There aren't many candidates making public their concerns about election integrity. It's hard to believe, though, that there aren't a number of candidates with worries about the validity of a narrow loss. With anecdotal and theoretical evidence building of the ease of hackability of electronic voting machines, the subject may not warrant hysteria, but certainly there is room for serious questions. I believe the evidence is clear that we should be dumping electronic voting overboard in favor of old-fashioned paper ballots. Here in California, our Secretary of State has certified Diebold touchscreen, paperless machines for use in all polling places in November. Yikes.
On Wednesday night, Jeeni Criscenzo's campaign (CA-49) hosted an event in Oceanside on Election Integrity. Jeeni gave a fantastic speech to the crowd of about 150, mostly focusing on what she had experienced as a poll watcher (or "poll cat" as she called herself) in the June 6th primary. Election integrity hadn't been a major focus for Jeeni before the June 6th election, in fact. But after hearing from poll workers about electronic voting machines that sat in their homes
for days and sometimes weeks, she decided she needed to make public her concerns. She also saw (and experienced personally) jammed opti-scan machines, which were opened by poll workers to clear jams, thus repeatedly removing their security seals.
Here is a quote that gets to the heart of Jeeni's talk:
Being a candidate this past year is the hardest thing I've ever done ... I'll be damned if I give up one single vote after I've worked so hard. I will not concede if there is one iota of doubt that every vote has been counted.
Jeeni isn't accusing the San Diego ROV of tampering with the vote. She said that her experience with the ROV led her to believe that they are genuinely interested in doing their jobs well. They are simply out of touch with how disastrous electronic voting could be (has been?), and how easy it would be for a single person to change the results of an entire election. (The report linked here details the potential flaws in both opti-scan and touchscreen systems.)
Election fraud and voter disenfranchisement are weighty topics, and they're just beginning to gain mainstream traction. RFK, Jr.'s excellent article has made believers out of many of us who previously considered this topic the stuff of tin-foil hats. I find it heartening to see a candidate for public office willing to take this issue on in a straightforward fashion. Jeeni just wants to be certain that our system is one in which every vote counts, and right now, doubts are swirling.
I don't consider myself an expert on this issue. I don't think Jeeni considers herself an expert, either. But she's talking about it, she's asking questions, and she's standing up for our vote. There really isn't anything more fundamental than that. (A cool thing about Jeeni, on that note, is that she has gone through a tortuous process in order to become an international observer at this Sunday's Mexican election. She'll be south of the border to see how it's done by our neighbors.)
If this is an issue you care about, I hope you'll give Jeeni some support:
(Also speaking at Jeeni's event last Wednesday were Brad Friedman, of BradBlog.com and VelvetRevolution.us; Mimi Kennedy of Progressive Democrats of America; and Rob Cohen, who directed "VoterGate." We also heard from a local election activist, Tom Corbitt of Riverside, and our local Democratic Party leader, Jess Durfee. The speakers were all excellent!)
Note: I am a volunteer on Jeeni's campaign, but I wasn't asked to write this diary. We are about as grassroots as it gets, but those of us working for Jeeni realize that she is the real deal. If you're in the San Diego area, please go to Jeeni's web site and volunteer. We need you!