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I've read many diaries over the past month on the need for election-day volunteers, phone banks and literature drops, and money in preparation for the upcoming election.  Operating under the educated assumption that we can expect fraud and disenfranchisement to continue through this mid-term election, this diary is a summary of information on election protection and reform activities for this upcoming election and beyond.  

I recently attended the Voting Rights Revival in Columbus, Ohio (October 13-15) and will attempt to summarize the election protection activities and voting reform efforts that were presented there.  

The knowledge and passion offered by the presenters and participants of this revival was quite powerful for me to witness - and humbling.  These people are doers.  They are activists unified in action.  I will be volunteering my time to help with voting reform, and I hope I can convince many of you to do the same.  (Please bear with me - this is my first diary here.)  Join me over the fold.

Exit Polling
Steve Freeman, a professor from the University of Pennsylvania, spoke on the discrepancies in the exit polling of the 2004 election.  One of the foremost experts on exit polling, Steve wrote the 2004 report entitled The Unexplained Exit Poll Discrepancy  and now has a book entitled Was the 2004 Election Stolen?  More about Steve's research, experience and credentials can be found here.

Video the Vote
Video the Vote is seeking volunteers to help with an organized effort to videotape problems on election day. These videos will be used on election day, via quick downloads to YouTube, to encourage media to share voting disenfranchisement experiences with the public.  The videos may also be used after election day as evidence for potential litigation and as footage for documentary films.  This is a non-partisan effort to observe and document election-day activities.  Melissa Giraud spoke at the revival and requested volunteers in Ohio and throughout the country to assist with this nationwide effort.  Ohio volunteers may contact Melissa at Melissa@videothevote.org.  

Documentaries
There was a screening of the documentary, Eternal Vigilance, by David Earnhardt, whom I was able to meet. We discussed the power of combining statistical and expert evidence with the images of personal experience as evidence.  I highly recommend this video, which chronicles the voting reform efforts in response to recent manipulated elections.

There will be a free screening of the documentary American Blackout, winner of the Special Jury prize at Sundance 2006, on Thursday October 26 at 7pm at the Drexel Gateway near OSU Campus (1550 North High Street) in Columbus, Ohio.  Video the Vote organizers will be on hand to recruit volunteers and answer questions before and after the screening.  As their promotional materials indicate, "American Blackout chronicles the recurring patterns of disenfranchisement witnessed from 2000 to 2004 while following the story of Georgia Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney...who took an active role in investigating these election debacles...."  The film is directed by Ian Inaba, a member of the Guerilla News Network.

One of the most inspiring moments of the conference was when Doris "Granny D" Haddock spoke to us about her efforts related to campaign finance reform.  There was first a screening of her recently released documentary entitled Granny D Goes to Washington, and then she took the stage and so eloquently invited people to action (similar speech).   If you haven't heard of Granny D, she is currently 96 years old, and at the age of 89 she walked from Pasadena, California to Washington, D.C. to promote campaign finance reform.

Other documentaries available and/or viewed during the revival include:

Stealing America: Vote by Vote, a documentary by Dorothy Fadiman that reveals the significant irregularities in the 2004 presidential election

Help America Vote on Paper, a briefing on the dangers of privately-owned electronic voting machines and what we can do to help (available online through YouTube and The Free Press store)

No Umbrella, an award-winning account of the 2004 election-day failures in a poor neighborhood in Ohio

Voting Rights for People with Disabilities
Two sessions were presented on law and voting with disabilities.  

Mike Kirkman, an attorney with the Ohio Legal Rights Services (OLRS) discussed protecting the voting rights of Ohioans with disabilities.  OLRS provides a list of FAQs and answers addressing voting rights of disabled persons.

Ruth Colker, a nationally-recognized expert in constitutional law and disability discrimination who works with The Ohio State University's College of Law, also presented information about voting rights and disenfranchisement of people with disabilities.  Recent publications and media interviews by Colker include The Future of Accessible Voting:  A Crossroad? and Election Monitor Assesses the Effects of Early Voting.

Election Protection
Representatives from the People for the American Way (PFAW) presented on election protection activities. Election Protection 365 is a non-partisan effort to protect voter rights.  They conduct year-round and election season activities to assist African American, Hispanic, and other underrepresented communities who want their right to vote protected.  Target states for 2006 include Ohio, Florida, New Jersey, Arizona, and Pennsylvania.

Michele Lawrence Jawando, Election Protection Legal Outreach National Coordinator and Staff Attorney, flew in from Washington, D.C. to rally the troops for their important work.  Her contact information, for those interested in volunteering nationally, is:  mlawrence@pfaw.org; 202-467-2368 (office); 202-391-7642 (cell).

Shaun Tucker, African American Outreach State Coordinator for Ohio, also presented information.  His contact information, for those interested in volunteering in Ohio, is stucker@pfaw.org; 614-560-1441.

Their toll-free number for reporting election disenfranchisement issues, which will be the hotline on election day, is 1-866-OUR-VOTE.  They are seeking volunteers to be at polling places as well as volunteers to help log hotline calls reporting problems related to registration, voter intimidation, deceptive practices, law enforcement activities, non-English language assistance, student voting, absentee voting, criminal status, disability access, and polling place issues.

Learn more about Election Protection 365 and volunteer to help.

Parallel Elections
Rady Ananda and Marj Creech presented on the Parallel Elections project and are seeking volunteers for election day.  They need at least two people per precinct in Ohio as they plan to target the Pryce-Kilroy race for the 15th Congressional District seat.

What is a parallel election, you ask?  You can download an 8-page training manual that explains the entire process.  In brief, a parallel election involves volunteers sitting outside (100 feet) a precinct and asking voters to complete a secret ballot that matches the vote they just cast inside the official polling place.   The goal is to compare the voting machine tallies from the official polling place to the secret ballot tallies in the parallel election. To volunteer in Ohio, contact Rady Ananda at rady.j30@gmail.com or Marj Creech at 740-940-5083 and risenregan@earthlink.net.  For volunteers interested in helping with parallel elections outside of Ohio, check out the Landes Report for more information.

Adopt a Board of Elections
Adopt a Board of Elections.  What exactly does that entail?  According to the Citizens' Alliance for Secure Elections (CASE), a non-partisan group of volunteers dedicated to accurate and fair elections, there are pre-election, election-day, and post-election responsibilities associated with adopting a board of elections.  

Pre-election activities include formally requesting specific documents from the BOE and asking various questions associated with vote count auditing, voting machine allocation, voter purging, voter registration, absentee ballots, election day procedures, election challenger procedures, election monitor procedures, provisional ballots, and recount procedures.  This will then lead to lobbying for improvements and contacting the media, if appropriate.

Election-day activities include election monitoring in as many precincts as possible including note-taking and photographing any irregularities.  

Post-election activities include performing an audit of actual results and reporting on those results to the media.

Citizens interested in volunteering for CASE Ohio and the Adopt a Board of Elections Program should contact Pete Johnson at pete@caseohio.org or pjohnso6@insight.rr.com.  Volunteers interested in serving as election observers can also contact Tim Kettler at TimKettler@sostim06.com.

Secretary of State Forum
Three of the four candidates for Secretary of State in Ohio participated in a moderated debate at the Voting Rights Revival.  Jennifer Brunner (Democrat), Timothy Kettler (Green), and John Eastman (Libertarian) shared their ideas about, if elected to the office, how they would each reform the voting and election process in the state of Ohio.  What struck me the most was the integrity each of these candidates displayed in direct contrast to the lack of integrity displayed in the past several years by Ohio's current Secretary of State, Ken Blackwell.

The Voting Rights Revival was a talent-packed, action-oriented gathering of people sharing concerns and raising voices for voting reform.  I have not even mentioned all that was presented, but perhaps you may be able to find at least one place where you can also act on behalf of voting reform.  I will be taking a personal day on November 7.  Will you?

Originally posted to IngThing on Sat Oct 21, 2006 at 08:20 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Biggest Single Thing Needed is Exit Polling (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    AlanF, Ckntfld, IngThing, et tu babe

    I take it there is absolutely, positively, no chance of exit polling being done as needed.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy....--ML King, "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Sat Oct 21, 2006 at 08:28:31 PM PDT

    •  Even with exit polls (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      AlanF, IngThing, madgranny

      in 2004, there was no reporting in the media about the extreme unlikelihood that the polls could be in error, even though it was fairly widely reported that the polls did not jive with the election outcome.

      I agree that exit polls need to be done, but the media becomes complicit, once again, in withholding accurate analysis.

    •  exit polling has its limits (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      AlanF, Elise, et tu babe

      Some, including me, are somewhat skeptical of the network-controlled National Election Pool that is responsible for exit polling.  I think that is why there is more interest now in a transparent process such as parallel elections.  No prediction of winner - just a true comparison of data.

  •  Really excellent, informative diary (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    AlanF, gmb, Ckntfld, et tu babe

    Full of good stuff. Especially appreciate since I'm in Ohio but has more general utility. Where's your tip jar?

    The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts. Bertrand Russell

    by Psyche on Sat Oct 21, 2006 at 09:30:39 PM PDT

    •  This is an excellent diary, on the most important (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      gmb, Elise, IngThing, flumptytail, et tu babe

      topic. I suggest deleting (after saving to your computer) and reposting Monday morning, since it was missed, and these few comments don't add value to your fine work.

      In case you leave this one up, or repost it, I'm changing your Tags from 'Ohio, 2006, election, voting reform' to: 'Ohio, 2006, election irregularities 2006.'  The real point of this diary is the efforts to prevent another stolen election via monitoring this one, rather than actual reforms to the election process. The Tag '2006' denotes the 2006 election, which is what this diary is about. In advance of an expected spate of diaries which will recount personal experiences with irregularities I created that last Tag, in the hopes people will use it and we can easily access these stories, for the anecdotes which may be compiled along with the video footage you describe above.

      It's so sickening that we have to spend so much effort trying to second-guess the vote-stealing shenanigans and recruit volunteers to try to document them.

      •  The "election integrity" tag (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        gmb, Elise, Halcyon, et tu babe

        has been used for quite a while now by the "Election Integrity and Reform" members to mark diaries such as these. I'm adding the tag, and I hope you will be preserving it in the cleanup project. I don't expect that it should replace tags such as "election irregularities 2006", but I think it will make a good complement to such tags for those who are following election integrity in general. If you'd like to discuss this, please either post a comment or send me e-mail at alanfordean AT-SIGN yahoo DOT com. Thanks for your work on that project.

        Must read: MLKJ's "Letter from a Birmingham Jail." It will surprise you.

        by AlanF on Sun Oct 22, 2006 at 08:56:16 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  I don't think a good diary should ever be deleted (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Elise, Halcyon, IngThing, et tu babe

        If it doesn't get the attention it deserves, then it should be followed by later diaries that link to it. Or by a diary that adds new information while retaining a condensed version of the old.

        In any case, I predict that this diary will receive at least a half dozen more comments, representing perhaps two dozen pairs of eyes.

        Must read: MLKJ's "Letter from a Birmingham Jail." It will surprise you.

        by AlanF on Sun Oct 22, 2006 at 09:02:08 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  learning ways to call for action (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          AlanF, flumptytail, et tu babe

          I'm still learning the protocol here.  I did link to this diary in my comments to another one on stolen elections.  I'll keep working at it.  I really want some attention to this because it's not a one-time gig we're talking about here - it's something that will take sustained time and effort.  This is a call for action.

          "Words without actions are the assasins of idealism." Herbert Hoover

          by IngThing on Sun Oct 22, 2006 at 09:16:30 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Thanks for adding 'election integrity' Tag. (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          AlanF, IngThing, flumptytail, et tu babe

          I meant to, then forgot. I've been adding that Tag to a lot of diaries  also. I agree that it is one of the better Tags for this topic.

          When I suggested deleting, it was because I was suggesting reposting this identical diary when more people are likely to see it rather than the wee hours of a Sunday. Since there's a rule against double-posting the same diary, that's the only reason I would have suggested deleting this one.

          IMO this should be on the rec list, because it has good links and things people can actually do to prevent, or at least document the theft of this election. It reminds the kommunity that there's more to it than campaigning and GOTV. There's too much resistance to believing the various stories of behind-the-scenes skullduggery that is being done in these final weeks to disenfranchise/purge voters when it's too late to do anything effective about it or to reregister (if one knows enough to check to see if one has been purged at the 11th hour).

          I believe that the letters described by KStreetProjector sound plausible. Yet the kommunity was gloating in anastasia p's diary that purported to debunk it WITHOUT EVIDENCE beyond speaking to a few Democrats. Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. And that's why this diary is so important: because it's about gathering evidence, doing the investigating, asking questions of those who are supposed to be protecting our right to vote, but who are, in all likelihood scheming ways to prevent us from voting. Where in heck is the D.C. Democratic Party on this issue? They should have hired a cadre of investigators to get on this as soon as John Conyers' Ohio, What Went Wrong was published.

          IngThing: I'm assuming you will read this comment too. Again, thanks for this diary. I look forward to hearing more from you. It's one of the best 'first diaries' I've ever read here.

          •  I understood your motivation (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Elise, Halcyon, flumptytail

            for suggesting deleting and reposting, and I knew that you thought highly of this diary. But I think that deleting and reposting is problematic because someone might have read the diary and perhaps even bookmarked it, and it would be frustrating not to be able to find it. Also, there's no guarantee that a diary will get more notice once reposted. There may be more eyes looking at a diary at a high-traffic time, but the diary will also scroll by faster. Finally, deleting and reposting doesn't do anything to address the basic "diary overproliferation" problem. If carried to the extreme, everyone would delete their diaries and repost them, and then it would be just as difficult for good diaries to get the attention they deserve.

            Must read: MLKJ's "Letter from a Birmingham Jail." It will surprise you.

            by AlanF on Sun Oct 22, 2006 at 10:09:21 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  I will definitely be linking!! (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          AlanF, gmb, flumptytail

          This is a great diary!

          Thanks for sending it to me Alan...I wouldn't have seen it otherwise!

  •  Further links (5+ / 0-)

    Folks interested in this topic are pooling information at
    http://groups.yahoo.com/...
    and dkosopedia on Voting_Rights for further resources.

    Please think about volunteering to be a poll worker in your local precinct
    Serving_as_an_election_official.

    I added links to your diary, or information contained in your diary, to the dKosopedia Election integrity timeline and Parallel ballots pages.

    Thanks for the excellent presentation of information!

    Must read: MLKJ's "Letter from a Birmingham Jail." It will surprise you.

    by AlanF on Sun Oct 22, 2006 at 09:05:23 AM PDT

  •  We all need help. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    AlanF, gmb, Elise, flumptytail

    Not just in Ohio.

    I'm taking part in similar projects here in California.

    The first step to taking our country back, is taking our election systems back. I'm sick of voter purges that only purge Democrats, voting machine shortages that only happen in Democratic precincts, and voting machine errors that ALWAYS favor Republicans.

    Enough is enough.

  •  Thanks (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    AlanF, gmb, IngThing, flumptytail

    This is a great report.  We have to have a lot of people on the ground and in the polling stations to make sure the 2006 election is not stolen.  This is a good start.

    Solar is civil defense. Video of my small scale solar experiments at http://solarray.blogspot.com/2006/03/solar-video.html

    by gmoke on Sun Oct 22, 2006 at 02:45:23 PM PDT

  •  Everyone needs help (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    IngThing
    And there just aren't enough volunteers. I did get the day off work but could already have six different jobs with different campaigns, candidates, voter protection efforts etc etc if I wanted.

    I heard a lot of the same presentations, saw the No Umbrellas movie, heard the same SoS panel at the Cleveland elections forum last month. I see Greg Hartmann didn't show up in Columbus either. I don't think his "integrity" would have impressed you. In fact, I suspect he would have embarassed himself with his limited knowledge of elections. But it's ok. If he wins, ken Blackwell will teach him everything he needs to know!

    Don't let that man get anywhere near our election process.

    http://www.jenniferbrunner.com/

  •  The Upcoming Election (0+ / 0-)

    It has been documented that the current administration, under the careful direction of Karl Rove, has succeeded in undermining the democratic process throughout the United States of America.  By employing several tactics including creating shortages of voting machines in areas of high Democratic concentration, redistricting congressional geography and dubious accounting of ballots, the Bush administration and its ‘radical right’ inner circle have exercised a quasi-dictatorship for the past six years.  However, the most valuable tool implemented to achieve these past assured victories has been the general ignorance of America’s voting population.  It is time for the Democratic Party to abandon political correctness in favor of the truth.  It is time to arrive at the realization that a large contingent of Democratic supporters are computer illiterate.  The simple solution to this phenomenon of mass technophobia is the demystification of the electronic voting process.  

    If the Democratic Party has any hope of returning a, “government by consent of the governed,” to the people, it must launch a massive campaign to educate the public in the fundamental process of computerized voting.  The most efficient means by which to accomplish this goal would be to purchase time on network television to visually instruct viewers in the act of voting by computer.  A simple “How to...” segment on the evening news, morning shows or even, at halftime during sporting events would reach the greatest audience.  A step-by-step explanation/demonstration of the hypothetical casting of a ballot, accompanied by a question and answer hotline number, would be an invaluable asset encouraging greater voter participation.  Prior to the last presidential election, the president of Diebold assured the Bush regime that he would, “personally deliver,” Ohio to the Republican Party.  Several theories have emerged regarding how Mr. Hillock was able to make such a promise including, the rigging the machines themselves. It would be in the interest of Democracy to eliminate the possibility of apathy, ignorance or technophobia from being smokescreens used to mask dishonest actions or fraudulent election results.

    Quinn Stilletto
    President, Unwantedchildren.com

    •  paper ballots (0+ / 0-)

      Yes, I agree that technology issues including potential fraud and lack of education/experience with technology are problems.  Rather than spend money on educating voters on the use of the machines, I'd rather spend the money on educating voters about the inability of those machines to guarantee your vote was cast as you wanted it to be cast and to rally true voting reform that allows for hand-counted paper ballots.  This is done throughout many countries in Europe very successfully.

      "Words without actions are the assasins of idealism." Herbert Hoover

      by IngThing on Mon Oct 23, 2006 at 07:15:13 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Thank you IngThing for a very helpful (0+ / 0-)

    diary. It's great to know people are working on these problems in so many good ways. Here's hoping Ohio elects many Democrats.

  •  Sherrod Camp Problems? (0+ / 0-)

    In my predominantly Republican district Sherrod Brown suporters are a minority. In this area Dems need to muster all the support that is available. What I can't understand is why someone hasn't responded to my offers of volunteering.

    I had emailed sherrodbrown.com at least 4x offering to have a houseparty. Nothing.

    I had sent three emails to the Portage local Dem Party HQ to volunteer on flyers, phone calls, anything. No response.

    Two weeks ago at a Kent State rally for Sherrod I shook hands with the candidate and expressed directly to him this rant. He didn't seem surprised by added "there is no excuse."  He asked for my tel number and I gave it to him. You think I might have heard something by now.

    The importance of taking over the House and Senate in this midterm election is huge, hence my reason for wanting to get involved. The odd thing is I am not one to get involved in election volunteering, other than casting my vote.

    So here I stand dressed up and nowhere to go. What's a dissed volunteer to do?

    I have read before that the Republicans are much better than Democrats  at organizing their support teams. I beleive it. If so, I can only attest to the lack thereof on behalf of my local Dems. And I am saddened by this.

    Anyone else have a similar experience?

    •  I also received no response (0+ / 0-)

      I sent Sherrod an email after receiving a personal, hand-written letter from "him" thanking me for writing an editorial in the Columbus Dispatch.  The letter from him said, in part, "keep speaking out - your comments really matter."  I was puzzled by his Yes vote on the Military Commissions Act legislation and wanted to know how he could vote that way after being one of the few that did not vote in favor of going into Iraq.  So, I spoke out.  No response.  I think that decision, after he is elected, will come back to haunt him.  I don't want Dewine, but I see Sherrod Brown as a very short-term solution to our problems.

      "Words without actions are the assasins of idealism." Herbert Hoover

      by IngThing on Mon Oct 23, 2006 at 07:09:20 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  That's interesting. (0+ / 0-)

        One of the reasons I am in the Brown camp is for a letter he sent me after reading my editorial in the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Hmm, Wassup Sherrod?

        I am really puzzled by Browns vote on the Military Commissions Act. The only thing I can chalk it up to is the election. It may have been too risky to vote against it fearing he would be labeled soft on terror. Browns record on human rights is good so this vote doesn't fit. Hopefully he will speak out on the subject.

        In the meantime I finally reseived an email from the local Dem HQ. Going Sat and Sun to distribute lit.

        •  sell out or soft on terror (0+ / 0-)

          Yeah - I figure you are right about what they were thinking about the risk of seeming weak, but current climate is shifting against this view on terror somewhat.  It just really bothers me and makes me feel like he sold out.  What was the topic of your letter to the editor?  I'll be going door to door this week dropping literature for Dems, too.

          "Words without actions are the assasins of idealism." Herbert Hoover

          by IngThing on Tue Oct 24, 2006 at 04:41:37 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  The subject of my story was me (0+ / 0-)

            About 10 years ago the local newspaper, the Plain Dealer had been reporting on a local problem. Commuters were being stoned from bridge overpasses. Needless to say commuters were outraged and made a big stink about it. Eventually the perps were apprehended; those perps being ten and eleven year old kids.

            The PD wrote an editorial condemning the youngsters and the parents supervision (or lack thereof.) It was a scathing attack. Of course I understood the editors anger but thought the piece was a villification of bad kids in general.

            The editorial touched a nerve with me for I had been in the shoes of those youngsters. I was basically a street punk from an alcoholic family with little or no supervision and no positive feedback (for we all know kids need  positive feedback or they seek any attention, usually negative.) I felt some kind of duty to speak out for the wayward youths who most likely had been living no better than I had as a child.  

            My letter to the editor was a bit about my troubled childhood and that given the right opportunity these troubled kids could rise above it, as I did. To my surprise the PD published it. They titled it "Someone Cared, a Kid was Saved." (The someone was a caring aunt and uncle who had taken me and my brother into their home and whose kindness probably did save me from a life of serious trouble.)  

            Bottom line is Sherrod Brown had taken the time to contact the PD to find out the author of the piece. He sent me a handwritten letter on Congressional letterhead expressing his compassion and understanding of troubled youths.

            How often is it a politician takes the time to send a hand written note? I venture to say not often enough. At the least it allows me to believe Brown is a caring, compassionate human being. Given the choice between Brown or Bush's rubber stamp I'll take Brown any day.

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