Two opeds for you

From: Nancy Tobi <nancy_dot_tobi_at_gmail_dot_com>
Date: Fri Jun 29 2007 - 22:12:48 CDT


Chicken Little

I've lately been advised by a friend that I am beginning to sound like
Chicken Little, because I've been talking and writing a lot about this piece
of federal election reform legislation called the Holt Bill, or HR811.

I've been told to ease up on the doom and gloom scenarios associated with
the bill. I admire and respect this person and take his advice to heart.

But I told him that maybe instead of saying, "Oh, that Nancy. What a
lunatic. She's on a crusade. She just won't shut up" he might not only take
notice of the sky falling, but take some action by calling our NH
Congressional delegation and tell them to cease and desist from giving their
support to HR811.

Let me spell it out as best I can, in the simplest of terms.

I won't talk about the bill shifting power from the American people to the
White House, changing forever the nature of our current constitutional
system of representational democracy.

I won't go into its enacting secret vote counting into federal law. Perhaps
federalizing secret vote counting in the United States of America does not
concern everyone too much.

I won't mention that the bill won't create meaningful change for the
nation's 2008 elections, because it's been corrupted into a corporate dream,
leaving our 2008 elections even more vulnerable to wholesale fraud and

And I will not bore you with the details of our very workable alternate
legislation, which, if our NH Congressional reps would sponsor as a
substitute or alternate bill, *would *enact meaningful change to protect the
nation's election integrity for 2008 and provide a foundation on which we
can build in the future to really clean up our elections.

*Let me just tell you the costs of HR811 - the Holt Bill - to New Hampshire.
Maybe this will spur you to pick up the phone and call your representative.

Rumor has it that the House is planning to bring this ghastly bill to a vote
the week of July 9th.

NH Representative Hodes has disregarded recommendations to oppose the bill
from every corner of the Granite State: from NH Secretary Bill Gardner, the
Fair Elections Committee, and the NH Association of City and Town Clerks.
Hodes continues to be a cosponsor of HR811.

NH Representative Shea Porter, although seriously engaged on a very high
level in this debate, has still not taken a position on it.


Conservative estimates for the financial costs of HR811* to NH alone *run
as high as *$3 million each year for the next 20 years.* These costs will
be borne by the property tax payers of this state because HR811 is vastly
under funded.

In fact, nobody in Congress has even attempted to scope out the real
financial costs to the states.

And because it is positioned as a civil rights bill, Congress has no
accountability under the unfunded mandate law.

Additionally, the complex and broad reaching - limitless, in fact - mandates
of the bill will turn our trusted NH election system on its head. Unlike the
Help America Vote Act (HAVA), which provided a state plan process so states
could interpret the law's requirements, and which provided a "safe harbor"
mechanism, wherein states could comply and be protected from lawsuits, HR
811 simply lays out broad and deep requirements with no state plan process,
no safe harbor, leaving interpretation of the bill's requirements to be
thrown to the courts.
If you need to be reminded of how the courts handle interpretation of
democratic election processes, just remember Florida 2000. *

So unlike HAVA, where we could comply with the law, but not change the way
we vote in NH, under HR 811 everything will change.


Because the only way for our state to avoid lawsuits and to prove we are in
compliance with the bill from date of its passage to forever, will be to
follow the federal voting system standards developed by the Election
Assistance Commission. This is a white house agency - the president's four
cronies - who sit around designing high tech voting systems for the nation.
They have now started dabbling in paper ballot system design and control as

Voting systems designed by the Commission meet every possible contingency
and requirement for disability access and multilingual interpretation. The
president's friends, who Holt would have controlling the nation's voting
systems, have not yet produced a price tag for their moon shuttle voting
system designs, but conservative estimates easily place an EAC-designed
voting system at a minimum of $20-30K per machine.

For every polling place, every town and city ward, in New Hampshire.

Even Dixville Notch, with its 19 or so voters.

And that is just phase one of their program. In another 2-3 years phase two
kicks in, and we'll have to purchase all new systems to be in compliance.

Is the sky falling? I'll let you decide.

Ready to call your rep?



 *Congress about to "Just say yes" to Permanent Secret Vote Counting*

Centralized control of voting is a form of tyranny, pure and simple. Joseph
Stalin is said to have explained why: "Those who cast the votes decide
nothing. Those who count the votes decide everything."

*Meet the New Boss *

Congress is about to pass an election "reform" bill, HR811 (the Holt Bill).
The bill will enshrine secret computerized vote counting, controlled by the
White House.

The Holt bill would tempt the likes of the late Mayor Daley of Chicago and
vote villain Boss Tweed of New York City's Tammany Hall.

How will our modern vote villains resist?

A "yes" vote on the Holt bill allows the federal government to erect an
impenetrable wall between American voters and their votes. It will lock in
secret vote-counting technology owned by corporations. The public will be
shut out for good.

That's why our NH Secretary State, the NH City and Town Clerks Association,
and the DFNH Fair Elections Committee all oppose the bill.

They're not alone.

National organizations for the chief voting officials in all 50 states,
state legislators, and the nation's counties all oppose the Holt bill. There
are more than 100 national and regional voting rights groups who oppose the
bill as well.

So, why is Congressman Paul Hodes (D-NH) a cosponsor of the Holt bill? And,
why is Congresswoman Carol Shea Porter (D-NH) undecided on the issue?

Lobbyists like Common Cause are promoting HR811 to "get it straight by
2008". But HR811 is primarily drafted for a 2010 effective date. It will
never protect our 2008 elections.

Grassroots activists have drafted a simple bill that really can make a
difference for 2008. They need a Congressional sponsor but have yet to find
any takers.

Congress is stuck on HR811, dangerous flaws and all.

*"Power Corrupts. Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely"*

The Help America Vote Act, passed in 2002, created the Election Assistance
Commission. This shadow White House agency, four presidential appointees,
wields total control over voting system standards. They design the
computerized voting machines, and even the paper ballots, used in our
nation's elections.

HR811 cements voting system control in the hands of the president, shifting
the balance of power in elections from the citizenry to The Commission.

This is a complete reversal of the founders' vision of dispersed power.

American Revolutionaries rose in opposition to centralized power and wrote
our Constitution to ensure dispersed power, checks and balances, and respect
for the citizenry. The founders knew they needed to limit human
inclinations to abuse power when a very few are given control over the many.

HR811 makes The Commission a permanent fixture in government: one president
appointing four Commissioners with absolute control of our elections.

The American people need to think carefully about this.

HR811 gives the Commissioners broad reaching powers. They will be the
"deciders" on selecting precincts for election audits. They will control
and own all information related to our voting systems, election results, and
audits. They will define all standards and e-voting equipment. The states,
our state, will have to report to the Commission to have our election
results certified. And our elections will become more complex and
computerized, assuring citizens less and less access to the process.

*The Money Trail*

It's always instructive to follow the money in hard fought political
battles, as NH Secretary Gardner recently reminded us.

One of the strongest champions of HR811 is an organization called
VoteTrustUSA. This "grassroots" organization has ties to one of the
nation's largest "data consolidation" companies, ChoicePoint. Remember
them? They helped Katherine Harris purge the Florida 2000 voter
registration rolls. Nearly 100,000 registered American voters were denied
their right to vote for what journalist Greg Palast called the crime of
"voting while black." Palast claims the denied vote and not hanging chads
is what really cost Gore that election.

Last summer the Atlanta Progressive News reported that the wife of
ChoicePoint's CEO Doug Curling has contributed money to VTUSA. Doug Curling
confirmed to Bev Harris of Black Box Voting that his wife Donna is a VTUSA
donor "and probably a board member". Donna Curling also had participated in
leadership groups under an assumed name. She remains involved with this
grassroots group, which now has a full time Washington lobbyist working for
passage of the Holt bill.

Why would a grassroots election reform organization have these ties to

*Absolute Power: The Marriage of Federal and Corporate Power*

A corporation like ChoicePoint, combined with the Commission, would have
one-stop shopping control over our elections. The Commission controls the
voting systems and all information relating to elections everywhere in the

All the data consolidation company needs to do is overlay their vast
demographic and other election data maps over a map of our nation, put
together their game plan, and they'll own every election.

They succeeded in Florida. HR811, the Holt Bill, gives them the nation.


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Received on Sat Jun 30 23:17:04 2007

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