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"Uncounted" Counts 400 Viewers at Silver Spring Theatre

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10 September 2008

What does election integrity (EI) have to do with 9/11, which occurs tomorrow-would that we could wipe that atrocity off of our calendars for good.

Had Al Gore assumed the presidency he won, there's a good chance 9/11 would be just another day of the year. Al Gore would have listened when they warned him instead of vacationing for a long month.

EI does, however, have even more to do with next November. There are more Democrats than Republicans registered at this point, so how could the polls be so close? How many Democrats plan to vote for a team that contradicts everything it stands for? Maybe Joe Lieberman and a few Hillary fans, the latter of which I think we can woo back.

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The implications for some are that the election is being fixed . . . again.

But meanwhile, prepare to "get pissed off" again, as XM Radio's veteran commentator Bob Edwards told the audience last night at the AFI Silver Theatre, a haven for independent documentaries in Silver Spring, Maryland currently in the midst of a film festival.

Prepare to get pissed off because of a screening of Uncounted in a real theater, a one-evening sponsorship. The movie is meant to agitate. I reviewed it a month ago at click here as well as click here But re-viewing it was still a treat, especially with the panel that followed, moderated by Edwards. He had a different question for each one: the film's Emmy award-winning producer, David Earnhardt, who's been touring the country himself as well as sparking independent showings by selling the DVD wherever he goes. Then there was PDA Board Chair Mimi Kennedy, formerly the tv star who played Dharma's mom in the sitcom Dharma and Greg and now, rechanneling her talents, a most outspoken and effective progressive activist.

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Bob Fitrakis, the well-known attorney, progressive activist, and co-author of four books on EI was there, along with Matt Siegel, founder and executive director of Student Association for Voter Empowerment (SAVE), to represent the college generation so inspired by Barack materialize as voters.

Rebecca Wilson, co-chair of the EI organization SaveOurVotes Maryland, was the fifth panelist, inspiring and articulate as she spelled out what her state had accomplished and what we can all do to continue the Fight toward Fairness.

Edwards asked David Earnhardt how the idea for the film occurred to him. The answer was that election 2000 jarred him, putting him on alert for election 2004, when the number of touchscreen voting machines had doubled and many of the same problems that enabled the prior coup d'état resurfaced, even more malignantly if that was possible.
Grateful he was that some journalists like Edwards "kept the story alive," stimulating vigilance rather than alienation, giving up. "The Democrats need to bring it out there," he continued, "not fear it." Think of all those Ohioans who stayed in line in the most indigent areas or oppressed college campuses. Think of that pouring rain. The spirit reigns. How can we give it reins? As bad a wordplay as I've spat out, perhaps it can become a slogan. I freely donate it.

Why is EI so important? Edwards next asked Mimi Kennedy.

She said that without democracy we'd lose our voices-we're perilously close to that now, a state she named cilliteracy. Computers are allowed to count our vote. "HAVA wired us for fraud." The Iraq War wouldn't have happened if election 2000 had been conducted fairly.

"Did George W. Bush steal America's 2004 election?" Edwards asked Bob Fitrakis. An election attorney election night 2004, Fitrakis said that his first clue was that fewer voting machines were supplied than for the preceding primary. Gehanna County, where six hundred some citizens had voted, reported 4,255 votes for Bush, which Fitrakis called "massive voter thuggery."

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Thanks to progressive organizations like Velvet Revolution, Brad Friedman's bradblog, and Free Press, the public election apparatus is still in place, however tenuously, with people like Bob Ney and Jack Abramoff to allow for-profit companies to control our votes.

Regarding the plight of youthful voters, Matt Siegel noted how many college students voted in the primaries, a group written off by politicians that has become a vital force this year. So many problems assail them on their campuses; the too few voting machines supplied, proof required that they are voting on campuses legally (otherwise they are given provisional ballots, one-third of which were discarded in 2004); and the huge roadblock of voter identification.

He said that at the last hearing on this issue held in the Senate on the 10th, there was criticism of the long lines of adamant and persistent voters in teeming Ohio as well as elsewhere.

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Marta Steele is an author/editor/blogger who has been writing for since 2006. She is also author of the 2012 book "Grassroots, Geeks, Pros, and Pols: The Election Integrity Movement's Nonstop Battle to Win Back the People's Vote, (more...)

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