Tag Archives: voting accountability

marcy winograd, bradblog, dharma’s mom, skippy & voting townhall meeting

(Elections for sale! Elections for sale! Diebold’s offering them up at bargain basement prices! – promoted by SFBrianCL)

cross-posted at skippy as well as a literal cornucopia of other community blogs.
skippy the bush kangaroo attended the townhall meeting for voting accountability tonight in venice, calif, hosted by the lovely bradblog, and featuring a plethora of speakers who had a strange combination of both a lot of bad news and inspiration for the 100 or so citizens who showed up.

our report after the jump:

rob cohen, documentarian of the film votergate (name change imminent…tho we kind of like “de-voted,” the crowd went for “hacked”) showed a small clip of his movie, currently in production.

in the clip, bev harris of black box voting was seen visiting patty newton, a poll worker in san diego for the recent california 50 busby-bilbray election. patty told bev that after a brief afternoon of training, the poll workers were literally handed the voting machines and told to take them home and store them there until the election a few weeks later.

patty showed bev the garage where she stored her charges, and explained that all the poll workers had to do to receive the machines that would decide the fate of san diego county’s senatorial concerns was sign a piece of paper. but don’t worry, folks, there was an official seal over each of the voting machines: a xerox of the county registrar’s seal stuck on with sticky paper. talk about security!

the lovely bradblog gave some good news: that looney tinfoil hat wearing lefty communist lou dobbs has been reporting on the widespread problems with election machines, under the banner “democracy for sale.”

as an example of the problems inherent with electronic voting, bradblog told the story of harri hursti who proved the diebold machines were hackable with the mock election held in leon county, florida, in december of 2005. 6 mock voters voted “no” and 2 voted “yes” to the question “can diebold machines be hacked via their memory card?” the voters retained their paper ballots. but when the results were run thru the optical scanner, the machine tallied the votes as 1 “yes” and 7 “no’s.” no, there’s no problem with diebold!

more problems with the san diego elections: cal. sec. of state bruce macpherson re-certified diebold machines, even tho the software contains “interpretive code,” which is strictly forbidden by section 19250 of the fec guidelines. of course, skippy has reported on macpherson’s sneaky re-certification.

next, the wonderful actress and chair of the progressive democrats of america, mimi kennedy, took the microphone (you know her as dharma’s mom). mimi warned everyone that the propaganda will start coming hard and heavy against all our efforts, such as the la times completely unsourced and citeless sunday column “the gop knows you don’t like anchovies.” mimi pointed out how incredibly difficult it would be to have accomplished, over one weekend, the voter outreach and absentee ballot distribution that the column attributed to the gop, even with a data base and plane tickets.  she warned that the media will be doling out propaganda to make voting activists depressed, and feeling as if our efforts were not worth the trouble.

but, mimi mocked the very imagery that the paper ascribes to the gop’s efforts.  “the voter vault?” she asked.  “it sounds like a superman comic book.  with dick cheney in his fortress of solitude!”

“but,” mimi concluded, “they are not invincible.  the rule of law is their kryptonite.”  she received a standing ovation.

next marci winograd, who gave jane harman a run for her money, let everyone know the “help america vote act,” the registrars of every county is obligated to hold quarterly meetings with any citizens who want to attend and ask questions (skippy plans on being at the next one for los anageles).

marci also warned against the concept of “voting early,” which is being offered in some parts of the country (for instance, here in los angeles).  tho voters are asked to believe that coming into the polling place and voting a few days early is more convenient, what they aren’t told is that the diebld tsx machines being used have a 30% failure rate.

this issue affects everyone.  during the course of the evening, bradblog played a clip of the roger hedgecock radio show he appeared on, during which ultra-conservative roger (who subs for rush) agreed 100% with bradblog, “that if we have any bedrock notion in this country, it ought to be that the votes be fully and fairly counted.”

other speakers were jeeni criscenzo, darryl issa’s upcoming opponent, who said that when someone steals a vote, they steal the essence of democracy; they’re not a thief, they are a traitor, and judy alter who told of the various lawsuits being brought against the various registrars who violate election laws.

this townhall “train,” as they so metapoorically put it, will be chugging down to san diego on wednesday, to convene at the oceanside civic center on 330 n. coast highway at 7 pm (with a rally at 6pm).  we urge anyone and everyone in so socal to go there and hear these speakers.  it will make you angry.

when all is said and done, this issue could be primarily the most important that we are facing today (even more than net neutrality).  all the blogging in the world about all the political machinations is not going to do any good for anyone if our votes are not accurately counted.  skippy international is proud and happy to stand with the blogs who insist on talking about this elephant in the room.

(at this point we must also give bradblog a big thanks for using his podium on the townhall stage to single out skippy in the crowd and plugging our humble blog as one of those working on this issue.  we are happy to do our part.  but don’t worry, skippy reciprocated by giving bradblog and bradblog’s girlfriend each a complimentary skippy tee shirt!)

we must have accountable elections, we must have methods that are auditable, we must have a process in which the entire country can trust, and most of all, we must make sure democracy is safe for future generations.