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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 transparency and the ability to accurately check and authenticate the vote cast, these systems can alter election results and therefore are simply antithetical to democratic principles and functioning.
Since the pivotal 2004 Presidential election, Joan has come to see the connection between a broken election system, a dysfunctional, corporate media and a total lack of campaign finance reform. This has led her to enlarge the parameters of her writing to include interviews with whistle-blowers and articulate others who give a view quite different from that presented by the mainstream media. She also turns the spotlight on activists and ordinary folks who are striving to make a difference, to clean up and improve their corner of the world. By focusing on these intrepid individuals, she gives hope and inspiration to those who might otherwise be turned off and alienated. She also interviews people in the arts in all their variations - authors, journalists, filmmakers, actors, playwrights, and artists. Why? The bottom line: without art and inspiration, we lose one of the best parts of ourselves. And we're all in this together. If Joan can keep even one of her fellow citizens going another day, she considers her job well done.
When Joan hit one million page views, OEN Managing Editor, Meryl Ann Butler interviewed her, turning interviewer briefly into interviewee. Read the interview here.
While the news is often quite depressing, Joan nevertheless strives to maintain her mantra: "Grab life now in an exuberant embrace!"
Joan has been Election Integrity Editor for OpEdNews since December, 2005. Her articles also appear at Huffington Post, RepublicMedia.TV and Scoop.co.nz.
Interview: Marta Steele, Author, Activist and Senior Editor at OpEdNews
I was brought up by activist parents, ardent Democrats. Around the dinner table and even during the day, there'd be constant complaints about the status quo and how it must be changed and whose fault it was and "go fight city hall!" I did, vociferously, at college and, of course, joined the "Children's Crusade" and attended rallies and meetings, including the historical Yippie parade in front of the Justice Department in 1968. Series: Election Integrity (61 Articles, 128690 views), Author/books (37 Articles, 61211 views), Activism (189 Articles, 339024 views) (View All Series)
Thursday, February 7, 2019(9 comments)
Portrait of an Artist as an American Teen
Jaxon: "My inspiration will usually come from random things that pop into my head or something I see that I think would be cool to base my art off of such as a certain style or something to draw. It's pretty hard to call up inspiration, I usually take a lot of time to fully think about what I want to do after an idea pops into my head because I like to visualize how I would want it to turn out in my head." Series: students (19 Articles, 26730 views), positivity (49 Articles, 66419 views), Overcoming Challenges (78 Articles, 136515 views) (View All Series)
Monday, February 4, 2019
Compassionate Release Granted Too Late, Inmate Dies Alone
It was the head chaplain on the other end of the phone. His voice was solemn and he said "I'm sorry", as my heart dropped through the floor and the blood drained from my head at the words, "Your husband has passed"... He said that he got the faxed papers and went up to Steve's room at 3:15. Steve died at 3:12. He had been a free man for a little over an hour and a half [although he never knew it]. Series: Prison (36 Articles, 64349 views), Overcoming Challenges (78 Articles, 136515 views), Illness (14 Articles, 23346 views) (View All Series)
Saturday, January 26, 2019(2 comments)
Prison Break: Inmate Escapes Through Art
Art and faith have helped Gary maintain some level of sanity and worth. He isn't vain by any means but he knows he has a gift and his work is good. Many of his pieces embody happy memories, people, places and animals he has found connection with. Gary's art is the expression of the freedom of his heart and mind. Gary escapes every day to happy, heart-warming places and always - always - loves and is loved. Series: Prison (36 Articles, 64349 views), Overcoming Challenges (78 Articles, 136515 views), Judy White (17 Articles, 33286 views) (View All Series)
Tuesday, January 15, 2019
Parsing Dems' Big Election Reform Bill with Steven Rosenfeld
Many readers have foregone conclusions that the system is so rigged and corrupt that nothing will make it better. I disagree.Others say I am defending those on the inside who administer elections by suggesting that certain steps can be taken to improve the process and have more accountable and trustable results: from participation to vote counts. On the other hand, what are we supposed to do? Give up on improving the process? Series: Overcoming Challenges (78 Articles, 136515 views), Election Integrity (61 Articles, 128690 views), Congress (10 Articles, 18966 views) (View All Series)
Tuesday, January 8, 2019(2 comments)
BoP Flying Monkeys and Administrative Contrarians
Why allow someone who is unfamiliar with the rules and procedures at FPC Montgomery to make final decisions about those very rules and procedures? Why did she have to ruin visitation for so many families on a holiday weekend? Of course, there was no apology for her behavior toward me. Not just local rules and procedures, but she was harassing me over a national procedure outlined in a Program Statement. Series: Judy White (17 Articles, 33286 views), Overcoming Challenges (78 Articles, 136515 views), Prison (36 Articles, 64349 views) (View All Series)
Sunday, December 30, 2018(1 comments)
No Inmates Released By the Holidays Despite Promising "First Step Act"
"Prisoners are real people with real families that love them and miss them. We want and need our families home together.While we are indescribably grateful that the President made it a priority and accomplished a remarkable bipartisan victory,I wonder if he knows this victory has not set anyone free yet, that his BOP and DOJ are ignoring the law as we all continue to suffer.It's heartbreaking and infuriating at the same time." Series: Prison (36 Articles, 64349 views), Overcoming Challenges (78 Articles, 136515 views), Judy White (17 Articles, 33286 views) (View All Series)
Saturday, December 8, 2018
Jill Stein's PA Lawsuit - What Happened and What Does It Mean?
The Greens decided to go public and crowd-source donations. That was a last-minute decision and a bit of a Hail Mary. Starting midday on Wednesday and continuing over the weekend, they raised $7.3 million from 161,000 online donations. The mainstream media, led by GOP-friendly Fox and Brietbart.com scoffed. But Stein still hoped it would be possible to get answers to basic questions, such as were the counts accurate? Series: Progressives (17 Articles, 38928 views), Election Integrity (61 Articles, 128690 views), Activism (189 Articles, 339024 views) (View All Series)
Wednesday, November 28, 2018(1 comments)
Midterm Recap with Voting Booth's Steven Rosenfeld
There are some narratives that have deep emotional resonance.Nobody wants their vote or voice taken away from them, to be told that they don't matter or are less equal than someone else.Many people don't want to roll back the Civil Rights Movement's gains. In the same way, where we stand with vote counts is most people want to know that the election results were accurate. And perhaps be shown a small amount of proof to believe Series: journalism (74 Articles, 145853 views), voter disenfranchisement (6 Articles, 8553 views), Election Integrity (61 Articles, 128690 views) (View All Series)
Saturday, November 17, 2018(6 comments)
Anti-Gerrymandering Reform's Stunning Success at Midterms
There were nonpartisan redistricting reforms on the ballot in four states. These reforms varied but the goal was the same: Voters should choose their politicians, not the other way around.On election night, the voters sent a clear message to their state politicians: We want change. The proposals passed overwhelmingly, garnering between 61-71% of the vote -- landslide victories. There was no mistake what the people wanted. Series: grassroots (60 Articles, 114347 views), Activism (189 Articles, 339024 views), Election Integrity (61 Articles, 128690 views) (View All Series)
Sunday, November 4, 2018(3 comments)
Bob Koehler On Pittsburgh, The Other, and Our Killer Culture
This is about the 40th mass murder I've written about since I've been doing this column. I am obsessed with the idea that such horrors occur in a context. They aren't simply the work of a lone nut, an evil thug. The killings emerge from our culture of violence and I feel duty bound to look at this every time such a horror occurs. When we wage war, the violence comes home. Series: Activism (189 Articles, 339024 views), guns (4 Articles, 4538 views), Overcoming Challenges (78 Articles, 136515 views) (View All Series)
Thursday, October 11, 2018(8 comments)
David vs. Goliath in South Florida, Round 2
TC: I'm not surprised at the virulent backlash vs. the Supervisor.When an elections official like Snipes gets away with destroying ballots -felonies! - then,of course,people will lose faith and confidence in election results.That's why we need criminal prosecutions of corrupt election officials, and we need real election reforms:100% hand-marked paper ballots, counted by hand in public, and backed up with risk-limiting audits. Series: Activism (189 Articles, 339024 views), Election Integrity (61 Articles, 128690 views), Overcoming Challenges (78 Articles, 136515 views) (View All Series)
Saturday, August 25, 2018(29 comments)
What Recent NY Primary Upset Means for Voters Everywhere
If we had ballot images posted in every election, elections would be much, much harder to steal. Until then, establishment incumbents will be declared winners and nothing will ever change. Think of how different this country would look today if Ron Paul had won the Republican nomination in 2012, or if Bernie Sanders had been declared the winner of the Democratic nomination in 2016. Full transparency. That's all we're saying. Series: Overcoming Challenges (78 Articles, 136515 views), Election Integrity (61 Articles, 128690 views), Activism (189 Articles, 339024 views) (View All Series)
Sunday, July 22, 2018(4 comments)
Inside "The Wheels on the Bus": Interview with Caldecott Winner Paul Zelinsky
"I did not grow up with the intention of becoming a children's book maker. I loved books, and pictures, and pictures in books, which basically means children's books, but I didn't quite understand that books were made by living people, and that becoming one of those people was a possible thing. So I thought I'd be an artist, or an architect, but I also liked to amuse myself and my friends by making books with stories in them." Series: authors (35 Articles, 58515 views), Children (14 Articles, 19020 views), Overcoming Challenges (78 Articles, 136515 views) (View All Series)
Sunday, June 3, 2018(4 comments)
How To Reform School: A Radical Reimagines Education
With our current policies and priorities, we impose on our schools, teachers, and classrooms a standardized curriculum that largely serves the needs of those who want to rank performance. We choose to make life easy for college admissions and legislators, very much as the expense of real learning. But it doesn't have to be that way. Series: students (19 Articles, 26730 views), Overcoming Challenges (78 Articles, 136515 views), Activism (189 Articles, 339024 views) (View All Series)
Parkland-Inspired Marchers Target NRA and Congress
[This] occurred in an affluent community, a community that cannot be written off, as "them." So when the young survivors began organizing and speaking out so articulately, they conveyed a stunning reality: This could happen anywhere. It could happen to your children. To their immense credit, the Parkland teens reached across the line to young people of color and created a movement that transcended any artificial division. Series: students (19 Articles, 26730 views), Overcoming Challenges (78 Articles, 136515 views), Empowerment (54 Articles, 78256 views) (View All Series)
Monday, April 2, 2018(5 comments)
Hidden Factors That Affect College Success: Who Knew?
The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation in New York City offered a series of major grants that ran for 11 years, costing nearly a million dollars. We did a comprehensive, longitudinal, multi-method study... We wanted to know not only what students gained from going to college, but -- probably more importantly -- what features of college are really valuable, or really make learning happen. Series: students (19 Articles, 26730 views), Overcoming Challenges (78 Articles, 136515 views), authors (35 Articles, 58515 views) (View All Series)
Wednesday, March 7, 2018(4 comments)
Pinked & Inked: Post-Mastectomy Tattoos for Healing
Before embarking on this film, I wasn't terribly open about my own experience with breast cancer. I was so focused on getting back to normal that I never fully explored internally the struggle and its aftermath. As I began interviewing Grace, and building a friendship with her that extended off-camera, I found that there really is no "getting back to normal." It's a new identity and a new truth that I'm still navigating. Series: Women (65 Articles, 109604 views), Overcoming Challenges (78 Articles, 136515 views), cancer (4 Articles, 7532 views) (View All Series)
Monday, February 26, 2018(17 comments)
Democrats' New Medicare-for-All Plan Isn't
The Dems' think tank, Center for American Progress (CAP), calls their plan "Medicare Extra for All," but it is actually an impediment to National Improved Medicare for All, which we support... It would keep the very complicated and costly private insurance-based system that we currently have and for-profit health facilities that cost more and have poorer health outcomes, protecting the profits of private health insurers. Series: Activism (189 Articles, 339024 views), legislation (21 Articles, 37914 views), health care (12 Articles, 26233 views) (View All Series)