First it was the email circulated by Bo Lipari, a software engineer who founded the organization New Yorkers for Verified Voting, which is working to get the state’s voting machines verifiable and auditable. He’s saying that there's no way the machines will be foolproof by November:
It’s become obvious that New York State’s new voting systems will not be able to complete New York State certification testing in time for the scheduled 2009 rollout ...SysTest, the company contracted to test these machines, has apparently gotten bogged down by delays, and guess what. Those delays aren't just from the inaction and nonaction of the manufacturers, but from the state Board of Elections as well. Here are a couple of reasons for why those machines won't be ready:
— incomplete documentation from the vendorsOne could easily ask two questions: Why Is This Happening? and How Could It Be Happening in New York State?
— documentation discrepancies
— incomplete hardware/software deliveries
— the BOE hasn’t yet approved the SysTest’s “Voting System Specific Test Plans”
— the BOE has not responded to SysTest’s request for policy guidance relating to configuration files.
I'm already pissed.
Next I get an email about David Earnhardt's new documentary on voter fraud: “Uncounted: the New Math of American Elections”:
. . . an explosive new documentary that shows how the election fraud that changed the outcome of the 2004 election . . . now looms as an unbridled threat to the outcome of the 2008 election. . . .UNCOUNTED is a wakeup call to all Americans. Beyond increasing the public’s awareness, the film inspires greater citizen involvement in fixing a broken electoral system. As we approach the decisive election of 2008, UNCOUNTED will change how you feel about the way votes are counted in America. Of course it didn’t help that The Chancellor did a piece this morning called "Nobody Cares." The fact remains, they do, and so do others.
[It] examines in factual, logical, and yet startling terms how easy it is to change election outcomes and undermine election integrity across the U.S. Noted computer programmers, statisticians, journalists, and experienced election officials provide the irrefutable proof. . . .
But even without the coincidence of the emails and the blog appearing at the same time, there was the singularly horrific thought expressed by Greg Palast months ago that the 2008 election has already been stolen.
In an interview with BuzzFlash, Palast talked about how the big boys are working at their disenfranchisement projects, especially for people of color:
GP: [The lists to disenfranchise voters] are the purge lists. For 2004, we have the caging lists. And in 2008, we’re going to have what’s called the verification list.
BF: Meaning the return of the Jim Crow laws, I assume?
GP: When I say the 2008 race has already been stolen, about a million and a half voter registrations have been turned down. Even though there have been massive voter registration drives among Hispanics and African Americans, as the churches fill up the bucket, there’s a hole in the bucket where the registrations are being dumped . . . About 40% of the registrations are being rejected on the grounds that they don’t match citizenship files. Well, you know what? It ain’t the Soviet Union. We don’t have citizenship files in the United States. They don’t exist. They can’t exist under the law, which is the U.S. Constitution.Palast has invited people to steal his new cartoon strip “Vote Theft for Idiots” and pass it around, and I'm pleased to oblige him. These are the first two lessons, and I hope the rest of them will come out before November rolls around. (If too fuzzy, they're clearer here and here.)
Black Box Voting (.org) has put out a tool kit for the elections called “Top 5 Things You can Do to Protect Election 2008”:
1. Get involved — I kinda like the way they tell you that first you have to figure out what type of person you are: hunter-gatherer, networker, empowerer, analyzer, or communicator. That makes a whole lot of sense
2. Hook up with experienced groups — lists some great ones, and includes a section on Freedom of Information tips.
3. Protect/defend against deceptive practices (last minute changes, consolidation issues, confusing ballots, deceptive phonecalls and fliers, etc.)
4. Protect/defend voter lists (register people, help people get photo ID, look for racial profiling on voter registration cards, category switching, etc.)
5. Voting machines: Protect/defend the vote counts — it mentions some horrible things under this category, like “99% of votes will be counted in secret on computers controlled by government insiders and vendors.”
I poll-watched in Pennsylvania in the last election and experienced some very last minute changes, like the polling place itself. There was also intimidation, against a first-time voter who didn't know how to handle it and against me personally, who was trying to contact the on-call lawyers on his behalf.
The Election Fraud Blog has compiled something called a Beginner’s Guide on this subject with the ominous subtitle “a Broken Democracy Crash Course.” Lots of links there also relating to this unfortunate time in the history of the country when our government disgusts us.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that I have to leave blogging for now because there's a real chance of this coming true in November:
and I don’t want to feel that I didn’t do enough to keep it from happening.