(Kathy Dopp of US Count Votes)
Imagine, if you will, a country that hadn't audited its elections in decades. Imagine that one party (the Republicans) owned 80 percent of the voting machines. Imagine, aside from outright theft in 2000 and probable theft in 2004, that there have been suspicious down ticket results since 1996 affecting a number of senate seats including Max Cleland's improbable loss. Imagine that there were voting irregularities in over a dozen states including Pennsylvania. Imagine an opposition party that doesn't make this issue its number one priority. And, try, if you can, to imagine how you can change a country--caught in a transparently evil imperialist war, with corrupt liars at the highest levels, and where the courts offer no sanctuary for justice and fair hearing--with a vote that you can no longer trust?
Imagine no more if you live in the United States. Welcome to your nightmarish Kafkaesque reality. Scary scary stuff as SCTV's Count Floyd used to say....
Or at least that's the primary message I got from Kathy Dopp's talk Monday night in Oakland at St. Andrews Lutheran Church. Ms. Dopp runs the site US Count Votes. Her speech came mostly from this Powerpoint slide presentation that you can take a look at here.
Here were the horrific scary scary highlights:
Insider "vote embezzlers" (her catchy phrase) have had free reign to count our votes with proprietary software and no audits.
Her group claims there has been evidence of vote tampering in up to 12 states, including Pennsylvania.
Dopp said Hillary Clinton's vote verification bill sucked (not her exact words) and that she instead backs Rep. Rush Holt's bill, "Voter Confidence and Increased Accessibility Act of 2005"...Barbara Boxer for President 2008.
Local CMU Prof. Mike Shamos is a major player for the Dark Side as he argues that it's okay if unaccountable paperless systems produce false results. The fact that he works at an institution tied to military contracts makes you feel even safer.
The Ukraine vote was overturned with a difference of 2 percent in the exit polling while ours was 5 percent, although as someone in the 20 plus crowd noted the overturned results in the Ukraine wouldn't have happened without 500 thousand angry folks taking to the streets...of course, I don't think that would have worked here knowing the players, but it would have been nice to have found out...
Without the vote, nothing else matters.
There's more depressing stuff and keep in mind these folks aren't lightweights, either on the board or the ones doing their stats--unless folks that have PH Ds are lightweights....
I found her solutions to be the most interesting and the thing keeping me from throwing myself off a bridge (not that I would ever do that for you Richard Scaife black ops guys out there ha ha...just a figure of speech. Still not a partaker of the drugs or the drink, or suicidal in any way.).
Their plan is to raise money and create their own independent auditing database by 2006. I wish George Soros would give them the $1 million they need to do the work and also follow the Daily Kos suggestion to start selling auditable machines. (I need a grant too George since wishes are fishes...)Once that's in place--and it would be vast, over 30000 precincts covered--you could take the data to the courts. Her only request is that candidates (cough Kerry cough) not concede before the vote has been challenged and verified.
Of course, and you can probably see this, you would have to trust the courts to be fair and impartial, which they're not. You have to give it to the Republicans: they fought for the courts. Clinton and the Democrats didn't think it was a big deal, or worth fighting for. Had to appease those same business interests that vote Republican anyway. I still hope Dopp is successful and I hope my idea (I raised my hand. Remember: I'm not an objective corporate media journalist. It matters to me if my vote doesn't count. I can't move offworld when the fundies come to "save" me.) about creating open sourced exit polling also takes off. The guys who did the polling in 2004 won't make their results public. She said that would need a million too.
She also waffled a bit when I asked her why the Democrats don't make this their primary issue. She kind of danced around that issue all night long, thanking the Greens, noting that Edwards would have pursued the recount but...Anyway, I wish the Dems would not only campaign on Delay corruption but the corruption of the voting process. Its a winner as an issue. It forces the Republicans, who are offering us a very dark and suspicious silence (If you had won legitimately wouldn't you want to remove doubt?) on this issue, on the defensive. Gawd knows if the issues were reversed that would be the continuous GOP meme and rightfully so. I just can't shake that Washington Generals Party meme, the other less ruthless business party that also caters to the Republican Iron triangle + theocrats base that never fights for principle (The dems lose two national elections and they can't make ballot integrity an issue and I raised my hand for that one too...) and seems designed to lose...Scary scary stuff.