The Computer Ate My Vote
Today, TrueMajority is launching a
campaign to protect the integrity of America's elections
and avoid a replay of the embarrassing Florida election
fiasco in 2000. Our goal is to raise $50,000 to run a
grassroots campaign urging state election officials to
prohibit the use of computerized voting machines until we
know they are safe and have a way to run reliable
recounts. Can you help?
For Your Information:
America's elections should be sterling examples of
representative government. But
The Florida fiasco in 2000 was just
the opposite, an embarrassment to our country. Unless we act now,
we could see an even worse election disaster.
After the disputed presidential election, Congress allocated
billions of dollars through the Help Americans Vote Act (HAVA) to
improve America's voting machines.
Trouble is, many election officials are installing voting
systems with touch-screen computerized voting machines that
vulnerable to the same problems as other computer technology,
including crashes, power outages, viruses and hacking. Simple
question: Has your computer ever crashed and lost important data?
Now apply that lesson to our democracy.
The fledgling technology already has failed widely publicized
tests. One hacker was able to open a locked machine and start
changing votes. It took him less than a minute. Another hacker was
able to intercept and change vote totals being sent to
headquarters. Still other experts analyzed a computer voting
software program and found serious problems.
Fortunately there's a simple, cost-effective, two-part
- All voting machines should produce a printout of each vote
that could be used to audit the computer count, conduct
recounts when necessary and otherwise serve as the backup
system. You've heard "store a hard copy?" Voters are
shown the printout of his or her vote for review before
leaving the polling place, and the papers are saved by
election officials. "Voter verified paper trail" is
the fancy name for this simple safeguard.
- Public election officials and their trusted technicians must
be given full access to the touch-screen software and hardware
to verify the sanctity of the voting process, prevent fraud
and eliminate unintentional errors.
Last year, legislation was introduced to get Congress and
President Bush to fix the obvious problems before the 2004
election. TrueMajority members sent 63,268 faxes supporting these
bills, but the Congressional leadership refuses to grant even a
hearing on the bills by Rep. Holt (D-NJ) and Senators Graham
(D-FL) and Boxer (D-CA).
So, TrueMajority is directing a campaign at the elected
officials who have the power to stop the use of computer voting
machines this year or demand a verified paper trail: secretaries
of state, who typically are in charge of state elections.
Showing the way, the secretaries of state of California,
Washington and Nevada have protected their citizens by requiring
touch-screen computer voting in their states to include a voter
verified paper trail. Excellent start; now onto the rest of us.
We believe other secretaries of state, who are not used to
hearing from citizens, will follow suit under grassroots pressure.
And as each state signs on to these higher standards, the pressure
will build on those secretaries of state who refuse. No one will
want to be the last chief state election officer to protect his or
All the secretaries of state will be in Washington, DC, on
February 17 at a meeting, so we'll kickoff the campaign then with
a press conference calling on them to protect their constituents.
We've hired two organizers who'll then move the campaign into the
states, targeting a handful at a time for local news conferences,
op-eds, letters to the editor and meetings with the election
officers. As more and more states sign on and the pressure builds,
we'll move the campaign around the country until everyone is
To wage this campaign, we need $50,000 by Friday, February 13.
Please help us create elections we can all be proud of.
Here's some background on this issue:
The companies that perfected touch-screen voting technology
refuse to share it with anyone, including election officials. This
prevents quality control, audits or just plain monitoring of the
system to ensure it's working as planned. It also makes fraud
easier to perpetrate by private-sector technicians and hard, if
not impossible, to investigate. This is particularly troublesome
because some of the corporations that make these machines, such as
Diebold, have links to the Republican Party.
Taking the simple step of demanding a voter verified paper
trail is both affordable and practical-and will allow our nation
to use touch-screen voting for the benefits of easy accommodation
of multiple languages, arrangements for people with disabilities
and more. But currently, computer voting systems are too
vulnerable to tampering and failure to risk using them in this
TrueMajority is waging an organizing campaign because that's
what we do. It's based on great substantive work by experts in
computer technology and democracy protection. To learn more, check
|Thanks for helping to make this
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