Big Issues Continue with Election Integrity and American Democracy
A conference about the 2012 election and a look at the future of elections in America
Lori Grace, Institute for American Democracy and Election Integrity (Marin County)
Bob Fitrakis and Suzanne Patzer, The Free Press in Ohio (freepress.org)
Richard Tamm, Voting Rights Task Force (SF Bay Area)
Jim March, member of the Board of Directors of Black Box Voting,
Gail Work, Chair of the Election Integrity Committee for the San Mateo County Democratic Central Committee
Mary Beth Brangan and James Heddle, Co-Directors of EON
Eva Waskell, election security expert
Marilyn Marks and Harvie Branscom, Colorado Voter Group
Joining by phone:
Beverly Harris, Black Box Voting
Judy Alter, Protect California Ballots
Brad Friedman, www.bradblog.com
In the morning session (10:30 am to 1:30 pm) the issues and related problems will be presented. The afternoon session (2:30 to 6:30 pm) will offer an opportunity to brainstorm solutions, encouraging different points of view. The lunch break is approximately 1:30 to 2:30 pm.
The main issue everyone agrees upon is that it is difficult to know what really happens during our elections because our votes are counted by private corporations who will not make transparent the process of their tabulating equipment. Some other countries, Germany, Switzerland and Ireland, for example, have made transparency in elections a human right for their citizens. Not so in the United States. Hence, there is always the problem of trust.
We will tell the inside story of the battle against invisible election stealing in this recent presidential election. You will be introduced to some of the players, in person, who helped stop the election from being stolen. Every other year, a small group of us work hard to prevent our elections from being stolen. It is really an uphill battle, though, because votes are counted by private corporations who will not let anyone look at their vote-counting software. As Stalin said, “Those who cast the votes decide nothing. Those who count the votes decide everything.” This year, we will display for you what we discovered about the electronic “election management empire” of Karl Rove who, although defeated this year, will most certainly be involved again four years from now.
In bringing out the inside story, we do not mean in any way to say what we did is more important than others’ efforts this election to create more fair and just elections, like reducing voter suppression. What we seek to bring forward are the other aspects of creating more trustworthy elections that are usually never covered in the mainstream media. Happily, there was some significant coverage this year about invisible vote stealing in the mainstream media due to the efforts of Bob Fitrakis and The Free Press. We also want to show you how both the Green Party and the Libertarian party have sought to contribute in very significant ways to our having more trustworthy elections, both in the present and in the future.
You will also get an opportunity to be trained on how to become poll observers and election watchers, resulting in the creation of an educated citizen ring that will hopefully bring integrity back into our elections.
You will have a chance, too, to listen to the problems we face and learn about funding proposals from a few nonprofits, to help make our system more transparent, more democratic and less vulnerable to fraud. Also to be discussed are strategies about how we might start to shift our elections away from being counted by private corporations who refuse to let us look at their software on the grounds that it is proprietary.
Participants will be invited to ask questions, to briefly propose ideas about how to change our system, to join our volunteer lists and to donate to our funding proposals if they are able.
Because saving our elections from being stolen appears to be a concern with every major election, we are reaching out to you to join us in whatever way you feel moved, because we can really use your help.
We extend a special invitation to participants 45 years-old and younger. Most people we know involved in election integrity issues are older and we would particularly like to hear what younger voters think and feel about this issue and what they would need to feel like more empowered voters in the U.S.
The location is San Rafael City Hall, 1400 Fifth Avenue, San Rafael 94901
SUGGESTED DONATION: $15 (to contribute to our significant costs).
No one turned away for lack of funds.
About the confirmed presenters:
Lori Grace is the Executive Director at Sunrise Center and Founder of the Institute for American Democracy and Election Integrity. The Institute aims to support American Democracy by increasing voter trust and voter participation in American Elections. It’s mission is to improve public transparency in election processes by developing innovative ways for public citizens to oversee their own elections, by facilitating communications between citizens and election officials, engaging elections officials in dialogue, and celebrating election officials who achieve improvements in public transparency in their process.
Bob Fitrakis is Executive Director of the Columbus Institute for Contemporary Journalism (CICJ)/CICJ Books as well as the Editor and Publisher of The Free Press since 1993. He is an investigative journalist, an Election Protection attorney, and Professor of Political Science in the Social and Behavioral Sciences Department at Columbus State Community College. Fitrakis rose to national prominence during the U.S. presidential election, 2004 and related 2004 United States election voting controversies by calling the first public hearings on election irregularities in Ohio and by filing a challenge in the Ohio Supreme Court to Ohio’s presidential election results in the cases Moss v. Bush and Moss v. Moyer with three other attorneys. He testified on election irregularities before the Congressional Black Caucus and Progressive Caucus. Fitrakis serves as co-counsel in the King-Lincoln-Bronzeville civil rights case. He serves on the Central Committee of the Franklin County Green Party and is Co-Chair of the Ohio Green Party. He also serves as legal counsel for Occupy Columbus.
Suzanne Patzer is Managing Editor of The Free Press, which is published by The Columbus Institute for Contemporary Journalism (CICJ) and provides progressive activist news, political analysis, and social issue commentary.
Richard Tamm is Co-Chair of The Voting Rights Task Force and Treasurer of the Wellstone Democratic Renewal Club (WDRC). The Voting Rights Task Force, an autonomous committee of WDRC, has been working since 2004 to achieve secure, open, and verifiable elections.