Sunday, August 07, 2005


Today I was officially invited to present a workshop on the Voter Confidence Resolution at the National Election Reform Conference in Portland, OR. The event begins on Friday, September 30 and goes through Sunday, October 2. Presented by the Oregon Voter Rights Coalition, the event will also feature these prominent speakers:
Honorable Jesse Jackson Jr., U.S. House of Representatives
David Cobb, 2004 Green Party Presidential Candidate
Thom Hartmann, Radio talk show host and author
Bob Koehler, nationally syndicated columnist, Tribune Media Services
Ronnie Dugger, Alliance for Democracy
Cliff Arnebeck, Ohio Honest Elections Campaign
Ellen Theisen, VotersUnite
Paul Lehto, Attorney, plaintiff in lawsuit against Sequoia Voting Systems and Snohomish County, WA
I am humbled by such company. My workshop is likely to be on Sunday. I think that's ideal as I will be aiming to send people back to their various parts of the country with the means to lead their communities in the creation of their own version of the Voter Confidence Resolution. The workshop will be somewhat of a "train the trainers." For a more thorough explanation of what I have in mind, check out the proposal that won this invitation.

A couple of dear friends also have recent achievements I want to recognize. Jeff Anbinder is a recently minted lawyer from the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law in NYC. He has been a part of the Innocence Project which is devoted to winning the freedom of people wrongly convicted and incarcerated. Thomas A. Doswell was one of Jeff's clients. After serving 19 years for a rape he did not commit, this week Doswell was released from prison. Jeff called it his "best day ever." I imagine that goes at least double for Doswell. Jeff is looking for his first full-time lawyer gig and I will gladly forward inquiries from interested parties.

Also likely to cite his best day ever, friend and mentor Aryay Kalaki married his partner Marcia Brenta today in a wonderfully non-traditional ceremony in beautiful Freshwater Park. Before the ceremony I had the good fortune to meet Herb Mills who told me several stories about his lifetime involvement with ILWU Local 10, a longshoreman's union in the Bay Area. Herb was called upon as a consultant when the Smithsonian built an exhibit on labor unions. His website has articles and essays containing the captivating stories I heard today plus many more.

There were also two broader, more general achievements I followed today. See this thread from Democratic Underground for real time reporting on the Atlanta rally for voting rights. The black caucus was strong and several members of Congress said point blank that the last two elections were stolen. Buried in that thread is this link to another real time accounting of the peace march to Crawford, TX. Pictures show Humboldt VFP member Gordon Soderberg as well as Dennis Kyne. The real story is Cindy Sheehan, mother of a soldier killed in Iraq and spokesperson for Gold Star Families for Peace. She is demanding a meeting with Mr. Bush at his ranch. It sounds like her troop of roughly 50 have marched to within four miles on a road with checkpoints and limited access. She had a great quote: "This is the beginning of the end of the occupation of Iraq."

It is getting harder and harder to believe that we have not yet reached the Tipping Point at which this administration collapses.

* * *

Workshop proposal for National Election Reform Conference in Portland, OR
The Voter Confidence Resolution: Coordinating Local Strategy For National Election Reform

It would be very helpful to read the Voter Confidence Resolution (VCR) template before evaluating this proposal:

The following summarizes the three key frames presented in the VCR:

1. Current election conditions ensure inconclusive outcomes and thus there is no basis for confidence in the results reported from U.S. federal elections.

2. The VCR contains a comprehensive election reform platform designed to ensure conclusive outcomes and create a new basis for confidence in the results reported from U.S. federal elections.

3. Since the Consent of the Governed is not being sought, we ask: Has the Consent of the Governed been withdrawn, YET?

As workshop leader I will facilitate development of two bullet point lists: known election problems, and necessary reforms. These two lists enable creation of a VCR patterned after the template in the GuvWurld blog. The three key frames above introduce the context and strategy for promoting this message to City Councils across America.

This exercise serves two purposes:

1. To show how any group can be led through a consensus building process of compiling a statement similar to the existing VCR.

2. To present a paradigm in which election reform can catalyze peaceful revolution.

The VCR template is meant to be customized in communities across the country while still maintaining the three key frames above. Pursuit on the local level will require teach-ins and other bridge-building outreach that will cause healing of partisan divides. United communities are in a strong position to approach their City Council. Since members of local government are typically more accessible than those on a state or national level, and since local leaders are most easily held accountable, the City Council is the lowest hanging fruit, the easiest target to approach for support of the VCR.

Each Council that passes the VCR is strengthening the backbone of the movement to restore the people’s' right to own and oversee elections. Each Council would also be promoting a new national dialog focused on creating a new basis for confidence in U.S. federal elections. Part of that will be reconciling slightly different versions of the VCR's comprehensive election reform platform. The future shape of elections, if not the country, will emerge from the communication among this network of communities.

With key frame #3, we have built a mechanism for cumulative impact. This comes from an attitude of "not if, but when"”; it is an assumption that after some number of resolutions have passed, the answer to the question switches from NO, to YES, the Consent of the Governed HAS been withdrawn. This represents a tipping point at which we have a tangible shift in the balance of power between the government and We The People. This is revolutionary.

This workshop is ideal for leaders of small election reform groups, especially those whose identities are not tied to a single reform. It is also well-suited for local politicians and unaffiliated individuals.



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