Sunday, November 20, 2005

Arizona Democrats Grow Ovaries, Balls, and a Spine

At the AZ Democratic Party Committee Meetings yesterday in Tucson a miraculous transformation occurred. Women grew ovaries, men grew balls, and several slumped figures straightened with regenerated spines.

The Democrats supported a resolution submitted by Sherry Bohlen, State Committee Member from District 8 - Maricopa County to: Resolution Demanding an Inquiry of Iraq War Abuses. That one speaks for itself and unanimously passed,

Because of the amazing loaves and fish performances of voting machines (precincts with hundreds of registered voters recording thousands of votes) in various locations during the last few elections, a lot of folks now know that there are some very serious flaws with the current electronics and mechanics of our voting system. Rev. Gerry Straatemeier introduced the Resolution For Public Oversity and Transparency of Arizona Elections to Block Purchase of DRE Voting Machines. Lively discussion and significant support were initially forthcoming from the floor. Then a single voice forwarded an ammendment that would have sent the resolution to committee. At that point things livened up quite a lot! Shouting, gesturing, and disgruntled murmuring erupted and after some rather less than adept handling of parlimentary procedure that amendment was soundly voted down and the discussion of the resolution as submitted was then soundly supported by an impressively aubible majority.

It is good to see progressive folks in significant numbers at such events -- without them it would probably be business as usual. Folks from No More Deaths/No Mas Muertes as well as CODEPINK Tucson and CODEPINK Phoenix were there working the crowds.

The stated concern with the amendment was that too many issues were addressed in the resolution that (paraphrased -- very long document...) stated that because:
  • AZ Democrats support the fundamental right to vote
  • the pivotal juncture this time presents
  • the HAVA Act requires a permanent paper record, and that the voter is provided with opportunity to change or correct any error before the permanent record is produced and the paper record will be available as an official record for any recount
  • AZ has laws that prevent required hand counts
  • the Secretary of State has consolidated partisan privatized control of elections in AZ and violated HAVA
  • the GAO has reported that concerns about electronic voting have been realized in recent elections with the loss and miscount of votes
  • electronic voting equipment is inherently subject to programming error, equipment malfunction and malicious tampering
  • Secretary of State has opposed amendments requiring paper ballots
  • and that she deceptively brought forth representatives of the blind community who stated that paper ballot would disnfranchise the blind
  • suppressed another vendor option with paper ballot production better met have and the needs of the entire disabled community
  • she has failed to post required lists for decertification of machines
  • she has refused to release such a list
  • she has developed no procedure to decertify machines in Maricopa County demonstrated to have an 18.3% error rate
  • she is using a media campaign to attempt to squelch legal action rather than addressing the problems brought to light by the lawsuit
  • she has failed to provid the transparent election evaluation procedure required by law
  • she promotes private vendor meetings with state and county election officials without public representation
  • she has canceled public meetings called to find out who serves on the state certification committee and postponed meetings with vendors other than Diebold
  • Florida and other states report unexpected financial consequenced integrating Diebold systems with other systems
that the AZ Democratic Party (and officials) will pursue every option to:
  • work to be sure 2006 elections are transparent, auditable, and will restore voter confidence
  • advocate for public oversight and ownership of elections that will protect voting from fraud (security breaches) and machine error
  • will support legislation to require voter verified paper ballots, require hand counted audits of randomly selected precincts
  • improve reports, auditing and certification of equipment
  • act to hold the Secretary of State accountable for actions that demonstrate a lack of transparency and to challenge state contracts to Diebold for DRE machines
  • demand state contracts awards require vendors to upgrade to Hava Standards
  • compel SoS to produce written decertification standards and immediately decertify faulty voting equipment
  • sponsor public forums to expose flaws of electronic voting, examine adverse consequence of "blended voting systems," discover hidden costs associated with training poll workers to implement a dual voting system, evaluate certification/decertification standards set by the SoS, educate the public to participate in public oversight of county board of elections
  • work with representatives of disability advocacy groups to ensure voting systems are HAVA compliant for the widest variety of diabilities
Usually I find such lengthy documents to be nap inducing, but when we are talking about the "Katherine Harris" of Arizona who was one of the several SoS's with glaring conflicts of interest in that they helped to run State Republican Campaigns while also supposedly overseeing the impartiality of elections in that same state.

This issue deserves a lot more coverage in corporate media than it has received -- so I guess it is up to citizen and indy media to get the issue out there -- so Democrats can't react to chill temperatures by shrivelling up.

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