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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 5/28/09

BlackBox Blog-O-Lection -- IMPORTANT! -- Thurs. May 28, 2009

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 For must-read, original reporting by Brad Friedman, with crucial details omitted by the Hawaiian press, hit this Bradlink:  


During the 1980s, local mom & pop election vendors, who were selling their local services and goods to local election officials, began to come under centralized control through corporate consolidation under Business Records Corp (BRC), later acquired by Election Systems & Software (ES&S).

In the 1990s, efforts to centralize control over election administration were put under an organization called NASED (National Association of State Election Directors), at one point led by Washington State Secretary of State Ralph Munro.

In 2002, the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) shifted NASED's power to the Election Assistance Commission (EAC), a handful of White House appointees.

Former NASED guy Ralph Munro violated Washington ethics law by taking over one of the first Internet voting vendors, VoteHere, just days after stepping down as secretary of state and in violation of Washington's three-year required quarantine. VoteHere struggled despite Munro's muscle, and after much citizen action, ultimately flopped. Must-watch video showing two Washington State construction workers,
Tim White and Alan Rosato,
taking on VoteHere: (They sued, helped block a huge King County purchase, and pounded a final nail into VoteHere's coffin.)

Now comes a new Internet voting company called "Everyone Counts," and its Chief Operating Officer, Paul DeGregorio just stepped down from chairing the EAC. This "Everyone Counts" (translation: "We will count your vote in secret") system was recently used for elections in the state of Hawaii.
 For details on DeGregorio and the latest push towards Internet voting, read the full article at Bradblog -- an outstanding piece of investigative reporting.

Bradblog - May 28, 2009, by Brad Friedman -
"Paul DeGregorio's 'Everyone Counts' was paid to carry out fully unverifiable, unsecure Internet, phone election in Honolulu . . . As if the former U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) chair Paul DeGregorio hadn't done enough damage to our nation's electoral system during his disastrous reign as a commissioner from 2003 to 2007, it looks like he's now more than happy to cash in . . ."


Like rats following the piper, most mainstream press articles write glowingly over this new concept, as if it were a foregone conclusion that all of America will vote this way soon. By the way, the "foregone conclusion" method can be found in propaganda manuals. Don't believe it and do not tolerate it. Write letters to the editor and bring your backbone to public meetings if you see this thing coming near you. 

The genius of democracy is dispersal of power. Consolidation of control under the EAC and secret, centralized counting under an Internet voting system combine to remove the framework for democratic elections.

While reading the Bradblog article, take note of how DeGregorio guts, propagandizes, and makes meaningless the term "transparency." This should serve as a reminder to ask for what we really want: Counting votes in public, with public controls in place. 

(And did Hawaii's Internet voting even work?) 


Beware of vendors bearing spin. Only 6.3 percent of Hawaii's eligible voters cast votes on the new Internet-or-phone voting system (as compared with 28 percent in a similar election previously). This was a record low turnout. And the vendor says:

"Our systems aren't really about turnout. They're more about accessibility to participation."

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Bev Harris is executive director of Black Box Voting, Inc. an advocacy group committed to restoring citizen oversight to elections.
The views expressed herein are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.
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