Congress about to "just say yes" to permanent secret vote counting
By Nancy Tobi
Online Journal Guest Writer
Jul 2, 2007, 01:46
Centralized control of voting is a form of tyranny, pure and
simple. Joseph Stalin is said to have explained why: "Those who cast the
votes decide nothing. Those who count the votes decide everything."
Meet the new boss
Congress is about to pass an election "reform"
bill, HR811 (the Holt Bill). The bill will enshrine secret computerized vote
counting, controlled by the White House.
The Holt bill would tempt the likes of the late Mayor Daley
of Chicago and vote villain Boss Tweed of New York City's Tammany Hall.
How will our modern vote villains resist?
A "yes" vote on the Holt bill allows the federal
government to erect an impenetrable wall between American voters and their
votes. It will lock in secret vote-counting technology owned by corporations.
The public will be shut out for good.
That's why our New Hampshire Secretary State, the New
Hampshire City and Town Clerks Association, and the Democracy for New Hampshire (DFNH) Fair Elections Committee all oppose the bill.
They're not alone.
National organizations for the chief voting officials in all
50 states, state legislators, and the nation's counties all oppose the Holt bill.
There are more than 100 national and regional voting rights groups who oppose
the bill as well.
So, why is Congressman Paul Hodes (D-NH) a cosponsor of the
Holt bill? And, why is Congresswoman Carol Shea Porter (D-NH) undecided on the
Lobbyists like Common Cause are promoting HR811 to "get
it straight by 2008." But HR811 is primarily drafted for a 2010 effective
date. It will never protect our 2008 elections.
Grassroots activists have drafted a simple bill that really
can make a difference for 2008. They need a congressional sponsor but have yet
to find any takers.
Congress is stuck on HR811, dangerous flaws and all.
"Power corrupts. Absolute power
The Help America Vote Act (HAVA), passed in 2002, created
the Election Assistance Commission. This shadow White House agency -- four
presidential appointees -- wields total control over voting system standards.
They design the computerized voting machines, and even the paper ballots, used
in our nation's elections.
HR811 cements voting system control in the hands of the
president, shifting the balance of power in elections from the citizenry to the
Elections Assistance Commission.
This is a complete reversal of the founders' vision of
American revolutionaries rose in opposition to centralized
power and wrote our Constitution to ensure dispersed power, checks and
balances, and respect for the citizenry. The founders knew they needed to limit
human inclinations to abuse power when a very few are given control over the
HR811 makes the Elections Assistance Commission a permanent
fixture in government: one president appointing four commissioners with
absolute control of our elections.
The American people need to think carefully about this.
HR811 gives the commissioners broad reaching powers. They
will be the "deciders" on selecting precincts for election audits.
They will control and own all information related to our voting systems,
election results, and audits. They will define all standards and e-voting
equipment. The states, our state, will have to report to the commission to have
our election results certified. And our elections will become more complex and
computerized, assuring citizens less and less access to the process.
The money trail
It's always instructive to follow the money in hard fought
political battles, as New Hampshire Secretary of State William Gardner recently
One of the strongest champions of HR811 is an organization
called VoteTrustUSA. This "grassroots" organization has ties to one
of the nation's largest "data consolidation" companies, ChoicePoint.
Remember them? They helped Katherine Harris purge the Florida 2000 voter
registration rolls. Nearly 100,000 registered American voters were denied their
right to vote for what journalist Greg Palast called the crime of "voting
while black." Palast claims the denied vote -- and not hanging chads -- is
what really cost Gore that election.
Last summer the Atlanta Progressive News reported that the
wife of ChoicePoint's CEO Doug Curling has contributed money to VTUSA. Doug
Curling confirmed to Bev Harris of Black Box Voting that his wife Donna is a
VTUSA donor "and probably a board member." Donna Curling also had
participated in leadership groups under an assumed name. She remains involved
with this grassroots group, which now has a full-time Washington lobbyist
working for passage of the Holt bill.
Why would a grassroots election reform organization have
these ties to ChoicePoint?
Absolute power: The marriage of federal and corporate
A corporation like ChoicePoint, combined with the
commission, would have one-stop shopping control over our elections. The
commission controls the voting systems and all information relating to
elections everywhere in the country.
All the data consolidation company needs to do is overlay
their vast demographic and other election data maps over a map of our nation,
put together their game plan, and they'll own every election.
They succeeded in Florida. HR811, the Holt Bill, gives them
Nancy Tobi is the
author of numerous articles on election integrity, including "The Gifts of
HAVA: Time to Ask for a Refund," "What's Wrong with the Holt
Bill,"and "We're Counting the Votes: An Election Preparedness
Kit." She is Legislative Coordinator of Election Defense Alliance,
co-founder of Democracy for New Hampshire and Chair of the New Hampshire Fair
Elections Committee. Her writings may be found at http://www.electiondefensealliance.org
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