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HAND COUNT COALITION Leaves Travis County TX Officials in Dust by taking Pilot Hand Count into own "hands" on Nov. 2

By       Message Karen Renick       (Page 1 of 1 pages)     Permalink

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MEDIA ADVISORY
10/5/10
For Immediate Release
Contact:
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Vickie Karp
512- 775-3737
Karen Renick
512-496-7408

HAND COUNT COALITION Leaves Travis County Officials in Dust
by taking Pilot Hand Count into own "hands" on Nov. 2;
Coalition gains THREE New Members; brings total to 10!

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Austin, TX -

After four weeks of fruitless one-way communications before the County Commissioners Court demanding that the Court approve a pilot project for hand counting paper ballots on Election Day, the rapidly growing HAND COUNT COALITION (HCC) is literally taking matters into its own hands.

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Representatives of the Coalition will announce to the Court today during Citizen Communication that it will be conducting a "Citizens Parallel Election" with paper ballots hand counted in public view at one (or more) precinct in Travis County on Election Day, Nov. 2. The ballots will be counted by fully-trained citizen volunteers at the selected precinct after the close of polls at 7 p.m. Media and all interested citizens and candidates are invited to observe the event firsthand to see how a fully transparent public election should be conducted, in stark contrast to the "official" election in which votes are counted behind what amounts to "closed doors", in total secrecy, inside the voting machines.

In a Citizens Parallel Election, a paper ballot - similar but not identical to an official absentee ballot - is made available to voters who decide to participate outside their designated polling place on Election Day. The Parallel Election voter marks the ballot privately and then personally casts it into a sealed, transparent ballot box kept in continuous public view throughout the day. The voters are then invited to return to the polling place after 7 p.m. to watch the votes be tallied in a transparent, public count. Totals will be publicly posted at the polling place immediately after the counting is completed.

"Election transparency", as defined in the League of Women Voters' 2010 national "Resolution for Transparency to Insure Election Integrity" that has been read to the Court by VoteRescue, a founding member of the Coalition, "means full public access to all election procedures in order to allow meaningful verification of ballot handling, tabulating, auditing and related election records". The Hand Count Coalition and many citizens of Travis County contend that the only voting method that meets this definition of transparency is hand-counted paper ballots in public view uninterrupted right through to the public posting of the results at the precinct level.

The Hand Count Coalition is adding new member groups every week from the Travis County community who are alarmed that secret vote counting will continue on November 2 with the use of the Hart eSlate voting machines, a voting system that has been decertified in many other states across the country. The three newest Coalition members include Capitol Cruisers, Progressive Hispanic Democrats and Instruments for Peace.

Currently, the Coalition also includes Gray Panthers of Austin, LULAC District 12, Travis County Green Party, VoteRescue, Texans for Accountable Government (TAG), Austinites Lobbying for Municipal Accountability (A.L.M.A.), and Fluoride-Free Austin.

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Karen Renick is the director of VoteRescue and is dedicated to secure, accurate, transparent elections.

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