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Tim Robbins to NYC Bd of Elections

By   Follow Me on Twitter     Message Joan Brunwasser     Permalink

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Tim Robbins by John Edwards (Jan.08) cc

Many of us read with dismay the Election Day experience of actor and voting activist Tim Robbins. Because of his persistence, and perhaps because of his fame, he was ultimately able to vote. It wasn't easy nor was it pretty.

But how many times was this scenario played out across the country without an accompanying happy ending? I think we can all agree with Robbins' statement that it's "just crazy and undemocratic" to prevent legal, registered voters from voting. And it's an understatement to say that we have a lot of work to do, on that front.

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Don't forget to share your election day story with us at OpEdNews.

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***

An Open Letter to the New York City Board of Elections
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from Tim Robbins
Posted November 17, 2008 | 02:48 PM (EST)
Mr. Gregory C. Soumas
Board of Elections in the City of New York
Executive Office
32 Broadway
New York, NY 10004-1609
November 17, 2008
Dear Mr. Soumas:
I would like to publicly apologize for being such a dim-witted dilettante on Election Day. I was under the naïve assumption that I could vote where I voted in the last two elections. Your thoughtful letter pointed out that if I had voted in the recent primary election in September I would have discovered that I was no longer registered in the polling place I have voted in since 2004. Considering your position at the Board of Elections and your deep respect for the democratic process I must assume that my local 14th St. poll worker, Betty J. Williamson's assertion that my name was on the active voter rolls for the primary in September of this year was erroneous and that she must be as confused and wrongheaded as I am. If Ms. Williamson saw my name in the book in September that would mean that you are lying. Certainly you wouldn't lie about a thing like that. That is unbecoming of a man of your bureaucratic stature. And why would anyone in the Board of Elections be eliminating legitimate voters from the rolls in late September and October of 2008?
That's just crazy and un-democratic.
I should also apologize for the misguided actions of Justice Paul G. Feinman in issuing a court order on Election Day allowing me to vote on 14th St. He apparently thought that a printed out record from your own Board of Elections computer verifying my polling place as 14th St was justification for issuing the court order. If he had only thought to contact you, you could have helped him understand the logic and wisdom of eliminating my name from the book on 14th St. where I have always voted and leaving my name registered at a place I have never voted.
I must also thank you for sending your letter not to me but to all the major newspapers in the New York area and across the internet. I understand it was your way of clearing up this matter and for that I am grateful. I am particularly appreciative of your sending a copy of my voter registration card with my home address and driver's license number to all the newspapers and, by extension, to millions across the internet. What celebrity dilettante wouldn't want his private information made public? What kind of snob gets angry that his family's safety might be compromised? It comes with the territory, right? I was thinking of returning that favor by publishing your home address in this letter but then I thought that maybe one of the thousands of New Yorkers that were taken off the voter rolls in the last two months might not understand what a patriotic upstanding man you are and might show up at your doorstep with the misguided assumption that you are a petty vindictive corrupt scumbag.
Tim Robbins
New Yorker since 1961
Voter since 1976
P.S. If anyone reading this letter had a similar experience on Election Day it can and should be reported at http://www.866ourvote.org/.
cc:
Commissioners of Elections
Marcus Cederqvist, Executive Director
George Gonzalez, Deputy Executive Director
Pamela Perkins, Administrative Manager
Beth Fossella, Coordinator, Voter Registration
Steven H. Richman, General Counsel
Troy Johnson, Chief Clerk
Timothy Gay, Deputy Chief Clerk

***

Thanks to Mark Crispin Miller for the heads up on this one.

 

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Joan Brunwasser is a co-founder of Citizens for Election Reform (CER) which since 2005 existed for the sole purpose of raising the public awareness of the critical need for election reform. Our goal: to restore fair, accurate, transparent, secure elections where votes are cast in private and counted in public. Because the problems with electronic (computerized) voting systems include a lack of (more...)
 

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