Ohio Election Justice Campaign, Justified
The Ohio Election Justice Campaign in Ohio wants accountability in Ohio's elections BEFORE the next general election. And why wouldn't they? Minimizing the election justice movement will not work anymore. Honest elections are serious business in a democracy. Our vote is the only franchise granted to citizens in a Democracy. In 2004 our only franchise was denied. Those in the Ohio Election Justice movement know what happened. We were there. And, as usual, it was up to the victims of the crime to investigate. The autopsy is in. Honest elections are dead in Ohio. We election justice activists in Ohio have endured because our one-and-only franchise is being subverted and taken from us. We happen to care deeply about democracy. We cannot move forward until we do a root-cause analysis on the past. Justice needs to be done to restore the rule of law.
We persevere because we have been looking at the facts now for a long time. We remain determined though we continue to be marginalized by the media, our message hardly ever communicated comprehensively by media gatekeepers, or ignored entirely. Election Justice Campaigners are continually demonized by the willfully ignorant, and ignored by the blissfully uninformed. Through all this we maintain our humor and determination while continuing to utilize the miracles of the information age where, if one wishes, one can find out anything: where there is the Internet, recording devices, video cameras, digital cameras; where there are whistleblowers, bloggers, independent journalists, people willing to step forward in the name of election justice, you will find us. Our innate human curiousity coupled with a sense of self preservation carry us forward more than anything. We have valuable information on tape, on video, in our notes, in photographs and we would like to share it with the proper authorities— because we speak with authority.
Up until the media starts taking responsibility in the public interest by initiating honest, unbiased investigative reporting on these election stories will the public know just how much danger their one and only franchise is truly in. Ohio elections are a mess. Elections belong to the people but HAVA and Ohio House Bill 3 of 2005 put into place a computerized monstrosity which has ensured systemic suppression of the vote using technology and good old-fashioned voter suppression tactics. Ohio House Bill 3's repugnant voter I.D. provisions— justified, and pushed through on the myth of "Voter Fraud", being just one example. I learned of the "voter fraud" scheme from a blogger, not the mainstream media. That is a huge story. The Department of Justice has been politicized. Where is the media?
Well, there is fraud, but as it turns out, it's not the voters committing the fraud. The media, politicians, partisans, technicians, software engineers, and private corporate vendor interests wind up the only ones enfranchised in Ohio's elections now. We the People having been swept under the rug along with our votes that somehow never get counted correctly if at all, HAD to investigate when none among the proper authorities would.
Elections should belong to the People but elections have been privatized. And, while we weren't paying attention, we allowed our electoral process to be subverted from the top-down by convicts. Please, let us not forget that the Help America Vote Act was written in Bob Ney's office with the aide of Jack Abramoff—both convicted felons. They pushed it through with help from over 275,000 in lobbying money from the Diebold corporation. In the process, HAVA money dangled like a carrot in front of our county BOE's who now have rooms full of this expensive, shiny junk that is prohibitively expensive to maintain, transport and store, aside from the fact that they rob you of your vote. Does anyone dare call our elections democratic? What we have now is a corporate plutocracy run from the top-down and that's not democracy. We the People were tricked out of our franchise AND our money.
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Paying the piper for this won't be easy either as we plow blindly into the future while sweeping the past under the rug. Counties will be forced now to cough up the cash to pay for maintenance, storage, transportation and the software upgrade schedules. Further, the software upgrade schedule can leapfrog over elections so that the software upgrade the public uses in an election may not be the upgrade that has actually been certified for use in the state of Ohio. What does this say about who really owns our elections and who is running them? What we do know is that essentially the same political machine is still in place which rigged the last election, except the bosses have changed. Is there really a new sherrif in town? Let us make sure this is the case because hoping and praying surely isn't going to make honest elections happen automatically.
What we have now with HAVA is the ability to steal elections automatically because presently the technology is in place to streamline a stolen election. Or, perhaps not as streamlined as it sounds in theory. Recall that the last two electronic elections were extremely sloppy. Don't forget he amazing 18,000 votes lost by ES&S in Florida's 13th District in 2006. The possibility that someone is sitting in Congress who shouldn't be seems actually quite high. Electronic voting has been condemned as expensive junk by most software engineers, academicians, industry whistleblowers, investigative journalists, and the voting public. Let's here acknowledge the recent move by California's Secretary of State Debra Bowen to decertify all three major voting equipment vendors following exhaustive testing which exposed multiple vulnerabilities in all machines tested. Let us also remember the recent scathing report by Dan Rather on all three major vendors. And, we know that way back in 2005 Summit County Ohio experienced a 30% failure rate in testing on ES&S iVotronic machines. Even after the glitches were addressed, the failure rate was still 10%. This is unacceptable. Last I knew elections can be won or lost with 10% of the vote.
These machines, though new and shiny, will ultimately prove impossible to maintain over time. I ask why should the voting public hold any faith that their vote will count with failure rates like that? And why on earth should the voting taxpayers be willing to pay for this? I for one am not. This is the type of thing that makes my government look more like a money-funneling operation and less like something we actually voted for. And, whether we voted for it or not, we are surely paying for it. As we race blindly into a future without acknowledging the past, democracy, honest elections and the rule of law remain on schedule to self-destruct.
Victoria Parks is a life-long resident of Ohio; B.S. Broadcast Journalism from Kent State University; award-winning songwriter and performer; indie-producer; Penwoman; democracy activist; commentator; satirist; graphic artist. Parks has been (more...
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