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DoJ threatens to sue Pennsylvania, Democracy at Risk

By Mary Ann Gould, Coalition for Voting Integrity  Posted by Joan Brunwasser (about the submitter)       (Page 1 of 1 pages)   No comments
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From Mary Ann Gould:

What are YOU...WE ...going to do? The Bush Dept of Justice has come in with strong arm tactics and threatened, based on info I've given (more coming) , that if the State does NOT sign a consent decree agreeing that State and EVERY County meet HAVA compliance (their interpretation) by 3/16, Bush DOJ will take immediate legal action. See story below...unbelievableand completely unacceptable!

IMO, based on how this has been reported to me, they are seeking to force immediate "obedience", give Commissioners & State "cover" and find way to get rid of or undermine Westmoreland case and our own suit by Coalition for Voting Integrity...and FORCE the Citizens of PA (remember the 2006 election and critical PA races ) to vote on machines which even our own federal government (GAO) found as having "significant concerns about the security and reliability of electronic voting systems"(p. 22). GAO indicated that "some of these concerns have been realized and have caused problems with recent elections, resulting in the loss and miscount of votes" (p. 23).

WHY are Americans being forced to vote on such machines? just to meet an arbitrary deadline? Why hasn't this been stopped? Why does Bush DOJ now threaten PA if we don't get such machines immediately? Are they concerned our suit includes evidence of how unsecure, unreliable these machines are and that the State's use of Hursti hacking to deny one machine, we believe is a precedent and we are demanding that every voting machine be given same rigorous test? That is something they must be concerned about! Can any of these machines pass such a test? Why does there seem to be an attempt to try to bypass our demand? Our suit also challenges HAVA interpretation. Our CVI suit challenges the Sate and federal constitutionality of voting on equipment selected. Why isn't the DOJ worried about our voting rights rather than threatening that we better install the very machines we are challenging? Think about it!!!

In my opinion, this is one of the worst attacks against our freedom. Pennsylvania will have almost all paperless touchscreens with NO way to truly prove OUR vote real real audits .... there is no paper verified by voter we just "trust" the machines....this is NOT Voting .... How can you vote if you can't verify???? Why would any government want citizen to vote on such???? Think about it!!!

Remember CVI fundamental position "Democracy Begins with the Integrity of our Vote ...and Ends without it" Is Democracy ending in Bucks, in USA .... well you judge ...and if you think so ...go to our site and please immediately contribute $10, 20, 30, 50,100 dollars or whatever you can to our legal defense fund and volunteer to help plus write Congress... PA Governor... letters to every paper you can...let them know it is the government's role to PROTECT OUR VOTE....not threaten it! We MUST get this story out and WAKE UP America before all is lost!

It's fighting time ... or we just may lose our freedom .... yes, the ports are vital, yes Iraq is vital ...YET if we lose our vote does the rest matter for who then will be in absolute full control? Help right now to STOP this insanity and threat! Send this info to everyone you can

U.S. threatens to sue Pa. over voting measures
The Justice Dept. said counties must comply with a federal law on voting
systems by the May primary.
By Nancy PetersenInquirer Staff Writer

The U.S. Department of Justice has waded into Pennsylvania's growing crisis over voting systems, threatening to sue the state if its counties fail to be in compliance with federal law by the May primary election.

In addition to the potential lawsuit, Wan J. Kim, assistant U.S. attorney general for civil rights, also warned in a letter to Pennsylvania Attorney
General Thomas Corbett dated Feb. 21 that $23 million in federal funds might be at risk. He said he plans to file a complaint in federal court within 10
days. "We hope to resolve this matter through a negotiated consent decree," Kim wrote.

It is not clear with whom the U.S. Justice Department would negotiate a consent decree, and the federal agency did not return phone calls seeking to
clarify the letter. In addition to Corbett, Kim's letter went to the Pennsylvania Department of State and the solicitor of Westmoreland County,which was successfully sued in Commonwealth Court to block the switch to new voting machines without voter approval.
The Westmoreland case has been appealed to the state Supreme Court, which is expected to issue its ruling next week.

Triggering the threatening missive from the federal agency is the Help America Vote Act, passed by Congress in 2002 in the wake of the 2000
election debacle in Florida. The law, which standardized voting procedures, mandates that all jurisdictions upgrade to electronic machines in time for the 2006 federal primaries. Levers and punch cards do not meet that standard. The law also mandates that each precinct in the country have at least one voting machine that can be used by handicapped voters.

A similar letter was sent last month to New York, which is also struggling to comply with the federal law.

Three counties in the Philadelphia region need to replace their voting machines for the May primary: Delaware and Bucks Counties, which have lever
machines, and Chester County, which has punch cards.
Kim noted in his letter that several counties in the state that use lever machines and punch cards have failed to upgrade their systems as the federal
law requires. That includes Bucks and Chester Counties; Delaware County has purchased new equipment.

Yesterday, Chester County officials said that for the May primary, they are considering running the punch-card system and augmenting it with a single
electronic machine in each precinct that would comply with the federal requirements.
Commissioner Don Mancini said a final decision could come next week after the full board meets with its solicitors and special counsel Lawrence Tabas.
"It's murky; it's just murky," Mancini said. "We're just trying to come to the right decisions."

Last week, Delaware County, which is in the midst of rolling out its new Danaher electronic voting machines, decided to haul its old lever machines
out of storage and get them ready for the primary. That move came in response to the Commonwealth Court ruling in Westmoreland County.
The Department of Justice letter will not interfere with the court proceedings in that case, Department of State spokeswoman Allison Hrestak
said. She said the letter confirms the state's position that the federal law trumps the state election code.
"The DOJ letter serves to reinforce our belief that we have chosen the correct course of action since the beginning," she said.
In addition to the purchase of new equipment in Delaware, Chester and Bucks Counties, one other county in the region - Montgomery - had to upgrade its equipment to comply with the federal law.
Joe Passarella, director of voter services in Montgomery County, said that at least one machine in each precinct will be outfitted with a special audio
device by Election Day so that blind voters can use them. The device, which will allow the blind to vote without assistance, is in the federal
certification process now and is expected to be certified by the state by mid-March.
As with Montgomery County, Philadelphia will also add equipment to its existing electronic machines to comply with the federal law.
But given the problems around the state, he said the date for compliance - which in Pennsylvania's case is May 16 - should be pushed back. A bill to that effect has been introduced by U.S. Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick (R., Pa.) but appears to be languishing in committee.
"Counties are being rushed into a decision," Passarella said. "That is not the best way to do business."

Contact staff writer Nancy Petersen at 610-701-7602 or
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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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