A call to arms on this Fourth of July!

Here, friends, is a clarion call from a great new group–the Election Defense Alliance (EDA). I’m proud to say that I am on the board of this endeavor, and can vouch for the integrity, intelligence and patriotic spirit of all those who put the EDA together.
Please send this email far and wide. This a group that really gets it.

Dear Election Integrity Activist,
Who would have thought that our 230th Day of Independence would see American Democracy hanging by a thread? Yet so it is, and a good part of that thread is our movement to restore honest elections. Our task is immense and we are all rising to it. But as so much vital work is being undertaken in election integrity groups around the country-and as we find ourselves yet again deep in the swamp of skullduggery the American election cycle has become-the necessity for coordinating our ideas, strategies, tactics and resources is becoming more apparent than ever.
At this critical juncture, when the need for working together can not be overestimated, we are happy to announce the formation of the Election Defense Alliance (EDA), a national coordinating body of election integrity activists, working throughout the country to defend our election systems against covert election fraud.

EDA’s primary functions will be to provide coordination and focus; eliminate duplication of efforts; create a clearinghouse for the sharing of materials, know-how, and other resources; and facilitate cohesive decision-making about strategic priorities and tactical approaches.

It is clear that election integrity forces will be successful only if our efforts have a cumulative and mutually reinforcing effect. At the same time it is also evident that strategies and tactics must be tailored to the needs of individual venues, and that local groups generally have the most experience in identifying and meeting such needs. Therefore EDA is structured to draw energy and ideas from the grassroots level and provide the synergy necessary to meld these disparate efforts into a cohesive national force to be reckoned with.

Because November is bearing down on us, our initial emphasis is on the coordination of all efforts pertaining to election monitoring, data analysis, and rapid and effective response. Our goal is to permit affiliated groups to concentrate on their particular focus while Election Defense Alliance functions both to facilitate their efforts and to amplify the effect. To that end, we will share techniques for recruiting, training, and deploying the volunteer armies that will be needed in the field. We are also concentrating on establishing media connections, raising funds, and developing coalitions with non-election-related organizations to build the massive public awareness needed if election integrity is to be front-and-center in America.

In the longer run, our attention will be focused on all of the following strategies and supportive processes:

Election Monitoring
Data Analysis
Public Education
Coalition Building
Public Events
Election Day Rapid Response
Voting and Registration Systems
Volunteer Recruitment and Training
Media and PR

Each strategy component will have a working group of activists focused on that particular activity. Each group will select its own leader who will also serve as the group’s representative to EDA’s Coordinating Council, or leadership body. EDA’s affiliated organizations, whether or not they participate directly in one or several of these groups, will be able to draw upon the work and contributions of fellow affiliates and EDA’s collective expertise. In this way, EDA affiliates will be able to concentrate on their own specific missions (e.g., exit polling, HCPB, litigation, etc.), while drawing upon the collective for many of the nuts-and-bolts components (such as education, PR, volunteer recruitment) that are necessary for successful election integrity initiatives. At the same time, individual initiatives will have dramatically greater impact when linked through EDA with the many similar programs being undertaken nationwide. To look at specific examples of just how EDA will function to facilitate the work and strengthen the hand of election integrity activists, please click here.

In sum, affiliation with Election Defense Alliance will enable each member group to transcend its own resources without sacrificing its autonomy. The result of such synergy, we believe, will be the critical mass that we have all learned from experience is essential to our success.

EDA differs from existing national groups in several important respects. First, it is not primarily a discussion list. We are action-oriented. Our primary objective is to create and implement a more comprehensive strategy than would be possible for any individual group or small number of groups working together. Yet, in recognizing the importance of coordinated strategies, we nonetheless also perceive that the vast majority of the work must be done at the state and local levels, not on the national level. Furthermore, we view attempts at national legislative reform as highly unlikely to succeed, and indeed fraught with HAVAesque perils, given the current constellation of power in Congress.

At EDA we believe that success in responding to the electoral state-of-siege will require a vast expansion of public awareness and the channeling of that awareness into corrective action by citizens at every phase of the electoral process throughout the United States. And we believe that the public cannot be mobilized to the necessary scale and speed of action unless the prevailing reality, including the nexus between election-rigging and political dominance, is fully and frankly exposed. EDA will not shrink from publicly making those connections.

Election Defense Alliance is both aggressive and strategic, prepared for the long haul but aware that there is no more wiggle room for delay, confusion, or ineffectiveness. Recent developments-such as the RFK Rolling Stone article, the Brennan Center Report, the California 50th District Special “Election,” and a dramatic uptick in media attention and public awareness-have set the stage for a very public battle over the future of our democracy. We know that the still out-manned forces of electoral integrity must bring their very best to this battle.

The more individuals and groups affiliated, the stronger will be the impact that all of us will make together.

The following activists have already endorsed and/or affiliated with EDA: Jerry Adams, Judy Alter, Ray Beckerman, Gary Beckwith, Tom Courbat, Marj Creech, Dorothy Fadiman, Brad Friedman, David Griscom, Sherry Healy, Kip Humphrey, Gail Jonas, Emily Levy, Victoria Lovegren, Sharona Merel, Lewis Miller, Mark Crispin Miller, Bruce O’Dell, Peter Phillips , Ginny Ross, Nancy Tobi, Bob Wilson. By joining with them and working with EDA you can continue the important work you are already doing AND be part of a critical collaborative effort, working together to make the enormous impact necessary for success.

Our website at, though under construction, already features lots of helpful information, including our Prospectus, principles of governance and organizational structure, a growing resource library, biographical information of affiliated individuals and groups, discussion forums, and a blog. We believe the site will be very helpful in answering any questions you may have about EDA that we have not addressed in this brief introduction.

We all know that our democracy is at stake and that time is short. This is the most important issue any of us has ever worked on. We must join together to be successful. Make this a momentous Independance Day for American Democracy. Please sign on at

We very much look forward to working with you.

In solidarity,

Dan Ashby
Sally Castleman
Jonathan Simon

Election Defense Alliance co-founders

0 replies on “A call to arms on this Fourth of July!”

I’ve sent this on to others, Mark, and the response I have gotten back has been similar to mine: the vision for what this is and how it would work is unclear.

I explained it as a low overhead (in time and money) means of helping groups talk with one another. The example I gave for how urgently this is needed is the disconnect between disability rights advocates (who want the computer interface) and anti-electronic voting advocates. As we know, there was a machine (Sequoia AVC Edge) that more or less meets the basic needs of both groups. But somehow a lot of energy was burned up in arguing.

At any rate, consider stating the mission of the group in a 25-word- or-less slogan.

Thank you Mark for all you do.

for above:

Don’t some voters need these machines, such as non-English language voters and disabled voters?

No. Voters who want a ballot in their own language should be able to order such a ballot in advance of any election. Secondly, voting machines present the same violation of voting rights for disabled voters. And contrary to popular belief, the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) does not require election officials to purchase electronic voting machines. Besides, anecdotal evidence suggests that these machines are difficult for the disabled to use. Election officials and voting machine companies admit that it takes the sight-impaired voters ten times longer to use a touchscreen machine than able-bodied voters. However, there is a way for the sight-impaired to vote privately and independently. They can use tactile paper ballot with audio assistance. Tactile ballots are used around the world and in some states such as Rhode Island. Unfortunately, many disabled voters are unaware of these kinds of ballots. That may not be an accident. Two organizations for the blind, The American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) and The National Federation of the Blind (NFB), are ardent supporters of paperless touchscreen voting machines. They also have received over $1 million dollars from the voting machine industry, according to news reports.


Ballot Templates

Working in partnership with local disability organizations and national election commissions, IFES has developed Ballot Templates (also known as Tactile Ballots) for use by blind and visually impaired voters. These templates help ensure that voters are able to vote independently and in secret.


I had understood that HAVA required the purchase of just one machine per percinct for the blind, though marketed as being required for all voters. Yet, Lynn Landes suggests that none need be purchased. If she is right, then that information made well known could not only stop present purchases, but perhaps also remove past purchases of these machines especially because of problems already experienced. Yes? No?

More from Lynn that is perhaps a good, simple idea if we are facing in November these No Evidence E-Voting and Lever machines or the Hidden Evidence Scanning machines. We put evidence back into the system that took evidence out:

Right after you vote on Election Day, send to the candidate(s) for whom you voted a postcard or letter with your name, address, and signature, and simply state that you voted for him/her. Candidates can use that information to challenge “official” election results. Candidates of any party should not concede until they have canvassed some or all precincts to check on official election results.


Paper Ballots and Hand Counts Only

And, perhaps Fitsgerald will help us out with our Democracy as HAVA was written by Ohio Rep. Ney for Abramoff’s client Diebold to put E- Voting machines with No Evidence in elections.

EDA Mission:
Our mission is to help build and coordinate a comprehensive, cohesive national strategy for the election integrity movement, in order to regain public control of the voting process in the United States, and to insure that the process is honest, transparent, secure, verifiable, and worthy of the public trust.

Nancy, what does that mean in practical terms? “build and coordinate a strategy”?

Mission statements should be crisp and definite.

Here’s mine: “To obtain a just reckoning of election results, particularly in Florida, through the development and application of fair, consistent, and statistically sound methods of electoral analysis.”

Does that leave you with any doubt as to what you will find on our website?

Anonymous, I take it the comments about voting for disabled voters and others requiring special assistance was directed to me.

I don’t have any problem with any system for voting that is verifiable and accessible. I do think that some anti-electronic people come across as Luddites. The Sequoia AVC edge produces a paper ballot that can be approved or rejected by the voter and then counted either by hand or by machine.

The use of a machine printer takes away one of the games used in electoral fraud using hand-marked optical scan ballots: certain inks aren’t read as easily as other inks. So, you can put one bum pen in with nine good ones in the Democratic precincts, and spoil 10% of the votes. As long as no outsider comes in to handcount, the fraud would go undetected.

One should also hesitate to complicate the voting machinery. Not only does this burden election officials, but it makes fraud easier to commit. It took years to figure out all the wrinkles in punch card and optical scan ballots. Now we have to figure out how someone might gimmick a Braille ballot too?

To above:

It took years to figure out all the wrinkles in punch card and optical scan ballots.

By Figuring Out and Ironing Out Wrinkles, you mean to say you like the smooth results from hiding paper ballot evidence with Republican scanning machine counting which gave us the intented delay and secrecy, as was the case with Gore and Kerry. Republican scanning machines hide evidence from more accurate hand counts for as long as possible on purpose, that is easy to figure out.

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