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Dry Ice and the DRE Dumpster

By       (Page 1 of 2 pages)   2 comments, In Series: Election Integrity
20 February 2008: Dry Ice and the DRE Dumpster

In the face of biting winds and winter temperature this morning, more than fifty hearty souls rallied, under the aegis of CVI, for paper ballots to replace Bucks County’s Danaher DREs, a disaster waiting to happen, according to many.

     Lori Rosolowsky narrated the events of the rally and the subsequent commissioners’ meeting to Jim Strait this evening on his hour-long program on Renaissance Radio, Strait Talk. Strait had also attended the rally and created a wooden colonial flag he brought along (see for information on acquiring a flag of your own).

     And this acrylic-painted emblem of patriotism backgrounded the central display, a large garbage can, meant to represent a Danaher DRE, filled with dry ice. Strait poured water on the dry ice, and steam rose up, representing the act of voting in this county—the ballots go up in smoke. A large number of banners and signs were evident among the small crowd, photographed for a brief news clip by Philadelphia’s Channel 6 tv station, which aired at 5 this afternoon.

       Lori, who sang into the cold winds this morning, took thirty minutes of Strait Talk to converse with Jim about the rally and the meeting that followed.

     She said that after the hour-long rally, the participants crowded into the community room in the basement of the Bucks County courthouse for the bimonthly commissioners’ meeting.

     Once again at least half of the room was occupied by advocates of paper-ballot voting. Not one voice opposed it, save that of the two Republican commissioners, for the entire three hours that the meeting lasted.

     Commissioner Charlie Martin, described as “waiting to retire,” is at the other end of the full career planned by his colleague Jim Cawley, who some say aspires to govern the state. The younger commissioner was more receptive, requesting more information “for the umpteenth time” about CVI’s position and evidence for a cause they have pleaded at countless such meetings since their inception in July of 2005.

     CVI agreed to supply the requested information, as patient with the opposition as Cawley was with them. Mary Ann Gould reiterated her invitation to the gentlemen to be interviewed on her radio program Voice of the Voters, and this time, mirabile dictu, they assented—presumably for next week’s broadcast.

     The imagery of the trash can and dry ice evolved during the course of the morning to a car model with faulty airbags, said Lori. A member of CVI asked the commissioners whether they would purchase a car if they knew it featured a faulty, dangerous brand of air bag that, when used on another car model, had killed a driver not once but many times. The parallel was the fact that the commissioner claim that the county’s Danahers haven’t yet malfunctioned, but across the nation other states have tossed out these machines in favor of optical scanners—and, in fact, a good percentage of the machines in Bucks County were purchased second-hand, presumably discarded by a previous owner.

     “You don’t want that technology.”

     “They just don’t get it,” said Strait. “They don’t understand the checks and balances that are fundamental to the workings of America.”

     The foundations of the [courthouse] building should shake, just as the commissioners are undermining the foundations of our country. “If they don’t get this, they probably don’t get a lot of other things,” said the weekly host of Strait Talk.

     A meeting between the commissioners and three CVI experts was planned, so that they might be made fully cognizant of the issues and how they resonate throughout the country and the world. Mr. Cawley was unaware of other related problems, even those nationally broadcast, like Debra Bowen’s decisions in the case of California’s touchscreens and Jennifer Brunner’s controversies in Ohio over similar issues.

     Strait opined that the commissioners had manipulated a win-win scenario for themselves: they will probably disagree with the information they receive. On the other hand, if CVI anticipates this and cancels the meetings, they can say that they gave us a chance we didn’t take.

     The day may come when computerized touchscreens are effective for voting, but a long time from now, continued Strait. “That’s a no-brainer.”

     What happens here could impact the entire nation—the commissioners’ obstinance could become contagious and establish a precedent others follow. As a swing state with a large number of delegates and electoral votes, Pennsylvania could become the next Florida or Ohio, in that most of the sixty-seven counties in the state vote on some brand of DRE.

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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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