Hi Mark, Thank you for speaking out and writing your books. I heard you on the radio (Mike Malloy, I think) and I immediately went online to order Fooled Again. I am waiting for it to arrive. Today I read the partial transcript from the Commonwealth Club talk you gave. I am so happy to see someone speaking up about the election system in a forum that has a little visibility.
I worked for Westinghouse Learning Corporation in the eighties and one of my tasks was to get the California Election Code amended so we could market our optical mark readers to California counties. Before we could even discuss them with Registrars, we had to have everything certified by an outside consultant. It took several months and we had the consultant come to Sunnyvale and he put the equipment through a couple of benchmarks. I had to show them how we handled write ins, single issue elections, different issues in different districts, etc. We had to PROVE that we were protecting the integrity of the ballot. We were to count ballots and tally votes. Then I had to appear before a state congressional committee to get the change approved. I had to provide written documentation for all aspects of the equipment and then had to answer questions from the committee. I don’t know if Diebold was required to follow this process but they installed software that wasn’t certified. The committee approved the addition and I began to attend conferences and meetings of county clerks and registrars.
Unfortunately the division was sold and the new management didn’t want to pursue the market.
So, imagine my dismay when I read about the faults of the Diebold Systems. When I learned that they hadn’t been certified and wouldn’t provide access to source code I was really concerned. When Kevin Shelly raised an issue and said all ballot counting and vote tallying equipment had to provide a paper trail by 2006, I knew his time as Secretary of State was limited. Sure enough the next thing I knew, he was being forced to resign due to a scandal about the way funds had been allocated. This was a front page BIG story for a long time.
One of the things that bothers me is that we have already lost the power to have honest elections. There is talk about November House elections but you can be certain that the same people who stole the last two elections are not going to let go of the opportunity to do it again.
I have been raising the issue with my senators and representative but I get form letters in response. I have written letters to the editor but they are not printed. Diebold makes ATM machines. They give you a paper audit trail and, if your bank provides the service, you can check the accuracy of your deposit immediately online!
So obviously they have the technology to do this for voting machines. They just lack the will to do so because of their partisan politics.
I remember marching in the streets with Another Mother For Peace to protest the war in Vietnam. Although we didn’t get total coverage there was usually notice in the papers and reports on TV and the radio. When millions turned out to march in locations all over the world, it was barely covered and the only way I could watch any of it was on CSPAN on my computer. The corporate media pretty much ignored the millions and millions of people and the DC administration totally ignored it!
Back in the early 70’s my motivation to be as active as I could be was to try to create a safe place for my children to grow up in. Today they are grown and I am happy that I probably won’t be around to see the world my grandkids inherit & inhabit.
I have told my friends that it won’t matter who gets the most votes if they aren’t counted and there is no process in the law to compel accuracy.
I feel helpless to change the mentality that says anything the Republicans do is OK. Although the polls show the populace is disenchanted with Bush and his cronies, they still have the power to deny investigation of the criminal behavior that surrounds almost every action they take.
Again, thanks for being one of the wilderness voices crying out! Maybe there will be a few miracles and we can clean house and senate.
Los Gatos, CA