explain it to newbies who are still mesmerized by the regular media.

here is one simple way to frame the issue.

you: "How would you feel if, on election day, the republicans gathered up all the ballots, took them into a locked room, counted them, and then opened the door and announced who won, without allowing anyone to watch the counting or verify the results in any way?"

most people will react, that it would be horrible.

then tell them, that is exactly what we are facing. the few basic facts: diebold and ess write the software code that counts over 80% of the votes. these two companies are extemely republican. they say the software that counts the votes is "proprietary" and will not dislose it to anyone, not even election officials. This makes it secret vote counting. And there is no way to observe or verify the counting.

So the scenario of the republcans taking all the ballots into a locked room and announcing the winner is really literally the case.

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Land Shark Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-07-05 11:31 PM
Response to Original message
1. Good analogy. And for those few who identify with the secret
counters, they are either corrupt or real believers in some sort of good ole' boy system.

Just change the secret counters to "those of the opposite political party" or somesuch.
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GuvWurld Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-07-05 11:58 PM
Response to Original message
2. Bravo, Gary. Good stuff.
If the conversation permits additional points, I would add:

1) U.S. federal elections are held under conditions which ensure inconclusive results;

2) Because inconclusive results, by definition, mean that the true outcome of an election cannot be known, there is no basis for confidence in the results reported from U.S. federal elections;

3) When elections are conducted under conditions that prevent conclusive outcomes, the Consent of the Governed is not being sought.


It is time to withdraw the Consent of the Governed as a means of catalyzing peaceful revolution. See the Voter Confidence Resolution.
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kurtyboy Donating Member (968 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-08-05 12:07 AM
Response to Original message
3. Try framing it in terms of Democrats instead
Swap out Republicans for Democrats in your "hypothetical" and you avert the accusation of inflamatory rhetoric. The reaction in most people's minds is the same, and the issue stands on its own, without partisan bias (since, I assume, you are a Democrat).

You don't even need to point out the ownership issues of the machine-making corporations--people instantly understand the inherent risk of allowing unaccountable individuals to tabulate votes. Hammer on this, and when they get on board, provide the facts about BBV.

Just sayin'!

Kurt
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helderheid Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-08-05 12:10 AM
Response to Reply #3
5. that's good
and mention that Diebold and ES&S are partisan - let them do the homework. I'm sure they will remain equally disgusted.
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garybeck Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-08-05 12:52 AM
Response to Reply #3
6. how about this
if you're talking to a republican, give the scenario with the democrats taking the ballots into a locked room

if you're talking to a democrat, give the scenario with the republicans doing it.

or if you're more comfortable with it, don't be partisan at all, just say, " a private company " is taking the votes into a locked room.

I think either of these methods makes the point and can be useful. it depends on the person you're talking to as much as anything else.
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dchill Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-08-05 01:09 AM
Response to Reply #3
8. OK - Hypothetically,
These voting machine companies are owned by Democrats, who give lots of campaign cash to Democratic candidates, who are then elected by the people - I mean the machines with their "proprietary secret" software that switches Republican votes to Democrat. These "elected" Democrats are then in positions to influence their local governments to buy their voting machines from their benefactors, who will continue to provide more and more of these crooked machines for even more stolen elections.

Boy, these Democrats sure are a bunch of criminals. I am really getting pissed OFF!
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helderheid Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-08-05 12:09 AM
Response to Original message
4. perfect

Now - all you DUers, get to writing your letters to the editor. They are the most read portian of any paper. This is the perfect analogy to send.


Bless you Gary!
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freeplessinseattle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-08-05 01:02 AM
Response to Original message
7. what gets me is none of this crap happened in WA
but Rossi's Posse kept crying fraud-right, if there was fraud wouldn't they try to manipulate a larger margin of victory than 130 some votes? Some people say there was too much of an "obvious" victory in OH, but that's exactly what the fraudists want us to think, hell if they can manipulate a few votes what's stopping them from manipulating tens of thousands? not to mention all the people in Dem precincts turned away. grrrrrr
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GuvWurld Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-08-05 01:38 AM
Response to Reply #7
9. Regarding how many to manipulate, consider that the point may be
...to make the outcome unknowable. Just as in all the other ways we have gradually slid into fascism, it is so insanely and precisely Orwellian. It leaves the people arguing over who won, a division to the benefit of those in power; and a fool's errand for those who debate - when it is unknowable. I think this case is much easier to make, have heard, and have accepted by people of all living persuasions.

Unknowable connects with what I wrote above about ensuring inconclusive results. This transcends partisanship because it is systemic and people can understand that the system is broken. It's easier than ever to show them where. And to give them a vision for a better system, an election reform platform, if you will. The goals are to ensure conclusive outcomes and create a basis for confidence in the results reported. Again, please see the Voter Confidence Resolution.
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kster Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-08-05 11:35 PM
Response to Original message
10. One big problem
People can't believe the Republicans or Democrats would allow the other side to do that.
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garybeck Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-10-05 02:47 AM
Response to Reply #10
15. that's the point
they just don't know it's happening.

when they realize it's happening, because you and I are going to tell them about it, they will not allow it to continue.
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truckin Donating Member (500 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-09-05 09:49 AM
Response to Original message
11. Gary, I would like to use this in a letter to state officials in CT and
I was wondering if you had a source for the 80% of votes counted by ES&S and Diebold. BTW, this is a great analogy to get the point across to those new to the issue.
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garybeck Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-10-05 02:54 AM
Response to Reply #11
16. yes here is the source
These two aricticles reference 80% for just diebold and ESS. I believe if you include the other 5 or so compaines you get over 95.

http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Diebold_Elec...

http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/HL0404/S00233.htm





hope that helps
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truckin Donating Member (500 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-10-05 08:32 AM
Response to Reply #16
19. Thanks Gary, that helps a lot!
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mod mom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-09-05 09:58 AM
Response to Original message
12. Great analogy Gary. Since it's summer, I've run into a lot of dems
that I've worked with on the Kerry campaign. Not only do I find them ignorant on the subject, but they are surprisingly uninterested. It drives me totally crazy! They are so involved with their daily lives, they seem to tune out problems of the day. In Ohio, rethug scandals at the BWC are in all the papers and news, but those I question, although they have heard of them, aren't paying attention! An immoral war, an illegimate administration, a huge deficit, one party abuse of power, erosion of civil liberities and they are focusing on soccer schedules! Arrgghh!
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kster Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-09-05 10:51 PM
Response to Original message
13. kick.nt
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NoBushSpokenHere Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-09-05 11:18 PM
Response to Reply #13
14. Use the analogy and then tell them you heard
that Teresa Hienz Kerry is purchasing Diebold.....
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pat_k Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-10-05 03:43 AM
Response to Original message
17. Yes. No Secret Voting Counting!
Edited on Fri Jun-10-05 04:09 AM by pat_k
Lehto and Wells v. Sequoia and Snohomish County



Basic logic of the case:

Secret vote counting is unlawful
Use of DREs = secret vote counting
The use of DREs to count votes is unlawful

(See this post for the latest news)

The election officials and representatives across the nation -- particularly those in counties that are currently looking at purchasing DREs -- ought to be made aware of the Lehto and Wells v. Sequoia and Snohomish County lawsuit:

http://www.votersunite.org/info/lehtolawsuit.asp

I'm not aware of any similar suits in other states... yet. But, most states have a robust open public meetings act. Officials should assume that similar suits WILL be filed here. They need to consider the very real risk that the use of DREs will be prohibited.

For example, here are some excerpts from the open meetings act here in NJ

From http://www.njstatelib.org/LDB/Library_Law/lwopnmtg.php
The Legislature finds and declares that the right of the public to be present at all meetings of public bodies, and to witness in full detail all phases of the deliberation, policy formulation, and decision making of public bodies, is vital to the enhancement and proper functioning of the democratic process; that secrecy in public affairs undermines the faith of the public in government and the public's effectiveness in fulfilling its role in a democratic society...

From Guide to the New Jersey Open Public Meetings Act:
http://www.vernontwp.com/township/departments/clerk/sun...
Public body means a commission, authority, board, council, committee or any other group of two or more persons organized under the laws of this state, and collectively empowered as a voting body to perform a public governmental function affecting the rights, duties, obligations, privileges, benefits, or other legal relations of any person, or collective authorized to spend public funds including the legislature

Call for Action

Lobby the election officials in your county. Write letters to local papers.

Bring this lawsuit to the attention of others. Tell your friends and neighbors about it. Write letters to your local paper. Call election officials and legislators. If your state has an open meetings law akin to the ones in WA and NJ, your election officials need to consider this: On Election Day, the residents of your state are the ultimate "public body" authorized and collectively empowered to perform the "governmental function" on which all others depend. Counting our votes is the final step of our most fundamental public decision making process. The DREs make it impossible for us to "to witness in full detail all phases" of that process. Such "secrecy in public affairs undermines the faith of the public in government and the public's effectiveness in fulfilling its role in a democratic society."

Although the question has not yet been litigated, it can certainly be argued that under the open meeting act in your state, the process by which an accurate count of our ballots is obtained must be an open process that the average citizen can witness, understand, and have confidence in.

DREs clearly do not meet these requirements.

As we focus on vote recording and counting systems, we must not lose track of the larger issues. An election is much more than a count of ballots. Elections are about VOTERS. Every NJ resident that wishes to express their will must be afforded an equal opportunity to cast a valid and countable ballot.

If the DREs themselves are illegal, no modification to them can make them legal. When we seek the addition of a voter verified paper record to the machines, we are accepting the legitimacy of the machines as vote counting systems. We are accepting that secret vote counting can somehow be made OK.

Making the argument that DREs themselves are unlawful moves the debate to a much stronger position. The argument provides simple grounds for demanding processes that are open to, and can be understood by, average Americans. We don't need to talk about "audits", which evokes negative feelings in most (thoughts of having your tax return audited -- not a good "frame"). Secrecy is unAmerican. We tolerate it our public decision making only when absolutely necessary. Equating DREs to secret vote counting ties those machines to a powerful, and negative, frame.

Although the DREs=Unlawful Secret Vote Counting approach is not compatible with seeking the addition of a voter verified paper record, it can actually help get such legislation passed (adding a voter verified paper record is certainly a less extreme position when compared to banning the machines all together).
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pat_k Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-10-05 03:54 AM
Response to Original message
18. Another way to frame
Edited on Fri Jun-10-05 04:05 AM by pat_k
I've found that most people "get it" when you use the phrase "secret vote counting" to characterize the thing you have a problem with.

Americans don't like secrets. And secret vote counting sounds sinister (as it should).

I use a comparison similar to Kip's:

Suppose your group needs to choose a new leader and I proposed holding the election like this: Each member whispers their choice in my ear. After each member has cast their ballot in this way, I report the winner to the group.


I havent run into anyone that would find this an acceptable election, but that is precisely what we are doing when we vote on a machine. That is what is happening when voters do not cast their ballots on paper. Sure, you can use machines to prevent over- or under-votes, but when a voter casts his or her vote, an official paper record must be printed and validated before that official paper record is securely submitted for counting.

We don't need to define the details of the process we want. We just need to demand the required inputs and outputs (which would include parallel, observable, secure processes and cross-checks).
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Peace Patriot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-10-05 09:41 AM
Response to Original message
20. You are right on target, garybeck! Secret, proprietary programming code
counting our votes is outrageous! The biggest corporate scam ever!

Most Americans would be against it--if they knew!

A couple of other points:

1. Many people simply do not understand what the news monopolies are doing to their brains--literal brainwashing--convincing them that, "if it's not 'in the news,' it isn't real." THIS is our chief problem. I suspect because of our fractured and wounded society, people keep going back to the news monopolies--no matter how often they are lied to--as to an umbilical cord to "the nation." They need that sense of connectedness--even if it's a delusion. So we need to break into that delusion, and it's not easy. It's an emotional attachment in traumatic times.

But most people remember election night--how Kerry was winning all day, and then, suddenly, somehow, didn't win. So, one key fact that might help is that the news monopolies LIED TO THE AMERICAN PEOPLE ON ELECTION DAY ABOUT THE RESULT OF THE EXIT POLLS. They put FALSE NUMBERS on everybody's TV screens--they CHANGED the exit poll numbers (which Kerry won handily) to fit the official result (Bush won), thus depriving everyone of major evidence of election fraud. To me, this is just incredible--the worst journalistic crime ever.

If people could only grasp the import of this journalistic crime, they might begin to wean themselves from the DELUSION that the news monopolies are more or less giving them the truth--or rather (since some of the brainwashed actually know they are being lied to; they're not stupid), to wean them from the NEED to be plugged into this delusion that the news monopolies create: that Bush is our president, that he was elected, that there is a big rightwing movement in the country, that their "news" IS "the nation"--that it represents the REALITY of "the nation"--that there is a "debate" about Social Security, and all the rest. The "news" as brought to you by the news monopolies is an almost complete and total falsehood--the only thing real being that the Bush Cartel has POWER, which is not the same thing as legitimacy or "consent of the governed." All the "debates" are being invented out of rightwing "think tanks" for the purpose of robbing us blind, and are being promulgated by the news monopolies; there is nothing real or legitimate about it.

Their damned lie about the exit polls helps to expose who they are and what they are doing. (This election CRIED OUT for verification. Instead, they gave us phony numbers!)

With some people, the problem (brainwashing) is very serious--and you may have to back off as to any barrage of facts and truth, and simply act to bolster their powers of independent thought. Buck them up! Praise them for any creative thinking and independent judgment. Show respect for their intelligence. And hope for the best.


2. This problem of the umbilical cord to "the nation," and the brainwashing that is associated with it, is RELATED TO the problem of: WHY ARE THE DEMOCRATS SILENT? Some Democratic leaders themselves are brainwashed! THEY think, "if it's not 'in the news,' it's not real." And the level of ignorance among Democratic leaders on election systems is amazing! They themsevles need educating. Ordinary people like to think that people in government are somehow taking care of things. Boy, are they wrong!

There is also a serious problem of corruption in the Democratic Party--both the corruption that was wrought by the $4+ billion in HAVA money that was infused into the states (corrupting state and local election officials), AND military-industrial and pro-Israel corruption--billions of dollars pouring into Israel from US coffers for military expenditures, and billions and billions and billions of dollars poured into the Iraq war, much of it misspent, stolen or lost (!). Think what this enormous porkbarrel is doing to Democratic leaders. For one thing, it has resulted in many of them just sitting back and permitting an entirely illegal and corrupt war to proceed. They DON'T CARE if fascists are in power--and I think some didn't really want to win the election. (They'd just as soon Bush take the rap for the deaths and the financial cost--which serve their purposes and the purposes of their donors.) I'm afraid that some Democrats are quite guilty of this kind of corruption. And it suits them to look the other way on election fraud.

Given these two kinds of corruption, and the collusion of the news monopolies, any honest Democrat doesn't have much of a chance in making the case for election fraud, or election reform--even if the case for election fraud is blatantly obvious. (And opinion polls keep reinforcing it--Bush down to the low 40s in approval, with miserable approval ratings over the last year, and up to 70% of Americans disagreeing with every major Bush policy.) All the more credit to John Conyers, Barbara Boxer and the few others who have bravely stood up. (If only other Democrats--the honest ones--would realize that they represent the vast majority of the country, and start acting like it!)

The question, Why are the Democrats silent? is not easy to answer. It's a complex answer. And the failure of the Democratic Party on the matter of election fraud started long before the election. They should have bloody well burned down the Capitol over Bush partisans owning and controlling our election system! Their failure to cry the alarm on this was catastrophic! (And I don't care how bad the news monopolies are! They needed to MAKE that the issue--our fraudulent election SYSTEM!)


3. I agree with GuvWorld's point about the advantage to the Bush Cartel of making the election result "unknowable." Sowing confusion, doubt, muddiness, getting everybody arguing, with resolution of the matter being nearly impossible. It's a classic corporate propaganda technique (buy off one or two scientists to deny global warming, and get them lots of air time in corrupt news media, and thus cast doubts and shadows over the overwhelming evidence and scientific consensus on this matter). Our response should be CLARITY. FACTS. PRINCIPLES. UN-muddy the waters! They're just buying time (to loot us and mess with us more thoroughly). The truth will out!

And don't get caught up in side arguments--like this absurd "reluctant Bush responder" B.S. that the news monopolies have pushed, to try to explain Kerry's win of the exit polls; or VVPAT vs. VVPB--what we want is an end to privatization of our elections, and Diebold, ES&S and other private, partisan companies out of the election business! Openness and transparency--we want our democracy back! The point about paper ballots (VVPB) is important, but it is not central. What is central is that THESE CRIMINALS ARE DARING TO MESS WITH OUR ELECTIONS and are getting away with it!


4. I'm not sure about this business of making election reform a non-partisan issue. Yes, we should try to appeal to fair-minded Republicans (what few there may be these days), and especially to Republicans who voted for Kerry (and whose votes were likely stolen). But the stolen election was NOT a non-partisan matter. And Bushites owning and controlling our election system is NOT a non-partisan matter. This is in fact a diabolical Bush-Republican PLOT to take over the country--a fascist coup! Democrats have a right to be furious about this--and SHOULD be furious about it. It injured everyone--it injured our country, perhaps mortally--but most of the blood was Democratic. Republicans--and especially Bush Republicans--are the MINORITY. The facts scream at us that this is true. They have literally stolen the country from the majority, which is Democratic.

The Democrats blew the Republicans away in new voter registration in 2004--nearly 60/40. People were flocking to the Democratic Party! And most new voters, Independent voters and Nader voters voted for Kerry! Bush HAS NO MANDATE, and DOESN'T HAVE ANYTHING CLOSE TO MAJORITY SUPPORT! So, this is BOTH an American AND a partisan matter.


5. People concerned with Soccer. Have compassion. What's happened to this country is a lot to take in. It has been very, very traumatic--from 11/2000, thru 9/11, thru the Iraq war, through 11/2004, to now. People react to trauma in different ways--some of it for self-protection, and some of it irrational. They are likely just trying to protect themselves from very harsh reality, and trying to create some little bubble of safety to live in (or retreat to). Their facade might be convincing--but don't believe for a minute that they are not concerned about their own and their children's future. I think that those who are truly oblivious are rare. Much more common are those who SEEM oblivious, but are not really. And we do have to keep body and soul together--and care for children and others--as well as get relief from the ugly and oppressive darkness that hovers over our country.

Grasping that our democracy is nearly gone, that the news monopolies are frigging liars and war profiteers, that our elections are fraudulent, and that the entire government is an illegitimate delusion, is really, really hard. Go easy on people! Forgive them! And never, never give up on them! Give them tasks appropriate to their ability to take in what's going on (sign a petition, circulate a petition, write a letter, read an article and pass it along, make a sign for someone else to carry even if they can't go to the protest--like that), and let their inherent good-heartedness, generosity, intelligence and love of justice unfold! We are a practical people--be specific in your remedies and give them something to do!
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GuvWurld Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-10-05 10:08 AM
Response to Reply #20
21. Great post, especially point #5
This is like the meme "least you can do" that I wrote about in reply #2 of this thread. Encourage people to identify the least they can do, and ask them to commit to doing at least that much.

On point #4 above, I think it is important to consider what partisan really means. To me, partisanship = treason; bipartisanship = death of ideas. We can't encourage putting the interests of one's group ahead of the greater good, and we can't encourage the perpetuation of a system that lets two groups exclude other ideas from competing - the result here is that the two groups don't even have genuine competition of ideas and we're constantly faced with false alternatives. There are some good insights above about the Dems and I would just add that I see part of our goal being to eliminate the two party system. If we instead work to turn the tables and restore the Dems to power, I submit that as now, we will continue to see the Consent of the Governed deemed irrelevant, and it will go on not being sought.
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