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For Immediate Release


County Commissioners “Running out the Clock” for Public Hearing and Paper Ballot Hand Count Pilot; Texans for Accountable Government (TAG) Joins Hand Count Coalition! Austin, TX –

County Judge Sam Biscoe sent a correction notice to “All Interested Travis County Residents” last Tuesday, September 21st, saying that he had misunderstood the Travis County Clerk when he stated in his memo dated September 20th that the Clerk would recommend that every voter in Travis County would be able to vote on a paper ballot on Election Day this November if desired. In his correction, Judge Biscoe said that the County Clerk, Dana DeBeauvoir, had said that “the paper ballot option should be available at some point in the near future and not the General Election on November 2, 2010.”

It is important to note that the “paper ballot option” the County Clerk is referring to is a paper ballot that will be counted electronically by digital scanners, which are still counting our votes secretly, and are just as easy to hack and manipulate vote totals undetectably as the current paperless Hart eSlate machines are. It is anticipated that this recommendation will be made at Commissioners Court on October 19th when the Clerk will present her final report of the 2009 Travis County Election Study Group. (The “Report of Alternate Findings and Recommendations” is available here and at www.voterescue.org.)

The Hand Count Coalition, comprised of Gray Panthers of Austin, League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) District 12, Travis County Green Party, VoteRescue, Austinites Lobbying for Municipal Accountability (ALMA), and its newest member Texans for Accountable Government (TAG), believe that the County Commissioners, as well as the Travis County Clerk, are “running out the clock” to avoid altogether redressing the serious grievances that citizens have about continuing the use of computerized voting machines in Travis County. The Coalition will be back before the Court for Citizen Communication this Tuesday, September 28th, for the fourth week in a row continuing to demand three things of the County Commissioners, and request the public to do the same:

1. A Public Hearing IMMEDIATELY on the continued use of non-transparent, security nightmare electronic voting systems in Travis County (the Hart eSlate machines) which are counting Travis County votes in total secrecy, using trade secret proprietary software;

2. Paper Ballots provided to ALL VOTERS REQUESTING THEM on Nov. 2, 2010 Election Day
If Harris County (Houston) can provide them on short order due to fewer machines available this November after the fire, why can’t Travis County?

3. A Pilot Project for hand counting paper ballots in select precincts in Travis County.

John Bush of Texans for Accountable Government (TAG) states, “The Hand Count Coalition is receiving numerous emails everyday via www.voterescue.org from Travis County citizens who are willing to hand count paper ballots on Election Day. Citizens are VERY interested in restoring transparent elections in which they can observe and know that their votes are being counted as cast!”

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