Friday, January 21, 2005

Hail to the Thief

Read this most excellent interview in The Blue Lemur with Rep. John Conyers Jr.: The Battle Goes On. Here are a few excerpts:

Conyers: Here we are two presidential elections in a row, one state determines the winner, and each time that state has the highest number of irregularities, unusual procedures, outright violations of election law. It does not require political science to get the connection

John: You don’t think that was simply because there was more focus on, say, Ohio in this election, and Florida in the last?

Conyers: It all came down to the same thing, John, the one state that would make the difference was the one state that was plagued with the most irregularities and the most complaints. I did not pick Ohio, Ohio leapt to our attention because that is where the majority of the calls came from.

Larisa: So essentially this past election is considered over, even if your investigation should bear fruit and [the survey and investigation] is for moving forward?

Conyers: I would not say it is over because if there are criminal violations they can be prosecuted still.

Larisa: This brings me to Kenneth Blackwell who is not seemingly cooperating…

Conyers: What a piece of work he is.

Larisa: How do you plan on handling Mr. Blackwell because he does not seem to want to cooperate?

Conyers: Once we get the committee hearing approval, this is my very next immediate task. Obviously we need him as a witness, and I would be willing to invite him to come forward. And if he refused I would seek a subpoena.

Here is a great idea from Lynn Landes for a parallel election, entitled: Plan B: Parallel Elections & Signed Ballots. She states:

A Parallel Election would be held in tandem with the official election. It could be organized on a precinct, county, or statewide basis. And anyone could do it. It's simple. On Election Day, "parallel election pollworkers" (PEPs) would position themselves outside the polls. They would provide voters with “parallel ballots” to mark and a ballot box in which to cast them. At the end of the day, PEPs would compare their tallies with the official election returns. If the tallies don't match, the election can be challenged.

But, the really big deal is this... voters would be asked to print their names and addresses and sign their ballots. What's the point? To provide proof. Candidates need hard evidence in order to challenge election results. A signed ballot would act as a voter's affidavit - as direct evidence of the voter's intent.

Exit polls and audits provide circumstantial evidence, at best. We need much more.

During the 2004 election, tens of thousands of voting rights activists worked the polls. They documented tens of thousands of election irregularities. But, all that documentation didn't provide any direct evidence of how people actually voted. Even when recounts were conducted, as in Ohio, election officials managed to sabotage the process.

The original goal of the secret ballot was to minimize vote selling and voter intimidation. It seemed like a good idea at the time. But, that time has passed. The secret ballot has become the refuge of scoundrels and unscrupulous election officials. It provides perfect cover for vote fraud and system failure.

Finally, check out these photos, from around the country and the world, and a clip, of protests on “Inauguration” Day. Taking it to the streets!


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