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Integrity of Georgia's Elections at Risk!

Integrity of Georgia's Elections at Risk!

Integrity of Georgia's Elections at Risk!

VoterChoice Coalition Expands Pro-Democracy Agenda, Announces New Features and Updates to Coalition Web Site

Good morning:

During the last session of the Georgia General Assembly, when the board of the Voter Choice Coalition met, we welcomed a new organizational member to our ranks and expanded upon the pro-democracy agenda on which we were founded.

The Voter Choice Coalition first organized in the wake of the 1998 election to open Georgia's restrictive ballot access regime to permit the participation of voices and political perspectives outside the Democrats and Republicans who run this state.

But as we've worked to amend OCGA 21-2-170 et seq., it has become apparent to our Coalition's leadership that the challenges to our democratic participation in our own governance only start with the process of getting on the ballot. We've learned that we must scrutinize every proposed change to the entire Election Code.

At our Board meeting this past Winter, we agreed to support the use of Proportional Representation in public elections. We also agreed to fight for a voter-verified paper audit trail and the use of open source software with Georgia's new computerized election machinery.

For a year or more, a controversy has been brewing over our public elections being conducted with computers who's software is shielded from public inspection as proprietary trade secrets and which provide no means for independently verifying that the results generated actually represent the intention of voters. In the past few days, this story has broken into the public conversation with the publication of two new reports authored by respected computer science academics; and the subsequent coverage of those reports in hundreds of newspapers, including Atlanta's own Journal Constitution and the official newspaper of record, The New York Times.

Secretary of State Cathy Cox may still dismiss these concerns as those of "conspiracy theorists". Still a growing body of professional and academic computer scientists are confirming our worst fears that we truly have something to worry about. And the media is finally beginning to pay attention.

Yesterday, I was interviewed by a journalist from New Zealand. The international press understands how big this story is. This morning, updates to the web site of the Voter Choice Coalition finally went live. I'm writing to urge you to point your browser to this site and bone up on these issues.

http://www.voterchoice.org/

It will take every one of us speaking to our neighbors and elected officials to turn this situation around and create the opportunity for democracy in the midst of this crisis.

I urge you particularly to study the links from these pages:

http://www.voterchoice.org/pr.php

http://www.voterchoice.org/auditableballots.php

and to support passage of SB-340 in the Georgia Assembly and HR-2239 in the U.S. Congress. You'll find links to these bills and the contact information for the relevant Committee members on our site.

Please also use the new Constituent Feedback Form to update our Coalition's leadership on your conversations with your elected officials, by linking to:

THIS LINK

It will take every one of us to make the impact necessary to make our elections something worthy of the time and energy it takes to get to the polls. You on this list are the leaders in Georgia in this movement. Every one of us must do our part to reach out and bring others along.

Those who came before us have sweated, bled and died to secure and expand the right to vote -- whether the patriots who expelled the colonial powers from these shores, the women who marched for suffrage, the Black veterans lynched in the wake of integrating the formerly all-white Primary in July 1946 or the movement that crossed the Edmund Pettis Bridge.

We stand on the shoulders of these freedom fighters. We must defend and expand on the victories they won for us. Our children and theirs are counting on us to not allow the clock to be turned back by vendors doing multi-million dollar contracts with our state governments.

Please read the links above, communicate with your elected officials, let us know what they have to say about these important issues and forward this message broadly.

-- Hugh Esco

Chair, Voter Choice Coalition

Apologies for duplications. I hope to soon consolidate the announce and activist lists of our Coalition, in a way so that those of you on both lists will not see these duplicates, but that everyone on both lists need not miss out on breaking opportunities to stay in the loop on our Coalition's work and important developments on the issues with which we are concerned.

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