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May 17, 2007

The problem is this; the guvs do that.  Elections belong to the people, but only in theory in the U.S.  Civil society has a cure – are we about to assert our inalienable right to govern ourselves?  Many writers think the time is now.

Last winter, a friend applied for the Home Energy Assistance Program, submitting her gas and electric bills. She owed $500 for electricity and had a $35 credit with the gas company.  Producing her earnings documents, she clearly qualified for assistance. The philanthropic finance wizards at HEAP paid $175 on electric and $350 on gas. 

Since 2000, “deep poverty” worsened for 37 million (8%) Americans, [1] while 500 US citizens became billionaires. [2]   

“Most of the observed increase in globally averaged temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely due to the observed increase in human-caused greenhouse gas concentrations. [3]  The U.S.rescinded the tax credit for fuel efficient hybrid vehicles and refuses to sign the Kyoto Protocol. 

Thru funding, donations, and some guidance, I collected and annotated fifteen expert reports on the hackability of electronic voting systems. [4]  Two international sources detailed the far less expensive (and far more securable) paper ballot system – hand counted at the polling site on election night. [5, 6]  The Secretary of State stampede for this transparent and more reliable voting system stays strapped within the stymied will of our citizenry.

Instead, U.S. lawmakers are considering passage of the latest version of the Holt bill (HR 811), forbidding citizen access to the software code that counts the vote. In effect, vote counting will be held in secret – a basic violation of the principles of a Fair Vote Count and of democracy. [6]  For a thorough discussion of the impact of this and other recent election decisions, see Lehto [7], and be sure to contact your (s)elected officials urging them to reject H.R. 811. 

Florida’s election systems suffered a viral attack, [8] but these and other lawsuits were dismissed without allowing for discovery or further investigation. Corporate claims of trade secrecy (software that counts or records the vote) trumped democracy, once more. [7] 

Not that certification of these systems matters.  Of the four U.S. labs that certified these highly hackable electronic voting systems, CIBER was found not to be accredited.  This information was suppressed until after the Midterm Elections, apparently so as not to destroy confidence in a system that continues to provide us with no basis for confidence in reported results.  [9] 

The San Diego County elections board welcomed Ohio’s disgraced election official, Michael Vu.  Perhaps SoCal will lose hundreds of memory cards and voting machines, asCuyahoga County did in the May 2006 primary. [10]  The man should be in prison for that level of incompetence with a sacred public trust. At the very least he should be banned from the field of electoral management. 

And finally, contrary to the will of the majority, in violation of international law, morals and ethics, and with complete disregard for the environment, Congress continues to fund these Middle East Oil Wars. [11] 

Do the guvs glimmer how insane they look to us? Paul Hawken believes we are on the precipice of unified global action to stop these mad marauders. [12]  Given that as many as two million social justice causes are backed by dedicated activists, we may be at the tipping point.  I hope he’s right.   

If we join hands across causes, we can take back our country.  Parallel elections provide for the peaceful transition of election control from corporate-sponsored government to the people.  Support your local PE project: hand count paper ballots at the precinct before all who wish to observe.  

1. AFP, Report: In U.S., record numbers are plunged into poverty,  Feb. 25, 2007.

2. www.Forbes.com tracks billionaires. Search by year. 

3. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, “Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis, Summary for Policymakers,” Feb. 5, 2007

4. Electronic Voting & Fair Vote Counts: 15 Expert Reports, Jan 18, 2007.

5. OSCE – Office of Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, 2005, “Election Observation Manual,” 17 Criteria for a Fair Vote Count (p. 62)

6. International Parliamentary Union, “Free & Fair Elections,” 2006, Fair Vote Count is found at p.62

7. Lehto, Paul. “You have 2 weeks to restore your right to kick the bums out of office,” May 17, 2007 at http://tinyurl.com/34obsm

8. Friedman, Brad. “Worm attacked voter database in notorious Florida district: Machine in hotly contested 13th Congressional District lain low by Slammer on first day of election.” May 16, 2007  

9. Richardson, Michael. “Banned test lab certified electronic voting machines used by 68.5% of nation’s registered voters in 2006 elections,” Jan. 13, 2007  

10. Ananda, Rady. “Boo Hoo Vu” April 13, 2007 

11. Wendlend, Joel. “Bursting Bush’s Bubble: Congress’ Baby Steps to a New Direction in Iraq,” May 14, 2007  

12. Hawken, Paul. “To Remake the World: Something Earth-changing is afoot among civil society,” May 16, 2007

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