Dear Progressive Democrats of America activists,
As we celebrate our freedoms and our Democracy today, we must continue to remember that the core of our Democracy is under attack. Our voting system must be reformed and protected to enfranchise voters, have all votes counted, and counted as cast. We at PDA make a guarantee that this fight will continue to be our fight. Today is a day to reclaim our democracy.
With our current system when a Registrar violates election law, officials look the other way.
Few grasp the technical issues. Most sympathize with their registrars' claims that they lack money and staff to follow new security procedures to protect vulnerable e-voting machines. Counties are cash-strapped to protect democracy because we're fighting a trillion-dollar war.
PDA goes into action.
Because election fraud brought us that war. Florida 2000 insured it and Ohio 2004 perpetuated it. PDA has always made that connection.
We talk to our neighbors. We're organized nationwide. We know that change is here, across the political spectrum. But it won't show up until the ballot box is unrigged and voters have equal access to honest voting.
PDA will stand up and fight - loudly and clearly - for legitimate elections. Period.
PDA issued a `No Confidence' statement in the Busby-Bilbray machine tally, because the machine count can't guarantee a show of voter intent when machines were sent home with pollworkers in violation of state and federal security provisions. Secure chain-of-custody, of the machines and their memory cards, was breached by the Registrar's disregard of new state and federal regulations.
It had been common practice, in jurisdictions across the nation, to send voting machines home with volunteer pollworkers. Before computer voting, the risk was low to the final result. Now, with trade-secret software, as the Brennan Institute reported, and the Washington Post headlined, "One Person Can Swing An Election."
In December, 2005, computer programmer Harri Hursti hacked into a Diebold opti-scanner and reversed the vote tally, changing the electronic results and the election outcome without a trace. Only the paper ballots told the truth. He later discovered even more startling vulnerabilities in the Diebold touch-screen DRE system. His "hack" involved memory cards that can program and insert information as well as extract - and change -- the vote tally. Both types of Diebold machine were used in the San Diego election. Both types can be hacked in just two minutes of unsupervised time - no password necessary. Both types were sent home with volunteer pollworkers days and weeks before election day.
On March 22, 2006, Sandra J. Steinbach, Chair of the National Association of State Elections Directors (NASED) issued new regulations developed to cover the alarming Diebold security hole. The first new regulation was this:
Throughout the life of the voting system, the election official shall maintain control of all memory cards and keep a perpetual chain of custody record for all of the memory cards used with the system. Programmed memory cards shall be stored securely at all times with logged accesses and transfers.
Fraud does not have to be charged or proven in San Diego to prove the election was run on illegal voting machines. NASED's letter is clear:
Failure to comply with this addendum negates the voting system's status as a NASED-qualified voting system.
State certification depends on federal qualification. It is illegal to hold an election on uncertified machinery in California.
The Registrar says car and garage storage is secure. The CA Secretary of State is silent. CA's Attorney General is "looking into it."
PDA-endorsed candidate Jeeni Criscenzo (CA-49th) called a Town Hall meeting with PDA chapters, allies, and investigative journalist/ blogger Brad Friedman of Bradblog.com, to publicize the problem and seek legal remedy. CNN's Lou Dobbs picked up and reported the story as articles appeared in the mainstream media on the perils of e-voting: Washington Post, USA Today, San Diego Chronicle.
PDA led on this issue in the aftermath of 2004. Board Member John Conyers held historic hearings on Ohio's massive voter suppression and machine irregularities. PDA Board Member John Bonifaz testified and Executive Director Tim Carpenter and Political Director Kevin Spidel helped Rainbow/PUSH Coalition bring voters' testimony to Capitol Hill.
Bonifaz is now running for Secretary of State in Massachusetts. PDA is helping him lead the nation's elections officials to election integrity.
California's PDA chapters are blowing the whistle on Registrars who won't protect the vote, who refuse to follow requirements for the e-voting transition.
This is not about the Busby-Bilbray race. This is about November. This is about the legitimate transfer of power in the House and Senate.
Because California is in the GOP's sights. The LA Times reported Sunday, June 23, that GOP "activists poured into San Diego" after a D.C. meeting of "Republican strategists" four days before the bellwether election that would predict GOP strength in November. In one weekend, the "activists" supposedly netted 10,000 new GOP absentee ballots! 3000 a day! This miracle was attributed to the 'high-tech edge' of the GOP's database, called 'Voter Vault.'
In 2002, Jeeni Criscenzo's current opponent, GOP Congressman Darrell Issa, friend of Tom DeLay, spent personal millions to recall California's Democratic Governor and elect Arnold Schwarzenegger in time for Bush/Cheney 2004. Our Democratic Secretary of State, who refused to certify Diebold, was next on the chopping-block; he was hounded from office by allegations that were never prosecuted or proven. His GOP successor certified Diebold, insuring the mess in San Diego County.
California's House races will be decided late in the day in November. PDA activists, with partners and allies like DFA, are forming the thin blue line against fraud in vulnerable counties across the nation. In California, we have already responded to a shocking purge of first-time voters by getting the Secretary of State to allow other data to keep voters on the rolls if they fail exact-match ID with DMV records. State-by-state, PDA activists do similar work.
PDA Board Member Greg Moore, formerly of the NAACP and now head of the DNC's Voting Rights Institute, has convinced Howard Dean to form a concerted strategy to protect Democratic voters from fraud in November. That's a major step forward and we are greatful!
But pollwatchers can't see inside computers. And lawyers won't do much good if established precedent gives Registrars latitude to decide which laws and regulations they'll follow and which they won't. 2006 requires new election protection strategies, and PDA is in the forefront.
We need your donation today. Your federal election dollars spent with PDA will protect progressive voters, activists, officials and candidates. You'll speak for peace and strike at fraud at the same time. PDA inspires voters to the polls - and makes sure, once they're there, that their votes aren't lost, shifted, prevented, or stolen!
Become a PDA sustainer or make a generous one-time donation at https://www.pdamerica.org/donate.php .
Give as much as you can, because we're fighting the fraud other organizations won't even face.
Join our new Election Protection Working Group by emailing email@example.com . You'll be contacted to help with our first task: producing a Pollworkers' Manual that spells out federal elections law so that pollworkers, asked to violate election law and ignore legal procedures will know what to do. We'll continue demanding that votes be cast, counted - and counted as cast by fighting machine fraud on many fronts, and mitigating their peril on Election Day. PDA pollworkers will demand ungamed random manual audits (in states that have them); will challenge questionable tallies and vote spoilage; will blow the whistle on security violations.
Strike at fraud; speak for peace. Help PDA make November safe for the progressive vote.
Mimi Kennedy PDA Board Chair
Stephen Shaff, PDA Board Vice-Chair
Medea Benjamin PDA Board Member
John C. Bonifaz PDA Board Member
Steve Cobble PDA Board Member
William Rivers Pitt, PDA Editorial Director
Joel Segal PDA Board Member
David Swanson PDA Board Member
Rev. Lennox Yearwood PDA Board Member