OK. I just sent the following to everybody in my gmail address book (as bcc, no point in violating their privacy) under the subject: Tilting at Windmills.
I urge you all to send something similar (or anything at all) to all your friends and then to make the necessary 3 phone calls.
Dear Friend (associate? etc.?) of Charlie:
You know I don't put a lot of faith in politicians saving us from the mess we seem to have gotten ourselves into, but every now and then, you tilt at a windmill.
I believe (and have for a long time) that the electoral system is broken, and yet, that's the only way we can change our government, so it's a horrible catch-22 that could lead us into an ugly fascism if we're not careful. (Yes, I think we're back in the mid 1930's, but that's a story for another day.)
Right now there is an urgent move afoot to do a little something to change this. It's informally known as the "Let America Vote Act" and has other names in congress. You can get the details here: http://www.bradblog.com/?p=3544 Basically, all it says is that if electronic systems break down this November (as they have been doing all summer), there will be a paper ballot available for people to vote with and it won't be "provisional" but will be counted with the rest on election day.
What needs to happen IMMEDIATELY (that is, today, Thursday, before close-of-business, and not a moment later) is for everybody who can, to call their congressional representative and senators (EVEN IF THEY ARE REPUBLICAN) and ask them politely if they are supporting HR 6187 (for congresspeople) or S. 3943 (for Senators). This is EMERGENCY LEGISLATION that must be passed before they adjourn to have any impact on these incredibly important mid-term elections. Only a phone call or office visit to your reps will do --- don't bother with e-mail or letters.
YES, I know that a whole lot of OTHER things will have to happen. The bills would actually have to pass. They would have to be signed by the President (a long shot, he might just try a pocket veto). If vetoed, they would have to find a way to get congress back (unlikely without help from the Republican leadership) and override, even more unlikely. YES, I know there is a lot that has to happen, but at least it is a START!
I urge you to get in contact with the offices of your Congressperson and Senators and make your voice heard.
There might not be many more chances.
Thanks for reading this far.
P.S. Big protests are planned for October 5, 2006. Details at www.worldcantwait.org. And, of course, keep November 8, 2006 clear --- we might have to "go Ukrainian" on them if there are too many (more) instances where the "official results" and the exit polls are off by statistically impossible margins.
Good luck. Maybe this is a tipping point? Either way, it's the least we can do for Brad.
I'm totally in favor of Brad Friedman's proposal and I'm on record long ago as supporting paper ballots as the solution, without interim steps.
Can we now put the naive and useless notion of verified paper ballots to rest once and for all. Everybody knows that any computer can produce a verified paper ballot for Candidate X while concurrently producing a machine recorded vote for Candidate Y. That's what came out in depositions in the citizens versus New Mexico case.
Support this legislation and do it now. The prospects, motives, etc. are irrelevant. It's the only game in town.
Much time and effort has been spent on voter verified paper ballots, particularly Holts HR 550 legislation. In fact, there was a major conference devoted exclusively to getting this passed.
a) Clearly, this was not the solution then and it is not now.
b) However, Hold has other legislation that was not supported widely in the new faction of the voting rights community. It addresses racism and the right to vote, appropriately since election fraud is a race crime and crime against the poor in almost every major occurrence.
Here is the Holt legislation that should have been supported.
* Deceptive Practices and Voter Intimidation Prevention Act of 2005 (H.R. 4463) (to stop the outrages of voter intimidation)
* Electoral Fairness Act of 2006 (H.R. 4989) (on the proper handling of provisional ballots)
It's time to re-evaluate strategy and tactics. The interim solution, inadequate and a diversion of resources, "voter verified paper ballots," needs to be assigned to the scrap yard of voting rights history. Is it any wonder that the main line voting rights groups never got on board?
The goal is not just paper ballots but a complete revision of the election process.
Paper ballots are just part of the solution. We must get corporate and all other outside money out of elections. The undue influence of lies repeated again and again makes the voting process meaningless at times since the information upon which votes are cast is entirely without substance or veracity.
No more walks along the garden path of utopian quick fixes. We need paper ballots proposed just to go on record when the “train wreck hits.” We need the legislation passed to have a chance at a fair election. But we truly need a comprehensive revision of voting processes, supervision and truthfulness PLUS a clean campaign act with public financing of elections, total public financing.
Once all of that is done, it would be time for an apology to paper ballot supporters from who savaged and derided us as heretics for looking beyond the Holy Grail of HR 550.