Friday, October 17, 2008

A 12-Step Program to Save US Democracy

In recent elections, electronic voting machines have:
- failed to count votes
- tallied votes incorrectly
- given voters the wrong ballot
- broken down during elections
- disenfranchised voters
- handed votes to the wrong candidate
- reversed election outcomes

Voters' selections changed in front of their eyes on the touch screens of paperless voting machines. Electronic poll books failed to work properly. Tabulation equipment began subtracting votes after accumulated totals reached 32,000. Voting machines lost votes, miscounted votes, and mysteriously added votes. Machines broke down, froze up, paged through ballots backwards, and skipped past important races.

The use of electronic voting machines increases:
- the time and cost for required for pre-election machine testing
- the complexity of election procedures
- the need for "ballot box" security
- the potential for human error
- the cost of storing election equipment between elections
- the capital cost of election systems

With electronic voting, the most important and vulnerable election processes – storing and
tallying the votes – are performed in secret, without public oversight. These processes were not
developed by government officials charged with ensuring election integrity, but by anonymous
software engineers, hired by machine vendors and not publicly accountable for the results of their work.
Copyright © 2005 VotersUnite! www.VotersUnite.

A 12-Step Program to Save US Democracy

  • By Mark Crispin Miller
    Author of Loser Take All: Election Fraud and the Subversion of Democracy, 2000-2008, January 31, 2008
    Straight to the Source

Certainly the outlook for democracy seems pretty bleak-and how could it be otherwise? The surest way to make a problem worse is to pretend it isn't there, which is exactly what our press and politicians have been doing; and the rest is, unfortunately, history.

But history can be changed, as We the People have continually learned, from our refusal of colonial subjection, to our (partial) establishment as a democratic republic, to the abolition of slavery, to the enfranchisement of women, to the end of formal segregation and the passage of the Voting Rights Act.

After that, our progress seemed to stop, and it must now resume: for history can be changed, and for the better, but only through our own unbreakable commitment to, and action for, enlightened policies for the renewal of our democracy. Based squarely on America's first principles, such policies would not be wholly new, however revolutionary they must sound in these bad, backward times. As it was certain policies that got us into this horrific situation, certain other policies can get us out.

The fact is that We the People are in lousy shape, and must get straight as soon as possible. For we are all addicted to the horse race-and we can't win, because it's fixed. And so, before we end up losing everything, we need to pull ourselves together, face the music, and then take all necessary steps to change the tune.

A 12-Step Program to Save US Democracy

1. Repeal the Help America Vote Act (HAVA).

This step will inevitably follow an in-depth investigation of how HAVA came to be.

2. Replace all electronic voting with hand-counted paper ballots (HCPB).

Although politicians and the press dismiss this idea as utopian, the people would support it just as overwhelmingly as national health care, strong environmental measures, US withdrawal from Iraq, and other sane ideas.

3. Get rid of computerized voter rolls.

It isn't just the e-voting machines that are obstructing our self-government. According to USA Today, thousands of Americans have had their names mysteriously purged from the electronic databases now used nationwide as records of our registration.

4. Keep all private vendors out of our elections.

With their commercial interests, trade secrets and unaccountable proceedings, private companies should have no role in the essential process of republican self-government.

5. Make it illegal for the TV networks to declare who won before the vote-count is complete.

Certainly the corporate press will scream about its First Amendment Rights, but they don't have the right to interfere with our elections. When they declare a winner BEFORE WE even know if the election was legitimate, they PRE-DEFINE all audits, recounts and even first counts of the vote as the mere desperate measures of "sore losers."

6. Set up an exit polling system, publicly supported, to keep the vote-counts honest.

Only in America are exit poll results not meant to help us gauge the accuracy of the official count. Here they are meant only to allow the media to make its calls.

7. Get rid of voter registration rules, by allowing every citizen to register, at any post office, on his/her 18th birthday.

Either we believe in universal suffrage or we don't.

8. Ban all state requirements for state-issued ID's at the polls.

As the Supreme Court smiles on such Jim Crow devices, we need a law, or Constitutional amendment, to forbid them.

9. Put all polling places under video surveillance, to spot voter fraud, monitor election personnel, and track the turnout.

We're under surveillance everywhere else, so why not?

10. Have Election Day declared a federal holiday, requiring all employers to allow their workers time to vote.

No citizens of the United States should ever lose the right to vote because they have to go to work.

11. Make it illegal for Secretaries of State to co-chair political campaigns (or otherwise assist or favor them).

Katherine Harris wore both those hats in Florida in 2000, and, four years later, so did Ken Blackwell in Ohio and Jan Brewer in Arizona. Such Republicans should not have been allowed to do it, nor should any Democrats.

12. Make election fraud a major felony, with life imprisonment--and disenfranchisement--for all repeat offenders.

"Three strikes and you're out" would certainly befit so serious a crime against democracy.


This comes from Loser Take All: Election Fraud and the Subversion of Democracy, 2000-2008, a new collection of writings by the major Election Integrity people, which IG Publishing will be bringing out in early April.

"Heading into another presidential race, We the People have to face the fact that our election system is a shambles, run by private corporations with a partisan agenda, and largely based on a technology that anyone can rig. This great book will tell you all about it—and, even more important, help us overcome it.”—Thom Hartmann

"Before Americans get too excited about the next election, they'd do well to remember the stolen elections of 2000 and thereafter. For all the talk of “change,” the corrupt system by which we vote remains broken. Thank heavens for Mark Crispin Miller and his contributors who call not just for awareness, but action”Laura Flanders

“The essays in this great collection make it clear that our democracy is in trouble. We can begin to repair our nation by restoring electoral integrity. This book points to the challenges and the possibilities of regaining our full power as voters and citizens in a democratic society.”Dennis Kucinich

Loser Take All presents cutting edge essays that diagnose a problem still ignored by much of the political establishment and the news media. The book provides a roadmap to a truly open and fair voting system.”Robert W. McChesney

"If voting [actually;ed.] changed anything, they'd make it illegal." Emma Goldman

"It is possible to exclude men from the right of voting, but it is impossible to exclude them from the right of rebelling against that exclusion; and when all other rights are taken away the right of rebellion is made perfect. Thomas Paine, Dissertation on the First Principles of Government

Loser Taker All: Election Fraud and The Subversion of Democracy, 2000-2008 is an indispensable anthology of writings covering the vast election fraud that has been perpetrated by the GOP—with the Democratic Party’s acquiescence—since 2000. Among the subjects treated here are: the myth of George Bush’s victory in Florida in 2000, and FOX News’s key role in propagating it; Senator Max Cleland’s dubious defeat in Georgia in 2002; Bush’s “re-election” in 2004, including evidence of systematic fraud outside of Ohio; startling evidence of fraud committed in the 2006 midterm elections, which the Democrats appear to have won by a far larger margin than officially reported; and, crucially, evidence that the Republicans will attempt to steal the presidential election in 2008.

Edited by Mark Crispin Miller, author of the seminal Fooled Again: The Real Case for Electoral Reform, this explosive collection includes works by a broad range of well-respected election activists, including Robert F. Kennedy Jr., David Moore, Bob Fitrakis, Larissa Alexandrova, Michael Collins, Lance deHaven-Smith, Brad Friedman, David Griscom, James Gundlach, Jean Kaczmarek, Paul Lehto, Bruce O'Dell, Michael Richardson, Steven Rosenfeld, Jonathan Simon and Nancy Tobi.

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