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The first meeting of the Baker-Carter election commission was disappointing and, at times, outrageous and tainted with racially-charged innuendo.  Let me make absolutely clear that I greatly admire former President Jimmy Carter and believe he was insightful and on-target throughout the hearing.  However, given the incredible lack of balance and profound lack of good faith demonstrated by some of Carter's fellow commissioners and many of the witnesses at this hearing, at times he seemed to be a very lonely voice of sanity.

    The remarks of Mr. James Baker, III, which were echoed by a number of right wing political operatives called as witnesses, seemed to have a singular purpose of spreading hoaxes and conspiracy theories about ineligible Democratic voters being allowed to cast votes.  The remedy was cleverly repeated like a broken record, "photo ID, photo ID, photo ID."  Right wing pundit John Fund was called as an "expert" witness by the hearing and offered racially charged proposals with racially charged rhetoric.


The substance of the testimony alleging "voter fraud" was a fraud itself. One panel on "access and integrity" inexplicably included two partisan Republican political operatives, Colleen McAndrews (most recently a leader in the successful campaign to recall former California Governor Gray Davis and described as a "behind the scenes force in Republican politics for years") and John Fund (of the notoriously far-right Wall Street Journal editorial page).  Fund's Wall Street Journal Editorial Page once promoted bizarre claims that then-First Lady Hillary Clinton had participated in a cover-up involving the death of former White House Counsel Vince Foster.  Today, his hoax appears to have shifted to claims of "voter fraud"(though I am sure he would say Senator Clinton is responsible for that, as well).  The remedy, per Fund and McAndrews, - restrictions on provisional ballots and new voter identification requirements.

    At the outset, Mr. Fund laid bare the nasty, racial underbelly of these proposals.  The right-wing has been long engaged in tactics to suppress minority votes, but rarely lets slip about such tactics, as Fund did today.  In a discussion about provisional ballots, Mr. Fund said that Congress should allow precinct workers to determine whether a provisional ballot should count because they would know who "looks as if they belong in the neighborhood."  Wonder what he meant by that?

    But we don't have to wonder what effect the discarding of provisional ballots would have on voters, particularly those that are racial minorities.  As detailed in the House Judiciary Committee Democratic staff's report Preserving Democracy: What Went Wrong in Ohio?, the Republican Governor of Ohio rightly predicted that such a rule would result in discarding 100,000 valid votes.  In one county alone, 1,100 eligible voters, who voted the correct ballot in the wrong precinct, had their ballots discarded.  Fund wants to bring Blackwell's tactics to the rest of the country so what went wrong in Ohio, can go right for Republicans across the country.

    It is common experience that the poor, elderly voters, minority voters and recent transplants to a state, like students, do not drive and, therefore, do not have a drivers' license or a license with an in-state address to show at the polls.  It is a fact that experts have estimated that nearly ten percent of voters do not have a picture identification card.  What facts does the conspiracy theorist Mr. Fund have to offer?  A Republican Congressman's contention that someone voted in his sister's name.  I know and like the Congressman he cites as an authority, but think his lonely experience is hardly a justification for a new rule that would result in the disenfranchisement of hundreds of thousands of voters.

    And I don't suppose that Mr. Fund could be striving to suppress reliable Democratic votes with this proposal, do you?  Particularly minority voters? I don't suppose he could be looking for turn away voters who don't look like "they belong in the neighborhood," do you?

    For a moment, I was encouraged when someone appeared to have bumped the phonograph and the broken record of "voter id" suddenly stopped.  Instead, a new broken record began repeating "no voter verified paper ballot, no voter verified paper ballot, no voter verified paper ballot."  

    On a panel supposedly designed to address "voting technology," only one of the four witnesses, Professor David Dill, spoke of the need for a voter verified paper ballot.  Two of the witnesses on this panel spoke in total opposition to such a proposal.

    The pattern of the hearing was clear: Republican political operatives, with little or no track record of involvement in voting rights issues, facing non-partisan advocates for civil rights.  Predictably, this hardly was a fair fight.  The deck was stacked from the beginning.

    What can be said of a commission that holds such a hearing?  What hope is there for the recommendations of such a Commission?  I am scheduled to meet with Commission officials this week and I am trying very hard to have an open mind.  But, frankly, at this point - seeing this first hearing - I think we should all be very wary of this Commission's objectives.

Originally posted to Congressman John Conyers on Mon Apr 18, 2005 at 02:23 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  please recommend (4.00)
    this is important stuff!
    •  hear hear (4.00)
      this IS the most important victory i think we can make.

      if we can NOT trust our election machinery, how do we get people out to the polls & how do we trust our elections???

      we can not wait till 2006 to be robbed again to get angry.  we have to do this NOW & we have to put the spotlight on these thugs.

      it's deplorable what they are doing.

      where is Kerry?!?  he can get this thing some attention.  why isn't he be asked to testify?  he may not have 1st hand details but he does give this the media attention it needs.

      •  Kerry's lack of involvement (3.73)
        letting Conyers and Carter deal with the onslaught while he hides out demonstrates frankly what a disengenuous piece of shit he is. Sorry to use such blunt language, but for Kerry to not show up while our system of government is being flushed down the toilet, puts the shovel in his hand helping dig our country's grave.

        Darkness washed over the Dude...darker than a black steer's tookus on a moonlight prairie night...there was no bottom

        by moon in the house of moe on Mon Apr 18, 2005 at 03:37:52 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Second this post.. and Thank You (4.00)
          to Congressman Conyers for coming here again.

          Recommended. (and thank somebody's god(dess) for politics, it is what I come here for.

        •  My disappointment in Kerry about this (none)
          is not even describeable without me having to be tied down.
        •  Kerry can't fight this battle (4.00)
          He'd drag the whole effort down because every single news outlet in the country would be screaming "SOUR GRAPES!"
          •  WRONG. Kerry had a chance to lead in this (4.00)
            and chickened out.  Who gives a fuck what "they" scream (well, I guess Kerry did).

            He'll get no vote from me again (as if it would be counted).

            •  I'll second that-Fuck em (none)
              The time to rip those machines open was when they were dispersed with some very qualified technical people not associated with either party. A nuetral Accounting firm over-seeing the whole mess.

              Fuck the media. They have  as wrong as this administration on everything significant going back to 2000. Giving a shit what they think is the same as showing them respect where they deserve none. This isn't a PR problem. This is a national disgrace that we need to get in front of.

              All Kerry did was give the assholes 2 years to refine their programs and processes so election tinkering could be done by a few people sunning on the beach in Aruba as the rethugs flush the constituition down the drain.

              Oversize Rants Available Overnight at
              The Image Factory

              by Dburn on Mon Apr 18, 2005 at 09:12:11 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  I agree - be strong and forthright! (none)
              "Who gives a fuck what "they" scream"

              I'm tired of Dems putting their head in the sand and not asserting their beliefs.  

          •  So ... (none)
            So are you saying that the M$M is the ultimate arbiter of truth?

            Also do you think every politician should measure their words and actions to mitigate negative spin?

            Isn't the M$M spinning bad weather as a Democrat failing?

          •  I'm of two minds on Kerry... (none)
            If he takes the lead on this, the press screams about 'sour grapes', just as you've said, and I worry that it detracts from the process (though I the process is barely more than a sham anyway, I'm not entirely sure why it matters that much if that happens) by distracting people from the substance of the issue.

            However, I'm still mad at Kerry because he repeatedly said he would stand an insist every vote be counted, and instead he meekly conceded and disappeared.  We needed some one up there hammering away and screaming fraud every day after this election, not because it would change the results of that election, but because we need every American aware of two facts by the next election: 1) election fraud and corruption are not only possible but present in this country, 2) The Democrats are the people concerned about this.  Kerry was in the perfect position to do this, and he chose not to.  It was more important for him to be vocal even than Gore, because by allowing it to slide, Kerry has set a precedent.  We need to break that soon, before it becomes impossible.

            Carter's a great guy, and I have the deepest respect for him and the many things he's done, but we need some one a little more willing to kick asses on this.  Republicans aren't scared of Carter.  They've already beat him once, and continue to beat him on a number of issues. And they've managed to paint his legacy in such a way that his name doesn't necessarily carry the same positive connotations among the average populace as it does around here.

            •  I'm of one mind (none)
              Kerry is free by now to take the initiative and say that mounting evidence demands a more serious look at how our elections are run.  If the Democratic leadership wants any credibility with me, they'll be saying that we have no way of knowing who won the 2004 election and that this is unacceptable.  Loud and long.
            •  We need to come through (none)
              However, I'm still mad at Kerry because he repeatedly said he would stand an insist every vote be counted, and instead he meekly conceded and disappeared.  

              You're hardly alone on this. The morning after the election, I was -- I just happened to be -- answering phones at the Ohio Kerry-Edwards headquarters.

              I answered dozens of calls from Democrats telling me, "John Kerry promised that every vote would be counted, you tell him not to concede" and asking "why did I stand in line for hours to vote if you're going to concede before all the votes are counted?"

              These are the same people whose votes we're going to ask for again in 2008.

              I wasn't even able to give these people an official answer: since we'd thought we'd win Ohio, no script had been prepared, and indeed no one had been scheduled to answer the phones the day after Election Day; I and a few other volunteers just happened to be in the building.

              We, as Democrats, need to convince voters that we're for real. If we say we're going to see tat every vote is counted, we'd need to come through on that. Because if we don't stand up for the voters, they aren't going to stand in line for hours in order to vote for Democrats.

              Accountability moment, my ass!

              by orthogonal on Wed Apr 20, 2005 at 05:11:20 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  Any excuse . . . (none)
           . . . to bash Kerry, right, Moon? Your comment is not even worth the troll rating it deserves.

          "Lash those conservatives and traitors with the pen of gall and wormwood -- let them feel -- no temporising!" -- Andrew Jackson to Francis Preston Blair, 1837

          by Ivan on Mon Apr 18, 2005 at 05:12:06 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Well (none)
          I don't know if he's a piece of shit, but he certainly isn't showing much courage.
        •  i'm not trashing kerry (none)
          so i won't join with the kerry bashing -- which frankly is done too easily around here.

          i think kerry's made mistakes BUT he's done a fantastic job since the election & is exactly the kind of candidate i'd want.  

          yes, he's a politician & yes he has to be aware of political gain -- but he's voting & acting the way he should've done prior to the election.

          i was merely asking above WHERE IS THE OUTCRY!?!?!?  conyers seems to be out there by himself (which i know he's not) but there does NOT seem to be the united front & priority placed on this issue.

          are there just too many issues??  other priorities?

          in which case, i'm arguing that THIS should be up there in priority.  period.

        •  STEADY ON MATE (none)
          First of all - we don't know how involved Kerry is or isn't on this issue.  It's still relatively early in the process where election reform's concerned - this was the first meeting of Carter's group after all - and he's probably more focused on fighting off Frist's "nuclear option" in the Senate.  Give the guy a chance for cryin' out loud.

          Having said that - I do hope he jumps in on this issue.  It's one of the most important facing our nation today.  Without a truly fair and transparent electoral process, we can't possibly call ourselves a democracy.

          To Congressman Conyers I can only say this - hats off to you and your staff.  You're a shining beacon of decency in thos horrid town we call DC.  It makes me proud to say Michigan's my homestate.  Peace.

      •  JUST SAY NO TO (4.00)
        machines. We the people, by the people, for the people have got to get off our computers and get out there in the streets and tell this wingnuts, we are sick and tired and we are not going to take it anymore. Can that NOT pay attention to 50 million people signing a contract with the government to demand every voter counts and every vote is counted. There must be paper ballots again.

        AND...isn't funny we didn't have these problems before Rover jumped in to fix Dunyas road to the WH?

        The more understanding one posesses, the less there is to say and the more there is to do.

        by Alohaleezy on Mon Apr 18, 2005 at 04:21:04 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  as a computer scientist i can tell you that (4.00)
    even though a paper trail would be better, secret code is unacceptable.  it would be just as easy to print out a card saying you voted for kerry and have the machine mark 50 votes for bush.
    there is no guarantee also that the code as tested is the same code on any of the machines. open source code should be a non-negotiable requirement.  with that there is no need for a paper trail because we can see how the machine counts.
    •  Wrong (4.00)
      Open source code would require being burned into non-erasable ROM and with a closed architecture in order to be even close to trustworthy enough to forego the paper trail. Even then I wouldn't be so sure.

      Atoms are far harder to massage than bits, and that's not going to change for a long time.

      The dark at the end of the tunnel is an oncoming age.

      by peeder on Mon Apr 18, 2005 at 02:42:37 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  agreed (4.00)
        there's 3 checks we need.

        1.  Paper trails.  completely agree with a technical savvy peeder.  paper trails also have a psychological effect on cheaters.

        2.  the source code (whatever language) needs to be open to viewing whether by the public or by regulatory agencies.  

        ideally, only a regulatory agency would have the code thereby (1) keeping it away from hackers & (2) allow them to make sure there's nothing malicious in the code.

        however, & yes, public code would make it easier to hack BUT frankly the hackers will get that code anyway (under the currently client server system it's too easy i think).

        3. we need to protect the network much better than it is today.  if we do this, the issue of hackers will be lessened.

        we have to assume that hackers will break into the code & build in a series of checks & balances to spot anomolies or hacking activity.

        i don't know if the code is robust enough to do this.

        •  Is there a reason... (4.00)
          Is there a reason you folks need the machines at all?

          In Canada we use a piece of paper and pencil.

          When there are several positions being contested we receive a paper booklet with perforated edges that are separated for counting purposes.

          Yes we only have one tenth the population of the US but who says you need the results asap?

          asap should be replace with aaap

          As Accurate As Possible

          •  Of course we don't need the machines (4.00)
            But the Republicans do. The GOP has a great strategy - own all of the voting machines and make them un-auditable.

            The DKos member Joan Reports had a recent diary on Baker, Carlyle Group and Friends getting their tentacles into Ireland's voting.

            If you have electronic voting, you will have candidates that lead you into unjustified war...

            "Blogging doesn't make it so" - Sen. Hayworth (R) AZ 1/6/2005. Oh yeah?

            by bejammin075 on Mon Apr 18, 2005 at 03:33:13 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  OK (4.00)
              So why don't the Dems get on this.

              "Get rid of the machines...Paper Ballots only!!!"

              •  In some ways I like the yin and yang (none)
                I want both machines and paper, because they check and balance each other (provided each are actually counted and scrutinized properly).

                The dark at the end of the tunnel is an oncoming age.

                by peeder on Mon Apr 18, 2005 at 03:46:29 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  In fact, think about this... (4.00)
                  The machine results could be hidden from the counters in the precinct, and data from the machines could be continually recorded in a central, secure location. Then the paper ballots are counted, and discrepancies would be scrutinized intensely. The ballots can be timestamped and a time series could be checked against the data records over the election period.

                  With the fear of being caught by such a double-blind approach, hackers both local and remote would have a serious challenge on their hands. There are other ways to make it even harder.

                  The dark at the end of the tunnel is an oncoming age.

                  by peeder on Mon Apr 18, 2005 at 03:51:00 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  but (none)
                    By placing scrutineers from all parties at the polling place you get a fair result.

                    In your scenario which would be used as final if after several recounts the tallies don't match?

                    •  The paper would be used as final, but... (4.00)
                      if there is a pattern of discrepancy in the machines the vote is voided nationwide. Instantly. And without recourse. We do it again.

                      Scrutineers are necessary at all stages but can't themselves be relied on. Moles and milquetoasts and bribes and who knows what else are all possible.

                      The idea is to design a system where there's no reliance on anything easily manipulable, anywhere. It's entirely possible.

                      The dark at the end of the tunnel is an oncoming age.

                      by peeder on Mon Apr 18, 2005 at 04:25:45 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                  •  If the paper ballots (none)
                    were barcoded, they could be ran thru a second machine.  If there was a descrepancy, the votes would be hand counted. It would give more real time double checking.

                    "When your opponent is drowning, throw the son of a bitch an anvil." -- James Carville

                    by sgilman on Mon Apr 18, 2005 at 04:47:18 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  No (none)
                      The ballots must be checked in the exact same way the voter verifies them, otherwise they are useless.

                      The dark at the end of the tunnel is an oncoming age.

                      by peeder on Mon Apr 18, 2005 at 04:50:14 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  who (none)
                        Who do you think should make the machines?
                        •  Good question (none)
                          I would lean toward non-profit organizations with a healthy dose of both academic idealists and nuts-and-bolts pragmatists drawn from the technology industry. I would expect much of the staff to be more or less Indepedents but a representative from each (big enough) party could be on a review board or something.

                          All the plans would be subject to open publication and contests for attacks would be held and rewarded. There would be a national standard and then several independent labs would verify compliance.

                          There could be some competition for actual physical implementations of these machines, to keep costs down as well as add a bit of healthy hetereogeneity to the installed base. Each implementation would be subject to the same open review process a'la GPL.

                          Something like that.

                          The dark at the end of the tunnel is an oncoming age.

                          by peeder on Mon Apr 18, 2005 at 05:19:30 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                        •  Use ANSI & ISO standards (none)
                          Contract out the machines to ISO certified vendors with exact standards, so that no polling place knows in advance which maker has built the machine, i.e. no monopoly.
          •  Not necessarily (4.00)
            But they're a great help for people with handicaps or non-English speakers.

            They are in use in other countries where they use open-source software and are carefully monitored, and they don't have problems like we do here. Machines aren't inherently bad, it's just our crappy administration of them that's so evil.

          •  In the US (4.00)
            in some towns, like mine, we use paper & pencil and pairs of people from both sides do the counting together.

            It works.

            Beware the everyday brutality of the averted gaze.
            ePluribus Media - Donate!

            by mataliandy on Mon Apr 18, 2005 at 08:01:15 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Are they hiring in your town? Housing affordable? (none)
              Bipartisanship?  I thought this had gone out around the time of the Carter Administration.

              The Republicans in your town apparently haven't gotten the "Top Secret Memo From Rove" yet.  Have there been mysterious phone outages and failed mail deliveries?  Rod Serling voice-overs?

              I know - you must live in Lake Woebegone, where the kids are all above average and the politicians are all honest (sort-of).

              If we trash the planet, none of the rest of this matters...

              by Dem in Knoxville on Tue Apr 19, 2005 at 04:36:24 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  Same thing in my county (none)
              in PA, paper ballots with bipartisan tabulation.

              We choose hope over despair; possibilities over problems, optimism over cynicism.-John Edwards

              by wishingwell on Tue Apr 19, 2005 at 08:52:36 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  Because (none)
            we 'Mericuns can't figure out chads!

            "There must be some way out of here, said the Joker to the Thief" -Bob Dylan is my god

            by Jeffersonian Democrat on Mon Apr 18, 2005 at 09:32:12 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  I wouldn't use a pencil in this (none)
            country, no way.  A pen can't be erased so easily...I hope.
        •  How Exactly (none)
          does open code make the system easier to hack?  Security through obscurity isn't security.

          I don't leave marks... only impressions. - J.D. Guckert

          by hndrcks on Tue Apr 19, 2005 at 03:52:40 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  it's easier (none)
            to hack code whose logic you can see

            simple example:

            if x = y then
   the following

            you know the conditions that initiate the action so you can create a malicious app that can mimic "y".

            i agree with you that security thru obscurity is NOT security which is why i'm demanding that either the code is public or available to a regulatory QA body.

      •  And who is to say what is on the ROM (4.00)
        That actually makes it into each machine?


        Only a paper trail is acceptable.

      •  i guess i am wrong and you are right (none)
        lets have republicans write the counting software for our voting machines and keep it secret. that is a great idea. thanks.
        •  Pouty (none)
          I was saying you can't forego the paper trail (read what you wrote and then what I wrote)...I'm not saying open source is bad...indeed it is necessary, along with open hardware and network and procedural review and the whole lot.

          The dark at the end of the tunnel is an oncoming age.

          by peeder on Mon Apr 18, 2005 at 02:57:24 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  i agree that a paper trail is needed, but (none)
            with secret code, it is easy to print out a paper saying you voted for kerry, yet inside the machine a vote is recorded for bush. so unless every vote is recounted and checked, which is unlikely, secret code is still available for fraud. so i would say paper trails are needed, but without open code of some sort you never know what is happening inside the machine.
            •  And I don't think we should need to know (4.00)
              I think fully 20% (if not 100%) of all paper ballots should be hand-counted in as-random-as-possible set of precincts every election to ensure that there is no reliance on knowing what is going on inside those machines.

              Any pattern of discrepancy voids the vote immediately. That's security. And this is democracy.

              The dark at the end of the tunnel is an oncoming age.

              by peeder on Mon Apr 18, 2005 at 03:08:20 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  As-Random-As -Possible ?!?! (none)
                please clarify.
                •  Randomness is hard (none)
                  True randomness is very hard to do. In this case, we are picking precincts at random for our cross-check of the voting machines. That lottery has to be done on the last night of the election, after polls are closed, but quickly.

                  So we have to come up with a mechanism for doing this, and since I'm talking to a computer scientist, I didn't want her or him to take me down on the logistics of randomness.

                  100% of paper ballots being counted obviates this process of course.

                  The dark at the end of the tunnel is an oncoming age.

                  by peeder on Mon Apr 18, 2005 at 04:28:44 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  thanks (none)
                    Do you think there is a way to legislate a mechanism for choosing randomly that couldn't be subverted once defined?
                    •  A large statistical sampling would be needed (4.00)
                      Enough to find any abuses. In addition, discrepencies between exit polls and machine counts need to be studied. There were strange exit poll results in places where optical scanners were used. All other exit polls were as reliable as they usually are. We need to be suspicious of any exit poll discrepancies, they should be flagged and completely reviewed before accepted.
                  •  Not many bits needed (none)
                    This much physical randomness wouldn't be too hard to get.
            •  Only so much cheating possible at each location (none)
              You have the wrong mental model of how to cheat.  We already know the distribution for the number of votes in each precinct, so the attacker is going to have to tamper with a number of machines that depends on how much he wants to change the election.

              By randomly auditing an appropriate number of machines, we can say something like:  ``The probability that the attacker changed the number of votes by X is less than p.''  

              The choice of X and p determine what ``appropriate'' means.

            •  Why don't you guys just both agree (none)
              to have paper ballots that can be hand counted and if necessary, tabulated with an abacus, and to mandate open-source software in any electronic devices that are used.

              Sound like a fair place of agreement?

      •  More paranoia... (none)
        Actually, the way to prepare them is as follows:

        Company one provides half of the machine.

        Company two provides the other half.

        Company three provides the source code, which is audited by the government and anyone else. Any bugs (or "bugs") found can be reported to the company and the company must detail their response to each such report.

        The machines are assembled by government officials, again with extensive paper trails, and the source code is compiled (perhaps even better would be if it were a script--that way you could look at the actual code, which still isn't foolproof but it's something else to have to hack) and installed onto the machines.

        The machines are then used and dismantled until next year.

        Oooor we could just make the thing print out a paper ballot.

        Well, that's more an "and" rather than "or".

        But the whole idea machines should do everything with almost no benefits from such a system is obscene.

        When faced with two choices, one a herculean task still fairly easy to break and the other tried and true and easy, it seems kinda funny how many people push for the first one...

        The Shapeshifter's Blog -- Politics, Philosophy, and Madness!

        by Shapeshifter on Mon Apr 18, 2005 at 03:16:16 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Paper ballots sounds like the best deal. (none)
          When faced with two choices, one a herculean task still fairly easy to break and the other tried and true and easy, it seems kinda funny how many people push for the first one...

          Can it be Cloud Cucoo landsmen calling home?

        •  Paper ballots, when the work, are used (none)
          differently to the manner in which Murkin minds are trained to perceive them.

          Party and candidate literature is bundled together and mailed to each voer, individually. The Municipality does the mailing and each candidate is limited to a one-page (RV) statement, plus the pre-printed ballot. One received a big envelope full of ballots. It is very clear to the voter which belongs with which party.

          The voter puts these in his pocket, and when he gets to the polling booth, he puts his favorite ballot in a plain enveloppe, out of sight, then comes forward and posts it in the clear perspex ballot box under the eyes of supervisors and elected officials.

          No fraud. No mistakes. No central tabulator. No vile bodies in The White House, or Congress. Halleluya.

          •  Problem: (none)
            What about people who don't have mailboxes or other places to pick up the mail from?

            You might say it'd be easy to just go get some from the district, or whatever, but you KNOW the Republicans will never stand for that.

            (And by "that" i mean "letting poor and colored people vote".)

            Furthermore, it's also possible that a controlling husband (for instance) could take away his wife's (and possibly his child's) "Democrat" vote slip leaving them with only one option.

            I suppose that'd be a little conspicuous ("He took my Democrat slip, can I get one?") but so are bruises.

            The Shapeshifter's Blog -- Politics, Philosophy, and Madness!

            by Shapeshifter on Tue Apr 19, 2005 at 11:53:10 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  To abbreviate my remarks I skuttled (none)
              details: of course the materials legally permitted reflect candidate's widely-advertised platforms. The materials are also available, carefully laid-out, at the polling station. They are available at the Town Hall upon publication.

              Believe me: pre-printed ballots remove all these headfake objections. Just put your mind to it, and you will see how deeply and thoroughly you have been scammed.

              •  My favored solution: (none)
                Print the ballots at the voting booth.

                You go into your booth, select your candidates (perhaps even on a touch-screen machine) and that prints out a nice and neat ballot for you. If it didn't get printed clearly you can just re-print.

                Then you drop it into a box and away you go.

                It doesn't have the nice part in that it takes care of who can vote vs. who can't. But it also isn't open to the same abuses as a system that does in the way described.

                The Shapeshifter's Blog -- Politics, Philosophy, and Madness!

                by Shapeshifter on Wed Apr 20, 2005 at 12:24:36 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

      •  They need to focus on thecounting software aswell (4.00)
        The idea that totals are kept in an unsecured access DB is insane.

        They could go along way in my mind by having one company produce the voting machines and another company creating the vote tabulating software.  It's not perfect, but it would be a start.

        "When your opponent is drowning, throw the son of a bitch an anvil." -- James Carville

        by sgilman on Mon Apr 18, 2005 at 03:53:52 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Not just unsecured... (4.00)
          They're kept in Microsoft Access.

          Let me say it again:


          This is like driving your President around in a Pinto at high speeds with no seatbelts. Pure madness.

          I wouldn't trust Access to do my taxes, let alone pick my President!

          The Shapeshifter's Blog -- Politics, Philosophy, and Madness!

          by Shapeshifter on Tue Apr 19, 2005 at 12:16:04 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Not a paper trail; a paper BALLOT (4.00)
      If the system generates a paper trail, it can't have open source software since someone could hack it (and therefore the election).  If the system generates a paper ballot, the software can do whatever you like, since the human checks the ballot and puts it in the box.  The paper trail is the official record and the electronic tally is the approximation.

      Check out for a really nice open source, recycled component, encrypted, human and machine-readable balloting system.  My personal favorite so far.

      •  2 things (4.00)
        1. Open Source doesn't make it any more or less hackable. The "Hack" requires tampering with the equipment locally or remotely which is equally possible with proprietary code.

        2. Paper trails are great but if they are the official ballot why even bother with the machines. I can mark an X on my ballot much cheaper than asking a machine to do it for me.
        •  Why bother with machines? (none)
          I agree with your #1, but I find #2 uninformed.  Machines are there to make it easier to vote.  Not everyone can mark an X on their ballot correctly.  Some people go over the lines, some people circle the names, etc.  Also, machines help the disabled and non-english speakers to vote.

          Voting machines should be ONLY used for HELPING the voter vote.  They should NOT be used as a final tabulation of votes.  The HUMAN READABLE output from the machine should be the only official vote.  While machines can easily  and safely be used to calculate the voting totals from the human readable output, a certain percentage OF RANDOM VOES IN EVERY VOTING LOCATION should be counted manually, and then fed through the counting maching.  If the counting machine fails, even by 1, the location should do the entire count BY HAND, and each ballot should be PHOTOGRAPHED, or the counting should be VIDEO TAPED (with votes visible) and MADE PUBLIC.

      •  Absolutely agree (none)
        There actually are quite a number of benfits of an honestly run electronic touch-screen interface for voting, including things such as multi-language support.

        However, the downside of blackbox, proprietary, non-auditable votecasting far outweighs any potential benefits.

        A perfectly good answer is not to let the computer do any of the tabulating at all, but have it be the (multi-lingual, large-print for visually impaired, etc) interface to produce a paper ballot that is verified by the voter and fed into a separate machine for tabulation (such as today's optical scan  tabulators). As such, they are voter verifiable and recountable with no presumption that a blackbox system will tabulate it honestly.  Having the two components manufactured by different companies (and mandating open source on all software) will go a long way to eliminating fraud.

        "Those who betray the trust...are, in my view, the most insidious of traitors." - George HW Bush

        by DavidW in SF on Mon Apr 18, 2005 at 07:54:12 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I don't understand this multiple company (none)
          desideratum. If either of the components are fradulent it will still have the same effect...right? Any of the components are just about as weak as the others after the voter has done the verification (assuming they can).

          And if it's moles you're worried about, you will often need to get two or more people placed regardless. Two people in one company isn't that much harder than two people in two companies, unless you're getting an HR supervisor or something in first (which will just be a single-use piece of the puzzle).

          You can put your eggs in one basket and watch that basket.  Maybe better.

          The dark at the end of the tunnel is an oncoming age.

          by peeder on Mon Apr 18, 2005 at 08:52:35 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  What if (none)
          we let the computer to a rapid, unofficial tally for those who want to stay up and watch the game (erm, I mean, the election) on TV, and have the hand-count of the paper-ballot be the official result?

          "Democracy is a device that insures we shall be governed no better than we deserve." George Bernard Shaw

          by Shygetz on Tue Apr 19, 2005 at 07:03:57 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  I believe it is India (none)
          Who votes the exact same way throughout the country and has never had a probelm with voting tabulation.
          Everyone votes on these small computer like machines. The machines are small enough to be loaded up and taken to a few central locations and plugged into a tabulation machine of some sort.

          It was reported about a year ago on one of these networks news show, Dateline or 20/20 that they have no problems at all as do other countries.
          Perhaps we need to copy the model of other countries who use machines or ballots with few if any problems.

          We choose hope over despair; possibilities over problems, optimism over cynicism.-John Edwards

          by wishingwell on Tue Apr 19, 2005 at 08:58:43 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  How would you know what the machine ran? (4.00)
      If the source code was available, how would you know what object code ran?

      Also, you missed the point of the paper trail.  No matter what the machine reported, the paper trail is correct---it's write only to the machine---if the voter can see and verify it.  You'd use the paper trail in a recount.

      The paper trail does leak information about who you voted for, but this could probably be defeated with a little randomness and clever engineering.

      •  If ... (none)
        If they paer trail is counted and deemed the offical count why bother with the machines?
        •  Speed (none)
          That's the usual justification given, at least.
        •  lets try that again.. (none)
          If the paper trail is counted and deemed the official count why bother with the machines?

          <hangs head in shame>

          •  Since I don't have to worry about a double reply (none)
            I'll expand as well.  

            The usual protocol is that the machine reports the results electronically.  Then a few are randomly picked and audited by checking against the paper trail.  If things match up, then the electronic version is accepted.

            If ``a few'' means a reasonable constant fraction, then this is pretty hard to cheat by tampering and a lot faster than counting the whole paper trail.  But you could do that if you had to because of suspected malfunctions or foul play.

            •  What is the value in speed? n/t (none)
              The Iraqi election took a month to determine the results and the US government accepted them once finalized.
              •  More than just speed of results (none)
                There are really a number of issues here:

                Speed of results: This is what you're thinking of.  With a reasonable protocol and design---not what we have now---voting machines could give this and deliver confidence about the result.

                Speed of voting: I can't imagine anything vaguely like an ATM being faster than, a paper ballot.  Provided that you have good eyes and read English well.

                Accessibility of voting:  If the caveat above doesn't hold, then the electronic machine has a large number of advantages, in principle at least.  It can have the ballot in a large number of languages.  Programming it to have a larger font is basically free. And so on.

                Again, I doubt the current machines do much on this front.

                My general feeling is that unless machines which expand accessibility in practice appear, then you're right.  They aren't worth the hassle.  But if there are machine that offer a substantial advantage in terms of accessibility, then the should be pursued.

              •  value of speed - the crooks more quickly (4.00)
                declare themselves the winners and everyone starts speculating on what the actual winners did wrong in the campaign [yes, i'm fed up with the latter]

                hark! hark! the Clark!!

                by Errol on Mon Apr 18, 2005 at 04:45:03 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  Less time for monkeybusiness n/t (none)

                The dark at the end of the tunnel is an oncoming age.

                by peeder on Mon Apr 18, 2005 at 04:51:22 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  It makes a good excuse for using machines. (none)
                I certainly would be willing to wait an extra month to make sure the votes get counted correctly.
      •  Validating Compiled Code? Answer: Easy (none)
        You do MD5s on the compiled binaries and reject compiled code that doesn't match. Anyone could take the source code, compile it with the accepted compiler, and generate the MD5 hash to compare with the actual one used (hell, print it on the ballot). This is common practice and is done every day (how do you know that Windows Service Pack 7 you are downloading is really from Microsoft?)

        I don't leave marks... only impressions. - J.D. Guckert

        by hndrcks on Tue Apr 19, 2005 at 04:02:49 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  You don't know (none)
          ``the actual one used''

          What you're talking about with Windows Update is a completely different problem.

        •  Too easy (none)
          Now that MD5 has been cracked, I would look crosswise at any attempt to rely on it for verification.

          Besides, if you have open code, you can do an integrity check on the code, guarantee that the compiler and flags used are the right ones (by installing your own gcc, setting your own flags, running an integrity check on the compiler, and doing your own build), and then do an integrity check on the resulting executable.

          In addition, I would require the code to use the same release standard that FreeBSD uses: they put the codebase out in the wild for five years before pronouncing it stable. If software that was considered stable by that definition were used, a software patch applied to a stable release within years of Election Day would be a truly exceptional occurrence, worthy of investigation in and of itself.

          I'm not at all worried about open software being compromised. The most secure OS available for less than hundreds of thousands of dollars is OpenBSD, whose source code is freely available. I will trust code whose entire codebase can be subjected to worldwide peer review at any time over some company's word that the code they won't let you see is perfectly fine. That doesn't fly in science. It shouldn't fly in voting.

          I'd also require open hardware, with built-in self-analysis.  Custom ASICs are no longer that expensive to make, and a voting machine is a very simple problem. If the blueprints were publicly available, then anyone could build or verify a voting machine. That would be especially useful for testing voting machines. Only machines that had been tested and certified every year on Nov 2, and which had not had any repairs or updates done to them since the last test they had passed, could be used for voting.

          Or, we could just spare ourselves the trouble and design good paper ballots. I strongly favor this approach. It's cheaper and simpler, and it completely avoids the problem that digital data has when you're trying to guarantee integrity.

    •  Ballots, not receipts (4.00)
      If the machine gives you a card, then the card is a receipt and is as worthless as you say.

      If the machine shows you a card behind a plastic window and drops it into a secure box if you approve, then the card is a ballot -- a valid, auditable record.

      The confusion here, I think, comes from the sloppy habit of calling a paper record a "receipt", which suggests that you put it in your pocket or throw it away. Pointless.

      Republican conservatives are now boiled frogs.

      by technopolitical on Mon Apr 18, 2005 at 03:08:13 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  you are EXACTLY right. (none)
        A paper receipt is NOT for taking with you, it's for dropping in the ballot box.  If you use a machine to count the votes, the paper is to verify that there are no shenanigans, a backup system that can be hand-counted, to check the accuracy of the machine count.

        We need for people to stop thinking that this is something like an ATM receipt that you take home.  The paper trail is internal to the voting process.

        •  As witnessed in 04 (none)
          The receipt is even worse than useless without changing recount laws.

          If the theft is outside the margin for a recount the receipt is never reviewed.

        •  Yup (none)
          Plus, receipts are illegal. They'd violate secrecy, plus they make it too easy to buy votes. If you pay some guy $50 to vote for your guy, you have to trust him when he says he did. With receipts, you'd know for sure, and people could too easily sell their vote.
        •  Usability v Human Error v System Error (4.00)
          This is the single-most consistent problems in human-computer interaction design (HCI):

          How do we design systems that are 100% fool-proof and meet the requirements of performance?

          There are dozens of ways that this could be structured, including the machine spitting out 2 confirmations (one receipt, one paper trail) in addition electronically recording the vote).

          But the real answer is that there never has been such a system, so why would we develop systems that can never ever ever meet the basic requirements?

          That being said, I think we can do it. India has done it -- please no jokes about outsourcing. India is the world's largest democracy. They have voting machines that cost approx US$50 each. They are always accurate and they have never had an incident of suspected machine failure or voter fraud.

          Some interesting info on e-voting in general is available at Wikipedia

          Chaos. It's not just a theory.

          by PBnJ on Mon Apr 18, 2005 at 04:26:27 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Illegal (4.00)
        ``If the machine gives you a card, then the card is a receipt and is as worthless as you say.''

        This machine would be illegal anyway.  There can't be a way to prove that you did or didn't vote for a particular candidate.

    •  Baker and Carter can suck a donkey dick... (2.85)
      Reform never comes from within. Especially not during an election cycle. It ridiculous to even hope that the United States Congress would do anything to ensure fair elections. When 99% of congressional races are uncompetetive, why, pray why would anyone want to ANYTHING to upset the applecart. Even IF (this if should be size of Texas) there has never been any election fraud, no sitting politician (Democrat or Republican) would want to tinker with a system that has assured them a seat at the table.


      There is only one way that this will work. Someone or some foundation needs to bankroll a comprehensive review of the electoral process from access to registration, voting equipment, etc.. This money will never come from the Right.  It has to come from the Left. Every opportunity has to be taken to ensure that the study's findings are truly free of bias. Once this honest and open study has concluded its work, it has to be sold. Develop a marketing/political strategy for selling it and then run on it. It doesn't matter where they study is conducted, so long as it results in action.  

      When the debate is honest and the playing field is honest, we win - ALWAYS. I'm tired of trying to mimick Republican strategy. They need to play dirty to win. We need to level the playing field. This should be a #1 priority for the Democratic Party. The fact that it isn't has convinced me that they won't win elections anytime soon.  


    •  thank you for posting this comment (none)
      and thank you, rep Conyers!

      hark! hark! the Clark!!

      by Errol on Mon Apr 18, 2005 at 04:42:22 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  You don't have to hack source code... (4.00)
      to commit fraud.  Do you remember all of the complaints from voters who claimed that they voted for Kerry on Election Day only to see that the results showed that they voted for Bush instead?  

      I once owned a kiosk company.  The touch-screen monitors we used could very easily be calibrated so as to favor one choice over another simply by moving the calibration points on the touch sensitive monitors by just a few millimeters.  

      Now think about this: if you could steal just one vote out of a hundred for Bush by mis-calibrating the monitor, you would change the election results by a full 2.00%.  Why?  Because that stolen vote gets counted twice!  Not only are you stealing a vote for Bush, you are also stealing a vote from Kerry.

      Now for the truly brilliant part that makes this an almost perfect crime. Touch-screen monitors are notorious for having calibration problems.  Given this fact, even if the mis-calibration was detected, the cheater could always blame the mistake on faulty equipment or simple human error.

      If I were out there trying to prove electronic voter fraud, I would not be looking at source code. I'd be looking at calibration points on the machines instead.

      •  True (none)
        As remember the one county in Ohio where it was shown that something like 940 people voted in a precinct but Bush got over 3,000 votes which is impossible. I am convinced before Election Day even got underway, that some of these machines had Bush with a 1000-2000 vote lead !!!!!!! I am not saying it is widespread, who knows though, it could be.
        But I do think we have to really make the FIRST changes in battleground states like Ohio and Florida. I think most of the problems are centered in Battleground states.

        We choose hope over despair; possibilities over problems, optimism over cynicism.-John Edwards

        by wishingwell on Tue Apr 19, 2005 at 09:03:55 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  How about this (none)
      Have 'vote coins' of different color, shapes, and/or thicknesses for each race.  In a given precinct, voters may have several different types of coins.  Voters put their coin in the buckets below the picture of the candidate they favor.  Coinstar-type machines do the counting, segregating bad coins in the process.  Precinct results are called into the main counting center by a human.

      Low-tech, but there's no invisible code.

    •  Why should we rely on code at all? (none)
      The voting machines should be printers, not vote-counters.

      Paper ballots, hand-counted on the night.  That's the only way we can be sure.

  •  Thanks (4.00)
    For for your views on the commission.

    It is appalling that the very people who scream "God Bless America" are the same ones who are derailing democracy.  The Republicans always know to stack the deck, as they know they don't have a legitimate leg to stand on.  Shameful.

  •  The Republicans continue their tactic (4.00)
    of accusing the opposition of their own sins and co-opting our issues.

    Outrageous indeed!

    How were the witnesses selected, and why was there such a paucity of testimony on the many problems with voting machinery and abuses of voting rights that you and your colleagues have helped bring out? Will there be more hearing sessions, and do we know who will appear?

    Most importantly, is there anything that we can do to apply pressure for a more fair hearing of these issues?

    Thank you so much for your work on this most critical issue, and for keeping us posted.

  •  Thanks for the update (4.00)
    Until the print media and television do an honest job of reporting the sins of the Bush party, I fear this is going nowhere.  And yet, the battle must be fought.  You're a brave and faithful man to take on this upstream charge. Are Barbara Boxer, and Stephanie Tubbs-Jones still on this as well?  What can we do to help?
  •  Go for the Australian system.. (4.00)
    .. and I say this as someone who HATES John Howard. But I know that Aussies really did vote them in.
    Everyone puts a big tick in a box, on paper, for a single political party. You can vote anywhere in your electorate, and the electorates are big enough to give you plenty of places to vote. Your name is crossed off a list, which each polling booth has. The votes get put in a big box, which looks exactly like every other ballot box. Simplify the system... no wonder voting is confusing when you have to cast dozens of votes for a single election.

    The definition of an idiot is someone who's always absolutely sure that they are right.

    by The little blogger that could on Mon Apr 18, 2005 at 02:32:31 PM PDT

    •  That sounds good (none)
      Australia's system sounds good. Some of these politicians act like reforming our voting system is rocket science. I say copy the models of countries who have the fewest problems with voting fraud and vote counting.

      We choose hope over despair; possibilities over problems, optimism over cynicism.-John Edwards

      by wishingwell on Tue Apr 19, 2005 at 09:06:26 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Civil disobedience (4.00)
    I do not think real reform will occur until every unverifiable voting machine is taken to with a sledgehammer. Democracy demands it.

    This is enough to turn me into a revolutionary.

    "Truth is my god, and Justice his bride."

    by JamesC on Mon Apr 18, 2005 at 02:40:21 PM PDT

  •  Right-wing strategy (4.00)
    This is the entire strategy of the right-wing -- to take voter "reform" and turn it into something that would effectively disenfranchise MORE voters.

    The Voting Rights Section at the Department of Justice has led the way in proposing "voting integrity reforms" whose entire purpose is to further dampen the vote for African-American and other historically disenfranchised populations.

    You can find more here:

    Blogging for a Progressive South

    by ProgressiveSouth on Mon Apr 18, 2005 at 02:40:26 PM PDT

  •  Carter should resign (4.00)
    Why lend his credible name to this travesty? He just shouldn't waller in the filth they are creating.


    •  Truly Intrepid? (4.00)
      It's frustrating to learn of this, I'll grant you that.

      But Carter's got more self-discipline than many of us. He believes he can make a difference here, so he's willing to wade in and be a part of it. That's my sense of his determination anyway. And even if that fails, he's got a much better sense of what's really going on here - the inside dope, as it were.

      Carter can't help it if those people misuse his legitimacy. He's got to do what he can do to protect American voters.

      I can't fault him for that.

    •  My take on Carter's involvement: (4.00)
      He will do everything he can to make it right.  If he can't, he'll say so and resign, leaving the system with no credibility, which is exactly what it will deserve, if it comes to that.  I have faith in Jimmy!
    •  If after Jimmy Carter really tries on this (4.00)
      and then walks away and says, "I have seen more fairness and openness in voting in third world countries than I see in my own country" than I think even Repubs like my parents would see the truth. And if all else fails - well, I like the suggestions of some above.

      "If you are not outraged, you are not paying attention."

      by adigal on Mon Apr 18, 2005 at 05:33:53 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Don't count on the repubs... (none) of the right wing hate-pacs recently had an advert with blustering about the 'blame America first' crowd and had a pic of Pres. Carter front and center as one of the premier blame America firsters. This new ruling class knows no shame, they have no shame.  
        •  True (none)
          But that's not who we're talking about. The Bushies and the freepi are a tiny subset of Republicans. Most of them are just people who don't pay that much attention to all these machinations. Most of those ads are made more for the press they generate on Hardball and The Note than to actually run where normal people will see them.

          Carter is respected by people who didn't like him as president and by people who disagree with his politics today.

      •  I agree ! (none)
        As after all, Carter has travelled throughout the world helping them set up elections and get the vote counting right. If this commission is bogus, I think he will say so and walk away.

        We choose hope over despair; possibilities over problems, optimism over cynicism.-John Edwards

        by wishingwell on Tue Apr 19, 2005 at 09:08:36 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Thanks, Rep Conyers (4.00)
    Let us know how we can help.

    "Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler." Albert Einstein

    by x on Mon Apr 18, 2005 at 02:46:08 PM PDT

  •  Thank you again, Rep Conyers (4.00)

    Of course he's written in the Lamb's Book of Life. He's the Antagonist.

    by ultrageek on Mon Apr 18, 2005 at 02:51:47 PM PDT

  •  CA to lose "paper trail by 2006" rule? (4.00)
    anyone interested in recountable elections -- including Congressman Conyers and his staff --  should know that Gov. Schwarzenegger's new appointees to the CA Sec'y of State's office seem likely to work to overturn California's "paper trail by 2006" rule (promised by former Sec'y of State Kevin Shelley).

    New Sec'y of State Bruce McPherson's "transition team" includes Adan Ortega, Jr., a lobbyist for the firm that represents Diebold Election Systems, and last week, CA's longtime elections chief was unceremoniously removed from his job and replaced by Brad Clark, former Registrar of Voters for Alameda County, considered "a driving force" behind the original certification of touchscreen voting machines in CA, and who has repeatedly said publicly that a paper trail is "a bad idea."

    earlier diaries on this;

  •  Thank You Congressman Conyers (4.00)
    I never skip one of your posts, even if I'm running late for work. I'm subscribing to your diaries.

    Although your post is very cogent and complete it seems to contain a good deal of passion and indignity at the injustice in this country, particularly targeted at minorities. I think you are absolutely on target with this post and I'm right there with ya'. I rarely contribute to campaigns but I dropped you a check after seeing your honesty as portrayed in F 9/11. My check is on the way for your '06 race. As we say up here in Boston, Keep the Faith....

  •  I am disappointed in President Carter (4.00)
    It seems he is making a major, major mistake by participating in this right-wing hatchet job.  I have no doubt his heart is in the right place, but he is just going to end up giving them bipartisan cover.
    •  Agreed and my thought exactly n/t (none)

      No election fraud in 2004 you say? Don't forget this video

      by kathika on Mon Apr 18, 2005 at 03:08:27 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Okay, wait a minute (4.00)
      Are you suggesting that Carter would sacrifice our voting integrity, our representative democracy and his reputation as a stand up guy just to give the bozos political cover?

      We're talking, now, about perhaps the smartest man to ever hold our highest office, and certainly the most honest and noble among them, within the last two hundred years or so.

      Carter's not helping anyone overturn our constitutional government with rigged "democratic" mechanisms. To think he'd do it, even unwittingly, seems a bit over the top to me.

      This isn't Powell or McCain we're talking about. This is Jimmy "Don't lie to The People" Carter. If you can't trust this man to watch your back then you can't trust anyone, frankly.

      •  These are very fair points (none)
        See my comment below, as well.
      •  Yes! (none)
        After all, many believe Carter would not play the Washington game, the political game, or lie and it probably cost him the election of 1980. He would not sweet talk the people or lie to them plus he irritated the Washington insiders even within the Democratic party. So he does not favor partisanship over truth and he will not lend his name to a right wing partisan effort..not by a long shot.

        Remember Carter is speaking out against Bush and strongly. Bush and Carter do not get along!
        Bush and Clinton do get along quite well and are friendly ! Carter has so much integrity that he could care less about being friends with Bush and I have to admire that. I am not putting Bill Clinton down for his new friendship with Bush as Bill will get out and tear down Bush politically as needed. But Carter is so " real" that he cannot fake emotions for political purposes either.

        We choose hope over despair; possibilities over problems, optimism over cynicism.-John Edwards

        by wishingwell on Tue Apr 19, 2005 at 09:14:21 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Disagree (4.00)
      Would you rather have no one from the left on this panel? Carter is one of the world's experts on clean elections.

      And he may be a soft-spoken gentleman, but he is one tough old goat. He sure as hell won't let anyone put words in his mouth. He can really let it rip when he wants to.

      •  Yes (none)
        I absolutely would rather have no one from the left on this panel.  They would have no more legitimacy than all the other right-wing groups that have been crying for photo ID and the rest for years.  The only way this commission's recommendations will get any attention whatsoever is if they can be spun as "bipartisan."

        Listen, I am a huge fan of President Carter, and I wish I could share the faith of other commenters that it will all turn out for the best.  But I don't get how it serves any purpose for him to stand by while this commission repeats a bunch of right-wing lies, only to resign in a huff at the end of it all because it turns out they were never really interested in genuine bipartisan reform.

        If I get invited to sit on a panel discussion with Ann Coulter, Rush Limbaugh, and Sean Hannity, I'm not going to have much interest.  I could be the most intelligent, articulate liberal on earth (I'm not, for the record), but I know nothing good is going to result from such a discussion.

        I honestly hope I am wrong and that President Carter succeeds in bringing us meaningful voter reform, but I remain skeptical that this commission can ever be the vehicle by which that comes about.

        •  Give him time (4.00)
          Carter has real integrity and he is not a dummy.  If  nobody with integrity is there and it is just another complete rubber-stamp republican spin-cycle feeder they'll milk it forever quoting its lies for years to come.  This way we have a chance.

          Sure it's scary to have James Baker III on anything.  He is a completely unprincipled liar.  So I don't blame you for having angst.  But give Jimmy a chance  to do his thing and tell the truth here.

          But how the heck can he do it.  I'd just blow a gasket the first day.

          Apparently I have made the unbelievably naive error of overestimating the intelligence of the American people.

          by Citizen Clark on Mon Apr 18, 2005 at 05:38:34 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  If Carter can't make it right, (4.00)
      he will resign, leaving the whole mess with no credibility.  I have no doubt he will do what is right.  Trust, but verify.
    •  I'm hoping and (none)
      would expect that he would start yelling really loud if, after this commission, he feels it was all a fraud.  I'll be very disappointed in him, someone I've admired for years, if he doesn't

      Speaking the truth in times of universal deceit is a revolutionary act. - Orwell

      by TracieLynn on Mon Apr 18, 2005 at 03:41:15 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Thank you (4.00)
    ... Rep Conyers.

    I watched a good deal of that this morning.  That Fund was even on the panel is somewhere beyond incredulous.  I'd point out your reference to him is far too mild: he's a shill, and I wouldn't be surprised to find him on white house payola list.    I recall an OpEd he wrote for LA Times perhaps 18 months ago, citing 20+ years of progress in US envrionmental law as evidence that GWB is an environmentalist.  Beyond that, I can't imagine what credentials he has to sit on this board.  

    I was struck by his charactarization of '04 Washington State Governor race as exemplifying election problems: I live in that state, and the entire process has been open/visible and by the law... exemplary AFAIC.  Compared to Ohio, where not only was the process not open but in many cases illegal, and redress petitions through Ohio's courts cut off by a partisan Attn General...

    This "commision" is nauseating.  Unbelievable.  

    "My theory of evolution is that Darwin was adopted." -- Steven Wright

    by jdmckay on Mon Apr 18, 2005 at 03:02:54 PM PDT

  •  Prof. David Dill said it best (4.00)
    Until we get the integrity issues resolves, let's use paper technology--it's easy to understand and verifiable.  

    Let's use Optiscan and perform random audit on 5% of all precincts.

    Separation of Church and State AND Corporation

    by Einsteinia on Mon Apr 18, 2005 at 03:04:00 PM PDT

  •  Voter-Verified Paper Ballot (4.00)
    On a panel supposedly designed to address "voting technology," only one of the four witnesses, Professor David Dill, spoke of the need for a voter verified paper ballot.  Two of the witnesses on this panel spoke in total opposition to such a proposal

    Okay, I'm curious. What possible opposition could they have to such a proposal? Cost isn't valid, the reliability's definitely there (just ask Liebold's ATM division)... So what's the problem?

    Monsters think it's all right to be a monster, after all. - Hitherby Dragons

    by RHunter on Mon Apr 18, 2005 at 03:04:01 PM PDT

  •  Thank You (4.00)
    Thank you for bringing this to our attention and keeping us up-to-date on this "commission."
  •  Still frustrated at NO front page coverage (4.00)
    Here we have one of the most respected Dems, Mr. Conyers, fighting the good fight, putting his neck on the line to get true vote reform, because there are those who are against true vote reform. The "bad" guys are organized and executing a plan, in broad daylight, to fuck us out of the right to vote.

    Even if you aren't one of the "fraudsters", isn't it newsworthy that this Dem is fighting for us?

    And to non-"fraudsters" - If the highest levels of the GOP didn't steal the election, why are they doing everything possible to turn the subject away from voting machines? From reading the live-blogging comments at DU and Bradblog, the purpose of this commission is to avoid paper ballots at all costs. Except for David Dill - he's the only one I can trust on the commission. Nearly everyone else on the commission is a shill for Diebold.

    "Blogging doesn't make it so" - Sen. Hayworth (R) AZ 1/6/2005. Oh yeah?

    by bejammin075 on Mon Apr 18, 2005 at 03:05:35 PM PDT

  •  The Photo ID Thing. (4.00)

     And exactly how many (oh, hell, give us a ballpark number) votes were illegally cast due to "lack of photo i.d.?????"

     This is a twofer for the Radical Right:  (1) it's a wonderful strawman to divert attention away from the inexcusably long lines in urban and other traditionally Democratic polling places; and a diversionary strawman from all those voting machines that went "Bush" when people touched the name "Kerry" on their screen (has anyone ever documented where the opposite happened???); and, (2) it's a potentially effective way to turn away lower-income and minority voters who are less likely to carry photo i.d. with them.

     These GOoPers really are in cahoots with Satan, aren't they?  I know, I know -- hate the sin, love the sinner.


    . . . religion is not a syllogism, but a poem. H.L. Mencken

    by BenGoshi on Mon Apr 18, 2005 at 03:09:15 PM PDT

    •  Photo ID unconstitutional. (none)
      Requiring some kind of proof of identification is not, but specifying a single kind as the only acceptable kind is an unconstitutional burden on the franchise.  Unless we are to have a national picture ID issued by the feds, at no cost, with no possible barriers of any kind (economic, cultural, language, transportation, etc.).  Which, of course, raises all kinds of other concerns.

      It is not even constitutional to require a voter to have his registration card in order to vote.  It is the government's duty, not the voter's, to insure electoral integrity (i.e., keep a list of registered voters and check it).

      Has anyone mentioned what IMHO seems to be the common thread running thru ALL (D and R and whatnot) complaints - that elections are run by and under rules made by partisan officials?  Why not a national, independent, non-partisan election commission to set the rules for federal elections?  Is there any other nation in the world with a national election for national office conducted under 50+ different election systems?

    •  But Why, Oh Why are WE collaborating with them? (none)
        We should get the whole "picture id" thing off
      the table by giving it to them.  It's a two-fer.
      It's good tactics because it cuts the legs right from under their strawman.  More importantly, it's
      good policy because it protects the franchise. Which is the goal, right?
         I just haven't heard any rational argument
      against requiring picture ids to vote. For god's
      sake, we need them dozens of times a month for
      much less essential purposes.  Anyone could've
      disenfranchised me last November simply by getting
      to the poll before I did, spouting my name and
      address and casting MY ballot for Bush! And such
      a tactic would be much more likely to succeed in
      big urban (read: BLUE) precincts than in smaller
      rural precincts where everyone knows everyone
         Sure, it almost never happens. Sure, the
      rightwing fucktards are playing misdirection here -
      trying to turn attention away from massive scale
      systemic disenfranchisement by harping on small
      potato stuff.  But we give them the opening
      to drive that truck through by opposing the
      most simple and basic first step towards
      protecting an individual's right to vote.
  •  Heh! (4.00)
    I like how they're talking about voter fraud perpetrated by voters when, by far, the biggest area of concern is a certain other type.

    And i like how, when they finally start talking about that, they adamantly oppose the means with which such fraud might be curtailed without so much as one good reason why such measures are inappropriate.

    Makes me wonder what they've got to hide...

    The Shapeshifter's Blog -- Politics, Philosophy, and Madness!

    by Shapeshifter on Mon Apr 18, 2005 at 03:09:37 PM PDT

  •  Should Jimmy Carter pull out in protest? (4.00)
    Does his participation merely add a fig-leaf of legitimacy to this enterprise?
  •  Why the Polls Don't Matter for Bush ? (4.00)
    Kos just posted in the main page: Bush's approval ratings are 44% approve and 56% disaprove.

    Those are numbers that should put any elected official in a panic mode. Yet the Bush camp takes it in stride. Their answer ? Only the polls at election day count.

    How can the Bush camp be so confident, Diebold even, in face of this approval ratings ?!?!?

    Preacher Bush (

    Ronald Brownstein writes in his Los Angeles Times column: "Every White House says the president isn't concerned about his polls. In Bush's case that actually seems true."

    The lack of unease "reflects a political calculation among Bush's strategists. In their eyes, mass opinion doesn't matter as much as the attitude of the voters motivated to turn up on election day. As long as the president pleases his base, strategists believe they can produce an electorate that is more sympathetic to Bush and the GOP than the country is generally."

    Jesus believed in justice and tolerance and I do, too !

    by lawnorder on Mon Apr 18, 2005 at 03:14:37 PM PDT

  •  Pencils, paper and people. (4.00)
    I agree with Thom Hartmann:

    "It's time that the USA - like most of the rest of the world - returns to paper ballots, counted by hand by civil servants (our employees) under the watchful eye of the party faithful. Even if it takes two weeks to count the vote, and we have to just go, until then, with the exit polls of the news agencies. It worked just fine for nearly 200 years in the USA, and it can work again.

    When I lived in Germany, they took the vote the same way most of the world does - people fill in hand-marked ballots, which are hand-counted by civil servants taking a week off from their regular jobs, watched over by volunteer representatives of the political parties. It's totally clean, and easily audited. And even though it takes a week or more to count the vote (and costs nothing more than a bit of overtime pay for civil servants), the German people know the election results the night the polls close because the news media's exit polls, for two generations, have never been more than a tenth of a percent off.

    We could have saved billions that have instead been handed over to ES&S, Diebold, and other private corporations."

  •  I'm sorry, I can't thank Rep. Conyers. (3.60)
    I think the Congressman is deluding himself that any change in voting rights will happen with the backing of the majority of Congress. Will anything from this commission make a bit of difference in the near future? Will any tales of disenfranchisement, any record of malfeasance, any statement by anybody convince a bunch of political hacks to make changes that could put them out of office?

    The ONLY chance we have to make a change is to withdraw our consent from financially supporting the companies that our screwing us over.

    Corporate America is intrinsically connected in both an ownership and legal level. A company is legally bound to make decisions that will not adversely affect its investors. We can use those connections to leverage our power.

    Think about it - for example, Choicepoint and Diebold are publicly traded companies that manufacture both ATMs and voting machines. Both these companies have stated that they do not have the ability to create a paper ballot, but everyday their systems create millions of receipts and statements for consumers in a much more complicated network.

    We should be asking these companies, "If you can't give us a paper ballot, how can we be sure the ATM statements you give us are accurate?" And until they can fix this issue with voting machines, we are asking people to change their banking to companies that don't use ATM systems from either of these two companies.  

    It also happens that Bank of America, one of the biggest advertisers on Fox News and one of the companies that donated to the Tom DeLay defense fund, gets most of their ATMs from Diebold.

    Can you imagine the press coverage we would get delivering something like a "black letter" to Diebold's corporate office, saying if you can't give us a paper receipt of our vote, we don't trust you and the major bank you work for with our money?

    Corporate America survives because we feed the beast - we must learn how to starve it.

    "The only way to ensure a free press is to own one."

    by Rico on Mon Apr 18, 2005 at 03:17:44 PM PDT

    •  Starve the Beast (none)
      That is a slogan, and a battle plan. You are absolutely right.
    •  Oh, please (4.00)
      You damn well better thank Rep. Conyers. I think he knows a little bit more than you do how to get things done. We can't just sit around with our thumbs up our asses and wait for The Revolution. If we listen to people like you, nothing will ever be done.

      Jimmy Carter isn't going to sit back and let this turn into a dog-and-pony show. If it becomes one despite his efforts, he'll make damn sure the American people know about it. And the people trust Carter a lot more than they do a clown like John Fund.

    •  Choicepoint doesn't manufacture machines (none)
      Where did you get that information? Choicepoint is in the data mining business, not machine manufacturing business.

      And for the record, Diebold introduced add-on printers for their voting terminals about a month ago. Not that this fact snowballed in the press, but the capability is there and Diebold allegedly showcased it.

  •  It didn't sound like it was (4.00)
    getting off to a very good start.  I half-listened this morning while I was working.  One of the first women to discuss getting out the vote said that only 40% of us vote.  She automatically attributed this to voter apathy.  I don't think this theory gets to the core.  Mainly, why are voters apathetic?

    I know, I know, what about Diebold and the juggling of the the ballots of those who do vote?

    If I was proposing a bill, it would be to reinstitute Civics and Government as mandatory for all U. S. citizens.

  •  Oh, for crying out loud. (4.00)
    Look, if you want clean, clear elections, it's really simple. One voter, one ballot. Mark down your preferred candidate with a pen, slip it into a box, and tens of thousands of election workers count them through the night.

    And before you say it would take too long - Canada does this with 44m people. Australia does it with 20m. The UK does it with I don't even know how many.

    All this talk of code and ROMs and paper and ID is just shorseshit designed to clutter the reality of the situation. You mark down your vote, you put it in the box, it gets counted. If there's a recount, it all gets counted again.

    Where's the difficulty in that?

  •  Why is any of this a surprise?... (4.00)
    ...the vote in 2000, followed by oddly reported victories for republicans trailing in polls the night before the 2002 election from 6 to 10 percentage points, and then the grand coup in November of 2004.

    ...WAKE UP!

    ...Republicans control the WH, the US Senate, the US House, the Media, and most of the Judiciary.  Why would any of you reading this post think anything is going to change?  The Ukrainians thought enough of their democracy to march in the streets and fix the results of a fetid, rank, polluted election declaration by thugs and thieves.  WE DIDN'T!  We re(S)elected a talentless dry drunk and a dangerous band of boobs ...or did we?

    ...Too bad our own candidate sez...We Did.

    ...Too Bad 99 out of 100 US Senators became accessories-after-the-fact to the felonoius theft of a National Election by certifying the electoral slate from Ohio.  Don't even ask about the farcical recount.   There again OUR GUY sorta tiptoed in the electoral waters when we needed him to cannonball this abortion onto the front page of every newspaper in AMERICA.

    ...Too bad we can't convince the host of this site and all his front pagers that this electoral theft, documented ad nauseum by statistical, mathmatical, and empirical data, took place.

    ...Too bad the entire world can see what we in America can't.  ...that is IT HAPPENED.  

    ...It will continue to happen regardless of message, demographics, morals, religeon, red-states, blue-states, new voters, Dr. Dean as chair, A good honest candidate who had actual solutions to some of our most pressing problems.  

    ...It will continue to happen until we play the game their way (hack the vote and change the numbers...back) or march in the streets.  There is no longer a middle ground.

    ...And now truly...YOU are part of the solution or YOU are part of the problem.

    "Those who cast the votes decide nothing. Those who count the votes decide everything" - Joseph Stalin

    by Blue Shark on Mon Apr 18, 2005 at 03:25:57 PM PDT

  •  putting James Baker in charge of election reform (4.00)
    is like having a fox repair the henhouse door.

    What occurred in the hearing today is thus no surprise whatsoever.  Can you think of anything that citizens can do, Rep. Conyers?  

    •  So Right (4.00)
      Baker is the poster boy for wealthy power brokers.

      To have him on the commission is a joke.  First, he has never been elected to any office.  Secondly, he is the unofficial spokesperson for the Caryle Group and I sure don't want those greedy bastards anywhere near election "reform."

  •  Given that we don't have (4.00)
    a system to honestly record the real vote in this country, what do we do, Congressman Conyers? What's the point of acting like it's business as usual as elections approach when they're rigged? This is not a rhetorical question. I'd honestly like some guidance from you on this as you are the most consistantly involved and honest person in this whole disasterous mess.

    Darkness washed over the Dude...darker than a black steer's tookus on a moonlight prairie night...there was no bottom

    by moon in the house of moe on Mon Apr 18, 2005 at 03:32:04 PM PDT

  •  Screw the commission. (4.00)
    This is a clear setup and was from the beginning.

    We must work on a strategy to oppose everything they do, from the composition of the commission, to what they say, to the witnesses they call, to the reports they issue.

    And simultaneously, we must have our own strategy for getting the key issues on the record.  We should set up our own Commission and call it an Election Reform Truth Commission, call our own witnesses and reach our own conclusions.

    The Commission should hold hearings in D.C. and C-Span should be requested to cover them.  This means getting people with credible names (like yourself Congressman Conyers, and like David Dill) and credible positions.

    These rightwing nutjobs must be fought every step of the way on this.  If we lose this fight, nothing else will matter.  This IS our democracy.

  •  P.S. (4.00)
    Thank you Congressman for your heroic work.
  •  Stinks (none)
    When this commission was first formed with James Baker as a co-chair, I knew it was just another farse in the upside down world of BushCo.  If we don't get real, honest election reform in time for the 2006 elections, we're screwed.  Lynn Landes suggested "parallel" elections.  It would take a great deal of organization and effort, but I can't think of any other means of ensuring honest elections.  I know that if the tables were turned, and if the voting machines and secret software were owned by the Democrats, the Republicans would be having hysterics by now.
    •  It's called exit polling (none)
      Exit polling is just that - a parallel election using a statistical sample.  That our exit poll results were skewed more from the official results than one of the two exit polls in the Ukraine should tell us all something - and it isn't that there's a flaw in the exit poll process.

      However the difference between us and the Ukraine?  When their incumbent tried to rig the election, people took to the streets in massive protests.  Here, nobody cared.  Or rather, not enough people cared.  The Ukranians assumed that everything was going to be rigged from the getgo.  Joe Average in the US assumes that elections are fair, or doesn't care about them anyway.  The fairness is taken for granted.


      Organizing my thoughts about how to win from 2005 forward -

      by FredFred on Mon Apr 18, 2005 at 07:31:59 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Thank you, Congressman (none)
    The people of Detroit should be proud.

    Yeah yeah, I know, the rapture is coming.

    by Nathaniel Ament Stone on Mon Apr 18, 2005 at 04:22:07 PM PDT

  •  The Dixiecrats of yore.. (none)
    ...are the GOP of today. We are surprised by this?

    The GOP has gotten very good over the years, carefully crafting and modulating their rhetoric to make palatable, and sound reasonable, their exclusionary, anti-American tactics.


    Mitch Gore

    Nobody will change America for you, you have to work to make it happen

    by Lestatdelc on Mon Apr 18, 2005 at 04:29:06 PM PDT

  •  Oh boy- (none)
    Voter ID requirements, I believe are forbidden in several states where disenfranchisement (Deep South) occured prior to the Voters Rights Act.   I think it was actually written into it.

    I was at a meeting and to suggest that voters need to have  a picture ID to vote in Mississippi would not going to play well at all, this is a VERY sensitive issue.  Black people of the South fought very hard to get the vote and to get rid of requirements and tests, they see right through this kind of shit.

  •  Delegitimize this Commission (4.00)
    Carter must PUBLICLY resign ASAP.

    Conyers must announce that Carter has resigned.

    This must be a public issue.

  •  An interesting side note re Carter: (none)
    After the 2000 election debacle, Carter was asked about it.  As most of you know, Carter has helped several countries in holding fair and trusted elections.  Carter said that his group has a list of necessary items that must be in place before the Carter Center will even consider overseeing an election.  He said Florida would not have qualified.  Banana Republic, anyone?
    •  Trust In Carter (4.00)
      Carter won't sell out or agree to some half baked Repub. dominated Commission report.  He has way too much integrity for that, and besides he has nothing to gain by rubber stamping such a partisan outcome.    Look for him to try to turn this thing around and re-focus the commission on the real issues of 2004, or if that fails, look for him to bail in a very public way which will de-legitimize any conclusions reached by a lop-sided panel.
  •  Rep. Conyers should be In (none)
    and Baker Out, and until this happens the commission should be considered merely as one perspective on reform, but not a prescription for reform. The goal of election reform in 2004 should be that of establishing national, uniform and verifiable election standards which ensure that all who are eligible to vote can vote in a straightforward and timely mannor. As Rep. Conyers outlines, the focus of this commission as it is currently configured (with the exception of Jimmy Carter), seems focused on individual "voter fraud" rather than the systemic fraud that is linked to voter machines produced by companies that do not permit independent audits, random checking and provide no "paper trail" for either the voter or the state commissioners. Look at the map in this article to see what the hidden agenda might be.
  •  they have their answer to in house (none)
    critics of the nuclear option:

    goper 1: "let's be careful...what goes around will come around."

    goper 2: (snarkly)"no, it won't!"

    really, sometimes i think that we only need to get a few of the gopers upon whom reality is slowly dawning.  but then sometimes i think that it will take a huge movement, overwhelming and unmistakable, refusing to accept a fradulent result (ala the ukraine.)  this is a much taller order.

    p.s.  mr. conyers: what is the relevance of whether you like the honorable member on the other side?  i think that's the nature of a civil war.  is your colleague showing any desire to stand up against his masters?  please spare us the traditional congressional courtesies. they died when frist went to south dakota.

    "how can i find out what i wanna find out if he don't find out what i gotta find out" / chicolini

    by 2nd balcony on Mon Apr 18, 2005 at 05:23:45 PM PDT

  •  Thank You (none)
    Congressman Conyers. You are one of the very few bright lights at this time in our country.  I'm from Ohio and I only wish that our own congresspersons would have the backbone stand up and discuss the "election" in Ohio as you have done.  You are a true patriot.  

    "If fighting for a more equal and equitable distribution of the wealth of this country is socialistic, I stand guilty of being a socialist." Walter Reuther

    by fugwb on Mon Apr 18, 2005 at 05:35:16 PM PDT

  •  Well over 100 comments ... (4.00)
    And just two references to people taking to the streets! Wow!

    Alohaleezy comments:
    JUST SAY NO TO machines. We the people, by the people, for the people have got to get off our computers and get out there in the streets and tell this wingnuts, we are sick and tired and we are not going to take it anymore. [...] There must be paper ballots again.

    Blue Shark comments:
    Republicans control the WH, the US Senate, the US House, the Media, and most of the Judiciary.  Why would any of you reading this post think anything is going to change? The Ukrainians thought enough of their democracy to march in the streets and fix the results of a fetid, rank, polluted election declaration by thugs and thieves.  WE DIDN'T!  We re(S)elected a talentless dry drunk and a dangerous band of boobs ...or did we?
    What on earth is the matter with you people? People in so-called "Third World" countries, many with less education and personal power than you, with less organizational savoir-faire than you, with less of everything than you, have been able to bring the necessary changes to their voting system! Good Heavens! Have you all become Dodos?

    Talking of his Britain, captive as is the US of corporations who control the political sphere, Monbiot wrote: "No one else will fight this battle for us. There will be no messiah, no conquering hero to deliver us from the corporate leviathan. Most of our representatives have been either coopted or crushed. Only one thing can reverse the corporate takeover of Britain. It's you."

    Go join the protests outside the hearing! DO something!!


    Signs and Baker puppet
    "Baker Fixes Elections"
    "Baker Resign!"
    "Say No to James Baker"
    "Oxymoron James Baker + Election Reform"
    "Baker - We Remember! Florida 2000! No More Stolen Elections"
    "Public Hearings? When can the public testify?"
    "Make Voting a Constitutional Right"
    "Secure Elections Demand Paper Ballots!"
    "Democracy Demands Non-Partisan Election Boards!"
    "Don't Privatize Democracy!"
    "Protect Voters Rights, Stop Disenfranchisment!"
    The Brad Blog

    •  Other ways of "taking to the streets" (4.00)
      Why aren't we looking to do to Diebold what we did to Sinclair? By focusing on the investment firms that had Sinclair as a stock in their mutual funds, we were able to drive down their stock price by $105 million. We were able to leverage a lot of weight by threatening their future and their profits, WITHOUT the help of anyone in Congress, much less the presidential candidate that Sinclair was attacking.

      Diebold manufactures ATMs for Bank of America - ATMs that spit out millions of account balance reciepts a day, but they have only very recently reported that they have a "secure" paper ballot system.

      We should be calling the investment firms that have Diebold on their mutual funds and 401K plans and say that until we can verify INDEPNDENTLY that this paper ballot is totally secure and verifiable, we do not fell secure in the accuracy of your paper reciepts, and we will ask people to pull their money out of BofA in the interest of consumer security.

      Make these bastards accountable by making sure that if they intend to screw you over, they will sure as hell not be using your own money to do it. March in the streets, fine, but our day as a moement will come when the evening news covers the closure of Diebold and the bankruptcy announcement of ES&S.

      "The only way to ensure a free press is to own one."

      by Rico on Mon Apr 18, 2005 at 06:15:13 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I agree with the paper people (4.00)
    With a twist. Two sheets of paper - one presidential, one with all of the other votes (because not knowing who is president for 48 hours may freak out all of the American Idol fans.)  Put a big black mark near your choice.  Read the choices aloud, report them to a district, then to a state, then to the federal level. Still chance of messing around, but we can prove if there were lies.

    We absolutely cannot allow unverifiable voting to go on any longer.  I KNOW Bush was losing on Nov. 2nd; Hannity was practically crying at 4PM.  Then, at about 9PM or so, the networks showed Rove and Co. at work on their computers, and the Bush family in the White House.  I was like, ha, ha, ha, wipe that smirk off your face, Chimpie.  Then, when I really looked at his face, I said, "Fuck. He fucking stole it.  Bastards."  And I knew.  Even though I didn't admit it for 2 months.

    "If you are not outraged, you are not paying attention."

    by adigal on Mon Apr 18, 2005 at 05:45:08 PM PDT

  •  Tell me where and when (none)
    and I will be there, I promise, in the streets, ready to fight for my vote to count.

    "If you are not outraged, you are not paying attention."

    by adigal on Mon Apr 18, 2005 at 05:46:04 PM PDT

  •  Tell me where and when (none)
    and I will be there, I promise, in the streets, ready to fight for my vote to count.

    "If you are not outraged, you are not paying attention."

    by adigal on Mon Apr 18, 2005 at 05:46:09 PM PDT

    •  Oops, sorry Double post n/t (none)

      "If you are not outraged, you are not paying attention."

      by adigal on Mon Apr 18, 2005 at 05:47:03 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  S'alright. Just protest twice... (none)
        ...Hell, the goons in power have no problem voting twice.
      •  Rant of frustration (none)
        Sorry for that rant above! Too much anger and frustration! I know everyone is doing what she or he can.

        adigal, I would suggest looking and searching for resources in your community that are already engaged in this, failing which YOU can start something!

        We do not need to follow always. Sometimes we have to rise up to the challenge and take the lead. I would start by getting family, friends, co-workers together to talk over possible strategies. Other possibilities, I would say, are: students' association, unions, representatives, ....

        •  I will try, thank you for the encouragement (none)
          It seems that too many times, when I start to rant, peoples' eyes glaze over, and they don't want to hear.  Then they get angry!!! But tough!  They NEED to hear.  Thanks for the push.

          "If you are not outraged, you are not paying attention."

          by adigal on Mon Apr 18, 2005 at 07:05:48 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Thank you! (4.00)
    Thank you for keeping us informed!  

    I just saw you earlier today while watching Farenheit 9/11 with a Republican neighbor, she hadn't seen the movie before nor your cameo in it.  I hold regular screenings in Indiana for anyone I can get to watch it, I've also lent out my DVD a lot.  It's amazing how many of the red sheep in this state haven't yet seen the movie they dismiss as "a pack of lies", till they see it.  

    I haven't gotten anyone to change their party registration to Democrat yet but I have helped some become new Independants.  Nothing wrong with Independants after all, it's becoming quite fashionable for thinking Republicans to become Independant.  

  •  Fund = paid propagandist asshat (none)
    Not that this guy had any credibility before those hearings, but now I'm more convinced than ever that he is the next Armstrong Williams.

    We need to sick the dogs on that idiot, and unleash a merciless PR beating of Guckert proportions.

    And Baker just needs to drop dead. Fucking un-American bastard...

  •  And have you noticed... (4.00)
    ...that they're making getting a state issued id harder and harder?  Now, it requires an original or certified copy of your birth certificate or citizenship papers, a passport, something with your local address and/or another picture ID from a state with as stringent standards as theirs.  At least in Florida.

    The result...harder for people to travel, to vote, to cash their checks except at someplace that charges bigtime for the priviledge.

    One more little thing that, mixed with all the other little things, makes things go THEIR way.

  •  I wonder (none)
    if anyone will come forward and confess to tampering with votes via electronic hacking. Someone, somewhere must have a guilty conscience and they will sing eventually. What will be the consequences? Will they make Al Gore or Kerry President?  OK I'm dreaming.
  •  modest proposal in picture IDs (none)
    If picture ID is made a prerequisite for voting, then every resident should get a picture ID for free, perhaps as DRIVER'S LICENCE with Class 0  explained as "no motorized vehicles" when they cannot drive.

    Picture IDs are useful in everyday life, for cashing checks etc.

    I think that it would be a reasonable compromize, provided that GOP would relent on standards for voting (no paperless voting etc.)

    One observation: voting seem to be too complicated, with too many simultanous ballots.  Why elect Recorder of Deeds?  I bet that complex nature of ballots makes voting slow regardless of technology.  Simple ballots allow countries like Canada to use paper votes counted by hand with fast and reliable results.

  •  Why can't we sue (none)
    for paper trail ballots, under the equal protection clause of the Constitution?  Absolutely no real reform will happen with this Congress.  Our only hope is to take it to the Supremes and hope they "get it".

    Start the process in 3 to 5 state courts and see where it goes.  

    Time is of the essense, before another election is stolen or manipulated.

    What is essential is invisible.

    by bebimbob on Mon Apr 18, 2005 at 06:25:03 PM PDT

  •  Please FIX THIS VOTER FRAUD (none)
    IM SICK OF SEEING DIARIES ON THIS! it makes me feel like I live in a country full of idiots, and hooligans!

    John Kerry 2008, the leader of the youth of America.

    by desiunion on Mon Apr 18, 2005 at 06:39:10 PM PDT

  •  Any time repulsive pugs mention reform you can (4.00)
    guarantee we are going to lose our shirts!
  •  Show me the money (none)
     I just read a report that said Repugs raised $32 million dollars in the first 3 months of 2005.  Democrats raised $13 million.
     I know we did a great job fundraising during the presidential election, but we need to do a MUCH better job on off-years as well....
     Repeat after me:
     To win, we need
     So we'd better start coughing it up!  The deck can be stacked against us only to a certain extent....but we do have control over how much we give, don't we?  We need to get back to kicking some gra$$roots a$$.  Or there's no question that we'll be screwed before we even get started.
    •  Well (4.00)
      I was gonna give but we just had yet another lay off where I work.  So I'm going to wait and see if we make it past the quarter.  Right now I'm saving money.

      Doesn't help when the economy is tanking. Most of the money is on their side. Yeah, things are getting better. Yeah. Tell that to the myriad of friends I've seen walk out the door out of work.

      •  Welcome to the club (none)
        I gave you a four because I can understand your situation. Personally, I gave $25 just the other day, so Dean (DFA) can get us some presence in the initial 4 target states, despite getting laidoff.
        Some of the folks that got laidoff with me, were goopers, so hopefully the reality check will snap them out of the M$M induced hypnosis. If not, the "No Banker Left Behind" Law will.

        Good luck in your endeavors.

      •  Yikes (none)
        Sorry to hear you're in such a tough spot.  That really sucks.  Unfortunately, due to GWB's economic genius,  you're not alone.

        Hope things get better soon for you and your family.

  •  Congressman, I have a question (none)
    Is this suprising to you?

    I mean, you really didn't expect much else out of an 'Independent Commission' that involves Republicans, did you? It seems like dealing with GOP House members everday would sort of make you expect this kind of stuff..

    Just a thought.

    If th' meek ever do inherit th' earth some one'll git it away from 'em before they have it an hour

    by NorthStarDemocrat on Mon Apr 18, 2005 at 07:04:30 PM PDT

  •  State wide ballot initiative (4.00)
     Ok folks the fundies did it, so can we! The got up petitions for a state wide ballot initiative to put the so-called marrige amendment crap on the elecion ballot why can't we.
     I will volunteer now to set up a chapter in my area to hand out petitions that will demand verified voter ballots. I think we also need the provisional and absentee ballot issue laid out in the petition along with how to do hand counts, how to select which precients(sp) to re-count.
    I think voters should be allowed to vote anywhere in their state for presidential elections. repugs  stopped this because they knew minorities would not have enough machines in their areas and would go to other areas so they put a stop to that.
     Just a few ideas.

    Protect Life Bring The Troops Home!

    by arkdem on Mon Apr 18, 2005 at 07:05:33 PM PDT

  •  Commission=GOP Coverup (none)
    That should be the new definition in the dictionaries. As soon as I heard JBIII was on the commission I knew the fix was in.

    If every truth was a person the Bush administration would be the greatest mass murderers in history.

    And so the national scam that is Bushco rolls on.

    It is good to know Mr. Conyers recognizes it, however, until the Dems gain some control there isn't a single damned thing that will change.

    Reason obeys itself; and ignorance submits to whatever is dictated to it. -Tom Paine

    by Alumbrados on Mon Apr 18, 2005 at 07:56:17 PM PDT

    •  Agree (none)
      I started to read through some of the comments and people are arguing about whether the code should be open source or not.

      To which I have to say, who the fuck cares at this point? Why are you arguing and wasting energy about the code? Like anybody is going to listen to you.

      I wanted to know if there was somebody we could call or send an email to. Nope, just arguments about the merits of ANSI.

      So, you can be positive and think we'll fix this when we get back into power. But, if this isn't fixed before 2006, how are we going to get into power to begin with?

      More people than just should be so very outraged about this but no mention on the VLWM. This is American god damnit and that commission reeks of third world BS.

      This is pointless.

      •  Here (4.00)
        From the commission website:

        How can I submit comments or questions to the Commission?

        All questions and comments may be submitted in writing to:

        Carter-Baker Commission on Federal Election Reform
        c/o AU Center for Democracy and Election Management
        3201 New Mexico Avenue, NW Suite 265
        Washington, DC 20016-8026

        Pithecanthropus "If I pay a man enough money to buy my car, he'll buy my car." Henry Ford

        by johnmorris on Mon Apr 18, 2005 at 08:54:17 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •   To Congressman John Conyers (none)
    This is none of my business as I am an Australian, but I think that there is only one way out of this hole that the US has dug itself into.  Obligatory (ok, call it compulsory if you must) voting.

    Voting should be obligatory.   If you live in a country and accept its protections you should vote.  So, some may not want to, so give people a choice.  Vote or do a number of hours community service.

    If you do this many of your problems will rapidly go away.  Just think about it without negativity for ten minutes or so.  It won't matter where people vote so long as they do.  They can't be disenfranchised.  Each and every social security number would be a valid vote.  Fraud is easy to demonstrate.

    But most of all, you would never, ever have a Republican government again.

    Please consider this as a long term strategy.

    Truckle the Uncivil, Nullus Anxietas Sanguinae

    by Truckle on Mon Apr 18, 2005 at 08:19:15 PM PDT

    •  yes. Automatic registration to vote (none)
      Issued on the appropriate birthday.

      If everyone can get a social security card - Why cant they also get a voter id also hmm? -

      It turns out the issue with this is that voting is a state and not a federal right. blech.

      We need to change this.

      •  In Australia... (none)
        ...we have both State and Federal voting.  Kept quite seperate.

        Truckle the Uncivil, Nullus Anxietas Sanguinae

        by Truckle on Tue Apr 19, 2005 at 05:32:02 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  yes, good idea (none)
          Americans really dont have a national right to vote for their president however.

          The states have a right to select a slate of electors - the electors vote for the president. -DC, for example, is not a state, so though the residents get to have their votes recorded, in the end it doesnt count.

          States can make laws about how they select the electors.


          We need serious election reform so we can come up to speed with modern democracies like Australia :)

  •  I'm asking more (none)
    than most people would be willing to do and I will certainly understand if you cannot, for whatever reason, do it. Congressman, as you know, this argument has been going on for years and its always the same, democrats insisting on expanding suffrage and republicans acting worried about "fraud". What the argument is really about is we'd like everybody to vote and they want to prevent the "wrong people" from voting. I always ask them, when I'm in this argument, exactly who are the "wrong" people?  I watched the hearing today, look forward to seeing you on CSpan, and hope you get a chance to ask Mr Baker exactly who it is he doesn't think should be allowed to vote. I admire you a great deal and hope you keep on fighting. We depend on you.

    Pithecanthropus "If I pay a man enough money to buy my car, he'll buy my car." Henry Ford

    by johnmorris on Mon Apr 18, 2005 at 08:48:20 PM PDT

  •  AP ARTICLE (none)
    from AP Article

    April 18, 2005
    Federal Elections Hampered by Machines

    Filed at 11:58 p.m. ET

    WASHINGTON (AP) -- Former President Carter and one-time Secretary of State James A. Baker on Monday rejected the notion that Democrats and Republicans have different interests in who gets to vote.

    At the first meeting of a bipartisan commission examining federal election problems, the two co-chairs stressed the importance of a system with extensive access to voters and a minimum of fraud. Carter and Baker dismissed the argument that the two parties cannot agree on those goals.

    ''Many people have alleged that these are a Republican-versus-Democrat pair of issues,'' Carter told a news conference following the commission's initial session. They say ''the Democrats want everybody to vote whether they're qualified or not, Republicans want to restrict voting to exclude minorities and others not inclined to vote.''

    Baker said, ''We want the widest possible access, consistent with voter integrity.''

    Reaching consensus on how to achieve those goals may be the hard part. Some problems were addressed in the Help America Vote Act that Congress passed in 2002 and President Bush signed into law.

    That measure called for modernizing voter registration systems, updating voter machines and improving voter education and poll worker training. States are supposed to meet specified guidelines in these areas by the beginning of next year but some are behind schedule.

    Baker and Carter said there is more that can be done to improve elections.

    Some issues that the commission wants to examine include:

    --How to make voter registration rolls in one state compatible with another to make it easier to cross-check voter records.

    --How to create a ''paper trail'' with electronic voting machines, which are generally more accurate than lever machines or punch cards but also have caused great suspicion because of the lack of paper to check the vote.

    --Whether federal money allocated to states to improve voter systems in the 2002 law is a one-time occurrence or will be continued to make other improvements.

    --The status of the 2002 law and how well it's being carried out in the states.

    --The possibility of a national voter registration system with some kind of national identity card like a voter registration card or citizenship card.

    Carter said it's important to learn why 40 percent of qualified voters do not cast ballots in presidential elections and why people are losing confidence in the integrity of the vote.

    Carter headed a commission after the 2000 election along with former President Ford to make recommendations, some of which were included in the 2002 legislation.

    Despite partisan differences on some of the voting problems, Baker said he's confident that more can be done.

    Commission members on Monday heard from election officials, voting specialists, college professors, civil rights advocates and an advocate for the disabled.

    They cited problems in recent federal elections with long lines, inadequate voting machines, unequal voting access for minorities, lack of access to voting for the disabled, and the need for a registration system so voter records can be quickly cross-checked between counties and other states.

    The commission meets in June at the Baker Institute for Public Policy at Rice University in Houston and in August at the Carter Center. In September, it is scheduled to return to Washington to make recommendations.

    •  Good catch! (none)
      It looks like the AP is in full wingnut spin mode:

      Baker said, ''We want the widest possible access, consistent with voter integrity.''

      "We want the widest possible access for people who will vote for us."

      --How to create a ''paper trail'' with electronic voting machines, which are generally more accurate than lever machines or punch cards but also have caused great suspicion because of the lack of paper to check the vote.

      100% pure spin. Scare quotes around paper trail. Leaves out good old pencil-and-paper voting, which is by far the most reliable method. Ignores the vote counting machines.

      I don't have the numbers in front of me, but I suspect that the claim about e-voting machine accuracy is complete bullshit.

      --Whether federal money allocated to states to improve voter systems in the 2002 law is a one-time occurrence or will be continued to make other improvements.

      That this is even an issue makes me weep. Of course there should be a persistent program to ensure the quality and accuracy of elections. Duh.

      --The possibility of a national voter registration system with some kind of national identity card like a voter registration card or citizenship card.

      "Voter integrity" again. Screw privacy and screw the Constitution, let's make the poor jump through bureaucratic hoops in order to exercise their most basic and important rights.

      I can't wait until Diebold rolls out voting machines that actually scan the card. To assure "voter integrity," of course, not to see who voted for whom. cough But of course we can't independently verify that it's not doing that, because it's proprietary code. cough

      Carter said it's important to learn why 40 percent of qualified voters do not cast ballots in presidential elections and why people are losing confidence in the integrity of the vote.

      I really hate to say this to a man I admire so much, but Mr. Carter? DUH. When the CEO of a voting machine company who is closely tied to a presidential candidate tells people that he will carry a crucial swing state for that candidate, anyone who does not immediately question the integrity of the vote is blind, deaf and dumb. When said candidate was elected under similarly dubious circumstances last time, and when said candidate presides over the most secretive Administration in history, and when said candidate is a proven liar... well, what do you want?

      I really hope he's just being diplomatic.

  •  Photo ID--No (none)
    This goes to show that the Republicans are going to continue pushing the photo ID legislation to take care of this Republican spin machine phantom problem of "voter fraud".  This will mainly affect transient and poor populations.  We need to say no to the voter ID.  
  •  Front page (none)
    How do we get on the witness list?
  •  Proof (none)
    Occurred to me as I read this sentence, "What facts does the conspiracy theorist Mr. Fund have to offer?." (about ineligible Democratic voters being allowed to cast votes)

    That "conspire" is what humans do. We do it and "they" do it. We do it to bring truth to light and fight toward justice, "They" do it to confuse people and trick people.

    When speaking or reading of "conspiracy theorists" the emphasis should be on the second word -- conspiracy theorists. Then people might not stop at the C-word and move forward to thinking about whether or not there is proof.


    Also, what is probably a naive question: Does President Carter have the power as co-chair to bring forth someone to lay out the strongest evidence of voter suppression and probable election fraud? I'd love to see him give a whole session to someone who could present it forcefully and well with appropriate graphics. I want to see Carter surprise these clowns with a full-force attack and get some media attention.

    I tend to suppose I'm dreaming there, but I don't understand why he can't do it.

    And as to the content of President Carter's suprize witness's presentation:

    I'd like to see more emphasis on the provable criminal violations of the Voting Rights Act, moving toward getting it high profile exposure, and putting pressure on participants to testify against co-conspirators or spend five years in the slammer. While I am confident the election was stolen using digital fraud, I think the operatives trying to impose more fascism are more vunerable to the voter suppression charge just now. And I don't understand why we are not hitting there.

  •  What was one to expect? (4.00)
    If the Allies had done what the people running this country did, place Republicans on an election reform hearing, they would have stacked the courts at the Nuremberg trials with Nazis.

    In the 20th century, it was Nazi Germany. In the 21st, it is Republican America.

    by Alexander on Mon Apr 18, 2005 at 11:15:11 PM PDT

  •  Thank you Congressman (none)
    for reporting this and giving us an honest assessment of what's going on in the halls of power these days.

    I'm more convinced every time I see them pull stunts like this that they truly did sell their souls to the devil, and pretty soon, if they aren't stopped, we'll all be very seriously paying for it with a loss of our constitution in toto.

    Again, thank you.

  •  I think one of the first battles we should (4.00)
    concentrate on is preventing people from being purged from the registration rolls.

    In Ohio, over 155,000 provisional ballots were cast.  Why?  Because BOE officials purged all of these people from the registration rolls BEFORE the election.  When we campaign before an election to get out the vote, we should also be making sure that the voters call their BOE and make sure that they are still on the registration rolls.  Those team of lawyers that Kerry hired before the election should not only be fighting in court (like they did in Ohio) but be they should also be helping people who have discovered that they are no longer registered or have never been registered.  If you had to use a provisional ballot in the last election, you better submit another registration card.  

  •  Thank You Rep. Conyers (none)
    I hope we can all agree on the following reforms:

    (1) Voter Purge issues need to be resolved.

    (2) Computer-Aided Paper Ballot printing vs Computerized Ballot Counts, i.e Voter verifies whether the proper boxes are filled in prior to turning in the ballot. If the voter finds an error, then the rejected ballot is to be shredded instantly, and a new ballot is provided.

    (3) Witnessed ballot custody & witnessed hand counts of the ballots.

    (4) All ballots, for each state, need to be consistent to reduce confusion.

    (5) National Holiday for voting would help in reducing voter anxiety (Count Every Vote Act, S 450) due to long voting lines.

    (6) Voter can choose the most convenient one of the possible polling places to use on election day.

    (7) Provisional ballot issues need resolution, i.e. it needs to count.

  •  Americans really are idiots (none)
    Sorry to interupt this broadcast of CSI.
  •  Links (4.00)
    Just in case someone may want to see these.

    Hearing was also live-blogged on democratic underground.
    here, here, here, and here.


    National Exit Poll Timeline:

    11/2/04, 3:59 pm 8,349 respondents: Kerry 51-Bush 48

    11/2/04, 7:33 pm 11,027 respond: Kerry 51-Bush 48

    11/3/04, 12:22 am 13,047 respond: Kerry 51-Bush 48

    11/3/04, 1:25 pm 13,660 respond: Kerry 48-Bush 51


    12:22 am, there were 13,047 polled with a 390 margin (rounded) for KERRY.

    Then at 1:25pm, 13,660 - which is 613 more added to the total polled. Now a 410 margin for BUSH???

    This means ALL of the mysterious added 613 votes would have had to be for Bush, and even THEN there would not have been enough to make up the Bush deficit from the previous point and take the total to the stated 51/48 Bush final point.

    That would have taken 390 + 410 = 800, which is... impossible.

    Blast from the past: The REAL Election Reform Hearing - Conyers

    "I stumbled on this the other day. I was surprised it was still up. I'm posting it again in case anyone wants to compare it to today's pathetic excuse for an Election Reform Hearing."


    2004 Election Results and Discussion Forum

    "First they laugh at you, then they ignore you, then they fight you, then you win." - Ghandi

  •  In the minds of conservatives... (none)
    Or at least conservative idealogues, the democrats have been cheating to win elections for decades.  There is some justification for historical cheating (many scholars think that regional ballot box stuffing put Kennedy over the edge), but not for the widespread democratic voter fraud they pre-suppose.  But the "democrats cheat" meme is as valuable to the republicans as the "media are liberal" meme.  

    First, it gives them cover when democrats win.  They don't have to actually acknowledge that we won based on better ideas, they can simply pretend that we cheated.  This is happening in Washington, where many conservatives are convinced that the only reason they lost was due to illegal activities by county election workers.  The fact that every step taken by county election workers was challenged in court and proven valid is only proof that the courts are in on the effort to "steal the election".  

    Second, it provides a justification for republican efforts to supress democratic votes and for flat out republican cheating. They can think of this as a simple efort to "balance" the election.  If you think that someone else is cheating in a business deal, it's a lot easier to cheat them back.  If a loyal republican truly believes that democrats are voting twice in every election, then it's pretty easy for him to justify voting both at his home and at his summer home in Florida.  He's just countering one of those cheating democratic votes, right? And if he becomes a poll watcher, then he is likely to truly believe that the challenges he makes to votes are to challenge illegal voters.  Even if that particular voter isn't cheating, then another one surely is.  It's the same mentality as a juror who convicts a shady suspect, not because they think he actually committed the crime, but becasue "he obviously did something wrong, so we might as well get him for this".  

    •  Read Seymour Hersh's book on this subject (none)
      The Dark Side of Camelot. It's an eye-opener. I had not heard most of the allegations against the Kennedys in this book, but I can't doubt Hersh's integrity and nonpartisanship. He is totally convinced that the 1960 presidential election was stolen. And not only that, but also that Joe Kennedy stole (maybe 'bought' would be a better word) the Democratic nomination from Humphrey for his son, in West Virginia.

      Hersh summarizes his mission as "to hold the people in public office to the highest possible standard of decency and of tolerate anything less, even in the name of national security, is wrong."

      In any case, incontrovertibly, there are cheats and ideologues on our side, too. And there are decent men and women who are Republicans. It's very important for us to remember that as we work to reestablish our democracy. It will take a while lot of sane Republicans and sane Democrats to join together and get us out of this mess.

      I thought your post was really excellent, dianem.

      •  Yes..but (none)
        did Kennedy stuff more ballot boxes than his opponent that year, in order to win? Cheating to win elections is nothing new to American politics. I'm not condoning it. What is new is the marriage between religion and politics to create a fanatical following for an ideology that is neither Godly nor healthy for this democracy. This country has never been in more trouble; the stakes have never been higher.

        Kennedy, for all his cheating to get into office, served his country well, and was murdered for it. Bush is leading his people over a cliff, and we're all being dragged along at a clip speed.

        There is a difference.

      •  I'll check out the book (none)
        I know that democrats have a history of election shenanigans, but I think that was sort of standard in past years.  We are supposed to have grown up and learned to play by the rules.  Unfortuneatly, the republicans seem to feel that there is no statute of limitations on revenge.   I hope that my party isn't currently cheating, or at least not on an organization level.  Individuals will always stretch the rules. It's human nature.  

        I'm sure that democrats have idealogues. But I guess I don't mind idealogues who want to provide better jobs, better health care, a more peaceful world, and a "safety net" for the poor.  That seems better to me than wanting nothing more than lower taxes and a small enough government to "drown in the bathtub".  

  •  ..and snarky, too! (none)
    Today, his hoax appears to have shifted to claims of "voter fraud"(though I am sure he would say Senator Clinton is responsible for that, as well).
    Damn, I want a congress person like you in my district!
  •  I don't know what the big deal is.... (none)
    In Canada I go to the voting center and hand them my voter registration.  A little old lady crosses my name off a list and hands me a ballot.  The ballot has 4 - 6 names on it and a checkbox beside the names. The font is so huge that Mr Magoo would have no problem reading it.  I put a mark in the checkbox, put the ballot in a cardboard box and off I go.  The whole process takes five minutes. About 6 hours after polls close we have a winner.

    India manages to pull off elections with ~1 billion people and have results the same night.  There are lots of successful examples to look at if you want to change your system.  

    That's what I'm on about. Did you see him repressing me?

    by sommervr on Tue Apr 19, 2005 at 06:30:26 AM PDT

  •  John FUND was an "expert"?!? (none)
    The only things Fund's an expert at are shoveling lies and screwing his girlfriend's daughter. The presence of John Fund on this commission tells me all I need to know about it. Bolton for the UN, Wolfowitz for World Bank, Fund on a voting panel: It's as if the wingnuts are literally picking the worst choices they can dream up just to see if we'll choke on them.
  •  Rep. Conyers (none)
    I've been an admirer of yours for a long time and your observations following this hearing are further testament why.  Please continue the good work and keeping us informed.

    sommervr, your mention of Mr. Magoo brings back some good cartoon memories...

  •  One James Baker = 5 John Bolton's (none)
    Don't be fooled again, don't even try to have an open mind, a bipartisan work ethic about this Commission, this is 1. pure obfuscation of any light being shed on electoral reform, and 2. this is yet another opportunity for BushCo's agenda of domineering the public into total political impotence.

    ANYTHING Baker touches smells of domination and total control. The man is a Fascist, highly disciplined, vicious, evil, dark, controlling. Anything he touches means he plans on winning. But his agenda is Fascism.

    Mark My Words. You are brave to even go near this "man," He has no heart whatsoever. I believe the only emotion the man can conjour up is ANGER. The Commission should dissolve itself and never make any recommendations or changes, it's just another backwater way to further the BushCo. agenda of domineering this country.

    OOOOOMMMMM . . . . .

    by MarkosNYC on Tue Apr 19, 2005 at 08:30:22 AM PDT

  •  Outrageous indeed. (none)
    I listened, and it made me so angry. The Democratic side would bring witnesses who saw voter suppression happen, knowing the dates, letters, and exactly what happened. Then Fund gets up and says, "We can't know for sure some fraud didn't happen." And that's what get the most attention. We know people were refused the right to vote, or confused out of their right to vote--but maybe, just maybe, their could be fraud.

    The fact that this commission is being led by Baker, an architect of the Florida theft, lets me know exactly where this is headed. More barriers to voting, more unverifiable voting machines, and less, far less, actual democracy.

  •  What does the mob, louisiana politics, and Jeb ... (none)
    ...have in common? Take a look.  
  •  oh look, another whistleblower ignored by the MSM (none)
    You'd think a legitimate media would agressively cover stories of a programmer claiming to be paid by aFL congressmen to make software that allows vote rigging.  That would be sweet if we actually had a legitimate MSM.  I'd be, like, all giddy and stuff.  
  •  Indiana is passing an id requirement. (none)
    Chances are they will be denying more Republicans their votes because there are so many of them.  I thought about this law and how outrageous it is when my driving license was missing for a couple of days.  How angry would I be if I was unable to vote because of poor timing.  I strongly wish that many Hoosiers lose their ids on election day!  Will the poll workers deny their elderly Republican neighbor their vote?  Will the Democrat poll workers have the necessary indecency to make sure that this happens?  We will see.

    Any chance that the courts will rule this law unconstitutional?

  •  "Photo ID, Photo ID, Photo ID", eh? (none)

    How about "Poll tax, poll tax, poll tax."  I don't know how things are up in Michigan, but 'round here, those photo IDs cost money.  Over $10, anyway.  

  •  Congressman Conyers ~ (none)
    Thanks for your voice and for what you are trying to do for the country.  I've been an admirer for a long time.

    I'm in Vern Ehlers' district, and I sure wish he had the concern and compassion that you do.  Instead, he's form letter central, and on the wrong side of this issue, as well.  I'm not rich or a DeVos, so my voice and the voices of so many others like me, in Grand Rapids are not heard.

  •  This commission is utter bullshit just for the (4.00)
    fact that James Baker is involved in it.  How can this commission claim any legitimacy when a guy like him is a commission member?  Heck, you may as well make Katherine Harris and Ken Blackwell part of the panel too.

    Reality is just... a point of view - Philip K. Dick; Beautiful thing, the destruction of words. (from Orwell's 1984)

    by LionelEHutz on Tue Apr 19, 2005 at 12:45:40 PM PDT

  •  For comparison (none)
    Some [1] people [2] out there [3] are incenced that our hero Jimmy Carter is involved in this effort.

    IMO, it is trivially obvious that we should use hand counted ballots because it's cheaper that way. (and because we don't trust the machines)

    The more interesting issue is that we should have rankings or ratings on the ballot to open up possibilities beyond the two party machines.

  •  for the Congressman, care to explain (none)
    your sponsoring the NOPEC bill in Congress?

    Not all of us think it's a good idea.

    Looking for intelligent energy policy alternatives? Try here.

    by alizard on Tue Apr 19, 2005 at 04:43:09 PM PDT

  •  hey powers that be (none)
    your insulting our inteligence weve been awake seince nov 3 and were not sleepy. your whitewashing and propaganda is aggravating and insulting.there are 100s of 1000s of us and we have friends and brothers sisters mothers fathers children etc etc... and we talk to them.i hope your desiered destenation is reality based in all of this. anyway please stop lieing to us it just makes you look stupid and is pissing us off. thanks for your time the people.
  •  What do you infer about the 'intent' of Ohio '04? (none)
    Rep. Conyers:

    Does the behavior of this 'commission' tell you anything about the 'motive' behind the massive, widespread irregularities that your 102-page report so clearly details?

    The report by your staff detailed the means, and the opportunity, behind dozens of high-profile incidents of suspicious activity and discrepant results.

    Does your complete exclusion from the committee, whether as a participant or in testimony, tell you anything about the missing 'motive' for the crime?

    Can we finally call this coup d'etat a coup d'etat?

  •  Thanks for being a "cutting edge" Rep (none)
    of the people. This is true "representational" government. You are truly a politician of the future!

    I have posted a link to this thread in the: Democratic Underground 2004 Election Results and Discussion Forum. We have multiple threads on the Baker-Carter Election Reform Hearing, and many other election fraud and reform related issues.

    Thanks again for all your hard work, and for keeping the flame of Democracy alive.

  •  Let's help Conyers amplify his message (none)
    I'm sending the link and text to everybody I know and every listserv I'm a member of with a brief message asking them to do the same. As far as I'm concerned is John Conyers is one stand up dude. I happy to give him all the assistance I can to restore our democracy
  •  GOP attack on voting rights, voter intimidation (none)
    This past summer I did a great deal of research on voter intimidation efforts of the GOP since the 1980's.  

    US History:  it used to be the Democratic Party that intimidated black potential voters and then black voters.  Refer to Reconstruction, Ku Klux Klan, grandfather laws, Southern Christian Leadership Conference, Medgar Evars, Martin Luther King Jr., civil rights movement, Voting Rights Act of 1965, Lyndon B. Johnson's appointing of pro civil rights federal judges.

    This brings us to the late 1960's where in Texas civil rights attorney Dave Richards and his associates won several significant cases enforcing the voting rights of students and people of color.

    Fast forward to Texas 1982, Republican Secretary of State David Dean, in an effort to find "illegal voters" asked the Texas Department of Public Safety to run a computer program matching the names of felons and registered voters.

    Dean sent out a press release gleefully announcing that "a master list of convicted Texas felons by name, sex and date of birth were matched against the Secretary of State's master voter registration files" and that he was sending his list to every voter registrar in Texas.  

    The excrement impacted the whirligig.  the list had everyone on it but felons, including lawyers and businessmen.  An angry businessman threatened a libel action, so did others who had been named. This was the first known attempt at the now infamous Florida felons list.  It was an election year.  Three Texas political figures have stated to me that they were certain but had not the evidence that this was Karl Rove's idea.  The GOP learned not to roll out a felons' list with so much lead time that it could be challenged in court and stopped.

    Undeterred by the failure of this tactic, Dallas GOP tried to diminish Black voter turnout.  On eleciton day, Richards says in his book "Once Upon A Time in Texas" big multicolored signs appeared in Dallas polling places stating "Do Not Remove This Sign By Order of the Sheriff of Dallas County.  You Can Be Imprisoned. . if you vote without being registered. .  . Violate the Texas Election Code."

    This sign was the model for the signs that subsequently appeared in Baltimore, Maryland in 1984.  In 1993, Edward J. Rollins, the campaign manager for gubernatorial candidate Christine Todd Whitman, bragged to a group of reporters that he had used $500,000 of Whitman's campaign money to "suppress" black voting during the 1993 gubernatorial campaign. He claimed that he had approached black ministers known to be supporters of Whitman's Democratic opponent, James Florio, and promised to contribute to their favorite charities in exchange for the ministers' promises not to rally the vote for Florio.  Rollins' statements spurred a federal investigation and a federal lawsuit alleging voting rights abuses. Rollins subsequently testified under oath,  however, that he had lied to the Washington reporters,  and the investigation and lawsuit were dropped.

    Since then several methods have been deployed by the GOP and only the GOP to disenfranchise voters.  These include redistricting, purging voter rolls, voter intimidation, and black box voting machines.

    Leaving out much history: chart of GOP dirty tricks and voter intimidation since the year 2000.


    Numerous instances of discarded votes, discarded ballot boxes, voter intimidation.  Civil rights groups sue over widespread voting problems in the 2000 presidential election in Florida.
    New York Times, "Quietly Florida Admits 2000 Election Fraud"

    Republican poll watchers demand photo IDs from voters, take their pictures, take pictures of computer screens.  At least twice, Jefferson County Sheriff's deputies escort "watcher" Diane Jones out of the clerk's office for interference with the voting process.
    Pine Bluff Commercial

    State election officials contradict Republican Party national database of 3,272 names of people it says voted twice in the 2000 elections, as at least 51 of 54 Connecticut names listed did not vote twice
    USA Today
    htp:/ 2002-10-23

    The Louisiana Republican Party admits paying for signs aimed at discouraging African-Americans from voting.
    Bill Walsh, "Dirty Deeds Abounded In Elections," Times-Picayune (New Orleans), Dec. 12, 2002.

    Rep. Elijah E. Cummings and Baltimore Mayor Martin O'Malley express concern that members of the Baltimore Fraternal Order of Police plan to serve as GOP poll workers. O'Malley says he has called both the police commissioner and FOP president to warn against intimidation of city voters.
    Howard Libit and Tim Craig, "Allegations Fly as Election Day Nears," Baltimore Sun, 10/4/2002,0,2178982.story?coll=bal-election-sto ryutil

    The Republican party stations several hundred spotters at heavily Democratic voting precincts to challenge voters they claimed were improperly registered.
    Republican National Committeewoman Sharon Wise acknowledges the spotters
    will only be stationed in heavily Democratic precincts, which tend to be in
    urban areas.
    Chris Christoff, "Casting Ballots: GOP To Have Hundreds of Spotters at
    Polling Sites", The Detroit Free Press, Oct. 30, 2002.

    New Hampshire
    The former head of GOP Marketplace, a Republican consulting group, pleads guilty to jamming get-out-the-vote efforts on election day in New Hampshire The company used computer-generated phone calls to flood phone lines set up so voters could call for rides to the polls.
    Foster's Online, "Former head of GOP Consulting Group Pleads Guilty to Jamming Democratic Phone Lines in 2002," July 1, 2004

    New  Mexico
    State Bureau of Elections contradicts claims by the Republican Party
    of New Mexico that pushing the straight party button will cancel out individual votes for
    another party. The claim appears as a notice on Republican mailers targeting
    Democratic congressional candidate John Arthur Smith and promoting Smith's opponent,
    Republican Steve Pearce, which said: `Notice to Voters. Do not vote using the Straight
    Party Button on your polling machine. This button cancels out any individual votes you
    Las Cruces Sun-News, November 2, 2002

    Former Rep. George Gekas distributes among county officials and volunteers an 18-page manual that includes a section on `challenging a voter.' The Gekas pamphlet contains legal errors that, if followed, could lead officials to misconstrue and Republican volunteers to lodge false and misleading protests against voters' rights.
    Lebanon, Pa. Daily News, Editorial, November 5, 2002

    South Carolina
    Jasper County Republican poll watcher Randy Horton is served with a restraining order directing him not to interfere with voters on election day.
    Carolina Morning News, "Poll Watcher Ordered Not to Disrupt Voting Process "
    November 2, 2002

    South Dakota
    Tripp County Republican chairwoman travels through the Rosebud reservation with preworded affidavits, seeking signators. Republican National Committee spokeswoman Mindy Tucker says the affidavits are meant to prompt changes in South Dakota law.
    David Kranz, "Preworded Affidavits Used in Republican fraud claim" Argus Leader,

    Republican pollwatchers insist that some Indian voters use provisional ballots, which are more likely to be disqualified on challenges.
    David Halbfinger, "Kerry Building Legal Network for Vote Fights," New York Times, July 19, 2004

    Responding to a lawsuit against the state Republican Party for voter intimidation in last November's election, the Tennessee GOP agreed to not participate in voter intimidation.
    "Tennessee GOP Agrees To End Voter Intimidation; Agreement Met In Lawsuit Against State Republican Party".  
    Tennessee Democratic Party

    Two poll watchers representing Republican U.S. Senate candidate John Cornyn are removed from polling places amid further accusations of voter intimidation in Hidalgo County.
    The Monitor, "Poll Watchers Discharged," November 1, 2002

    Republicans announce plans to challenge voters in 59 predominantly black precincts.
    NAACP press release, "NAACP to Send Election Observers to Kentucky, NAACP asks
    Justice Department to Send Federal Election Monitors," October 31, 2003.

    "Hundreds and hundreds" of telephone calls from at least 17 counties are received by the secretary of state's office. Numerous illegal activities reportedly occur at state polling places, including improper activity by poll watchers, videotaping voters at the polls and pollwatchers walking into voting booths with voters and watching how they voted. Madison, Copiah and Lafayette all report problems with Republican Party representatives interfering with poll workers.

    "Intimidating voters is a felony under state law," Blount said. "The secretary of state's long-standing position is that videotaping by pollwatchers is against the law."
    Kevin Walters, "High Turnout Draws More Complaints," Hattiesburg, November 5, 2003

    North Carolina
    5 GOP operatives offer and pay people $25 apiece to vote Republican .  Federal grand jury indicts the 5.
    Independent Media TV, Associated Press 0Vote%20Integrity

    Republicans get 300 cars driven by men with clipboards bearing insignia resembling federal Drug Enforcement Agency and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. The fake officers spend election day driving in Philadelphia's Black neighborhoods, asking prospective voters to show them some identification.
    Garance Franke-Ruta and Harold Meyerson, "The GOP Deploys," The American Prospect, V. 15, Issue 2.

    State Republican party targets minority wards for "potential voter fraud".
    "RWP to Protect Ballot Integrity in Assembly Race Targeted Wards in 21st District Will be Watched for Potential Voter Fraud, Abuse."

    Florida Department of Law Enforcement police go into the homes of dozens of elderly black voters in Orlando and interrogate them as part of an investigation into absentee ballot vote fraud that frightens many voters, intimidates elderly volunteers and throws a chill over efforts to get out the black vote in November.  The people investigated include get out the vote organizers and members of the Orlando League of Voters.  Floridians who have voted absentee for years now say they are fearful of doing so.
    Bob Herbert, "Suppress The Vote?" New York Times,

    State Rep. John Pappageorge, R-Troy, quoted in July 16 editions of the Detroit Free Press as saying, "If we do not suppress the Detroit vote, we're going to have a tough time in this election."
    Detroit Free Press,  "Democrats Blast GOP Lawmaker's 'Suppress the Detroit Vote' Remark" July 21, 2004

    Texas prosecutor threatens to arrest students at historically black Prairie View A&M if they try to vote from their campus addresses, which the law allows them to do. He backs down when he is sued.
    NAACP Legal Defense Fund website

    There's more, of course, but I do want to put the elephant in a shoebox.

    While doing this research I several times phoned the Justice Department.  Unpleasant young men with southern accents answered my calls, asked who I was, what paper I was with, took callback numbers, and never got back to me.  My US Justice Department, funded by my tax dollars, employed a young man who asked me the name of the news organization for whom I was researching the story and then said to me "You don't understand. We only take calls from legitimate news organizations.  That's not a news organization, that's a propaganda machine."

    Conclusions:  The Republican party is using voter intimidation, voter roll purges, black box voting machines, in their war to make the United States a one-party nation.  Turning to the People is very nice but unless we get rid of those black box voting machines and restore paper trail voting our votes do not mean anything.  This administration has no qualms about ignoring 51 congressmen or 51 million Democratic voters, or millions of people marching in the streets.  We will damn sure fight but it is going to get ugly.

    This is us governing. Live so that 100 years from now, someone might be proud of us.

    by marthature on Sun May 15, 2005 at 10:21:48 AM PDT

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