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BradBlog Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 03:28 PM
Original message
More later today. But first this... -- Brad



Open Letter Sent to States Urging Emergency Paper Ballot Plans and Procedures for November Election

Urgent Plea Mailed to 50 State Governors, Sec's of State and Election Directors Signed by Broad Coalition of Election Integrity Advocacy Orgs, Congressional Members, Elections Officials, Computer Scientists, Civil Rights Attorneys and Journalists

Initial Federal Effort Calling for Back-Up Paper Ballots Now Moves to States, Citizens Asked to Join the Call!

An urgent letter has been sent today to the Governors, Secretaries of State and State Election Directors of all 50 states urging them to immediately create and impliment plans and procedures for allowing the use of Emergency Paper Ballots at every local jurisdiction during this November's general election.

The missive, signed by a broad coalition of more than 50 Election Integrity Advocate groups, congressional members, elections officials, computer scientists, attorneys and journalists comes on the heels of Federal legislation introduced recently in both the U.S. House and Senate. Those bills, which were not brought up for votes before Congress adjourned for the Election Recess, called for funding to states who impliment plans to provide Emergency Paper Ballots in the wake of recent primary elections around the country where voters were unable to cast a vote due to failure, or other inability of electronic voting systems.

The two-page letter (downloadable and posted in full at the links below) was signed by individuals such as: Sen. Barbara Boxer, Robert F. Kennedy Jr., Sen. John Kerry, Rep. Rush Holt, Leon County, FL Supervisor of Elections Ion Sancho, OH elections attorney Cliff Arnebeck and University of Iowa computer scientist Doug Jones. Organizations signed on include: Common Cause,,,,, National Coalition on Black Civic Participation,, and many other national, state and local Election Integrity advocate groups.

"No legally registered voter should ever be told to 'come back later,' or be forced to use a provisional ballot simply because a voting system is unavailable to them at the time they are able to vote," the letter reads. "It is imperative that an ample supply of Emergency Paper Ballots be made available to account for any unforeseen circumstance."

The letter continues, "All voters must have the option to vote on an Emergency Paper Ballot if necessary and all such ballots must be counted as regular not provisional ballots."

As well, it's pointed out that some states already have certain procedures required by law to ensure that registered voters are allowed to vote in the event that primary balloting procedures break down. Officials are urged to check those requirements and otherwise "draft, establish and publicize your own state's common-sense plans for Emergency Paper Ballots at every polling place this Nov. 7th, so that every election official, poll worker, and voter may be crystal clear on the procedures for utilizing such measures."

The movement calling on states to create Emergency Paper Ballot plans began just three weeks ago when The BRAD BLOG called on the U.S. Congress to introduce and pass legislation in order to ensure that legally registered voters would not be turned away from the polls without being allowed to vote as had been the case for thousands of voters in a number of states this year due to voting machines that failed to start up, were misprogrammed, failed during voting or, in some cases, hadn't been brought to polling places at all until several hours after polls were to have opened.

Many voters were either told to "come back later" or given Provisional Ballots which are not counted as normal ballots on Election Night and frequently not counted at all.

Legislation for Emergency Ballots was introduced the following week in the U.S. Senate by Senators Boxer, Christopher Dodd, Russ Feingold and Kerry. A matching House version was filed the next day by Rep. Rush Holt and co-sponsored by 28 other House members. As well, Feingold and Kerry introduced a "Sense of the Senate" resolution calling for same, but that effort was also never brought up for a vote on the floor before the recess.

The letter, which was drafted by this journalist along with a number of other signatorees, was sent to all recipients via return-receipt requested certified mailing this morning by <[i>DISCLOSURE: The BRAD BLOG is a co-founder of VR.]

With the failure of Congress to pass such important legislation prior to this November's important general election, the effort now moves to the State and Local level. Organizations and individuals are called on to contact their State and Local Elections officals to assure that plans are in place to accomodate any and all unforseen circumstances.

Alluding to Americans who have fought for and defended the right to vote in the past, and indeed to this day around the globe, the letter concludes: "Our vote is our precious franchise. We believe it is worth defending, and worth the effort to guarantee that that right remains assured and inviolate."

Progressive Democrats of America (PDA), one of the initial signatorees, is creating an online petition for citizens to urge their Secretaries of State and Governors to ensure such plans and procedures are created and implimented immediately. We'll update this item with the link as soon as it becomes available

The open letter, sent to all State Governors, Secretaries of State and State Election Directors calling for Emergency Paper Ballot plans and procedures and signed by 55 organizations and individuals, can be downloaded here:

It is also posted in full with the above article here:

Brad Friedman
THE BRAD BLOG - The uprising continues...
VELVET REVOLUTION - The revolution begins...
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redqueen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 03:47 PM
Response to Original message
1. Thanks!
Good to have this posted here, too.

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BradBlog Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 04:07 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. Your welcome!

Please spread the word!!!

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redqueen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 06:06 PM
Response to Reply #2
5. Oh you bet I do!
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Peace Patriot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 05:04 PM
Response to Original message
3. The ONLY guarantee of voting Nov. 7 is an ABSENTEE BALLOT VOTE!
I will of course sign this petition, and I'm very grateful for Bradblog's work on this matter. Millions could be disenfranchised by this crapass voting technology breaking down during the election.

I also want to say, though, that millions WILL be disenfranchised by the TRADE SECRET, PROPRIETARY programming code in these voting machines and central tabulators, owned and controlled by Bushite corporations. And we MUST protest this. BOYCOTT the machines! Consider them like you would a segregated bus, in Montgomery, Alabama, in the early 1960s. DON'T COOPERATE with the system of oppression. The black citizens in Montgomery had to go to work, but they didn't take the bus--they walked! That's what we must do. Absentee Ballot votes are not particularly "safe," but they are virtually the ONLY way we can vote without touching--and thus ENDORSING--these extremely riggable, Bushite controlled electronic voting machines.

DON'T COUNT on getting a paper ballot on election day! California has a law giving us the right to request a paper ballot at the polls (thanks to our former Sec of State Kevin Shelley) but corrupt election officials have tried to circumvent it by not having paper ballots available and offering a "provisional" ballot instead. "Provisional" ballots are EASILY tossable. DO NOT vote on a "provisional ballot," if that is avoidable. We can put pressure our state and local election officials to have REAL paper ballots available, but that doesn't mean we will get it. In fact, we most likely will not, in most places.

What's the alternative? There is only one alternative. APPLY FOR AN ABSENTEE BALLOT NOW! If the machines break down, the only votes left standing will be the Absentee Ballot votes!

Californians have almost three weeks left to apply for an Absentee Ballot. The deadline for requesting an Absentee Ballot is Oct. 31. (The deadline for voter registration is a week earlier, Oct. 23.) For other states, check your local rules.

To help improve the safety of your AB vote:

1. Fill out ballot and envelope very carefully (to avoid disqualification). Check all local rules (to insure you are in compliance). If your AB hasn't arrived, and you think it should have, get on it NOW. Don't wait.
2. Hand-deliver your AB vote to your polling place on election day, or mail it registered/return receipt requested, or Fed Ex (to insure that it's been delivered).
3. Keep a photocopy of everything. (AB votes may be critical to election statistical analysis, as they were in 2004; you may need to prove you voted.)
4. Raise hell with your registrar about how AB votes are handled and counted. Demand that totals from ABs and other paper ballots be posted before any electronics are involved.
5. Write letters; call/write media; demand transparent vote counting; work with election protection groups to help closely monitor this election.


If everyone who despises the Bush Junta--60% to 70% of the American people--votes by Absentee Ballot in November, the reign of these diabolical machines will be OVER. Election officials cannot defend voting machines that NOBODY WILL VOTE ON! They will be FORCED to reform, or resign their offices.

Corporate privatization of the counting of our votes--with the TRADE SECRET, PROPRIETARY programming code in ALL electronic voting machines and central tabulators--is not just a Republican or Bushite problem. These Bushite corporations are ALSO in a position to undetectably select Democratic candidates in our primaries, and to put Bushite or Corporate Democrats in office, who vote with Republicans (as we saw recently in the 'Democratic' votes in Congress FOR torture and suspension of habeas corpus). It is not just a Bushite plot. It is a CORPORATE plot. We therefore have a duty not just to vote, and not just to work to throw out the overt Bushites in the House and Senate, we have an additional, and perhaps even more important, duty to demand and achieve TRANSPARENT VOTE COUNTING!

That is what the Absentee Ballot Protest is all about. It addresses the BIGGER problem of these extremely riggable voting machines. It does not necessarily circumvent the problem. (They sometimes just scan AB votes right into the rigged electronics.) It PROTESTS THIS SITUATION of riggable, privately controlled vote counting, by REFUSING TO VOTE ON THEIR MACHINES!

Bust the Machines--Vote by Absentee Ballot in November! Boycott the Machines!

And if the machines break down on election day--as they often do--YOURS will be one of the votes they cannot prevent from being cast.

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kster Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 05:24 PM
Response to Original message
4. A paper ballot challenge can happen
in the time we have left, but thats not all the paper challenge will do, Repervlicans will fight making the challenge happen, we all know that, so even if we don't get the challenge to happen, The Dem's can all say loud and clear, WHY WON'T THE REPUBS ACCEPT OUR PAPER BALLOT CHALLENGE.

It would be a thing of beauty, going into Novembers election.
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emlev Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 07:24 PM
Response to Original message
6. The election integrity movement is amazing..working on so many fronts!
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gristy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 08:41 PM
Response to Original message
7. Did I tell you?
You are 'da MAN! I so appreciate ALL your work for our country. A donation is in the mail to you today.
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stephinrome Donating Member (494 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-13-06 02:16 AM
Response to Original message
8. K&R n/t
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