READER COMMENTS ON
"THE LET AMERICA VOTE ACT!"
(45 Responses so far...)
COMMENT #1 [Permalink]
said on 9/19/2006 @ 1:01 pm PT...
Call your Congressperson now! This is obviously an emergency!
Those of y'all who are in Republican districts, Y'all are the ones that need to lean on your reps!
Let's get busy!
COMMENT #2 [Permalink]
said on 9/19/2006 @ 1:31 pm PT...
COMMENT #3 [Permalink]
said on 9/19/2006 @ 1:35 pm PT...
100% behind this idea. Thank you for all the great work. Let the calling begin!
COMMENT #4 [Permalink]
said on 9/19/2006 @ 1:52 pm PT...
In my humble opinion, this is a waste of valuable time.
The Republicans in congress will NOT allow this initiaitive to reach the floor in time to have any impact. The Democrats are powerless to cause it to happen, even IF they had the balls to try and make an issue of it. The Democrats are either bought off or stupid; if they weren't, they would walk out of congress EN MASSE* and make their point on the steps of the House and Senate that they will not return until a vote is taken, BUT THEY WON'T because they are scared and they are "saving their powder." (*Leaving one member in each house to refuse to allow unanimous consent for anything and demanding a roll call vote on everything)
I wish I were wrong, but given what the Republican thugs in congress HAVE chosen to bring to the floor for a vote on "Election Reform" (mandatory ID cards at registration and ballot casting), I doubt it.
You would have to believe there were any honest Republicans left in congress for this to work, and there is no sign that there are more than two or three at most.
COMMENT #5 [Permalink]
said on 9/19/2006 @ 1:55 pm PT...
TOPIC: Civil Rights
Dear Barbra Boxer,
It's time to fix america's elections.
It's time to end the corruption.
It's time to fix the constitution.
It's time to get rid of electricity in our elections!
LET AMERICA VOTE ACT
(EMERGENCY PAPER BALLOT MANDATE OF 2006)
Emergency paper ballots shall be made available at every voting jurisdiction in the United States during the November 7th, 2006 General Election. These paper ballots shall be available in sufficient numbers for optional use by voters who prefer to use them, and by all voters in the event of voting machine failure or unavailability. These paper ballots are not to be provisional ballots, but regular paper ballots that shall be counted immediately upon the close of polls on election night along with all other votes cast by properly registered voters.
Democracy is at stake. After at least two years of reporting in exhaustive details on these matters here, and at this late stage of the game, I believe the above "reform" is, unfortunately, the most we can likely hope for in time to have any real impact in mitigating a full-on train wreck during this November's crucial excercise of the right of democracy.
COMMENT #6 [Permalink]
said on 9/19/2006 @ 2:19 pm PT...
I'm afraid it's hard to argue with Charlie L regarding his doubts about the likely success of this action but we still have to try. What I would suggest and ask is that, if we are going to send this out to our e-mail lists, we need to provide a link, possibly to Velvet Revolution, that makes it easy for people to go to that link to send out a form letter to Congressman and Senators demanding Emergency Paper Ballots. Maybe that is already in the works but I think it is necessary if we are going to try to involve the masses.
COMMENT #7 [Permalink]
said on 9/19/2006 @ 2:39 pm PT...
Okay naysayers. I hear why it "can't" be done. Now let's concentrate on making sure it's done anyway!
With a grassroots outpouring of support, I believe this can be done in time. But that means you all need to get to work making it happen, instead of telling us all why it can't.
In the end, if it doesn't, at least we will have done everything within our powers. Please get to work!
COMMENT #8 [Permalink]
Big Brother is watching you
said on 9/19/2006 @ 2:40 pm PT...
Diebold looking to manipulate democracy globally?
Forbes: Diebold looking to acquire Chinese security company - report
BEIJING (XFN-ASIA) - Diebold Inc is looking to acquire a Chinese security company as a means of accelerating its expansion in the country, the Financial Times reported.
COMMENT #9 [Permalink]
said on 9/19/2006 @ 3:11 pm PT...
I absolutely agree it needs to be tried and I personally will do everything I can to get the word out but if we really want to catapult the message, we need to make it as easy as possible for those further along the chain. Any response to the rest of what I posed in Comment #6?
COMMENT #10 [Permalink]
said on 9/19/2006 @ 3:56 pm PT...
Yes, yes, yes! LAVA, let it flow.
(Charlie ten Hail Mary's for you!
COMMENT #11 [Permalink]
said on 9/19/2006 @ 4:04 pm PT...
COMMENT #12 [Permalink]
said on 9/19/2006 @ 4:28 pm PT...
Don't forget to mention the Zogby poll telling us that 92% of the American people, (every demographic), believe in their right to have their votes counted in public. Let people know there's no way to do that using computer records that aren't matched with EVERY SINGLE voters paper record.
Forget the machines this time!
COMMENT #13 [Permalink]
said on 9/19/2006 @ 4:42 pm PT...
Having worked on ballot printing for state and national elections for a large commercial printer in California in the 90's, it should be pointed out that paper ballots are not something you can whip out overnight. I worked double shifts as a temp 7 days a week for a month to get them done, and I was brought in at the END of the process. I doubt that this can be pulled off in time, even if you can get it past a Republican congress that knows they should all lose their asses by every rational indicator. Should it be in place for 08? Absolutely, if we all live to 08' with the current administration.
COMMENT #14 [Permalink]
said on 9/19/2006 @ 4:57 pm PT...
We must try, nonetheless.
The Congress was able to get their butts in gear for that ridiculous Terry Schiavo legislation in very little time.
Force them to go on the record saying that they really don't give a sh*t about Americans' right to vote and have that vote counted. The legislation may not pass, but at least their votes will be counted and on the record as being against ensuring our right to vote on Election Day with the crappy machines they forced on us.
It's the canary's job to sing loudly in the coal mine.
Everybody start singing!
COMMENT #15 [Permalink]
said on 9/19/2006 @ 5:13 pm PT...
Snazell # 13
According to this article it took only ten days to get over 50 million ballots to Iraq. I realise you are dealing with larger numbers and more people on the ballots but...it could be done I'm sure, if people shout loud enough.
"Australia and Canada have supplied Iraq with between 50 and 60 million forgery-proof ballot papers.
Tonnes of ballot boxes, papers and other electoral equipment worth millions of dollars arrived in Iraq on Wednesday and were being dispatched across the country for the January 30 vote"
COMMENT #16 [Permalink]
said on 9/19/2006 @ 5:14 pm PT...
COMMENT #17 [Permalink]
said on 9/19/2006 @ 5:16 pm PT...
Remember how fast they got Big Pharma's Viagra bill through!
COME ON Craig. We went to the DAMN MOON. Hell, I'll print a few thousand at home on my own computer. I know I'm not the only one with that ability. That's ridiculous!
COMMENT #18 [Permalink]
said on 9/19/2006 @ 5:20 pm PT...
If we get enough people informed about this simple concept, even if the thugs don't pass anything, we all know this election is going to be a complete mess and if all those people are at the polls FUMING because something so simple could have been done, we're going to way ahead!
COMMENT #19 [Permalink]
said on 9/19/2006 @ 5:26 pm PT...
To make a point, if this doesn't get passed, how about making your own Emergency Paper Ballot, print it off and insist on using it if the machines are down because of too much "humidity" or low batteries.
COMMENT #20 [Permalink]
said on 9/19/2006 @ 5:52 pm PT...
Washington Post did an editorial, to which I've replied, below. I have same intention as your proposal, Brad.
As you are aware, jurisdiction issues with election stuff; haven't checked HAVA's approach. Would like to help.
COMMENT #21 [Permalink]
said on 9/19/2006 @ 5:58 pm PT...
COMMENT #22 [Permalink]
said on 9/19/2006 @ 6:33 pm PT...
Great idea! I sent a few letters. Will no doubt get the usual form letters back. These letters tend to get read by office flunkies, never actually seen by the rep. The way to do it is to somehow get the sandidate's ear in person. It's fundraiser time, and these guys will likely be making appearances, so let's try to bend some ears, folks!
COMMENT #23 [Permalink]
said on 9/19/2006 @ 8:55 pm PT...
This is a great idea. I have one suggestion that we should work to implement also. We all remember how people showed up to vote in the last several elections only to discover that they were in the wrong place or they were in the right place but they weren't on the list of registered voters. Or, even worse, they sent in absentee ballots and never knew that they had been scrubbed or never registered in the first place.
Here in Cambridge, the voting lists are posted at the polling place for public inspection ahead of time. That makes it possible for a person to check to make sure that he or she is registered before getting a nasty surprise on election day. Think what a difference that would have made in Ohio in 2004. People wouldn't have had to wait in line in the rain for hours only to find out that they should have been waiting in a different line in the rain for hours.
COMMENT #24 [Permalink]
said on 9/19/2006 @ 9:37 pm PT...
Des said "Force them to go on the record". The only problem with that is that the Republicans hold all the chairmanships and they can bottle this up in committee and never let it come to a vote by the general House or Senate, so they will not have to go on record. Maybe I'm wrong and there is a way to force it to a general vote but I'm not aware of that. I believe that measures to amend HAVA and require an auditable paper record of every vote have been floating around since before the 2004 election but people like Ney have kept them from even being voted on by his committee, let alone the full House.
COMMENT #25 [Permalink]
said on 9/19/2006 @ 10:03 pm PT...
Geee, like, do you think that, ummmmmmmmm, the "advertise liberally" group with show any support (or even mention) this? American's overwhelmingly support verifiable elections - 92% do according to Zogby.
Yet somehow, the "gatekeepers" in the MSM and blogosphere pretend this is some type of radical, fringe idea.
Brad, either you reporting is way off base (which I doubt) or the set of blogs you associate with are ignoring the most important issue of our times?
COMMENT #26 [Permalink]
said on 9/19/2006 @ 10:31 pm PT...
I think this is a great idea but I also think we need to DEMAND hand counting--at the polls in public on election night.
COMMENT #27 [Permalink]
said on 9/19/2006 @ 11:10 pm PT...
Steve, #24, you are absolutely correct that Repugs have a nasty habit of squashing these things in committee so that they don't have to go on the record and the legislation never sees the light of day.
BUT... what's different this go-'round is that the Princeton Report has come out, and last week's primary in Maryland was a disaster right in front of their faces.
So... IF we raise hell, IF they get beaten over the head with this, the effort still can make a difference, because the public outcry wil take it out of their grubby little hands and, at the very least, force them to respond in public to the public. There is more than one way to get them on record.
There may not be a snowball's chance in hell that this'll get passed for real, but this is still an opportunity to get the word out about the coming election day trainwreck. And there may be a PR victory to be had.
That said, we are guaranteed that nothing will happen if we don't raise a sh*tstorm, loudly and relentlessly, now.
COMMENT #28 [Permalink]
said on 9/20/2006 @ 12:06 am PT...
Way to go Brad. We have to try. Do you have a plan B? C&L has an article up that people need to bypass high placed dems. for change, not just the Repubs. There is a good chance Snowe will lose in Maine. An internal poll, Maine Pulse,has her falling from 72% to 53%. Her opponent is for peace , unions, and stopping outsourcing jobs. Dems. want the Senate back? They haven't given Jean Hay Bright the dem nominee one penny.She doesn't have the campaign funds/corporate interests. My faith is more in people like you and bradbloggers than dems. That's why we need real dems. in office instead of the corporatists who are in DC.
COMMENT #29 [Permalink]
said on 9/20/2006 @ 12:20 am PT...
COMMENT #30 [Permalink]
said on 9/20/2006 @ 12:21 am PT...
How about all the Holt Bill people getting on board for this one? That would be a major boost.
This is vital and you have the most sensible approach going: (a) anticipate the disaster (obvious to all watching by now and (b) provide a viable solution.
The main goal would be a precise numbering scheme for ballots to make sure that the gnomes of election fraud don't get tempted to cast a few their way.
COMMENT #31 [Permalink]
said on 9/20/2006 @ 12:27 am PT...
We should design a perfectly concise flyer with all the pertinent facts that people on this blog agree would alert the 92% that it is time to act and, put it in a form that can be printed out.
This might sound like a dumb question, but has Ney been connected directly with selling votes to stop paper records on the machines or some lesser, more obscure charge?
That would be something to include on a flyer that would make people angry enough to do something!
COMMENT #32 [Permalink]
said on 9/20/2006 @ 7:26 am PT...
COMMENT #33 [Permalink]
said on 9/20/2006 @ 8:02 am PT...
Will do. Voting is the bedrock of our democracy and worth its weight protecting in gold, at the very least.
COMMENT #34 [Permalink]
said on 9/20/2006 @ 10:03 am PT...
Add a provision to the bill that would allow states like Nebraska to count those paper ballots. In Nebraska, it is illegal to recount votes in any manner other than the one used to count the votes the first time (i.e. no hand recounts).
COMMENT #35 [Permalink]
said on 9/20/2006 @ 10:21 am PT...
OK, I said in #4 above that this was a waste of time, but I will hereby recant. (Maybe it was those ten Hail Mary's that got me).
BUT, if you're going to do this, DO IT RIGHT!
1. Letters don't matter. We don't have the time, and they don't read them, they WEIGH them.
2. E-mails matter even less.
3. Pettions don't matter.
4. If you want this to happen, you must do the following...
a. CALL your Representative. Give them your name and zip code. (Don't even bother with the leadership or anybody out-of-state --- they don't care.)
Tell them you want the Rep to support this simple matter. THEN, ask them if any member of the staff reads bradblog.com. Don't expect to speak to your Rep, be glad if you get an aide. Call both the local/state office AND the D.C. office.
b. Repeat with your US Senator. CALL both locations.
c. VISIT the local field office of your Rep and Senator.
d. IF you don't get a difinitive answer to your questions (i.e. you get some meally-mouthed "We'll look into it" or "The Congressman/Senator is thinking about it.") then call back the NEXT DAY and ask if there's been any progress on that "thinking." VISIT AGAIN the NEXT day and ask if there's been any progress. Come to their offices with printouts and URLs and ask if you can speak with an aide who works on "election issues."
e. NEVER BE CONFRONTATIONAL. Just try to REACH them in some fashion.
f. Get your friends to do this as well. Two different voting members of the same household are still TWO votes, but GO SEPARATELY!
g. PUSH. PUSH. PUSH. IF your representative are Democrats and they say (as I did) that the Republicans won't ever let it happen, ask them if that is their criteria for signing onto a bill. Most likely, they have signed onto and even voted for bills that were doomed, both for "positioning" and perhaps even "on priciple." (Oh, who am I kidding --- "principle?")
IF you really want to make this happen (and we should) then let's use our minimal available energy in an effective way.
IF we show them that the blogosphere can create FEET ON THE GROUND (that could be VOTES IN THE BOOTH) and not pixels on the screen, they will start to pay attention.
And don't forget October 5, 2006 --- a NATIONAL DAY OF PROTEST. (See today's USA TODAY first section for a full-page ad from worldcantwait.org)
Charlie L (not Charlie)
COMMENT #36 [Permalink]
said on 9/20/2006 @ 11:39 am PT...
Dang, Charlie L, that's brilliant!
Thanks for the detailed rundown!
COMMENT #37 [Permalink]
said on 9/20/2006 @ 12:01 pm PT...
Bush and his repubs.have sank America lower than whale dung,to have to worry that our votes or changed or stolen.If we are ever able to replace these crooks,only hope they are never in charge of this country again.
COMMENT #38 [Permalink]
said on 9/20/2006 @ 1:03 pm PT...
"Note: At this point, I don't give a damn how the Emergency Paper Ballots will be counted; by hand, by optical scanner, whatever. So long as voters are not disenfranchised by the millions."
Why wouldn't you care how the votes are counted? That's exactly what I and others have been screaming about for years now. How the votes are counted is absolutely critical. As I've said before, you can have a 100% voter turnout but if the ballots are counted on a fraudulent and corrupt system then what the hell do you have? Nothing. You do not have democracy.
One must care how the votes are counted otherwise millions will be disenfranchised---that's a guarantee under Karl Rove's illegitimate Bush regime--- and you'll be right back to where you started! Especially if optical scan machines (made by Diebold, Sequoia, ES&S et al) are used to "count" the ballots.
In my opinion, this idea will not see the light of day in this Congress or under this Bush Dictatorship no matter how many calls or letters or emails or petitions or you name it people send to these useless and worthless trash in Congress. It's more wishful thinking which hasn't gotten people anywhere thus far has it? (No, it hasn't).
More and more people are tuning out and tuning off. I used to be able to talk politics in my close circle of friends. We shared the same views pretty much. I can't talk about politics now. They don't want to talk about it they tell me. They are tuning out and turning off. They are also not keeping up with what's happening, even major news things. They're just turning off. My neighbor says the same thing I say. Also, in the past around this time of year I used to see lots and lots of political signs in the windows here my major city. This year: None nowhere and I hear no one talking about politics when I'm out and about.
COMMENT #39 [Permalink]
said on 9/20/2006 @ 1:46 pm PT...
THIS IS THE ONLY WAY THIS DEMOCRACY WILL SUCCEED! PAPER BALLOTS AND RETURN OF THE HACKABLE DIEBOLD TOUCH SCREEN VOTING MACHINES (WITH A REFUND TO THE TAXPAYERS BY DIEBOLD, OF COURSE)! YES, YES, YES!
COMMENT #40 [Permalink]
said on 9/20/2006 @ 2:45 pm PT...
Steps to recovering the Electoral Process:
1. A return of the franchise to all who deserve it. That is, a national mandate that every citizen of the USA over 18 who is not incarcerated or mentally incapable has the right to vote.
2. Simple and up-to-and-including-Election-Day registration that is free of charge or costs (i.e., if your bigoted and paranoid-of-immigrants state wants to mandate an ID, then your bigoted and paranoid-of-immigrants state can pay for an ID for every person making under $40,000 per year, PERIOD!)
3. Sufficient time to vote without financial penalty, i.e. 3-4 day election periods of 14-16 hour days that include a weekend and at least one 8pm to 8am period.
4. Open-voting at any precinct in a jurisdiction. For a congressional race, any precinct in that district, for a senate or federal race, any precinct in the state.
5. Simple paper ballots that are filled out by hand.
6. Hand counting in a public place.
7. Precinct-level tabulation and reporting of totals prior to centralized accounting.
8. Secretaries of State and heads of Election offices can have no role in any campaigns other than their own, and they can not receive money from parties.
9. Each ballot is numbered and a matching numbered receipt is given to each voter, assuring that they would be able to "call up" and confirm their ballot if necessary and testify to any incongruities in it.
10. A drawing for ten $10,000 prizes out of every million ballots cast (yeah, that will at ten cents to the cost of each vote cast --- can we afford it?)
11. Instant Runoff Voting
12. (except to the degree that it conflicts with IRF) The option of "none of the above" on each and every single race, with the position not filled and the race run again 60 days later if nobody beats that option.
Ohh, there's probably more, but that's a start.
It will take 20 years to get this to happen, and only if we kill every neo-con Rethuglican first, since they are totally opposed to each and every one of these, especially the 1st.
Rethuglicans have admitted over and over again that they can only win if they can LIMIT the number of people who vote. That must mean it should be our goal to have 100% participation in the process. Does that scare an intellectual elitist like myself? ("Oh my lord, you're going to let that two-tooth hick vote?") You better believe it does, but it will be my (and everybody else's) responsibility to educate the electorate to make the important critical decision that voting is.
Oh, I almost forgot the one I like best…
13. Cost of media for candidates (TV, radio, cable, print, outdoor) will be at the actual cost of delivery plus 10%. These costs will be audited, and any abuses of pricing will be a class 1 Felony per instance with the top five executives and the Board of Directors of the company held liable for the criminal and civil penalties.
P.S. to Erma: I'm pretty sure that Brad cares how the votes are counted, but if you don't get to vote, there's nothing to fight about. First train wrecks first.
COMMENT #41 [Permalink]
said on 9/20/2006 @ 3:09 pm PT...
Hello Gov. Dean -
I am writing in reply to the various emails I have gotten from democrats.org
I think it is great to get the vote out, BUT I think you all are missing the BIG PICTURE and are ignoring the big Red elephant in the room - the very high probability that electronic voting has made all our votes meaningless.
I'd suggest we make our TOP PRIORITY finding a way to guarantee that our votes are indeed counted properly, or that we have recourse to have an accurate recount if need be. AFTER that - by all means - then focus on getting the vote out with the confidence that all those hard earned votes will indeed be relevant.
My frustration is that years after Conyers blew the lid off voter fraud, and with all the fine work grassroots efforts like www.bradblog.com has done, our Democratic leadership has done nothing about electronic voter fraud.
And as long as we have the potential for electronic voter fraud –
NOTHING ELSE MATTERS
The best politics; the best funded and most brilliant campaigns; the most genuine and dedicated intent; the most intelligent, honest, and charismatic leaders - WILL END UP NOWHERE - if it all comes down to a simple keystroke in the 11th hour of an election in some locked down courthouse somewhere citing "national security".
We can't be trying to desperately fix the hole in the fence with our back turned to the gate that has already been left open.
I believe the only plausible explanation why BUSH/GOP have such a blatant and shameless arrogance and disregard for the people and the Truth - is because they already know we are going to (electronically) "vote for them" anyway.
Can you imagine the humiliation of getting the Dem vote out bigger than ever before - only to have those votes stolen, so that in the end the GOP can say "See - the vast majority of people have stepped up and spoken and given us our mandate!"
We were fucked before - and we are about to get fucked again.
Why get people out to vote, if their votes will just end up being stolen?
I think all your energy and determination has to be put into scrapping these machines, or demanding a paper ballot that can remain as evidence - hanging chads and all if need be. It would certainly leave more evidence than what electronic voting leaves us.
Electronic Voter Fraud should be saturating the airwaves with every dollar you have.
Without this fixed – all the other noble issues are irrelevant, as will be your Party again after November.
I don’t know what the solution is.
Since I haven’t heard any coming from the Democratic leaders, here is a link I would ask you to PLEASE take the time to read.
Reader Comment #35 is particularly helpful.
I would be very pleased to hear your response, and I have some other simple basic strategies that I can’t imagine for the life of my why the Dems haven’t taken.
Respectfully yours –
COMMENT #42 [Permalink]
said on 9/20/2006 @ 4:40 pm PT...
The Anti-Democratic leadership will likely not let any such bill pass. Look at what they did to HR 550, which is six cosponsors short of a majority in the House. (However, at least all the cosponsors of HR 550 should support this.)
It might be worth trying to get this bill pushed through every
STATE legislature, or at least as many as possible.
These states don't even have paper ballot requirements of any sort:
COMMENT #43 [Permalink]
said on 9/21/2006 @ 7:45 am PT...
What are we left with, so far, in Florida is an ES and S machine with no printer! Apparently, Jeb Bush will not approve "the printer", because it has "flaws". Of course the printer is not enough, we need Voter Verified Paper Ballots and since we will not get that by election time, this is the only way!
WE CAN DO IT!
COMMENT #44 [Permalink]
said on 9/21/2006 @ 10:57 am PT...
Thanks for your optimism Brad. That's why you are the LEADER. Keeps us going. #35...Good idea. I'm calling my reps. Too far for me to go to their offices, but wonderful advice for those who can.
COMMENT #45 [Permalink]
said on 11/28/2006 @ 9:43 am PT...