Yesterday I called on Congress to pass an emergency measure to require Emergency Paper Ballots be made available at the polls during this November's general election. I spelled out several reasons for this last-ditch, "Hail Mary" attempt to try and mitigate just some of the myriad problems and disenfranchisment that will occur at polling places this year thanks to new, poorly designed, malfunctioning, unsecure electronic voting machines now deployed across the nation.
Never mind the electronic voting machine fraud that is likely to occur. Never mind the proven inaccuracies of these god-awful machines. Never mind the ease at which they are now proven to be hackable. My concern right now --- this late in the game --- is simply to assure that voters who show up at the polls and are legally registered to vote, may actually be able to cast a vote at all!
In primary after primary this year, voters have been told to "come back later" or, at best, given a provisional ballot (which may or may not ever be counted) when voting machines either failed to work or, frequently, weren't even present by the time voters showed up to vote. That is voter disenfranchisement, pure and simple, and it affects voters of any and all political stripes.
Common sense (one would think) would dictate that State and County Election Directors would mandate Emergency Paper Ballots for voters to use in the event of machine unavailability. Though the Secretaries of State in several states so far this year (Texas, Arkansas, etc.) have issued emergency orders for such Emergency Paper Ballots, remarkably, many states and counties didn't bother and thousands of legally registered voting citizens were sent home in the bargain.
The legislation required by Congress to mandate Emergency Paper Ballots (I call it the "LET AMERICA VOTE ACT") is incredibly simple. In yesterday's article, I included a three-sentence piece of legislation. Below, is a more fully-formed draft legislation based on those three sentences as sent to me orginally by Bob Wilson of the Illinois Ballot Integrity Project.
Along with additional tweaks by myself and a few others, my complete suggested legislation can be read --- in it's entirety --- in about 30 seconds. It's posted in full below.
If Congress cares (and if you help them to do so!), I'm quite certain that this measure can be passed by both houses of Congress and signed by George W. Bush with Terri Schiavo-like speed.
I'd think our democracy is worth at least as much. And I know it's certainly worth trying for!
Some have responded to my call for this LAVA legislation ("Let democracy flow!") by pointing out that the method of counting and/or auditing these Emergency Paper Ballots must be included in the legislation. My answer to them is that I agree with their point! However, at this late in the game (with only some 5 or 6 legislative days left before Congress recesses prior to the election) I don't want to give any Congress member any reason to oppose this act!
In other words, with the time we have left, if all we can do is assure that at least there will be a piece of paper on which a registered voter may cast a vote this November --- if they bother to show up --- then we will be doing a service to democracy. It's an incredible fact, but even something as simple has that has not been the case in many places this year. Last week's Maryland primary, were thousands were forced to go without voting at all when the machines failed to work, was a prime example!
Some have said there is no time to get this bill passed. I don't care. Let's get it passed anyway. If it fails, at least we will have a "paper trail" to point back to on November 8th when everyone else is wondering what went wrong and if anybody had tried to do anything about it while there was still time. Those of us who give a damn will have done everything we could.
I continue to speak to folks in Congress about sponsorship of this bill, and I urge all American citizens to contact their Congress Members --- as well as their state and local officials --- to demand that non-provisional Emergency Paper Ballots be made available at the polls this year!
(The URL for this article is: http://www.bradblog.com/?p=3502. Feel free to point them to it!)
Let's get to work! This effort is about all we have left legislatively at this point! Please spread the word everywhere. My complete suggested language for the LET AMERICA VOTE ACT is posted below...