Re: The ACLU "interim" statement on DREs

From: Barbara Simons <simons_at_acm_dot_org>
Date: Tue Aug 03 2004 - 11:48:36 CDT


I'm glad to hear that Glasser gets it. It would be nice if he would talk
with Steinhardt, but from what I can tell, that hasn't happened - or it
hasn't mattered.

There are many other people in the ACLU who also get it, for example folks
in Miami-Dade and New York State. The problem, I think, is at or near the
top of the organization - together with the fact that there are very few
people with technical expertise in high leadership roles within the ACLU.


On 8/2/04 9:17, "David Mertz" <> wrote:

> 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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