Numbers, baby, numbers! If Howard Dean really wants to take control of the party, he needs to be like Rove and deal with the cold hard numbers. Elections are about counting votes (electoral too). We've allowed the Republicans to do 80% of the counting with ES&S, Diebold etc. We cant change the status quo nationally because of the R's, but elections in this country are really a county-by-county affair.
ROVE'S NIGHTMARE: VOTING REFORM INITIATIVES
Rove's biggest nightmare is a voting reform movement. He sees the numbers that say 20% of the country believe the vote was fatally flawed. What's ironic is Rove laid out the blueprint for my plan, with his anti-gay marriage initiatives in 18 states. What you cant get done in the halls of power can be done with initiatives, if they are coordinated. Dean at the DNC now has the leverage and the resources. If he wants to save the party, and stay out of the way of the D policy makers, here is the perfect issue, and action plan.
DEAN'S $50 MILLION PROGRESSIVE OFFENSIVE
Soros and the other big D donors have said they want to give $100 million in 2008. Dean needs to get half of that right now and put it into this initiative, get it passed in 20 states, so we can lock down 300 electoral votes. Money needs to go to ads exposing the various fraud in each state, (stoke the crisis), the signature gathering and the lobbying in each statehouse to get stopgap measures so we don't get flanked by the R's. California had a good start in banning e-voting machines, and we need to pressure each state to follow their lead.
INITIATIVE MANDATES STATE DEPT OF ELECTIONS
With the county auditors and local elections officials running each election, our system is a mess. My initiative would create a state takeover of the elections process, with the creation of a Dept. of Elections, outside the Sec. of States office, and run by an elected, non-partisan Superintendent of Elections. The check on him would be an all-partisan Board of Voting Appeals, from the parties with the five highest vote counts in the last Presidential election. They have the finally ruling on all voter challenges and provisional ballot appeals, and can overrule the Superintendent.
MAKING VOTING 'LEGAL'
Wills, deeds, your driver's license, even money has more legal standing than a vote. This initiative would give a paper ballot, even provisional ballots, legal status. (This would in essence outlaw any form of e-voting) This would mandate that all votes are counted when cast, it would outlaw day-of challenges, give voters automatic rights of appeal if vote is challenged by the county or someone of legal standing like a judge. A tracking system would be in place so that the voter may check that his vote was included in the full, final accredited tally. Absentee ballots would have to have some degree of witnessing or notarization, but a postal worker witnessing the signature, or early drop-off points, like city halls and libraries would suffice. All machines would be owned and serviced by the Dept of Elections
NO-SPOILAGE OPTICAL SCANNER WITH PRINTER
Right now, this machine does not exist but we are working on a company that would make one. Two machines would be provided to each polling place, one with a HAVA-compliant attachment that would allow for the disabled to vote. The polling place would not be considered open until the voter can use the machines. (Reports of stacking were common)
The optical scanner is the most effective and easiest machine to work, with the easiest of ballots. The printer would allow for the voter to check to see if all the votes on his ballot were counted correctly before accepting or spoiling the ballot. A tracking number would be provided so that the voter can find out the fate of his vote.
IMMEDIATE POLLING PLACE RESULTS
More importatly, the printer allows for all votes cast at the polling place to be totaled, printed out and displayed after the polling place closes. Those results would then be called into a canvassing call center, both at the county and state levels. Canada has a similar system where all the votes are counted on site and called in. Less handling, less fraud.
CHECKS AND BALANCES, NOT LINEAR
In my analysis, the real vulnerability in the voting systems in this country is in the vote tally transfers, when they get transferred from polling place to the county, and the county to the state. The system is linear, with no checks and balances. This initiative would mandate that all transfers have THREE checks on them. Exit polls and 5% polling place hand recounts would be mandated too. Polling places have workers from third parties and international observers are allowed
We don't have much time to lose. We need to get this on Dean's desk soon. Someone needs to give a presentation to the DNC and soon. I would go myself but for the money.