Poll Parties, Howard Dean, DFA and New Reports

So I just got an email with a great report attached, called, “We’re Counting the Votes.” It’s from:

DEMOCRACY FOR NEW HAMPSHIRE
www.democracyfornewhampshire.com
http://www.democracyfornewhampshire.com/node/view/2375

It is a fairly detailed analysis of many of the problems facing voting activists. I thought it was fairly interesting, both in the fact that New Hampshire is using similar Diebold voting systems as they do here in King County, and in that Democracy for New Hampshire is obviously a Howard Dean group that is still continuing their work two years after the election. Now, I’m a Green Party member who is a fan of Howard Dean, and his Democracy for America (DFA) movement, in fact I still have a bumper sticker on my truck, and a Howard Dean baseball bat pen on my desk at home. I also love a whole lot of Democratic activists who worked on Howard Dean’s campaign. So it is truly amazing to see his organizations around the country moving forward, and taking back democracy. By continuing to channel the energy of ordinary citizens into Democracy for America, Mr. Dean should get more credit than he deserves for the Great Blue Wave that just took back congress.

But I digress, my point is that I wish that the Democratic Party behaved more like Howard Dean’s DFA movement. But something funny goes on when it’s Democrats in control of the machines around King County, it just doesn’t seem to raise much of a fuss. Diebold is just fine around here, as is Sequoia, and VoteHere, and all the rest of the voting machine companies… The problems, according to local Democratic voices, like liberal blogger Goldy of HorsesAss.org, are all in Ohio, or in Sarasota Florida, just not here King County apparently.

And by the results of every election so far, Ron Sims, Sam Reed, and Sideshow Bob Terrwilliger, Democrat and Republican alike have all been rewarded with heaps of praise and re-election, AFTER out-sourcing our election systems, and after making Washington’s flawed voting system national news. Maybe I’m wrong, maybe the voices of dissent in King County’s Democrats are simply drowned out by those with the megaphones? But are there any elected Democrats in Washington State who will actually put their necks on the line and oppose the corporate control of our voting machines AND the absentee ballot sorting? All I’ve found so far are elected Republicans, and those are few and far between, and usually only when from the outside perspective it seems politically beneficial.

But in contrast to the Democrats at large and in charge, there’s still the rank and file D’s, and the reliable DFA with it’s chapter here in Washington fighting the good fight:

http://www.washblog.com/story/2006/12/5/201150/195

So far, from all appearances, it seems DFW is meeting with unreasonable resistance from the County in their effort to recount just a hand-full of votes in the Reichert-Burner race. But alas that’s not my story to tell. But I’d love to hear the update.

Anyway, the paper “Putting the Party Back in Politics” is super interesting. Mostly, because the Vote By Mail enthusiasts seem to argue that their goal of increasing turn-out by increasing the “convenience factor” trumps the concerns of activists concerned more with security and accuracy. However, mounting evidence does not support this assertion. This New Hamphire study suggests that instead of moving to forced vote by mail systems, that making the polling place more exciting with music and refreshments is actually a far more affective way to go. That is if your actual intent is to create a system in which you increase turnout.

As a nice companion piece, the Democracy for New Hampshire Report goes in to detail the poll-based procedures that will greatly enhance voting integrity. None of which are really very affective if you, um, I don’t know…. close the polling places, and privatize the ballot sorting process… as is planned for Democratically controlled King County. Or fully Democratically controlled Washington State.

Oh, and not to let the R’s of the hook. I’m still wondering why it is that Dino Rossi hasn’t championed the push for a run-off election procedure for statistically tied elections? It seems like he would be the poster child for this cause, and that after all the calls for a “Re-vote” that someone, somewhere would be organizing to help push a bill through Olympia this year?

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