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What Can We Do Now To Protect the November Election

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Author 2364
Message Teresa Hommel
The traditional, critical activities are (1) voter registration, (2) getting out the vote, and (3) "voter protection" to ensure that eligible voters can  register and get access to the ballot.

These traditional activities are more critical than ever. The more people who vote, the easier it is to prevent fraud, or detect and correct it.

When registering new voters we need to keep copies of the registration forms, turn in the forms immediately, follow up two weeks later to make sure the forms were processed correctly, and use the forms as part of our "Get Out The Vote" and "Voter Protection" effort. We need to be ready for election day with the phone numbers of our hot lines, legal teams, media staff, and people with cameras.

But the traditional activities are not going to be enough this year.

In too many states our election administration has become lawless. Just in the last two weeks two election observers were arrested: one was a candidate in Florida where state law gave her the right to observe, and the other was an observer in Arizona with legal credentials. The police seized him when he asked why the ballot containers were open, not sealed according to state law.

  -In some states, hundreds of thousands of voter registrations have already "disappeared."

  -In the recent primaries, names of many registered voters have "gone missing" from poll books on election day, so these voters were forced to use provisional ballots and then their ballots weren't counted.

  -In some counties the poll workers weren't trained properly. They couldn't make the voting equipment work. They didn't know proper procedures, and eligible voters were disenfranchised.

  -Like in 2004, the media is again creating pre-election opinion polls with slanted data--slanted by controlling how many Republicans versus Democrats are questioned. And the major media are repeating lies that make Obama seem less attractive, and McCain seem more attractive-such as "Obama is going to raise middle-class taxes" and "McCain is a maverick." 

***More Americans Need to Become Part of the Election Process***

There's an old saying-if you want something done right, do it yourself.

How many of us are planning to do election work? If we have to work at our job on election day, how many of us are talking to family, friends and neighbors, especially those who are unemployed, who can help with the election? How many of us are writing those letters to the editor, and posting comments on major media internet sites to complain about biased opinion polls and biased, untruthful reporting, or just picking up the phone and calling to complain?

How to Counteract Dirty Tricks

BlackBoxVoting.org has published a small book called Toolkit 2008, which lists dirty tricks and how to counteract them at the local level.

Citizen oversight keeps democratic government honest

If we are participating in efforts to register voters and get them to the polls, we have the opportunity to remind them that registering and voting are not enough to sustain a democracy.

Even "working the vote" as poll workers and "watching the vote" as observers is not enough. Continuous, year-round public participation is necessary to make government work in a democratic society. Government behind closed doors, or without public oversight, can be corrupted and that includes elections. "We the people" need to be watching and participating at every step for fair elections to take place.

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Teresa Hommel Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

Teresa Hommel is a voting activist in NY and chair of the Task Force On Voting Integrity, Community Church of New York.
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