Collins: Missouri Activists Say “Show Me The Vote”
Show Me the Vote!
Major Voting Rights Initiative Announced
Missouri Activists Say “Show Me The Vote”
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George Caleb Bingham’s “The County Election,” Boone County, Missouri” 1851
“Scoop” Independent News
Kansas City, MO. A diverse group of Missouri activists made history today when they announced a 2008 ballot initiative to return their state elections to paper ballots. The country has adopted electronic voting at a break neck pace since 2000 propelled by over $6 billion in subsidies by the White House and Congress.
This announcement marks the first major resistance to the e-voting trend. If the initiative gets on the ballot and passes, Missourians will be voting on and hand counting paper ballots. Canada, Ireland, Italy, and England all vote on hand count paper ballots. The United States did as well until the rush to electronic voting rendered the traditional paper ballot all but extinct.
Phil Lindsey a Missouri activist and Director of ShowMeTheVote.Org, presented the initiative in a speech tonight at the University of Missouri, KC before a packed hall. The initiative announcement was preceded by Stealing America: Vote by Vote, a film by Emmy award winner Dorothy Fadiman. A panel of election experts discussed the film and American elections in the age of e-voting..
Lindsey offered a stark assessment of the U.S. elections today by reviewing the short but intense history of wide spread electronic voting since 2000. He pointed out the thousands of reported failures plus key election results that were simply without explanation. He argued for the return of citizen access to and participation in elections. Under the proposal, citizen involvement in taking and counting votes represents the cure for inaccurate vote counts, suspected election fraud, and declining voter.
It is simply not possible to know who wins an election when votes are taken and counted on computerized voting machines which are not even available for public inspection.
He discussed the initiative principles, which are straight forward:
You’ve now seen a very troubling film, you’ve heard someone speak of troubling elections.. I’m going to offer you a solution. Under MO law we have two options. The first is the constitutional initiative petition requiring hand counted paper ballots in the state of Missouri. The second solution is local. When you have election directors who will not listen to you, accommodate you, and entertain your wishes, you have the right to vote them out of office. Consequently we’ve written ten principles (see Appendix). Local election directors who endorse the principles are on your side. Those who don’t will face challenges in upcoming elections.
ShowMeTheVote.Org is a non partisan voting rights organization. Their goal is to build alliances around the state regardless of party affiliation or ideology. “This is not a Democrat, Republican, or Independent issue. Free and fair elections are an American issue.”
To gain ballot status in Missouri, an election initiative needs to have 140,000 valid signatures. Show Me the Vote has 28 days to submit ballot language to the state for approval and then another 14 months to gather the signatures.
Interview with Phil Lindsey
“Scoop” spoke with Mr. Lindsey after the event:
Scoop: What is the essence of your
Lindsey: Our over riding goal is to put the control of elections back in the hands of the citizens and take it away from the corporations. Hand counted paper ballots and responsive elections directors are the means to that end.
Scoop: What other groups will you approach
to support this initiative?
Lindsey: We will seek out those who are most disenfranchised by the current system: minorities, the elderly, the voters who were targeted in the Voter Photo ID legislation, and other groups who are routinely shoved out of the elections.
Why should people feel there’s a need to return to an
Lindsey: They’re damned unhappy with new voting technology, the results, and the fact they have nothing to say about the process. Voters now lack the ability to verify elections and they end up depending on the good word of officials who lack their trust. Citizens wish to take back their original Constitutional rights.
Scoop: Why did we abandon paper ballots in the
Lindsey: Because we were bamboozled, sold on the fact that voting on something new, bright, and fancy would make it a better world and us a happier people. As usual it didn’t work and now we see that.
How will you carry out and finance the initiative
Lindsey: This will be an entirely grass roots movement. We will take no foundation money and donations will come with no strings attached. We will do this alone. We’re telling people your bucks stops here. We’re asking them to dig deep, long, and hard. Give what you can give and we will spend it wisely to get our democracy back.
Missouri’s Choice: Show Us the Vote
Election Day 2007 in Missouri will offer citizens of the Show Me state the chance to be the first state in the country to just say no to electronic voting. The process will be an uphill battle by the citizen groups supporting the measure. Once on the ballot, the challenge will be even greater with tens of thousands of dollars in anticipated contributions by e-voting manufacturers to fight the proposal.
Ultimately, it is the choice of the people that matters. Public opinion polls show a runaway trend against e-voting. Missouri voters may lead the nation in making that trend official and returning to a centuries old American tradition.
Show Me The Vote is dedicated to the proposition that all elections should be:
1) open and transparent to the public, from the
casting of the ballot to the final counting of ballots.
Further, that the final tabulation of ballots be made and
posted at the place they are cast.
2) that the sanctity of the voting franchise is an inviolable right and, as such, the control of elections must never be given over to private or corporate entities.
3) that voting is the Keystone upon which democracy rests, and where there is no accountability and transparency, there is no democracy.
4) that the choice of the people should determine the manner and method used to cast and count their votes.
5) that the manner of casting and counting of votes should be intelligible to the least sophisticated of voters. To that end, our common human senses of sight and hearing should be the method used to measure the outcome of elections.
6) that, in keeping with maximum transparency and intelligibility, voting should be carried out on hand counted paper ballots. Further, that those ballots be archived for their lifetime.
7) that those officials responsible for the day to day administration of electoral process owe their first allegiance to voters whom they serve. As such, those officials should administer, and carry out, elections in the manner chosen by the voters.
8) that all elections should observable by citizens and the press, from the time that the polls are first opened until the final tally is completed and posted.
9) that the citizens of any democratic government have the inherent right to determine, through observation, the fairness and accuracy of all elections.
10) and, to that end, we demand that the state of Missouri abandon the use of electronic or mechanical marking or counting devices in favor of hand marked and hand counted paper ballots.
So say we all:
To that end, we voters demand of Missouri, one and all,
”Show Me The Vote!”
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