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Election Reform

Proposal: All Taxpayers Should Be Automatically Registered To Vote
27-Oct-04
Election Reform

Bob Fertik blogs, "Here's a simple proposal: Let's pass a law that automatically registers every taxpayer (and dependent) to vote. Why? Because the current voter registration system is insane - and because it would be so easy to do. All taxpayer records are computerized. They are kept exceptionally clean, so there are very few duplicates or errors... Politically, it's a win-win. Republicans would love this system because fraud would be practically non-existent. Democrats would love this system because every eligible citizen would be automatically registered to vote, saving hundreds of millions in voter registration drives and voter protection campaigns. Election officials would love this system because they would not have to maintain a massive database filled with errors large and small that cause nightmares before, during, and after Election Day. All in favor? "

San Francisco Pioneers Instant Runoff Voting
09-Aug-04
Election Reform

"In November, San Francisco will become the first U.S. city to adopt [instant runoff voting] since a short-lived experiment three decades ago in Michigan. Under the system, voters will rank their top three candidates in order of preference. If no one wins 50% of the votes when first choices are tallied, the candidate with the least number of votes is eliminated. The second choice of those voters is then added to the remaining candidates' tallies. The process continues until a majority winner emerges. The voting method has been touted recently by Howard Dean and John McCain... San Francisco requires majority - not plurality - wins in local elections, so it has relied heavily on costly runoffs that now will be eliminated. Backers say the system also gives voters greater choice by encouraging participation of minor candidates. Rather than throw away votes on candidates who are certain to lose, they say, residents now can still be heard when their second choices are tallied. "

Future of Gerrymandering Depends on Next Supreme Court
07-Jul-04
Election Reform

Herman Schwartz writes, "This April, in the case of Vieth v. Jubelirer, the Supreme Court came close to burying any hope of curing one of the worst diseases in our ailing democracy--the partisan gerrymander. Finding a cure is still possible but like so much else, it depends on the upcoming election. In a 4-1-4 decision, the Court let stand Pennsylvania's 2002 Congressional redistricting, in which a state that is evenly divided between Republicans and Democrats was gerrymandered to elect twelve Republicans and seven Democrats to Congress... Many problems with our electoral system are not easily remedied, but this one can be. Thanks to Anthony Kennedy and the Court's unanimous rejection of the Bandemer tests, lawyers and the lower courts can still attack severe partisan gerrymandering and now have a promising First Amendment approach. If President Bush is re-elected, however, and is able to appoint Justices like Scalia and Thomas, his favorites, that opportunity will evaporate. "

Let's Abolish the Electoral College
07-Jul-04
Election Reform

Rob Richie and Steven Hill write with so much at stake, "everyone should be involved, right? In a democracy, it's one person, one vote? There's just one problem: that's not the way we elect the president. We cling to a thoroughly outmoded Electoral College that divides us along regional lines, undercuts accountability, dampens voter participation, and can undermine legitimacy when the electoral vote trumps the national popular vote. As the bumper sticker notes, Democrats have to RE-defeat Bush this year because the Electoral College denied Al Gore's popular vote advantage of a half-million votes in 2000... With large majorities of Americans against the Electoral College, Democrats have nothing to fear in picking up on Hillary Clinton's call in November 2000 for a constitutional amendment for direct election. And they have much to gain: a unique opportunity to end an anti-democratic, 18th-century anachronism."

To Save Democracy, the Supreme Court Must Abolish Partisan Congressional Gerrymandering
15-Dec-03
Election Reform

PentaPost opines on Vieth v. Jubelirer: "Sophisticated computer technology now makes it possible to draw lines with unprecedented precision. As a result, elections for the House of Representatives have become something of a farce; results of almost all of them can be predicted the day the districts get drawn. Voting is little more than a formality. As more and more representatives answer only to their base, partisanship in Washington grows and compromise is frowned upon... The court's understandable inclination to stay out of partisan disputes has become untenable in cases like this, because the redistricting system cannot be fixed by traditional political means... Voters cannot register an objection - cannot meaningfully support reform - if the elections they vote in are all but predetermined. The court should draw its own line at the Pennsylvania gerrymandering; otherwise there will be no constraints, and the political system will continue sliding toward ossified polarization."

Support Paper Trail Decision by California's Secretary of State
29-Nov-03
Election Reform

From Kim Alexander, President of the California Voter Foundation: "Voter verified paper trail advocates won an important victory last week when California Secretary of State Kevin Shelley announced he will require voter verified paper audit trail of digital ballots by 2006. He has also taken several steps to improve election security in California immediately and beginning in 2005 will prohibit counties from purchasing computerized voting systems that lack a voter verified paper trail. His action makes California the first state in the country where computerized voting is already deployed to require a voter verified paper trail... It's important that Secretary Shelley hear from as many people as possible right now -- both inside and outside California -- who applaud his decision. Please take a moment to send him an email and share your thoughts -- you can write to: constituentaffairs@ss.ca.gov"

Stop the Florida-tion of the 2004 Election!
21-Jun-03
Election Reform

From WorkingForChange.com: "Today, there is a new and real threat to voters, this time coming from touchscreen voting machines with no paper trails and the computerized purges of voter rolls. You can join SCLC President Martin Luther King III and investigative reporter Greg Palast in opposing the 'Florida-tion' of the 2004 Presidential election by signing this petition. A complete copy of the petition will be delivered by Working Assets to Attorney General John Ashcroft." Sign the petition!

Two Courageous Children Spoke at San Diego Hearings on Election Voting Systems
01-Jun-03
Election Reform

"My name is Alex and I am 14 years old. I represent Democrats.com, the largest online community of Democrats, with 70,000 members. In one hour my dad wrote a vote-rigging program for a demonstration before the Democratic Central Committee of Orange County last week. This program contained security, testing and voter verification of the participant's votes so as to appear to be accurate and trustworthy. However when the votes were counted, all the participating members had voted for legalized child slave labor and for Osama Bin Laden for Governor. At least the computer said they did. Without a voter verifiable paper audit trail, no one could prove otherwise. The code contained less than 300 lines. There is no need for 200,000 lines of code unless a software company is planning to hide lines of rigging and this intent to rig should be assumed unless the code is short and the public can fully inspect the source code."

Rush Holt (D-NJ) Introduces Legislation to Require All Voting Machines to Produce a Voter-Verified Paper Trail
01-Jun-03
Election Reform

"Rep. Rush Holt [has] responded to the growing chorus of concern from election reform specialists and computer security experts about the integrity of future elections by introducing reform legislation, The Voter Confidence and Increased Accessibility Act of 2003. The measure would require all voting machines to produce an actual paper record by 2004 that voters can view to check the accuracy of their votes and that election officials can use to verify votes in the event of a computer malfunction, hacking, or other irregularity. Experts often refer to this paper record as a 'voter-verified paper trail. ''We cannot afford nor can we permit another major assault on the integrity of the American electoral process,' said Rep. Rush Holt." Tell your Congressperson to support this crucial legislation! House switchboard: (202)224-3121.

Peter Coyote's Open Letter to Barbara Boxer Warning of Voter Fraud
05-May-03
Election Reform

"I'm including a copy of a letter I sent to Barbara Boxer and my other representatives with the evidence accumulated of a potential 'November surprise'-- the rigging of the next Presidential vote by private, inaccessible, untransparent voting machines that leave no paper trail." From the letter to Boxer: "Unless the issue of voter fraud is elevated to an issue of national importance, not only is it highly probable that Democrats will lose again and again, but eventually voters will 'sense' even if they cannot prove, that elections are rigged, and the current 50% of those boycotting elections will swell to the majority. Privatization of the vote is tantamount to turning over the control of democracy to the corporate sector. I urge you to use your considerable powers and influence to address this issue."

Are American Elections Fixed? Don't Ask the Mainstream Media
13-Apr-03
Election Reform

Ernest Partridge writes: "If our elections are to be fair races, then neither party should have any objections to the adoption of rigorous validation procedures, most notably (a) random inspection of computer voting machines after the election, (b) publication of the software code, and (c) paper 'receipts' given to each voter to inspect upon completion of his voting, to be then deposited in a 'backup' ballot box. 'Backup' validations procedures, most notably a preservation of paper ballots, have been implicit in our elections from the very founding of our republic. Until now, that is. These methods for protecting our fundamental citizen rights to free and fair elections are simple, straightforward and compellingly obvious. Accordingly, if any political party or faction objects to such validation procedures, especially if supporters of that party manufacture, own, program and control those machines, we should immediately become suspicious and demand accountability."

Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr.'s Right to Vote Amendment to the Constitution
10-Mar-03
Election Reform

Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-IL) writes, "Most Americans believe the legal right to vote in our democracy is explicit (not just implicit) in our Constitution and laws. However, our Constitution only provides for nondiscrimination in voting on the basis of race, sex, and age in the 15th, 19th and 26th Amendments respectively. The U.S. Constitution contains no explicit right to vote! Even though the right to vote is the supreme right in a democracy, the Supreme Court in Bush v. Gore constantly reminded lawyers there is no explicit or fundamental right to suffrage in the Constitution. Chief Justice William Rehnquist and Associate Justice Antonin Scalia besieged Gore's lawyer with inquiries premised on the assumption there is no constitutional right of suffrage in the election of a president, and state legislatures have the legal power to choose presidential electors without recourse to a popular vote. Only a Voting Rights Amendment can fix these flaws."

Miami-Dade Election Reform Coalition Issues Outstanding Report on 2002 Elections
01-Dec-02
Election Reform

"The reforms that preceded the November 5th election were a step forward, [but] also represented a dangerous move toward the creation of a technology driven, 'police run' system of elections with few accounting safeguards... The framework for meaningful voter reform involves three key elements: (1) the broadest voter participation possible, through language assistance, early voting, absentee voting, provisional and substitute voting, and felon re-enfranchisement; (2) the creation of a system of voting with ample meaningful citizen participation, through returning to a process of civilian run elections and through the creation of a citizen's board of elections; and (3) the creation of a transparent system with adequate accounting safeguards, through the continued use of independent outside observers and through the implementation of financial audits of funds designated for the conduct of elections, the creation of accounting and procedural safeguards, data collection and analysis."

National Election Reform Conference to be Held in Fort Lauderdale, FL on 12/6
22-Nov-02
Election Reform

The Collins Center for Public Policy, Inc. (Tallahassee/Miami) in cooperation with the Cal Tech/MIT Voting Technology Project, The Century Foundation, and Electionline.org are sponsors of this national one-day conference on the impact of election reform on the November 2002 election cycle. We have invited Jeff Greenfield of CNN to be our keynote speaker and we will have election reform experts and journalists from across the country will present their analysis on issues like voter registration, voting technology, poll worker recruitment and training, voter education, convenience and absentee voting, and the new federal Help America Vote Act. For more information contact mpritchett@collinscenter.org or phone 850/219-0082 x105.

Let's DEMAND Touchscreen Voting Machines with Paper Backup
18-Nov-02
Election Reform

Kim Alexander writes, "Voters could cast ballots on computers that also print a paper version of the ballot that a voter can verify before it goes into a locked box to be counted alongside the digital ballots...The way touchscreens are currently used is fundamentally different from ATMs in several ways. Yes, the voting transaction is supposed to be secret, but your bank transaction - usually a very private matter - is known to your bank. The voting transaction gives nothing of record or value back at the end of the process, while the ATM transaction gives you money and/or a paper receipt that can be used to verify your transaction if needed. The ATM transaction, because it is not secret and because it is backed up both by a paper trail and a printed statement, can be recovered if lost; digital ballots cannot...Most touchscreen manufacturers say they can produce a paper trail but this feature is not fully developed on most systems and typically is not requested by election officials."

Underpaid Poll Workers are the 'Weakest Link' in Elections
05-Nov-02
Election Reform

NY Times reports, "'Poll workers are the weakest link in the chain,' said Conny B. McCormack, the Los Angeles County registrar-recorder... 'It's just very, very difficult to get people with any kind of skills to give up a day to work for a pittance.' Election officials say the problem is much worse than it used to be. In the past, [election officials] could count on a core group of stay-at-home women to run the polling places... The pool of women no longer exists, and officials in most places must rely on retirees. In some counties, the median age of poll workers is over 70... In most communities, poll workers are given a few hours of training at most. They must often be at the polls for 16 hours or more, from an hour before the polls open until a few hours after they close. Some jurisdictions pay only $50 or $75 for the long day. A few pay as much as $150."

Who Makes The Vote-Counting Machines? Republicans, Mostly
24-Oct-02
Election Reform

Internet activist Bev Harris exposes the dirty little secret of computerized voting: "Republican Senator Chuck Hagel was CEO, and his current campaign treasurer owns the voting machine company Election Systems & Software - the firm whose machines were involved in the 2002 flubbed Florida primary election. Election Systems Software is the company that now makes the voting machines for most of America [including Texas -- Ed]. It's a private company that does not like to tell the public who owns it. But at least one major shareholder is Michael R. McCarthy, who runs the McCarthy Group....Michael R. McCarthy is the current campaign Treasurer for Republican senator Chuck Hagel." Want more? "Election Systems & Software was formed by a merger of American Information Systems (AIS), a huge election company featuring several Republican owners, and Business Records Corp., part of Cronus Industries, in turn partially owned by a member of the Hunt oil family of Texas."

Problem-Plagued Touchscreen Manufacturer Is Owned by Senator Hagel's Campaign Treasurer
07-Oct-02
Election Reform

Talion.com reports, "The story is not about allegations of fraud - it's about an appearance of impropriety that is stunning in its magnitude. Unfettered by any disclosure regulations about ownership or political affiliations, just a few companies create and control almost all the voting machines in the U.S. Election Systems & Software, the firm whose machines were involved in the 2002 flubbed Florida primary election - and the company that now makes the voting machines for most of America - is a private company that does not like to tell the public who owns it. But at least one major shareholder is Michael R. McCarthy, who runs the McCarthy Group [and] is the current campaign Treasurer for Republican senator Chuck Hagel. Prior to his election, Republican Senator Hagel was president of McCarthy & Company. In fact, he was first elected while his own company was making the vote-counting machines!" We demand an investigation!

Congress Agrees to Election Reform Bill - Now Show Us the Money!
05-Oct-02
Election Reform

WashPost reports, "House and Senate negotiators agreed [last week] on legislation to revamp the nation's election system... The bill, which must be approved by the full House and Senate, would provide $3.9 billion in federal money over three years to the states to upgrade voting equipment, train poll workers and implement several new requirements aimed at averting a repetition of Florida's debacle... The bill authorizes $3 billion to help the states pay for meeting the new requirements, with the federal government paying 95 percent of the cost and the states 5 percent. The bill includes $325 million to replace punch-card and lever voting machines, $325 million to improve state election administration and $100 million to increase polling place access for the disabled." Now Congress has to appropriate these funds - which Republicans will fight tooth and nail. And then Bush can veto it. Don't hold your breath!

Jeb's Crony Appeals to Ashcroft to 'Ensure a Smooth General Election' in November
19-Sep-02
Election Reform

AP reports, "Florida asked the U.S. Justice Department... for its help in preventing another election mess in November. In a letter to Attorney General John Ashcroft, Florida Secretary of State Jim Smith [a Republican crony of Jeb, of course] said confidence in the state's efforts to reform its election system has been shaken by the problems in Miami-Dade and Broward counties during last week's Democratic primary... 'The fate of election reform in Florida - and perhaps our nation - rests upon an immediate and effective response,' Smith wrote.... The balloting this time was beset with equipment failures and human errors despite a $32 million overhaul of Florida's election system to get rid of punch-card ballots and install touch-screen voting machines." Of course, Ashcroft was supposed to investigate the crimes committed by Jeb & Katherine in stealing the 2002 election, but instead led a coverup. There's only one solution - defeat ALL Republicans!

Bush Blames Florida's Election Mess on Democrats
18-Sep-02
Election Reform

According to White House Spokespuppet Ari Fleischer, the malfunctioning machinery and other problems in the Florida primary were entirely the fault of Democratic elections supervisors. He conveniently overlooked the serious problems in Republican strongholds like Duval County. He declined to acknowledge the role of Katherine Harris in selecting the new voting machines, and her dereliction of her duty to ensure proper training for elections workers. He also neglected to mention that George Bush prevented money allocated by Congress for election reform from being disbursed, and that the Republicans in Congress have been holding up major election-reform legislation. What happened to that "responsibility era" George promised? Or did he mean he'd give us an "always somebody else's responsibility" era?

Voting Machine Problems Plague Florida Primary
18-Sep-02
Election Reform

Risks Digest reports, "Florida primary election marked its first large-scale roll-out of tens of thousands of brand-new voting machines that were promised to resolve the problems of the 2000 Presidential election.... Florida was forewarned about problems with some of their new machines when, in local municipal elections held back in March 2002, anomalies surfaced in Palm Beach County. Some voters submitted sworn affidavits to the state's 15th Circuit Court, attesting to problems ranging from a lack of privacy at the voting booth, to machines 'freezing up' until rebooted or reset, and voter cards being rejected. (The machines' testing method)... essentially meant that most of the new machines would get their first real use only at the actual election. (Not only does this testing lack rigour, but it only marginally complies with Florida election law.)" The machines cannot be inspected because it violates the secrecy clause of the vendor's purchase agreement.

Jeb Bush and Katherine Harris Failed Again
10-Sep-02
Election Reform

Turning back the clock, we saw a state that had a disastrous and corrupt election. Today we saw the same things. Florida did not open some polling places for 5 hours after the state law mandates it. Thousands of voters were turned away again. Jeb Bush has got to take responsibility for this. The second question is what was Katherine Harris doing for most of this year? Obviously she wasn't doing her job, and instead, she ran her own campaign while she should have been serving the people of Florida. She also failed to follow the law and she did not resign her position soon enough to run in the district she is now running in. Once again these people have no shame. The good people of Florida should immediately demand Jeb's resignation, and Harris should be disqualified for her clear incompetence and voter disenfrachisement. Do you really think it is a cooincidence that the main problem areas were Miami/Dade and Broward again? They must be practicing to steal the 2004 election for W.

On Florida's Primary Day, New Touchscreen Machines Fail Miserably
10-Sep-02
Election Reform

The pundits who believe new voting machines are a panacea for election-day problems in Florida - and around the country - got a rude wake-up call today as Florida voters went to the polls for their primary. With brand new (and hence unfamiliar) touchscreen machines, and newly assigned voting places, Florida was once again a disaster waiting to happen. And it happened...

Florida's Election 'Reforms' STILL Discriminate Against Black Voters
04-Sep-02
Election Reform

The Miami Herald reports, "U.S. Rep. Carrie Meek stopped by a Miami library branch Tuesday to cast her absentee ballot for next week's primary -- only to get turned away because a county computer couldn't verify the 10-year congresswoman was an eligible voter. 'I thought the problems of the 2000 election were behind us. Apparently, they're not,' Meek, D-Miami, said Tuesday. 'They did not have a [working] computer and the staff was not properly trained.'" Jeb Crow Bush does NOT want African-Americans to vote - we demand UN election inspectors for Florida elections!

NAACP Finds Election Reform Efforts Have Failed
08-Jul-02
Election Reform

"An NAACP report inspired by the 2000 presidential election, when thousands of minority voters' ballots didn't count, has found that most states have made little progress in reforming their election systems. Six states received failing grades... DE, ND, PA, TN, TX and VT... 'Two years later, we are now on the verge of midterm elections,' [Kweisi] Mfume said, yet people are still wondering when local, state and federal governments will work together to protect 'the right of all Americans to be able to cast a free and unfettered vote, and the right of those Americans to have every belief that vote will be counted and protected'... In calling for reform, Mfume cited the 2000 presidential election, in which the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights found that black Florida voters' ballots were disproportionately tossed out and the election was plagued by faulty machinery. Black voters were nearly 10 times as likely as nonblack voters to have their ballots rejected in Florida."

Jeb & Katherine Are AWOL, But Local Activists Keep Fighting for Election Reform
21-Jun-02
Election Reform

"Led off by state Sen. Kendrick Meek, speakers at a daylong session in downtown Miami complained the state had not provided enough funds or time to educate voters about the new equipment or address accessibility issues for disabled voters and those not proficient in English language. They predicted that new polling procedures and redistricting changes will create major problems in the upcoming Sept. 10 primary, when 41 of Florida's 67 counties will be required to use new voting equipment... In her opening statement, [Civil Rights Commission Chair Mary Frances] Berry said the commission had invited Gov. Jeb Bush and Secretary of State Katherine Harris... to give a first-hand update on the reforms. But none of them appeared. 'The commission is especially disappointed that Bush declined to join us, and did not send a representative because of his earlier statements that he would cooperate with this commission and would do so without a subpoena compelling him to do so,' Berry said. "

The Hi-Tech Chad: Florida Will Be a Disaster Again
21-Jun-02
Election Reform

Good news, Florida updated their voting equipment. Bad news, they don't have enough money to train voters on how to use them. Ion V. Sancho, the Leon County elections supervisor, said the Republican state legislature did not set aside enough money for efforts to teach voters how to use the new equipment. For example, he said, voters who touch an electronic screen to choose a candidate would deselect their votes if they touched the screen a second time to make sure the selection was made. "You have to train the voter," Sancho said. "You have to tell them what you can't do in order to not lose your vote...I do expect that there will be some confusion at the polls in September" Why doesn't Florida just make nameless ballots? Voter intent obviously will not matter as long as King George is around. Ay Carumba!

Don't Let Election Reform Become Another GOP Attack on Voting Rights and Privacy
12-Jun-02
Election Reform

"Both the House and Senate have now passed legislation in response to the 2000 election. Unfortunately, both the House bill (H.R. 3295) and the Senate version (S. 565) contain measures that would threaten individual privacy and voter participation. House and Senate negotiators are now meeting to resolve the differences in their bills; now is the time to press them to remove these harmful provisions. The House bill fails to establish strong uniform standards for voting technology and procedures. But the Senate-adopted bill is even worse. It includes photo identification requirements for first-time voters that would effectively prevent many eligible citizens from voting... [And it] would allow state officials to invade the privacy of voters and require them to disclose their Social Security numbers to vote... Negotiators must be reminded that their task is to guarantee that everyone eligible to vote... be allowed to participate in our democracy." Send a free fax, courtesy of the ACLU.

Sign the Free Air Time Declaration
07-Jun-02
Election Reform

"I believe in a fair and open democratic process that allows for a free exchange of ideas among a wide range of candidates, regardless of their wealth. To help our democracy attain this ideal, I support proposals to require that broadcasters, as a condition of receiving their free licenses to use our public airwaves, provide free air time for candidates immediately before all elections." Sign the declaration, sponsored by the Alliance for Better Campaigns.

New York's Voting Machines Date from the Stone Age
03-Jun-02
Election Reform

"New York City [is buying] nearly 300 voting machines - the famed Shoup 3.2, which traces its lineage back to a Thomas Edison patent - from six rural counties in Georgia. 'Of course, we're buying them from Georgia,' said Joe Gentile, deputy director of the Board of Elections. 'Where do you want me to get them from, Albania?' Don't blame Gentile; his hands are tied. The Shoup 3.2 is one of only two voting machines approved for use by the state of NY. And it has not been manufactured since 1962. In order to maintain the city's creaky 7,100 voting machines until NY state approves a new voting system, the Board of Elections must buy Shoup 3.2's whenever - wherever - they become available and cannibalize them for parts. Georgia is happy to get rid of them, said Donald 'Hoppy' Royston, election superintendent in Madison County, which is selling us 45 machines. 'Our secretary of state doesn't like those machines,' Royston said. 'She wanted to dump 'em in the ocean to make artificial reefs.'"

Florida's Voting Machine Suppliers Make Corrupt Deals with Republicans
29-May-02
Election Reform

Election 2002 is approaching, but Florida Republicans are STILL making corrupt deals with the companies whose computers will be used to count - or scrub - the votes. According to the AP, "At least five companies whose state contracts were questioned recently in an audit of the State Technology Office have given money to the Republican party and various political candidates. Accenture LLP, Gartner Inc., Information Systems of Florida, KPMG Consulting and Oracle, their corporate officials and representatives have given campaign contributions to the party and candidates who could make decisions about state technology purchases, the Tallahassee Democrat reported Tuesday. Auditors in Comptroller Bob Milligan's office said in a draft report this month the state office that coordinates technology purchases paid for work with no proof it was completed and contracted firms for expensive jobs with only oral agreements."

Leon County Settles Voter Disenfranchisement Lawsuit
28-Apr-02
Election Reform

Leon County FL has reached a settlement agreement with civil rights groups who sued over the voter disenfranchisement during Selection 2000. "The groups that sued agreed that the settlement 'achieves some if not all of the relief' they could have obtained at trial, according to the court order dropping Leon from the lawsuit last week… Under the settlement, both sides will work to restore voters who were wrongly removed from voters lists in the 2000 election… The county also agreed to improve communication and training for staffers who work on election day." Federal election law prohibits any state or political subdivision from imposing a voting practice that results in the denial of the right to vote. Now what about the rest of Florida 67 counties???

Touch Screen Voting Machines Fail in Palm Beach's First Election
13-Apr-02
Election Reform

In the Palm Beach village of Wellington, "Councilman Al Paglia filed a lawsuit Friday in Palm Beach County Circuit Court contesting his loss in the March 26 election. Paglia lost to Lizbeth Benacquisto by four votes in an election that also registered 78 under-votes... In the affidavits, voters said they weren't allowed to vote in secrecy, the screens didn't register a vote when they touched it, and that the machine froze, wouldn't let them choose between English or Spanish, and spit out their activation cards." Holy toledo - after spending a small fortune, Theresa LePore STILL can't run an election in which EVERY VOTE COUNTS???

'Instant Runoff Voting' Wins Big in San Francisco and Vermont
07-Mar-02
Election Reform

"The 2002 election cycle started with a bang yesterday, with reformers winning big in ground-breaking votes on instant runoff voting in San Francisco and town meetings across Vermont. San Franciscans voted 56%-44% to adopt instant runoff voting for electing its most powerful elected leaders despite well-funded opposition from backers of traditional 'delayed' runoffs. A Vermont League of Women Voters proposal to use instant runoff voting for statewide elections swept nearly every town meeting debating the issue. Rob Richie, director of the Center for Voting and Democracy, commented, 'Even as Congress moves toward apparent passage of bills to ban soft money in campaigns and modernize the way we run elections, the thirst for a better democracy will continue. In cities and states around the nation, democracy advocates are involved in new efforts to improve our politics. Instant runoff voting is an essential component of the future of reform."

Theresa LePore Sets the Stage for Another Election Fiasco - Call Her and Complain
02-Mar-02
Election Reform

Palm Beach County has installed new touch-screen voting machines to try to fix the problems caused by punch cards and the infamous butterfly ballot in 2000. But Tony Fransetta, President of the Florida Alliance for Retired Americans says Election Supervisor Theresa LePore refuses to help seniors learn how to use the new machines. "I've been hounding her office for months. Making sure that the large senior population in Palm Beach County is comfortable using these machines is a tremendous priority for us, and we've offered our assistance in every way possible, but the elections office has been less than cooperative. They keep telling us that they're doing demonstrations all over the county, but they won't give us a calendar. They tell us that they'll come to events we schedule, but they won't tell us how to schedule them." Call Theresa LePore at 561-656-6200 and tell her to either quit ignoring senior citizens - or just plain quit!

Senate Republicans May Block Election Reform - Call Your Senators Today!
26-Feb-02
Election Reform

The Senate is finally considering legislation to spend $3.4 billion to upgrade antiquated voting systems, including infamous punch card systems. But Senate Republicans are insisting on photo ID's for voting - just another measure to limit our constitutional freedom and to exclude people on the margins of society, including poor and homeless Americans. They are opposing the Schumer/Wyden Amendment to accept signatures at polling places, as is currently the case. Republicans also oppose an amendment by Robert Torricelli (D-NJ) to require broadcasters to offer discounts for political ads. This is crucial, because most campaign money goes into TV, so the only way to reduce the level of political corruption is to reduce the cost of TV advertising - which should really be free, since WE THE PEOPLE own the airwaves. Call your Senators (202-224-3121) and tell them to vote for the Schumer/Wyden and Toricelli amendments to the Election Reform bill, S. 565.

Tell the Senate to Drop the Photo ID Requirement from Election Reform
21-Feb-02
Election Reform

In the dark of night, some Republican evildoers slipped a photo ID requirement into S. 565, the bill intended to fix some of the 2000 election problems. There is no justification for this requirement - it simply more of the Gestapo mentality of the GOP: "Your papers, please!" The only terrorists that were ever spotted in America's election precincts worked for Katherine Harris. Send a free fax to Congress (don't worry - it's much more boring than this) courtesy of the ACLU.

Senate Will Vote on Key Election Reform Issues Next Week
21-Feb-02
Election Reform

The League of Women Voters (LWV) is working with Senator Chris Dodd to improve his Election Reform Bill, S. 565. This is the ONLY bill that would correct some of the fundamental election problems that were revealed in 2000. Use the LWV Web site to urge your Senators to vote for several key amendments.

Is Voter Turnout In Decline? NO - It's a MYTH!
20-Feb-02
Election Reform

Most political observers believe that voter turnout is in decline, thanks to statistics published by the Center for the Study of the American Electorate. Unfortunately, CSAE fails to exclude ineligible voters - like felons and non-citizens - from the total of supposedly "eligible" voters. Political scientists Michael McDonald and Samuel Popkin have done their homework, and discovered that 55.6% of all eligible voters cast votes in 2000, significantly higher than the 51.2% reported by CSAE. As Newsweek's Jonathan Alter writes, "there has been no significant decline in national turnout since 1972 and in the South (thanks to the civil-rights revolution) it is up considerably. All told, participation is in the 54 to 57% range and remarkably stable... We're about as committed - or apathetic - as our grandparents were."

John Conyers Demands Real Election Reform to End Voter Disenfranchisement
30-Jan-02
Election Reform

"A sad reality is that almost four decades since the passage of the Voting Rights Act, the disenfranchised are overwhelmingly people of color. In Florida in 2000, African-American voters were nearly 10 times as likely as whites to have their ballots discarded. Voters in low-income, high-minority districts were more than three times as likely to have their votes for president discarded as voters in high-income, low-minority districts. The lesson in Florida was that notwithstanding the great work of many states and localities, one rogue state can disrupt a federal election and disenfranchise thousands. Election reform is necessary to preserve our system of democracy, and it is the foremost civil rights issue of our day." So writes John Conyers Jr., the ranking Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee.

500 Floridians Pack Ft. Lauderdale Church to Demand Election Reform
10-Jan-02
Election Reform

"'It was not just African-American citizens that were disenfranchised. It was every walk of life,' said U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings, D-Miramar. 'A lot of people got stepped on in that election.' More than a year after the Florida election fiasco revealed serious flaws in how votes are cast and counted, Hastings urged blacks not only to educate themselves about voting rights but also to encourage the federal government to provide money for election reform. In a historic vote, the U.S. House of Representatives -- with Hastings' support -- in December approved $2.65 billion to improve the nation's voting systems. If an election reform bill becomes law with U.S. Senate approval, it would be the first time Congress allocated federal funds for elections, a state and local function. 'Raise your voices! Raise your money!' Hastings told the crowd, prompting a standing ovation." So reports the Miami Herald.

Theft of the Presidency Day 392: Republicans Push Bogus Election 'Reform' Bill
04-Dec-01
Election Reform

"While the Ney-Hoyer bill has been reported to be the cure-all for America's election ills, little attention has been given to opt-out provisions that allow any state to avoid complying with the bill's election reforms as well as existing federal election standards. As a result, this legislation would be ineffective in addressing the disparities in voting equipment, as well as the serious problems facing language minorities and persons with disabilities. In fact, because of its opt-out provisions, Ney-Hoyer could set us back... As written the Ney/Hoyer bill would not have prevented any of the problems that occurred during the 2000 elections. We must remind our elected officials that voting is not merely our constitutional right; it is the mechanism by which we participate in our democracy. We must call on them now to ensure that the solution does indeed solve the problem." Send a free fax to Congress, courtesy of the ACLU.

Former TV News Exec Urges End to Electoral College
16-Nov-01
Election Reform

"Electing our leaders every four years ought not to be a parlor game in which campaign commanders (and network know-it-alls) block out red states for one side and blue states for the other and then put all their chips on the 'battleground states' in gray. Whether you're a Democrat in Utah or Texas, or a Republican in Rhode Island or New York, your vote ought to count as much as anyone's in Florida, Pennsylvania or Wisconsin. There's been enough talk about fixing the voting machines. It's time to fix the Electoral College." So writes Martin Plissner, former executive political director of CBS News.

Why Is The Electoral College Still There?
15-Nov-01
Election Reform

Slate's Timothy Noah writes, "For Chatterbox, the bitterest disappointment of the year following the Bush-Gore Long Count is the absence of serious discussion about abolishing the Electoral College. After 1976, the mere (and unrealized) possibility that Gerald Ford might have won re-election based solely on an Electoral College majority spooked the country into a serious national discussion about getting rid of the Electoral College... In 2000, by contrast, George W. Bush really did win the presidency based solely on an Electoral College majority. The collective will of the voters was ignored. Yet this time, not even Democrats, who would have won had there been no Electoral College, showed much interest in abolishing it. Journalists and political scientists have tended to give the issue ridiculously short shrift as well. What possible arguments could there be for denying the presidency to the guy who gets the most votes?" We certainly can't think of any.

House Democrats Urge Election Reform
15-Nov-01
Election Reform

"In the wake of the 2000 election, it is important to affirm the principle that ensuring each vote cast is counted is the bedrock of our democracy. A little over one year has passed since the unprecedented breakdown in our election process and Congress has yet to pass much-needed legislation to reform the way we count and cast votes. Based on the testimony of hundreds of voters across America, Democrats propose a plan to fix our election system. Our plan ensures that the civil rights of all Americans will be safeguarded. In addition to providing adequate federal resources for oversight of federal elections, our plan addresses issues such as voter education, training of election officials and voting access for the disabled and language minorities. Reforming our election system is a national priority because it keeps our democracy strong and vibrant." So writes House Democratic Leader Dick Gephardt.

Wisconsin Republicans Want Photo ID's to Disenfranchise Black Voters
10-Nov-01
Election Reform

"For the third time since the heated 2000 presidential election, [Wisconsin's Republican] state Assembly voted Thursday to require Wisconsin voters to show a photo ID before casting ballots. The 61-36 vote came despite repeated emotional charges from Democrats that the measure would keep minorities, especially in Milwaukee, from voting. If it became law, it would 'devastate' the number of African-American voters in Milwaukee, Rep. Leon Young (D-Milwaukee) said... Democrats said the photo ID requirement amounts to rewriting state election laws only because…Al Gore carried Wisconsin. They also said it would punish and hinder minorities, the poor and senior citizens. 'Al Gore took Wisconsin,' said Rep. Johnnie Morris-Tatum (D-Milwaukee), one of six African-American members of the Assembly. 'Now we have to change the rules. 'I'm not the enemy; people who look like me are not the enemy. If you want to skew elections, then I guess we are the enemy.'"

House Democrats Unveil Election Reform Plan
09-Nov-01
Election Reform

After House Republicans refused to participate in a bipartisan effort to fix our broken election system, Democrats formed a task force led by Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA). They held hearings around the country, analyzed the problems in depth, and issued a comprehensive report.

Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. Calls for 'Right to Vote' Constitutional Amendment
08-Nov-01
Election Reform

On the 1 year anniversary of the Stolen Election, Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-IL) held a press conference in front of the Supreme Court to announce his introduction of a Constitutional Amendment that would guarantee Americans the right to vote in Presidential elections. "Most Americans will be shocked, appalled and outraged to learn that their Constitution does not grant them the right to vote..." Jackson said, recalling Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia's admonition to Al Gore's lawyers during last year's Florida dispute that no such protection exists. "Even though the right to vote is the supreme right in a democracy, the Supreme Court in Bush v. Gore told Americans there is no explicit fundamental right to suffrage in the Constitution." (Second article after The Nation's re-cap of the NORC recount results).

GAO Study Confirms Need for Election Reform
16-Oct-01
Election Reform

"More than half the voting jurisdictions nationwide experienced problems conducting the 2000 election that involved problems with equipment, poll workers and procedures for overseas ballots, says a report by the General Accounting Office... The GAO study found that 57 percent of voting jurisdictions nationwide had significant problems…The investigation found that many poll workers had little or no training. 'There was a wide range of problems, from inaccurate voter registration lists to difficulty in recruiting workers, to making polling places accessible, to needing more voting assistance for military and overseas voters, to a lack of guidance on how to handle mismarked ballots,' said David Walker, U.S. comptroller general... 'This report reminds us that Congress needs to fix our election systems as soon as possible so the changes may be in place for the 2002 election,' [Senator Chris] Dodd said."

Tallahassee Democrat Investigates Democrats.com Expose' on Secret Felon Purge
31-Aug-01
Election Reform

The Tallahassee Democrat is one of many newspapers across the country that calls itself "Democrat," but has no detectable connection to the Democratic Party or its principles. Still, we were happy that TalDem reporter Nancy Lauer followed up on the Democrats.com expose by Paul Lukasiak (http://democrats.com/view.cfm?id=4169) about Florida's NEW Secret Felon Purge. Once again, Katherine Harris' office told Lauer that Harris doesn't "intend" to enforce the law. But who can believe anything Katherine Harris says? We demand a clear and unambiguous written declaration - with no hanging or dimpled chads! And we also want to know WHO inserted this secret provision into the law?

House Judiciary Democrats Count over 1.2 MILLION Discarded Ballots in 2000
22-Aug-01
Election Reform

Rep. John Conyers Jr. (D-MI), the ranking Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee, released a detailed report documenting the problems in the 2000 Presidential election in ALL 50 STATES. On close inspection, the problems found in Florida were replicated across the country. Conyers found 1,276,916 discarded or unrecorded Presidential ballots in 31 states and DC; 19 states don't even bother to count them. In at least four states, the number of uncounted ballots exceeded the margin of victory. If there had been a recount, 38 states would have failed the Supreme Court's constitutional standard adopted in Bush v. Gore. Conyers, along with Senator Chris Dodd (D-CT), has proposed spending $3.5 billion to upgrade voting systems nationally.

Justice Department Blocks 8 Provisions in Florida's Election Reform Law
21-Aug-01
Election Reform

"The U.S. Justice Department blocked implementation of part of the voting reform package that Florida adopted after the November presidential election, seeking more data to decide if it discriminated against minorities... The Justice Department action came at the request of a voting rights coalition led by the American Civil Liberties Union, which also sued in a federal court in Miami last week to block provisions of the new law that it said discriminated against members of minority groups." The challenged provisions include the posting of a list of "voters' responsibilities," which amounts to an illegal "literacy test," as well as the felons purge scheduled for 2002. The Justice Department's action does not address the secret felon purge law for 2001, which was recently exposed by Democrats.com (http://democrats.com/view.cfm?id=4169).

Democrats.com Exclusive: Florida Legislature Secretly Authorized A New Felons Purge for 2001
20-Aug-01
Election Reform

Democrats.com has learned that Florida has passed a secret new felons purge law for 2001. This law allows the Republican-controlled Florida Division of Elections to send lists of voters that it "believes" are felons to county election supervisors for purging. As before, the disenfranchised voters would be predominantly African-Americans. Finally, the new purge law uses the state funds that were set aside to help counties buy new voting equipment - and prevent a repeat of the 2000 election fiasco.

Support the Dodd/Daschle/Conyers Election Reform Bill
12-Aug-01
Election Reform

Sen. Christopher Dodd (D-CT) and Sen. Thomas Daschle (D-SD) and Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) introduced the "Equal Protection of Voting Rights Act," (S.565, H.R. 1170). This would require that, for federal elections, all voting machines must meet the same high performance standard, all voters must receive a sample ballot well before going to the polls and no voter should be turned away from the polls simply because of confused records. It would create a matching grant program for states to upgrade their technology, and establish a bipartisan blue-ribbon commission in charge of studying voting inequities and recommending a remedy. By establishing basic standards for federal elections, providing funding to states, and ensuring voting access, the Dodd/Conyers legislation will make the guarantee of one person-one vote a reality. Send a free fax to Congress, courtesy of the ACLU.

California Civil Rights Leaders Call for Election Reform
12-Aug-01
Election Reform

The Democratic Caucus Special Committee on Election Reform traveled to Los Angeles for its sixth and final public hearing on election reform. "Panelists and speakers urged Congress to set national standards for counting votes, designate presidential election days as national holidays so workers would have time to vote and provide funding to replace outdated voting machines. 'The vote is crucial for us to have a voice,' said the Rev. G. Lind Taylor of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference."

Senate Republicans Can Dish it Out, But They Sure Can't Take It
05-Aug-01
Election Reform

From 1995 until July, conservative Republicans ruled the Senate with an iron fist, and never let Democrats propose legislation they opposed. But now that they are in the minority, Republicans are throwing temper tantrums. Senator Mitch McConnell - the Darth Vader of campaign finance reform - marched his fellow Republicans out of a Rules Committee meeting where Democrats endorsed Senator Chris Dodd's comprehensive election reform bill. McConnell could have offered his alternative, but he would have lost because he doesn't have enough votes. Hey Mitch - you're just a sore loser!

Bush 'Bushits' on Carter-Ford Plan
01-Aug-01
Election Reform

Bush refused to endorse the 13 specific recommendations of the Carter-Ford plan. "Mr. Bush, careful to avoid committing himself to any specific recommendation, said he supported four broad goals: keeping the primary responsibility for elections with the states [which BUSH betrayed in 2000 by forcing the Florida dispute into FEDERAL court]; limiting the role of the federal government to helping states with technology [which the Felonious Five betrayed by rejecting Florida's manual recount]; enforcing voting rights [which Florida Republicans betrayed by preventing tens of thousands of blacks from voting]; and upholding the voting rights of members of the armed services" [whose ILLEGAL votes were counted by Republicans]. As usual, Bush lied when he declared: "Our American democracy is really an inspiration to the world" - in fact, the world sees the 2000 election as proof that America no longer HAS a democracy. And once again, Bush refused to acknowledge that he STOLE the presidency.

Carter-Ford Election Reform Plan - Let's Do It
01-Aug-01
Election Reform

The Carter-Ford election reform plan sets forth 13 important policy recommendations, including uniform registration, provisional ballots, holiday voting, restoring felons' voting rights, 2% error rate limits, voting machine standards, valid vote standards, and delays in TV network projections. We support all of these recommendations. Congress needs to get to work immediately to fix the system in time for the 2002 elections, which will soon be upon us.

Jimmy Carter Says Manual Ballot Counting Works Everywhere in the World - Except in Florida
29-Jul-01
Election Reform

MIT and Caltech recently reported that US voting technology produces a 5% error rate. But according to Jimmy Carter, "We have practically no errors in the elections we monitor overseas because each vote is counted in the presence of the voting officials and the leading representatives and observers of the major parties, sometimes two parties and three parties or more. And they count their ballots very carefully. They hold up each one so that everybody can see that it is marked properly. They are very accommodating for people who are illiterate or confused. They'll have their name of the party and the candidate. They'll have the symbol, which might be a rooster, an ear of corn, or it might be a palm tree. They also have a photograph of the candidate. So if you put a cross mark in any one of those three places, then you have voted, and it's counted. We have a very sad and, I would say, embarrassing system of voting. The error rate is enormous."

4-6 MILLION Votes Went Uncounted in 2000
16-Jul-01
Election Reform

Problems with ballots, equipment, voter registration and polling places are to blame for the 4 million to 6 million uncounted votes in the last presidential election, according to a study by scientists and engineers at MIT and CalTech. "The survey suggests immediate reforms that could cut the number of lost votes by half for the 2004 elections. Those reforms include installing machines that scan paper ballots immediately at the polling place, and making voter registration information available to workers at polling stations. Although the study was born in the wake of the Florida recounts, it finds that the voting and vote-counting problems in Florida were not the worst in the country. Illinois, South Carolina, Idaho, Wyoming and Georgia all had higher rates of spoiled, unmarked or uncounted ballots in the 2000 presidential election. Some cities, including Chicago and New York, had rates of unmarked, uncounted and spoiled ballots well in excess of the state of Florida."

Votes of Poor Are Discarded 3 Times More than Votes of Rich Across the US
10-Jul-01
Election Reform

The Democratic staff of the House Government Reform Committee studied 40 Congressional districts in 20 states, and found that the votes of the wealthy are counted more than the votes of the poor. "The study found that 4 percent of all ballots cast in the low-income districts were not tallied for the presidential race, compared with 1.2 percent in the higher-income districts. In two low-income districts, about 1 in 12 ballots -- 7.9 percent -- was not counted in the presidential race, while the lowest error in one of the more affluent districts was 0.4 percent." This is a national scandal - and Congress must pass Senator Chris Dodd's bill setting national standards for elections - and allocating money to pay for modern equipment.

Congressional Committee On Election Reform To Visit Jacksonville on Thursday, June 18
13-Jun-01
Election Reform

Congresswoman Corrine Brown announced that the House Democratic Caucus Special Committee on Election Reform will hold a hearing in Jacksonville on June 18. The Special Committee on Election Reform was formed by House Minority Leader Richard Gephardt in February and its charge is to gather information from across the country regarding election problems and proposed solutions, as well as make recommendations about potential legislation. Brown invited the committee to hold hearings in Jacksonville because of the voting irregularities that occurred throughout Duval county during the last presidential election. The committee is expected to identify funding possibilities, provide information on new technology, and make recommendations for national voting standards. Members of the special committee who will participate in the hearing include Chairwoman Maxine Waters, Congressman David Price, Congressman Alcee Hastings, and Congresswoman Corrine Brown.

Felon Purges Are Spreading Like Cancer
11-Jun-01
Election Reform

Florida's felon purge illegally removed thousands of voters - mostly black - from the voter rolls. This was largely because of "fuzzy" programming - such as an 80% match of the letters in the last name. But this fraud-prone practice was recently adopted by state legislatures in CO, GA, IN, KS, MT, SD, TX, VA, and WA. Moreover, 16 other states are considering such bills. Meanwhile in Congress, "Sen. Christopher S. Bond (R-Mo.) has introduced a bill in which certain conditions in any state would trigger mandatory voter list purges." This is exactly the WRONG approach, as reporter Greg Palast details in this important article. Tell your Senators: outlaw felon purges!

DNC's Voting Rights Institute in Newark on Tuesday
20-May-01
Election Reform

On Tuesday, May 22, the Voting Rights Institute will be holding the second in its series of regional hearings in Newark, New Jersey. The hearing will take place at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center, Victoria Theater, One Center Street. If you would like to attend, please RSVP by calling 800-695-1023.

Supreme Court's Ruling in 'Bush v. Gore' is Basis for Challenges to Several State Election Systems
15-May-01
Election Reform

"The Supreme Court engaged in a lawless act on Dec. 12 and wrote a shoddy, ridiculous opinion. But now it's law." So says says Jack M. Balkin, Knight Professor of Constitutional Law and the First Amendment at Yale Law School. Suits in Florida, Georgia, Illinois and California, brought on behalf of minority voters, are based squarely on Bush v. Gore, in which the U.S. Supreme Court applied the 14th Amendment's equal protection clause to deny a manual recount of Florida ballots. Those bringing the suits seek to extend the principle to equipment. They contend that error-prone punch-card voting machines abridge rights as much as inconsistencies in recounting ballots, particularly when it comes to minority voters, who live in greater numbers in areas where those machines are used.

Hollings and McCain Push Election Reform Bill
08-May-01
Election Reform

Senators Fritz Hollings (D-SC) and John McCain (R-AZ), who head the Senate Commerce Committee, are moving ahead with an election reform bill that could spend as much as $1 billion to upgrade voting equipment nationally. Across the US, an estimated 2.5 million of the more than 100 million ballots cast were never counted. The Republican leadership and George W. Bush think that's just fine, and will fight change to the death. Once again, it will take a coalition of ALL Democrats and a couple of Republicans to bring about long-overdue and badly-needed changes. Why isn't the media pounding on the Republicans who don't want to count every vote? It's pro-Republican media bias, Howie Kurtz.

This President Doesn't Want Voting Rights for All
07-May-01
Election Reform

"Baseball, yes. Voting rights, no. The president is a plain-spoken man. He has made clear his intentions toward his 570,000 fellow residents of Washington, D.C.: Let them eat peanuts. President George W. Bush says he 'absolutely' wants the District of Columbia to get a baseball team. But not, he said in the same interview, representation in Congress. 'I'm against the full voting rights,' the president of the United States told The Washington Post." So writes columnist Marie Cocco in Newsday.

DNC Launches Voting Rights Institute; First Hearings in South Florida on Monday May 7th
04-May-01
Election Reform

Earlier this year the Democratic National Committee created a Voting Rights Institute to provide legal, technical and political support to state and local parties and Democratic candidates to ensure that all elections are conducted in compliance with civil rights laws, voting rights laws, and election laws. The VRI's first public hearing will take place Monday May 7th in Palm Beach County Florida. We urge Democrats in South Florida to attend: Sun Coast Community High School, Riviera Beach, Florida beginning at 8:00A. For more information or to RSVP you can call the VRI at 800-695-1023 or the Palm Beach County Democratic Party at 561-279-2310.

Florida Legislature Bans Punch Cards But Preserves Racist Felon Policy
03-May-01
Election Reform

Florida's legislature will vote to ban punch cards as part of a minimal election reform bill. The state will provide $12 million to help counties upgrade to optical scanners with instant-check verification, which produced the lowest error rates in 2000. But in order to keep Jeb from being swept out of office, they prohibited matching funds for out-of-state contributions. And they maintained the racist denial of voting rights to ex-felons - and budgeted another $2 million for more fraudulent felon purges.

With Republicans in Charge, Election Reform is Going Nowhere Fast
26-Apr-01
Election Reform

Nearly 6 months after Florida's election meltdown, the Republican Congress held its very first hearings on Election Reform. Katherine Harris pleaded for the Federal government to send money to the states to help pay for improvements, but Republicans insist on their "greed before need" budget. But the bigger scandal - which goes unreported in any US media outlet - is that Republicans really don't WANT Americans to vote. Interesting, this article makes clear that the Supreme Court's ruling in Bush v. Gore is regarded as nothing more than a scheme to steal the 2000 election. Still, the ACLU has filed 4 lawsuits citing Bush v. Gore as a precedent for rejecting election systems that discriminate against lower-income voters.

North Carolina Moves Away from Winner-take-All Electoral College System
25-Apr-01
Election Reform

North Carolina may become the third state (after ME and NE) to allocate Presidential Electors by Congressional District, rather than on a state-wide winner-take-all basis. In 2000, Bush won the state, but Gore won 3 of the 12 Congressional Districts. If NC's Electors had been allocated by CD, Gore would have won the Electoral College by 270-268, even without Florida. NC has voted for Republican Presidents since 1980, but Democrats control the state legislature and see this as a way to help future Democratic presidential candidates.

Protest Voting Rights Abuses on May 1
20-Apr-01
Election Reform

On May 1 - National Law Day - the Democratic National Committee's Voting Rights Institute will be highlighting voting problems in every state, not just Florida. Democratic activists will attach a summary of the voting rights abuses to the door of the state capitols to symbolize the disfranchisement that has occurred, and to create pressure for change in every state.

Democratic Election Reform Task Force Meets Friday in San Antonio
18-Apr-01
Election Reform

The House Democratic Caucus Special Committee on Election Reform will travel to San Antonio, Texas on Friday, April 20, 2001 to hold the second in a series of public hearings on election reform. Speakers include U.S. Representatives Richard Gephardt, Maxine Waters, Martin Frost, Charlie Gonzalez, Eddie Bernice Johnson, Ciro Rodriguez and Sheila Jackson-Lee. Turn out for this important event!

Experts Warn That Action on Voting Is Needed Soon
05-Apr-01
Election Reform

Election experts warned today that Congress had been so laggard in taking up an overhaul of the voting system that meaningful change by next year's midterm elections was increasingly remote. "Many state legislators are under the mistaken impression that Congress is about to give them money to upgrade their voting equipment," David C. King, an associate professor at the Kennedy School of Government, said at a hearing this week on Capitol Hill. The hearing, sponsored by the Congressional Black Caucus, was "sparsely attended" - it's time to demand immediate action from Congress to fund election reform.

Ditch the Electoral College
05-Apr-01
Election Reform

"Much more than butterfly ballots and chads, the real culprit in November was the Electoral College that denied the voters' will. Congress should bite the bullet and address squarely the latest accident waiting to happen -- that did happen, for the fourth time." So writes Baltimore Sun columnist Jules Witcover.

Election Reform: House Dems Take it on the Road
04-Apr-01
Election Reform

In another of a seemlingly endless array of stories that did not make it into the national news media, yesterday the House Democratic Caucus held a hearing in Philadelphia on election reform. "We could have gone to Florida," Congresswoman Maxine Waters said. "but by coming to Philadelphia, we intended to send a message that this is a national effort, looking at voting problems all across America."

House Republicans Kill Election Reform Panel, But Democrats will Proceed Alone
29-Mar-01
Election Reform

House Republicans and Democrats had been trying for weeks to establish a select committee charged with investigating problems in the voting system. But Republicans remained steadfast that they deserved a one-vote edge on any such panel, while Democrats demanded parity. Democrats instead will press ahead with their panel, chaired by Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA). She says the group, which will hold its first hearing in Philadelphia, will travel the country to hear from election officials, academics and average voters. Rep. David E. Price (D-NC), one of the vice chairs on the Democratic task force, said he remained optimistic Congress would reform the voting process before the next election.

Jimmy Carter Says Elections Work Better in Guyana Than US
26-Mar-01
Election Reform

Former President Jimmy Carter said Monday that the United States does not have an acceptable democratic system because voting systems vary so much between the 4,000 counties within the country. Carter is well known for his work as an observer at elections around the world. He said he has seen elections conducted better in other countries such as Guyana, which he visited last week. "It was almost a perfect election in that there were no errors basically in the way ballots were marked and later counted. And we don't have anything like that in this country," he said. "We have a long way to go in meeting the standards of most democracies on earth."

Bush Sabotages Election Reform
21-Mar-01
Election Reform

The Bush administration broke another promise this week, rejecting the request by the Federal Election Commission (FEC) for money to analyze and improve voting systems across the country. Not only did the White House reject the request, but it also asked the FEC to cut $1.4 million from its budget.

Florida Advocates Sue Corrections Officials over Voting Rights of Felons
17-Mar-01
Election Reform

Florida civil rights advocates and black legislators filed a class-action suit accusing state corrections officials of failing to help felons regain their civil rights - including their right to vote - as required by law. In the past 15 years, the number who have succeeded in regaining their rights has plunged from an all-time high of almost 16,000 in 1986 to 798 last year. Florida advocates are also campaigning for the automatic restoration of civil rights for all offenders who have finished their sentences, something most other states do.

Mail-in Ballots Are Popular With Non-Voters - and They Work
15-Mar-01
Election Reform

Nonvoters say they would be more likely to vote if they could cast their ballots by mail, over the Internet, over a period of several days, on the weekends or on the same day they register, says a new poll by the Medill School of Journalism. The one proven method of increasing turnout is the universal mail-in ballot used in Oregon, which produced the highest turnout of any state in the 2000 elections. So why hasn't this been reported by the media? Possibly because it takes a couple of days to count all of the votes - something the blow-dried overpaid pompous pundits find absolutely intolerable. Here's an idea - we should adopt mail-in ballots nationwide just to make them suffer!

Democrats Introduce $3.5 Billion Election Reform Plan
14-Mar-01
Election Reform

Senator Chris Dodd (D-CT) and Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) proposed spending $3.5 billion to help states adopt uniform, statewide standards for election machinery by 2004. The bill, said Hilary Shelton, director of the NAACP's Washington bureau, "addresses not only the technical and mechanical problems but also the problems of voter intimidation, voter suppression, and voter disenfranchisement that still exist 36 years after enactment of the original Voting Rights Act of 1965." It is backed by the NAACP, AFL-CIO, National Council of La Raza, and the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights. However, House Republicans, led by Dick Armey, have signalled their intention to block any election reform.

Chicago's Instant-Check System Produces Dramatic Results
14-Mar-01
Election Reform

Last November, from 13% to 37% of ballots in 125 precincts spread across Chicago were discarded as overvotes or undervotes because of voter difficulties with punch card machines. Recently, Chicago adopted an instant-check system allowing voters to correct their errors. In the most recent special elections, the results were dramatic - void ballots dropped from 12% to 1% in the 37th Ward, and from 9% to 1% in the 17th Ward.

Black Legislators Push Voting Rights for Ex-Felons in Florida
13-Mar-01
Election Reform

Florida is one of only 13 states that prohibit felons from voting after they are released from prison. Florida has the largest number of non-voting felons - 550,000, the majority of whom are black. Black legislators are now pushing for a referendum to allow felons to vote one year after they are released. "We have the ammo to get this through," said Rep. James Harper, a West Palm Beach Democrat and co-sponsor of a resolution in the legislature to place the proposal on next year's ballot. "If the (Republican) leadership tries to kill this, it will come back to them in 2002."

A Tale of Two Counties
12-Mar-01
Election Reform

Leon and Gadsden Counties are divided by Florida's Ochlockonee River. In mostly-white Leon, only .1% of votes went uncounted, thanks to instant-check voting machines. In mostly-black Gadsden, 13% of ballots were rejected due to a lack of instant-check machines. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that different methods of counting hanging chads violated the "equal protection" provisions of the Constitution. But this massive disparity between counties with and without instant-check systems is the true Constitutional outrage.

Mary Frances Berry Takes on Jeb Over Post-Election Reforms
09-Mar-01
Election Reform

Mary Frances Berry, chairwoman of the U.S. Civil Rights Commission, put Jeb Bush and Florida's Republican legislature on notice that the commission would be watching to see what election changes came out of the state's legislative session. Although the commission's final report has not been prepared, Ms. Berry said today, "We know there was discrimination, but we don't know yet precisely whether it was intentional or unintentional." She cited a wide range of problems in the November election, and said fixing them would take more than upgrading election machines. When the legislature is finished, she plans to subpoena Jeb and other top officials. See the full interim report, http://democrats.com/view.cfm?id=1833).

The American Public Owns The Airwaves, Dammit!
07-Mar-01
Election Reform

"Local television stations may have reaped as much as $1 billion last year by 'gouging' political advertisers." This is the conclusion of a report titled "Gouging Democracy" by the Alliance For Better Campaigns. "The group, headed by Paul Taylor, a former reporter for The Washington Post, is guided by the premise that television is obligated to promote political discourse because the government has given the industry, free of charge, an estimated $70 billion worth of public airwaves to help it move into the digital age."

National Science Foundation Skeptical of Internet Voting
06-Mar-01
Election Reform

Internet voting at polling places could offer such benefits as convenience and efficiency while elections officials would control security and technology, according to a study by the National Science Foundation. It recommended poll-site experiments "to gain valuable experience prior to full-scale implementation." But the report was far more skeptical about voting from home or the workplace. Here's our advice to election reformers who want to increase voter participation: adopt Oregon's mail-in ballot system, which produced the highest participation rate in the US. It's simple, and it works.

Big States, Blacks Lose in the Electoral College
04-Mar-01
Election Reform

You probably know intuitively that the Electoral College system is unfair. But if you want to know understand the math, read this essay.

Republicans Are Blocking Election Reform
04-Mar-01
Election Reform

When Bush stole Florida's 25 electors, the pundits promised Congress would enact sweeping election reform to prevent future election catastrophes. Four months later, Republicans deny there were any problems in Florida, and refuse to discuss solutions. Why? Republicans simply don't want people to vote.

Mitch McConnell Plots Death of Campaign Finance Reform
02-Mar-01
Election Reform

A massive and unprecedented ocean of corporate and right-wing special-interest money helped Shrub steal the White House. Most Republicans in Congress - led by shameless Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY) - think this thoroughly corrupt system simply isn't corrupt enough! McConnell is lining up the troops to kill the modest McCain-Feingold reforms.

By Jove, I Think They've Got It!!
01-Mar-01
Election Reform

Democrats and Republicans alike agreed that the new voting system (optical scan with instant-check) used in several local elections in Illinois this week was a huge success.

Illinois Democrats Win Important Voting Lawsuit
22-Feb-01
Election Reform

Illinois Democrats won an important victory in a lawsuit that challenged a state law PROHIBITING the use of instant-check in Illinois voting machines. Instant-check tells a voter if (s)he voted for two candidates in the same race (overvote), or missed a race (undervote), and allows the voter to correct the ballot. In Florida, instant-check reduced ballot errors from 4-8% to under .3%. This is one of the most important reforms to implement nationally to make sure every vote counts.

Katherine Harris Closes the Barn Door After She Chased the Cows Out
22-Feb-01
Election Reform

Katherine Harris is pushing for $200 million to move to electronic voting systems in Florida. Will Harris' proposed touchscreen systems provide a new way for the Bushies and the Republicans to electronically rig elections? Florida House Speaker Tom Feeney, who distinguished himself with rabble rousing during the Florida election theft, opposes an upgrade because he blames all of the election problems on the voters. Feeney sure does like to blame everyone except his fellow Republicans who stole the election.

McAuliffe Pushes Election Reform
21-Feb-01
Election Reform

On Tuesday, DNC Chair Terry McAuliffe met with more than fifty representatives from the civil rights community and the Democratic Party to discuss election reform. "Profiling on the highway has now moved to the voting booth - and that is unacceptable," McAuliffe said. "I am committed to taking aggressive steps to ensure that the Voting Rights Act is complied with in time for the 2001 election and will continue to challenge President Bush on this election until he invites me to the Rose Garden for the signing of meaningful voter reform legislation."

Bush Campaign Chair Will Shaft Minorities For Ten More Years
17-Feb-01
Election Reform

Commerce Secretary Don Evans oversaw the "Theft of the Presidency" as the Chairman of the Bush-Cheney campaign. The key to Bush's victory was disenfrachising tens of thousands of minority voters in Florida. Now Evans plans to shaft minorities nationwide for another ten years by preventing census bureau professionals from adjusting the census to reflect undercounted minority voters. This will reduce the allocation of federal funds and legislative districts to minority areas.

Gerald Richman Urges Constitutional Amendment for Uniform Election Standards
11-Feb-01
Election Reform

"There is no perfect solution, but I strongly urge that the Constitution be amended to provide for basic uniform standards, at least in presidential elections, as to the manner and time frame for contesting elections; the procedures for contesting elections and recounting votes; minimal standards for voting equipment and machinery; and other procedural safeguards to protect the integrity of the process, including appropriate criminal penalties for violations." So says Gerald Richman, the lawyer who challenged the illegal absentee ballot applications in Seminole County.

W. Stands for Wrongful
07-Feb-01
Election Reform

Do you think you have a right to vote for President? Think again! The lesson of 2000 is that conservative judges believe state legislatures choose Presidents, not the voters. This legacy from the 18th Century is a battle that remains to be fought and won.

Nationally, Punch Card Counties Do Not Track Race or Income
29-Jan-01
Election Reform

The first national analysis of voting systems found that blacks and poor voters do not suffer disproportionately with punch card systems. Nationally, 31% of blacks AND whites live in punch card counties. It's close even in Florida, where 63% of blacks and 60% of whites live in punch card counties. It is now becoming clear that instant check systems are the most important factor in reducing ballot rejection rates. The authors of this study need to re-analyze their data with this factor in mind.

Will Bush Support McCain-Feingold?
24-Jan-01
Election Reform

According to Charles Lewis of the Center for Public Integrity, "how Bush handles [campaign finance reform] will set the tone for his presidency. His hold on power could not be more tenuous. He is the first president in 124 years to occupy the White House without winning the popular vote; the other three chief executives to attempt to govern in that predicament were not re-elected... Will Bush display statesmanlike leadership emblematic of a "uniter not a divider" and boldly break through entrenched Washington inertia and cynical assumptions, achieving a substantive solution? Or will he merely add to the partisan din and ignore or sidestep the subject, the way presidents have for the last 20 years?"

The Progressive Challenge: An Action Agenda for Electoral Reform
13-Jan-01
Election Reform

If you're going to Washington DC for the Inaugural protests, try to attend the day-long forum on Electoral Reform on Friday sponsored by the Congressional Progressive Caucus.

No Surprises in Electoral College, But Get Ready for Fireworks on January 6
18-Dec-00
Election Reform

Despite eloquent appeals from Democratic activists, all 271 Republican Electors cast their votes today for W. But that's NOT all, folks! As Reuters reports, when Congress meets on January 6 to count the Electoral College votes, all it takes is 1 Representative and 1 Senator to challenge any state's Electors. And we at Democrats.com plan to spend the next 18 days exposing SEVERAL illegal and invalid slates and persuading Democrats to challenge and oppose them. We know we're taking on the mighty powers of the Republican Party and the corporate media, but we also know that truth is on our side, and you'll be there with us. So stay tuned for some awesome fireworks, because Democrats.com will not let W get away with the crime of the millenium!

Let's replace the President with a Democracy Machine
22-Nov-00
Election Reform

In our present crisis, we have been presented with an extraordinary and eye-opening choice: whom do we trust, people or machines? Perhaps it's time to replace our fallible human Presidents with a Democracy Machine.

 


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