Help save Pittsburgh!

Hello Mr. Miller,

I am writing to you now because Pittsburgh (Allegheny County) is on the brink of purchasing Diebold voting machines!!! I am currently reading “Fooled Again” and took your book to the County meeting yesterday, along with several other publications, to try and stop our county from making this horrendous mistake. We are currently looking for any kind of help in our 72 hr. effort to protect the vote in Pittsburgh. I am going to paste a letter I just wrote to Thom Hartmann, whose show I listen to daily, to give you an idea of what’s going on. I also just sent a copy of this letter to Bob Fitrakis. I’m desperately trying to do what I can to keep Diebold from weasling in and taking over my vote!!!

Any assistance you can offer at all would be most appreciated.

Thank you,
~Mary

Hi Thom,

What a week…first the Alito effort, now this…..

We’ve got a bit of an emergency here in Pittsburgh……I got a call late Thursday afternoon from our County Council Pres., a Democrat, and friend of mine. He tipped me off that the Election Board of Allegheny County was holding a meeting ‘open to the public’ at 8am the next morning (yesterday). He then added in his message, oh, by the way, Diebold has made it onto the short list, and looks like they’re the favorite now!

Well, I went into high gear and called on several PA voting advocates I had just heard about the night before at my Dem. Party Mtg. (http://www.votepa.us) I got emails out to these activists, and we managed to get several people to show up at the meeting the next morning. Several of us made presentations. I even provided the councilmen with articles, talking about the problems with Diebold, and electronic voting in general. Thank goodness we were there, because the county was prepared to go ahead and sign a contract with Diebold!!! We managed to convince them to take some time to further research their options….

We also made it onto the front page of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette this morning: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/06028/645866.stm

Here’s what I’m wondering. I haven’t spoken with her yet – but I’m sure she’d be willing to do this – would you consider having Mary Beth Kuznik (http://www.votepa.us/speakers.html) on your show Monday, or even anytime you could get her on (this might help other counties in the same predicament)? She is extremely knowledgeable about the various machines available, is meeting with secretary of state and other officials constantly, and is very articulate. I also think Dr. Richard King (a psychologist) who is working alongside Mary Beth, would also make an excellent guest.

This is not just about Pittsburgh and Allegheny County. Hundreds of counties across the US are scrambling to purchase new voting machines to comply with the 2002 HAVA Act. The problem is, the feds have offered money – in Allegheny County, 12 million, but only if counties purchase machines by a certain date. The original fed. deadline was 12/31/05. No one seems sure how long this money will be available. The other complicating factor is, that in PA, as in many other states, legislation has been proposed to require a paper verifiable trail, but the house and state bill have been tabled by state republicans and still sits in committee – another issue which needs media attention….

Mary Beth mentioned yesterday that several other states – all of NY, half of PA, much of CA, are in voting machine chaos. Here’s another thing you might want to read that I dug up yesterday….a citizen is trying to amend the 2002 HAVA act!!! http://www.wordsunltd.com/

Meanwhile, time is of the essence here in Pittsburgh. I am trying this weekend to help Mary Beth and Richard (who is out of town w/ family) find a lawyer to help us rewrite a lawsuit and injunction that they just used in nearby Westmoreland County, by this Tuesday, in case it’s our last chance to stop Pittsburgh from purchasing Diebold. I’ll attach those as well. The suddenness of this move to enter into this contract with Diebold in Allegheny caught all of us off guard…so we’re scrambling….

If we can get Mary Beth on your show Monday, it will help generate more publicity about Tuesday’s meeting in Pittsburgh. It will also help raise awareness (as someone in the chat remarked yesterday), that folks better look into what their county is doing in terms of buying new voting machines! (I’m still not sure why our county Election Div. was apparently trying to ‘sneak’ this meeting in….the 3 individuals who will make the decision, our CEO Dan Onorato, and 2 councilmen, one Dem. one Repub., are all in favor of paper, and do seem like they’re trying to do the right thing, but feel like they’re in a bind to purchase something soon. I’m not sure where the ‘push’ is coming from…..not sure if the fix is on w/ Diebold and the county workers who pulled together the bids or what. Oh, there was a Diebold ‘suit’ sitting in the audience yesterday….didn’t say a word. Very creepy.)

Sorry this is so long. This is a complicated issue, but it’s critical, and it’s happening now, and I thought you’d want to know about it.

Thanks so much,

Mary

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