(7) SPECIAL RULES FOR PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS- Notwithstanding any other provision of this subsection, in the case of a regularly scheduled general election for the electors of President and Vice President (beginning with the election in November 2008), the following rules shall apply:
(A) The State shall conduct the election using only paper ballots.
(B) The State shall ensure that the number of ballots cast at a precinct or equivalent location which are placed inside a single box or similar container does not exceed 500.
(C) The ballots cast at a precinct or equivalent location shall be counted by hand by election officials at the precinct, and a representative of each political party with a candidate on the ballot, as well as any interested member of the public, may observe the officials as they count the ballots. The previous sentence shall not apply with respect to provisional ballots cast under section 302(a).'
There was a moment of stunned silence when the announcement was made. Not out of respect, so much, as out of disbelief, or awe. Then a thunderous roar of approval swept throughout the packed room, an explosion of jubilation which has probably not been rivalled since V-E Day.
And I say that, noting that I was not even alive on V-E Day!
So, with such wonderful news regarding Congressional electoral bills in the recent past, what prompted me to make the inaugural SMTV post an urgent call to sign a petition to Rep. Kucinich?
Well, it was not just to ask for a tweaking of the language to get even closer to our goal of hand counts of paper ballots, though the removal of all machines would do that. It was because all of us who have been fighting for electoral transparency, and citizen oversight of our elections, realized that those forces opposed to our wishes would look for the very first opportunity to give the deep-six to our goals, and to derail HR 6200.
Given the election results this past November 7th, many of us expected the attempt, to thwart open and accountable elections, to happen sooner rather than later. Further, we expected the "poison" to come in a candy wrapper.
It is always easier to tell the public, "Here, this is exactly what you were wanting! Be happy!", while actually giving them something else, which only seems to be what was asked for, instead of what actually is needed to accomplishes the needed ends.
Doing this lets the "givers" to be long gone by the time the public finds that the candy wrapper is empty or, possibly, that the flavor of candy turns out to be something like "sugared frog eyes".
After the 2000 elections, we all learned this trick when we were given the gift of "HAVA". Either HAVA with a choice of plain DREs, or with useless paper trails.
Consequently, we expected something to be offered by the Senate to accompany Dennis Kucinich's HR 6200, but something which would do exactly the opposite of what we desired. All the while being told , "This is just what you asked for."
And, since most of us want hand marked paper ballots, counted at the precinct under the watchful eye of the citizenry, we fully expected to hear someone say,
"Here is the paper you wanted! Aren't you lucky?",
while they pass the Senate bill and slip out the side door.
Thus, it was no surprise to learn that Senator Dianne Feinstein has proposed legislation which mentions paper, but does little (if anything) to solve the problems which plague us every two years.
So, though Dennis Kucinich thrilled us in Cleveland with his proposal for an honest to goodness boon to citizens and voters, the "other shoe" was heard dropping in the Senate just today.
Here is the news so far.
Please read it carefully, and let's keep each other informed about this.
First, Senator Feinstein has issued a two page .pdf report entitled, Senator Feinstein: Report Highlights Need for New Legislation to Reform Electronic Voting. Even the title is menacing, as it assumes "Electronic Voting" needs fixing instead of replacement.
But read the .pdf piece and see if you can tell exactly how her suggestions will fix things, rather than make them worse. A deal?
The pdf. file can be found, and downloaded, at http://feinstein.senate.gov/06releases/r-voting-reform1201.htm.
Second, you can find an article by Nicole Belle, titled Feinstein Calls for Legislation Mandating Paper Trails and Audits, which was published Sunday evening in Crooks and Liars.
It can be found at: click here
Now, while reading the article, you might try counting on your fingers just exactly how many of this year's elections were decided by, or reversed by, or how many thefts of elections were prevented by, those "paper trail and audits" she is concerned about.
While you do that, consider the race in Florida-13 (Katherine Harris' old district) where 18,000 largely Democratic "undervotes" just "disappeared". Then ask yourself how Dianne Feinstein's plan would solve that problem!
And if, after you finish totalling up all the races affected by those "paper trails and audits", you see two balled up fists in front of you, shake them in rage for a few minutes. Aerobically, it will be good for you.
Last of all, when you finish the shaking, you may just want to skip on over to SMTV post #1 and sign that petition, if you have not already done so. Or try this addy.
Then send the petition on to all of your friends to sign, because Rep. Kucinich needs to hear from as many people as he possible can.
That is because Senator Feinstein is soooooooo far away from Representative Kucinich on this matter, that it will take a terribly loud outcry for him to hear what is going on over in the NeverNeverLand of the Senate.