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Action Alert Made Easy: A Really Important Homework Assignment

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A Really Important Homework Assignment
By Joan Brunwasser, Voting Integrity Editor, OpEdNews April 18, 2007

I am better at writing than doing, talking than doing, virtually anything than actually doing. I'm probably not the only one, but it sometimes makes a mockery of my so-called activism.

My heart is in the right place, but I was born in the wrong generation. High-tech is just not me. If I had been around in the early twentieth century, I would have been a hold-out for the horse and buggy, flustered by those whippersnappers flashing by in their horseless wonders. Paper and pencil are my preferred means of communication, which is why you'll never catch me with a PDA. My sore rear end is a result of my work at OpEdNews, not from surfing the web.

One of the perks of my role as voting integrity editor is that I've been able to connect and establish a rapport with many of the people who have been driving the election integrity movement over the last few years. I do my best to be fair, and I have no particular axe to grind, so people are pretty patient about my technological shortcomings. OpEdNews does its best to include as many of the activists and their work as possible, and we've done a pretty good job at it.

Brad Friedman is one of my cyber-buddies. I have gotten a great education on election integrity from BradBlog.com. His daily exposés are, for me, what I imagine a cup of coffee is for caffeine addicts. I need my fix to feel like I'm on top of things. We have corresponded for quite a while, and even once had a freewheeling phone conversation with the potential of turning into an interview (except for the fact that I don't know how to do interviews and my computer ate the file of the transcript that he sent me). I am grateful to him for teaching me how to insert links so that my articles would look more professional, even though I wasn't a particularly quick study.

I often feel like a cheerleader (finally, sort of fulfilling my aspirations as a junior high schooler). People do great work, and I commend them for it by posting their articles at OpEdNews to give them more exposure. But, in terms of being able to follow exactly what they're saying or actually follow through on their calls to action, there's the rub. And I don't think I'm the only one, either.

I've had an idea for a while about developing a prototype so that people could print it up and have it in front of them when they made calls to their secretaries of state to enlist their support for election reform. It's a project that is on my friend Nancy (of the Election Defense Allliance) Tobi's list, but the truth is that she is so busy with everything else she's doing, she hasn't been able to get to it yet. Nancy believes that our congressional representatives need to hear from their constituents, and that we all need to begin identifying which ones are on our side and which are not. We need to be strategic in order to win. (Stay tuned for your next assignment. Our template for contacting your congressional reps is in the works.)

In the meantime, there I am, full of good intentions. But, have I picked up the phone and called my own Secretary of State, Jesse White? No, I shamefacedly admit, I have not. And if I haven't, I venture to guess that most people haven't either.

Why haven't I? I'm uncomfortable doing it because I don't feel that I really get all the issues yet, which makes me tentative. That's why I thought of this how-to template that would lay out the issues in a very straightforward, easy-to-follow format. That way, I could just clutch it in front of me when I made my phone call.

I wrote Brad about his article on the latest electronic voting machine/EAC scandal – click here "Exclusive: ES&S Touch-Screen Voting Systems Found Vulnerable to 'Serious' Viral Vote-Flipping Attack; US Election Assistance Commission Refuses to Issue Warning" – which reads in part,

The vulnerability is said to allow for a single malicious user to introduce a virus into the system which "could potentially steal all the votes in that county, without being detected," according to a noted computer scientist and voting system expert who has reviewed the findings.

I commended Brad (and co-author Michael Richardson) on the post. This is what he wrote me when I asked what we can be doing.

[Make] noise, noise, noise. Any way possible. You're media! Call the EAC [Election Assistance Commission]and see if they have any explanation for that article!

When they give you the same old song and dance, report it again! Call a couple of the SoS offices at the affected states and ask them if they know their systems were found to have been vulnerable to viruses from a single person that could flip an entire county's election undetectedly, and ask them why they didn't know about it, since the EAC did, and if they think the EAC should have let them know. Etc.

Advance the story, report it. We could use ya, teammate!

So, here's what I did. I went online and got the telephone number of the EAC, (toll-free 866-747-1471) and the name of the director (Jeannie Layson).

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Joan Brunwasser is a co-founder of Citizens for Election Reform (CER) which since 2005 existed for the sole purpose of raising the public awareness of the critical need for election reform. Our goal: to restore fair, accurate, transparent, secure elections where votes are cast in private and counted in public. Because the problems with electronic (computerized) voting systems include a lack of (more...)

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