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Why I Support the Request by Voters to Amend the Holt Bill

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Michel Collins
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Sign our Letter to Congress, the Request by Voters For quite some time now I have been known as the girl who wrote those articles called "What's Wrong with the Holt Bill". Holt Bill supporters hanged me in effigy and called me "an enemy of verifiable elections". Hand count paper ballot diehards embraced me and called me a hero. Neither of these labels suits me. I am just a gal on a mountainside, an American citizen, someone making her way in the world and trying to make sense of it all. Trying to fulfill the commandment to "repair the world" in some way. Trying to understand what that means, and whether I - a gal on the mountainside - might be able to really do anything meaningful about the scary and extremely disastrous state of our democracy. As a Jew, I have spent considerable time in my life thinking about my relationship with America. Jews have a long history of being guests in their host countries. But Jeremiah the Prophet reminded my ancestors, and me, that we must do our part for the country in which we find ourselves, even if it is not our Promised Land. As a resident of this great State of New Hampshire I have had wonderful teachers who have shown me, through their own love of country, what it means to be an American Patriot. They have taught me and inspired me to learn more about American history. They have helped me clarify my own relationship with America. And I have come to understand that Jeremiah was dead on right. Which is why, I suppose, he was a Prophet. As Americans, we are privileged far beyond our fair share in this world. This privilege brings a responsibility. If things are wrong in America, they are wrong in the world. Conversely, take a moment for one single vision: the vision of the world when things are RIGHT in America. This is a beautiful and moving vision. This is our privilege and our responsibility. This is what I have learned is the essence of my relationship with America. And this is why, to the consternation of just about everybody I know, who seem to think my time would be better spent engaging in yoga and other things that are "good for me", I am engaged in this twilight world of election reform. This work has now brought me to a new understanding of the Holt Bill, and of my relationship with America, and therefore the world. The Holt Bill has 222 Congressional sponsors. The 110th Congress wants to do something about election reform. So why not the Holt Bill? It's there, it has support, let's go for it. As the author of The Articles Against the Holt Bill, I now take full responsibility for any waves or ripples in the electoral reform sea that I may have produced over the past year or so. I understand there are those who revile me. I understand there are those still trying to understand the position I staked out in those articles. I understand a whole new wave of people who oppose me will rise in anger against my new position. That's okay. That is the democracy we are fighting for. And I now am prepared to take the wheel of the freighter that I launched with my Stop Holt Campaign and turn it ever so slightly. And it really is just a slight readjustment of the wheel. This adjustment brings me to ask you, all of you, to sign the Request to Voters and ask Holt and his supporters to amend the bill so that it can become the legislation it wants to be: true election integrity legislation. I am turning the wheel and embracing the Holt Bill framework as the singular opportunity for enacting meaningful election reform this year for America, and therefore the world. The Request by Voters is designed by American citizens who want our elections to be foundationally democratic. By this we mean that our elections belong to the American people and our communities. This is democracy as envisioned by the Founders, and in the Declaration of Independence:
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. - That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed."
We want American citizens to cast our votes as we wish, and to have those votes properly counted and tabulated so that the people we seat in public office are those who have been duly elected by the citizenry. We know, as did the Founders, that democracy is a messy business, full of dischord, dissent, debate, and dialogue. We cherish our differences of opinion and our Constitutional rights to express those differences in open and public debate, and in our democratic elections. We know that democracy is a uniquely human endeavor. And we know, that as a human endeavor, it belongs within the sphere of this thing we call the American community. Marking our ballots with our own hands as our political expression is each individual citizen's personal declaration of independence. It is how we sign our commitment to the Constitution of the United States of America, and it is how we sign our commitment to our community. Our community reciprocates this commitment by reading our ballots in open, public meeting and discerning our voter intent as read by the human eye and mind. Our signature of commitment, and the community validation of it, are not things to be delegated to technological interpretation or handed over to a privatized, profit-driven industry. The integrity of our democratic elections depends entirely on the notion of the consent of the governed. Democratic elections depend entirely on the trusted outcomes that come from citizens casting ballots, which are counted in open meeting by other citizens with the results tallied and announced publicly for any and all interested observers to see. The integrity of our elections does not depend on the next exciting technological possibility. It does not depend on a computer programmed to inform the voter whether or not he has voted right or wrong according to technological standards. The integrity of our elections does not depend on outrageous expenditures into a profit-driven high tech industry that to this point has failed abysmally in delivering any kind of product or process that meets the standards of democracy. When Congress passed the Help America Vote Act in 2002, it appropriated billions of our tax dollars to be used in transforming our elections into high tech events with no regard at all for the foundational community strength that is the basis for real democratic elections. Similarly, when Congress passed the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA) in 1993 it opened a pathway for voter registration fraud by removing the essential community touchpoints of voters registering in their own cities and towns. By disregarding, and in fact, ignoring and suppressing, community as an integral characteristic of American democratic processes, these Federal Acts of Congress have, over time, severely wounded the nation's democratic elections. Congress now has the opportunity to amend some of these past mistakes. We, ordinary American citizens, join hands with our embattled election officials, who have been struggling to keep our elections running in the face of these irreparable losses resulting from the dilution of community and the insertion of profit-driven industry. We join hands with our honorable public servants wishing to restore democratic elections to our communities. We offer our Remedies and Recommendations in our Request by Voters to Congress to amend the Holt Bill as a practical, feasible, affordable, and democratic means for achieving this worthy goal. Our solutions are not high tech, high cost, or profit-driven. Our solutions are community-based, workable, and achievable. Our Remedies and Recommendations, if incorporated into the Holt Bill and passed by Congress, will have a profound influence in restoring democratic elections to every jurisdiction in the nation. -- Sign our Letter to Congress, the Request by Voters
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