Thursday, May 25, 2006

Verifying Votes:

Making a Paper Trail

If, when we were in school holding elections for Student Council, we were told we had to vote on "machines' devised by one of the candidate's supporters, we would have considered that outrageous and seen that as a red flag that there may be an intent to commit fraud when the votes were tallied. Why would we accept that now? In the last four elections the use of questionable machines has resulted in questionable elections. This is a big step by people in power to manipulate our precious votes and to keep us like sheep in pens, powerless and silent.

How did the voting tools and process ever get away from our control? It is imperative that the people control the voting systems, not the candidates or elected candidates. We have a vested interest in the voting process as it is one of the too few times we actually get to put our two cents in as to how our money is spent and how we like or don't like the direction the country is going.

November 2006 will be an election in which all the new voting machines are in place. This is the moment of truth for us. Will we accept results that come from these machines which have been imposed on us or will we devise a way to make sure every vote is recorded and counted?

Let's allow ourselves the option of jumping their fences and creating a paper trail at all the polling places. Using printed ballots and pen or pencil, we can help the voters leave a paper trail. In Germany all elections still use this method. It takes five days for civil servants to count the votes but the people are secure that every vote counts. Each polling committee could get ballots printed, secure them in locked boxes then count them under the scrutiny of community watchers. Simple and back to basics.

Putting Questions on the Ballot

Communities could also request that certain issues be put on the 2006 ballot. There are issues we are concerned about but that don't get addressed by our government. Why not get a direct vote from us as to how we want things handled?

Some issues that could be put to the vote are:

  • Do you want the US occupation of Iraq to end?
    How soon? - Three months - Six months - nine months - 12 months - let the politicians decide.
  • Do you want a National Health System?
  • Do you want impeachment hearings held now for this administration?
  • Do you want a legal investigation into the administration's intent and behavior leading into the War with Iraq?
  • Do you want an independent investigation of 9/11, its members, witnesses and questions chosen by the people.
  • Do you want a Constitutional Amendment that states 'Only human beings can be considered people or persons in our law. Only the humans of this nation have the rights as endowed by the Constitution." (Currently Corporations are considered by law to be 'persons' and compete with us for those rights.)
  • Do you want run-off voting in all elections? (In run-off voting, you get to vote for choice 1,2,and 3. If your #1 candidate does not get a 51% win, your vote goes to choice #2, failing his/her win, your vote goes to your third choice, #3.) Thus your vote is never wasted and allows the candidate most favored to win.
  • Do you want selections to be decided by popular vote?

    How about voting on whether we would want a national media system free of government and corporate influence, paid for with fees levied on the advertising revenue of the broadcasters who use our publicly owned airwaves for no cost at present. I think that among the citizens are plenty of people who could operate a national public media system well. We could vote on budget limits or getting the private banks out of the Federal Reserve. The potential is incredible.

    I think we should list and vote on issues that concern us. Clearly, we have lost many of our Congress people to special interests leaving us without representation. I would make the case that we have a good case for a class action suit claiming there should be "no taxation without representation."

    Meanwhile, why not take voting on issues into our own hands? I also believe that many non-voters would be interested in voting if their voice on issues would be heard.

    Ballot questions are a wonderful way for us to get out voices heard. It's our vote why not use it?

    The use of questionable machines to take our votes is a situation where we can make sure that votes are not lost or changed. As a grassroots movement, we can make sure a paper trail exists. It is our right as voters. Therefore, if every polling place meets to organize the logistics and the tools, (secure boxes, ballots, writing implements, staff) we will be sure that every vote counts. Please pass this on to everyone you know and let's be ready to make sure no fences corral our votes!

    Sue Dyer

    Guest Essayist

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