Update on Washington
In a word - FABULOUS
Clint, Lauren Hallahan and I spent last week in Washington . We set the intention to go with the flow, to have an effective and successful trip, and be open to opportunities that might arise. And so it was!
We had one appointment scheduled on Monday with Hilary Shelton Director of the NAACP Washington Bureau. After listening carefully to the results of our Walking for Democracy and Clint’s recommendations for effective Election Reform, he gave us people to contact that he felt should hear about the work we are doing and Clint’s ideas on reform. He asked Clint to create a “White Paper” on Volusia County describing the ways in which the county made it harder for voters to get to the polls.
If you have any information on Volusia or any other county, please let me know.
Following that meeting we went to the Hill to see what just might unfold. Often on the Hill, as in life, it takes persistence and being in the right place at the right time to get things to happen. We went to Congressman Kucinich’s office first. Perfect timing -He just happened to pop out of his office at that moment. After introducing us to his legislative assistant in charge of Election Reform, he asked us to walk down the hall with him. He discussed the possibility of having Clint testify at upcoming hearing about how easy it is to manipulate the vote and what is needed for reform.
Next, we followed up on Hilary Shelton’s suggestion to connect with Keenan Keller, Senior Counsel for the Committee on the Judiciary with John Conyers. Perfect timing – He was available. He was very impressed with the hard data we have gathered with Walking for Democracy. He and Clint discussed ways to effect election reform.
After meeting with Maxine Waters, Sheila Jackson Lee and John Conyers staff to schedule future appointments, the day was over on the Hill. The Clint Curtis Weight Loss Program continued with a long walk to the Washington Monument, the Lincoln Memorial and Vietnam Memorial. We touched base with history and reminders of why we are fighting so hard for the rights of each American.
Tuesday morning we met with Eddie Hailes, senior attorney of the Advancement Project and Jon Greenbaum, Director of Voting Rights Project Lawyers Committee of Civil Rights Under Law. They also were impressed with our data from Walking for Democracy and the dedication of our volunteers.
A “White Paper” was requested from them as well so any information on voter intimidation or voting irregularities, absentee ballots not being mailed or being destroyed, please let me know.
Back on the Hill, we met with Ellen McLearn, legislative aid for Robert Wexler. We had a very constructive meeting and each shared suggestions and the frustration of getting the Florida Election Reform initiative through the legislature with the proper amendments. Lastly, we spoke with Michelle Mulder , Counsel for Rush Holt. Over the past two years she has worked very hard to design a bill with the input of Election Reform leaders and activists across the country. Clint discussed all the innuendos in the wording that gives the computer programmer the wiggle room to hijack the election. We met her at various events over the week and are in touch with how the bill is moving along.
Wednesday began with a meeting with Stephanie Tubbs-Jones Chief of Staff, Patrice Willoughby, who took notes on suggestions Clint made on the Holt Bill. The Congresswoman has joined U.S. Senators Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) and Barbara Boxer (D-CA) in a comprehensive voting reform legislation to make sure that every American is able to vote and every vote is counted.
Going with the flow, we asked to be allowed to go to the Voting Forum only open to Congress and their staff where vendors displayed their newest and greatest Voting Machines. After Ms Willoughby escorted us through the gauntlet of vendors, Clint took the opportunity to explain the ways in which each machine could be hacked. Many had “toilet paper rolls” attached directly to the tabulator machine that can be heated up and thus erased, rolled back, blacked out and rewritten; others were connected to the Internet or phone line – always a safe and secure places to transmit information...(wink, wink, nudge, nudge.)
Adam Abrogi, Counsel Committee on Rules and Administration for Diane Feinstein, was very interested in our data and ways in which Clint saw that the bills could actually make it through the Senate.