“Right now, there is not a single voting system on the market or in use anywhere in the country that meets current federal voting standards, and very few people realize it,” New York State Board of Elections Commissioner Douglas Kellner recently said.
Most New York voters will use ancient lever machines with six jillion moving parts. Here in the High Desert Outback of the American Dream, we’re stuck with uncertified electronic junkers which provide the cold comfort of a paper trail.
Anyone who saw the HBO special “Hacking Democracy” knows that the printout is an analog Band-Aid covering a digital gunshot wound.
On Sept. 28, The New York Times editorialized that “no state or locality should be using machines that have not met rigorous certification standards. The nonpartisan Government Accountability Office concluded that the Election Assistance Commission (EAC), which is in charge of certification, has improved the system, but it still identified serious problems.”
Alas and alack, The Times overlooked the most serious problem. According to the EAC, there are apparently no certified voting machines available in the United States, reinforcing Kellner’s statement. EAC’s Web site provides for a page entitled “EAC Certified Voting Systems.” The page does not exist.
These facts were additionally confirmed by a personal call to an EAC official last week by local activist Patricia Axelrod, who sued Sequoia, manufacturer of Nevada’s machines, along with the state and Washoe County in 2004.
“My goal was to ask the court to order the testing and possible fix of Nevada’s voting machines and Washoe County’s voter registration system as well as to order the state and county to conform with Nevada and Federal election laws,” Axelrod says.
Although not an attorney, Axelrod represented herself against a rogues gallery of powerful lawyers. Washoe District Judge Jerry Polaha dismissed her case stating that she lacked standing to sue. She was merely a registered voter, so what the hell.
Nevada statute requires that a system “meet or exceed standards established by the Federal Election Commission pursuant to federal law” (Nevada Revised Statutes 293B.063). The discredited and unaccredited Sequoia voting machines remain in use.
We are now a month away from a presidential election and it appears that the only legal voting method is old-fashioned pen and paper.
Good. And very, very bad in that we won’t be able to use them.
Ms. Axelrod found a way to confirm that her vote had not been counted in 2004 and presented the evidence as part of her litigation. This year, Karl Rove and his cronies are once again fanning out nationwide to prevent Democratic-leaning voters from casting their ballots. If you are denied your right to vote, demand that you be allowed to cast a provisional ballot and keep careful notes and records.
If you can prove your right to vote has been violated, you can sue for some serious money. That tends to get the attention of public officials.
You might want to review what happened to local residents Eric and Tracy Amberson for daring to want to vote in the last presidential election. See the 2004 archive at my political web site, BallotBoxing.US.
When the cure is worse than the disease
I got a piece of spam e-mail from Merck Pharmaceuticals asking “Dr. Andrew Barbano” to participate in a Web cast touting the wonders of Gardasil, the wonder drug recently promoted by the Food and Drug Administration as a cervical cancer preventative. Gardasil purportedly provides protection against the human papilloma virus (HPV).
Young girls were injected with the vaccine nationwide. At least 18 are now dead. One broke out in body-wide warts. Many suffered seizures and blood clots.
“Merck invites you to an Exclusive Live Web cast to get a firsthand look at new data and information on GARDASIL®,” my invitation read. “This exclusive Web cast will provide you with the opportunity to learn more about helping to protect against cervical cancer and other HPV-related diseases.” If I get another one, maybe I’ll put some local activists into the mix.
A Nevada organization is forming to question the likes of Gardasil and other heavily promoted vaccines. (Do a Web search on what vaccines contain, including mercury, fergawdsake.)
In the wake of 9/11 hysteria, first responders were injected with a hastily prepared smallpox vaccine. Many were sickened and several died. The vaccinated first responders and medical personnel became infectious and able to spread the disease for up to three weeks after injection. Some medical professionals fear a potential pandemic could arise from such action in the future.
Good news and bad news dept.
A federal judge in Michigan has kept in place a temporary restraining order preventing giant Comcast cable from moving its public, educational and governmental (PEG) access channels to the higher-cost, lower audience digital tier. Charter Communications is trying the same maneuver in northwestern Nevada. (See ReSurge.TV.)
In good news for Nevada, Judge Victoria Roberts ruled last Friday that federal law preempts state law regarding PEG channel placement. She is referring major portions of the case to the Federal Communications Commission. The Michigan case is the most-watched in the country as cable companies seek to destroy community television stations in order to free up bandwidth for lucrative high-definition channels. A link to Judge Roberts’ decision will be posted with this column at Barbwire.US
Mike’s militia report
Reinforcing its value as a community asset, Sierra Nevada Community Access Television (SNCAT) last week premiered Michael Moore’s new film “Slacker Uprising.”
The Oscar-winning director’s latest feature is a full-length documentary shot during Moore’s 62-city tour leading up to the 2004 election. One stop was a standing room-only speech at the University of Nevada, Reno’s Lawlor Events Center, some of which is included in the finished product.
The next broadcast comes this Saturday, Oct. 11, at 9 p.m. on Reno-Sparks-Washoe Charter cable channels 16 and 216. Watch this space and my TV show for additional run times.
Be well. Raise hell.
Andrew Barbano is a 39-year Nevadan, member of Sparks-based Communications Workers of America Local 9413/AFL-CIO, political action chair and webmaster of NAACP Reno-Sparks Branch 1112, producer of the César Chávez celebration and editor of NevadaLabor.com. As always, his comments are strictly his own. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Barbwire by Barbano has originated in the Tribune since 1988.