Wednesday, June 29, 2005

A Big Day For Voter Confidence

Another quick reminder about the VCC event happening tonight (6/29) at the Redwood Peace and Justice Center in Arcata, CA starting at 6pm.

Also today, the Green Party's 2004 Presidential Candidate David Cobb is scheduled to present the Voter Confidence Resolution at the Election Assessment Hearing in Houston. This is a prelude to tomorrow's sham event put on by the Baker-Carter Election Reform Commission. In solidarity with, GuvWurld requests that you use this link to sound off to the B-C commission about the real election reform work happening through the Voter Confidence Resolution.

Last but FAR, FAR, FAR from least, the following GuvWurld essay was published today in this week's Humboldt Advocate.

Has the Consent of the Governed Been Withdrawn, YET?

Imagine it is November 8, 2005, the day California will hold Governor Schwarzenegger's special initiatives election. Voters are queued up awaiting their turn to cast a ballot. One by one the constituents approach the celebrity politician and whisper in his ear. At the end of the day, Arnold tells us the outcome. That is neither practical nor reliable, though it is strongly analogous to the private source code and secret vote counting prevalent in recent American elections.

Roughly 30% of the votes cast in last November's general election did not create a paper record. That means the votes were not verifiable and could not be recounted. That also means the so-called "irregularities" cannot be reconciled. So when an election machine loses data or counts backwards or registers more votes than there are registered voters, we have an inherent uncertainty about the results reported. Our elections are conducted under conditions that ensure inconclusive outcomes.

Many people clearly understand these systemic problems yet persist in data analysis and endless debate about election fraud. However strong the evidence may be, this is not an effective election reform tactic because it necessarily exacerbates partisan tension. It should not be surprising for election systems to be designed for ambiguity. Such conditions can be relied upon for polarizing controversy, which is to the advantage of those in power and detrimental to the rest of us.

The reforms we need are all systemic, just like the problems we must address. Thus, the point more important than fraud is: Because inconclusive results, by definition, mean that the true outcome of an election cannot be known, there is no basis for confidence in the results reported from U.S. federal elections. Do not accept the arbitrary argument from someone attempting to claim they still maintain confidence. Insist on understanding their basis for such confidence. You have the means to illustrate that no basis for confidence exists.

In order to repair our election process we must ensure conclusive outcomes and create a new basis for confidence. How can we accept anything less?

Clearly this is all easier said than done. Many worthwhile reforms have been proposed and it is important to note that no single one of them will ensure conclusive outcomes and create a basis for confidence all on its own. This will require a comprehensive election reform platform such as the list below, found in the Voter Confidence Resolution:

1) voting processes owned and operated entirely in the public domain, and
2) clean money laws to keep all corporate funds out of campaign financing, and
3) a voter verified paper ballot for every vote cast and additional uniform standards determined by a non-partisan nationally recognized commission, and
4) declaring election day a national holiday, and
5) counting all votes publicly and locally in the presence of citizen witnesses and credentialed members of the media, and
6) equal time provisions to be restored by the media along with a measurable increase in local, public control of the airwaves, and
7) presidential debates containing a minimum of three candidates, run by a non-partisan commission comprised of representatives of publicly owned media outlets, and
8) preferential voting and proportional representation to replace the winner-take-all system for federal elections

Notice these are all systemic changes that do not reflect a partisan skew at all. In my view, partisanship has too often been put before the greater good. This is treason. Bi-partisanship is also problematic. This is where the two parties openly rather than covertly collaborate under the guise of competition. This is the death of ideas.

To eventually realize all these changes would reflect a re-birth of ideas and a new free market within which they can compete. May the best ideas win. May the people's voices be heard. And when the day comes that our voices are again heard, where previously they had been silenced, this will be a revolutionary shift in the balance of power between the Government and We the People.

What will it take for the phrase "peaceful revolution" to become socially acceptable? If each of us asks this question of one or two other people, pretty soon the answer will be obvious.

The Voter Confidence Resolution explains that the Consent of the Governed is not being sought. Universal disenfranchisement through privatized corporate elections is but one proof. We the People did not authorize suspension of the Constitution such that citizens are now subject to arrest without charge or access to an attorney. Nobody asked us if pollution for profit could trump sustaining the environment for future generations. And consider that we have no say in how our federal budget dollars are spent, even though this impacts many aspects of our local economy. During the first American revolution patriots in revolt decried "taxation without representation." This is not different.

It must be clear that the U.S. federal government is acting with the implied Consent of the Governed, only because we have not stood up to acknowledge that if they don't honestly seek our Consent they shall not have it. That's the point we're at. The peaceful move of revolutionary caliber--capable of causing the balance of power to shift between Government and We the People--is simply to ask other communities to consider the Voter Confidence Resolution and the question: Has the Consent of the Governed been withdrawn, YET?

The Arcata City Council has scheduled a hearing on the Voter Confidence Resolution on its July 6 agenda. Read the full text here:



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