CITIZEN EVIDENCE UPDATE FROM ALLEGAN COUNTY, MICHIGAN:
LET'S TAKE A FRONT LINES LOOK at Tool Kit Module 7 Hold your government accountable in action: http://www.blackboxvoting.org/toolkit-accountability.pdf
Neva Tice of Pullman, Michigan, is a citizen who spoke up at an Allegan County Board of Commissioners meeting on Mar. 9, 2006 in an effort to help prevent landfill permits from being issued. Nothing in the record indicates she was successful, but that didn't stop her from taking an active role in Lee Township when she noticed a $148,000 annual contract that appeared to be "perpetual." Lee Township citizens hadn't voted on it. She didn't just complain about it -- she led a successful recall of two public officials!
Tice led a group of citizens who gathered enough signatures to seek a recall of all five members of the Lee Township Board.
While she was at it, Tice suggested that replacement board members might be representative of more diverse constituencies in the community. Maybe that will work as it stands now, two board members were successfully recalled and may be up for replacement.
There are currently 2,049 eligible voters in Lee Township. The minimum number of signatures required to trigger a recall election was 144; Neva Tice and her organizers soon turned in 179 petitions. When the election was held Aug. 8, two board members were recalled, three were not.
CITIZEN OVERSIGHT UNCOVERS ISSUES
Local citizens decided to get involved in overseeing the elections process itself: Pat Foster from nearby Ganges Township filed for a recount, citing irregularities.
Among the issues spotted by vigilant citizens: They allege that unqualified voters actually voted, that election challengers received hostile treatment by the election workers, there was an attempt to close the polls early and that a sample ballot actually showed people how to vote. Why did they have challengers? Because, they say, there are a lot of vacation homes in the rural Lee Township area, and those who live elsewhere can't vote in Lee Township while visiting second homes there.
Some Lee Township citizens contend that the township board is made up of affluent property owners, without much representation for senior citizens and the local Hispanic populations.
The evidence collected by these extraordinary citizens provides surprisingly powerful evidence that at least in this case, a recount using hand-counted paper ballots would have been faster, easier, and less expensive.