Paper for President
The Time is
By Michael Collins
“Scoop” Independent News
The United States just endured another election that inspired more suspicion than confidence. Two years after the fiasco of Election 2004 in Ohio and elsewhere, four year years after the never investigated mystery of Georgia 2002, and six years after the disgrace of Florida which saw the loser of the popular vote (s)elected President by the Supreme Court; major problems pervade the US election system. The new problems created by computerized voting and tabulation merge with traditional race and class based election fraud in an assault on free, fair, transparent and inclusive elections.
The Democratic controlled House of Representatives may be 10 to 12 members shy on the left side of the aisle due to election irregularities. Jonathan Simon of the Election Defense Alliance just published a major paper demonstrating that as many as three million votes may be missing from the 2006 election. Problems of this sort were anticipated by internet poster TruthIsAll and this author in a three part series in “Scoop” which developed a vote fraud model that identified likely races for those photo finishes that always seem to put a Republican in office.
VotersUnite.Org produced a database of election irregularities from around the country. Ironically, the creator of the database was John Gideon who predicted many of the problems that he logged in the database. A short list of problems with voting machines in 2006 includes: vote switching from one candidate to another; candidate names simply disappearing from the touch screens; full or partial deletion of candidate names; and a simple failure of voting machines to operate.
The master foul-up occurred in Florida’s 13th Congressional District. More than 17,000 votes were simply lost. Ironically, this seat was just vacated by Katherine Harris, chief election official and Bush campaign chair during Florida’s 2000 presidential election. That race and at least three others remain without a conclusive vote count. A further irony is that the election to replace Harris resulted in a very slim advantage for the Republican candidate with the 17,000 ballots removed from the equation.
Paper for President: House Resolution 6200
Representative Dennis Kucinich, D, Ohio introduced HR 6200 on September 27, 2006. His bill will “ amend the Help America Vote Act of 2002 to require States to conduct Presidential elections using paper ballots and to count those ballots by hand, and for other purposes.”
The main features of the bill include special rules for Presidential elections.
- Presidential elections will be conducted entirely with paper ballots;
- Each precinct will include no more than 500 paper ballots per ballot box;
- Paper ballots will be counted by hand in the precincts where voting takes place and vote counting will be witnessed by a representative of each political party with a candidate on the ballot “as well as any interested member of the public.”
HR 6200 takes the logical step of moving Washington’s birthday celebration to election day during presidential election years making it easier for working people to vote.
If passed, the bill takes effect in time for the November 2008 presidential election.
Rep. Kucinich announced HR 6200 at the
9/06 “We Count” Conference in Cleveland
The Only Viable Alternative for Balloting: A Clear Public Consensus
A Zogby Poll of 1018 likely voters in August 2006 found that 60% are aware of the problems posed by electronic voting, 80% oppose private vendors keeping the operation of their electronic voting devices a trade secret, and 92% support the right of the public to watch vote counting. Other surveys, online and by phone, show that public confidence in US elections is below 50%.
Democrat Ted Strickland crushed former Republican Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell in the race for Governor but voting problems remain in Ohio and around the country (from CNN).
Rep. Kucinich has first hand experience with the devastating problems caused by election irregularities and fraud. He represents a large part of Cleveland Ohio, the scene of massive voter suppression, voting machine problems, and electronic tabulation irregularities in 2004. While Blackwell, the author of many of those problems, was ejected from the political scene after his humiliating defeat in the race for governor, many problems remain that subvert public confidence and deny citizen rights
The most fundamental election system problems are the total absence of anything resembling a ballot and secret voting and vote counting, all of which characterize touch screen voting systems.
Paper balloting has the advantage of producing ballots that actually exists, can be counted in public, stored indefinitely, and reviewed for purposes of recounting and election auditing. The alternative, so called voter verified paper ballots are appendages of the failed and likely corrupted electronic voting machines that they are supposed to verify. By seeming to correct a problem with touch screen voting, voter verified ballots serve to both enshrine and ratify an electronic voting system that has failed again and again. Proponents of this approach trail public sentiment by a significant degree given the Zogby results, other recent polls, and internet polls where up to 85% consistently vote to cease electronic voting of all kinds.
The Kucinich bill currently has 20 cosponsors. It is one smoking gun election fraud scandal away from passage by acclamation given the current distrust of everything electronic and computerized in our electoral system.
Hand counted paper ballots do not address two other vipers at the throat of US democracy, race and class based voter suppression and private funding of political campaigns. These twin threats to democracy must be addressed as well. However, hand counted paper ballots for presidential elections will provide greater assurance for those who vote that their vote was taken correctly and counted openly in front of witnesses from the political parties and the general public. Under the Kucinich bill, any US citizen reading this article can request and be granted the right to witness vote counting. It’s about time!
More information on hand counted paper ballots at Count Every Vote.
House Resolution 6200, Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D, Ohio
To amend the Help America Vote Act of 2002 to require States to conduct Presidential elections using paper ballots and to count those ballots by hand, and for other purposes.
September 27, 2006
To amend the Help America Vote Act of 2002 to require States to conduct Presidential elections using paper ballots and to count those by hand, and for other purposes.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,
SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.
This Act may be cited as the Paper Ballot Act of 2006'.
SEC. 2. REQUIRING USE OF HAND-COUNTED PAPER BALLOTS IN PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS.
Section 301(a) of the Help America Vote Act of 2002 (42 U.S.C. 15481(a)) is amended by adding at the end the following new paragraph:`(7) SPECIAL RULES FOR PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS- Notwithstanding any other provision of this subsection, in the case of a regularly scheduled general election for the electors of President and Vice President (beginning with the election in November 2008), the following rules shall apply:`(A) The State shall conduct the election using only paper ballots
`(B) The State shall ensure that the number of ballots cast at a precinct or equivalent location which are placed inside a single box or similar container does not exceed 500.
`(C) The ballots cast at a precinct or equivalent location shall be counted by hand by election officials at the precinct, and a representative of each political party with a candidate on the ballot, as well as any interested member of the public, may observe the officials as they count the ballots. The previous sentence shall not apply with respect to provisional ballots cast under section 302(a).'.
SEC. 3. MOVING OBSERVATION OF WASHINGTON'S BIRTHDAY TO
ELECTION DAY DURING PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION
Section 6103(a) of title 5, United States Code, is amended—(1) by inserting ‘the Tuesday next after the first Monday in November in 2008 and every four years thereafter, and after ‘Washington’s Birthday,’
(2) by inserting ‘in any other year’ after ‘February’.
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