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NICE! Great Election Reform Editorial in Ann Arbor News!!!!

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meganmonkey Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-28-05 01:14 PM
Original message
NICE! Great Election Reform Editorial in Ann Arbor News!!!!
How can Americans force the majority party to enforce the law?
Wednesday, July 27, 2005
BY VALERIE M. CONSTANCE

"Have you registered to vote?'' I asked a friend of mine. "No, my vote doesn't count anyway.''

Unfortunately, this is true. You may register and even vote, but it's now true that your vote may not count and this is the No. 1 reason why we need election reform. There have been numerous bills introduced to modify the Help America Vote Act. One of these is called S450, the "Count Every Vote Act.'' It was introduced by Democratic Sens. Hillary Clinton of New York, Barbara Boxer of California, John Kerry of Massachusetts, Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey and Barbara Mikulski of Maryland and addresses specific problems that come to light in "What Went Wrong in Ohio, The Conyers Report on the 2004 Presidential Election,'' edited by Anita Miller. But I believe there is something even more important this country needs. Citizens must have the right to challenge decisions made by the majority party through citizen participation in petition drives and ballot initiatives at the federal level.

Let's look at the context in which election reform has gained grassroots support. Every recommended change to the Help America Vote Act is a direct result of actual cases of electoral irregularities in Ohio in 2004 and Florida in 2000, two battleground states in the presidential election. Although there have been numerous bills introduced to address the Ohio irregularities, I will look at only two key provisions of the Count Every Vote Act, introduced in the Senate on Feb. 17, and trace it back to the Ohio event that prompted the creation of the law. The full text is available at http://thomas.loc.gov/home/thomas.html . For the record, proposed legislation is locked up in committee by the majority party, and not likely to receive a full and fair discussion so long as the Republican Party is in power. Furthermore, the majority need not provide any rationale for their refusal to provide a full airing of these bills. All they need to do is support the status quo by doing nothing.

The first key provision is for a "voter-verified paper or hard-copy record of each vote.'' Why has this provision been proposed? According to the testimony presented in "What Went Wrong in Ohio,'' this provision is a result of the Triad Corp.'s involvement in providing "cheat sheets,'' essentially a method to calibrate the machines so they match the hand count to prevent the need for a full hand count provided by law. Triad and its affiliates, the leading suppliers of voting machines that count paper and punch card ballots in Ohio and Florida, is controlled by Brett A. Rapp, a consistent contributor to Republican causes. Psephos Corp., one Triad affiliate, supplied the notorious butterfly ballot used in Florida's Palm Beach County in the 2000 presidential election. In addition, representatives of Triad admitted to altering tabulating software in Ohio's Hocking, Lorain, Muskingum, Clark, Harrison and Guernsey counties. The report states that these actions were in violation of state and federal laws, yet nothing was done to enforce the laws.

---snip - paragraph about Triad / campaign contributions etc---

One of the recommendations of the Conyers report was for further congressional hearings. The reports states: "the only means of obtaining Mr. Blackwell's cooperation in any congressional investigation is under threat of subpoena, which only the majority may require.'' What good does it do to say we are a nation of laws if the majority party chooses not to enforce them? The most shocking aspect of both the 2000 and 2004 elections is not the numerous inconsistencies or irregularities; you expect those to happen when an elected official is an officer in a candidate's election committee. It is rather that there is no constitutional or legal mechanism whereby ordinary citizens can rise up against the tyranny of the majority party and compel them to enforce existing laws by collecting signatures on a petition or a ballot initiative demanding that the majority party enforce our laws.

http://www.mlive.com/columns/aanews/index.ssf?/base/new...

I had the hardest time picking a paragraph to snip for the 4-paragraph rule - the whole thing is pretty well on target and lots of evidence to back it up :bounce:
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msongs Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-28-05 01:17 PM
Response to Original message
1. great post! what kind of readership does this person have?? eom
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meganmonkey Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-28-05 01:22 PM
Response to Reply #1
4. It's just a reader - like an extended LTTE
There's a column called 'Other Voices' where readers can submit articles - it runs a few days a week, I think, but I don't know if this particular person has written one before. It's on the same pages as the editorials and LTTEs.
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autorank Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-28-05 01:19 PM
Response to Original message
2. This is a grat post/article...
" The second key provision is to "ban campaign activities by election officials and voting system manufacturers.'" This provision prior to 2000 would have changed history. No Harris, no Blackwell, less fraud (not elminated, but a breat start). Now we've got no restrictions of Secretaries of State running any campaign and Diebold, etc. doing what they naturally do when there's $5.0 billion on the line.

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SnowGoose Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-28-05 01:21 PM
Response to Original message
3. Do you live in A2?
There's got to be quite a few DU'ers here. We should have some kind of meetup.
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meganmonkey Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-28-05 01:29 PM
Response to Reply #3
6. Well, Grass Lake right now
but I work in Ann Arbor and plan on moving back into town pretty soon. I know of a handful of DUers around here but haven't met many yet in real life.

I think we should have a meetup here - it's just a matter of someone picking a date a proclaiming it, I suppose.

:hi:
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Fly by night Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-28-05 01:23 PM
Response to Original message
5. Great post. Nominated.
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GentryLange Donating Member (98 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-28-05 01:35 PM
Response to Reply #5
7. Voting Reform Meetup
Well hey, I just joined DU, and this is my first post.

But I've been working on voting reform for a while now, with Andy. And there's a few states and orgs to join or model off of in your own state in terms of activity levels on reform. Maryland's TrueVoters, California's Verifified Voting, and Colorado's CFVI group.

In Washington I was asked to run for office by Andy, and am now working on taking on the system here at the local level. I would be happy to talk with anyone who would like to work on running for office on the voting reform platform that would like to contact me.

I also need help if anyone has it to give.

As far as meet-ups. Meetup.com, last I checked had a voting reform meetup running. It would be a great way to start organizing your local meetings, as well as evite, and the other tools.

Andy generally just went everywhere in Washington and Nationally, and talked to everyone he met on this issue. I miss his ability to talk to everyone.

By the way, a bunch of folks at the memorial requested I post my eulogy for Andy. It's on my website now... http://www.gentrylange.com

Hope everyone on here is doing well.

Regards,
Gentry Lange


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meganmonkey Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-28-05 01:43 PM
Response to Reply #7
8. Welcome to DU, Gentry!
:toast:

Thanks for your info & your hard work.
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GentryLange Donating Member (98 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-28-05 01:50 PM
Response to Reply #8
9. No problem
It just takes all my time.

Voting is pretty much the last stand. We loose the right to count our votes...

Democracy=over
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BeFree Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-28-05 03:14 PM
Response to Reply #9
10. Over and out
Indeed, take away our vote, and what do ya get?

Just what we've got. A friggin mess.

Welcome to DU Gentry, welcome home.
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meganmonkey Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-30-05 02:26 PM
Response to Original message
11. Kick
:kick:
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Fly by night Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-30-05 04:21 PM
Response to Reply #11
12. kick
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