Hey, Holt supporters, let's debate!
From Mary Ann Gould, Coalition for Voting Integrity (PA):
As you know, I have long been a proponent of public discussion and debate. I have freely offered "Voice of the Voters" radio/internet with even extended time from preceding program if needed....or supported any other venue. None of the big groups supporting 811 will accept though several well respected election integrity advocates who have raised serious concerns are willing to come on the program.
Something is very wrong when one cannot stand up in public and have discussion/debate with those who have differing view.
One of the most well known groups in full favor of 811 said wait till after mark up ... well after mark up, comment was "it's too late"!
When is saving this Country too late ...when is honest respectful discussion not accepted in this country? One argument is that it would show divisiveness of EI community and give ammo to enemies ... baloney ... they already know we're divided as to more ammo ... silence gives greatest weapon.
This is too important an issue to allow silence!
Not only should we have discussion/debate among those of common higher interests but differing on "what" needs to be done ... but we should be DEMANDING that Congress have complete open discussion on problems in OUR election system ... should be televised and should hear from citizens who have been impacted as well as others. This issue is in fact ABOVE Congress ... it about the very right which insure our self governing and their own election by US!
As I have said before ... The real purpose of elections and voting is NOT the selection of candidates to represent us ...that is a result. The ultimate and true purpose is the exercise of our duty to share together in the process of self governance.
I suggest that we have two prong discussion/debate ... first among activists but more important demand that Congress do so before the American people ... and before ANY bill is voted upon. I would also ask that there be a discussion of the overarching framework which should spell out core identity/principles about voting ownership etc which in turn should be the framework within which aby action steps are developed and evaluated. Right now we are jumping to sympton fixes ... which will lead to more problems!
Here is a letter we previously sent Congress ... I suggest it be updated and a major campaign be built around it ... the Vote belongs to We the People ... it is time we were directly involved in the process overseeing it. Lincoln said that "Elections belong to the people. It is their decision."
It's time to make it OUR decision .... or we will get far worse than the rest of Lincoln's quote: "If they decide to turn their back on the fire and burn their behinds, then they will just have to sit on their blisters."
Open Letter to Congress:
A call for open Congressional hearings before voting on election reform legislation
March 20, 2007
This is the most important challenge you will ever face as a guardian of democracy.
As our elected representatives, you are about to address legislation proposed to resolve the numerous and serious problems with electronic voting and to decide whether United States elections may use electronic ballots to record our votes. But a basic question has yet to be openly and thoroughly explored:
Is democracy served by the use of electronic ballots?
Those who advocate using electronic ballots say that a representation of the votes (a display on a computer screen or a secondary paper printout) gives sufficient proof that the secret internal computer record of the vote contains the voter's intent.
We disagree. Voter intent can only be assured if the voter is able to verify the ballot that is counted. But no voter can verify an internal computer record. Therefore, we believe that all votes must be cast on paper that has been marked by the voter's hand or by a non-tabulating ballot-marking device, and that all those paper ballots must be counted by hand or by an optical scanner.
Our ballots are the heart of our democracy, and therefore, determining the form our ballots shall take is the proper business of all citizens. The decision cannot be at the sole discretion of the representatives those ballots are used to elect.
How shall we resolve this issue? We call upon Congress, before taking any vote on any election reform legislation, to hold open hearings to explore this question: Should electronic ballots be allowed in United States elections?
Our nation was founded on principles of open debate and discussion. We call on you to demand televised hearings, in prime time, with public participation, including but not limited to testimony from many election integrity activists and voters who have cast electronic ballots.
Mary Ann Gould
California Election Protection Network