Voting Rights Task Force, Alameda County

VTRF History

The Voting Rights Task Force (VRTF) was formed shortly after the presidential election of 2004. It's first success was to kickstart the effort to convince Senator Boxer to stand up with the citizens of Ohio to insist that Congress review of the 2004 election results. That was followed by the first national election integrity teach-in, held in Oakland in February of 2005.

In May 2005, the Alameda County supervisors were about to purchase 3000 Diebold touchscreen machines. A persistent, respectful lobbying effort convinced the supervisors to dump Diebold, buy only one (Sequoia) touchscreen machine per polling place, and to have every vote cast on those machines hand-checked in the November, 06 election. We also succeeded for a while in convincing the supervisors to run a security vulnerability test of the machines, though in the end they broke their promise to do so.

The VRTF supported State Senator Debra Bowen in her efforts to pass good election reform laws.

The VRTF has been present at numerous hearings in Sacramento, speaking out for fair and accurate elections.

The VRTF worked very hard to get Debra Bowen elected Secretary of State.

VRTF members help lead the monitoring effort in the 10 congressional district in the 2006 election. This covered 4 counties, and involved many hundreds of people.

The VRTF has worked hard to educate the public about election integrity issues. This included speeches, workshops, and publication of the following websites :

VRTF home page:

See Also:

Jim Soper
VRTF Co-Chair
510 258 4857

VRTF In Action

Spearheaded the effort to convince Senator Boxer to stand up with the citizens of Ohio to insist that Congress review the 2004 election results before accepting the state slates of electors (1/05)

Organized first national election integrity teach-in that drew leading speakers from all over the country. Resulted in a film "Vote Rigging 101" (2/05)

Strongly supported Senator Debra Bowens bills so that they could be come law. Most significantly, the bill that required that paper audit trails actually be used to check the vote. (9/05)

Made a critical contribution to the election of Debra Bowen as Secretary of State (4/06 - 11/06). This was the 2nd most important election in the US in 2006 (After the Virigina senatorial election that gave the democrats a majority in the Senate).

This campaign included:
- intense lobbying at the democratic convention to get her an 80+% endorsement of the party
- tireless phone banking and leafleting at BART stations, movie theaters, and even Raider games
- a non-stop effort to get the message out to clubs, newspapers, and radio stations
- houseparties to raise money for the campaign

In May of 05, Alameda county was on the verge of buying 3,000 Diebold touchscreen DREs. For the next year and a half the VRTF lead the fight for fair and accurate elections.

This effort included educating the Board of Supervisors in public hearings, and private meetings, initiating petitions, and emails and phone calls to the supervisors to insist on fair and accurate elections, holding press conferences and talks to local civic groups to educate the public, and writing numerous letters to the editor.

The result was, that in November 2006, voters in Alameda county:

- voted primarily on paper ballots
- the county save millions of dollars by purchasing only 1 touchscreen DRE per polling place (about 800 total)
- Diebold machines were thrown out of the county
- 100% fo all votes cast on touchscreen DREs were double-checked
- the county held a security assessment of the voting systems and procedures that, while far from sufficient, was more thorough than any county had conducted

Note: The certification conditions required by Secretary of State Bowen in July of 07 parallel the "Alameda model" - 1 touchscreen machine per polling place, vote primarily on paper, 100% audit of all votes on touchscreen DREs

Has spoken up in favor of fair and accurate elections at public hearings in Sacramento, for years - including organizing press conferences and rallies. At at least one hearing the VRTF was the only organization in Sacramento to speak up for democracy.

Has held meetings with the staffs of Senators Boxer and Feinstein, and Congresswomen Pelosi and Lofgren, to encourage legislation that would support fair and accurate elections nationwide (2006)

Educated the public at clubs, and websites through the Solano Stoll about the issues. (The VRTF also won 2nd prize for best "float" for the 200? Solano Stoll !)

Member authored websites include the,, and
Dan Ashby :
Jerry Berkman :,
Jim Soper :

VRTF efforts are continuing with the Stand Firm with Debra Bowen project, and proposals for new legislation to make elections in California more secure and accurate.

Workshops by Michelle and Jim on election integrity issues:

Voting Machines 101 was given on 9/20/06, by Jim Soper
Election Monitoring was given on 10-11-06, by Michelle Gabriel

Previous Presentations:

The Voting Rights Task Force
with the support of KPFA Free Speech Radio, 94.1 FM

Who's Cheating, and What We Can Do About It

An All-Day Expose´ of Vote Rigging and Suppression in Election 2004
featuring the nation's foremost fraud investigators, the best election documentaries you've never seen, action proposals by participating organizations, and follow-through networking

TUESDAY, September 13, Noon to 10 p.m.
Grand Lake Theater, 3200 Grand Avenue, Oakland

Featured Speakers

Did George W. Bush Steal America's 2004 Election? -- Essential Documents

BEV HARRIS, investigative reporter and founder of Black Box,
The Mechanics of Vote-Rigging: How They Do It

Introductions by Larry Bensky, Pacifica National Affairs Correspondent, Radio KPFA


Act 1: Afternoon Fraud Fest of Documentary Shorts and Features, 12:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Suggested Donation: $6.00

Act 2: Evening Program: Elections In Crisis! 7:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.
Suggested Donation: $10.00

Act 3: Networking to Reclaim Democracy 9:00 p.m. - 10:00 p.m.