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"Verified Voting" Ambiguated by" Verify the Vote"

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On June 28, 2012, when the Supreme Court was deliberating over its final decision on the

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 constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act, activists thronged on its august outside steps awaiting the decision.

     In front of one rapt and enthusiastic group, a man was speaking through a bullhorn, opposing the ratification of the act. Another row of women wearing signature tee shirts, supporting them, specified their concern as anti-choice.

     Those in favor of ratification of the act were silent for the most part. I was told that Amy Goodman of Democracy Now! was broadcasting in one corner but did not see her. Progressives did not oppose brashness with brashness.

     When the decision was announced, a voice immediately responded, "Welcome to Cuba!" Cuba? What about Western Europe, which for the most part had similar, only better health-care programs for its people?

     We progressives were discreet in our joy as various suits came up to the Tea Party mike to speak in support of the opposition.

     "We do that usually," I thought about the Tea Party methods of expressing their opposition. They've coopted our methodology."


Around 2009, the neo-nascent Tea Party took over many of the formerly Democratic or more moderate Republican seats in the House, now part of the majority. The Senate Democratic majority had lost some seats to less than sixty, so that blocking filibusters was no longer possible.

     The Tea Party had taken its name and raison d'etre from the origina [left-wing] rebels who had participated in the Boston Massacre and then the Tea Party. Taxation without representation? The new Tea Party controlled the House. Taxes too high? But they had been lowered in favor of the one percent.

     Where are the tyrannical King George and his cohorts? Weren't they voted out in 2008? The tyranny aspect is debatable; certainly NSA's grip over our private lives is tyrannical, but Obama strives in other ways to transcend the DINO etc. accusations hurled against him.


In 2009 also, the Tea Party sprang an offshoot called True the Vote. It in turn was an offshoot of an already-extant "election integrity" oriented group that called itself the King Street Patriots. King Street, in eighteenth-century Boston, was the location of the Boston Massacre and the "routings of the Tea Party." Born in Harris County, Texas, the location of Houston, which was the second largest voting bloc in the state, the Patriots were concerned about the "staggering" shortage of poll workers, which invited fraud, among other concerns.

     The group vehemently favored the requirement of voter I.D., which sharply distinguishes them from the original Election Integrity (EI) movement. But we are also concerned about administrative issues at local levels throughout the country.  When groups like True the Vote and their offspring advocate for election integrity, the public, by way of Fox News and USA Today, among other mainstream media (MSM) vehicles, can easily become confused.

     Who stands for what anyway? The ambiguity is amplified when one considers the name of one of the original EI groups, Verified Voting, strong since 2003 when its founder David Dill organized thousands of fellow computer scientists to oppose electronic voting. These days this same organization still plays a major role in EI (an acronym not yet coopted by True the Vote and its offspring groups), circulating daily news to EI activists daily, an indispensable service.

     A newer group allied with True the Vote is named Verify the Vote.

     When the principles of the American Revolution are coopted by groups that advocate "carding" of all voters, one wonders. Voting was a sacred right, not a privilege, as declared by the populist Tom Paine and the aristocratic Tom Jefferson. True, this sacred right was reserved for propertied white males back then, but despite numerous roadblocks, the direction of EI's efforts is toward universal voting sans any vestige of Jim Crow, an emblem True the Vote and its followers could use far more accurately than its professed goal of "election integrity."

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Marta Steele is an author/editor/blogger who has been writing for since 2006. She is also author of the 2012 book "Grassroots, Geeks, Pros, and Pols: The Election Integrity Movement's Nonstop Battle to Win Back the People's Vote, (more...)

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