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|(US) 11/06 - The Killer Argument for ...
Voting Rights Forum Participant
Post Number: 13
Best of Black Box?
Votes: 3 (A keeper?)
|Posted on Wednesday, November 29, 2006 - 7:35 am: ||
What do the People of the United States want and need in their voting systems?
In the short post below, I’ll try to identify both what the people of the United States want, as nearly as it can be measured (public supervision and oversight of elections and especially vote counting), and what my plan is regarding HR 550 (possibly kicking ass and definitely and quite literally taking names.. but more on that later.)
A VERY STRAIGHTFORWARD LOGICAL ARGUMENT:
If we live in a “representative democracy”, and surely we are told we do,
If the unique sine qua non of democracy is not elections per se (which other systems share) but the reality that all legitimate power comes from the people and from nowhere else,
If those in the “House of Representatives” are “representatives” of the people, and surely they are,
And Given That
As Citizens Active in this area of elections know well by now, fully 92% of the American Public in an August 2006 Zogby poll expressed support for a voting system that specifically allows the Public to “Witness vote counting and obtain information about vote counting”
And Further Given that
When these “representatives” of the people are voting on HAVA amendments or voting on elections in general, they are voting on the circumstances and validity and legitimacy of THEIR OWN RE-ELECTION TO POWER, thus giving these representatives a rather large conflict of interest,
Why, oh Why,
Oh someone PLEASE explain….!
Why, or HOW,
IN A REPRESENTATIVE DEMOCRACY
OUR “REPRESENTATIVES” can possibly or conceivably get away with telling We the People -- the overwhelming 92% supermajority of We the People -- that it is “politically unrealistic” to expect a voting system that would satisfy the most basic values and concerns of the 92%????
That is, per Zogby and a tiny bit of logic in italics, it would have to be a non-electronic voting system that the public can “Witness” the vote counting on, and obtain information on the vote counting on.
In contrast, the Electronic Voting regimes to be further institutionalized by bills like HR550 (the Holt bill) will never allow the public to witness the vote counting or obtain information about it. (they can only get information on 2 or slightly more percent of the secondary paper trails). So how can the Holt bill, or an amended Holt bill, be the only “realistic” option, and how in the world can “representatives” DICTATE to the People of the United States what is “realistic” in terms of checks and balances on the elections of these same Congresspeople? Excuse me??
How could a true Representative of the People DARE to deny the 92% of the American people their wishes IN THE PARTICULAR CONTEXT OF ASSURING THE VALIDITY AND LEGITIMACY OF THIS ‘REPRESENTATIVE’S’ OWN RE-ELECTION???
The public overwhelmingly rejects the unavoidable secret vote counting realities of electronic voting even if they don’t ALL fully realize how messed up e-voting is, quite yet. But many do. The numbers grow every day.
The HR 550 / the Holt Bill totally fails to deliver on one of the most widely held political values ever measured, which “political value” of witnessing vote counting also happens to be the critical and indispensable right, probably the most inalienable of all inalienable rights if Holt proponents believe any such rights to exist, and instead of furthering democracy helps to institutionalize invisible, unaccountable electronic ballots that totally avoid public oversight of elections. The Holt bill, IN ANY FORM, current or Amended, that allows invisible vote counting without public supervision is therefore utterly deficient for that and many other reasons. See, for example, http://www.opednews.com/articles/opedne_nancy_to_061118_stopping_h_r__550_be.htm
If there is any area at all in which the Congress is OBLIGED to truly serve and to be a public servant, it is in the area of their own &%!@!* Re-elections. Congress has ABSOLUTELY NO BUSINESS DICTATING POLITICAL REALITY TO THE CITIZENS REGARDING THE TERMS OF THEIR OWN RE-ELECTION.
ANYBODY WHO CLAIMS OTHERWISE IS LUCKY if THEY ARE NOT A CONGRESSPERSON, BECAUSE IF I EVER HEAR A CONGRESSPERSON TALK ABOUT "POLITICAL REALITY" IN TERMS OF WHAT LEVELS OF ASSURANCE THE PUBLIC IS going to be "ALLOWED" CONCERNING THE LEGITIMACY OF CONGRESSIONAL ELECTIONS....I’ll TELL THEM STRAIGHT UP THAT THEIR TALK OF “POLITICAL REALISM’ OR THEIR UNWILLINGNESS TO WALK THE WALK ON THIS ONE ISSUE IN ANY DEGREE WHATSOEVER IS NOTHING SHORT OF THE TALK OF AUTHORITARIANS GIVING EDICTS ABOUT WHAT THEIR SUBJECTS CAN REALISTICALLY EXPECT OR DESERVE, AND CERTAINLY NOT THE TALK OF DEMOCRATIC REPRESENTATIVES SERVING THEIR CONSTITUENTS AND WANTING OPEN AND HONEST ELECTIONS..
Let me spell it out:
The 92% desire for public supervision of vote counting is totally and completely non-negotiable. By any one. At ANY time. It is the indispensable element of freedom and democracy. There MUST be public supervision and oversight of elections, it is totally indispensable. Our representatives are uniquely disabled from issuing morally binding edicts in the area of elections, because they are necessarily self-dealing when they act in this area. To countermand, undermine, defeat, or distract the 92% from their unambiguous goal of publicly supervised elections with oversight and accountability to We the People is nothing short of being an enemy of democracy.
We can see how many very good people who really do believe in democracy can apply the normal rules and accept these calculations of “political realism” for a while. But elections are a totally unique area. It is totally fundamental. It is totally non-negotiable for freedom-loving people.
The Question Presented: Why can’t a “representative Congress” give us a voting system where voting can be witnessed by the people and the people can obtain information on vote counting, when 92% or more of the American public supports this and we have a new Democratic majority in both Houses of Congress???
In reality, has anyone EVER been dealt a STRONGER political hand? Why not play it?
This is Truly an historic moment.
In response, I daresay that millions of Americans will ultimately join myself, Nancy Tobi, and thousands of activists across the country, in insisting on public supervision of elections without compromise, not because we wish to be uncompromising, but because we CAN’t compromise without losing a verifiably real democracy, and that is far too great a price to pay.
Because of the unprecedented importance of this historic moment,
Because of the undeniable and overwhelming public support for Transparency in elections,
Because of the critical and indispensable importance of public oversight of elections and the accountability of government to prove and show that it has provided the people with plainly legitimate elections that any average citizen can understand to be legitimate without substantial burden or expense to the citizen,
Because of all of these, we will be TAKING NAMES.
We will record, by video whenever possible for elected officials, the names of all citizens, congresspeople, or other persons who attempt to defeat, deny, dilute or distract the debate from this most indispensable of rights of democracy.
You who are against the most indispensable of all rights, will go down in history as having done so. WE will do everything in our power to keep alive the memory of the names of those Representatives, Senators, lobbyists, and citizens who attempt to defeat the legitimate democratic wishes of virtually 100% of all Americans.
We will contend that these names will live in infamy as those who failed to support democracy in a time of its great need. Perhaps we are wrong and public supervision of elections is truly unnecessary, or that public supervision need only be of 2% of something, or 5%, or whatever.... and instead, these names will instead be an Honor Roll of sorts. Leave that to history to decide.
It is time for all Americans to decide if you are for democracy and public oversight of elections, or against it as “unrealistic” in our newly Democratic Congress.
In the end, we need only inquire persistently into WHO or WHAT POWER is trying to tell us that the wishes of the 92% are unrealistic in order to see that Power evaporate, or be exposed for its hostility to democracy – at least its hostility to democracy in time for 2008.
Untold millions of activists and soldiers died for democracy. We have exactly ZERO right to make political calculations of convenience in our day and age in order to compromise that democracy that was purchased at such a very high price.
Only two days away from a week in the hospital on IVs, I don’t feel very feisty. But I will do everything in my power between now and January to insist on democracy instead of further institutionalizations of voting systems that eliminate the public from any oversight in elections, when the government sure as heck can’t “oversight” itself when its own paycheck and power is being determined via elections.
There is only one possible debate: Is public oversight of elections really necessary in democracy, or not? That it is really necessary, we hold to be a self-evident truth.
There will also be perhaps some attempts at distraction when Holt proponents state actual or feigned offense at being placed in a poor light, but at the end of the day the clarity of the importance of this fight is really critical and necessary for democracy and therefore far more important than the feelings of some or their critique of the style or approach of an individual advocate. If that were not the case, it would be hard to motivate soldiers to risk life and limb in battle for freedom and democracy if all it added up to wasn't even as important as a few people saving face. That being said, this particular advocate knows that the vast majority of Holt Proponents really care deeply about democracy in the same sense as the above, and have only (to date) been too willing to make deadly compromises that we in this generation, in fact, SIMPLY HAVE NO RIGHT TO COMPROMISE.
Fundamentally, HAVA and electronic voting are a fraud whereby public supervision of 100% of election vote counting at precincts BEFORE results are first announced (in many cases) is eliminated and we are invited to engage in a "debate" about whether we'd like to "audit" 2% or perhaps 5% if we're "really lucky" some number of days After the winner's been announced and the media has moved on to picking drapes and wallpaper styles for the new incumbents. "Audits" will never satisfy.
So we will take names, as a way of ensuring that those who fail to support public oversight on election vote counting will appreciate the gravity of the historical moment. As others have said "This is for all the marbles." Democracy is nobody's plaything or political football, we defend it based on necessity and obligation, not political calculation and convenience. As such, we'll gladly go down in a vote if it comes to that, knowing that there is not a single thing about public supervision of elections IN A DEMOCRACY that is too much to ask. But even then, we'd have total clarity about the anti-democratic forces we were up against at that point, and thus be much better situated to fight on.
Is this taking of names a threat? No, it is a way to insist on TRANSPARENCY in the fight for democracy as well. And, as they say, it’s not a threat, IT IS A PROMISE. It is a promise on several levels. “…That government of the people, by the people and for the people shall not perish from the earth.” It is a way to peacefully, nonviolently, force the issue to be about what’s really most important in elections, and essentially universally agreed upon. We the People deserve to treat ourselves to at least that, if not for ourselves, then for those who fought to get us here.
The theft of public supervision and oversight on elections must be restored, because we have absolutely no real assurance of democracy until it is restored. So begins, this Roll Call for Democracy. Stand up and be counted. It will be VERY interesting, because NO ONE really wants to be seen as being on the other side: the side not really in favor democracy.
Frequent Voting Rights Forum Participant
Post Number: 407
Best of Black Box? N/A
Votes: 0 (A keeper?)
|Posted on Wednesday, November 29, 2006 - 1:05 pm: ||
Thank you Paul!
I really have to laugh at the crew on that other site you frequent, arguing that 'half a loaf (HR 550) is better than no loaf', never stopping to listen to your argument that we own the bakery!
Any time someone asks you who is going to count the votes, point them to The National Hand Count Registry and tell them, 'we will'.
If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem.
Rock on Paul!
Pat A. Vesely ;-)
Paper ballots are the 'Currency of Democracy'. They've been helping to curb election fraud since 139 BCE!