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February 5, 2006

The Volunteer Strike: Taking the Iniative back from our political 'leaders'

By Mary Kiraly

Until such time as we are confident that the election system, in the United States, will accurately (1) record, (2) count, and (3) preserve the ballots of American citizens, we will be withholding our valuable volunteer efforts to organize, recruit, and turnout voters.



As volunteers, we possess a valuable commodity- our time and our effort. Because this is a political year, our combined contributions provide us with powerful leverage to effect change. Our work is crucial to the success of political candidates and political parties. We man phone banks; raise funds; organize, register, and turn out voters; and serve on election day as judges, poll workers, election observers, and precinct officials. We have more power to change the system RIGHT NOW than we have ever imagined.

Why Strike?

We are gearing up for another very important election. As Volunteers, we are being asked to work harder and donate more than we have in the past. We are being told that we need to be better organized, to have a clearer message, and to reach out to more citizens.

But no one is telling us what will happen if this November we witness a repeat of the voting irregularities that have occurred in the past two elections. We know that we have a voting system that is in crisis. Our political leaders are refusing to address this issue. Our national elected officials are failing to act.

All across the United States, activists, just like us, are challenging their state’s election system. We have a responsibility to the voters that we organize, register, and encourage to vote. When voters go to the polls, they have a right to expect that they will have their ballots recorded and counted as they intended.

We have done our job well. More voters have participated in the political process, and donated to candidates, than at any time in our history. Now it is time to force our political leaders and elected officials to do their job!

We will demand that we have a secure, reliable, accessible voting system in this country. Such a system is not a legislative nicety. It is the Fundamental institution of our Democracy.

So we are going to change the debate. We are no longer willing to go to our elected officials and Party leaders, “cap in hand,” pleading with them to speak out, and to reform our election system. It is their responsibility, inherent in elected office, to provide American citizens with a secure, accurate, accessible system of voting.

Until such time as we are confident that the election system, in the United States, will accurately (1) record, (2) count, and (3) preserve the ballots of American citizens, we will be withholding
our valuable volunteer efforts to organize, recruit, and turnout voters.

Please sign and copy this petition. Send copies to: your county party Central Committee, the state chair of your Party, state legislators, your members of Congress, and to Howard Dean (DNC Chair) and Ken Mehlman (RNC Chair). Send faxes when possible. Fax numbers for elected officials can be found by going to, which will also provide links to state officials. Share this petition with other volunteers and friends.

You may wish to add the following phrase: If you are unaware of the threats to our voting systems, I would be happy to provide a briefing and sources for your consideration.

National Volunteer Strike and Petition

I am participating in a national campaign by volunteer activists. American citizens have a right to expect that their elected officials and leaders will provide them with a secure voting system.
A secure, accurate, accessible voting system is not just a legislative priority.

As a member of _ _____________________ _________________, it is essential that I have confidence that the work I do- to organize, register, and turn out voters- will be productive. For these efforts to be productive, we must have a secure voting system. _ _It is, therefore, essential that we have confidence (1) that our voting machines are recording and _counting votes accurately, and producing an audit-able paper trail; and (2) that the tabulators, into which the accumulated voting data is fed, are certified as secured against the possibility of tampering, or manipulation of the voting outcome. _ _Until such time as I have been assured that these criteria are being meet, it is inappropriate for me to dedicate my time and my effort to recruiting and turning out voters.
_Signed_____________________________________________________ Date______________
Address: ______________________________________________________________________
In the past, I have contributed my volunteer efforts in the following ways:

Volunteer Petition
The Honorable Howard Dean, MD
Democratic National Committee
430 S. Capitol St. SE _Washington, DC 20003
Fax: 202-863-8063

Mary Kiraly is a painter who, in addition to a degree in art and graduate work in studio art, has an M.A. in International Relations (in Strategic Studies). She has devoted much of her time and effort, over the past 3 years, to attemting to call attention to the suppression of the vote in this country. She can be reached at

Submitter: Joan Brunwasser

Submitters Website:

Submitters Bio:

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 transparency and the ability to accurately check and authenticate the vote cast, these systems can alter election results and therefore are simply antithetical to democratic principles and functioning.

Since the pivotal 2004 Presidential election, Joan has come to see the connection between a broken election system, a dysfunctional, corporate media and a total lack of campaign finance reform. This has led her to enlarge the parameters of her writing to include interviews with whistle-blowers and articulate others who give a view quite different from that presented by the mainstream media. She also turns the spotlight on activists and ordinary folks who are striving to make a difference, to clean up and improve their corner of the world. By focusing on these intrepid individuals, she gives hope and inspiration to those who might otherwise be turned off and alienated. She also interviews people in the arts in all their variations - authors, journalists, filmmakers, actors, playwrights, and artists. Why? The bottom line: without art and inspiration, we lose one of the best parts of ourselves. And we're all in this together. If Joan can keep even one of her fellow citizens going another day, she considers her job well done.

When Joan hit one million page views, OEN Managing Editor, Meryl Ann Butler interviewed her, turning interviewer briefly into interviewee. Read the interview here.

While the news is often quite depressing, Joan nevertheless strives to maintain her mantra: "Grab life now in an exuberant embrace!"

Joan has been Election Integrity Editor for OpEdNews since December, 2005. Her articles also appear at Huffington Post, RepublicMedia.TV and