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Rough week for NY's constitution: Help ETC turn it around!

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Dear ETC supporters,

I sat in the room with the NY State Board of Elections this week as Board members voted to certify machines to count NY votes in secret. I listened as commissioners spoke with pride about how other states have expressed appreciation for the testing NY has done on the optical scan voting systems. I couldn't help but think how much more honest an expression of pride those board members would have had if they had voted instead to refuse certification of these machines, which even they acknowledged don't meet the minimum criteria for conducting a secure election.

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In my two years working with the Election Transparency Coalition (ever since its evolution from Re-Media to Re-Media ETC and now to ETC), I've discovered that NY has one of the best -- if not the best -- state election system. The protocols and procedures have evolved for 200 years to an almost perfect election system. Now, if ETC's lawsuit doesn't interrupt the State's plans, we're going to start all over again. I fear it may be another generation before the new system evolves to the point where the government discovers they've built their foundation on shifting sands. By then, will we even have anything we can call a democracy?

Lawsuit Update

Now that the State has certified the optical scan vote-counting systems, our lawsuit is ripe for filing. And we're moving ahead as rapidly as we can. Unfortunately, I have some significant bad news to report to you. And a request for your help turning it around.

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After a long search, ETC secured pro bono (without cost) representation by a large and prestigious law firm. Despite the firm's excellent reputation, the attorneys working with us missed every agreed-upon deadline and produced what can only be described as astoundingly poor-quality work. In essence the firm failed to understand the legal issues and misstated the law in the papers they prepared. Had we proceeded with such work we would have been tossed out of court and never gotten to the merits of the constitutional assault on our liberties. Some in ETC even question whether they took the case for the purpose of throwing it.

We have worked so hard on this critically important case that we were unwilling to proceed with attorneys who had failed us so miserably. We're searching for a new law firm and have some promising leads, but it's too soon to know if any of them will pan out. If you are an attorney who might help us, or have leads for us, please contact us immediately.

We remain determined to do everything in our power to challenge the constitutionality of secret vote counting in court. Much of the preparation for filing the suit has already been done, including lining up expert witnesses. For example, we have a computer security expert who's prepared to testify that use of optical-scanners can destroy the evidence of true election results in a way that can't be either detected or corrected.

This year has been a full one for ETC:
  • We led the way for 20 counties to tell the State to repeal their unfunded mandate and let counties continue using their lever voting systems.
  • We launched a new website designed for county officials and the media to learn about the issue.
  • We increased our financial base of support and the size of our actively working group.
  • We expanded our media reach.
  • We began building support through Facebook and Twitter.
  • We garnered support of election integrity leaders throughout the nation.
  • We continued to research and develop our court case, preparing to file suit to stop secret vote-counting on constitutional grounds.
  • Our multi-partisan reach has been extended recently as a result of the fiasco in the NY-23 Congressional race resulting from the 'trial' use of the state's new electronic vote-counting systems.
Your support is crucial to our success.

As you prepare to make your end-of-year charitable contributions, please ask yourself which organizations are doing the most effective work with the least resources. ETC has a tiny annual budget and yet is undertaking an effort that has significant potential for changing the future of elections in NY state and beyond. In other words, as I fish for your financial support, I'm saying, "Help a voter get to the polls, and they vote for a day. Help secure a trustworthy voting system for the future, and our votes will be counted honestly for generations to come."

Having the support and leadership from people around the country has been really inspiring to us in ETC. I've had the opportunity to work with and learn from some of the leading national experts in the fundamentals of carrying out good elections. These experts started out because they, like you, were good concerned citizens. I invite you to come work with us, too. Even if you don't feel like you can give a lot, being part of the behind-the-scenes support system helps us more than you'd imagine. Because a handful of people carry out the majority of ETC's work, one more person can make a big difference. Please contact me if you can volunteer, including if you have some time over the holidays. Attorneys, paralegals, and people with legal administrative skills are especially needed. You don't have to be in NY to volunteer.

As the year ends, we at ETC want to thank those of you who have helped us this year with contributions of much-needed funding, volunteer time, and personal support. You sustain us. The leadership of ETC wants to take a moment to honor the steadfast dedication and unending work of our founder, Andi Novick. It is her vision and commitment that lead us forward. Now, let's combine that with the financial and volunteer support of you, the ETC community, and turn our work into a legal victory for NY voters and the Constitution in 2010!

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Happy New Year from ETC!

Warmly,

Joanne Lukacher,
Executive Director

P.S. We'd love to hear how you want to help our efforts! Go ahead, be creative. What would you enjoy doing to support the cause?

P.P.S. Find us online at both www.electiontransparencycoalition.org and www.etcnys.org.

P.P.P.S. Help us grow our Facebook group to 500 members. Click here to join. Following us on Twitter (@StopEVoting) is another easy way you can help us raise awareness about the lawsuit.

You are receiving this email because you signed up for occasional communication from the Election Transparency Coalition. You may have signed up back when our name was Re-Media ETC. We're the same group, simply with a clearer name. We've replaced our informal email list with a more formal one to bring you better quality communication in a more appealing format.

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Our mailing address is:
Election Transparency Coalition
P.O. Box 127
Staatsburg, NY 12580

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http://electiontransparencycoalition.org/
Andi Novick Election Transparency Coalition, www.etcnys.org, http://nylevers.wordpress.com/

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