November 3, 2008

Don’t Blame Yourselves

By Mary Mancini

From John Gideon of Daily Voting News:

Just a comment to those who want to dismiss ‘vote-flipping’ as voter error. All kinds of people go to the polls to vote. They are highly educated and high-school dropouts. Rich and poor. They have long fingernails and nails bitten to the quick. They have thin fingers and wide fingers. They are going to softly touch the screen or touch it hard. Vendors and election officials tend to blame vote-flipping on the voters. They touched the screen too hard; drug their finger; had long fingernails; or their fingers touched too large an area. So, is it the voters fault? NO! It is the vendors who designed, built and sold these machines that don’t work for all voters and it is the election officials who bought those machines.

A large majority of the ‘vote-flipping’ has been on older ES&S iVotronic DREs; those machines that were featured on last year’s Dan Rather Reports. The cheaply built, poorly tested touch screens that were used as components on those systems should have been scrapped long ago. It’s not the voters fault and this constant pointing of fingers is wrong. The vendors need to remember that when they point a finger at the voters they have three fingers pointing back at the real culprit, themselves; and it makes no difference what those fingers look like, they are the fingers of blame.

Read “The Technical Term for Voting Flaws: Human Error,” by John Wellington Ennis, writing for The Public Record.

And remember rules #6 thru #10 of Stop, Drop & Poll: What You Can Do if You Have Problems at the Polls

6) At the First Sign of a Problem, Stop!
At the first sign of a problem with your machine (or if you have any other problems listed below*), stop what you are doing and ask to speak to the supervisor (skip the poll worker) at your polling location. Explain your problem. If they try and waive you off, call your main election commission and ask to speak to the election commissioner or someone who will satisfactorily address your issue. Keep in mind that many poll workers/supervisors will try and blame the voter. Do not leave your polling place until your problem is well-documented and addressed to your complete satisfaction and, if the problem is with the machine, that the machine is quarantined. If you can’t get the machine taken out of service, begin telling all the voters still waiting in line exactly which machine is having problems and try to get them to refuse that machine. Also, do not leave your polling place until you have cast your vote.

7) File a Report. File Several Reports.
Your local polling place will have incident reports that are specific to your county available to you. If they do not, call the county election commission and ask someone to bring one to you. Make sure that both you and the supervisor sign it. Do not leave without a copy of the signed report in your hands. Then, file a state report - info on how to do so can be found at the U.S. Election Assistance Commission website or, call your state election commission.

8. Call the Election Protection Hotline
Report any incident to the non-partisan Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Election Protection Hotline at 1-866-Our-Vote, especially if you feel you are being bullied. This hotline can also help with filing reports and any additional grievances that you feel may not be taken seriously by your local election officials.

9) Video Your Vote
If possible, plan ahead for any problems by bringing a cell phone or video camera with you to Video the Vote (a national initiative to protect voting rights by monitoring the electoral process). If you encounter difficulties, or see others having problems, make a detailed record. Then, spread it around - local news media, YouTube, your own website or blog, etc.. Remember, the focus should be on gathering evidence and not telling stories. So, use video, audio, and photographs to document. If you do not have a means to record, then it is especially important for you to file a report (see #7) as well as write down names and phone numbers of witnesses, voting machine serial numbers, names of poll workers, and the time and day of your incident.

10) Never Let Anyone Tell You That You Can’t Vote.
We the People, indeed.

November 3, 2008

Easy as Pie Instuctions for Protecting the Vote Count on Election Night

By Mary Mancini

From Bev Harris and BlackBoxVoting.org:

Black Box Voting was asked by YouTube to prepare an easy to follow public education program for Protecting the Count on ELECTION NIGHT and the days that follow. We also collaborated with Videothevote.org and Election Defense Alliance. YouTube has created a Channel called Video Your Vote. The Black Box Voting Protect the Count series contains important information and several video clips never before made public.

EASY INSTRUCTIONS: View the videos that best fit your location, find a buddy, pick an action, do it!

1. Protect the Count - most locations in America(4 min)
Takes 90 minutes on Election Night. You can even go out after polls have closed. Please also view video #3, because it shows what to look for to identify tampered poll tapes and the kinds of small errors on tapes that can appear with memory card tampering. Upload any video you take to Video the Vote. Post link or comments for what you found in the state and jurisdiction at BlackBoxVoting.org.

2. Protect the Count - Absentee / Central Count (8 min)
(Applies to 13 states with CENTRALLY COUNTED ballots and/or HEAVY ABSENTEE VOTING)
These are the most challenging Protect the Count locations.

3. Protect the Count - New England / New Hampshire(5 min)
If you live anywhere in New England and can drive to any voting machine location in New Hampshire to observe and video poll closing, please do so. If you live anywhere in America that has polling place results tapes, please look at this video to see what tampered tapes look like. Contact Protect the Count - New Hampshire organizers at protectthevote@gmail.com
You can view the list for which New Hampshire locations use voting machines here.

4. Protect the Count - New York (9 min)
New Yorkers are probably in the best shape for Election 2008, but not for long. This shows the details of how the counting of the lever machines proceeds after polls close, and gives you the details of the fight New Yorkers will have on your hands in 2009.

We’re counting on you to be as proactive as possible to fight for your voting rights. The actions in the Protect the Count series are self-serve, simple to do, and designed for just grabbing a neighbor or a buddy and taking action. Don’t worry about blanketing every area or organizing the whole state. Don’t worry about redundant efforts — the more the merrier! Just pick a place and DO it. I guarantee it will be a fascinating and important experience, and could provide THE crucial evidence in the very undesirable event that the election turns out not to be fair.

Please distribute immediately and as widely as you can.

November 3, 2008

Prepare Yourself

By Mary Mancini

Watch this video posted by Brad Friedman so that when you go to vote tomorrow you will be prepared to face the absolute worst. Seriously, nothing can be as bad as this woman…we hope.

Brad writes:

Since she says in the video we should take care to spell her name right, the woman responsible for running elections in Philadelphia is Marge Tartaglione (D) and, as the video suggests, she’s a horror. And not only for her indefensible statements against the distribution of paper ballots to the effect of “long lines are not a problem…Long lines are no justification for any thing but waiting…people wait in long lines overnight for baseball tickets…people wait in line all night for a new Ipod.” Though I’m not aware of any 80 year olds who do either of those things, or anybody who does that in the middle of a word day, and I’m fairly sure anybody who does do that, does so by their own choice, not because they are forced to do so in hopes of exercising their right to cast a vote.

November 3, 2008

In the Next 24 Hours

By Mary Mancini

What you need to do in the next 24 hours to help ensure an honest election, from No More Stolen Elections.

In the next 24 hours, please take the following three steps:

1 - PLAN TO ASSEMBLE ON WEDNESDAY - Go to our website and look for a Voter Assembly in or near your community. If you don’t see one, organize one. Go to: http://www.NoMoreStolenElections.org/va

2 - TAKE ACTION TO PROTECT THE POLLS - Tell the media to report the truth on Election Night: http://www.nomorestolenelections.org/urgentaction/polls

3 - REPORT VOTING RIGHTS VIOLATIONS - Report any voting rights violations you are aware of: http://www.nomorestolenelections.org/addreport

Frederick Douglass said, “Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have found out the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them, and these will continue till they are resisted with either words or blows, or with both.”

More at NoMoreStolenElections.org.

November 3, 2008

Urge the Media to Archive All Exit Poll Results

By Mary Mancini

TrueVote’s latest alert asks everyone to urge the media to save unadjusted exit polls so they can be shared with the public. And, if they are adjusted, provide a public explanation as to how and why.

Hi, Friends,

We’ve been talking about the documentary “Uncounted” by David Earnhardt, the stolen and flawed elections of 2000 and 2004 and the incredibly poor job the national media did in investigating and reporting on the electoral misdeeds that occurred at various places across the country, perhaps most notably in Florida and Ohio. Don’t let it happen again!

Please take action to urge the media to report the unadjusted exit polls for the 2008 election.

Edison Media Research and Mitofsky International will again conduct all exit polling in 2008 for the National Election Pool, comprised of ABC, CBS, CNN, FOX, NBC and the Associated Press. Exit polls will involve polling more than 100,000 actual voters, remove sources of polling error and can be extremely accurate. In 2004 John Kerry was showing a 7 point lead in the unadjusted exit polls, but then on election night the computers were down for several hours and when they came back on-line a flip had occurred and Bush now narrowly led. This was not because of a change in the actual polling but because the exit polls had been “adjusted,” i.e. “corrected” so as to conform to the vote count assuming that count was correct. Investigations into the election in Ohio later raised serious doubts about the accuracy of the actual vote.

Go to Truevote.us to send a letter to urge the media to release the exit poll numbers.

November 3, 2008

We Have Cameras and We’re Not Afraid to Use Them

By Mary Mancini
Topics:
2008 Election

Discuss it:
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The integrity of this election is too important not to capture - and ultimately address - any incidences of disenfranchisement.

That said, the Uncounted team will be at the polls in and around Nashville, TN ready to document on film any election problems that may arise including long lines, intimidation at the polls, inappropriate voter challenges, etc.

We want to be a resource for the citizens of Tennessee, so please feel free to call co-producer Phil Bell at 615-210-3132 if you have, or hear of any, problem while voting.

October 31, 2008

Where Do I Vote?

By Mary Mancini

In the 2004 presidential, 10% of people who didn’t vote claim that they didn’t because they didn’t know where to go. To help alleviate that problem, The Google has created a tool that makes it easy to find out where exactly where you polling place is located.

Go to maps.google.com/vote and enter your home address and experience the Google magic.

October 31, 2008

You Still Haven’t Done it Yet, Have You?

By Mary Mancini

You still haven’t checked your registration, have you? You don’t think you’ve been purged, do you? Well, sit back and let me tell you some real Halloween tales.

From US Politics Today:

Start with the fact that 39 states already have purged 13 million voters off the voters’ rolls since 2004.

Yes, you heard that right. At least 13 million voters have been purged from the rolls since 2004. That’s 10% of the 120 million votes cast in 2004 and twice as many voters than have just been added through massive registration drives.

In many states, the number of names dropped from the voters’ lists has been breathtaking: 17% in Colorado, 15% in Washington State, 14% in New York, 13% in Nevada, 10% in Missouri.

From the Washington Post:

Thousands of voters across the country must reestablish their eligibility in the next three weeks in order for their votes to count on Nov. 4, a result of new state registration systems that are incorrectly rejecting them.

From CNN:

College senior Kyla Berry was looking forward to voting in her first presidential election, even carrying her voter registration card in her wallet.

But about two weeks ago, Berry got disturbing news from local election officials.

“This office has received notification from the state of Georgia indicating that you are not a citizen of the United States and therefore, not eligible to vote,” a letter from the Fulton County Department of Registration and Elections said.

But Berry is a U.S. citizen, born in Boston, Massachusetts. She has a passport and a birth certificate to prove it.

From Colorado:

Advancement Project, a national voter protection organization, and others filed a lawsuit on behalf of Colorado Common Cause, Mi Familia Vota, a non-partisan civic engagement campaign, and Service Employees International Union (SEIU) against Colorado Secretary of State, Mike Coffman, to challenge an illegal purges and cancellation practices that apparently have removed between 16,000 and 30,000 voters from Colorado’s rolls.

From CBS News:

And here’s a happy one so you can sleep tonight:

Some purged voters in Colorado are taking matters into their own hands.

The state canceled JP Morris’ voter registration because she had not voted in three consecutive general elections. The last time she voted was in 2000.

“I’ve lived in the same county and city since 1992. I’ve received three jury summons this year alone, so I’m not off the grid,” said Morris.

She was initially told she could not vote in this election. But on Tuesday she went to the Arapahoe County DMV location at Chambers and Alameda and was reinstated in less than 15 minutes. She can now vote in this election.

No zombies, no zombies, no zombies…BOO! Go to VotersUnite.org and find out how to check your registration in your state.

October 31, 2008

Only 2 More Business Days to Check Your Registration

By Mary Mancini

Voter roll purging is this election season’s new black. Unfortunately, it’s not fabulous. So take what little time you have between now and next Tuesday and check your registration - whether this is your first election or you’ve been voting every year since you were 18.

VotersUnite.org has the instructions on how to check your registration in every state on their website. Some states allow you to do it online while others will have to do it by phone.

Seriously, it’s now or never. You don’t want to show up at your polling place next Tuesday and have them tell you you can’t vote, do you?

October 31, 2008

Good News from Pennsylvania

By Mary Mancini

Pennsylvania does not have early voting and the turnout is expected to be heavy, so this good news from the Centre Daily Times is very welcome:

Pennsylvania election officials will make paper ballots available to voters if half the machines at a polling place break down, they said, declining to appeal a federal judge’s emergency order on Wednesday.

The state has previously required that paper ballots only be offered if all the machines break down, but several voter groups filed a lawsuit last week in which they said long lines at the polls could disenfranchise voters.

Congrats to John Bonifaz, legal director of Voter Action, who helped push this one through (along with the NAACP and others).

And you have to love a Judge who opines:

The distribution of paper ballots to voters when 50 percent of the machines are inoperable at a polling place is compelling to protect their constitutional right to vote, and no state interest has been advanced to reject it. Indeed, plaintiffs’ request for relief is reasonable and even modest in light of the grave injury they seek to prevent.