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Fly by night Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-03-10 05:35 PM
Original message
Look what just happened to Tennessee's legislature (and why we'll never know why)
Edited on Wed Nov-03-10 06:02 PM by Fly by night
Most of y'all here know Tennessee's recent election integrity-related history:

--- our hosting of the National Election Reform Conference in Nashville (April, 2005) on which the documentary "UMCOUNTED: The New Math of American Elections" was based;

--- our three-year, grassroots-inspired campaign to pass a paper ballots law (the TN Voter Confidence Act) overwhelmingly in 2008 (but only after a compromise with Republicans to delay implementation to 2010);

--- the "unexpected" 2008 seizure of our state legislature by Republicans for the first time since Reconstruction (and only by winning EVERY open seat in our legislature from Memphis to Mountain City);

--- having the TVCA challenged immediately by them thereafter and then (once again) having the law delayed until 2012;

--- and the puzzling and perhaps predictable series of incredible election results beginning and continuing thereafter (e.g., Shelby County in August).

As a result (and extension) of all that, here is what happened in Tennessee last night in our state's legislature, and why (conveniently for, and as a consequence of, our state's Republicans) we'll never know why. The discussion below is about the continuing incredible red shift in our state legislature, as presented to us by unverifiable voting machines that, by law, should not have been used in this election.

Though this thread does not discuss it, our US Congressional delegation also went from 5-4 Dem to 7-2 Republican. We expected two of those losses but not the loss of the most DINO DINO I know (Lincoln Davis) to a mentally unstable (and pug-ugly) reich-wing neophyte.

(We deserved to lose the Governor's race, but that's another thread.)

Let me stress: I am not arguing that Tennessee Democrats, state and federal, were not at risk this year or that some losses were not expected. But when the projections were for two or three lost seats and THEY PICKED UP 14 (and from some very surprising quarters), well ....

Go figure (or review the usual suspect below and the evidence trail above). FBN


I. From the Nashville Scene blog last night and this morning, to give you a sense of the ferocity of the far-right shift in surreal time: (This is posted here with permission.) /...

Voters Paint State House Red: GOP Grabs 64-Seat Majority
Posted by Jeff Woods on Tue, Nov 2, 2010 at 8:26 PM

Update: Columbia's Ty Cobb and Harriman's Dennis Ferguson are the first state House Democratic incumbents to go down tonight. Both lost to womenCobb to right-wing Christian author and motivational speaker Sheila Butt and Ferguson to Julia Hurley, an ex-Hooters waitress whose campaign probably took off like a rocket when this picture of her circulated in the district.

Update II: Republican David Alexander has beaten Democratic Rep. George Fraley of Winchester.

Update III: Another House Democrat loses: Cookeville's Henry Fincher has been defeated by the GOP's Ryan Williams. The president poisoned the well, the always quotable Fincher says. State-wide people just arent voting for Democrats.

Update IV: Don Miller has defeated Larry Mullins to give Republicans another House seatthe one vacated by Democrat Rep. John Litz.

Update V: Seven more Democrats appear to have lost in the HouseLes Winningham, Butch Borchert, Judy Barker, Mark Maddox, Eddie Yokley, Jim Hackworth and Stratton Bone. Republicans now have gained a whopping 12 seats. That would give the GOP an invulnerable 62-seat majority.

Update VI: The GOP gains two more seatsSam Coleman has conceded to Jim Gotto in the race to succeed Ben West in the state House from Hermitage. And Murfreesboro's Kent Coleman has lost to Mike Sparks.

Update VII: In a big surprise, Doug Jackson has become the only Senate Democrat to lose. Champion of the guns-in-bars law, Jackson was the freakiest of all gun freaks in the legislature, but it didn't save him from the Republican wave.

Update VIII: GOP chairman Chris Devaney"For the first time in modern history, Republicans are going to lead at every level of government in this state. This is truly a historic day and Republicans are honored that voters have put their trust in our party to lead Tennessee.

State House GOP leaders are predicting an even bigger-than-expected night for Republicans. "I think we will" do better than the two- or three-seat gain that many were predicting for Republicans in the state House, Rep. Beth Harwell (R-Nashville) says.


II. This is the Scene's post-election blog thread this morning: (This is a very comprehensive and revealing interview that all y'all should read.) /...

If Gandhi Were a Democrat, Would He Lose Too?
Posted by Jeff Woods on Wed, Nov 3, 2010 at 12:27 PM

A shell-shocked Mike Turner, chairman of the state House Democrats political caucus, sat down with reporters this morning to try to explain what the hell happened to his party in yesterdays elections. Surprising even themselves, Republicans gained a whopping 14 seats in the House and took a 64-seat majority. The silver lining for Democrats? No need to worry about gerrymandering anymore. Voters took care of that.

The election left only nine House Democrats from the hinterlands, all but decimating the partys once-mighty rural presence. Survivors have been cornered in cities, and 15 of the 34 remaining House Democrats are black.

In typical Tennessee Democratic fashion, Turner conveniently blamed the whole disaster on unpredictable swings in voter passion.

If Mahatma Gandhi had been a Democrat yesterday, he probably would have gotten killed if he was in the wrong district, Turner said. Its just a tough time to be a Democrat right now.....

Q: What were you most surprised about?

Turner: I was totally shocked at Jim Hackworth and Stratton Bone. I didnt see either one of those coming at all. As a matter of fact, Jims probably got a lot of money left in the bank to be honest about it. Mark Maddox too. That was totally off the radar screen. I didnt see that one coming at all. Mark just got elected president-elect of the NCSL, which is a national organization that he will no longer be able to serve as. We lost some real good legislators. Whether you are a Republican or a Democrat, I think most people at the end of the day would like to see good quality people in these positions. We lost some real good ones yesterday....

(Again, visit the link and read a very comprehensive, and incredulous interview with a shell-shocked Dem leader in our legislature. It will not be pretty, but it will sound familiar.)

III. This is my response (posted on the Gandhi blog post at the above link. Y'all come and say something your own selves at the same place):

If we keep voting on the same equipment, then -- yes -- Gandhi, Lincoln, even Jesus would likely lose TN elections if they had Ds by their names. Stranger things have happened (like Shelby County, August 2010).

Riddle me this: This is the second straight TN election when the intensity of the right-shift has surprised everyone -- political scientists, pundits, even the Republican spokespeople themselves. The second straight election where long-term, local, well-respected, well-connected moderate to conservative rural Dems have gotten rick-rolled in numbers that defy reasonable explanation.

What are "they" surprised about?

-- That a state with 8% more citizens self-identifying as Democrats than Republicans would vote like just the opposite OR

-- That the people programming the voting machines would be so audacious --- again.

Fortunately for "them" (and specifically because of "them"), we have no way of knowing.

"It's not who casts the votes that counts. It's who counts them."

(Joseph Stalin said something of the sort. Tennessee Republicans know what he meant.)
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aquart Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-03-10 05:40 PM
Response to Original message
1. I hope to see the day when every one of those machines is landfill.
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glinda Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-03-10 05:59 PM
Response to Original message
2. I think MN. had "voting machine and worker" issues.
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RainDog Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-03-10 06:16 PM
Response to Original message
3. K&R n/t
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Fly by night Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-03-10 06:29 PM
Response to Original message
4. On another related thread, someone posted this analysis:
Edited on Wed Nov-03-10 06:35 PM by Fly by night
"Over this next week or so...

"we will be hearing of glitches and major problems that haven't surfaced as yet. Still, overall, this may have been the cleanest election in many years. Most of the tricks are known which makes it more difficult.

"The problems in Tennessee may just be a result of pulpit pounding across the state. Religion has had a horrendous affect on elections."

To which I replied:

"What happened in Tennessee MAY have been the function of any number of things. That list is seemingly inexhaustible.

"But if the search for answers is based on a premise (that the Republicans swept 4-5X their expected number of seats because they actually got the votes needed to do so), a premise that is untestable and unverifiable (and may, in fact, be wrong), then it's all a fool's game.

"The presence and persistence of the Rethug defense for indefensible voting systems is at the heart of what's happening in my home state now, I DO BELIEVE. And that's based on a decade of experience and long looks in the shifty eyes of the election thieves posing as reich-wing, holy-anointed patriots here (those with balls, and without)."

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Yellow Horse Donating Member (462 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-04-10 08:11 AM
Response to Reply #4
9. Biased media sets everyone up for expected outcome.
And thanks to no-paper voting we can't ever know if that outcome was right or wrong.

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EFerrari Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-03-10 07:15 PM
Response to Original message
5. K&R
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Canuckistanian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-03-10 10:27 PM
Response to Original message
6. K&R
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demodonkey Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-04-10 07:18 AM
Response to Original message
7. PA's in the same boat, and the new wrinkle here now is no one will even talk about voting machines.
Edited on Thu Nov-04-10 07:45 AM by demodonkey

Our former Secretary of State (now a vendor for an Internet Voting company) started this, citing a pending lawsuit. So from our officials right now we have a total State of Denial here in PA.

It is a national disgrace that 25% of our electorate is still being forced to throw their votes down these paperless contraptions. And it is not realistic to expect states and counties to correct this on their own. Most are so cash-strapped they can't cover basic expenses these days, let alone find money to replace equipment that some of them were misled to believe would be good for decades.

The bottom line is that Rush Holt's Voter Confidence & Increased Accessibility Act would have ended all this. DREs would be gone by now in states with no paper, and on their way out everywhere else. We'd have a basic audit of federal elections. And internet voting would be off the table too. Plus, the bill specifically provided for individual states to do more, all the way up to hand-counting every paper ballot if that is what a state desired.

THIS BILL SHOULD HAVE BEEN PASSED, AND PASSED LONG AGO. Windows and doors were open in the 111th Congress that may not be open again for a long time, if ever.

I am sick and tired of the unrealistic, self-serving, self-aggrandizing whackadoos who continue to insist that any bill must be perfect (in their eyes) or no federal reform of paperless voting systems will be supported at all.

As FBN points out, until we get the basic protection of a paper ballot for every vote, the 25% of us who still have to use paperless DREs can never truly know who won our elections.

And at least in part, we have the 'perfect-or-nothing' people to thank.

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Fly by night Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-04-10 07:30 AM
Response to Reply #7
8. Damn straight, DemoD! Sorry for your continued lack of demonstrable democracy too.
Edited on Thu Nov-04-10 08:23 AM by Fly by night
If some of our election integrity "bull-horns" would stop applying for fellowships and start pulling their heads out of their own asses ...

... we could have the consent of the governed or a damned-sight closer approximation of it than we have in Tennessee and Pennsylvania (and Alabama and South Carolina and (on and on, ad nauseum ...) right now.

Vote free or Diebold. The choice -- after six long years -- is STILL the same.
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Bill Bored Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-07-10 06:59 PM
Response to Reply #8
26. Can you say more about the fellowships?
And what's the status of the new law now? Will it finally go into effect in 2012 if not amended?
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Fly by night Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-08-10 05:44 AM
Response to Reply #26
27. Surely.
Edited on Mon Nov-08-10 05:52 AM by Fly by night
The "fellowships" comment referred to one of our more well-known vanity bloggers who railed incessently against the Holt bill because it wasn't perfect, thereby helping fracture the election integrity community and make the passage of a good and important bill impossible. That person is a friend of mine (and he has enjoyed at least one fellowship for his activism) but his head is way up his ass on this issue.

In delaying the TN Voter Confidence Act until 2012, the Rethugs (with the help of one scum-bag Dem (sic) legislator from Manchuria) also amended the bill as follows:

1) If enacted, only the top race in each election cycle would be audited, thereby insuring that no state legislative race would ever be examined. All other audits would be voluntary, subject to the call of the State Election Coordinator (who, now in Tennessee, is a Regent University Law School grad -- the Pat Robertson-controlled breeding ground for Christian dominionists -- who has stated publicly ad nauseum that there is no evidence anywhere that DREs are problematic).

2) The audits would not be hand-counts but simply another run through another opscan machine. The logistical difficulties (and cost) of this amendment should have been enough to prevent it. However, like everything else in the Tennessee legislature, Rethugs are taking the position that winning isn't everything, it is the ONLY thing. How better to insure that gamed elections stand than to audit our elections with the same gamed equipment we are supposedly auditing.

At this point, I have no intention of lobbying for the enactment of the amended TVCA since it would accomplish nothing to root out election fraud in Tennessee. (Even though it has been gutted, I expect that the Rethugs will reject it anyway as "unnecessary.") Besides, I have no evidence that this current pack of Rethug racists, pug-ugly jackels and Hooters girls (s)elected for our legislature were chosen legitimately through the consent of the governed. Therefore, I do not consent to acknowledge their legitimacy since they have none. That also means that I will not waste my time lobbying anymore for our Safe Access to Medical Cannabis bill. Any time spent with our legislature would be wasted time. I would much rather watch the grass grow (preferably in another cannabis-friendly state).

Thanks, BB, for your questions. I am pleased that this thread keeps being read by someone (85 more readers since last night.) I just wish there was any backbone left in the Democratic Party in Tennessee. Our leaders (sic) are falling all over themselves this weekend blaming everything (but the unverifiable machines) for our unprecedented, unexpected, and unbelievable losses in the legislature. How pluperfectly stupid can they be?

Well, on this score, I intend to hide and watch, while sharpening my own atlatl. I see the Rethug "concern" troll on this thread with that nickname hasn't returned since I asked him to identify his political affiliation. No surprise there. These thieves are cowards also.
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Bill Bored Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-08-10 03:16 PM
Response to Reply #27
28. Thanks Fly. Well unfortunately, some Dems in Congress were the REAL Holt-bill assassins.
Edited on Mon Nov-08-10 03:26 PM by Bill Bored
In particular, Steny Hoyer apparently just loves his state of Maryland's unverifiable election system (and yours too)! His fellow Dems seemingly tolerate this.

The blogger you're referring to, if I have it right, was not strongly against the latest version of the Holt bill, which is not HR811. And there have been many improvements to the bill as a result of some critics (not just him). For example, only in the latest version does the bill even ban Internet connections to GEMS and other EMS computers which could be used to rig elections beyond recognition! It was a hard-fought battle WITH RUSH HOLT himself to get that to happen. At least that's my take on it.

Holt has been described as a "Boy Scout" when it comes to some of these issues, even by some of his supporters. I think it's not unreasonable to try to find another ally in Congress, even if it's a Republican one. The alleged Christian dominionist, veterinarian, and adulterer Senator John Ensign (R - Nevada) has actually had a pretty good bill in the Senate for years, unlike any other Republican bill. I'm a bit mystified as to why it did not receive wider support from the E.I. community. Andy Stephenson and Verified Voting supported it in the beginning.

I'm wondering what Ensign's game is if it's not what it appears to be.

The Dems have had both houses of Congress and the Executive Branch for 2 years. Do you think the Senate Repubs would have filibustered the Senate clone of the Holt bill if the House version had passed?

Unfortunately, I have to blame the Dems as well as the Repubs for a lot of our election integrity troubles, as you have in TN.

As to the fellowships, lots of people are making money off the voting-industrial complex. Vendors and their shills try to advance it while others try to control it. Very few try to do away with it, which would require a little backbone and some groundbreaking litigation.

Larry Norden of the Brennan Center told Dan Rather recently that we as a nation have decided our elections should be privatized. WTF do you reckon he's been smoking (for non-medicinal purposes)? His "solution" now is to create a database of voting system problems. (Hasn't VotersUnite! been doing that since their inception?)

I have one more question for you: what happened to David G. Mills and his case in TN?
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Fly by night Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-09-10 07:16 AM
Response to Reply #28
29. Passing Holt (any version) would not have been easy, given the entrenched farces of evil ...
... we contend with. Opposition within the election integrity community did not -- does not -- help a bit, whether it is blathering bullhorn opposition or quiet opposition. The perfect will always be the enemy of the good (though our internal disputes certainly entertain and embolden the reich-wing flying monkeys we compete with.)

In fact, here in Tennessee, the most damage done to our effort was done by three people on our side who supposedly knew better but who agreed to a postponement in the TVCA (the first delay -- from 2008 to 2010), effectively sealing our fate (barring federal intervention or a second Battle of Athens.)

As to David Mills' lawsuit, his first (in 2006) went nowhere, being rejected (I believe) at two levels of our judicial system. I heard from david that he was going to get involved in the latest blatant theft of the Shelby County (Memphis) elections, but since Bev Harris provided her usual (counterproductive) contributions, I believe that no justice will be forthcoming in Memphis on this latest skirmish also.

If you want to communicate with David, let me know. I have his email address. Thanks again for keeping this thread (if not hope) alive.

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Kurovski Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-04-10 01:26 PM
Response to Original message
10. K&R. (nt)
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Atlatl Donating Member (40 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-04-10 05:11 PM
Response to Original message
11. An honest question for you?
The governor, State Senate, State House, Secretary of State, and all 95 county election commissions were controlled by Democrats when these machines were bought and installed. If you seriously believe that they set themselves up to have elections stolen from them...why?

Republicans didn't take control of elections until after they won control in '08. The State has been trending Republican for a long time. I to am surprised that Lincoln Davis lost, shocked even, but I've seen nothing to indicate that anything fishy was going on. Lincoln's ad backfired on him, especially after the Knoxville News-Sentinel ran the rest of the story. His ad wasn't as bad as Grayson's down in Florida but it was bad enough.

As a side note, I'm an election commissioner...
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BeFree Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-04-10 07:10 PM
Response to Reply #11
12. Ever heard of HAVA?
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Fly by night Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-05-10 05:33 AM
Response to Reply #11
13. Welcome to DU. Here's my answer.
Edited on Fri Nov-05-10 06:16 AM by Fly by night
Tennessee's state elections have not been trending Republican -- we have had a Democratic legislature (and primarily Democratic governors) since Reconstruction. Likewise, our Congressional delegation has always been majority Democrat until this election.

However, the introduction of unverifiable voting equipment everywhere in our state (except Hamilton and Pickett counties) -- pushed constantly and incessantly by Brook Thompson, the former State Election Coordinator; and facilitated by Brook's requirement that new election officials be indoctrinated by the Election Center, a pro-DRE "think tank" funded by the voting machine companies to push their hack-friendly wares; and perpetuated by Brook's refusal to allow election integrity activists to even speak to election officials at their conventions -- all played a part. This change was crammed down the throats of all counties, even those who used punch-card, optical scan and lever machines -- who were happy with their existing equipment and process. (These counties were told -- erroneously, it turns out -- that they had no choice but to abandon their equipment. HAVA did not say that -- it still doesn't.)

I think other things have played a part. Almost without exception, the Dem appointees to county election commissions I have met are either dim bulbs or not Democratic, while the Rethug appointees are bright, well-versed in pro-DRE arguments, very sinister and functioning in lock-step -- just as you would expect the anti-democratic Rethug borg to be.

It is very telling that, when the Rethugs took control of the Secretary of State's office, they executed mass firings and kicked employees out of the SoS office on the first day they took power. Except for their friend and benefactor (or is it the other way around?), Brook Thompson. Him they kept and placed in a cushy and high-paying position as an Administrative Law Judge. Go figure (but you won't have to go very far).

Since you are an election official, you should know that the TN Voter Confidence Act passed almost unanimously in 2008 in our legislature (unanimous in the Senate, all but four "yeas" in the House) but only because the bill's sponsors agreed at Rethug insistence to delay implementation until 2010. The bill was endorsed by both the TN Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations (TACIR) and by the legislature's Joint Committee on Voter Confidence, in each case after more than a year of study on the issue.

Then when, against all experience and expectation, the Rethugs took control of our state legislature in 2008 on the unverifiable equipment but only by winning EVERY open seat in our state (again, something that had never been done before), they couldn't wait two days before announcing that one of their three top priorities was to repeal the TVCA -- even though DRE voting is 10-15 times slower than paper ballots/opscan, is 40-50% more expensive and is COMPLETELY unverifiable. They succeeded in delaying TVCA implementation until 2012 and (with the help of greasy, shit-eater grinning DINOs like Harry Tindell) have so gutted the bill that, if enacted, it will do little to protect our elections. Even so, I predict it will never be implemented now.

I could say more but if, indeed, you are an election official, I expect you have heard it before. However, since you are new to DU (welcome again), you can click on the envelope by my nickname and send me a private message if you'd like. I would be happy to continue this discussion with you over the phone or face-to-face. Anywhere. Anytime.

(Should I meet you by the powder rooms or can you find your way to a level playing field?)

One final point: the most recent voter preference survey I've been able to find shows that 8% more Tennesseans still self-identify as Democrats as Republicans. That means that Dems would have to recruit less than 20% of Independents to win elections while Rethugs would have to recruit 80%+ to win. In addition, until 2008, we have had a long history of ticket-splitting in Tennessee, where Dem voters vote solidly for local Dem candidates while not always supporting the top of the Dem ticket (for President). Again, until recently....

One other final point: Shortly after HAVA passed the (Republican) Congress, Congressman Rush Holt recognized the perilous effect that unverifiable voting equipment would have on our elections. He proposed a bill that would have banned that equipment in 2002 (I believe). However, even with more than 200 co-sponsors, Rep. Holt was unable even to get a committee hearing for his bill. It would be nice to ask the Rethug committee chair at the time why no hearing, but I think he (Bob Ney) has only recently stopped representing Cellblock 9 in federal prison, where he resided after his corruption conviction. Again, go figure (but don't drop your soap in the showers.)

Yet one other final point: Our new State Election Coordinator is a far-reich wing hillbilly who obtained his law degree (a profession he has never practiced very well) from Regent University, the Pat Robertson-created cradle of Christian dominionism. (It shows.)

The consent of the governed is the only legitimate basis for government power in America. Here in Tennessee, since I cannot confirm that our elections have truly measured that consent, I do not consent. I never will, until we return to free, fair and verifiable elections.
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Atlatl Donating Member (40 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-05-10 07:05 PM
Response to Reply #13
20. a few points...
Tennessee has been going back and forth with D & R governors since 1971. In 1994 Republicans won both Senate seats and 5 of 9 House of Representative seats...look it up. Lincoln Davis won the seat formerly held by Van Hilleary in 'O2. Counting the two Senators, Republicans have had control 7-4 or 6-5 of TN's delegation since '95. Since the income tax debacle, Rs have been gaining and gaining at the State level, the redrawing of districts in '02 did very little to stanch that.

When you say they're "hack friendly" can you give me any examples from a completely non partisan source? We counted paper ballots first, that's when we knew that Lincoln was in trouble if the machine totals were similar. They were. As far as election commission members go most that I am around are older citizens with a long time spent in party activites, Democratic and Republican alike. More interested in getting the job done and going home than arguing about partisan politics.

Haven't seen the results from Hamilton or Pickett counties, were the results any different from the counties that use DREs? We've had sessions on the TVCA at training sessions but I haven't researched all the arguments both pro and con. I know that the argument centers on certification of the equipment but not much more.

The '08 election was surprising but Democrats were in control at the time. The Kent Williams defection kept Republicans from ruling everything as would have been expected.
Tre Hargett didn't take control until after the '08 elections. There was also a dispute about control of the State Election Commission because of the length of terms served. They settled the dispute by enlarging the Commission so that Republicans could take majority control as the law requires. AS far as the firings in the SOS office it was Andy Jackson who so famously said to the victor go the spoils, election offices are no different than congressional committees or anything else when power changes hands.

As far as 8% more identifying themselves as Democrats, we have a lot of Republicans locally who are either independent or in the closet.

Democrats had control of the Senate in '02 when HAVA passed, so to say that it was passed by a Republican Congress (92-2) is yet again incorrect.
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Fly by night Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-06-10 06:06 AM
Response to Reply #20
23. And a few responses (while still waiting for your answer to the question I posed below)
Edited on Sat Nov-06-10 06:21 AM by Fly by night
Since the focus of this thread is on the unprecedented (and unexplained) red shift in our state legislature, I will focus there. (It is true that the 4th US Congressional District -- Al Gore Jr. and Jim Cooper's seat before briefly in Republican hands, before Lincoln Davis' return of this seat to Democrats) has caused our Congressional delegation to deviate a bit. But never to deviate as deviantly as this year.)

The amount of election fraud (and/or machine "glitches" that are uncorrectable in the absence of paper ballots) enabled by unverifiable voting machines is well-documented. As an election commissioner, your ignorance of that fact is appalling (and very telling). I would suggest you visit the Voters Unite web-site for a vendor-specific review of problematic elections on specific machines -- those reviews run 50-80+ pages apiece.

I would also recommend you learn about Clint Curtis, a former Republican computer programmer who has testified under oath (and who has passed two polygraph tests) that he was hired to write a computer program to hack the Florida voting machines by a former Republican state (and then US) legislator, a task that brought about Clint's resignation from the company that had agreed to provide that "service" to the Republicans. (Clint is now a Democrat.)

I would also recommend that you read anything (anything) by academicians who have studied the risks to our democracy of unverifiable voting -- Avi Rubin at Johns Hopkins, Dan Wallach at Rice, Rebecca Mercuri at Radcliffe, David Dill at Stanford -- you get the idea. IT professionals are unanimous in their opposition to unverifiable voting. As one of them said, "If voting machine companies were also trying to peddle financial services to banks for whom I have provided security consultant services with the same unverifiable features as their voting machines, we would laugh them out of the room ... right before we call the FBI."

To make your life easier, I would recommend you watch two hour-long documentaries: "UNCOUNTED: The New Math of American Elections" and "STEALING AMERICA: Vote by Vote". I would be happy to send you copies if you'll send me a private message with your mailing address. (I'll wait for that as I'll wait for you to answer the question below in this thread.)

Your party's ascension to control of our state legislature -- for the first time since 1870 -- remains the most "surprising" (read "unlikely") result of the 2008 election cycle. That's not my opinion -- it is the studied conclusion of political scientists who study election patterns nationwide. In that year, as in all others, it didn't matter who cast the votes, but it did matter who counted them (and, in Tennessee, that counting was done in 93 of our 95 counties on unverifiable voting machines owned by far-reich wing dominionists -- for the first time).

The one person responsible for the helpful insecurities of that election (and others) was Brook Thompson. I haven't mentioned yet that Brook served on the Board of Directors of the Election Center, that pro-DRE shill "think tank" whose indoctrination was mandated for all new election commissioners in Tennessee, a position that was considered a conflict of interest in 49 other states. (In addition to verifiable elections, we need ethics in government here.) Brook did your (his?) party's bidding and -- unlike almost every other employee of the Secretary of State's office when Tre Hargett took control and fired everyone en masse -- Brook was awarded with a cushy administrative law judge position. Go figure (though you won't have to go very far).

The fact that you are so willfully ignorant of the history of the TN Voter Confidence Act -- and of the bogus excuses for not implementing it -- speaks volumes. After the 2008 TVCA delay allowed your party to take control, Tre and his flying monkeys tried to float several arguments for delaying it even further or repealing it entirely, all of which were shot down in legislative hearings. His final argument -- that no machines met the (nonexistent) 2005 certification requirements of the TVCA -- was rejected in a court of law (and wasn't that you sitting on the row in front of me at that hearing?) So don't try to convince anyone here that there was any valid reason for keeping our unverifiable elections safe for Republican election theft here. We know better. You know better. We want to change things. You don't. See the difference?

As far as HAVA goes, the US House of Representatives was controlled by Republicans during and after its passage. Otherwise, the bill's author, Chairman Bob Ney (R-Cellblock 9), would not have been able to block hearings on Rush Holt's Voter Confidence Act (on which our state law was modeled), even though it had 200+ co-sponsors (some of them Republicans.) Like the Patriot Act, HAVA was passed in haste. Common-sense efforts to correct it immediately thereafter (and before states spent their HAVA funds) could not even get a hearing. Wonder why? (I don't.)

In 2008, we were proud here in Tennessee that the TN Voter Confidence Act passed unanimously in our Senate and with all but four votes in our House. That was not a hasty vote, with both the legislature and TACIR spending over a year studying the issues and deciding (without a single dissenting vote in either body) that we needed to implement this good government legislation. There was no good reason to delay its implementation until 2010, which Republicans insisted on to support the bill. However, there was a BAD reason and that BAD reason continues to show its slimy head in spades in our state elections. It will likely continue to do so, barring federal intervention. Sadly, even honorable Republicans -- of which Tennessee used to be blessed with an abundance -- can no longer rid their party of gun-fellating flying monkeys through the ballot box. Instead, they must sit forlornly with the rest of us as we send those apes to the General Assembly and to Congress.

Finally, while I can think of many sensible reasons why TN Republicans would want to hide their identities (I can think of several for why some of you want to remain closeted, period), responding to anonymous surveyors assessing the political makeup of our electorate is not one of them. If you and your flying monkey colleagues are so ashamed of being Republicans, might I suggest you try another party or try to fix your own. (Just don't choose ours -- we have enough DINOs as it is.)

In hopes that you're not working today, kindly answer my question below. Or answer it here:

Are you a Republican or a Democratic election commissioner?

Inquiring minds want to know (though informed, and battle-scarred, minds already suspect the answer.) How about it, Atlatl (or is it Mark?) Don't be ashamed of your political affiliation.

Save your well-deserved shame for what you've done to democracy, and the consent of the governed, here in Tennessee.

The Constitution prescribes a remedy for treason -- it may be what we need to apply here in Tennessee to recover from what now ails us. As for me, I am happy to provide the rope and to help build the gallows on War Memorial Plaza. That might be a gruesome, but a fitting, tribute to the men and women who have died to keep our country free this long.

We need to do something.

In the meantime, sharpening our own atlatls (and encouraging everyone (including you) to read or re-read about the Battle of Athens (TN)) seem to be in order.
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Fly by night Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-05-10 05:52 AM
Response to Reply #11
14. One last point, "spear-chucker".
Edited on Fri Nov-05-10 05:54 AM by Fly by night
You say that, while you are shocked at Lincoln Davis' loss, you "see nothing" to indicate anything fishy with that race. Since neither you (as an election official) nor I (as a voter) can see the secret software that counts our votes in Tennessee, isn't that precisely the point I am making?

BTW, are you a Republican or a Democratic election commissioner in (unnamed city) Tennessee? (You are welcome here either way.)

Just wanted to see if you'll also answer an honest question.
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Fly by night Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-05-10 06:23 AM
Response to Reply #14
15. I don't think they used atlatls at the Battle of Athens (TN), but ...
... I imagine they would have worked too, if there had been enough patriotic, brave and fed-up (with the corruption of the consent of the governed) Americans wielding them.

What do you think?
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Fly by night Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-05-10 08:57 AM
Response to Reply #14
16. In response to my question, I hear .... crickets.
Edited on Fri Nov-05-10 08:58 AM by Fly by night
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Fly by night Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-05-10 01:43 PM
Response to Reply #16
17. .....and hoot owls
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Fly by night Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-05-10 05:36 PM
Response to Reply #17
18. ..... and tree frogs
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Atlatl Donating Member (40 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-05-10 07:08 PM
Response to Reply #16
21. Day job...
still employed : )
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Fly by night Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-06-10 04:16 AM
Response to Reply #21
22. And you still haven't answered my question.
It's not hard.

Are you a Republican or a Democratic election commissioner in Tennessee?

Maybe you also work on Saturday so I'll let you have all the time in the world to answer.
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althecat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-05-10 06:39 PM
Response to Original message
19. This sounds terrible Fly By Night...
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Fly by night Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-07-10 05:56 AM
Response to Reply #19
24. It is. Do y'all need a typist (or a dual-degreed janitor) down under?
Edited on Sun Nov-07-10 06:08 AM by Fly by night
Believe me, I am ready to leave the dried out husk of the American ideal in the rear-view mirror.
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Bill Bored Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-07-10 06:54 PM
Response to Original message
25. This one reminds me a bit of what they tried to do to Harry Reid:
"Mark just got elected president-elect of the NCSL, which is a national organization that he will no longer be able to serve as."
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