August 22, 2008

It Started By Showing a Movie

By Mary Mancini

A frequent question being asked now is “why are films like Uncounted all suddenly coming out in a clump” and “why are these films important?”

Although the answer may be obvious to some, we sometimes forget that not everyone is consumed by the fight for free and fair elections. People are busy…they have lives…families…jobs…And the little news they do get during their busy days is from a corporate media that still refuses - Lou Dobbs notwithstanding - to stop, drop and roll this issue out to the masses.

And so the answer to the above questions is that anyone who makes a film - or writes a book, pens an article, or makes a blog post comment - about this issue is doing so for one very important reason:

To Get the Word Out. And Take Action.

And it’s working:

The League of Women Voters of Clarion County this spring held a screening of “Uncounted: The New Math of American Elections,” a documentary about problems with touch screen voting machines and other voting problems in recent years.

A man stood up at the screening, held at the Main Street Center in Clarion, and said he was a poll worker who had problems with the voting machine he used to cast his own ballot.

According to Jane Schautz, chair of the local League?s voting integrity project, the man said he tried to vote for Lavieta Lerch in the race for district attorney the previous year, but three times he touched Lerch’s name only to see a check mark beside the name of Mark Aaron.

Finally, on the fourth try, the screen showed a vote for Lerch. Aaron won re-election by just under five percent.

Others have come forward with accounts of voting problems, Schautz said; some are documenting the accounts of their problems and will have them notarized, she added.

The League is now calling on any other voters who experienced problems with touch screen voting machines to come forward so their stories can be documented.

Clarion County uses Diebold AccuVote TSX voting machines, purchased in early 2006, at all polling places. But so many questions have been raised about these and similar touch-screen machines, that many are calling for a return to systems that use some form of paper ballots or voter verified paper records.

Centre County recently decided to switch to an optically-scanned paper ballot, Schautz said, adding that 17 of the state?s 67 counties are now using some form of paper ballot system.

2 Responses to “It Started By Showing a Movie”

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  2. Paulette Shelton Says:
    January 10th, 2009 at 1:43 pm

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