Monday, November 13, 2006

The Washington State Midterm Election Wrap-up

So as a Green, I was very pleased with the results in the northwest.

Many of you may think that the Greens took a pounding in this election in Washington State, however, I am not of this opinion. This was the first state-wide race for the Green Party, and the Aaron Dixon Campaign ran a statewide race. I am proud of the Greens and the Aaron Dixon Campaign for going boldy where no Washington State Green campaign has gone before. Only a statewide party since 2000, a statewide race was a big undertaking, but it was done well.

From my perspective, Aaron Dixon proved he was the right man for the job. He stood up in public and spoke the truth as he sees it. One may not agree with everything that Mr. Dixon said or did during the race, but that's inevitable in any campaign. The important thing in any Green campaign is to stick it out until the end. Because if you are not willing to stand up for your beliefs in the face of overwhelming negative attacks as a spoiler, on your person, your past, your family, your character, and your motivations, don't even think about running as a Green.

But Aaron Dixon took the inevitable personal attacks in stride, and even when Mark Wilson took the money and dropped out before the primaries, Aaron stood firm.

Aaron also bridged a gap that has existed in the northwest progressive community for a long time, and brought together different groups in a way that rarely happens. What grows from this is yet to be seen. But one thing is certain, as we grow the Green Party in Washington State we will need more candidates like Aaron Dixon. Candidates who when facing a system with the odds firmly stacked against them, are willing to get into the ring and fight until the last bell rings.

The Dixon campaign made national news several times, from the announcement of his candidacy to the day of the protest and arrest, the former Panther never once backed down. And the Green Party of Washington State held firm as well. We stood by the campaign attack after attack. So while every campaign has a rough road to walk, in the end I am personally proud of the Party and the Dixon Campaign.

Last Tuesday marked the end of the beginning for the Green Party of Washington State. We've run races from the local to the state level, and even won some along the way. We've planted the seeds of the party from Spokane to Tacoma. We are the fastest growing political party around, and though the winds may blow from Democrat to Republican year after year, the Green Party continues to grow in the face of overwhelming odds and negative attack. But as we stand firm, the campaigns we run and lose today will become the seeds of the campaigns that we will run and win in the years to come.

On this note, it's important to mention that IRV passed in Pierce county. This is a big win for the people of Pierce County. I hope everyone who supports IRV and who worked hard to pass this initiative gets all the help they need moving forward towards implementation.

Ok now, the 2006 election season is over. Congratulations to everyone who worked hard this year. There's more work to be done. Be sure to check out what the Green's up in San Juan County are doing, they are fighting the County over bar codes on the Ballots. Made by the local company VoteHere, this group has ties to the CIA, most notably the new Donald Rumsfeld replacement, Robert Gates.

The Green Party San Juan County Link
Island Guardian

The Black Box Story on Robert Gates:
Blackbox Report

More about VoteHere:
Free Press Report

As always... there's more work to be done.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Lame Duck - Quack Quack

Wow, that was quite an election. The Bush Administration is on the rails, and the Democrats are dancing in the streets.

Me, I'm quietly hopeful. Hopeful that Nancy Pelosi, the most powerful women ever elected in this country, will open up some serious investigations into the Bush administration's corruption and cruelties. If the Democrats are smart, they'll bide their time exposing the Bush Administration's myriad crimes, and instead of impeaching the bastard, they'll leave him there, a lame duck, for all to see. But to pull it off, they'll have to start governing again. Figure out a plan on Iraq, and get working undoing the damage done by this drunken frat boy at the helm for the past 6 years.

And that's where I am quietly hopeful. Maybe, just maybe, the Democrats can walk the tightrope they must. And instead of wasting their time trying to impeach W with a razor thin majority in the Senate, they will instead expose this President for what he is, a corporate good old boy and the most corrupt President this country has ever seen.

The Democrats, firmly in control of the House, should work now until 2008, simply and methodically exposing the facts. The facts about Katrina, the facts about Iraq, the facts about Enron, the facts about Global Warming. They could figure out a plan for the country and lead us out of this nightmare that has been the Bush Presidency, by simply exposing the truth. Billions for war, trillions in Debt. The largest federal government ever seen. Billions and billions lost in Iraq, billions lost by his buddies at Enron, and billions lost on all the other corruption tied to these crooks.

Congratulations to to the Democrats. Thanks for winning and not screwing up too badly. Don't let John Kerry tell any more jokes. Now if you can get us out of Iraq, and win the 2008 election you'll have the hat trick. Nothing will erase the memory of your votes as a party for the war, for the Patriot Act, for Nafta and Cafta and all the rest, but still, this was a victory over the Bush Administration. The enemy of my enemy is sometimes my friend.

The Democrats either engineered their best election in decades yesterday, or rode the wave of anger towards Bush to victory. Either way, Bush is lame duck. And I'll drink to that!

Now hopefully the new Democratically controlled House and possibly Senate will get busy and prove my skepticism about the Democratic Party wrong.

Friday, November 03, 2006

King County's Optical Scan Machines Part of New HBO Documentary

For all those Ron Sims synchophants out there, and specfically to Goldie, over at, I would like to point out the key element in the new "Hacking Democracy" film that just debuted on HBO, is very well summarized by Brad Blog:

Finnish computer security expert Harri Hursti discovered that Diebold stored an executable program on the same removable memory card used to store the tabulated votes on each Diebold voting machine. "If someone had told me there was a modifiable, executable program in the same place where the most secured data was stored, I'd say you'd have to be misunderstanding something, crazy or lying," Hursti declares.

The attempted Hursti hack, as allowed by Sancho, moves forward throughout the film. By the time it was completed (in pitifully short order), the e-voting world would be turned on its head. Hursti succeeding in exposing that both optical-scan systems and touch-screen voting systems manufactured by Diebold -- and apparently tested by no one -- could be hacked, an election result completely flipped, and no trace would be left behind. All that was needed was a $100 memory card reader bought off the Internet and about 60 seconds of access to the machine's memory card. RadioShack or Best Buy has all the necessary tools, in fact.

To repeat: It's not just Diebold's DREs that can be hacked. The Hursti hack targeted the memory card. Not only DREs but optical-scan units can record their information to memory cards. In either case, they're vulnerable. The ability to have an election flipped, and to do so with a small number of people involved, was no longer a "theory."

Yep, as I've said all along. King County's Opt Scan's with central tabulators are no better than Touch Screens.... Ron Sims bought into both.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

About That Spoiler Myth

From the PI:

Veteran Seattle Democratic political consultant Blair Butterworth said most votes for third-party candidates "aren't being taken from anybody (else). They're being taken from the I-don't-vote-for-anybody file. They're non-participants." But he said especially in Eastern Washington, Libertarians probably take more votes from Republicans than Democrats.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Greg Palast Reports on Absentee

From Greg Palasts new article:

"-Absentee Ballots Uncounted. The number of absentee ballots has quintupled in many states, with the number rejected on picayune technical grounds rising to over half a million (526,420) in 2004. In swing states, absentee ballot shredding was pandemic. "

Now I don't know yet where he got his numbers from, but it certainly is an interesting read. And published right here in the Northwest.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Forcing Your Way In The Door

Yesterday I received a phone call from a reporter at Western Washington University. He was working on a story about third party campaigns, and asked me a particularly poignant question, “What's the biggest hurdle standing in the way of third party candidates?”

My response, “Exclusion.”

It was an apropos question because at the time I was downtown with the Green Party Candidate for Senate, Aaron Dixon, and his supporters, protesting King 5 TV's exclusion of Mr. Dixon from the one and only televised Senatorial debate. Aaron Dixon was excluded from the debates because as King TV's President summarized:

“We invited all the Senate candidates to participate in the debate under the condition that they met any one of a number of criteria to establish their viability. These criteria were based on the guidelines established by the Debate Advisory Standards Project. It is unfortunate that Mr. Dixon did not meet any of those criteria. It is also unfortunate that he refused to leave the premises when asked to do so."

These are the same standards King 5 pointed to when they excluded my campaign for King County Executive from last year's televised debates. These standards basically consist of an eight point list of criteria that a candidate must meet in order to be included in debates. I'm not going to belabor the entire list of rules, as you can read them for yourself online, here:

The Debate Project Report

But I will highlight this particular section of Debate Project's report:

"It is fair and reasonable that inclusion criteria during the pre-election period may be more difficult to meet than during the out-period. If a nonmajor or third-party candidate who is given an opportunity to participate in public debates during the out-period does not earn significant public support going into the final 30 days of an election campaign, debate sponsoring organizations that wish to limit participation have an acceptable rationale to tighten the inclusion criteria.

1.Out-period test. The test for including a candidate during the out-period should be seriousness of purpose. All candidates who have a serious purpose should be included in debates. Candidates who do not have a serious purpose include "joke" candidates; candidates who do not campaign in a meaningful way; and candidates who admit that their candidacies have only symbolic or trivial intentions. It is important that nonmajor and third-party candidates who begin their candidacies with little public support or name recognition are nonetheless equitably provided reasonable opportunities to present their credentials and their positions on the issues during the early stages of an election campaign.

2. Pre-election period test. The test for including a candidate during this period should be twofold: seriousness of purpose plus demonstration of significant public support. All candidates who demonstrate seriousness of purpose and significant support going into the final 30 days of an election should be included in debates."

These rules then state that in the “out-period,” 30 days or more before the election, polls should be conducted to see if candidates are viable. If a candidate polls at 5% or more during the “out-period,” he or she is to be included in any debates among candidates for that office.

But most pollsters freely admit they don't typically poll on 3rd party candidates. So this rule is simply ignored and these news organizations conduct biased polls from the outset. A fact recently pointed out by a local Washington newspaper, The Herald:

“Polling shows Cantwell leading McGavick by 8 to 10 points. These polls usually exclude the three other candidates: Bruce Guthrie, a Libertarian, Aaron Dixon, a Green, and Robin Adair, an Independent. None are invited to today's event.”

The Herald Story

The typical poll in the out-period that is actually conducted asks if you are going to vote for the front-runner Republican or the front-runner Democrat. At best they include Democrat and Republican primary candidates. They rarely, if ever, poll on 3rd party candidates.

Most of the polls in the 2005 race for King County Executive, a race in which there were only three candidates, asked only about the Democratic or Republican candidate, and if 5% actually responded with “Gentry Lange” it must have been recorded as “other” or even less honestly as “undecided.” I only know this because at least five of my own supporters were polled and told me about their experiences. Two reported being presented the “Democrat, Republican, or other” options, and two others reported being given only the “Republican” or “Democrat” choice. Only one person who reported back to me said that my name was specifically offered as an option during the poll, 1 poll out of 5, and even that amount of direct inclusion in a poll is highly unusual for a 3rd party candidate.

So in a race in which there were only 3 candidates, the third candidate was excluded the vast majority of the time. Ralph Nader calls this the “No chance to have a chance” phenomenon.

The standards cited by King 5, say the same thing as Ralph Nader. All candidates for office must be included in events during the “out-period.” This includes community forums, radio interviews, and any and all debates. Otherwise the excluded candidate will not have been provided a fair playing field from which to compete with the other candidates in the race. So due to the media's continued use of polling that excludes third party candidates during the out-period, according to their own rules these debate sponsoring organizations do not have an any, “acceptable rationale to tighten the inclusion criteria” during the in-period.

Interestingly, in the 2005 race for King County Executive, there was an initial poll conducted during the out period that found I was polling at 5%. But this was an internal poll in one of the other campaigns, that was shown to me, but never provided to the media. I think it's safe to say that since I got almost 5% of the vote during the general election, that it was a fairly accurate poll, and therefore never saw the light of day. So even though most of the polls excluded me, by the rules King 5 purports to play by, they should have included me in any debate or discussion with my Democratic and Republican opponents during the initial out-period.

So King 5 was actually breaking two of their own rules:

1. They never conducted a poll during the out-period that included “Gentry Lange” as an option.
2. King 5 television never allowed me to participate in a single media event, debate or discussion during the out-period.

Nor did any other major news organization bother to include my campaign, that is until I learned how to force my way in the door. A tactic effectively employed by Aaron Dixon yesterday at the front door of King 5 studios. And until media outlets, and all the other debate sponsoring organizations start playing by their own rules, it is one of the few tactics that forces the issue of exclusion onto the front page and into the lead story on television.

It wasn't until the in-period that I was even interviewed by Robert Mak, the political news reporter for King 5 News, for a 3 minute segment in which the edited segment badly summarized my political views for half of the interview. And the best explanation I have for this minor coverage they gave the campaign is that I was polling at 7 % in the final weeks of October and threatening to upset the race. In short, I became newsworthy. But from June to October, a period in which numerous polls were conducted featuring my opponents, the only other poll to include me that I ever saw would come out on October 17th, when the race was nearly over.

Survey USA Poll

By excluding me in the out-period against the rules they feign to play by, King 5 as well as several other news outlets, affectively colluded to limit my chances to gain traction in the out-period by excluding me from television coverage. After all, in politics nothing is as important as free time on television.

In the end, after battling tooth and nail for every column inch in the media, the same media coverage that is handed on a silver platter to the “chosen two” major party candidates, I still ended up getting over 24,000 votes in the general election. A number greater than most statewide 3rd party candidates ever receive, and almost the same percentage of votes that Ralph Nader got in 2000, the year he received the most votes he ever received in King County. So by their own rules it was obvious that my campaign was “serious.”

It should be equally obvious that Aaron Dixon is a candidate with serious intent, and does not fall into the Mike “The Mover” category. But with the exclusion of Aaron Dixon from the debates, the question that is remaining is this, “Why is any legally qualified candidate allowed to be excluded from the debate?” And why is it that this Debate Advisory Standards Project gets to choose the criteria of inclusion or exclusion in these debates?

The Debate Advisory Standards Project is funded by the PEW Charitable Trusts. I don't know much about the PEW Charitable Trusts, but I do know this, they were never elected to decide who is or is not a viable candidate. And most polls show an overwhelming number of Americans would prefer more candidates included in political debates, not less.

Furthermore, if King 5 is going to act as if they are following the rules outlined by the PEW Charitable Trusts, then they should at least follow these rules. Any polls conducted during the out-period should include all candidates in the race, and serious effort should be extended to make the system as fair as possible. In fact, as I read and re-read the PEW's rules on debate exclusion, it occurs to me that if King 5 and the other major media organizations actually followed the rules they purport to play by, the debates would be far more inclusive then they are today. Instead, King 5 simply hides behind the rules they like when challenged, while ignoring the rules and recommendations they dislike.

In the end, the fact that Bruce Guthrie was smart enough and wealthy enough to play by these rules, though heavily weighted against him, and force his way into the debates, was little more than a fluke. Guthrie, in a stroke of pure political genius, bought his way into the televised debate, and in the end doesn't even have to spend the money.

It will be interesting to see the final numbers from this race come November, because prior to the TV debates Guthrie was polling at just barely 1%. Televised debates have launched third party candidates to victory before, most notably Jesse Ventura who was polling under 10% until his televised debate appearance. Mr. Ventura then went on to win the Governor's race in Minnesota.

But I'm not predicting Guthrie will win. No, his inclusion in the debates was a fluke, because up until air time, it wasn't even certain that Bruce Guthrie would be allowed to debate, regardless of the rules he had figured out to play by. And he obviously didn't hit a home run... but he did get his point across, and it's likely he'll pick up a few percentage points along the way. Thanks to a spot at the podium. In fact, if he gains 5% the Libertarians will win big on this gamble, because they will become an official “major” party in Washington State once again, and many of the barriers to inclusion will be eliminated with the achievement of major party status.

While we may not be able to bring back the Fairness Doctrine, killed by President Reagan, the next coarse of action should certainly be to sue King 5 for unregulated campaign contributions. Because free air time is the equivalent of giving away millions in paid advertising to these campaigns. The final vote totals that Bruce Guthrie receives will offer a glimpse of the increase in votes a television appearance can give to 3rd party candidates. But until networks like King 5 are confronted, harassed and sued repeatedly for what should be prosecuted as illegal campaign contributions, they will continue to silence dissent and exclude the voices that they alone decide should not be heard on the public airwaves. Regardless of the rules they choose for themselves, this is not Democracy, hell it's not even a fair way to run debates in a Republic.

What it is, is unacceptable. So regardless of your political persuasion I urge you to contact King 5 news, the Seattle Times, Mike McGavick's Campaign, and Maria Cantwell's office, to register your disgust with this type of blatant electioneering. And if you are a lawyer, feel free to give me a call.

Gentry Lange
Former Green Party Candidate for King County Executive

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Sam Reed Promotes Vote By Mail as the Solution to Problematic Voting Machines

Doing a little research over the weekend on Vote By Mail, I came across the pro-VBM website, called "The Vote By Mail Project".

Now, this website is interesting, it makes itself look like a homegrown Oregon based grassroots type organization. A bunch of voters in Oregon just got together and decided to support Vote-By Mail. Why just look at what their website copy says:

"The Vote By Mail Project was launched in 2005 by a group of people in Oregon who looked around the country in 2000 and 2004 and realized just how well our Vote By Mail system works. No lines, no touch screen voting machines, no intimidation or voter suppression at the polls, a guaranteed paper trail, the nation’s highest turnout (87% in ’04) plenty of time for individual voters to make informed voting decisions, more convenient for working people and families with children, and voters love it."

"Across the country, an increasing number of cities, counties and states are making it easier for citizens to vote without standing in long lines or using potentially flawed electronic voting equipment. Whether by allowing no-excuse absentee balloting, enabling voters to permanently choose absentee balloting, or adopting vote by mail, election officials, particularly those in the West, are embracing this trend."

Long lines, polling place intimidation and potentially flawed electronic voting equipment got you down, well we've got the answer.... Vote By Mail. Gosh we won't even need to train poll workers anymore.

So obviously, I want to know more about this organization, so I click around and find the advisers page....

The Advisers Page

Oddly the second name on the list Sam Reed is Washington's very own Secretary of State, Sam Reed.

I'm shocked. Isn't this the same Sam Reed that went around the state touting Electronic Voting Machines to kids in highschools?

"We hope hands-on experience with touch screen machines will motivate students to get involved and actually prepare them to vote," said Reed. "Traditionally, young voters have not been represented well at the polls. They deserve a say in their future and they ought to exercise their rights to get it."

Yep it's still on the Washington State's SOS website

So now which is it, are the voting machines faulty? Or are they the best thing since sliced bread? I hope someone besides me decides to ask Sam Reed this question.

And to everyone who thinks Touch Screen Voting Machines are the problem, why is it that the same people who bought the Touch Screens are now trying to sell you the cure?

This is pretty amazing to me considering Sam Reed is the President of NASS, the National Association of the Secretaries of State. Sam Reed is supporting a group that's attacking voting machines as faulty while simultaneously promoting the adoption of touch screen voting machine statewide and nationally.

Hawaii Reports of Union Review of Absentee

This comes from the, "I told you so" file:

"There were complaints in 1998 and 2000 by union employees reported to the Hawaii Republican and Democratic Parties, Lagareta says, that union employees were being forced to vote by absentee ballot at work, submitting the ballot to a supervisor for review before being returned to the county clerk for tally."

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Let Aaron Dixon Debate!!!!!!

Here's part of an email from Mike Gillis, of the Aaron Dixon for Senate Campaign:



I don't know if you've heard, but Libertarian candidate, Bruce Guthrie has
given his campaign for U.S. Senate $1.2 million of his own money. And
because of that donation, he will be allowed in the U.S. Senate debates on
KING-5, because large sums of money is a crtieria of the debate.

Even though Guthrie isn't polling as well as Green Party nominee Aaron Dixon
(3% in the last poll to Guthrie's 1%) and that Aaron has RAISED more money
than Guthrie (Aaron raised over $50,000 to Guthrie's $33,000), it is
disgusting and hypocritical that he be allowed to debate and Aaron is


-- The criteria for this debate is unfair to third parties and
non-millionaires. The money criteria is stated to be a judge of popular
support, but all of Guthrie's money is self-donated. Aaron Dixon has RAISED
more money than Guthrie has ($50,000 all from individual donors, while
Guthrie has raised $33,000 and written himself a big check)

-- Aaron Dixon currently polls THREE TIMES AS WELL as Bruce Guthrie does.
From a September 27th SurveyUSA poll, Aaron Dixon is at 3%, Bruce Guthrie is
at 1%

-- Aaron has consistently gotten more media coverage than Guthrie, who never
got an article in a mainstream media source until he gave himself a million

Mike Gillis
Press Secretary,
Aaron Dixon for U.S. Senate




Pat Costello, Executive News Director, KING 5 News: (206) 448-4516
David Boardman, Executive Editor, the Seattle Times: (206) 464-2205

Broken Computer, New Computer

So I accidentally destroyed my laptop. And after a couple months in between, shuffling files from portable drive to external, then onto a new laptop, I think it's time I started blogging again.

More to come...

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

What's that Smell?

While I live in Shoreline, I keep an apartment in the Eastlake district, and last night, after the fireworks display, apparently the Pier at 1801 Fairview Ave East caught on fire. Now I'm no big fan of what I like to call drunks with explosives day, and yesterday's fire was a pretty good indication of why celebrating freedom by getting drunk and illegally setting off fireworks is a very bad idea. How is getting drunk and blowing things up an appropriate celebration for Independence Day?

Now my neighborhood smells toxic, and I woke up with a pretty bad headache, a probably result of the fumes aggravating the sinus infection I am fighting. And while the fire department won't say it yet, I am pretty darn sure that drunks with explosives day was the cause.

Happy Fourth of July everyone! Hopefully you survived and kept all your fingers! National health statistics report almost 9,000 emergency room visits for injuries due to fireworks in 2002... mostly kids!

Health Care IS Emergency Preperation

Recently I came down with a sinus infection. Actually, it wasn't that recently, it has actually been months. But I until recently I didn't have health insurance or a regular doctor, so I have developed a bad habit of ignoring my health problems to see if they'll just go away on their own. This one didn't, and by this morning, it was pretty bad (and kinda gross). So I went down to the Country Doctor Health Clinic on Capitol Hill, and luckily they got me in quick and prescribed a bottle of antibiotics.

On the campaign trail for County Executive last year, I was asked quite frequently about things like pandemic flu, SARS, and other infectious diseases that could be considered security risks to the region. Now I have to admit that Eric Holdeman, director of the King County Office of Emergency Management, is by all accounts doing a bang-up job on preparing the King County Region for possible disasters, but there's a deeper problem here. With so many uninsured Americans, if a flu pandemic were to arise, how many of the uninsured would do like me and wait days, weeks, perhaps months to see a doctor, or go to the emergency room? How many more people will be infected with some deadly disease because of this?

Countries with universal health care are far more prepared for pandemics than the US will ever be until we can figure out how to cover the uninsured. All the money pouring into disaster preparation in the post 911 word will do nothing to counter this problem. Universal Health care is about more than helping the poor, it's about security for the Nation.

Friday, June 30, 2006

The Brennan Center Report

Another report confirms what voting activists have been saying all along. Check it out here (pdf summary).

It's called the Kathy Dopp Analyses The Brennan Center Report on Electronic Voting in the U.S. And it's a fairly detailed report. With the previous GAO report, and numberous books, and thousands of activists nationwide, we might just reach the tipping point yet. Here's a quick breakdown for those who don't want to read the full summary as a PDF.

The report recommends random audits, and several other procedures championed by voting activists for years. It also questions systems like Washington State's in which paper ballots exist, but are not routinely used for hand auditing. Machine recounts are not enough, apparently... something that should have been made clear by the hand recount in Washington of 2004.

Holy Illegal Prisons for Illegal Combatants Batman

Apparently the Supreme Court just slapped the Bush Administration around on Guantanamo, and the Military Tribunal System installed to try prisoners there. The ruling is only suprising in that the Supreme Court has been quite the rubber stamp for abuses by the Bush Administration. From the start by installing Bush as President the Supreme Court has been slowly and steadily stripping away Civil Rights in favor of Big Government control. In fact, just recently the Court ruled that Police don't have to knock to enter your house anymore.

Call me a skeptic, but one decent ruling does nothing to quell my fears of a court that has been packed by Conservatives. However, with this ruling Congress is finally poised to have hearings regarding the issues raised by Guantanamo.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Caleb Schaber in Baghdad

My friend, Caleb Schaber, who wrote for the UW Daily, and who ran against Greg Nickels, is back in Iraq. His most recent article appears here.

Caleb has pursued a more interesting life than most. Just google his name and you will find a soul that is further outside the mainstream than most gonzo journalists. As I was listening to a story by Mike Pesca on NPR's "All Thing's Considered" today about how some journalists are too chicken to cover Baghdad and news listeners are tiring of Iraq War News, I thought to myself what Caleb is doing in Afghanistan and Baghdad would make normal reporters pee themselves with fear, and his news and blog reports are far more interesting than mainstream media.

But without the AP behind his name, Caleb must fight his way into every assignment, and most the time he just creates his own. In fact he created his own newswire service, just to get the job done.

The Northern Nevada Newswire

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Randomly Drafing Poll Workers

Here's an interesting story from Mexico. Interesting, mostly, because it points out that in Mexico they simply draft 1 million people randomly to work the polls. Pretty much solves the problem of a lack of vote counters. And seems like a Patriotic thing to do. Kinda like the Jury System maybe.

"He said a comprehensive voting list, ballot papers that could not be falsified, an efficient counting system and the presence of 1 million people chosen at random to work at ballot booths would prevent vote fraud."

Monday, June 26, 2006

King County Needs a Team Bike Challenge

June is the Second Anual Team Bike Challenge in Santa Barbara. In order to replace and expand the region's "Bike to Work"" day, this Santa Barbara group challenges infrequent bicycle riders to change their habits by competing for a month with other teams.

In these days of high oil prices, air pollution, and global warming concerns, wouldn't it be nice to see someone like Global Warming cheerleader, Greg Nickels, get on a bike and publicize a good way to lower weight, improve traffic, and decrease air pollution. Why not a King County Team Bike challenge, and we can start by challenging all the fat polticians to change their lifestyles first?

Just a thought...

Read more here.

New Roads or New Ideas to Improve Congestion?

Germany works to solve their traffic problems through vision.

"The Ruhrpilot system constantly picks up electronic data on the traffic situation on motorways, federal highways, state highways and primary municipal roads and from 200 sensing points in urban centres such as Bochum, Dortmund, Essen and Gelsenkirchen. This traffic situation data is then analysed and integrated with data on other modes of transport, such as the railways and urban mass transit systems, reported from 11 towns, 4 boroughs and 13 transport operators, and thus provides the region with access to up-to-date traffic information and traffic forecasts.

Transport users can select a route which is optimal for their needs and decide how they wish to reach their destination - faster and safer than previously. This up-to-date information is already available on the internet and in future will also be disseminated by radio, newspapers, teletext, mobile telephones and motorway information displays."

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Is Canada Moving Away From Hand Counts?

This article suggests that Canada might be working to follow the United State's in foolishly changing their election systems. The all too familiar sounding approach combines Absentees and Private Computer companies making the "counting machines".

Vote By Mail Problem in NC, Poll Voting Fraud Doesn't Exist

From North Carolina
Vote By Mail Problems

The Commission found that actual fraud on election day at the polls is almost non-existent. Where the system breaks down is absentee ballots. The Commission discovered that blank ballots mailed to wrong addresses or to large residential buildings were easily intercepted. Further, citizens who vote at home, at nursing homes, at the workplace, or in church are more susceptible to pressure and intimidation. Vote-buying schemes are far more difficult to detect when citizens vote by mail. The Commission therefore recommended that “state and local jurisdictions should prohibit a person from handling absentee ballots other than the voter, an acknowledged family member, the U.S. Postal Service or election officials. The practice in some states of allowing candidates or party workers to pick-up and deliver absentee ballots should be eliminated.”

Friday, June 23, 2006

How Sig Verification Works, and What's Coming

A great Column in the Herald June 21st, 2006. It covers some of the key problems with signature verification, and the problems that are soon to encumber King County's election system.

Vote By Mail a Barrier to the Disabled?

"The WA State Legislature found that vote by mail can create a barrier that restricts the ability of many voters with disabilities."


Clallam County, unless it bucks the state trend, will likely act like The Help America Vote Act, HAVA, requires touchscreens. HAVA, of course, does not require touchscreens, but it's a mantra repeated so frequently most people just assume it is true.

Well I won't hold my breath to find out.

1965 Voting Rights Act

The fight over the re-enactment of the 1965 voting rights act is telling, much like when this Administration put Kissinger in charge of the 911 investigation. It shows the hand of those of both parties. And the partisan divide could not be clearer in this fight.

Democrats argue for "inclusive" voting procedures. Republicans argue for "exclusive" procedures. Democrats don't mind including a few extra felons here and there, or illegal voters of any stripe, because high turn-out generally favors Democrats, and Republicans would rather restrict the system to the fewest voters possible because low turn-out generally favors Republicans.

Much like in King County, the partisan divide only serves the corporate master's interest, and instead of reform we get more privatization, corporatization and corruption.

Real reform would look far different, and starts with:

1.VVPB, Voter-Verified Paper Ballots
2.An Elected Auditor
2.Run off elections when the margin of error exceeds the margin of victory
3.A renewed registration database, and clear registration procedures
4.Publicly owned open sourced software
5.Precinct Level Hand Audits of Optical Scan Ballots
6.Felony vote purge reform (cleaned up procedures for re-enfranchising the formerly incarcerated)
7.The restriction of Vote By Mail to those who truly need it
8.The retention of polling places
9.The eventual elimination of corporate controlled processes involved in elections
10.The prosecution of the companies that have so far been involved, and have lied to public officials, and seemingly participated in what seems like racketeering to this lonely activist.

But that's just where voting reform starts. I pledge to write a longer piece on what system we should adopt in King County over the next few weeks. But until we can start the conversation that addresses what system we want, all we can do is complain that the current system is broken. Fixing a broken system involves consensus building around the solution. It is no longer about pointing out the flaws. So from here I will continue to build my list of what “real voting reform” should look like.

Until then, here's a few articles on the Voting Rights Act debates in congress:

The ACLU's position press release

Article II

A great, longer piece on the problems with the Voting Rights Act from a left of center perspective

The Greg Palast analysis

Lone Star Article
A more right leaning perspective from The Lone Star Times.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

England Vote Fraud By Mail

From the Times Online

"OVER the next few days there will be probably the last chance this decade for Parliament to introduce stronger safeguards against voting fraud. At present, the opportunity looks as though it will be missed as the Electoral Administration Bill shuttles between the Commons and Lords before becoming law."

"The need for action has been underlined by the various scandals over postal and other vote frauds revealed in The Times. The Electoral Commission has for some time recommended changes to improve security."


Interesting how vote fraud by mail is always in the news.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Kill the Messenger, Ignore the Message

There are two articles that I wrote in college that a few in the blogosphere continually quote, and misquote, to try and attack my credibility. One was titled, “Chronic Problem Chronic Solution,” and one is titled, “Honesty is so Passe”. The first is an article I wrote, I believe, when I was 19, as a Sophomore about smoking marijuana for migraines. The second was an article I wrote upon graduating. One is satire, one is about medical marijuana, you can decide for yourself which is which.

I don't necessarily agree with my everything I wrote over 10 years ago when I was in college, but I have never hidden from these articles either. Yes, in my life I smoked pot for migraines, but today I wouldn't “thank” people involved in illegal drug trade, as I did in the article. It's a little too over-the-top for most people to find humorous, or to even see my point. However, I remain opposed to the drug war, and I continue to support medical marijuana. As for my satirical piece, Honesty is So Passe, I have typically relied on people to read it for themselves, because most people can easily comprehend my frustration concerning a liberal arts education, and the lack of job training college offers. Nowadays, at the age of 31 now, I believe I am a much different person than the college student who wrote these articles, but I admire the frank and outspoken person I was then, and still feel a passion to speak out about my beliefs.

The most interesting thing about these two articles, however, is that in the age of the Internet, the stupid stuff you wrote in college just might be around 10, 20, or 40 years later. And today, as an outspoken member of the public, it's even more interesting to me that there are people who track this stuff down in order to try and discredit the messenger. Obviously, this type of argument rarely fools anyone. Most people are more than capable of noticing when people attack the messenger and not the message.

Forced vote-by-mail schemes, Diebold Touchscreen machines, and the abject failure of King County Elections department have nothing to do with two articles I wrote in college.

But for those of you that are having problems with me, as a messenger, here's the articles:

Honesty Is So Passe

Chronic Problems, Chronic Solution

Feel free to post them far and wide. If your only weapon against logic and reason is to attack and discredit those you speak against, well, to quote George Bush, bring it on.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Democrats Vote for Diebold Touchscreens!

Yesterday, the King County Council voted 5 to 4 to move to Forced Vote By Mail and Diebold Touchscreen Voting Machines.

The only council members who spoke against the proposal to do away with the polls and bring in Diebold's Touchscreen Voting Machines were Republicans. Republican Kathy Lambert actually raised questions regarding the Diebold's TSX system and the potential for fraud when these machines are used. Living in King County feels more and more like Cook County, Illinois every day.

The last few weeks have been truly eye opening. On the national scale, I was a Dennis Kucinich Delegate in 2004, because he helped confront Diebold, by posting the infamous Diebold memos on his Congressional Website. But in Washington State, I have never found much help in the Democratic party concerning voting reform. Rank and file Democrats all over are pulling out there hair over this issue, but the Washington State Democratic leadership does not give a rats ass about opening the process, and addressing the concerns we as voting activists raise, loudly, daily, and perpetually.

With a very partisan vote, and with much disrespect shown to the multi-party coalition of activists working to save “Poll Place Voting” in King County, the County's Democrats showed that in the face of overwhelming public testimony, and what the Democrats kept calling, “valid concerns” throughout the June 5th public comment period, that the Democrats were willing to ignore those concerns and push this vote through.

Let's make it clear that the people that are voting to continue to support bringing in Diebold's Touchscreen Voting Machines, forced vote by mail, and doing away with poll places, virtually guaranteeing unverifiable elections procedures, include:

Bob Ferguson
Larry Gossett
Larry Phillips
Julia Patterson
Dow Constantine

King County deserves better than this.