July 4, 2009

Why does it have to be either/or?

Posted in CIA, Elections, Iran presidential election, politics tagged , , , at 4:00 pm by bluebanshee

I get frustrated by those who see CIA conspiracies lurking under every rock and hiding in the shrubbery every time there is an international incident.  The recent situations in Iran and Honduras are both prime examples of this kind of thinking. Read the rest of this entry »

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June 22, 2009

‘Where is my vote?’

Posted in Election fraud, Elections, Iran presidential election, politics, voting tagged , , , , , , at 12:03 am by bluebanshee

The sign says it all:  “Where is my vote?”

Throughout the ongoing street marches in Iran the sign eloquently expresses the underlying sense of many Iranians that their votes were simply not counted.  Their voices at the ballot box were not heard.

One marcher eloquently expressed the feelings of many as she was interviewed on TV:  “There was so much energy for Mousavi — we knew he was winning.” Read the rest of this entry »

June 21, 2009

Will 4th time be the charm for Holt’s bill?

Posted in election audits, Election reform, Elections, paper ballots, politics, voting tagged , , , , at 9:44 pm by bluebanshee

After months of behind-the-scenes discussions Rep. Rush Holt (D-NJ) has  introduced the latest incarnation of  his Voter Confidence and Increased Accessibility bill.

Beginning in 2003 in the aftermath of HAVA  Holt has introduced various versions of this bill in every Congress, the latest being HR 2894.  The main provisions of the “new and improved”  VCIAA bill would move the nation toward universal voter marked paper ballots and post-election audits for Federal elections.  The bill was introduced with 75 co-sponsors, demonstrating widespread support in the House. Read the rest of this entry »

It’s official: More votes than voters in 50 Iran cities

Posted in Elections, Iran presidential election, paper ballots, politics, voting tagged , , , at 8:59 pm by bluebanshee

Shocking admission of election fraud from Iran’s Guardian Council:  in at least 50 cities more votes were recorded in the reported tally than there where eligible voters. They estimate that at least 3 million of the 40 million plus votes cast in Iran’s recent presidential election are impacted by this finding.  The Guardian Council published its conclusions  on the Iranian government website:  http://www.presstv.ir/detail.aspx?id=98711&sectionid=351020101

The council’s Spokesman Abbas-Ali Kadkhodaei, who was speaking on the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) Channel 2 on Sunday, made the remarks in response to complaints filed by Mohsen Rezaei — a defeated candidate in the June 12 Presidential election.

“Statistics provided by Mohsen Rezaei in which he claims more than 100% of those eligible have cast their ballot in 170 cities are not accurate — the incident has happened in only 50 cities,” Kadkhodaei said. Read the rest of this entry »

November 28, 2008

Making the case for Open Source software for elections

Posted in Debra Bowen, Election reform, Elections, politics, voting, voting machines tagged , , , at 10:12 pm by bluebanshee

It’s not the voting that’s democracy, it’s the counting.

(Tom Stoppard, British playwright, 1972)

If the counting of the vote lies at the heart of democracy then vote-counting conducted in secret on proprietary software is a dagger threatening to still that heartbeat and undermine the integrity of the process.   Among those who have looked into the abyss of secret vote-counting software is California Secretary of State Debra Bowen when she set up a task force to study the software used in her state’s elections. Read the rest of this entry »

September 14, 2008

Massive voter caging by McCain campaign?

Posted in 2008 election, bogus absentee ballot mailings, Elections, politics, voter caging, voter registration, voter suppression, voting, Voting Rights tagged , , , , at 5:45 pm by bluebanshee

From state after state come reports of massive mailings by the McCain campaign of absentee ballot requests that contain confusing, misleading or simply wrong information.  Is the McCain campaign merely incompetent?  Or is it engaged in a massive effort to create a database of voters to challenge at the polls?  Is the McCain campaign orchestrating a voter caging campaign on a grand scale?

Given the track record of the GOP in Florida in 2000 there is no reason to give McCain and the Republicans the benefit of the doubt this time around.  Greg Palast has  provided extensive documentation of their success in denying the right to vote to thousands of legitimate voters.  Go to http://www.gregpalast.com and read all about it if you have any doubts.  So let’s assume that the mailings of absentee ballot requests to voters in swing states who did not request them is simply a new weapon in the Republican voter suppression arsenal.

How widespread is this?  So far reports have come in from VA, OH, CO, NC, PA, FL, NM, WI, OR, CA and MN.  Here’s a sampling of the info available so far. Read the rest of this entry »

Jim Crow rises from the grave as ‘Jim Crawford’

Posted in 2008 election, Crawford v Marion County Board of Elections, Elections, politics, Voter ID, voter registration, voter suppression, voting, Voting Rights tagged , , , , , , , , at 10:08 am by bluebanshee

We all thought/hoped that Jim Crow was buried once and for all with the passage of the 1965 Voting RIghts Act and subsequent court decisions affirming the right to vote without undue burdens being placed on voter.  But it looks like there is a new incarnation of the Southern voter suppression known as Jim Crow.  This time around it is being tagged ‘Jim Crawford’ after a notorious U.S. Supreme Court decision in Crawford v. Marion County (Indiana) Election Board.

In a recent Newsweek article Jonathan Alter describes the persistent effort by Republicans to keep blocs of likely Democratic voters from casting a ballot.   http://www.newsweek.com/id/158392

…white Republicans in some areas will keep eligible blacks from voting by requiring driver’s licenses. Not only is this new-fangled discrimination constitutional, it’s spreading.

GOP proponents of the move say they are merely trying to reduce voter fraud. But while occasional efforts to stuff ballot boxes through phony absentee voting still surface, the incidence of individual vote fraud—voting when you aren’t eligible—is virtually non-existent, as “The Truth About Vote Fraud,” a study by the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University, clearly shows. In other words, the problem Republicans claim they want to combat with increased ID requirements doesn’t exist. Meanwhile, those ID hurdles facing individuals do nothing to stop the organized insiders who still try to game the system.

The motive here is political, not racial. Republicans aren’t bigots like the Jim Crow segregationists. But they know that increased turnout in poor, black neighborhoods is good for Democrats. In that sense, the effort to suppress voting still amounts to the practical equivalent of racism. Read the rest of this entry »

September 1, 2008

Operation chaos for voters — registration drive runs amok in 23 states

Posted in 2008 election, Elections, politics, voter registration, voter suppression, voting, Voting Rights tagged , , , at 11:06 am by bluebanshee

Courtesy of my colleague and friend in North Carolina, Joyce McCloy, comes this dire warning about a voter registration drive by a group called Women’s Voices Women’s Vote (WVWV) that is wreaking havoc in every state that they are targeting.  So far 23 states have borne the brunt of WVWV’s efforts.  One state  election calls their mailings “purposefully deceptive” and vows to pursue legal means to stop them in that state.

Where does WVWV get their mailing list that they send registration forms to people who have been dead for over 4 years, or to elementary school age children, or to EAC Chair Rosemary Rodriguez? Will WVWV make robo calls again in KY, NC and other states?

There’s no word yet on the NC Atty Gen’s investigation into the April robo calls in NC.  Will WVWV confuse voters during North Carolina’s early voting/same day registration period?

They’re back -Women’s Voices Women Vote registration drive sows confusion

The DC non profit “Women’s Voices Women Vote” is at it again confusing voters & burying election officials in unneccesary paperwork. WVWV has even mailed voter registration forms to 6 & 14 yr olds, dead persons, registered voters, even the Chairman of the EAC – the federal agency that overseas elections. One way to disenfranchise voters is to “gum up” the system that enfranchises them. Read the rest of this entry »

July 13, 2008

VA treats disabled vets like second-class citizens

Posted in Elections, John Kerry, politics, Veterans Administration policy on voter registration, Vets + voting, voter registration, voter suppression, voting, Voting Rights tagged , , , at 5:13 pm by bluebanshee

Those who have been wounded in service to their country deserve better.  The Veterans’ Administration has decreed that voter registration drives may not be conducted in VA facilities.  The VA is putting unnecessary barriers between veterans and their right to vote. At any given time there may be 100,000 vets living in VA facilities — and the number is growing as the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan drag on.

Who more than our wounded warriors deserves to have their right to exercise the franchise?  Who indeed?  These vets have put their lives on the line and now the VA says that voter registration activities would “interfere with” delivery of services at VA facilities.

Connecticut Secretary of State Susan Bysiewicz,  expresses the frustration of many Americans when hearing of the VA policy against voter registration drives.

“The practice of banning voter registration drives at veterans facilities is a slap in the face to people who have served, put their lives on the line and sacrificed the most for our fundamental freedoms,” Connecticut Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz, a Democrat, said in a Friday [July 12] news conference. http://www.burlingtonfreepress.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080712/NEWS/80712006/-1/rss Read the rest of this entry »

July 5, 2008

5 simple ways to increase the youth vote

Posted in election day registration, Election reform, Elections, Maryland voting, politics, Uncategorized, voter registration, voting, youth vote tagged , , , , , at 12:01 pm by bluebanshee

Much ado is made about the increased participation of the 18-25 demographic in this year’s election but their participation still lags behind that of other age groups.  Here are several ways to change election law to make their participation easier.

  • Give the office of school guidance counselor in public secondary schools legal status as a designated voter registration agency.  That way the voter registration forms can be handed out to students while they are signing up for their class schedule.  Then the forms can be sent from the school guidance counselor to the election office.  (Louisiana just passed H. 990 to make this happen in that state)
  • Allow 16 and 17-year-olds to pre-register so that they are automatically registered to vote when they reach their 18th birthday.  If high school juniors and seniors get their paperwork completed well in advance they will be ready and able vote when the next election rolls around. (Rhode Island just passed the “Youth Voting Bill,”  H 7106 and S 2081and sent it to the governor for signature)
  • Allow 17-year-olds who will be 18 by the General Election to also vote in the Spring Primary Election.  This way their voice can be heard during a contested party primary when excitement is high and they are motivated to participate in support of their candidate.  Maryland already has made this a part of their election law, largely because of the efforts of a 17-year-old student who wanted to vote for Barack Obama.
  • Allow all voters, including high school and college students, to register to vote up until the close of polls on Election Day.  Young people are often in transition during the run-up to election day — starting college, moving to a new city, starting a new job — and often do not pay attention to an upcoming election until the deadline for voter registration has passed.  A handful of states (Wisconsin, Maine, New Hampshire and Minnesota) already allow Election Day Registration — and report the highest voter turnout numbers in the country coupled with virtually no problems with voter fraud.
  • Allow high school juniors and seniors to work at the polls.  If students can be appointed as official poll workers two problems can be solved at once — greater involvement by high schoolers in the electoral process — and trained replacements for the current crop of aging poll workers, whose median age is in the 70’s in most jurisdictions.  (in Rhode Island, H 7833, which allows high school juniors and seniors to be appointed as election officials, has been sent to the governor for signature)

Rock the Vote, Project Vote and similar voter registration outreach efforts have done outstanding work but are frequently hampered by state election laws.  If the five simple changes recommended above were to be enacted in all 50 states, their job would be much easier because they would be filling a much smaller gap and we would not have so much handwringing about the low rate of participation by the 18-25 year old demographic.

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