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[liberationtech] My article, as promised. Has a lot about e-voting machines and hand-counted paper ballots (HCPB) elections

Sheila Parks sheilaruthparks at
Wed Apr 27 17:31:48 PDT 2011

>Original Content at 
>April 27, 2011
>Down the Rabbit Hole With Democracy and Three Urgent Pleas
>By Sheila Parks, Ed.D.
>Democracy. Who used to have it in the USA, and who has it now? 
>People with white skin privilege?  People who were born 
>male?  People with piles of money, much of it stolen from other people's labor?
>I often hear European Americans from all walks of life talking about 
>democracy in the USA - how they want to reclaim it, like in the good 
>old days - and I wonder about how differently from one another we 
>experience this country.  This is not our land; not my land nor your 
>land. When European Americans arrived over 500 years ago, we 
>murdered with bullets and small pox blankets - that we intentionally 
>gave to them - the Indigenous people who had lived in balance here 
>for thousands of years. Then we enslaved people of African descent 
>to build the country's wealth, and kept women - who did not even get 
>the vote until 1920 - second class citizens and the property of men 
>for even longer.
>The United States government is not a shining light. We never have 
>been, and we are not now. While it was never really good for too 
>many people, what has changed here in the USA is that it has gotten 
>worse, not better. Our own elections system is now a 
>corporate-controlled charade, with big money pulling all the strings 
>and using electronic voting machines to rig the elections. And as we 
>pretend to spread "democracy" all over the world, what we are really 
>spreading is a devastating complex of illegal, immoral wars, both 
>here and abroad.
>When our children and grandchildren ask me what I am doing in this 
>crucial time to stop our government from murdering people at home 
>and abroad, I want to be able to tell them that I am doing 
>everything I possibly can to get democracy in this country for all 
>the people, for the first time ever, and to end these brutal 
>behaviors everywhere.  Don't you?
>Clicking and sending emails and online petitions against the myriad, 
>devastating problems facing us now is fine as far as it goes.  But 
>half-measures avail us nothing. Pleading with the people who make 
>and then carry out the murderous policies of the USA government is 
>time wasting at best and ridiculous at worst.  Yes, we did get to 
>keep some funding for Planned Parenthood, through an Amazonian effort.
>We here in the USA need to follow and emulate the examples of the 
>people in Tunisia, Egypt and Wisconsin. The people of Tunisia and 
>Egypt non-violently resisted immoral and murderous governments, and 
>they won. Tunisia has ruled that there must be 
>numbers of women and men who are candidates in their upcoming July 
>election. Egypt is still in process and we look especially to what 
>they do about 
>rights. Juan Cole and Shahin Cole have written a wonderful 
>Arab Spring for Women".
>During the Mubarak reign of terror, Egypt used to count its ballots 
>by hand, a close Egyptian friend has told me.  Everyone knew those 
>elections were rigged, she added. That means that when we suggest to 
>the Egyptian people that they continue to hand-count their votes 
>now, but with very different protocols, to safeguard the counting 
>and election, we have a different job ahead of us from demanding 
>that here in the USA we hand-count all the ballots.
>The Organization for Security Cooperation in Europe, OSCE, wrote 
>recently about helping Tunisia with "free and fair elections."  Part 
>of OSCE's mandate is fair elections. The OSCE site has this 
>final report summary on the 2004 USA presidential election that they 
>were invited to observe; OSCE thought the election was fine. The 
>assistance of OSCE for Tunisia might not be so helpful.
>Wisconsin must continue the magnificent uprising it has begun 
>against the corrupt politicians who are attacking unions, the middle 
>class, and women's rights.
>However, Wisconsonites, please take heed: Doing recalls on hackable 
>electronic voting machines, the same machines that put in office 
>those you are trying now to recall, is not such a good strategy (see 
>more below).  I have been involved in the current wave of Voting 
>Rights since the 2000 presidential election in Florida.  I have 
>observed two hand-counted paper ballots (HCPB) recounts in real 
>time.  I have also observed several HCPB elections in real time, and 
>have written about these elections and other voting rights 
>issues.  These papers can be found on the web site of the non-profit 
>organization I founded <>Center 
>for Hand-Counted Paper Ballots.  The site has much information on it 
>about the hacking of the machines by researchers and computer 
>experts, documents in favor of hand-counted paper ballots elections, 
>and other related topics.
>FIRST URGENT PLEA : We here in the USA must non-violently resist our 
>immoral and murderous government: with direct action, civil 
>disobedience, civil resistance.
>Immoral wars abroad against Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Libya, and 
>supporting Israel in its wars against Gaza.
>Immoral war at home against women and our bodies.  Some still think 
>that other issues need all our attention now and these are "only" 
>women's rights that we can attend to after all the other important 
>rights are fixed. The savage attempted and successful attacks on 
>women's bodies by governors and both national and local legislatures 
>feel like rabid dogs relentlessly biting us.  Do you read 
>Feministing, Angry Black Woman, Feministe, Ms.?
>Immoral war at home against people of color.  More African Americans 
>are in prison now in the USA than there were in South Africa during 
>all of Apartheid.  See Michelle Alexander, The New Jim Crow: Mass 
>Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness. (1) Ask any of these 
>inmates languishing in our vast prison complex - mostly on 
>non-violent drug charges - how democracy works for them.  Have you 
>read Charles Ogletree, The Presumption of Guilt: The Arrest of Henry 
>Louis Gates, Jr. And Race, Class and Crime in America? Ogletree 
>includes stories of 100 African American men and shows how "race 
>trumps class". (2)  Do you know that our prisons are now 
>increasingly privatized, and that Dick Cheney is one of those making 
>so much money on them?
>Immoral war against Native Americans. Trapped on reservations 
>plagued with poverty, alcoholism, drug abuse and record levels of 
>suicide; Leonard Peltier has been languishing in prison since 1977, 
>with a release date of perhaps 2040. 
>the Bill of Rights failed....Choke on your blue white and scarlet 
>hypocrisy...." sings Buffy Sainte-Marie in My Country "Tis Of Thy 
>People You're Dying.
>Immoral nuclear power plants. Building more of them is still on 
>Obama's agenda, even after Fukushima, now called worse then 
>Chernobyl, despite the corporate media whiteout of the radiation now 
>contaminating the water, soil and air across the globe. Do you know 
>that Exelon, major nuclear power plant operator, was one of the 
>highest contributors to Obama, both in Illinois when he was Senator 
>and when he ran for the White House?  Do you know that 
>Representative Edward Markey, Democrat from Massachusetts, a high 
>ranking and supposedly good player about nuclear power plants, has 
>asking for new, better and safer nuclear power plants, rather than 
>no more nukes, no more weapons of mass destruction?
>Immoral war against the climate and the planet itself. As the 
>climate crisis reaches its tipping point, the corporate government 
>hides its ostrich head in the sand while cutting back on investment 
>in sustainable, renewable energy, like sun and wind power.
>Immoral war against LGBT people.  Many suicides by LGBT youth and 
>attacks and murders of LGBT people shine a bright light on the 
>homophobia and heterosexism of our society. LGBT people still cannot 
>marry in most states and the armed forces saga continues. There has 
>never been enough money spent for AIDS research.
>Immoral war against whistleblower 
><>Bradley Manning. After months of 
>torture at Quantico, he is finally being moved to Leavenworth, a 
>medium security prison. The army says the move had nothing to do 
>pressure.  Clicking and sending helped here.
>Immoral war against our food supply with Genetically Modified 
>Organisms (GMO's) that are not even labeled.  We have a right to 
>know exactly what is in the food we eat. GMO's have known 
>  risks, "including infertility, immune problems, accelerated aging, 
>faulty insulin regulation, and changes in major organs and the 
>gastrointestinal system." GMO's are also dangerous to the 
>environment. "Up to 90% of U.S. soybeans, corn, cotton, canola, and 
>sugar beets are now genetically engineered and routinely inserted 
>into human and animal foods with no labels or safety testing."  See 
>Consumers Association, Millions Against Monsanto and 
><>Institute for 
>Genetic Responsibility GMO Basics.  And the latest crime against us: 
>now moves to let Monsanto do its own studies. Eat organic.
>Immoral wars against most of its people. Now the government is at 
>war with most of its people in all ways, except the ultra rich.
>If I have left out your favorite screams and/or weeps, I apologize 
>in advance. These are mine; I could have gone on and on.
>SECOND URGENT PLEA:   Please pay attention to those of us who 
>educate, write, investigate, litigate, legislate and talk about the 
>rigging of our elections by all electronic voting machines.
>The putsch with electronic voting machines is a more devious way of 
>murdering us.  There are two major kinds of electronic voting 
>machines: Direct Recording Electronic (DRE's / Touchscreens) and 
>optical scan (op scans or opti scans) voting machines. My friend and 
>colleague, Lucius Chiaraviglio, has most aptly renamed then "op 
>scams." All computer systems can be manipulated without detection, 
>and so amount to an illegal, hidden ballot count. Do you know that 
>our elections are owned and operated by a privatized voting machine industry?
>in Wisconsin now for the Supreme Court election has once again put 
>vote counting and our elections in the spotlight.  My friend and 
>colleague, Victoria Collier, has published a significant paper on 
>the subject at <>  (Again, 
>see below for more information.)
>Rigging, tinkering with or manipulating elections is a bi-partisan 
>equal opportunity. Republicans and Democrats are involved:
>- Florida, 2000. Kathleen Harris, Secretary of State, with strong 
>ties to the Republican party. See The Brooks Brothers Riot, where 
>paid Republican operatives, pretending to be ordinary voters, 
><;>tried to stop the 
>recount in Florida.
>- Florida, 2000. See David Barstow and Don Van Nata, Jr., 
>Bush Took Florida:  Mining the Overseas Absentee Vote. (3)
>-  Georgia, 2002. Paraplegic liberal and popular Democratic Senator 
>Max Cleland loses in an "upset victory" to conservative Republican 
>Saxby Chambliss, as reported by Bev Harris in 
><>Black Box Voting, noting that there 
>were six Georgia contests in which Republicans 
>upset victories".
>-  Ohio, 2004. Kenneth Blackwell, Secretary of State, with strong 
>ties to the Republican Party, promises to deliver Ohio to Bush. See 
>John Conyers, What Went Wrong in Ohio. (4) Conyers argues that many 
>of the problems in Ohio involved Blackwell taking a major role in 
>misconduct and illegal behavior."
>- Wisconsin, 2011. The election for a seat on the Wisconsin Supreme 
>Court was won by Republican incumbent Justice David Prosser by 7,316 
>votes. The difference is small enough between Prosser and challenger 
>JoAnne Kloppenburg, to allow a recount. On April 19, 2011, the 
>Independent candidate, 
><>JoAnne Kloppenburg 
>who lost, asked for a 
>recount. She asked for a hand-count of ballots only in some 
>districts, to be determined by working with the Government 
>Accountability Board (G.A.B.) Brad Blog has noted that 
>protocol in Wisconsin allows only for a recount by the same machines 
>that were used in the election, unless there is a court order for a 
>hand-counted recount.  Because some of the jurisdictions would have 
>required erasing the memory cards from the election in order to make 
>room for the data from the recount, Dane County Circuit Judge 
>Richard Niess ordered a hand-recount in 
>counties, including another 14 municipalities in Milwaukee County 
>and 34 municipalities in Waukesha County.  Both Prosser and 
>Kloppenburg went along with this. 
><>Here is 
>an interesting description of what the recount will look like.  From 
>Voting News, there is more information about the Wisconsin Recount, 
>and <>here.  Recount 
>begins 4/27, 9AM.
>A huge standing ovation to Kloppenburg for her courage, for standing 
>strong and for her refusal to cede and cave a la Gore, Kerry, and 
>Coakley in Massachusetts. And some possible perils: By now there is 
>no secure chain of custody of the ballots and ballot boxes (if there 
>ever was one) and that will present very serious problems for an 
>honest recount.  Not only must she do a statewide recount, but also 
>she must use the same methods for the recount across the whole state 
>(which is not going to happen, alas), or she could perhaps be in the 
>same fix as Al Gore was in Florida, 2000. See 
><>Bush, et al. vs. 
>Gore, et al. (5) and 
>Lehto, J.D. on Bush v. Gore .  And the entire recount must be done 
>by hand, (which both sides have already agreed not to do, another 
>alas), or else the ballots will be passed through the same op scan 
>machines that were used the first time and could have been rigged 
>then, and could be rigged in the recount. Then there are the DRE's 
>that cannot be recounted, just the same results printed again from 
>the same machines.  I hope she will have her team take pictures of 
>each and every ballot, whether recounted by hand or op scans. Of 
>course there are no ballots for the DRE's, so there can be no 
>pictures.  You can send an email to the Kloppenburg Campaign: 
>Campaign at Kloppenburg for justice dot com. From Voting News, more 
>information about the Wisconsin recount here and here.
>- Why did Al Gore not protest the Supreme Court appointment of 
>George W. Bush as the next president? As he rolled over without a 
>fight, he<> 
>stated, ""And tonight, for the sake of our unity of the people and 
>the strength of our democracy, I offer my concession".". What unity? 
>What democracy? With an appointment to the presidency in a political 
>vote by the Supreme Court of the United States?  See also Jeffrey 
>Toobin, The Nine: Inside the Secret World of the Supreme Court. (6)
>- Why did Obama, in his 
>speech in Chicago, proudly talk about the elder woman, a former 
>slave of African descent, who put her finger out and touched the 
>screen for his name? He knew the dangers thereof; he has been 
>contacted by scores of voting rights activists, as has Clinton, et 
>al.  "".And this year, in this election, she touched her finger to a 
>screen, and cast her vote, because after 106 years in America, 
>through the best of times and the darkest of hours, she knows how 
>America can change"."
>- Was Obama'a statement a prelude to Hillary Clinton 
>India to help newly born Egypt with its elections? India uses 
>paperless Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs), the worst possible 
>technology, though an 
>Commission is now calling for a "paper trail of votes cast."
>THIRD URGENT PLEA: We need secure hand-counted paper ballots (HCPB) 
>elections now.
>That each of our votes is counted as cast is the bedrock of 
>democracy. Voting rights are the rights that all our other rights 
>stand on. We need more organizations to take a stand for totally 
>transparent, secure hand-counted paper ballots (HCPB) elections, 
>where we are not asked to "trust" the results.
><>At The Center For 
>Hand-Counted Paper Ballots, you can learn how several jurisdictions 
>in the United States 
>their votes. These are observations I made in real time of 
>hand-counted paper ballots (HCPB) elections. Scroll especially down 
>to Acton, Maine. This could be a model for the whole country.
><>Vote Rescue, in Texas, founded by Vickie 
>Karp and Karen Renick, is the only other organization dedicated 
>solely to hand-counted paper ballots (HCPB) elections, with no fall 
>back position or compromise they are willing to make for political motives.
>The following are some necessary elements of secure hand-counted 
>paper ballots (HCPB) elections:
>- Hand-counting is done for all races and initiatives, not only federal.
>- The hand-counting process will be easily understood by a fifth 
>grade student.
>- No precinct is larger than 1000 registered voters.
>- Hand-counting is done at each precinct, immediately after the polls close.
>- Poll books of voters checking in and poll books of voters checking 
>out must exactly match.
>- Get rid of all e-poll books.
>- The number of ballots counted must exactly match the number of 
>ballots distributed. .
>- The number of ballots printed must match  the  number of ballots 
>distributed, voted, and not voted
>-  No absentee ballots will be allowed, except for people in dire 
>need and these ballots must be accounted for, managed, and counted 
>in a procedure that is yet to be written.
>- Hand-counting is done by teams of opposing parties on the ballot, chosen by
>the parties themselves.
>- Other smaller parties can also be on hand-counting teams, in 
>addition to those opposing parties on the ballots - e.g. Greens.
>- Hand-counting is done by new people coming in to count, not those 
>who have been working at the polls all day.
>- Hand-counters are paid a very good hourly rate. This not only pays 
>for one of the most important jobs in a democracy, but also keeps 
>the money in the community and is far less expensive than buying, 
>maintaining, upgrading and storing electronic voting machines.
>- Hand-counting is done in full view of the public.
>-Hand-counting is done twice and the results must match.
>- Hand-counting is videotaped by any member of the public who want 
>to do so,  while it is being done and also by official 
>videographers, one from each opposing parties on the ballot.
>- Hand-counting results are posted at the precinct, in the windows, 
>after the counting
>so that all can see easily after polls close.
>- No electronic voting machines, computers, or modems of any kind 
>are allowed in any part of the hand-count with one exception.
>- The exception is that one electronic voting machine will be 
>allowed in each precinct, e.g. an Automark, for people with 
>disabilities to use. Under no circumstances whatsoever will any 
>other voters be allowed to use this especially designated machine.
>- The hand-count, which has been done twice, will be the official 
>count of the election from each precinct.
>- This section on chain of custody and security of the ballots and 
>ballot boxes is a work in progress.
>- Ballot and Ballot Box Transportation & Ballot Storage (last two 
>sections) by <>Doug 
>Jones gives many details of how to secure the ballots and their boxes
>- See more details of security of ballots and their boxes by 
>Parks.  Scroll down to third paragraph from the end
>- Ballot boxes will be of clear plastic with a lock on each of the 
>four corners. These boxes will be kept in full view of the election 
>officials and the public at all times, from before the official 
>opening time of the polls until the official election results are 
>posted in the windows of each precinct.
>- The locks on the ballot boxes will have two keys only, that is, 
>one key will open two of the locks and another key will open the 
>other two locks.
>- There will be only one key for each of the two keys above. There 
>will be no copies of keys.
>- A Republican election official will hold one key and a Democrat 
>election official will hold the other key.
>- The ballot boxes will not be opened until all votes have been cast 
>and the polls are
>- The ballot boxes will be opened in full view of the public.
>- After the votes are hand-counted, the ballots will be placed in 
>steel containers with seals on them.
>- A secure chain of custody for the ballots and ballot boxes must be 
>written from the precinct level to where they will be stored.
>Furthermore, there are several problems with our voting process, not 
>only that our votes are not counted as cast, because of the fraud 
>and error associated with all electronic voting machines, but also, 
>that even if these problems were all fixed, the electronic voting 
>machines would continue to rig our elections. And even if we had 
>secure hand-counted paper ballots (HCPB) elections, the problems 
>listed below would still exist. Our voting system is a hydra-headed 
>weapon of mass destruction:
>- Suppression of the votes of students, low income people, African 
>Americans, Latinas, elders.
>- A whiteout of the news from any candidates the corporate media 
>does not want to be elected.
>- A whiteout of the news from the corporate media of any of the 
>fraud and rigging that voting rights activists have been pointing 
>out and writing about at least since Florida 2000 presidential race.
>- Corrupt election officials who run our elections and have strong 
>past and present ties to the right wing of the Republican Party.
>- Corrupt and/or incompetent voting election officials from both 
>Democratic and Republican parties, and most likely all the other parties too.
>- Endless corporate money into coffers of candidates.
>- Requiring of voter ID photos, which are issued only by the state, 
>e.g., Department of Motor Vehicles, in order to vote.
>- Absentee ballots, with both parties increasingly calling for more.
>-  Mail-in voting
>- The election of two senators from each state means, e.g., that the 
>voters in North Dakota and Vermont have an influence that is hugely 
>disproportionate to voters in California.
>April 15, 2011, as the House passed the brutal 
>Budget Resolution on Friday, April  "".During the debate, nine 
>protesters were removed from the House gallery. Sitting in various 
>parts of the visitors' chambers, the protesters, mostly young men 
>and women, would stand up one-by-one and ad lib lyrics to the "Star 
>Spangled Banner" and "We Shall Overcome"."
>April 21, 2011 at a breakfast with Obama, some of his donors sang a 
>song to him about Bradley Manning, before they were ushered out. 
>April 2011. The arrest of young, pregnant women and young mothers, 
>students at Catherine Ferguson School in Detroit, Michigan.  The 
>students and one teacher were arrested for protesting the closing of 
>their school, as they were sitting in the library and refusing to 
>leave the building. The police were not gentle. The direct action 
>takes part toward the end of the whole segment, but the entire 
>video, by Rachel Maddow, is well worth watching. 
>April 27, 2011 at Hancock Air Base near Syracuse, NY, 
>arrested as they protest use of Drones.
>Imagine if we were to go to all the legislatures, local and 
>national, all events where officials gather, and wherever there is 
>injustice - and let the gangsters and mobsters there who are robbing 
>and murdering not only us, but also at least seven generations after 
>us, know that we are there not only watching them but also resisting 
>in real time.  We must heal our country and our beloved and 
>beautiful planet Earth.
>1  The New Press, New York and London, 2010.
>2   Palgrave MacMillan, 2010.
>3  The New York Times, pp. A1, A17, A18, July 15, 2001.
>4  What Went Wrong in Ohio: The Conyers Report on the 2004 
>Presidential Election.  Paper.  Academy Chicago Publishers.
>5  531 U.S. 98 (2000).
>6  Anchor Books, A Division of Random House, Inc., New York, paper, 
>2008.  Prologue, pp 1-9; PART TWO, Chapters 11, 12, 13, pp. 165-208.
>Sheila Parks, Ed.D.
>Founder, Center for Hand-Counted Paper Ballots
>Thanks to Bev Harris, Jean Weber, Lucius Chiaraviglio, Marguerite 
>Rosenthal, Michael Collins, Paul Lehto, Victoria Collier.
>The author is totally responsible for the text as well as any errors in it.
>This article may be reproduced in whole or part with attribution of 
>authorship and a link to this article.  Copyright April 27, 2011, Sheila Parks.
>Author's Website:
>Author's Bio: Sheila Parks, Ed.D.,is the Founder of the Center for 
>Hand-Counted Paper Ballots. Parks is a researcher, writer, and 
>fundraiser who lives in Belmont, MA. She is a long time feminist and 
>peace & justice activist/organizer on many issues and has been 
>involved in the current wave of voting rights for a very long time. 
>She is an advocate for hand-counted paper ballots (HCPB) now.

Sheila Parks, Ed.D.
Center for Hand-Counted Paper Ballots
Belmont, MA 02478
sheila at
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