Business as usual will not be the norm over the next 48 hours as Secretaries of State in all fifty states will each receive subpoenas in the National Clean Election lawsuit, according to an announcement made Monday night by activist Bernie Ellis at the Belcourt Theatre in Nashville. There is still time, Ellis said, to require a paper trail for the 2008 election.
The announcement was made in a panel discussion following the sold out Nashville premiere of the David Earnhardt film, Uncounted [The Movie], which ended with a standing ovation for its writer/director. The documentary film addressed the issue of voting machine error/failure, the need for a paper trail of votes, the political and business ties between government officials and manufacturers of these DRE (Direct Recording Electronic) voting machines, and the ease of tampering with such machines and “flipping” votes that are electronically counted.
“I cannot think of anything more important than to save the core of our democracy — the vote! — David Earnhardt
The film also reviewed extensive cases of mechanical errors, lost votes, voters turned away from polls, incomplete ballots and the installation of uncertified software into voting machine reported from across the nation.
“The lawsuit aims to establish that all computer systems (or other systems) which hide the ballots from the people for even a short period of time before the count is accomplished and the results are posted – are unconstitutional…
“The lawsuit argues persuasively … that the use of computer and machine election systems violate each citizen’s right to vote, as defined at least twice by the Supreme Court of the United States. ”
— Jim Condit Jr., NetworkAmerica.
The lawsuit is aimed at prohibiting the use of all types of vote counting machines, and requiring hand-counting of all primary and general election ballots in full view of the public. The lawsuit has raised significant constitutional questions challenging the generally accepted practices of state election officials of relying on “black box” voting machines to record and count the votes at each polling station, and allow tallying of votes by election officials outside the view of the general public. In many cases, states have officially authorized voting “systems” that leave virtually no paper trail from which to audit the vote. [We The People Foundation].
Ellis said that regardless of what voters are being told, there is still time to pass legislation that would mandate voter verifiable paper ballots in 2008. The Tennessee Voter Confidence Act of 2007 [Senate Bill 1363/House Bill 1256], sponsored by Senator Joe Haynes and Rep. Gary Moore, mandates a paper trail.
“Today in Tennessee, 93 of our 95 counties use nonverifiable, paperless touch-screen voting machines . In 2006, over one in every six Tennessee counties reported problems with this equipment. Our state is not alone, but (sadly) it is now one of the worst states for voting security and accountability in this nation.” — Bernie Ellis
What began as lawsuits in ten keys states including Iowa, Ohio, New York and Florida has burgeoned into a nationwide effort. Earnhardt’s film, which was ignored by corporate media during this world premiere, exposes the vulnerability in current technology of voting machines, or at least, the lack of oversight in acquiring and using them without hacking, flipping or under/overcounting votes, and other problems. Earnhardt asked why, when it is so easy to get a printed receipt from anything from an ATM machine to the drive-through register at a Krispy Kreme, it should be so difficult to get a verifiable voting machine receipt.
The lawsuit seeks an Order from the Court prohibiting the use of all voting machines and to force election officials to instead utilize paper ballots and to count and total all votes by hand, always in full view of the public. Plaintiffs from all fifty states have signed on to the lawsuit.
In the question and answer period following the screening, an Iraq veteran said he had pledged to protect his country “from all enemies foreign and domestic” and viewed the issues of voting machines as a domestic threat to voters across the country.