Election Defense Alliance Blog

The Myth of Fair Elections in America

The debacle surrounding the Republican victory in 2000 demonstrated to the world that America's electoral process is wide open to abuse. But as Paul Harris discovers, the system has actually worsened since then.

By Paul Harris / Guardian Observer / Sept. 8, 2006
Go to original.

You don't need to be a conspiracy theorist to be seriously worried about this state of affairs. In many ways, it is more worrying that the system is not being deliberately stolen from on high. It is actually broken from the ground up.

NOW on PBS: Will New Voting Machines Cause an Election Day Debacle?

Watch PBS tonight!
September 8, 2006

Programming Note http://www.pbs.org/now/

Airdate: Friday, September 8, 2006, at 8:30 p.m. on PBS.
(Check local listings at http://www.pbs.org/now/sched.html.)

Will new voting machines cause an Election Day debacle? This time on NOW.

Will new voting machines cure election headaches or cause them? The Help America Vote Act divided 3.1 billion dollars among all 50 states to update their voting systems with new technology. On Friday September 8, at 8:30 pm, NOW takes a close look at one Michigan county on Primary Day to see how the new machines are working, but also checks in on other states, including Texas, Iowa, New Mexico, and - you guessed it - Ohio. What we found was alarming - computer and human error, nonexistent contingency plans, and extreme vulnerability to tampering.

Citizen Wonders Why Americans Didn't Protest Apparent Fraud in 2004

To the Editor of the Washington Post

In his op-ed column "México: Democracy Under Threat" Enrique Krause gives a delightful short history of democracy in México. Oddly, however, he asserts that "[2006 presidential candidate] López Obrador isn't the heir of liberal democrats Benito Juárez and Francisco I. Madero, but of Porfirio Díaz and Victoriano Huerta, the coup leaders who smothered Mexico's two initial attempts at democracy." In fact, like Juárez and Madero, López Obrador has dedicated his life to improving the lot of lower income citizens, while Díaz and Huerta were military generals unswervingly friendly to big business. A notable omission in Dr. Krause’s history was populist Cuauhtémoc Cárdenas’ early lead in his 1988 bid for the Mexican presidency, which mysteriously vanished after a computer crash.

In the 2004 U.S. Election, the exit polls showed Kerry leading nationally by nearly 3% all day long, but following a computer blackout they had him losing by about 3%. Dr. Krause wonders what Americans would have thought had Kerry claimed "massive fraud" and asked his followers to protest on the Mall in Washington. I wonder too.

David L. Griscom
San Carlos, Sonora, México

Saving the Ballot Evidence from Ohio 2004

"Saving the ballot evidence from Ohio 2004
[The Free Press]
by Bob Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman
September 2, 2006

This weekend was to be "D-Day" in Ohio. It marked the September 2 deadline after which federal law allows the destruction of ballots from the 2004 election.

It didn't happen, at least on a statewide basis. But the fight to preserve that vital evidence is far from over.

Republican election officials here have been chomping at the bit to shred, burn or otherwise destroy the ballots and other related materials from the dubious vote count that gave George W. Bush a second term. Yet, in several rural southwest Republican-dominated counties, you have to trip over boxes of ballots and election material from earlier elections dating back as far as 1977 in order to see the stickers "Destroy on 9/3/06" on the 2004 ballot boxes.

Find the Pattern: Court Dismisses Election Case on Jurisdictional Grounds in Nevada

Citing Article 1, Section 5 of the U.S. Constitution, the 30-year-old Laxalt v. Cannon opinion from the Nevada Supreme Court and NRS 293.407, Maddox said, "This court does not have jurisdiction to hear this case." All three of those state that only the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives can decide contested elections involving their membership. Maddox heard testimony in the case primarily to put all Angle's claims in the record but said even if he had jurisdiction over the issue, they failed to prove those allegations. Malfeasance, he said "is a wrongful or unlawful act according to Black's Law Dictionary. It is not an omission of an act. It is the commission of an act." [ED. Note: As in Busby/Bilbray, neither candidate was a member of Congress.]

Angle loses appeal for new election
Judge says law bars him from ruling on congressional races
and that a case for malfeasance was not made

By Geoff Dornan / Nevada Appeal / September 2, 2006
Go to Original

Sharron Angle and her attorney Joel Hansen talk during a lunch break in Carson District Judge Bill Maddox's courtroom on Friday morning. Angle lost her call for a new election after losing the GOP nomination for Nevada's second congressional district by 422 votes to Dean Heller.

Sharron Angle on Friday lost her call for a new election. Immediately after the ruling, she said there will be no appeal and she will endorse and work for Dean Heller in his race for Nevada's second congressional district.

After a day-long hearing into allegations of malfeasance by Washoe Voter Registrar Dan Burk and his staff, Carson District Judge Bill Maddox ruled not only do the U.S. Constitution and Nevada law bar him from deciding a challenge of any race for the U.S. Senate or House of Representatives but that Angle's lawyer Joel Hansen failed to prove the errors in Washoe County were numerous and serious enough to warrant nullifying the vote.

He also ordered Angle's side to pay Heller's legal costs in defending the case.

Citing Article 1, Section 5 of the U.S. Constitution, the 30-year-old Laxalt v. Cannon opinion from the Nevada Supreme Court and NRS 293.407, Maddox said, "This court does not have jurisdiction to hear this case."

All three of those state that only the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives can decide contested elections involving their membership.

Maddox heard testimony in the case primarily to put all Angle's claims in the record but said even if he had jurisdiction over the issue, they failed to prove those allegations.

Malfeasance, he said "is a wrongful or unlawful act according to Black's Law Dictionary. It is not an omission of an act. It is the commission of an act."

The errors in Washoe County's Aug. 15 primary, he said, clearly fail to meet that standard. Hansen's witnesses testified some polling places opened late, that there were delays in voting and problems with some of the machines. But only one person said she was unable to vote because of the problems. And Heller's lawyer, Jason Woodbury, said that was her decision not to wait 20 minutes until the voting machine was ready and not to return to the polling place later in the day, which is provided for by Nevada law.

Woodbury also argued Nevada law doesn't give Maddox the option of ordering a new election - only of naming some one else the victor or vacating the election and allowing the GOP central committee to select the nominee.

Maddox said for him to do that, he believes Hansen would also have to prove some one other than Heller would have won because of the errors. He said they failed to do that and dismissed the election challenge.

Angle congratulated Heller on his primary victory and said she will "do everything to defeat the Democratic nominee."

Angle also thanked Maddox for hearing the case and allowing her to bring evidence of problems with the Washoe primary vote. She said shining a light on those problems should help make sure they don't recur in the November election.

Fear and Loathing: The nu-GOP Campaign Trail

THEBHC / Anything They Say / Sept. 1, 2006
Go to original

With the November elections fast approaching, the Republican Party have opened up a number of fronts in their campaign assault to maintain control of Capitol Hill. For the last few months, a number of states have enacted new laws that are seen as leading efforts to disenfranchise typically Democratic voting blocks. Six Republican-controlled states, Indiana, Arizona, California, Missouri, and of course, our old friends in Ohio and Florida, have already passed various voter ID laws that will doubtless disenfranchise Democratic voters far more than others. Recently, a federal judge struck down a 2004 Florida law that restricted and punished activities of third party voter registration groups, a result that will be too little too late with respect to elections in November; appeals are guaranteed to hold this in court for sometime.

Furthermore, the Republican House showed little regard for election law when Speaker Dennis Hastert swore in Brian Bilbray as the newest Republican member of Congress, despite the fact that the election had not even been certified at that point, given the ongoing dispute surrounding that contentious California election and its employment of uncertified Diebold voting machines. Fueling outrage, a judge has pronounced that Congress has jurisdictional priority rather than the State of California now that the swearing-in has taken place; no recourse in the election dispute can be provided by California courts. In other words, regardless of the outcome of an election, a swearing-in cermony effectively nullifies an election result and makes Congress's pronouncement of House membership the final say in the matter. What have we learned from this exercise?

There is yet another way to steal an election and who knows how many more are heretofore unknown.

Democracy Denied - Meet The New Boss

By Nicole Belle / September 1, 2006 / Scoop Independent News
Go to original.

"Yesterday, attorney Lehto took an optimistic stance when he commented on the role of the public in taking back control of their elections. The shutdown of any possibility of a court based investigation of the CA50 race could not be in more stark contrast to the 92% support for election transparency in the Zogby poll. The contrast between the two sides now could not be clearer. The question of the moment is whether and to what extent the 92% can discover its own supermajority status, or to what extent they continue to be deceived, deluded and distracted by illusions of their own powerlessness."

Just Try Voting Here: 11 of America's worst places to cast a ballot (or try)

Machines that count backward, slice-and-dice districts, felon baiting, phone jamming, and plenty of dirty tricks.
By Sasha Abramsky / Mother Jones / September 1, 2006
Go to original.

We used to think the voting system was something like the traffic laws -- a set of rules clear to everyone, enforced everywhere, with penalties for transgressions; we used to think, in other words, that we had a national election system. How wrong a notion this was has become painfully apparent since 2000: As it turns out, except for a rudimentary federal framework (which determines the voting age, channels money to states and counties, and enforces protections for minorities and the disabled), U.S. elections are shaped by a dizzying mélange of inconsistently enforced laws, conflicting court rulings, local traditions, various technology choices, and partisan trickery. In some places voters still fill in paper ballots or pull the levers of vintage machines; elsewhere, they touch screens or tap keys, with or without paper trails. Some states encourage voter registration; others go out of their way to limit it. Some allow prisoners to vote; others permanently bar ex-felons, no matter how long they've stayed clean. Who can vote, where people cast ballots, and how and whether their votes are counted all depends, to a large extent, on policies set in place by secretaries of state and county elections supervisors -- officials who can be as partisan, as dubiously qualified, and as nakedly ambitious as people anywhere else in politics. Here is a list -- partial, but emblematic -- of American democracy's more glaring weak spots. (Illustration By: Harry Campbell)

Why we keep getting close elections

This interesting post came through another list. What do you think? Another result of manipulated close elections is that it makes the losers ( who have been mostly Dems lately ) want to keep supporting the system because they'll "win next time"!

[One man's observations about vote-fraud strategy. Forwarded from a
peace listserve in Chicago]

From: neighborsforpeace [at] yahoogroups.com
Subject: Close elections world-wide: a preliminary, semi-mathematical theory

It hasn't been remarked, but it is remarkable. World-wide, and most recently in Mexico, elections have been improbably close, and this phenomenon began with the 2000 US election.

McPherson Forces Use of Hackable, Expensive, Poor Performing DRE's: Denies Certification for Low-Tech, Versatile, Secure VotePAD

During the test, participants were not allowed to vote independently on the Vote-PAD, but were instead subjected to an artificial voting environment where they were frequently interrupted by staff during the voting process. From this critically flawed testing, the Secretary concluded that they would not be able to vote independently.

"Off with Their Heads!" cried the Queen of Hearts

"How am I to get in?" asked Alice again, in a louder tone.
"Are you to get in at all?" said the Footman. "That's the first question, you know."

It was a Queen of Hearts sort of a day in California on August 9, 2006. The Secretary of State's advisory panel was hearing public comments regarding the pending certification of the Vote-PAD, a non-electronic assistive device designed to help voters with disabilities mark and verify a paper ballot independently.

Voting integrity advocates held signs supporting the certification of Vote-PAD. They told of countless failures of computerized voting systems. They spoke about recent discoveries of easily hackable "back doors" into the vote totals on those systems, which have been certified. By contrast, "Vote-PAD is no more hackable than a #2 pencil," said one.

Notwithstanding this and the letters praising the Vote-PAD from dozens of people with visual and motor disabilities, the Secretary of State's staff was recommending against certifying the Vote-PAD for use in California.

The Queen started by describing the testing process, "We asked them to vote independently on the Vote-PAD, and we told them exactly what to do the entire time."

"Excuse me," said Alice, "but how is that independent?"

"That's not the point," said the Queen. "The point is that they weren't able to vote independently."

"But you didn't let them," objected Alice.

"Don't be impertinent," said the King.

"Yes!" murmured the jury.

"Let's be clear on one thing," spoke the Queen. "When disabled people tried to vote on the Vote-PAD, their error rate was unacceptably high and they took an excessively long time."

"Compared to what?" asked one of the jurors.

"Nothing," said the Queen. "Nothing at all. We have no standards."

Problems with touchscreen machines slow vote count

By MATT VOLZ / The Associated Press / August 23, 2006
Go to original.

Problems with Alaska’s new touchscreen voting machines slowed election returns Tuesday and caused elections officials to hand count and manually upload vote totals from several precincts across the state. Election coordinator Lauri Wilson said several Diebold touchscreen machines in Southeast Alaska, the Interior and near Nome did not upload their votes into the Division of Elections’ central computing system. The machines’ modems either did not get a dial tone or had other problems, Wilson said.

The votes from touchscreen voting machines in four Kodiak precincts had to be manually uploaded because the electronic ballots were required to be presented in more than one language, Wilson said. Affected were seven precincts in Southeast Alaska and Kodiak, five in the Interior - including Nenana, Healy and Tok - and Unalakleet. One precinct’s optical scanner voting machine also could not connect by modem, Wilson said. Election officials worked into the early morning hours manually uploading the information from those precincts into the overall election results.

“We’ve got new technology. Particularly in rural Alaska, we’re going from the paper ballot to cutting-edge technology and the entire process is being slowed down,” said Division of Elections Director Whitney Brewster. Alaska Democratic Party spokeswoman Kay Brown said the slowdown caused by the touchscreen machines is indicative of larger problems with the machines. “I can say there are many systematic problems with Diebold machines that have been identified in many contexts,” Brown said. “That there were technical glitches with the machines is not surprising, and it’s one indication of the kinds of things that can go wrong with the machines and it’s something to be concerned about.”

The day before the election, the Democratic party urged voters to choose paper ballots instead of the touchscreen machine. They say Diebold’s touch screen machines may be insecure and vulnerable to attack.

We Need an Exit Strategy

An Exit Strategy for Electronic Voting
by Bruce O'Dell / August 24, 2006
Go to original. http://www.opednews.com

Even though there are fundamental technical considerations which should rule out use of electronic vote tallying technology, some of my Information Technology colleagues are still trying hard to salvage it (see, for example, the web site of the research group called ACCURATE).

When it comes to electronic voting technology, we do not need a better mousetrap – we need an exit strategy. I've done my best to explain why, in detail, elsewhere – but the main points bear repeating.

Voting systems are national defense systems (!) deserving the highest level of protection. Undetected compromise of our nation's voting systems is equivalent to our being invaded and occupied by a foreign power, since the American people lose control of their lives and destinies in either case - except that "coup by covert election manipulation" occurs under the reassuring guise of business as usual. I am ashamed that my profession has enabled voting systems to be deployed with mechanisms inadequate to protect mere financial transactions - much less, to safeguard the foundation of our national sovereignty.

Voting is inherently hard to protect. All the conventional techniques for electronic auditing of transactions rely on strong proofs of identity and complete transparency. We can conduct electronic financial transactions well enough that embezzlement is the exception and not the rule because all counterparties to a financial transaction are required to provide strong, legal proof of identity to the others, all parties to electronic financial transactions are strongly motivated to verify accuracy of results, and the laws regulating resolution of financial disputes are mature. None of these conditions apply to voting. Voting is private and anonymous. You cannot provide a voter with a record of her transaction sufficient to prove how she voted after the fact (or you enable sale of votes, coercion and a host of other problems...). But if you do not provide such an unambiguous receipt, all that electronic vote-auditing protocols can do is simply enshrine a computer's assertion that it recorded your touch on a screen or your mark on an optical scan ballot as you intended. Any program that generates an electronic audit trail - no mater how complex - can easily be programmed to consistently lie about what truly happened when your choice was presented to the machine for tallying. Electronic auditing of electronic vote tallying simply shifts the issue of trust from one suspect set of software to another.

Can we ensure that machines count our votes as cast?
Our only recourse to ensure correct electronic tallying is to generate an anonymous non-volatile receipt of the voter's choices, verified by the voter, retained by electoral authorities, and always audited - by hand - after the fact. And even this approach has limitations; for VVPATs (Voter-verified paper audit trails) there is ample evidence that many people do not actually "verify" their "PAT". Optical scan ballots are a much more desirable paper record.

OK - if we always have to audit the electronic tally, how should we do it? The conventional approach is to have election insiders audit 100% of the vote in a few percent of the precincts, days or weeks after the election, in private beyond public view. If, of course, there are any paper ballot records to audit. But as reported irregularities in Ohio in 2004 reveal, this approach is both inaccurate and highly vulnerable to gaming. In response, Jonathan Simon, Steven Freeman, Josh Mitteldorf and I have just published a paper that recommends nothing less than a 10% in-precinct hand count of all paper ballot records to be done by the public and on election night, everywhere we allow electronic tallying. This will provide 99% certainty of detecting errors or deliberate manipulation, regardless of their source, that affect 1% or more of the official electronic tally. Nothing less will provide the indisputable statistical rationale to enable candidates to actually dispute a tainted election in a toxic political environment like the one we find ourselves mired in at the moment.

Speaker of the House Nullified San Diego Congressional Race

Democracy Nullified:
Bilbray Attorneys Claim Election Law and Votes Mean Nothing if Congress "Says So"

Original SCOOP article This article may be used in whole or in part with attribution to the author and a link to "Scoop" Independent Media. (http://www.scoop.co.nz/)

Paul Lehto: "Defendants are in effect arguing for the remarkable proposition that unilateral self-serving actions by a majority party in the House of Representatives to shuttle in a member of the same party can be effective, even if those actions do violence to and amount to circumvention of other sections of the US Constitution as well as the California constitution. See Court Pleading here.
Mark Crispin Miller: So now we have Dennis Hastert nullifying the election in San Diego by swearing in Republican Brian Bilbray 17 DAYS BEFORE the San Diego election was certified. The San Diego Registrar uses that as his defense against a lousy election with voting machines going home with poll workers and thousands of ballots assigned to random precincts. To top it off, a lawyer on Bob Ney's Committee (the Rep. Bob Ney of Ohio 2004 fame) writes the Judge in San Diego deciding the case directly. Not good form, especially when he delayed delivery of the letter to plaintiff's attorneys (the citizens suing for the rotten election). Please get this out as soon as you can. It's a "rigged game."

Speaker of the House Nullified San Diego Congressional Race
By Michael Collins / August 25, 2006
"Scoop" Independent Media / Washington, DC

It appears the US media overlooked one of the great political stories of the year. In what is becoming something of a pattern, here's a brief chronology:

On June 6, 2006 Republican Brian Bilbray allegedly slightly outpolled Democrat Francine Busby in the special election for California's 50th Congressional District, despite Busby's lead in the polls going into the election. There were immediate cries of foul following the election due to major irregularities, including electronic voting machines sent out to the homes and cars of volunteers for up to 12 days prior to the election, and irregular election results like huge mega-precincts of absentee ballots where turnout was thousands of percent more than registered voters.

On June 13, 2006, Bilbray flew to Washington, DC and was sworn in as a member of the United States House of Representatives by House Speaker Dennis Hastert.

On or about June 30, 2006, 17 days after Bilbray was sworn in as a member of the House, Mikel Haas, Registrar of San Diego County, officially completed the audit of election results required for certification, and officially certified the election of Bilbray over Busby based on 163,931 votes cast, of which 2,053 votes were said to be cast on Diebold TSX touchscreens, and the remainder scanned via Diebold Accuvote OS computers.

On July 31, 2006, the Contestants filed an election contest, seeking a hand recount and to invalidate the election on several grounds, not only including the affirmative evidence of irregular results, but also including the stonewalling of citizen information requests and the pricing of recounts at an estimated $150,000 that made it difficult or impossible for any citizen to tell who won the election.

On August 22, 2006 the defendants moved to dismiss, arguing that the swearing in of Bilbray deprives everyone else of jurisdiction including specifically the San Diego Superior Court because Art. I, sec. 5 of the US Constitution has been held to mean that the House and Senate are the judges of the Qualifications of their Members, one of those qualifications is supposed to be "election."

There is some thing very wrong with this sequence. Elections are not complete, anywhere, until they are officially certified by local authorities. How can a citizen get sworn in as a member of the House of Representatives before his or her election is certified? Only Speaker Dennis Hastert, his team, and Bilbray have the answer.

Pull The Plug

By Aviel Rubin / Forbes Magazine / Sept 4, 2006 edition
Go to original.

You don't like hanging chads? Get ready for cheating chips and doctored drives.

I am a computer scientist. I own seven Macintosh computers, one Windows machine and a Palm Treo 700p with a GPS unit, and I chose my car (Infiniti M35x) because it had the most gadgets of any vehicle in its class. My 7-year-old daughter uses e-mail. So why am I advocating the use of 17th-century technology for voting in the 21st century--as one of my critics puts it?

The 2000 debacle in Florida spurred a rush to computerize voting. In 2002 Congress passed the Help America Vote Act, which handed out $2.6 billion to spend on voting machines. Most of that cash was used to acquire Direct Recording Electronic voting machines.

Yet while computers are very proficient at counting, displaying choices and producing records, we should not rely on computers alone to count votes in public elections. The people who program them make mistakes, and, safeguards aside, they are more vulnerable to manipulation than most people realize. Even an event as common as a power glitch could cause a hard disk to fail or a magnetic card that holds votes to permanently lose its data. The only remedy then: Ask voters to come back to the polls. In a 2003 election in Boone County, Ind., DREs recorded 144,000 votes in one precinct populated with fewer than 6,000 registered voters. Though election officials caught the error, it's easy to imagine a scenario where such mistakes would go undetected until after a victor has been declared.

Consider one simple mode of attack that has already proved effective on a widely used DRE, the Accuvote made by Diebold (nyse: DBD - news - people ). It's called overwriting the boot loader, the software that runs first when the machine is booted up. The boot loader controls which operating system loads, so it is the most security-critical piece of the machine. In overwriting it an attacker can, for example, make the machine count every fifth Republican vote as a Democratic vote, swap the vote outcome at the end of the election or produce a completely fabricated result. To stage this attack, a night janitor at the polling place would need only a few seconds' worth of access to the computer's memory card slot.

PA Lawsuit Seeks Paper Trail for Election Day

Paul Muschick / The Morning Call / August 15, 2006
Go to original.

PHILADELPHIA -- -- Twenty-five voters from across Pennsylvania sued the state today seeking to stop the use of electronic voting machines that do not provide back up paper records. The records are necessary for people to verify that their votes were accurately recorded, attorneys said at a news conference at the Philadelphia offices of Drinker Biddle & Reath, one of the law firms representing the plaintiffs in the suit. The suit aims to force counties to have systems in place for the November election that would have a paper record.

The lawyers pointed to flaws with machines in several counties, including Berks County, that showed the machines are not trustworthy. In the May 2005 primary, machines in four Berks precincts failed to record votes because of programming errors.
The suit, filed in Commonwealth Court, could affect voting systems in 57 counties, including Lehigh, Northampton, Berks, Bucks, Montgomery, Monroe, Carbon and Schuylkill. The voters filing the suit include two from the Lehigh Valley - Alan Brau, a physician from Hanover Township, Northampton County, and Cathy Reed of Allentown. Counties nationwide have been moving to computerized, or electronic, voting because of a federal mandate to avoid the kinds of vote-counting problems experienced in Florida in the 2000 presidential election.

Voter Suppression in Missouri

August 10, 2006
Voter Suppression in Missouri
A New York Times Editorial

For original: http://www.nytimes.com/2006/08/10/opinion/10thu1.html?th=&emc=th&pagewan...

Missouri is the latest front in the Republican Party’s campaign to use photo ID requirements to suppress voting. The Republican legislators who pushed through Missouri’s ID law earlier this year said they wanted to deter fraud, but that claim falls apart on close inspection. Missouri’s new ID rules — and similar ones adopted last year in Indiana and Georgia — are intended to deter voting by blacks, poor people and other groups that are less likely to have driver’s licenses. Georgia’s law has been blocked by the courts, and the others should be too.

BBV's Citizen Toolkit:: A Declaration of Independence

Black Box Voting's full citizen's tool kit is now available in a single document.

Citizens are concerned. They want to know what they can do. Here's your chance to get started on meaningful elections reform action that will make a real difference in November.

The above link contains all 20 stand-alone modules in one consolidated document
(make sure you have Adobe Acrobat installed to read the pdf files. You can download it for free.

1. Pick any module.
2. Choose any action within the module.
3. Then just follow through on it.
4. Every action in the Tool Kit starts another pebble rolling down the hill.

NEW MODULE IS UP: Pertains to fundraising for local elections reform people:

NEW MODULE IS UP: About ACTIVATING CELEBRITIES in the election oversight issue:

Candidates in three states have already notified us that they are already making use of the module to help CANDIDATES protect their own elections (The toolkit just went up a few days ago!):

It's time for you to recognize your own power. You don't need us. You don't have to find someone to follow. When you use these tools things will happen. Pick any module. Pick a single action in it. See it to its completion. You've just opened the door to an unexpected evolution of citizenship, the likes of which have not been seen for a long, long time.

"Governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed." – Declaration of Independence

You may notice that the order of the Citizen's Tool Kit modules has changed. Select actions from any of the following, depending on your interests and skill sets:

Module 1: Have a House Party
Module 2: Organize a Town Meeting
Module 3: Give a Speech to a Group

Module 4: Be the Media
Module 5: Adopt a Public Official
Module 6: Check Out the Money Trail: Who's Getting Paid?
Module 7: Find Out If Officials Following the Rules

Module 8: Get Public Records and Freedom of Information Documents
Module 9: Adopt Part of an Election: Watch the System Testing
Module 10: Adopt Part of an Election: Watch Voter Registration Lists
Module 11: Adopt Part of an Election: Become a Poll Worker or Elections Judge
Module 12: Adopt Part of an Election: Monitor the Voting
Module 13: Adopt Part of an Election: Monitor the Counting
Module 14: Adopt Part of an Election: Watch the Chain of Custody
Module 15: Adopt Part of an Election: Audit for Accuracy
Module 16: Legal Actions

Module 17: Count the Votes Yourself

Module 18: Candidates: How to Protect Your Election
Module 19: For Famous Voices (Action ideas for Celebrities)
Module 20: Actions for High Net Worth Individuals

Be part of the solution: Please sign up for the NATIONAL HAND COUNT REGISTRY

Black Box Voting is a nonprofit, nonpartisan 501c(3) elections watchdog group supported entirely by citizen donations. We refuse funds from any vendor or vested interest.

To support Black Box Voting: click to http://www.blackboxvoting.org/donate.html or send to:
Black Box Voting / 330 SW 43rd St Suite K / PMB 547 / Renton WA 98055

Activists: Advisory Proves Blackwell Suppressing Vote

Ted Wendling / Plain Dealer Bureau Chief / August 4, 2006
Go to original.

Columbus -- Voting-rights activists on Thursday produced what they said is the most compelling evidence to date that Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell is trying to suppress the vote in November. In an advisory that contradicts a provision in the voter-reform bill legislators passed last year, Blackwell's office informed county boards of election on June 5 that voters must present a photo ID "showing the voter's name and current address" to cast a regular ballot.

That conflicts with the new law, which permits a person to vote by regular ballot even if the ID -- typically a driver's license -- has the voter's former address. After ignoring the activists groups' entreaties since early June -- even after they threatened to go public -- Blackwell's office sent an e-mail to all 88 county elections boards Thursday. It reiterated instructions the office sent in May that voters who present an ID with a former address may cast a regular ballot if they provide the last four digits from their ID card.

"It's not satisfactory," said Suzanne Gravette, spokeswoman for the Coalition on Homelessness and Housing in Ohio, or COHHIO. "It's not a directive and it's not working," she added, citing a COHHIO survey that showed mass confusion among county elections officials. Among 27 elections boards that were surveyed, 11 said voters who show up with ID that doesn't match their address in the poll book will have to vote by provisional ballot. Michael Vu, director of the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections, said his poll workers have been instructed to allow such voters to cast a regular ballot.

VoterAction Files for CA Injunction to Ban Diebold TSx

VoterAction Announces the Filing of a New Motion of Preliminary
Injunction in State Court


Tuesday 08 August 2006

In a just issued Press Release, VoterAction has announed that
California voters are challenging the use of the Diebold TSx touch
screen voting system and that they have filed a motion for
preliminary injunction in state court. This announcement follows the
July 18 announcement that an attempt by the state to move the
original suit from the state courts to federal court had failed. The
press release follows:

California Voters File New Motion of Preliminary Injunction in

Goodbye Ney; HAVA Nice Day (Rep. Bob Ney Will Not Seek Reelection)

By Fred Barbash / Washington Post Staff Writer / August 7, 2006
Go to original.

Rep. Robert W. Ney, the six-term Republican congressman from central Ohio implicated in the Jack Abramoff influence-peddling scandal, announced this morning that that he will not seek re-election.

"After much consideration and thought I have decided today to no longer seek re-election in Ohio's 18th Congressional District," Ney said in a statement posted on his campaign Website. "I am extremely proud of my 25 years serving the people of Ohio. We've accomplished many things to make this state better and I will always be grateful for the trust my constituents put in me.