Friday, July 29, 2005

Election Reform 2005

The title of this post is a lie. There has been no election reform in 2005.

Why hasn't there been any significant or even insignificant election reform in 2005?

Not enough people have demanded it.

I don't think we can blame Congress for this; many Democrats such as Rep. John Conyers, Senator John Kerry, and Senator Hillary Clinton have spoken out about the urgent need for it.

Why not ask the Blogpac bloggers?

The Blogpac bloggers have not only hardly blogged at all about the pressing need for significant election reform, they've also done their damnedest to hurt the movement by calling us tin foil heads and worse.

But now the Blogpac bloggers want their readers to contribute money to a candidate in Ohio running for Congress. The candidate, Paul Hackett, is someone that deserves support. He's fought for this country in a war that he didn't support, and he's right there on most of the issues that liberals and progressives care about such as social security, abortion rights, and affordable healthcare.

But will these same Blogpac bloggers still be blogging about Paul Hackett if the same sort of stuff that happened in November of 2004 happens again in August of 2005?

Paul Hackett is running for Congress in District 2 of Ohio. District 2 of Ohio contains parts of Warren County, including Lebanon, Ohio.

Do you remember Warren County?

That's where the lockdown occurred on election night in 2004. On December 2nd, 2004, Congressman Conyers wrote a letter to Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell which partially focussed on the Warren County lockdown:

"On election night, Warren County locked down its administration building and barred reporters from observing the counting. When that decision was questioned, County officials claimed they were responding to a terrorist threat that ranked a "10" on a scale of 1 to 10, and that this information was received from an FBI agent. Despite repeated requests, County officials have declined to name that agent, however, and the FBI has stated that they had no information about a terror threat in Warren County. Your office has stated that it does not know of any other county that took these drastic measures."

"In addition to these contradictions, Warren County officials have given conflicting accounts of when the decision was made to lock down the building. While the County Commissioner has stated that the decision to lockdown the building was made during an October 28 closed-door meeting, emailed memos - dated October 25 and 26 - indicate that preparations for the lockdown were already underway."

"This lockdown must be viewed in the context of the aberrational results in Warren County. In the 2000 Presidential election, the Democratic Presidential candidate, Al Gore, stopped running television commercials and pulled resources out of Ohio weeks before the election. He won 28% of the vote in Warren County. In 2004, the Democratic Presidential candidate, John Kerry, fiercely contested Ohio and independent groups put considerable resources into getting out the Democratic vote. Moreover, unlike in 2000, independent candidate Ralph Nader was not on the Ohio ballot in 2004. Yet, the tallies reflect John Kerry receiving exactly the same percentage in Warren County as Gore received, 28%."

"We hope you agree that transparent election procedures are vital to public confidence in electoral results. Moreover, such aberrant procedures only create suspicion and doubt that the counting of votes was manipulated. As part of your decision to certify the election, we hope you have investigated these concerns and found them without merit. To assist us in reaching a similar conclusion, we ask the following":

1. "Have you, in fact, conducted an investigation of the lockdown? What procedures have you or would you recommend be put into place to avoid a recurrence of this situation?"

2. "Have you ascertained whether County officials were advised of terrorist activity by an FBI agent and, if so, the identity of that agent?"

3. "If County officials were not advised of terrorist activity by an FBI agent, have you inquired as to why they misrepresented this fact? If the lockdown was not as a response to a terrorist threat, why did it take place? Did any manipulation of vote tallies occur?"

We still don't have answers to those questions. The Blogpac bloggers certainly haven't been any help in getting answers because they refuse to blog about it!

Why do they refuse to blog about it?

Got me.

Perhaps Bob Brigham knows the answer to that, since he seems to be the man that the Blogpac bloggers all swarm around, and he's been involved with the "There Is No Crisis" campaign and the bloggers' political action committee, itself (two other questions: why don't most of the bloggers in Blogpac carry disclaimers on their blogs which mention their involvement in a political action committee, and why don't the bloggers mention that sometimes their blog posts are coordinated around Blogpac conference calls?).

Bob Brigham recently celebrated Blogosphere Day on July 19th. Blogosphere Day has nothing to do with the work so many bloggers do in reporting on politics and the media or conducting original research and breaking original stories. No. Blogosphere Day is all about getting readers to contribute money to the Democrat Party. And many Blogpac bloggers celebrated Blogosphere Day by collecting more money for candidates such as Paul Hackett: MyDD, Eschaton, and AmericaBlog.

I don't know. It seems stupid to me.

The Blogpac bloggers have done nothing to bring about significant election reform but they want your money.

But we probably have nothing to worry about in the second district of Ohio. I'm sure there won't be any chance that fraud or disenfranchisement will take place during the August election.

Why do I say this? Because the candidate that Hackett is trying to replace said it about the last election (The Enquirer):

"Rep. Rob Portman, R-Terrace Park, a friend of Bush, said no election is perfect. But there was no widespread fraud in Ohio. "I know. I was there," he said."

There's at least one Republican that is concerned about our election system: Jim March, who is a member of the board of directors of Black Box Voting.

On July 26th, Jim March got himself arrested for "trying to observe the Diebold central tabulator (vote tallying machine) as the votes were being counted in San Diego's mayoral election": link.

Some people might think that Jim March was just trying to draw attention to himself (and Black Box Voting), and that his action was a foolish publicity stunt. Jim March responds to those accusations and explains his actions at the Black Box Voting Website: link.

I'm not 100 percent sure that I agree with Jim March's actions, but I am glad that it's not just Democrats and third party members that are concerned about our election system.

It's too bad that the partisan Blogpac bloggers don't share those concerns.


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