Washblog

This will be short and sweet

Every time the poster named Jason Aaron Osgood, known as "Zappini," posts here, and tells us that yes, some right-wingers really do care about "voter integrity," and that it is really a nonpartisan issue, I call him out for being a dupe of the right wing, and everybody goes into a tizzy because they think I am just "partisan" and less than "civil."

People who think that might want to examine this post by Digby, and decide for yourselves whether or not I am being "civil" to a self-described "progressive" whose name is displayed proudly on the Web site of the right-wing Evergreen Freedom Foundation.

< Senator Oemig to speak at Progressive Caucus potluck | Dinesh D'Souza is a D'ouchebag >
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VoteTrustUSA has had the best coverage of the faux voter fraud stuff.

Brennan Center Calls for Greater Transparency and Accountability of the EAC

Rep. Lofgren's letter to the EAC

Statement by EAC Commissioner Hillman Regarding Release of Voter Fraud Consultant Report

EAC Requests Review of Voter ID, Vote Fraud and Voter Intimidation Research Projects

It'd be nice if Digby, Josh Marshall, Atrios, and others recognized the efforts BradBlog.com, VotersUnite.org, VoterAction.org, and VoteTrustUSA.org. They've been all over this issue.

In a related note, most of the support for the worse-than-wrong Holt HR 811 and HAVA came from well intentioned by otherwise poorly informed progressive and liberal groups. Even today, many stalwarts continue to support HR 811, despite the fact that it'd give executive (read: Bush Administration) oversight of our elections, lock-in the use of computerized voting machines, create a regime of faux audits which do not improvement election integrity, and creates unfunded mandates requiring the use of technologies which don't even exist yet (automatic text to speech conversion).

by zappini on Fri Apr 20, 2007 at 11:42:10 AM PST

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Ivan chooses the confuse the separate issues of voter fraud (and concerns over politically motivated disenfranchisement) and our protest against forced mail voting. Here's the media coverage of that protest:

Unlikely allies fight all-mail voting

Let public decide on vote by mail

Why should anyone oppose forced mail voting? Because the "plan" in King County is to eliminate election integrity. No more secret ballot. No more public vote count.

How?

Regional voting centers will only have Diebold computerized voting machines. The county is trying to eliminate all paper poll ballots. Including provisional ballots.

The central count will use brand new Diebold highspeed tabulation equipment. These systems have three special features:

 - mail ballot tracking by placing a unique barcode on each ballot which is tied to the voter

 - prescanning of ballots before election day, enabling the preview of early election results (alternately called "cheat peeks" and "sneak peeks")

 - electronic modification of scanned ballot images to honor "voter intent", with no paper trail (in place of the current ballot duplication process)

Any one supporting any of the above mentioned technologies or processes is explicitly opposed to election integrity and opposes the American form of democracy.

And that's just the start of the list of problems with King County's "plan".

PS- I have no idea what "voter integrity" is. Probably something Ivan just made up.

by zappini on Fri Apr 20, 2007 at 12:04:09 PM PST

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Zappini has been concerned with the integrity of the voting process for some time, although his main concern seems to have been that there be a paper trail for electronic voting.  

He also has some concerns, that I share, about the accountability of the vote-by-mail process, and wants to make sure it is at least reasonably resistant to deliberate manipulation.

I find myself wondering how any reasonable person can disagree.

Of course, a very few people in our party have actually advocated using the same techniques that the Republicans have used over the last few years.  As these techniques have apparently included manipulation of the electronic voting machines, I must suppose that these folks want us to do that too.

Therefore, Mr. Osgood (bad form, by the way, outing someone in the main post, even when the information is otherwise available) is indeed opposing those few in our party that would lie, cheat and steal elections in order to remain in power.

Some folks, even some in our party, are determined to ensure that every person voting is eligible.  If we don't take up this issue, it will continue to be a hot-button issue for the Republicans, who will use it to suppress legitimate voters.

Ivan seems to take issue with the fact that Mr. Osgood spoke at a forum that included Republicans.  One right-wing group actually promoted that forum on their web site, and named Mr. Osgood.  Horrors!

Apparently anyone that is willing to even be seen with the "enemy" becomes a "self-described 'progressive'", and should be exiled to the outer reaches.

Does ivan want to also run the rest of us that are willing to try to find common ground with conservatives out of the Democratic Party as well?

We really do seem to have members of our party that cannot abide winning, and long for the days when they could sit around listening to bad poetry and complaining about how the "establishment" was "oppressing the masses".

The rest of us would prefer to win elections and govern honestly.

by jbarelli on Sat Apr 21, 2007 at 10:03:36 AM PST

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With due respect to Ivan, Gibney, and Particle Man -- and props to Jason and Jbarelli ...

Yes EFF and the Republican Party are working hard at narrowing voting rights; sowing distrust of government, voters, and the electoral system among the public; and backing or aligning with groups like the BIAW that are profiting by undermining democracy.  

Yet, knowing that, on the unlikely chance that I were invited to speak on a panel sponsored by EFF, I would.  And I would be respectful at the forum and refrain from demonizing the organization or the people there.  It seems obvious to me that this a reasonable, logical response to being asked to speak to any group that asks to hear your perspective.

I would accept the invitation even if -- as in this case -- it was to address a subject that doesn't encourage me to voice my criticism of that group -- but to engage with them on an issue that we agree on.  The intensity of my disapproval over their actions is much higher than the intensity of my agreement with them on this particular issue.  (I happen to agree with both Jason and the EFF that 100% vote by mail is a mistake.)  But I would put aside my disapproval to engage on an area where we agree.

First, I am ready to accept that an organization that appears to be acting in bad faith on several fronts can still back a legitimate cause.  It's a complex world; such things happen.

Second, giving a talk to a group does not equal endorsement of that group.  It equals communication with people at the event.  

When you talk to a group of people, you are talking to the people, too -- not just the organization -- complex people who have minds and experiences of the world, who can change their minds based on their experiences.

I find it unlikely that most of the people who attend presentations given by this group have ill intent to undermine democracy.  There is a learning opportunity that goes in both directions.  

Would I give a talk in front of "the society to disenfranchise poor people, people of color, and other Democrats"? -- no.  So why would I give a talk in front of EFF?   What's the difference?  

The big difference (and this seems so obvious to me.. thus the "I don't get it" title of this comment) is that the people who join or engage with -- or even lead -- an organization called EFF are going to be very different from people who would lead or join an organization called "the society to disenfranchise poor people, people of color, and other Democrats".  You see the two things - EFF and Society to Disenfranchise Poor People -- as the same thing.  The people in the organizations don't see it that way.  And those people are worth connecting with on whatever level they will connect.  

by noemie maxwell on Sun Apr 22, 2007 at 09:04:32 PM PST

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