is taking over NY State’s Board of Elections
But, only if we let it.
Think back to 2004, when, with a horrific sinking feeling, you realized the presidential election was stolen - again - by George Bush & Co. Inc. Although re-counting would be very difficult, costly and in some instances impossible, the Green Party persevered in Ohio. Verifiable paper trails weren’t available for many polling places because of the use of electronic voting machines, resulting in the wrong assignment and/or ‘loss’ of tens of thousands of votes. Ah, recall the shock, the outrage, the eventual indictments, and the last four years of Cheney/Bush...
Even though I had been active for the elections of 2000 and was stunned as thoroughly as any bird who had ever flown into a window, the hangover from the 2004’s left me feeling as though I was coming down with some sort of serious degenerative illness. My malaise and despair was only further exacerbated by Kerry’s announcement the following morning to concede, about an hour after he and John Edwards had made a joint statement that they would not do just that - not until every vote had been counted and their defeat or victory had been properly tallied up. It was a devastating day for our democracy. Up to that point, the rest of the world reviled Bush & Co. Inc., but now they reviled the American People for their apparent endorsement of their policies.
I was at a meeting of the NYS Board of Elections Wednesday, November 7th. Witness/citizens were allowed to sit in, but not to comment on the meeting up to the point when the board and the Attorney Generals were to discuss the impending Department of Justice lawsuit (think Alberto Gonzales, politically motivated US Attorney dumping, justification for torture, redefining torture, the Post Habeas Corpus Era, expansion of Executive Powers, warrantless data mining, lies, corruption, criminality, immunity...). Activist Andi Novick and a few others were allowed 1 minute each to comment before we all (NY State Voters) were unceremoniously thrown out of the room. The Feds are proposing a takeover of NY State’s BOE, with an appointment of their choosing, to assure NYS compliance to the federal statute mandating the ‘upgrade’ to electronic voting machines. NYS believes with due diligence, including proper research, testing and auditing (most of which will be farmed out to private companies), we can be in compliance by 2009 and test the new system with a low volume, off year election. They are particularly leery of launching such dubious and complicated technology for a test run during a heavy volume national election. California found their integrity so compromised that their use has been banned there. This is a tremendously expensive transition, for the most part paid for with our own tax dollars. We would literally be paying to dig our own grave. The DOJ is demanding we have DRE’s in place in time for the 2008 Presidential Elections. Hmmmm...I wonder why?
New York State has not had any of the problems with our elections results that have plagued the rest of the country. Most of our voting machines are manual lever machines and are highly reliable. There may be some human error and/or cheating, but nothing on the scale of Ohio or Florida, which were the victims of technology based manipulation and human tampering that could not be documented unless the actual records were found, often in the trash. It is clear that Bush & Co. Inc, has deemed Rudy Giuliani the chosen one to whom they will pass the baton and who will reliably further their agenda. Polls show Rudy has a snow ball’s chance in Florida to win New York, even against Hillary. She is currently ahead by 11-15% in the polls. So, how can they ‘take’ New York? Enter hackable, programmable, corruptible, non traceable, electronic voting machines, with a track record of travesty from coast to coast. Don’t think it can happen? The Feds have already taken control of each state’s National Guard in the case of a National Emergency or Martial Law, including ours. New York is such a populist state that if Giuliani ‘takes’ it, it will give him 31 electoral college votes, third highest in the country behind Texas (34) and California (55). That’s enough to throw the entire election and makes the DOJ’s takeover of NY State’s elections a national issue. Not to mention that there has been talk of Jeb Bush running on Giuliani’s ticket as the Vice Presidential Nominee. This is not a Republican vs. Democrat, Conservative vs. Liberal issue. This threatens the very authenticity, the nuts and bolts of our democracy.
My curiosity naturally wanders to the Hillary Camp and wonders where is she? and why isn’t she defending the voting rights of the citizens in the state she represents? safeguarding the very possible manipulation of her potential victory here? I don’t have an answer to that, but one would think she would come out as a very strong defender of NY State’s Board of Elections and their prudent approach to compliance with HAVA and vote count accuracy, as it is tremendously to her advantage . It is worth reiterating that she started out as a Republican, has fundraising parties thrown for her by Rupert Murdock, pals around with Newt Gingrich, has voted every chance she got for the Patriot Act, preemptive war in Iraq, continued funding and recently gave Cheney/Bush the whimsical privilege to preemptively attack Iran if they deem fit, kicking off WWIII. It occurs to me that the Neocons and corporations wouldn’t do too bad if she were elected President – What is the difference? That is not a rhetorical question. If any of you are working on her campaign, I would love to hear more about her position on this.
There is a simple solution that would be in total compliance with HAVA by 2008, which is [paper] ballots and hand counting of those ballots. Massachusetts has come up with a system that is very efficient, provides privacy and independence for the handicapped and elderly and can accurately count 1,000 ballots in 3 hours time. This is perfectly doable, especially given the alternative.
Those of you who are working on other issues including Impeachment, Peace, Social Justice, Food Supply and Sustainability, etc., this, in my opinion, trumps all other political issues - we are going to have to multitask. If all the votes were counted as they were cast in all elections, we would find ourselves situated very differently today. If the DOJ is successful in their attempt to co-opt NYSBOE, those 31 electoral college votes are endangered and it could throw the national election, so this is a national as well as a state issue. Please act on this immediately and often. Andi Novick, an attorney and activist from Rhinebeck, who has been working tirelessly for our right to vote and to have that vote counted accurately, is the best source of information on this crucial subject, you can get her mailings directly. Email her at Andinovick@aol.com, website is Northeast Citizens for Responsible Media (Re-Media), www.re-media.org. The media, including public radio and television, are not adequately covering this, if they are covering it all.
Please forward widely.
Above all – keep up the good work and the faith!