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Make the Vote Safe in Pennsylvania; An Open Letter to PA Governor Ed Rendell, PA State Legislators and County Commission

By Mary Ann Gould  Posted by Rob Kall (about the submitter)       (Page 1 of 1 pages)     Permalink

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Dear elected representatives,

Last Thursday, January 12, 2006, Governor Bill Richardson showed true leadership for his state 's citizens, in a move we applaud and look for you to emulate. By announcing his plan to introduce legislation next week to make New Mexico an all-verifiable-paper-ballot state, the governor demonstrated bold leadership and a willingness to advocate for a voting system that allows citizens to cast their votes with confidence. We are looking for no less than the same type of leadership from our Pennsylvania officials.

His action will accomplish something extremely important. By mandating the use of optical scan paper ballots in all their state elections, then the documented to be inaccurate, unreliable and insecure touchscreen voting machines that produce no voter-verifiable and auditable paper record will be a thing of the past. His proposal is a great victory for upholding our American democratic principle of voting integrity. The catalyst for his decision was their recent lawsuit filed to restrain officials from purchase of additional problematic touchscreen machines.

We are not alone in protesting machines that do not insure our votes are reliably counted. Our own federal government 's investigative Government Accountability Office (GAO), in its September 2005 report, found that "election officials, computer security experts .... and others have raised significant concerns about the security and reliability of electronic voting systems, citing instances of weak security controls, system design flaws, ...inadequate security testing, incorrect system configuration, poor security management, and vague or incomplete standards, among other issues ....The security and reliability concerns raised in recent reports merit the focused attention of federal, state, and local authorities responsible for election administration. "

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We expect you, as our elected officials and servants of the people, to do your job and put our welfare above those of moneyed corporate interests, who stand to profit from millions of taxpayer dollars. We expect you to avail yourselves of the extensively researched facts concerning the advantages and disadvantages of the voting systems, as directed by our own federal government. In the face of all the huge disadvantages demonstrated by touchscreen machines, the most glaring one being that they are not auditable and no recounts can be done in case of election discrepancies, we are extremely perplexed and greatly alarmed that officials are even considering them. No one, vendors or officials, have demonstrated a willingness to debate the merits of the voting systems.

Follow the lead of our own Senator Conti and Representative Frankel, who both have introduced legislation that would require auditable voter paper ballots (SB 977 and HB 2000). Actively push for those resolutions, and make it happen. We challenge you to do what 's best for the people who elected you. Follow Governor Richardson and other governors around the nation who have realized that, after their extremely expensive mistakes concerning initial uses of the electronic machines, they 've found the best voting systems to guarantee the integrity of our votes. There is a chance for Pennsylvania to avert the same expensive mistakes. Please stop the insane rush to meet an arbitrary deadline with unprovable voting and questionable machines. We should not be forced to vote on machines which have any doubt as to security and reliability. The only immediate answer until this issue of security can be addressed is a way to verify actual votes, not a facsimile or "byte " in a computer. We must have verified-voter-paper-ballots now!

Mary Ann Gould, Co-Founder,
Coalition for Voting Integrity
www.coalitionforvotingintegrity.org

 

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Rob Kall is an award winning journalist, inventor, software architect, connector and visionary. His work and his writing have been featured in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, CNN, ABC, the HuffingtonPost, Success, Discover and other media. He's given talks and workshops to Fortune 500 execs and national medical and psychological organizations, and pioneered first-of-their-kind conferences in Positive Psychology, Brain Science and Story. He hosts some of the world's smartest, most interesting and powerful people on his Bottom Up Radio Show, and founded and publishes one of the top Google- ranked progressive news and opinion sites, OpEdNews.com

more detailed bio: 

Rob Kall has spent his adult life as an awakener and empowerer-- first in the field of biofeedback, inventing products, developing software and a music recording label, MuPsych, within the company he founded in 1978-- Futurehealth, and founding, organizing and running 3 conferences: Winter Brain, on Neurofeedback and consciousness, Optimal Functioning and Positive Psychology (a pioneer in the field of Positive Psychology, first presenting workshops on it in 1985) and Storycon Summit Meeting on the Art Science and Application of Story-- each the first of their kind.  Then, when he found the process of raising people's consciousness and empowering them to take more control of their lives  one person at a time was too slow, he founded Opednews.com-- which has been the top search result on Google for the terms liberal news and progressive opinion for several years. Rob began his Bottom-up Radio show, broadcast on WNJC 1360 AM to Metro Philly, also available on iTunes, covering the transition of our culture, business and world from predominantly Top-down (hierarchical, centralized, authoritarian, patriarchal, big)  to bottom-up (egalitarian, local, interdependent, grassroots, archetypal feminine and small.) Recent long-term projects include a book, Bottom-up-- The Connection Revolution, debillionairizing the planet and the Psychopathy Defense and Optimization Project. 

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