Monday, November 12, 2007

Secure Accurate Elections November Newsletter

The following is the November newsletter of Secure Accurate Elections, a Southern California based, election integrity advocacy group that I think does great work to ensure ethics and transparency in our election process. If you like what you see, you can sign up for their once a month newsletter right here.



A. Meetings With San Diego Registrar of Voters Deborah Seiler

On November 8,. 2007 SAE representatives met with Ms. Seiler to discuss how votes are purged from the active voter lists and how absentee ballots are handled by the Registrar of Voters Office. The notes from this meeting will be posted soon on our website and we will be sending out a separate email regarding this meeting.

Secure Accurate Elections has been part of a group of concerned citizens meeting with Deborah Seiler since June of this year. SAE has also meet with Ms. Seiler twice to discuss topics of concern to election integrity. Notes from SAE’s meeting with Deborah Seiler on June 29, 2007 are already posted at SAE.

B. BlackWater Coming to San Diego County? SAE Will Be Observing the Potrero /Blackwater Election

This December 11, there will be an all mail in recall election in Potrero, a tiny rural town east of San Diego. The recall calls for the removal of five members of the Potrero Planning Group who voted to approve a paramilitary training center operated by the private security firm Blackwater USA. There are about 450 votes in Potrero and the election will be all mail in and hand counted at the Registrar of Voters offices. Secure Accurate Elections will have representatives at the hand count which will take place on election night beginning at 8:00 pm. A second hand count will take place the next morning which will also be observed by members of SAE and other election integrity groups

C. Will Federal Legislation to Protect Voters Be In Place for 2008?

Secure Accurate Elections has a list of election integrity bills that are currently in various committees and have not been brought to the floor for a vote. Time is running out on any legislation that will affect the November 2008 election.

We urge everyone to look at the legislation listed at

Please sign the petition that says the House of Representative should Vote to Amend Holt's HR 811, or Vote No.

Sign a petition in support of Senator Obama’s bill S. 453 to prohibit deceptive practices in Federal elections.

For other petitions to sign see our website.

2. Controversial California Ballot Initiative Is Back (Like A Bad Meal, the Electoral College Initiative Signature Gathering is Back and What's Being Done About It!)

Remember the electoral college ballot initiative in California? The one that would change the state's method of allocating electoral votes from winner-take-all to a congressional district-based approach? It’s back!

There are paid signature gatherers out there thanks to the infusion of money by big donors such as Representative Darrell Issa. There are reports that some of these signature gatherers are misrepresenting the initiative using unscrupulous methods to get people to sign.

California Democrats have set up a hot line to call if you see anyone collecting signatures. They will send volunteers to the site to explain how this initiative will really affect California. The number to call is 916-442-5707.

Although SAE is a non-partisan group, we do believe in fairness and telling both sides of an argument. Therefore, we would encourage you to call and report the paid collecting of signatures for this initiative which we feel would put California at a disadvantage during presidential elections. Although some Republicans may think this will help get their candidate elected this November, they should remember that unfair practices may come back to haunt them should they ever be in the reverse position.

To quote the North County Times Editorial of November 6, 2007, “ California’s gerrymandered congressional districts are hardly the place one should start on a high road to electoral reform. Districts drawn by incumbent politicians to protect their constituencies are an affront to good governance, much less democracy, and the evidence is entrenched in Sacramento.

Even the North County Times Editorial staff think this is a bad idea. Deep pockets, shallow thinking

Read More:
Controversial California ballot initiative may still live

The dirty trick initiative appears to have some new life.

California Recall Financier Issa Backs Electoral Plan (Update1)

Issa boosts electoral measure

Legal Challenge On Electoral Change: Democrats Say Initiative Violates U.S. Constitution and Vow A Suit To Fight It.

The Story Behind the Revival of the California Electoral College Scheme and the Dots That Connect to the Giuliani Campaign.

A quiet but important initiative

3. New Senate Bill ( S. 2295) Strives to Protect American Voters)

Senator Bill Nelson of Florida introduced a bill on November 1, 2007. Nelson’s bill would require all voting machines to produce a voter-verified paper trail by next year’s presidential election and provides up to $1 billion for states to use for new voting equipment. The bill would phase out the use of touch-screen voting machines in federal elections by 2012.

Nelson’s bill would be the first to seek a ban on electronic touch screen voting machines in federal benedictions nationwide. More specifically, the bill says:

  • A voter-verified paper ballot must be produced for every vote cast, beginning with the November 2008 elections.
  • Direct recording electronic voting machines may not be used in federal elections, beginning in 2012.
  • Routine random audits must be conducted by hand count in 3 percent of the precincts in all federal elections.
  • An arms-length relationship is established between test labs and voting-machine vendors.

Read More:

Congress Gets New Election Bill To Ban Controversial Machines:

Bill To Ban DRE (Touch Screen) Voting Machines (

Nelson Bill

4. Fair Elections Action Week - Nov. 12-16

The Fair Elections Action Week is coming up! People who care about clean and fair elections are taking action now so that we can show Congress that Americans want an end to pay-to-play politics.

We are closer than ever to cleaning up Washington. The Fair Elections Now Act is gaining support in the Senate and we anticipate the introduction of the companion bill in the House to happen very soon! A voluntary system of public funding for congressional elections would allow members of Congress to serve without taking huge sums of special interest money. Elections should be about voters, not campaign cash.
Visit this website to see what you can do to help.

5. An Interesting Website To Check Out:

The National Campaign for Fair Elections is an Initiative of the Voting Rights Project of the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.

The goal of the National Campaign is to foster a national movement committed to ensuring that all voters have an equal opportunity to cast a meaningful ballot. To that end, NCFFE leads Election Protection - the nation's largest non-partisan voter protection coalition including the Lawyers' Committee, the National Bar Association, the NAACP, and the People for the American Way Foundation. Through our hotline and a dedicated army of volunteers we help tens of thousands of voters access the polls and overcome the obstacles to the ballot box.
National Campaign Website

6. What! Diebold Admits to a Mistake? Diebold/Premier Admits Memory Card Failure On Popular Optical-Scan Voting.

BradBlog’s guest writer John Gideon of wrote that “Saturday's Daytona Beach News-Journal reports that Diebold Election Systems, now having renamed itself Premier Election Solutions, has admitted that some of its 25,000 optical scan voting machines used in Florida and elsewhere across the nation may have a problem that causes memory card failures during elections.”

Read More Here:
Diebold/Premier Admits Memory Card Failure On Popular Optical-Scan Voting Machines

Survey contradicts vote machine firm's failure rate claim

7. Support S. 453 - A Bill To Prohibit Deceptive Practices In Federal Elections By Senator Barack Obama.

This piece of legislation would prescribe criminal penalties for deceptive practices in federal elections. It makes a person who deliberately prevents another person from exercising the right to vote an essential element of the offence. The last action taken on this bill was on October 4, 2007 when it was placed on the Senate Legislative Calendar. Sign the National Campaign for Fair Elections petition to support the Deceptive Practices and Voter Intimidation Prevention Act.

8. Measure That Would Prohibit 'Voter Supression' Tactics Introduced in Senate

A press release from Sen. John Kerry's (D-MA) office announcing the new bill is posted in full below. "The practice of 'caging' is reprehensible and has absolutely no place in our democracy," Kerry says in the statement. "Here in America, every citizen, regardless of race, gender, religion or sexual orientation has the right to cast his or her vote. These are the very foundations of our democracy and this bill will ensure that we protect fundamental freedoms for millions of voters across our country."

In addition to Kerry, the original co-sponsors of the legislation include Senators Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Russ Feingold (D-Wis.), Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Barack Obama (D-Ill.), Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), and Chris Dodd (D-Conn.)
Vote Caging Bill

9. Concern Over Elections Makes The Main Media

Here are some articles that appeared recently in main media magazines. The public is becoming more aware of the problems with electronic voting and the big money that has taken over our election system.

Dialing For Dollars (Newsweek)

Voting Out E-Voting Machines (Time)

10. Tyranny Of A Tiny Minority!

Using Census figures, Geoghegan discovers that the 11 percent of Americans living in the least populated states have enough Senate votes — 41 — to sustain a filibuster. Yes, 89 percent of the population may support a policy, but 11 percent of the population has the senators to block that policy's enactment. When you go further than Geoghegan and consider the election-focused mindset of politicians, you see the situation is even more absurd.

Read the article here.


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