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"The Ballad of Sarasota" captures Voters' Angst

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Author 7941
Message Mary Ann Gould
Please take 3 min to listen to song just released ... I think it captures so many of the important points in our battle ...though I'm prejudiced as well as proud of the work done by one of our members Lori Rosolowski plus the collaborative effort ... I hope you like it and if so, please help to have it played in your area.

Download MP3

I especially like Lori's music ...the way she sings and the ending:
Where does it say

That machines should have the right to take our vote away?

3rd Chorus

Listen to the voters who fight for Sarasota

We have the right to see our vote, have proof it really counts

Raise your voices and demand

That DRE machines be banned

Everywhere, across this land, democracy-that's what it's all about

"If You Want to Be a Voter (Ballad of Sarasota)" by Lori Rosolowsky

Words & music by Lori Rosolowsky -© 2007 All rights reserved...
Permission is granted to download this song. Please state authorship
as "Words and music by Lori Rosolowsky, copyright 2007."

Throughout history, music has been used to chronicle events as well
as influence and motivate people to action, often transcending time
and place. For example, the civil rights anthem "We Shall Overcome"
was sung by the Chinese during the Tiananmen Square uprising for
democracy in 1989. Coalition for Voting Integrity co-founder Mary
Ann Gould recognized the potential that music could have in the
voting integrity movement and asked me to write a song, specifically
about the Sarasota 2006 congressional election. Mary Ann and I had
many extensive discussions about the lyrics and she convinced me that
the song could be more than a symbolic statement about voting
integrity and democracy--that it could be used as a tool to educate
citizens and lawmakers about exactly what we are demanding: the
ability to see our vote, to have proof it was counted, and that DRE
machines be banned. Her vision, inspiration, and direction were
critical to the end result.

Verse 1

Woody Guthrie said this land was made for you and me

He walked where soldiers paved the way for our democracy

Like Trenton, Saratoga, New Orleans, the Alamo

Well, there's another battleground, a place you ought to know


If you want to be a voter, don't count on Sarasota

Because in Sarasota your vote doesn't have to count

Eighteen thousand votes are missing, and the media ain't listening

Electronic voting's in, democracy is out

Verse 2

I walked up to the courthouse and heard the people say

Something rotten happened here on Election Day

The judge said, "Sorry, people, you can't look at what's inside

These machines are corporate secrets, this ain't the time for civic

2nd Chorus

If you want to be a voter, don't count on Sarasota

Because the judge here told us, "Your vote doesn't have to count"

Eighteen thousand votes are missing, is anybody listening?

Electronic voting's in, democracy is out

Verse 3

Then I saw a crowd of people by the county jail

Hundreds held up signs that said, "Democracy for sale"

So I telephoned my sister who is serving in Iraq

She said, "Keep up the fight in Florida and take our country back!"


Where does it say

That machines should have the right to take our vote away?

3rd Chorus

Listen to the voters who fight for Sarasota

We have the right to see our vote, have proof it really counts

Raise your voices and demand

That DRE machines be banned

Everywhere, across this land, democracyâ€"that's what it's all about


Woody Guthrie said this land was made for you and me

To make a donation toward the recording costs for "If You Want to Be
a Voter (The Ballad of Sarasota)," make checks payable to Coalition
for Voting Integrity, memo "If You Want to Be a Voter"; mail to
Coalition for Voting Integrity, P.O. Box 536, Doylestown, PA 18901.
Or contribute online:

Even if you don't have a PayPal account, PayPal will process your
VISA or MasterCard payment with just a few clicks.

The Story behind the Song

When I tell people I've written a song about the voting fiasco in Sarasota, Florida, they think I am referring to the 2000 election. But in November 2006, Florida was the site of another controversial
election. In the 13th Congressional District race, 18,000 votes were lost! That represents 15% of the votes cast for that particular race that were not counted, and for which no independent means (like a
paper ballot) exists to retrieve the votes. Media coverage of this election has been poor--groups like CVI have kept this issue, and its aftermath, alive. This song is one way to communicate to the country
and our representatives that what happened in Sarasota is unacceptable.

The song opens with a reference to Woody Guthrie and "This Land Is Your Land." Most people are surprised to learn that several verses into his song, Guthrie sings, "As I went walking, I saw a sign there/On the sign it said, 'No Trespassing'/But on the other side it didn't say nothing/That side was made for you & me!" He then sings of people standing in relief lines and he asks, "Is this land made for you and me?"

That's also what we ask through this song. Guthrie criss-crossed this land, becoming a social activist along the way. He communicated through his songs. We continue the tradition.

The first verse names Trenton, Saratoga (not Sarasota), New Orleans and the Alamo--all sites of key battles in our country's history--battles that literally shaped the configuration of our country.

Trenton was the site of George Washington's pivotal victory against the British on Christmas 1776, giving the American troops the psychological boost they needed to win the Revolutionary War and gain
independence from Britain. The Battle of Saratoga in 1777 represented another decisive victory for American troops. In 1815, the American victory at the Battle of New Orleans forced the British to recognize
United States' claims to Louisiana and West Florida and marked Louisiana's political incorporation into the Union. (In this post-Katrina world, New Orleans also conjures up the question: "Is this land made for you and me?") Finally, we "remember the Alamo," as a
heroic struggle against overwhelming odds, which freed Texas from Mexico.

Now we have a new type of battleground: Sarasota. Not bloody like its predecessors, but rather an insidious violation of our democracy, for which those battles were fought. In December 2006, a judge ruled that the code programmed into the DRE (Direct Record Electronic) machines used in Sarasota was proprietary, and thus the people did not have a right to examine it. (There are ways to audit and examine
code without revealing trade secrets, of course.) This is the situation described in the second verse of the song.

The third verse goes on to describe the activism of people across Florida, who have held a rally demanding a re-vote, and highlights the irony that we are purportedly fighting for democracy in Iraq,
when it is slipping through the cracks here at home. The image of activists at a county jail is meant to symbolize our imprisoned rights. While groups like SAFE (Sarasota Alliance for Fair Elections) in Florida have been smart and active, even proactive--
they succeeded in getting a referendum passed in November to prevent the very disaster from happening again in the future--the rest of the country is largely ignorant of events.

The song then rhetorically asks: Where does it say that machines should have the right to take our vote away? DRE machines have not only lost votes (as in Sarasota), but changed them...either way, the
voters' intent, and therefore, their rights, are violated.

The song ends with the rallying cry that DRE machines--the machines used in Sarasota and around the country--be banned. The optical scan
machines, which electronically count paper ballots, give voters the ability to see and have proof that their votes have been counted accurately and securely.

Thank you for listening to the song. Please forward it to friends, neighbors and, especially, lawmakers! Let them HEAR you!

Lori Rosolowsky

About Lori Rosolowsky

"Lori sings even her top notes with confidence and conviction."

-"Cheryl Sanders, The Conductor

"Passion and impeccable talent are Rosolowsky's trademarks. When Lori sits at the piano and sings with her heart, the audience feels united with something bigger than the moment and greater than the restraints of time."

-Helen Gibbs, New Hope Gazette

Passion and conviction are words critics use to describe Lori Rosolowsky's approach to her songs, whether they are about voting rights and social justice, gun control, the environment, or
children. Although trained as a classical pianist and Ph.D. environmental scientist, Rosolowsky has found the joy and power of literally using her voice to express her message. When she got involved in the Coalition for Voting Integrity, co-founder Mary Ann
Gould asked her to write a song about voting rights. The result: "If You Want to Be a Voter (The Ballad of Sarasota)," produced by the Grammy-award winning Morningstar Studios and featuring Rosolowsky on
lead vocals, backed by Chico Huff (bass), Ron Jennings (electric guitar), Joel Bryant (organ), Darren Keith (percussion), and Dave Gerhart (backup vocals). Thanks also to Dallas Vietty, Suzanne Erb,
and Susan Whitenack.

The song is more than a symbolic expression of the voting integrity movement; it is crafted to serve as a tool for citizens to demand that lawmakers ban the unverifiable DRE machines used in the Sarasota
(FL) 2006 elections and elsewhere. The song asserts the right to see one's vote and have proof that is was counted correctly--because our vote is the foundation of our democracy.

For more information, visit

In addition to being an accomplished classical pianist, Lori Rosolowsky has emerged as a pop musician whose style and voice have been compared to Carole King and Carly Simon. On her first CD of
original songs, Pass It On, she sings and plays piano on all 11 tracks, and is backed by a group of stellar musicians and vocalists.

She performs solo and with such renowned performers as Sal Centola,Stan Slotter, Rob Swanson, Rob Cochran, Chico Huff, Courtney Colletti, Pat Byrne and more. Their repertoire is varied, from pop, to jazz and blues, showtunes and classical.

An award-winning pianist, teacher and composer, Lori is frequently praised for "captivating" her audiences both as a classical musician and singer/songwriter. John Peter Holly, music director and conductor for the Greater Trenton Symphony, likened her approach to that of the late Leonard Bernstein in his Young People's Concerts. In 2001, she also won raves for her role as emcee for the Bucks County Symphony
Orchestra's Youth Concert where her symphonic arrangement of Pass It On was performed by an 80-member choir in concert with the orchestra.

As a teen, Lori won the Mozart Concerto Competition in Maryland and was soloist with the Montgomery County, MD orchestra. She continued her music studies at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music while earning
a B.A. in environmental studies and biology at Oberlin College. She was the pianist for the Washington, D.C.-based Potomac Valley Opera
Company, where she received critical acclaim for her "marathon playing, rhythmic vitality and expert phrasing and technique."

Lori is an excellent example of the strong link between science and music. She holds a PhD and worked as an environmental consultant before returning to music full time.

In addition to performing, Lori teaches private piano to adults and children and is VP of the Bucks County (PA) Association of Piano Teachers. She is happily married to husband Mark, a scientist. Their
most proud accomplishments are being parents of two boys, ages 12 and 4.
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Mary Ann Gould Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

Co-Founder of the Coalition for Voting Integrity. Host of "Voice of the Voters! Radio & Internet. Nationally recognized expert in Quality, Process improvement and Change Management. Associate of the late Dr. W, Edwards Deming. Speaker/seminars at (more...)
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