BAD NEWS: It's not going to be better in 2006.
UNLESS: You take extra actions to counterbalance election-related
privatization and proprietary secrets.
THREE ACTIONS YOU CAN TAKE TO PROTECT ELECTION 2006 - STARTING NOW:
(1) All American Paper Chase (2) Waste Archeology Watchdogs (3) Candid America
1) Join the ALL AMERICAN PAPER CHASE: Request strategic public records. Share
them with Black Box Voting or any other voting integrity group or the press.
HOW TO DO IT: Just write a letter; in most states you can do records requests
by e-mail! Headline it "public records request." Include your contact info.
Ask for documents not just a question. Limit the scope (i.e. dates, identify
documents as specifically as you can.) Some examples:
THIS MONTH'S SUGGESTED RECORDS REQUESTS: From your local county or township,
request the financial documents containing election-related expenditures for
Sept., Oct., Nov. and Dec. 2005. What to look for and share: All names of
payees. Also ask for expenditure records for your local election officials for
2005. What to look for: travel, membership affiliations. What you learn may
not seem important now, but can prove important after the Nov. election.
2) WASTE ARCHEOLOGY WATCHDOGS: This is a somewhat controversial suggestion. If
you don't like it, skip ahead. "Waste archeology" can be an effective way to
counteract secrecy. (Just imagine what might have been learned about the
phony "homeland security" lockdown in Warren County, Ohio if waste archeology
watchdogs had been active during the months preceding the election.)
WHAT TO DO: Pick a day once a week or once a month. Go with a friend. Scope
situation out ahead of time. Rescue documents destined for premature demise
from the trash. Waste archeology projects: Local elections-elated vendors,
distributors and suppliers; elections offices; voting machine examiners and
certifiers; ballot printers and mail processors. Note that many elections
offices have multiple locations, therefore multiple opportunities.
Examples of important information gathered from waste archeology watchdogs:
100 pages of internal Diebold documents:
New uncertified "Vote Remote" software:
3) Participate in CANDID AMERICA: Your camcorder - don't leave home
THIS MONTH'S SUGGESTED CANDID AMERICA ACTION: Do a practice run. Start
building a habit of getting out into the field to monitor your government.
Practice run suggestion: Videotape a visit to your local elections office. Get
footage of the outside of the building, the offices, and videotape answers for
- Are there any other locations besides this where election preparations or
ballot handling or processing goes on?
- When is the next small election?
- Will there be absentee voting? Who will the ballot printer be? Where will
they be processed for mailing? Sorting? Counting?
- Where is the central tabulator room? Are citizens allowed to watch the
- Where are voting machines kept?
- What staff members touch your voting machines before, during and after
- Does the vendor help with your elections? What are the names of the vendor
Seemingly routine answers now may become important evidence in the Nov.
Tips for camcorder citizen watchdog actions:
More input, from film producers and others:
These actions will help you invoke logical consequences for privatizing
elections, and can help counteract proprietary secrets. Each of these three
actions will collect evidence that may become very important in November 2006.
Oversight actions need to start now. Starting in November 2006 is too late.
Should you need it, experts from Black Box Voting are available with support
and guidance. Online one-on-one mentoring:
Black Box Voting is fighting for your right, as a citizen, to oversee your
elections. We are working on issues of voting machine security and accuracy,
timely production of key elections public records, and providing training and
consultation for citizens who want to get involved.
In 2006, we are emphasizing decentralized, autonomous citizen actions. It is
important for American citizens to re-learn how to act independently of any
organization. This is the best way for true citizen oversight to become a
Do not expect any group, coalition, master plan or agenda to oversee your
local election. YOU are "We, the People." And take courage: There can be
nothing more daunting to any corrupt public official than an autonomous
ordinary citizen using his/her own common sense.