Good news/Bad news

I’ve been telling anyone who would listen for about 3 years now about the fraudulent recount effort of the 2004 presidential election in Ohio that would (in my opinion) have proved that the election was stolen by the evil slimy Bush bastards. It was also recounted quite well in the HBO documentary “HackingDemocracy“. Well, two of the election workers involved were charged with rigging the recount and they have been found guilty and sentenced to 18 months in jail. This is good news. The bad news is multi-faceted. First I’m upset that they only got 18 months. Clearly what they did was tantamount to treason and they should have at least gotten life in prison for subverting our constitution. Second I’m upset becasue you won’t find anywhere in the MSM this story.. I looked with no luck and I’m sure you won’t see this on TV. Lastly, I’m most upset because this does nothing to remove Bush from the White House.. at the least, congress could investigate.. According to Bradblog only 6 Kerry votes in each Ohio precinct would have made him the winner. oh wait.. the ballots have been destroyed even though a Judge ordered them saved.. hmn.. interesting. Fuckers. Why aren’t more of us upset about this?

60,000

There are almost 1.5 million people living in Philadelphia. In the first election where Street won, less than 300,000 voted. If that were to happen this year that would mean that the first candidate (of the 5) to get 60,000 votes would win the election. That means that in the worst case, 4% of the city population is going to choose our next mayor. Is that a good system?

It’s not, but there’s nothing we can do about it in the next 8 days so we should vote very carefully. What I mean is that you need to decide who you want to win and who you don’t want to win. My list is as follows : Brady, Nutter, Evans, Fattah, Knox. Now. My thought is that the election if it were held today would give us: Knox, Nutter (in a very close heat) followed by Brady, Fattah and Evans.

Since I don’t want Knox to win at all and would rather see anyone in office over him, I should actually vote for Nutter since I think that he has the best shot at winning. If you are a Fattah or Evans supporter, you shouldn’t vote for either of them either. Any vote that isn’t for one of the 2 front runners will be a vote for the leader (probably Knox). So, be careful, we don’t want another Ralph Nader situation here.

We need to seriously think about changing our election system. With more than 2 candidates the entire system breaks down and becomes unfair to everyone.

But, no matter what I say, if you don’t vote, you’ve made the worst mistake of all and you have no right to complain about anything anymore.

The Tide is Turning

This is good news.. The Dems in congress are getting ready to introduce and pass a resolution mandating paper trails for all voting machines before the 08 presidential election. In addition it appears that they are going to try to get a handle on the proprietary source code issue as well :

It would also require state elections officials to hand over to the Election Assistance Commission (EAC), a federal agency charged with overseeing the shift to electronic voting machines, all of the source code and other ballot programming files associated with the machines they certify. In a move that could prove controversial, the EAC under the bill would have to make that information available “for inspection promptly upon request to any person.”

This is really, really good news. We need to keep an eye on this bill and make sure we pressure our senators to pass it as well!

Justice Partially Served

Finally some good news on the voting front.. First off it seems as if the state of Florida is going to outlaw paperless touch screen voting systems and mandate the usage of optical scan machines.. This is really good since it would allow meaningful recounts.. Secondly, and much more important 2 of the election workers in Ohio are going to jail for the fraud they perpetrated during the 2004 presidential election recount (You may have seen the story on the HBO special on Bev Harris a while back.. man was I mad when I saw that!). The sad thing is that their bosses (who were clearly part of the conspiracy) got off.. Now I wonder if we can recall Bush over this…

source : “Florida to scrap touchscreens; convictions in Ohio recount-rigging

Sueing robo-dialers

Near election time I bet you get some recorded phone calls like “Hi, this is Ed Rendell and I want to urge you to go out and vote…”. While I generally applaud get out the vote efforts, I don’t like unsolicited phone calls. Apparently you can sue these people (even if they are non-profits). The way to do it can be found in this awesome slashdot post. Not only does the autor detail how to go about suing, he teaches you how to serve papers and what to expect in court. It’s a great read no matter what.

Elections

This video is just one example of just one technique for just one type of voting system that shows how an election can be stolen. This can happen anywhere there is electronic voting systems in place.What can you as a voter do? Pretty much nothing. Sure you can get really involved in teh electoral process and try to influence your election officials. Sure you can pester said officials, but in most cases, there really is no easy way to get them to actually care. The GOP has done it’s homework and they have their people running the elections all over the country (See : Ohio in the last presidential election).Most voters (I would guess about 80%) simply don’t vote. And I can see why they would feel that way.. Look at this comment by a voter (found on the same site as the video) :

Well, I was being a little superfluous, but I still won’t be voting. By voting, I tacitly give my support to a system that I disagree with. Besides the fact that one person doesn’t make a notable difference, voting at all is a vote for centralized power. No thanks 🙂

Makes sense doesn’t it? I almost agree with the guy. But I live in a non swing area. I know my vote will be counted since we’re predominanly Democrat and that’s the way I vote. But across the state? Across the country? Most people are in high risk areas. Add to that the fact that most districts have been gerrymandered and guess what? Voters have little say in who really ends up in office.The only solution I see is for someone in office now to stand up and do what we as voters cannot do. Someone in office at the state or federal level has to decide to make it his or her cause to get this electronic voting stuff ironed out. Hopefully somewhere out there that elected official will stand up for us. Is he or she a congressman? A State Senator? Who knows?

Electronic voting can work. The voting process in America can be fixed (along with the antiquated electoral college). We just need somone to stand up and help make that a reality. Call your elected officials and demand that they get some balls and do something!!

Why We Fight

Well.. today was a perfect day to see the film “Why We Fight“. It’s a film about the military-industrial complex and talks about 9/11 and the war in Iraq. Let me just say this. After watching it, if there was an easy way for me to leave this country and renounce my citizneship I would. It’s not just the Bush White House, it’s not just the neo-cons. It’s the entire system we have. Congress, D and R all are in the pockets of these companies. There is this battle between capitalism and democracy and guess who’s winning? In November we need to vot out the old guard and clean house across the board!
Wow.. This film was spectacular and I think you should see it.

Paying people to Vote

I’ve commented before on how low turnouts in our elections are the worst thing that can happen in a country such as ours. People seem to not vote for all kinds of reasons (most of them quite valid) but we have to get people to vote anyway. And not just for certain candidates or parties, we need them to vote for anyone. Turnouts are a good thing no matter how you look at them.

This took me a while to post but there was an article in the New York Times called “Arizona Ballot Could Become Lottery Ticket(by Randal Archibold) that reports on an idea in Arizona that is going to be up for a referendum in the November election there where one voter will win $1M just for voting. It’s a lottery for people who vote with great odds (compared to the real lottery).

This is an odd idea, but it may just work. There are detractors who feel that it is considered bribery but I’m not sure they are thinking clearly here. It’s simply a door prize and it’s simply an incentive. In some senses it’s simply sad that we need to incentivise people to vote, but it can work. Turnout (no matter what people say) is a good thing for democracy.

But we also need to make voting easier. For example, here in Philadelphia it’s very difficult to find your polling place amoung the 100 or so divisions. Why not have 4 or 5 voting centers instead? There are dozens of ways we can improve the system and make it more reliable and make it more open and trustworthy. We just need to get moving and start pusing for changes.