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An apology - I misoverestimated Americans

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SaveAmerica Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-29-05 04:29 PM
Original message
An apology - I misoverestimated Americans
I think weighing heavily on my mind since Nov 2 is the guilt I have about the election. In 2000 I wasn't politically active, I knew from what I had learned about George Bush I did not want him as our president. I can still see myself standing next to my husband a few days before the election and saying "I have such a bad feeling about what will happen to our country if Bush becomes the president". 'All' I did that election was to vote for Gore. This time I was determined I would make a difference even if it was 'just' to get more people to vote. I volunteered at our local dem headquarters, drove family and friends nuts with constant reminders to register if they had moved, and then to go vote. I talked with people in line in stores, people who were shopping in the same aisle as me, reminding everyone to take friends and family with them when they go vote. For some crazy reason I thought that more people knew what I knew about how Bush had been the past 4 years. Even if all those people didn't know the underlying roots of all his evil, I was sure the visible layer of mistakes he had made with America would be enough to make people race to the polls to vote against him. I was wrong, I should have spent more time spoon feeding information to people, that seems to be what they respond to.

(Guilty feelings brought on by discussion with someone that I encouraged to get out to vote who had every reason to vote for Kerry - and whose children were on my list of reasons for voting for Kerry - but she voted for Bush 'because I had to think of what would be right for more people'. Also finding out that voting straight ticket dem meant a vote that was easier to manipulate (still trying to understand that) and I had made it my mission to encourage straight ticket. I found out that in 2000 millions of NC votes weren't counted because people voted straight ticket and didn't fill in president (a requirement). I worked the polls election day so I could remind everyone who was voting straight to do both. Hindsight 20/20, or as Cher would say 'If I could turn back towm').

Now we have SaveAmerica 3rd revision, my goal is to be the media and educate the democrats in my neck of the woods to the best of my ability. I am the liberal media filter.

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Dr.Phool Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-29-05 04:35 PM
Response to Original message
1. That really pisses me off
I registered a lot of people, who ultimately voted for Bush.

And they voted against their own self interest.
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roseBudd Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-29-05 04:40 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. I only registered African Americans and really poor urban whites
Edited on Sat Jan-29-05 04:44 PM by rosebud57
and I only did GOTV in the inner city and the majority of my contacts voted for Kerry.

Not only that I implicityly understood that I needed to trash talk Bush with my contacts. With some people I would be like, "he was a cherrleader, you know what I'm saying" or "Bush is a punk ass bitch" That is why I did my own thing or worked with VoteMob so I could be really partisan. I disparaged and mocked. If we do not make a mockery of the opponent we will lose.
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Mabus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-29-05 05:00 PM
Response to Reply #1
4. Despite the registrations we did, the overall number DROPPED
Edited on Sat Jan-29-05 05:02 PM by Mabus
in my state.

This is something I still can't figure out. In 2002 (Oct) there were 1,615,699 people registered to vote in Kansas.

In 2004 (July-certified) there were 1,591,428 people registered to vote in Kansas.

That's an overall decrease of 24,271 people registered to vote in Kansas in two years. A decrease in the number of registered voters in spite of numerous voter registration drives from all camps and the number of people who were registering for the first time. In fairness, both the Dems and Pugs lost approximately 13,000 voters from their rolls.

Have some people just stopped caring altogether?
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rigel99 Donating Member (621 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-29-05 04:42 PM
Response to Original message
3. Do Not Feel Guilty, your work is Going Great, keep it up
First of all, your post moved me this icy Saturday afternoon. I'm in GA and all that you have done, is worthy of great praise, even if it seems unimportant all your advocacy has been good work.

The problem is we keep blaming the American public when we have no idea who voted how in the last election. With Over 28.9% of the voting happening on Touchscreens , accounting for more than 50M votes, we cannot assume how American voted. WHY? Because we've started steadily OUTSOURCING THE VOTE In America....

I've written an editorial.. please get this out to any media at all. It is the result of a lot of hard work in Georgia to call those who began outsourcing our vote in Georgia to begin becoming accountable for their choices. We are in a very significant legal and legislative battle to stop the onslaught of outsourced voting. Please help me get the word out... also the link for our work is as follows..

By Phyllis A. Huster

Since the Nov. 2nd election, there have been recent important ongoing legal challenges and recounts most notably in Ohio by Senator John Conyers (D-MI) and elsewhere in states like Florida, New Mexico and parts of California. Sadly, however, no national consensus exists among election fraud advocates as to what really happened in 2004 as the legal arguments to date have focused mainly on disenfranchisement problems. I would propose what really happened on November 2nd 2004 is that we outsourced our votes to corporations. Take a moment to digest that concept and what that implies for a truly democratic nation. We have to ask as concerned citizens, did these corporations trusted with the very essence of our votes, produce honest electiond or instead did they illegally tamper with citizen votes to unfairly put George Bush into office (see Myth Breakers: Facts About Electronic Elections written by Ellen Thiesen ).

Troubling Statistics on Electronic Voting PercentagesPaper Ballots only 0.6% - 1 million registered voters Lever machines 12.8% - 22.2 million registered voters Electronic - 86.5% of all votes cast 32.2% - Optical scan, 55.6 million registered voters 28.9% - Electronic touchscreens, 50 million registered voters 18.6% - Punch cards, 32.2 million registered voters 6.8% - Mixed, 11.7 million registered voters Source: USA Today

Loyalties these companies have to the GOP and their manipulation of our voting mechanism, continues amidst a relentless outsourcing of our elections as many states contemplate buying even more DRE Direct Recording Electronic voting machines. Diebold the most menacing threat to our democracy with their 75,000 machines sold nationwide, they are also clear supporters of the republican party as seen below:

1. Walden ODell ,Diebold CEO, had a $1,000-per-head GOP fundraiser at his 10,800-square-foot mansion.
2. Guest at President Bush's Texas ranch
3. Member of "Pioneers and Rangers" who pledged to raise more than $100,000 for Bush.
4. Last fall penned a letter pledging his commitment "to helping Ohio deliver its electoral votes to the President."
5. W.R. Tim Timken, a Diebold director since 1999, his company and the Timken family have given over $1M dollars to the GOP.
Source: Diebolds Political Machine by Bob Fritrakis and Harvey Wasserman, March 5, 2004.

Companies such as Triad, Diebold, ES&S who do not have the citizens best interest at heart but threaten our very democracy with their conflict of interest profit motives and GOP loyalty do not want to provide quality/honest election results to the American people. This most diabolic threat is unimaginably lost on the American people, because there are many more people worried about job outsourcing than vote outsourcing and the main stream media has not explained clearly that OUTSOURCED VOTES = NO CHANCE OF EVER ELECTING A CANDIDATE THAT REPRESENTS THE CITIZENS OF THE US.

The irony for Americans is that electing candidates who will sympathetically work on creating new jobs requires the core right of each citizen to vote their chosen candidates & to have representative government. Lets evaluate Georgia Before Diebold, where we enjoyed over 132 years of Democrat house and senate majorities. After Diebold, the red of republican electoral wins is both troubling and unusual for its entirety across the board from Governor to House, to Senate to presidential choices. This red onslaught is totally in question when you consider that in 2002 when Diebold became the only election system available to Georgians. Effectively, Georgia handed huge responsibility and huge opportunity for fraud do Diebold and created a potential that these republican candidates did not win office by being elected of for and by the people of Georgia.

The biggest problem with outsourcing our votes is that representative government can never happen again. In Georgia, our representative government was entirely lost as of 2002 when Cathy Cox our Secretary of State, a democrat rumored in the past to have had aspirations to change parties to Republican, took the $15M bait from the HAVA Help America Vote Act fund. This fund allowed for the installation across all of Georgia for 100% Diebold voting equipment statewide bringing over 26,000 borg like machines to begin the full and complete outsourcing of our vote in Georgia. Poor little Georgia continues to have a problem with Zell Miller Democrats, or democrats that work for by and as a representative of the republican party. While Cathy Cox is currently running for Governor as a democrat, her office has been less than forthcoming about information necessary for citizens to perform a thorough and detailed open records audit. This excerpt from a recent letter demonstrates that her office will happily quote an obscure Georgia version of the patriot act, rather than release information necessary for citizens to perform a detailed audit of what really happened at the polls November 2nd, 2004.

This letter is the nail in the coffin for anti vote-outsourcing activists and represents a larger threat to American democracy. This letter implies that legal contracts to Diebold are more important and software trade secrets take priority and precedence over a citizens access the primary data that makes up their election. While theyll happy produce printed reports from the CD that is generated by the Diebold software, they will not provide the core data files that capture the voter data before being manipulated by Diebold software, in effect, demanding Georgians trust software (which is notoriously replete with bugs as proven in many demonstrations of how to hack the vote by computer experts such as Chuck Herrin ) and trust Diebold to deliver honest outcomes to their elections. This is a trust many Georgia citizens are unwilling to relinquish.

Senator Barbera Boxer (D-CA), in her historic January 6 challenge to the Ohio Certification, quoted Martin Luther King to say our lives begin to end the day we become silent about the things that matter. Sen. Boxer gave the election fraud movement both a voice and a leader as her challenge was quickly labeled the boxer revolution. January 6th while more historic than anyone realizes has made the progressive election reform movement much stronger. It has however, done nothing to produce change in this country around election outsourcing. What can you, the average citizen do to stop this depressing trend? Simply, join an election reform group such as the names listed below and begin working NOW to stop this very alarming trend toward further outsourcing of our votes. (The Georgia Fight to Reverse Election Outsourcing) (Progressive Democrats of America) / (Cliff Arnebeck / Ohio Struggle for Honest Elections) (The Best Online Press about Election Fraud, hats off Bob Fritrakis for your excellent journalism) / (Lobbying Everyday for Honest Elections)

As the Bush administration continues the dangerous erosion of a once strong US government into a subservient role to that of corporate interests and big business profit motives this outsourcing of our election mechanism is only one more win in a battle of taking over Americas government by big business. If Americans do not demand we stop outsourcing our elections, the very method to reverse dangerous encroachments on our liberties will stay dangerously out of the American citizens reach.

****************************************** CONTINUED IN LONGER VERSION *************
Unfortunately, the only concensus uniting many groups such as CASE Ohio, Velvet Underground, Ballot Integrity, Voters Unite, CountPaperBallots, Votewatch, etc. is a feeling that George W. Bush was not elected, and that disenfranchisement and many other tactics were used to deny valid voters the honest opportunity to vote. Since each state has a different voting technology (or method in the case of paper), it makes a nationwide supported, concensus built legal challenge all the more difficult. Herein lies the problem, each state has different election laws and technologies resulting in diverse election reform activist groups proposing 50 radically different legal and legislative solutions to the same basic problems, one for each state in the US. So, bitterly, the question of what really happened Nov. 2, 2004 remains still largely a place for extreme activism and sometimes disjoint passion with no real concensus built unification.

The problem with suits brought on by sincere patriots such as Bob Fritrakis of FreePress and Susan Truitt of Case Ohio is their reliance on the concept of enfranchisement, or the idea that every voter has a right to vote without discrimination. Sadly, bringing a disenfranchisement suit in todays era of poorly written election laws and no nationwide right to vote guaranteed by the constitution, is much like bringing African American civil rights abuses to the pre Civil Rights act of 1965 US legal system. There is very little legal precedent upon which to fight Ohios Secretary of State, Kenneth Blackwell who ignored provisional ballots, who clearly disenfranchised OH Voters, etc. Quite simply, election reform advocates are fighting against laws that have yet to be written protecting their constituencies who are primarily living in highly democratic areas, including African American and other minority population demographics. In fact, to study the word enfranchisement one sees the clear goals of freeing as from slavery or bondage:
enfranchise P Pronunciation Key ( n-fr n ch z )
tr.v. enfranchised, enfranchising, enfranchises
1. To bestow a franchise on.
2. To endow with the rights of citizenship, especially the right to vote.
3. To free, as from bondage.
This concept of enfranchising a voter is so profound and so emotional to these reform activists, that perhaps they are losing a more fundamental argument and legal angle that is possibly easier to wage and may just generate the change in laws necessary to fully enfranchise the very groups they are defending. It is the opinion of this author that we must legally challenge the 2004 election, county by county as to the honesty and fairness of its results in the most antiseptic, legally supported, unemotional way possible, using whatever laws exist today and simply being strategically shrewd in our suits. In Georgia, we are succeeding with exactly this kind of legal strategy. Check out the website:

While the right to vote seems so profoundly American, the founding fathers either by ignorance or by divine purpose decided to leave such voting rights to each state to define. What resulted practically is 50 states with totally different election law, a lack of national Election technology standards (and National Association of State Election Directors (NASED) is not a standards body, but more of a DRE vendor cheerleading body with members winning hundred thousand dollar consulting contracts to manage DRE technology in the state of GA). In Georgia, the right to vote is outlined, for example by the following Article II, Section 1 of the Georgia Constitution:

Paragraph I. Method of voting. Elections by the people shall be by secret ballot
and shall be conducted in accordance with procedures provided by law.

The word vote, is not even included in the legal definition of voters rights, but in Georgia is indeed measured quite legally in the concept of a secret ballot. In fact, Georgia election law refers to voters as electors not voters. Why are both these concepts important? Because to win a legal battle you must work with the laws that exist in order to highlight areas where you might lobby and redefine newer laws legislatively. This article 2 / Section 1 statement is all we need to challenge Election problems arising from DRE (or Direct Recording Electronic) machines in Georgia, where Diebold is the 100% statewide vendor of voting technology. In Georgia the primary means to vote other than absentee ballots which are paper ballots are by using DRE machines from Diebold. This coupled with a very troubling situation where there is a history of stolen Diebold equipment, makes Georgia potentially a very good state to launch legal inquiries into the election results of 2004. This is an advantage Ohio, with its multiple voting technologies does not share. Additionally, whatever is discovered in Georgia could positively affect outcomes in many other states including Ohio where Diebold DRE equipment is used. Diebold machines numbered more than 75,000 nationwide in the 2004 election and accounted for over 36 Million votes in the November 2004 election. This is a statistically significant percentage of the total votes and another good reason focusing a legal effort on questioning the use of DREs in our elections, might be a better legal strategy than focusing on disenfranchisement which is not so easy to prove. For instance with disenfranchisement, how do you define disenfranchisement, is standing in line 2 hours ok, while standing in line 10 hours becomes disenfranchisement? The laws are not clearly defined here and they need to be.

This month, we in Georgia have been consulting legal groups and they all ask the same question, how are we going to challenge an election already certified? What means legally do we have to challenge an election technically already passed? In this, perhaps we must think outside the box and look again at the very boring established legal framework we already have in Georgia. Could evidence of vote tampering, even if won as a criminal suit against Diebold and the state of Georgia result in overturning or causing a revote in Georgia? This question is plaguing but need not be decided until we first plow thru spending tens of thousands of dollars in Open Records request copying fees county by county to do a full audit. Herein lies another huge problem with outsourced voting. The burden and cost of audits and recounts is on the citizen. As a citizen having agreed to pay in the thousands for this audited data, I personally am feeling the financial pain! It is really not the citizens responsibility to prove fraud as much as its the states responsibility to prove honesty of DRE functionality. This cannot happen with the current way Georgia prevents access to either the DRE software or the contract signed between the state and Diebold. These are huge red flags to a corporate controlled voting system in Georgia.

The answer, I believe lies quite serenely in that very first and most primary of Georgia right, outlined in Article 2, Section 1 of our constitution:
Paragraph I. Method of voting. Elections by the people shall be by secret ballot
and shall be conducted in accordance with procedures provided by law.

How is your vote secret if a Diebold software agent is recording (watching your vote) and how do you know it is accurately recorded?
<Graphic of user before and after a DRE voting experience>

To answer the question of what happened in the 2004 Election, my answer is simple. We outsourced 100% of our votes in Georgia to a corporation called Diebold. We moved from an unbroken chain of custody where the chain looked like this when voting by paper ballots:

Voter choice in candidate to the paper ballot by way of voter markings -- to the locked ballot box to the citizen transported citizen reviewed counting of the ballots to the results posted in public areas.

To a situation in Georgia after outsourcing our votes to a very dangerously broken chain of custody and this is how it looks:
Voter choice in candidate to the DRE software agent (Room for fraud/manipulation) -- to the PCMCIA Card inside the DRE Machine (Room for error and fraud/manipulation to the GEMS Server from the PCMCIA card from each DRE machine (room for error and fraud/manipulation) to the pollworker transcribed tally sheet that is to be signed (room for error and fraud/manipulation) to a CD aggregation of all precinct data (room for error and fraud/manipulation) to a citizen no included transportation process using either modems (room for error and fraud/manipulation) or CD delivery (room for error and fraud/manipulation) to a centralized non-state center for election data tabulation by 3rd parties such as Kennesaw State University center for election and the DRE corporation via electronic input from IP connections into this center (room for error and fraud/manipulation) with no citizen access or right to access the software or data to the results posted in public areas.

We have not only made our voting 1000 times more complicated and more expensive, weve inserted a corporation that has broken the chain of custody approximately 8 times in the voting process. Worse, this corporation has its own aims such as profit motives to drive its actions rather than to provide honest, fair, statewide elections.

This outsourcing of votes is so sinister and so pervasive that our only legal challenge, indeed our concensus and our grassroots efforts should be squarely on putting out the fire of this menace. This is critical before we can create a climate where we can more calmly work on the disenfranchisement problems both legislatively and legally. And the obvious legal angle is quite simply, in Georgia, that citizens are no longer able to vote by secret ballot. We will need all your help to make this effort a successful one. And we cannot let an election remain certified where the voter has not been given a secret ballot. Lets demand better from our voting process before we take one more progressive step! The heart of our democracy depends on getting honest elections back for the citizens of our country. These theories were developed by some longtime Georgia election activists and they deserve credit for their very thorough analysis of the problem in Georgia.

Phyllis Huster
Executive Director
The Count Paper Ballots Initiative

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fooj Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-29-05 05:13 PM
Response to Original message
5. Keep fighting the good fight! Ours is a moral and just cause!
Many Americans feel the way you do! NGU! Our most powerful weapon is TRUTH! We are all in this together and we post here for the same, united reason! Americans want to reclaim their beloved country! The movement is gaining momentum...Keep the faith! Peace!
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