2008 Election Series Premiere - 10 DATES IN FEBRUARY
Present or Speaking: Dr. Steve Freeman, Univ of PA, Paul R Lehto, Election Attorney, Atty Ken Simpkins
Are We a Democracy? Vote Counting in the United States
Dr. Steven Freeman
"Mass Scale Election Fraud in Recent U.S. Federal Elections"
University of Pennsylvania
Author of Book: "Was the 2004 Presidential Election Stolen?"
Election fraud cases in San Diego and elsewhere paint a disturbing picture of an emerging post-democratic America. Mass scale election fraud in recent U.S. federal elections is a nonpartisan issue whose time has come. This session will explore the values and standards of democracy and democratic elections (with many references to the Founders and the democratic theories they adopted) which are the basis for rules and definitions that determine whether or not we live in a democracy.
The way U.S. votes are cast and counted has changed dramatically over the last few years. In particular, the federal Help America Vote Act of 2002 spurred states and counties to implement electronic voting and tallying. The stakes are high. With hundreds of thousands of machines, poll workers and voters the U.S. electoral system requires and deserves careful quality assurance. Are U.S. votes recorded properly? Are they counted properly? What discretion should local election officials exercise in the conduct of an election? What is needed for ongoing oversight of the electoral process? Even if the DRE battle succeeds, how will we know whether the alternative systems are being used properly? Any oversight mechanisms we put in place are destined to become vulnerable once institutionalized. So what can we realistically expect to implement?
RSVP & DIRECTIONS TO EVENT:
KPBS Copley Telecommunications Center
San Diego State University Campus
5200 Campanile Drive (Multipurpose Room)
San Diego, CA
Please RSVP if poss to firstname.lastname@example.org But RSVP not required.
ADDITIONAL DATES & VENUES BELOW:
February 14: San Diego State University 6:30 pm
February 15: Sonoma State University (CA) 7:00 pm
February 16: American Association for the Advancement of Science, San Francisco, CA 1:15 p.m. (with Josh Mitteldorf, Barbara Simon, David Griscom)
February 17: Oakland, Rockridge Library, 10:00 a.m to 1:00 p.m.
February 18: Palo Alto, CA 7:00 pm San Mateo County Democracy for America Club
February 21: Seattle, WA Washington Fair Elections, 7:00 pm
February 23: Tucson Arizona Democracy for Arizona, 7:00 pm
February 26: University of Missouri - Kansas City Student Center with Dorothy Fadiman, Filmmaker "Stealing America Vote by Vote" 6:30 p.m.
February 27: Kansas City (details not yet set)
February 28: Wednesday: Full length film screening with Dorothy Fadiman and Paul Lehto
"Stealing America Vote by Vote"
Comments on the Holt bill from election law attorney Paul Lehto:
Today MoveOn sent out a mass email that suggests support for the new Holt bill.
The vast majority of election activists around the country see big problems with the Holt bill, even those hoping to amend, and then pass it.
For example, the new Holt Bill, HR 811 seems to create paper "ballots" for electronic machines, but in point of fact those ballots are NEVER counted on election night, the electronic ones are. Moreover, in the typical case no more than 3% of the paper ballots will ever be counted -- and these only in a poorly designed "audit" that takes place long after the election. The experience of my self and many others in actual disputed elections is that you will not get near that paper or other records in time if the election is highly disputed and/or corrupt. The accuracy must be built in PRIOR to announcing the first results -- but these are the unreliable electronic counts under Holt.
Even if the paper trails, deceptively called ballots under Holt II, were to be implemented, every indication is that while people do pay close attention to their input into touch screens, they miss a great many errors in the printed out portion and do not anally and religiously catch more than a minority of errors. THE RESULT IS THE GOLD STANDARD FOR VOTER VERIFIED FRAUD where the machines "mistakes or fraud" are adopted by the voter and become seemingly unquestionable.... It's a nightmare of false confidence covering for fraud.
The election integrity bills floating around congress are basically deals with the devil of various forms like this: If you allow US, the US Congress to continue to have our re-elections counted in 100% electronic trade secrecy such that nobody really knows election results, we will grant YOU, the public, a "right" to have a miniscule "audit" a week or two after the election so you can FEEL GOOD about the secrecy of your elections and that the public has been denied all effective oversight of the elections for federal office. To that end, in exchange for 100% secret vote counting, we will have government agents we appoint "audit" 3% or so of the paper you fill out, and if the paper differs in those precincts the paper will prevail in 3% of the precincts.
Of course these 3% audits are the functional equivalent of a partial recount -- which is what was called unconstitutional when Gore asked for it in 2000. No doubt the Supreme Court would have no difficulty helping a republican again in much the same way, striking down these paper trail recounts.
There's no substitute for Public Oversight of elections, because the government can not audit and watchdog itself, especially when it has committed its reputation to an original set of numbers... Yet Holt does nothing to increase or restore public oversight.
The government gets all its power and money from elections and now purports to count those votes in total secrecy. Congress now purports to re-elect itself in the same total secrecy. Once framed in this very accurate way, there is no way that electronic vote counting secrecy can survive -- it appears corrupt for Congress to vote for that state of affairs for their own re-elections. Moreover, in an August 2006 Zogby poll the American public by an incredible 92% margin believes we have the right to watch vote counting and obtain information about vote counting.... yet this right is almost extinct. http://www.zogby.com/News/ReadNews.dbm?ID=1163
The Holt bill won't work and does nothing to restore democracy via public oversight. Unless you think Enron can audit itself, there can be no legitimate elections without total transparency and public oversight, because the government simply can't do it alone with all of its built in conflicts of interest.
The Holt bill should be OPPOSED, not supported, until Public Oversight is restored, until real ballots counted FIRST on election night are paper ballots, and until it is recognized that the government can not cut themselves free from We the People. They are instead bound to serve, and in elections bound to be supervised by, We the People. Real democracy depends on this.
The key activists most knowledgeable about this do not agree with MoveON's unqualified endorsement and do not understand why moveon doesn't talk to us. But anyway here are some of the essential amendments, and there are others emerging. Without these and other amendments, we OPPOSE the Holt bill, as well as all of the other congressional bills that don't address or solve the problems.