Tuesday, November 01, 2005

An Election in Turnaround

Here's an article I wrote last year, I thought I'd share it as it gives some background on the election history, my role as an activist, and how I view election reform issues. It was orginally posted and published by Seattle's Independent Media Website, http://www/seattle.indymedia.org, here:

For almost a year I traveled Washington State as a voting activist thinly veiled as the campaign manager for an unknown candidate for Washington State's office of the Secretary of State, Andy Stephenson. Together we warned everyone we could about the upcoming catastrophe that King County, Washington State, and the Country would be facing during this election. Namely that the election system is flawed, the machines are faulty, the procedures are unclear, the people running the show are partisan, and that corporations like Diebold and ES&S are trying to privatize the entire process.

While Andy ran as a Democrat, the campaign felt no particular allegiance to a party that shunned us at every turn, and showed, at times, open hostility towards our “fear mongering” tactics. Paul Berendt had already chosen the Democrat's candidate for the office long before any of you went to the Democratic Primary, and that candidate was Laura Rudderman. So the Stephenson Campaign was left out in the cold, with no money, and only the truth on our side.

The campaign was run on the blood, sweat and tears of a grass root budget that rarely had more than a few hundred dollars at any given time. But we persisted, spending our own money on the essentials, and gathering a few core volunteers along the way. We took the message to the streets and we sold Bev Harris' book “Blackbox Voting, Ballot Tampering in the 21st Century” for gas money along the way.

So why am I writing this? What's the point? Well there are several points about the current fiasco that need to be made.

First off, neither side of this controversy has a right to claim the moral high ground. While the Democrats chant, “Count Every Vote” and the Republican's chant, “don't change the rules”. Neither party is willing to face the numbers. This race is statistically tied. The machine count has a margin of error, and when the victory is awarded based on a difference that is smaller than that margin, there is no clear winner. Counting every vote does not matter. Changing the rules does not matter. The race is tied.

It seems funny to me the turnaround that the Democratic party is trying to get away with. Or maybe ironic is the word? As the manager of a campaign trying to win the Democratic nomination based on the idea that every vote should count, the Stephenson Campaign broke the news about King County's Felons, Sam Reed's seemingly illegal certification of software for Voting Machines, and Bob Terrwilliger's (Snohomish County Auditor) obvious incompetence. And at every turn we encountered Democrat's who worked to undermine our efforts. Dean Logan of King County originally denied that felons ever worked on King County's Voter Tabulation software, which was proven true, Christine Gregoire's office of the Attorney General got Andy Stephenson's lawsuit against Sam Reed dismissed on technicalities, and the entire Democratic Party seemed to rally around Bob Terrwilliger, one of two County Auditor's in Washington who have installed touch screen voting machines that have no legitimate way to be recounted in the hand recount, the infamous “Blackbox Voting Machine” we all know so well. The message here, I guess, is that as long as its the Democrats selling out the integrity of Washington State's voting process to private corporate interests, that's just fine with the Democratic Party.

Just for fun Google “Bob Terrwilliger” and cross reference it with “Sideshow Bob” of the Simpon's.

But I digress...

Practically anyone with their head above ground knows by now that the Diebold and ES&S are heavily tied to the Republican party. And if you aren't suspicious of their tactics, well you're probably not reading this article anyway. However, I'd like to point out that the Democrat's are at least following the rules at this point in the Governor's race.

Washington State's election rules allow any candidate to contest the race and demand a recount, as long as he or she finds a way to pay for it. The Dems ponied up the cash, and the recount is moving forward. All very legal, and all very necessary, in my opinion. But not because I care if Christine or Dino are Washington's next governor. Rather, it's nice to see the train wreck finally hit the front page news. It's nice to say I told you so, and it's nice to see both the parties in turmoil due to a system that is broken.

But what is still troubling me, is that the media is doing such a whitewash of the issue. Too dumb, or too corrupted to tell the truth, the talking heads go on and on about the hand recount, without mentioning some key facts. The vote is tied, the hand recount is exposing major flaws in the system, and two counties Snohomish and Yakima are putting on a smoke and mirrors display that is costing lots of money, to simply go through the “motions” of a hand recount, without the actual substance of a hand recount.

And perhaps most egregious of the media's failings is their utter incompetence in explaining the legal challenges, and Washington Supreme Court's recent legal decision. So, while I'm no lawyer, I'll take a stab at it just to get the ball rolling.

The Gregoire team brought a lawsuit that sought to include thousands of previously disqualified votes into the hand recount. The Supreme Court ruled on the law, and basically said they have no authority to include votes that had previously been legally disqualified. So to break it down in terms of a single voter, say Joe Schmoe votes absentee, signs his ballot, and mails it back on time. It gets into the hands of the an election official on time, and that official checks the records and Joe Schmoe's signature appears not to match. This ballot has been “legally” disqualified by the elected official. The county then sends out a letter to Joe Schmoe that says basically, “hey your ballot is not going to count unless you come in and personally verify your own signature, by the way you only have until Nov. 17th to do this, or even if it is your signature, your vote is disqualified.” Ok, so Joe Schmoe doesn't act in time, his ballot has now been legally disqualified. Regardless of whether or not it was actually Joe Schmoe's signature, the election officials acted legally, and Joe's vote doesn't count. A process that caught both King County Council Chariman, Larry Phillips, and Andy Stephenson in the fray.

Now there's obviously something wrong with a system that routinely disqualifies thousands of votes, and one which seems to assume voter fraud due to signature's that don't match, but the Supreme Court doesn't have the power to correct that situation. That's the job of Washington's Congress, which regardless of the outcome in the Governor's race is controlled by Democrats.

So Gregoire brought a lawsuit to include legally disqualified votes and lost on a ruling that was pretty clearly going to happen even before she brought the case. However, if you turn that ruling on its head, the flip side is this, votes that were previously excluded due to election official's errors, miscounts, or any newly discovered votes that were never previously “legally” disqualified must now be counted under this ruling. Votes that were never counted, or illegally disqualified due to human error, machine error, or any other reason that is not a legal way to disenfranchise the voter, these votes must now be counted. The media will not explain this to you, the party will not explain this to you, and unless you explain it to yourself, it seems like nothing here makes any sense.

But just as assuredly as the Republican's will argue that changing the rules in the middle of the election isn't legal, they will now go to court and ask just that in trying to exclude King county's newly discovered votes. And just as assuredly as Democrat's argued to include legally excluded votes, they will now seize this Supreme Court ruling and argue that these new votes in King County must be counted.

So what it all comes down to is an election in turnaround. Neither party wants to address the real problem... the election is tied, the system is faulty, and no matter who wins the integrity of the system by which we carry out the most fundamental of our rights is the real loser. Politics used to be called the art of the compromise, but in today's reality it is a war in which the party's victory is the only goal regardless of the cost to our society, our history, or the very integrity of the system each side seeks to control. In doing so, each side turns around and around seeking only the argument that wins the battle, but not the argument that would end the war by fixing the system.

So in conclusion, I submit a few predictions. The first is that King County's newly discovered votes will stand up to any court challenge. And regardless of who gets into office, neither side will do anything fix the problem. Unless you count installing more touch screen voting machines, which will make this hand recount problem go away, but only by making it impossible to question the validity of a system that has been completely bought and sold by corporate interests. Flying low under the radar, Snohomish county is conducting the recount of the future, and it's a total sham.

A Reader Responds

From my email this morning:

"If Iron wins, your run will be responsible for anightmarish period for KC -- plus long-lastingenvironmental damange and harm to real people who willsuffer from bad social policies. Irons is an abuserand you are facilitating his possible win. Please,you've demonstrated you can get votes. Great. Nowplease do the responsible thing and urge support for Sims."

--Name withheld

And here's my response:

How much do you know about Ron Sims, and his corruption of our election system? Really, I'm just asking. Because if selling out Democracy isn't enough for you, I don't know what is.

In addition, David Irons has drawn far more Democrats than I have. Ron lost 30% in the primaries, David captured 15% of those Dems, I have captured 10% of those Dems, the fact is I get far more David Irons supporters supporting me instead of David. I get very few Ron supporters that had not jumped ship before they even knew about me. So frankly the idea that I'm taking votes from Ron is just not supported by the facts.

Finally, I am not a Democrat. If you would like to stand up and fight for your beliefs, by all means do so. If you want to go doorbelling for Ron, or would like to espouse why it is you support Ron, fine. But my job is not to protect Ron Sims. My number one issue is Democracy, selling out Democracy is simply not acceptable. There are both Democrats and Republicans I support, Ron Sims is not one of them.

Ron could take all my supporters away in one fell swoop. Come out strongly for open-sourced pulbicy owned software, against Diebold, and for real voting reform. Until then he is not just part of the problem, he is the problem.

Regards,Gentry Lange

PS: Here's some reading from Congress to look into if you are interested.

GAO Issues a Report on Electronic Voting

The General Accounting Office (Congress) has issued a rather detailed report regarding the use of Electronic Voting Machines. The report does a pretty good job highlighting the key concerns that activists have been complaining about for years:

Democrats Reform House

There is also another report our by a group called the National Election Data Archive, or NEDA:

Elections Archive for 2004

So while local election officials say everything is fine, Congress has issued a report supporting many of the criticisms activists have raised.

This whole conversation has shifter to Washblog:
Anyone that wants to comment should check it out.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Who Funds the Election Center?

The head of the Election Center, the group I have been criticising for taking money from voting machine vendors, is apparently not feeling too comfortable with the latest GAO report. I have posted an extended quote from Blackbox below. Pay close attention to the responses on BBV, as John Giddeon adds that the Election Center has apparently put a number on the amount of the center's corporate funding, and apparently a pretty good sized 10% of the funding of the Election Center is coming from the corporate vendors.

From the Blackboxvoting.org website:

Oct. 7, Black Box Voting was invited to attend a groundbreaking Washington D.C. event titled “Threats to Voting Systems,” sponsored by the National Institute of Standards & Technology (NIST). For the first time, election officials, scientists, and election reform advocates discussed the realities of voting machine risks in earnest, without rancor or defensiveness. (NIST's Website.) The outcome of the meeting was an agreement to catalogue risks, and develop mitigation strategies. Not all participants were entirely comfortable with the proceedings.

“I feel like hanging myself,” said R. Doug Lewis Lewis is the enigmatic director of The Election Center (a private entity which has derided critics of voting machine security). Lewis looked pale and uncomfortable, but he was in the minority.

BBV Forums

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Televised Debates

Great news! They invited me to the televised debates this Thursday. KCTS, channel 9, at 8pm.
Looks like when you start affecting the outcome of the race they actually start to pay attention.

Though, the voter's pamphlet no doubt helped a lot too. It's amazing to me that as a registered candidate, it wasn't until last week that I was officially listed, even though I registered back in August.

In addition I will be on KVI 570AM on Oct. 25th. Early morning show I believe.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Candidate Exclusion

So the PI just told me they were not interested in interviewing me during their endorsement interviews. Mark Trahant said "It's time to move on" and that the editorial board decided that I wasn't worth their time. Funny stuff. "We don't usually interview third party candidates".

It's becoming increasingly clear to me that it's not just about money, and campaign finance reform. Equal access to the media is just not a reality. From the day I entered the race I have been largely excluded from many many conversations, candidate forums, polls, and even the primaries. Today was the first day I've found anything about the general election even posted on the King County Elections home page. So from the county elections department, to the media, to the forums, I've been almost entirely excluded from a race I'm legally registered for, and then people turn around and say my candidacy is not viable.

Funny stuff. But not funny ha ha.

Thursday, October 13, 2005


I just got off the phone with another event organizer, seems they haven't heard about my campaign. They say they don't want to put me on at the last minute. Another said, earlier today, well we are only having the top two from the primaries. Well funny, I wasn't in the primaries. So how is that logical?

But the problem is not that I'm not polling well. I get up to 7 or 8% in some polls, the polls that are mentioned to you in passing by other campaigns. And 8% is a big enough percentage to seriously affect this race. But the bigger problem is that the polls don't even mention my name.

Pollster:"Hi I'm calling conducting a poll of likely King County Voters? Are you going to vote for Ron Sims, David Irons, or other?"

Voter: "Um, ... Um, only two candidates huh?"

Pollster:"Ron Sims, David Irons or other?"

Voter: "Um, Ron Sims, he's the Democrat right?"

Voter: "Um, David Irons, he's the Republican right?"

Now imagine this, even when you as the polled "likely King County voter" if you respond Gentry Lange, Green Candidate, they won't record Gentry Lange, they will record me as "other."

You are not even allowed to vote for me in the polls. And they say I don't poll well.

Here's one blogger that broke down the King 5 poll honestly:

Monday, September 19, 2005

Primaries, What Primaries?

Moving towards the election rapidly now. The process this year was a joke. The whole battle between the Democrats and the Republicans over the primaries resulted in a third party nightmare scenario. Supporters continue to ask me why I'm not in the primaries? It's a logical question when David Irons is unopposed?

I've enjoyed meeting the many committed activists who continue to stuggle for social justice through their actions both great and small.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Other Election Reform Groups

For the last post of the evening:

It's the best organized state and activists that I've seen nationally, and Linda Schade is an inspiration.

Colorado group is probably running second:

And Vermont still seems active:

While Washington's Online group here seems inactive:


Background on The Election Center

Here's the conference call analysis I'm always referencing to people. http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/HL0308/S00175.htm

And also the wikipedia site on voting

Why Was The Election Center Hired?

Here's an interesting article by Keith Irving, giving some background on the choice of "The Election Center". Highlight from this article:

"Staff of the County Council and the county auditor's office are evaluating audit proposals from four potential contractors: MGT of America, The Election Center, Deloitte Consulting and Forefront Election Solutions."

King County's Optical Scan Voting Machines

In King County we use precinct-based optical scan ballots. "The CalTech/MIT Voting Technology Project found them to be the most accurate at recording the voter's intent and not significantly more expensive per vote than touch-screen machines. " from --http://www.blogger.com/post-create.g?blogID=6113597

I propose that we continue using the same machines, but we run precinct level hand-audits and post the results at the precinct. I believe it should be physically possible to reflash the firmware on the machines to use publicly owned open source software, that the county could hire written on contract, and then publish the code. Who knows... maybe there is some goofy restriction on reflashing the firmware, like maybe Diebold wrote into the contract that the county can't "alter" the firmware without breaking the contract. I really don't know.

Though the Sec of State would restrict it, unless it was used in another election somewhere, though as I recall the SOS has ignored that law before.

[Note 9-19... Turns out I'm right, and Diebold does claim in their contracts that you can't put "non-Diebold" software on their voting machines. So a county is not allowed to change their own voting systems to, for example, a publicly owned and open sourced software system.]

Paper Trail or Voter Verified Paper Ballots?

Here's the voting legislation for "paper records".


I haven't read the whole thing, but this sounds fishy, Voter Verified Paper Ballots are not just "paper records". This language seems supsipicious.

I will read this more thoroughly as I have time.

Verified Voting has a legislation list going for every state, checkout:

The Open Voting Consortium

For everyone who asks me what are the options to the corporate controlled machines counting our votes:

The John Conyer's Report

The John Coyer's Report, or at least the summary:

Sunday, July 24, 2005

The Election Center Fights Against Real Reform

Excerpt from
regarding The Election Center:

How are they fighting it?
For one thing they had a meeting on Aug. 22 — the voting machine manufacturers and the Election Center [a nonprofit management division of the National Association of State Election Directors, which handles part of the voting-machine certification process] and a lobbyist. The whole purpose of this meeting was to try to get the public to figure out how to accept machines without a paper trail.

How did you find out about this meeting?
Actually, this is kind of funny. My publisher found out about this. It was a teleconference and he just called in under his own name and nobody asked him where he was from, and he sat in on the whole meeting. [Harris' publisher, David Allen, posted notes on the meeting on his Web site.]
The meeting had quite a few things of concern in it. They were being told that as an industry they had to come up with $200,000 in seven days in order to come up with a P.R. campaign to whitewash their P.R. problem, as they put it.

So apparently they feel they have a problem?
Yeah, they do. And in this particular meeting, one of the things they discuss is, they say, "Now we need to make sure the press never finds out this because we don't want them to know we have a problem." [According to David Allen, Harris Miller, the president of the Information Technology Association of America, said, "We just didn't want a document floating around saying the election industry is in trouble, so they decided to put together a lobbying campaign."]

Was there anything discussed about addressing the problem?
Absolutely, what they want to do is not fix the problem, but they agreed to fix the perception of the problem.

Did they indicate what they thought would be a problem with printing paper ballots?
No. It was a foregone conclusion that we don't want paper.

But they say that they would try to convince the public that having no paper is fine?

It's rather confusing why they're fighting this ...
Yes, actually I find it a little bit suspicious frankly.

How to Rig Elections 101

Here's an excerpt that is a must-read for King County Voters, from this site:

I got a call from one of our more brilliant computer programmers — he's got quite a few advanced degrees — and he called me on a weekend and he said, "I want you to go to your computer." And he walked me through it just like a support tech does — open this panel, click this, do this, do that. And as I'm doing this it was appalling how easy it was. Once you know the steps, a 10-year-old can rig an election. In fact it's so easy that one of our activists, Jim March in California, put together a "rig-a-vote" CD. He's been going around showing it to elections officials, and now this CD has been making its way to Congress members.
It's shocking. All you do is double-click the icon. You go backwards through the Internet to that county computer, and if you have Microsoft Access on your machine you can walk right into that election database while it's open. It's configured for multiple access at the same time. You can be in there changing things and you can change anything you want.
There's nothing — no security in this?
No, in fact in the memo, [Ken Clark, an engineer at Diebold] says specifically that they decided not to put a password on it because it was proving useful. They were using the back door to do end runs around the voting program. And he named two places where they were doing this, Gaston County, N.C., and King County, Wash

Reading for Election Reformers

Required reading:

Larry Phillips and The Election Center

Larry Phillips, King County Councilman, states that one of his key reforms is hiring "The Election Center". Apparently the council would rather hire "experts" than actually propose real reform.

From the Seattle Times commentary:
"Key among our reforms is the hiring of The Election Center, a non-profit considered the premier organization for professional electoral training, to conduct a top-to-bottom management audit of the elections division. "

Here's the difference between me and the competition, if you are paying attention... My key reform is kicking the corporations out of the system. King County Council though considers hiring a group, roundly criticised for taking money from Diebold and other corporate sponsors, as a "key reform". Once, just once, I'd like to hear a councilman or woman call for Publicly Owned Open Source Software instead of another audit, or a new building.

This is absurd.

Read up on http://www.blackboxvoting.org, and particularly do some searching on R. Doug Lewis, who heads "The Election Center" for more information... here's some links to start with:

And here, from the Seattle Medium, "Selection of The Election Center team is the result of legislation sponsored by Councilmembers Julia Patterson and Bob Ferguson and approved by the Council last month. "

Bob, what's up? Why is it that the Open Voting Consotium, or any of the ideas proposed by citizen activists the nation over aren't on the top of the list for voting reforms we need here in King County?

Also from the article, "“Our election process is too important to be held hostage by politics,” said Councilmember Ferguson. “The Election Center will provide us with a detailed, independent review of our Elections office and a road map for reform. Because they are independent, no one can argue with the results.”

Well, that all depends on if the Election Center is truly independent? Independt of whom? King County? The charges laid out in Bev's Harri's Book is that the Election Center, and R. Doug Lewis, these people are taking money from the same companies that are making millions off our voting equipment.

Here's what VotersUnite.org says of the independence of The Election Center:

Here's Soundpolitics pointing out the backscratching The Election Center provides our election officials:

And as I'm getting tired, here's a good site for a whole mess of information:

A Little Info on PSI Group

Here's the most pertinent section on King County's problems, from Chapter 14 of Blackbox Voting, by Bev Harris, from Renton, available free online here:

We’ve had a cocaine trafficker printing our ballots, an embezzler
programming our voting system and our absentee ballots being funneled
through a company that hires people straight out of prison.
And when we try to find out what software is actually authorized,
we get the buffalo shuffle. I don’t believe there is a certification program
in existence that can protect us from inside access. We need criminal
background checks, full financial disclosure for all state elections
officials, and robust, fraud-deterring audits.

A New Election Building, $22.8 million

"King County officials have a tentative agreement to buy a Rainier Valley building and turn it into a modern, $22.8 million election center intended to help avoid a repeat of the problems that plagued the November election."

How is a new building going to avoid a repeat of the problems from Novemeber?
Why can no one in government come up with a plan of action?
How about a system we can trust?

Here's my short-list plan of action:
1. Publicly Posted Precinct Level Reporting
2. Publicly-Owned Open Source Software
3. Voter Verified Paper Ballots
4. Citizen Involvement
5. A Citizen Approved Director of Elections

Questions Concerning The Election Center

What's the background to this "Election Center" that's conducting King County's Audits?

Why do we need another audit?

What's the history of King County's Election audits?

How long must this go on?

Who on the council is going to speak out on this issue?

Did any of the council ask themselves this question before they hired the Election Center 9 to 0?

Read this article to understand why I might ask these questions:

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Private Companies Sorting Mail Ballots

What is the difference between private corporations collecting and sorting votes while maintaining proprietary software, and counting the votes entirely behind closed doors?

The answer... not much.

Traditional vote fraud, has used suppression tactics, targeting specific areas through voting patterns, and physically suppressing turnout. Fire hoses, poll taxes, various tools of vote suppression. But the traditional forms of vote suppression are largely eclipsed by the larger problem of electronic machines. Touchscreens, and totals transmitted to central tabulating computers, once again controlled by proprietary firmware machines.... this is all insane. It is unacceptable. It is fundamentally the death of any real democracy this country will ever see.

Counting,or sorting, it's all the same, it's controlling the system which is the most important part of the game. It is something only the people of King County, Washington, and the rest of the US should own. It's not a process that should be bought as a "computer solution" to "all of our voting needs".

This is preposterous, it is so foul a notion that it should be a joke. But it isn't.

Anyone who allows corporations to take over my voting system, these are politicians who must be shown the door. In essence it's why I'm running, it's why I ran the last campaign for Andy, and it's why I will continue to expose the corporate influence on the system, from this campaign and on to the next.

Thursday, June 30, 2005

First Poll


From the King County Journal, and a poll conducted by David Irons, "The poll shows that if the vote was held today, Sims of Seattle would get 42 percent, Irons 40 percent and Green Party candidate Gentry Lange 5 percent, with the rest undecided."

So just two days into the race I'm polling at 5 percent... with 13 percent undecided.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Supreme Courts VS Property Rights

So the Supreme Court's recent ruling on taking property for private development is just plain wrong. This ruling should be of particular concern to those of King County as the Critical Areas Ordinance is nothing compared to this decision.

I am not a person who believes much in the illusion of left/right categorizations of politics, as I tend to believe more in the corporate/anti-corporate division... this ruling is basically one of the worst decisions I have ever seen from this Court. Thankfully it's a 5-4 court, and is likely to swing the other way over time. But there's danger in that backlash as well.

Bush supporters, as I know a lot of perplexed Republicans out there, should take notice, not just of the so-called "liberal judges" of the court, but in Bush's silence on this decision. It would also be wise to actually acknowledge that this issue is not a left and right issue, and to come talk to those of us whom you may consider "lefties" and realize that there are allies in the anti-Corporate side of the isle on this issue.

Democrats might take note of the damage the so called "left-wing" of the court just did to society here, as a lot of good Democrats out there hold dear some rather anti-Corporate beliefs.

I fear that the backlash to this decision may bring about a gutting of environmental protection laws, which won't fix the problem, which is unchecked Corporate influence and power, rather this backlash will exacerbate the situation by playing one side off the other while continuing to further the corporate power grab and goals.

The Streetcar, Brightwater, Rails and Trails, oh My!

This is a great article on the streetcar debates in Seattle:

More information on the streetcar, Pioneer Square, and SAM:

Here's an article on the Brightwater project:

Rails and trails issue:

Here's my favorite article so far on the rail to trails issue:

Finally for this post, here's a must read for every Democrat that thinks Sims and Dean Logan are getting a bad rap:

Seattle Gay Pride

Today I attended Pride and met many good people. It seems to me that there are a lot of people realy interested in the issues I bring up.

Really enjoyed the whole day. Someone had a petition about saving Pride weekend. If you know what this is about... please write me or post a link.

Oh, and the King County Journal just picked up the announcement.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Announcing the Campaign

Well both the PI and the Times picked up the announcement. Soundpolitics, the blog also mentioned it.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Unauthorized Recounts?

This is interesting:


Some states prohibit elections officials from checking on optical scan tallies by examining the paper ballots. In Washington, according to former supervisor of elections Julie Anne Kempf, Secretary of State Sam Reed [Sic*] declared such spontaneous checkups to be "unauthorized recounts." New Florida regulations will forbid counting paper ballots, even in recounts, except in highly unusual circumstances. Without paper ballot hand-counts, the hacks demonstrated below show that optical-scan elections can be destroyed in seconds.

[*SIC... actually this was determined during the Monroe Administration]

Traffic Suggestions

Hey anyone with good traffic suggestions, or problem areas I should film, send those suggestions my way. I drive a lot, yet there's always places I don't know a lot about.

Also give a shout if you are from outside of Seattle. There's a lot of cities in King County, the King County Executive should know each of them. I plan on visiting every city in this county before this election is over. So stay tuned, I'll be visiting your city before too long.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Ideas on Traffic

Traffic ideas from a mayor in Canada

A tonue and check driving article

Agressive Driving Addressed

Interesting Technology for Traffic Congestion

Pennsylvania Targets Tailgating as low cost improvement

[Public Education In Colorado targets Driving Problems]

The educational aspect of the campaign involved a multi-faceted approach in both print and electronic media, and educational efforts were undertaken that addressed the goals of the campaign both inside the Aurora Police Department and the City of Aurora as well. Uniformed officers of the Patrol Bureau were given briefings pertaining to the importance of their continuing attention to traffic-related matters during their patrol activities. Additionally, employees of the City of Aurora were informed as to the importance of the traffic campaign’s public safety goals through employee newsletters as well as Aurora’s award winning cable television station, KACT-TV, Channel 8. The entire media effort involved thorough explanations emphasizing the importance of the campaign, as well as the personal responsibility of each citizen to drive safely and respect the rights of other motorists.

One of the unique aspects of the campaign was demonstrated by the fact that the public was notified by the media in advance of the locations of targeted traffic enforcement activities. This approach was again proof positive of the behavior modification goal of the campaign. It also totally defused any public perception of the "cops hiding in the bushes to write tickets" criticism - often expressed particularly by many drivers while holding a traffic citation in hand.

Media coverage of the report effectively focused on
three core messages: there is hope for curing gridlock,
fixing traffic bottlenecks is a critical starting point to
any regional congestion relief plan and Congress needs
to pass a new six-year highway bill that dedicates
significant funding to improving bottlenecks.


Tailgating irritates motorists more than any other driving behaviour, according to a survey.
Car insurance provider Budget Direct said 51 per cent of motorists surveyed nationally nominated tailgating as the most aggravating road habit.


Marketing 101

I said I would recommend activities. Here's one, which we can try now if there's time or you can try later: write a message of 2-3 sentences for your campaign to use on the phone to a Washington Post reporter. Now write one to use with the editor of a small ethnic paper in your neighborhood. Make both about the same campaign, but do not make them the same.

Nickels on Global Warming

[Nickels Supports Specific Actions]

"I've always been a believer in local action," Nickels said. "We can show that there are specific actions we can take to meet or exceed the goals of the Kyoto Accords that will show the federal government that this can be done without huge economic disruption."

Traffic: Congestion Pricing

[More from the Congestion Tax Article]

Livingstone, who was elected London mayor in 2000 and reelected last year, introduced the fee in February 2003 to relieve his city's traffic-choked streets. Revenue is reinvested in public transportation.

Despite protests, Livingstone imposed the fee on drivers entering an eight-square-mile area of central London that includes its financial and entertainment districts between 7 a.m. and 6:30 p.m.

Drivers who enter central London must buy daily, weekly or yearly passes and register their license plate numbers. A network of 800 cameras photographs license plates within the zone, and motorists who have not paid are fined.

A recent government study found that congestion inside the zone has fallen 30 percent.

Traffic Visions

Alternative visions
Five Bay Area conservationists are thinking globally – but outside the mainstream consensus – about sustainability

[Congestion Tax Article]

SAN FRANCISCO -- The mayor of London told dozens of world mayors that they could unclog city streets and fight global warming by charging hefty fees for driving in congested areas of their communities.

Mayor Ken Livingstone said making drivers pay a "congestion charge" to drive in central London has improved traffic flow and reduced the emission of "greenhouse gases" blamed for raising temperatures and changing weather patterns. The $9 fee has forced people out of their cars and filled city buses, subways and sidewalks, he told mayors assembled here Friday for the U.N. World Environment Day Conference.

"We are the only city in the Western world where there's a notable shift from car use to public transport," he said at San Francisco's Cable Car Museum. "This is the only thing I've done in my political life that turned out better than I hoped."

A Note on Process from me... The Blogger

So, I'm tracking down all these artlicles in a hope to come up with a bulleted list of programs, projects, and initiatives, that are actually in place around the world and working. Hence the quoted sections from the news articles from around the web regarding the mayor's conference.

As I can I will compile what I find into that bulleted list.


Green Cities Conference Highlights

More from the San Francisco Conference, article highlights followed by link to original source:

"The emphasis on cities is necessary because the vast majority of the world's people will be living in urban areas over the next century, said Jared Blumenfeld, the director of San Francisco's Environment Department, which was created in 1998 through a ballot initiative that centralized the city's environmental policy. "

"It's easy for a head of state to stand up and say he will take action, but it's another thing to implement it," said Blumenfeld, who was involved in the Rio summit. "Part of the problem with these international agreements is you can't hold people accountable.

There is more accountability, Blumenfeld said, when municipalities are involved. "If the mayor of a city promises to put solar panels up," he said, "you know whose door to knock on when he doesn't."

The Green Cities conference will highlight San Francisco's recycling program, mass transportation, solar arrays and the restoration of the Crissy Field tidal wetlands. Problems related to urban sprawl around the Bay Area and the need for sustainable development and corporate responsibility also will be addressed.

Among the programs that will be introduced at the conference is a collaborative effort by the Bay Area Council, an alliance of major employers, to get commitments from 273 of the Bay Area's largest employers to reduce pollution and increase energy efficiency.

"More and more companies are waking up to the fact that business success cannot be sustained when there is substantial environmental degradation," said Power, whose organization will play a major role at the conference. "There is a recognition that what's good for the planet is good for business. But companies still have a long way to go, particularly U.S. companies that are being seriously outflanked by their European counterparts."


San Francisco Mayors' Conference

The following is a collection of quotes, and highlights from articles regarding the recent San Francisco conference of Mayors, links to articles included following highlights:
[official website of this conference--http://www.wed2005.org/]

"'Mayors are emerging as the most powerful and flexible agents of change. They are able to respond quickly to environmental issues and are uniquely accountable to their citizens. Their enormous purchasing power is shaping markets…their visionary solutions provide inspiration and serve as models to all sectors of society.'

It’s just like the bumper sticker says: Think globally, act locally."

"Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels is encouraging mayors to fight climate change at the municipal level by cutting greenhouse-gas emissions from automobiles, power plants and factories. After the landmark Kyoto Protocol on global warming went into effect without the United States earlier this year, Nickels asked U.S. mayors to voluntarily comply with the international treaty's emissions standards. So far, 156 mayors have agreed to do so, he said. "


"CADMAN: When we did a 100 year plan we learned that we run out of water in 35 years, run out of oil in 40 years, run out of natural gas in 60 years so we can't plan tomorrow as if it's a continuum of today."


"Environmentally conscious Oakland A's fans needn't feel guilty about tossing their plastic cups into trash cans at the McAfee Coliseum. They're being composted along with half-eaten hot dogs, cardboard food trays and used napkins.

'Since 1990, we have kept out of landfills over 300 million tons of materials,' said Roni Java of the California Integrated Waste Management Board, which oversees waste diversion efforts. 'If you took trash trucks and filled them to the top and put them in a line bumper to bumper, that would make a line that would circle the Earth's equator more than six times.'

Still, the state fell short of its original 50 percent goal. According to the latest estimated figures from 2003, 48 percent of California's 78 million tons of waste is being recycled or reused. "
Too often, manufacturers package items in layers of cardboard, plastic and Styrofoam instead of simple containers. Restaurants and grocers send diners home with nonrecyclable polystyrene or polypropylene clamshell containers for their leftovers or meals instead of more environmentally friendly paper boxes.

'We're giving retailers and product manufacturers a free ride in regards to this packaging,' Murray said. "

In central Contra Costa County, a unique 'curbside reuse' program allows residents to put reusable out the day before semi-annual cleanups. The items, ranging from televisions and bikes to small furniture, linens, clothes and art materials, are distributed to nonprofits and St. Vincent de Paul, and some have been sent to Afghanistan and Bosnia, said Janet Schneider of the Centra Contra Costa Solid Waste Authority. "


Green Cities Declaration

Urban Environmental Accords – Green Cities Declaration

This is very cool, mayors from all over get together to see how cities all over the world address common problems.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Council Races and David Irons

Breakdown of Council Races from a few months back

David Irons sites of interest

Reforming Voting Rights for the Previously Incarcerated

Reed, Democrats such as Gregoire and Republicans such as Rep. Toby Nixon of Kirkland say the state's flawed system of keeping track of felons' rights is so confusing that it's better to have a simpler approach such as Oregon's -- which forbids voting by felons in custody, but allows voting once they serve their time.

New election center for King County



A now I hear Dino Rossi is challenging Ron Sims

Rail or trail articles


$500,000 for King County Executive

Politicians Podcasting

Politicians into Pod Casting