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On 27th November there was a seminar at the Athens Polytechnic, organized by OI.KI.A., the Athens Ecological Movement, in association with the Greek Social Forum, on climate change in the Arctic, with news from the internal political front in the USA. I was invited to send message. It was also posted on Yahoo. L
This is a re-posting of the Lynn Landes address, plus some reactions:
VOTING INTEGRITY UNDER ASSAULT IN AMERICA
I would like to thank the Greek Social Forum for giving me the
opportunity to address the 3rd Panhelladic Conference. My name is
Lynn Landes and I am a freelance journalist. For several years I've
written articles about environmental issues. Like many Americans, I
am extremely concerned about how pollution is affecting our health
and the planet. However, the majority of American politicians seem
unconcerned or out-of-touch with this and other important social
It is not only a frustrating state-of-affairs, but it is also very
perplexing one. Millions of Americans have marched in
demonstrations protesting free trade agreements, U.S. military
aggression, and the theft of the 2000 presidential election.
Guaranteed health care, environmental protection, and a living wage
are all widely supported. Some of our most popular cultural icons
are black, gay, or lesbian. However, our politicians are more
conservative and less diverse than at any time in memory.
It doesn't add up. What's going on? It's important we find out.
After all, if we can't get progressive politicians elected to public
office, much of our efforts at promoting one cause or another, will
Perhaps, the source of the problem is America's corporate-owned news
media. They routinely distort the news, putting a conservative spin
on the important issues of the day. This leaves many Americans
uninformed and confused. Perhaps, that's why conservative
Republicans are winning so many elections. Perhaps, there is a
silent majority who don't march in the streets, but do vote at the
Or, perhaps, there is a more sinister reason for the Republicans
winning streak. Perhaps elections in America are simply being
The presidential election of four years ago forced many Americans,
including myself, to take a hard look at our election process. And
although Republicans had used several strategies to steal that
election, it was the voting machines that caused much of the
trouble. And now, many Americans believe that voting machines were
used to rig this year's election, as well.
I admit that I had never given this issue much thought before.
However, the more I researched it, the more concerned I became.
Over the past two years I have become somewhat of an expert on this
subject. I've written several articles and am often interviewed on
radio talk shows in the U.S..
But, I'm also worried about the rest of the world. I'm very
concerned that America's way of voting is being exported to other
countries. And that is why I am writing to this forum. We all
should be concerned. There are powerful people who want to control
election results around the globe. In order to do that, they must
eliminate meaningful public participation and scrutiny of the voting
process. How? In the following three ways:
First, prohibit the counting of ballots at local precincts. Instead,
transport the ballots to a central counting center. That gives
election officials time to substitute or destroy ballots. In the
recent elections in Afghanistan, ballots were not counted at any of
the 8,000 polling stations, but instead were delivered to 10
Second, before Election Day arrives, allow early or absentee voting.
This also gives election officials time to substitute or destroy
ballots. In America, 30% of all ballots are cast early or by
absentee. The whole state of Oregon votes by mail.
And, third, don't count the ballots by hand; use machines.
Mechanical lever machines, computerized ballot scanners, paperless
touchscreen machines, or even the Internet can be used to process
and tally votes. These machines and technologies are easy to rig
and impossible to safeguard.
The more sophisticated the technology, the easier it is to rig an
entire election. If malfunctions or "glitches" do occur, it is
difficult if not impossible to determine if it was by accident or by
design. Voting machines eliminate meaningful oversight and
accountability. Americans have been using voting machines since
1892. Less than 0.6% of our votes are counted by hand.
What's wrong with voting machines? In a word, everything. Voting
machines introduce concealment to a process that must be
transparent. Voting machines invite complexity to a to a process
that must be simple. Voting machines cause confusion to a process
that must be clear.
Voting machines are an open door to vote fraud and system failure.
Although it doesn't matter in theory if the government or private
companies control the voting machines, in fact, a handful of
corporations dominate the business of counting Americans' votes.
Two corporations, ES&S and Diebold, counted 80% of all votes in this
past presidential election! These companies have strong, well-
documented ties to the Republican Party. So, maybe that's why
Republicans are winning so many elections.
Most of the nations of the world don't use voting machines in their
elections. They wisely use a paper ballot. But, there are
organizations such as the World Bank, the International Monetary
Fund (IMF), and International Foundation for Election Systems
(IFES), that are quietly promoting voting technology around the
world. Already India, Brazil, Venezuela, Argentina, and parts of
the Netherlands and Belgium are using voting machines in their
elections. Other countries are experimenting with this technology.
Still others have tried it and decided against its use. Thank heaven!
Until a few years ago, most people hadn't given this issue a second
thought. Now, many Americans believe that our elections have been
routinely rigged. If we want our elections to have real integrity,
then we must restore meaningful public participation and oversight
to the voting process. How do we do that? Ditch the voting machines
and say goodbye to early and absentee voting. Simply stated: if we
want every vote to count, then we must count every vote.
Thank you for your kindness and attention.
217 S. Jessup Street
Philadelphia, PA 19107
Note from WH. On the television we see protests at electoral fraud
in Ukraine. Do we see these scenes?
From Robin Clarke in the UK
I'm pleased to note this statement of Lynn Landes.
It looks to me that there is now a substantial, decisive body of
evidence, on which significant numbers of people concur, that there
is an ongoing deliberate intent to pervert the world's electoral
systems (or in the US case, retain existing perversions) for the
purpose of facilitating electoral fraud.
I propose composing a statement of policy (with supporting
documentation), to which all political parties are invited to
subscribe. The UK's Association of Electoral Administrators could
possibly also be got on board.
I suggest it could be called:-
"Cross-Party Concordat against Malign Electoral Practices"
It can of course also be international, but I would envisage
starting with getting as many UK parties as possible on board,
before the coming general election. What I have in mind for the
content is a statement that the following are considered
- Electronic voting
- Absentee /postal (as norm or right) /proxy/ remote/ voting.
- Use of buffet-style mini-booths rather than proper booths with
- Aggregation of votes to counting centres outside
.. ... and that any elections containing such features will be
illegitimate by the signatory parties.
As for what undertakings the signatories would give, I suggest two
-1- Boycott the election(s) (no candidates stand) and picket the
-2- Don't boycott, but do picket and loudly protest at the count-
and continue to challenge the validity of the election(s).
(In either case we would need to agree monitoring protocols and
operational criteria of what constitutes acceptable/unacceptable.)
I see no reason why various parties (other than the main dinosaurs)
should not be persuadable to sign, and I see no way how any
resulting consequences of electoral invalidity could fail to be
widely noticed by the public (even if a media blackout occurred).
Subject: Re: Cross-Party Concordat against Malign Electoral
>Neither can it be ignored that computer voting is already set to
appear for the next UK election in key seats.
And the Cross-Party Concordat can combat that development, indeed
turn it into an own goal.
>The high level components of a secure computer voting system might
Rami, that debate has already been had ad nauseam! The bottom line
(one of them anyway) is that it's all very well coming up with
techno solutions but they are invariably too complicated for mere
(only joking folks) politicos (have you ever met any?!!!) to
understand. And consequently, the necessary transparency is lost.
It becomes a mystery that is in the hands of the specialists. And
furthermore, at any time a government / advisor can come along and
say "we need to make this technical change to improve things" and
few people will be competent to recognise it as corrupt, and what's
more, as a seeming techno-triviality it will be totally impossible
to build sufficient opposition to it. So in conclusion (as
elsewhere), while I appreciate you have higher standards than
others, nevertheless e-voting can only be part of the problem not of