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Voting machine rage: Uh-Oh -- Hammertime!

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THE HEAVY LIFTING ON RESEARCH WAS DONE BY JIM MARCH, WHO WROTE THIS ARTICLE WITH BEV HARRIS

A 52-year old carpenter from Arlington Virginia expressed frustration over losing his voting rights by taking a hammer to a voting machine. The WinVote machine succumbed to no less than an Estwing Supreme 22S, “the finest framing hammer known to mankind,” according to Sabo. Arlington has been forcing its citizenry to vote on machines of questionable pedigree, which count votes in secret, prohibit citizen oversight and for added fun, feature wireless capability throughout Election Day.

This Sabo vs. WinVote episode has unraveled a veritable Conga line of finger-pointing vendors, testers and certifiers, all shuffling away from answering tough questions about how this machine came to be capturing votes on Election Day at all.

Sabo’s act of outrage exposes the broken foundation of current electoral processes, and if history is any indicator, such incidents will get worse.

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THE DAY THE HAMMER MET THE VOTING MACHINE


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On Nov. 7, 2006, Anthony Sabo came to his polling place and smashed a voting machine into scrap.  The deed that resulted in the voting machine’s demise he said, and still insists, was the theft of his vote inside the hidden workings of the machine.

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Sabo’s dismay was expressed in spectacular fashion, but one the prosecutor could not allow.

On May 8, 2007, Mr. Sabo was convicted of felony tampering with a voting machine or ballot containing device, a class 5 felony carrying up to 10 years in prison.  The jury stopped a step short of nullification, handing Sabo a sentence of only 90 days in the county jail with a $2,500 fine.  Contributing to their leniency was the fact that Mr. Sabo had gone out of his way to avoid any risk of harm to any human, and surrendered peacefully to the first officers on scene. Causing some jurors concern, though, was the fact that Sabo had done the deed late in the day when the machine contained votes; though officials claim the votes were recovered intact (if you trust that the votes were recorded accurately at all), the hammering they took may have put them at risk.

SECRET VOTE COUNTS UPSET CITIZENS

Sabo isn’t the first American to get arrested for resisting a voting machine.

THE WOODLAND TEA PARTY

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On May 20, 2004 a Teller, Colorado citizen named “Lotus” was sentenced to 10 days in jail and a $548 fine for throwing tea bags at a voting machine in an incident that has come to be known as the Woodland Tea Party. (1)

THE ELECTION FRAUD WAR OF 1946 – THE "BATTLE OF ATHENS"

Fifteen-hundred shots were fired before it was all over and the president’s wife wrote it up in the newspaper. (2)

Election fraud and general political corruption used to run through the deep South like mud through a gully. Post-war, returning GIs who fought tyranny overseas were reluctant to tolerate it in their own back yards. Reforms of various sorts were common, but nowhere was the need for reform more apparent than the McMinn County, Tennessee town of Athens.

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Bev Harris is executive director of Black Box Voting, Inc. an advocacy group committed to restoring citizen oversight to elections.
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