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"Debate with a Chair" - Part 1 - Do changes in democracy deserve public debate?

By       Message Bev Harris       (Page 1 of 8 pages)     Permalink

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Part 1 of 7 

Below, you will get a glimpse of the passionate behind the scenes arguments about the direction that electoral changes, and democracy itself, are taking right now. After reading the introductory debate below, you may participate in the debate by posting comments below this article. 

The fabric of your democracy is being altered without any public debate.

Voting rights advocates are split on whether proposed legislation will restore confidence or nail the coffin shut on our representative democracy.  Our urging for public debate has not been accepted, and due to the importance of the issues involved, Black Box Voting is attempting to develop a more public dialog on these issues, as a public service.

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We have culled through over one thousand back-channel e-mails, in which well-known election reform and voting rights leaders on both sides have argued their case.  

Empty Chair for Democracy?

Because those with opposing points of view disagree with the value of a public debate, we have represented their arguments with an empty chair, along with an invitation for them to join this debate at any time.  

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One new issue in the "Debate with a Chair" will be published each day from now through the Fourth of July.

Are we facing a "clear and present danger" to democracy?

We are on the cusp of enacting massive changes in our election system for the second time in five years. These legislative changes quietly rewrite how elections are conducted – how we will certify the upcoming presidential election, what machinery we'll vote on, our litigation rights, election administration timelines and – most important – the fundamental checks and balances designed to give citizens sovereignty over their own government: states' rights, the public right to know, and secret vote counting.  

At issue: How changes in US election policies impact the following ...  

(1) The necessity for a free people to be able to remove either honest or corrupt governance in order to remain free. This is the essence of citizen control, as contrasted with government control of elections.

(2) The equality of all citizens

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(3) The importance of distrusting any shift towards concentration of power

(4) Respect for the rights of average voters (not just experts) to deeply understand and be capable of evaluating their own voting system. (Experts = concentration of power.)  

First: A debate over whether changes in democracy deserve a debate  

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Bev Harris is executive director of Black Box Voting, Inc. an advocacy group committed to restoring citizen oversight to elections.

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