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The Gross National Debt

Monday, February 20, 2006

(Cross-posted at Daily Kos)

Yesterday I did a diary on a proposed Constitutional amendment to give Congress the power to regulate campaign finances. Really, an editorial in /The Washington Post/ caught my eye and I decided I'd do a diary on it. It's not an incendiary or especially "WOW"-ish subject and I was pleasantly surprised to see it make the recommended list and to see some discussion, pro and con, on the issue. The comment thread also produced alternatives and information about other initiatives to accomplish the same essential goal.

One commenter indicated that s/he felt that campaign finance reform (in whatever iteration) and the integrity of the vote were the two single biggest issues with which Dems should be dealing. Whether or not to agree with the prioritization, voting integrity is up there on the list. I subscribe to an email list from VoteTrustUSA.org and below the fold, I'd like to highlight some of the information they've sent me.

The first thing in the email that caught my eye was an area for actions that people can take on a local level:

National: Pass HR 550 As Written! ~ Clicking the link will take you to a page where you can enter your information and write your relevant Congresspeople urging them to pass HR 550 as written.

National: Say No to Prohibited Software in Voting Machines! ~ Clicking here will allow you to send a message to all four of the Election Assistance Commission's Commissioners, putting them on notice that citizens are watching the actions of Diebold and others.

Iowa - Support SF 351 ~ Residents of Iowa can follow this link to write their Iowa State House Representative urging passage of SF 351, legislation that creates a paper trail for voting. The Iowa State Senate has already passed the measure.

Maryland: Support HB 244 and SB 713 ~ This will send a letter to your Maryland State Senator urging passage of HB 244, legislation that not only requires a voter-verified paper trail but which also calls for a percentage hand-counted audit to ensure inegrity in Maryland's voting process.

Pennsylvania: Support HB 2000 and S 977 ~ This allows you to write you PA State Representative urging support for HB 2000 and your PA State Senator demanding passage of S 977. Both pieces of legislation call for a voter-verified paper trail.

Washington: Audit All Voting Machines! - Support HB-2532 ~ This will send a letter to your Washington State Representative demanding the audit of all voting system through passage of HB 2532.

VoteTrustUSA.org also has a weekly feature of the top 5 news stories related to voting and voting integrity. Here's what they highlighted this past week:

The Top Five Stories from the Past Week's Daily Voting News by John Gideon, VotersUnite.org and VoteTrustUSA

#5 - In Arizona the state legislature ignored past voting machine counting errors as they refused to adopt legislation to require a 5% hand-counted audit. As reported by the Arizona Daily Star the legislation did not even make it out of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

#4 - Meanwhile, in next door neighbor New Mexico, VoteTrustUSA reports that in the last few hours of the legislative session the legislature passed a bill to require optical-scan voting and to ban DREs. This bill had the approval of the Governor, Attorney General, and Secretary of State and was a result of hard work from voting activists from across the state and nationally. Groups like Verified Voting New Mexico, United Voters of New Mexico, and Voter Action deserve a lot of credit for the work they did to get this passed.

#3 - The state of Illinois seems to be in an awful hurry to certify Sequoia voting machines for use in the state. Maybe because Chicago and suburban Cook County have already signed a contract for more than $50M with the Venezuelan owned Sequoia Voting Systems. As reported by Robert A. Wilson of the Illinois Ballot Integrity Project in VoteTrustUSA, the system that has been state certified and has already been contracted for is not even 2002 compliant.

#2 - The lines are being drawn in Maryland. On one side are voting activists and the governor. On the other side is the state elections chief, Linda Lamone and her friends at Diebold. Last week was a busy week in the state. The Baltimore Chronicle announced that the state legislature and civic groups had united for voter verified paper ballot legislation with the filing of SB713, with 23 co-sponsors. Then Avi Rubin opined that flawed election machines were leaving state voters guessing. Following this the Baltimore Sun announced that Governor Erlich had stated that the state was not ready to hold elections and that he was now coming out with his support for a paper trail. In the meantime, RawStory revealed that documents show elections and a primary were held on uncertified voting machines. And, BradBlog reported on the potential damage that the news would have on Diebold. In an attempt at 'damage control' Linda Lamone and Diebold ignored the facts and told all who would listen that the state's voting system was the best in the nation.

#1 - This week was a big news week in California. State Senator Debra Bowen held a hearing to discuss open source voting software and voting systems certification. In that hearing one county election official, Warren Slocum of San Mateo County, questioned the use of vendor provided software and voting systems. Then on Friday afternoon just before a holiday weekend, the Secretary of State announced that he was going to conditionally certify two Diebold voting systems; the Accuvote OS and Accuvote TSx. This surprise certification was welcomed with amazement from some in the activist community and with questioning comments from Sen. Bowen. Why was the announcement made late on a Friday afternoon? Why did the SoS see fit to send a letter to Diebold, the Independent Test Authorities, the National Association of Secretaries of State, and the National Association of State Elections Directors but not to the Election Assistance Commission?

You can also have one-stop shopping for other news at both the national and state levels on voting integrity issues:

National Stories

ACM Study Group Issues Voter Registration Guidelines To Assure Privacy and Accuracy

Twists and Turns - Who Owns Sequoia?

News From Around the States

Alaska: Division of Elections Delays Release of Election Records

Arizona: State Senator Huppenthal Guts Election Reform Bill

Diebold in California: Who's Responsible?

California: Why Is San Francisco Rolling The Dice With Sequoia?

Illinois May Have Violated State Law In Desperate Effort To Certify Voting Machines

Maryland: Governor Ehrlich's Letter To State Board of Elections

Flawed Election Machines Leave Maryland Voters Guessing

Paper Ballot Victory In New Mexico

Pennsylvania Citizens' Right To Choose Voting Machines Upheld In Court

Hopefully you get the gist. I am not a voting integrity specialist by any means. I see a valiant focus by some diarists here on Daily Kos on the subject of electronic voting, verified voting, voting integrity and both local and national efforts. These diaries mostly kind of slide by - with the recent exception of this one by *ms in la* on the Diebold/California issue.

So I have a question - would a twice monthly diary of this kind, one that gives you a brief overview of what's going on in the work of voting integrity be useful? I'll post a poll question to see what everyone thinks.

Regarless, VoteTrustUSA.org has been a very valuable source for me to stay informed about the issues, who is championing them, what states are taking action and what states are /not/, which elected officials support voting integrity and verificaiton vs. which ones oppose it, etc. I encourage you to sign up for their weekly newsletter so you can have a top level view of the critical issues of voting integrity as the '06 elections loom.



posted by RenaRF at 2:13 PM 1 comments links to this post

1 Comments:

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10:26 PM  

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