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Successful election campaigns are sated, squelched and nourished by grassroots efforts.  

Grassroots are planted in and sprouted from the soil of election integrity.  

The heartbeat of any election, or any election integrity issue, is vote tabulation - THE COUNTING--and yet, it is curiously the most disregarded topic, virtually absent from today's legislative and public conversation on election reform.  On the other hand, the CASTING of the vote has been addressed ad infinitum, and is covered in the study below as well.  But it is the COUNTING that all Americans need to be better informed about-- electronic vote tabulation is but one of the perpetrators quietly placing America's representative democracy on the endangered species peril of extinction.

Despite the fact that many states' constitutions guarantee that vote counting be a transparent and publicly observable function, when HAVA ushered us into digital-invisible votes, many simply accepted that loss of transparency with an apathetic shrug. For the first time in history, the American electorate has lost the ability to observe the counting of the in many cases there are no more ballots.

At times like these when voter confidence is eroding on a downslide scale parallel to George Bush's approval numbers--the vital question becomes;

Who's counting your vote, and how?

Qu'est-ce que c'est?

For clarification - the website link at the end of this diary is the result of nearly one year of careful, painstaking research and compiling.  It's no whimsical, baseless theorizing, but is instead an in-depth 16 Chapter overview of election integrity or lack thereof, present in our current election systems.  And as such, is a non-partisan issue.  

I am indeed shouting "FIRE!!" in the proverbial crowded theatre....but there is in fact smoke rising from the rafters and sparks spotted in the loges.  So I can't be arrested.  First Amendment's spoiled brat exception to the rule. (But I suppose I could be banned...)
Proceed with caution-- Guaranteed; you will emerge from this read with your hair on fire....Prepare the extinguishers.    

What's Inside:

There is detailed, backed up information within covering everything from the close-up profiles of nine prominent election systems' corporations -- their Board members and affiliations -- to the technology of the tabulation systems, explained in a layman's non-geek fashion. There are extensively chronicled Defense and Intelligence connections to elections over the years--of particular interest given our involvement in multiple national wars; comparisons of election solutions employed by other countries; documented multi-pronged attempts at voter disenfranchisement; Congressional bills and arguments over paper trails; and a look at the current search for solutions-- from the low-tech practical Parallel Elections, to promoting Open Source Code or insisting on paper ballot random hand recounts, and more.

There is even (for Armando!) an entire chapter devoted to the examination of "Conspiracy Theorists" over the ages, who they were and are, and how to separate the wheat from the chaff.  There are stirring, juicy anecdotes, rivaling any good Soprano's episode, of corporate crime, murder, suicide and mayhem surrounding the players...The election business never being as benign or dull as it appears on its surface.  

Raison D'etre

The goal in writing this was first to comb through the archives of everything available on the subject, cull the most credible sources, and assemble it all into one user-friendly format so readers might draw their own conclusions.  Dare I suggest... theorize --      

My other goal was to embody the spirit of the Town Crier, minus the velvet knickers, and plunk myself onto this busy cyber street corner - clang my virtual bell, crying out-- Hear Ye! Hear Ye!  

Please refer the website link below to anyone who may be interested in the subject.  Or to anyone not interested.  And to all those undecideds in between.   In other words, grab your bell and join me in being the Town Crier.

Oyez! Oyez! Oyez! Who's counting your vote?    

Originally posted to ms in la on Mon Sep 26, 2005 at 10:15 AM PDT.

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