Re: The ACLU "interim" statement on DREs

From: David Mertz <voting-project_at_gnosis_dot_cx>
Date: Mon Aug 02 2004 - 11:17:37 CDT

On Aug 2, 2004, at 11:55 AM, Barbara Simons wrote:
> Since some people asked me about the ACLU and Barry Steinhardt, below
> is the ACLU "interim" statement on DREs.

FWIW, way back maybe last September (check the archives for date, if
you want, I'm sure I posted something about it), I went to an ACLU
dinner in Boston. The keynote speaker was former ACLU director (or
president, or something... I forget how they assign titles), Ira
Glasser.

Glasser was right on target. His speech warned of three threats to
democracy in the USA: (1) Gerrymandered districts; (2) Racially-biased
felon-disenfranchisement lists[*]; (3) What he somewhat incorrectly
called "touch screen voting." Despite the wrong term, very much
Glasser got the point of the danger in DREs.

To my own slightly ego-driven satisfaction, in making small talk with
the Harvard and BU law professors at my table, I told them about my
involvement with the then-new Open Voting Consortium (or maybe still
only EVM2003). They were a little mystified why I was talking about
such a peculiar and arcane technical topic that they were not familiar
with... then the keynote speaker addressed the very same thing.

It's too bad that Romero and Strossen do not seem quite as
well-informed on the DRE issues as the past ACLU leader is. But
obviously, if Glasser is saying it at keynotes, there's hope for ACLU
consensus moving where it should be.

Yours, David...

[*] FWIW, Glasser's point--which I 100% agree with--was not simply that
the disenfranchisement lists contain database errors (though they do,
especially in Florida). Rather, the nature of the felon-exclusion
varies greatly between states: some don't do it at all; others for
varying types of felonies, and wildly different time-frames after
conviction/sentence-completion. Largely, these differences follow the
Mason-Dixon line. Despite what has been "naturalized", the
Constitution certainly has mandate to stop felons (or even actual
prisoners) from voting. Given the broad racial bias in arrest,
charges, and conviction rates, implementing felon-exclusion laws adds a
bias to elections.
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Received on Tue Aug 31 23:17:01 2004

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