"Those who cast the votes decide nothing. Those who count the votes decide everything." Communist Tyrant Josef Stalin
"Paper Ballot" Q & A
February 21, 2000 NA (Network America) e-wire
"Paper Ballot" Q & A
Things are getting exciting - we're about to make some history in the next 6 months and see if the internet can change the landscape of the nation on this "votefraud vs. honest elections" issue - which dwarfs all other issues related to the upcoming Presidential election - in the sense that the election is truly a farce if we have an unverifiable election.
And, remember, you were their at the ground floor - in the first 300 as part of the Network America Coalition. As I contact those of you who have come forward to help in your state or county, it would be good if we could list other efforts you are involved with, i.e., Mr. Mark Santelman of New Hampshire has been the Citizens for a Fair Vote Count coordinator in New Hampshire since mid 1999, and he is part of the Reform Party and Buchanan Brigades. This will be a grand coalition, where we work on the common cause of restoring honest, verifiable elections, without submerging our own identities and the causes we're already working for! As you can see, nothing can be fixed without honest, verifiable elections.
But first a sour note. Just when we're getting dozens of excellent messages from around the country, Unidial has decided to act up. A very imprudent change made by Unidial a month ago has made it difficult to send outgoing messages - off and on - for weeks. Now we're down completely. I'm mildly furious.
If they don't fix it, we'll change suppliers soon. I apologize, but over the weekend I could not send replies to quite a few dozen of you good people who have written in with excellent emails and suggestions, questions and criticisms.
Before getting to the paper ballot question, here are the most predominant of the hot subjects coming in via email: 1) Volunteers to become State Reps and County Reps for Citizens for a Fair Vote Count. I'll answer all of you as soon as Unidial gets their system working again; 2) the 21 or more polling places closed in South Carolina, mostly in black areas, and Keyes is threatening to do something about it; will he? 3) a number of emails about the use of paper ballots in South Carolina, and paper ballots in general; that's the subject of the rest of this e-wire.
This rest of this e-wire will be short and very important: it concerns paper ballots and the South Carolina primary, and paper ballot in general.
One subscriber wrote that Newsmax.com carried that 24 of 26 counties in South Carolina were using paper ballots. I would like to see this whole communication by Newsmax, because it is a disservice if they leave it at that.
Keep in mind, dear Friends, that "paper ballots" is only ONE of the ingredients we need to conduct a verifiable election - and thereby prevent the possibility of the central rigging of an election.
The other elements in addition to easily read paper ballots are: 1) ballots deposited in a box, preferably a clear plastic box, which is kept in public view all day; 2) the ballots counted immediately in full public view by citizens from the neighborhood precinct immediately at closing time, with all factions welcome to participate and/or watch the count; 3) with the vote totals posted at the neighborhood precinct when the counting is over and BEFORE the ballots are taken away from the neighborhood precinct; and 4) a coalition of independent groups and / or candidates having eye-witnesses at all precincts in the county to witness the actual results, and then have a central command post which receives and adds up the individual precinct results - in order to double check what the Board of Elections says the final county wide total is.
By the way, the Iowa Caucus of 1996, where Buchanan was votefrauded by Voter News Service in New York City and the AP wire service - all elements were present for a fair and verifiable count EXCEPT there was no independent organization STATEWIDE to double check the crooked GOP state headquarters and the sleazy Voter News Service in New York City, who worked hand in glove with the Iowa State GOP.
Almost every county uses some kind of paper ballots, except in those places where lever machines are used. For instance, Cincinnati, Ohio has used paper ballots all along - IBM punch cards. In Cincinnati we also have the ballots placed in a cardboard box kept in public view all day. BUT, the ballots are not easily read, as they are nothing but a maze of holes, with no names whatsoever on the IBM punch cards. You slip the punch card into a machine that includes the candidate names, and then use a sharp stylus to punch holes in the card.
And, besides the fact that the ballots are not easily read, in Cincinnati we also fail on this count: ballots are not counted in the neighborhood precinct when the polls are closed, in fact it's effectively illegal for citizens to look at, check, or double-check their ballots on election day; in fact, if you put in a "pretty please with sugar on top" request, they'll let you witness a recount of 3 per cent of the precincts IF the election was close, like within 3% - if it wasn't that close, then you have to pay $20,000; AND, here's the kicker, -- the recount does not take place until 3 WEEKS after the election.
So, with no ability to verify the count at even one precinct, there is obviously no chance to have eye-witnesses at all the precincts and then do a county-wide double check of the Board of Elections.
Unfortunely, Cincinnati is not alone in using this IBM punchcard system, absurd in SO many ways. This is used all over the country, and I contend was designed to facilitate votefraud and to prevent citizens or conscientious county officals from checking anything effectively on election day.
Now, it is entirely possible that most of South Carolina uses paper ballots. That in itself means nothing. The question is: do the citizens have the right to count those paper ballots at the neighborhood precincts, BEFORE the paper ballots leave the precinct. My guess is that the answer is: no.
If anyone in South Carolina can verify this one way or the other, it would be a great help. If anyone in South Carolina can simply call the Board of Elections in their county, the question is this: "What is the procedure for myself and other citizens in my precinct to count the ballots at our neighborhood precinct on election day before the ballots leave the precinct?" Tell them you want to do it this coming November, 2000 for the Presidential election. Then sit back and watch the hemming, hawing, and eventually the sparks fly.
This line of questioning WILL be on the questionnaire we're about to publish to be used to ascertain what conditions prevail in each of the 3000+ counties.
With the help of all the internet warriors who are offering to help, we will get the job done in lightning speed, more or less. AND, I submit, we will verify the following pattern: that in no county outside of New Hampshire are citizens even allowed to look at or count their own neighborhood votes on election day. We will find that there is no provision for citizens to double-check what the computers are constructed to do. Next, we will find that if citizens try to go to the precinct and double-check the ballots, that police will be called out and THEY, the concerned citizens, will be accused of trying to tamper with the ballots - AND the kept newsmedia will take the side of the corrupt Board of Elections, and cast the good citizens in a bad light.
Furthermore, we will find that the Board of Elections officials get very testy if you don't accept their first lame explanation with a smile, and then let it drop.
In South Carolina, I think you will find that paper ballots were easily read, but that then they were slipped into an "optical" scanner computerized machine by each voter right after voting; that the optical scanner machine ate the ballot like a shredder, but without shredding the ballot. Next, once the ballot disappears into the optical scanner machine, the citizens were never allowed to see their ballot again. This is the way that the disgraceful excuse for a State Republican Party Chairman, Kayne Robinson in Iowa, "counted the votes" in the Ames, Iowa Straw Poll last August, 1999.
So easily read paper ballots isn't the whole ballgame. It's a good start, but it's not the whole ballgame. While we wait for the Michigan Primary on Tuesday, and for Unidial to get their act together so I can answer your e-mails, tomorrow I'll cover the way the ballots are now counted in Columbus, Ohio - 90 miles up the road from me. Columbus, Ohio has, bar none, the worst vote tallying system in the country --- although they aren't alone, i.e., the citizens of Columbus aren't the only ones whose Board of Elections officials have completely sold them out.
I can't wait to send out some of the emails we've gotten - and my attempted answers --- more tomorrow!
Jim Condit Jr.
Director, Citizens for a Fair Vote Count
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