Yesterday’s New York Time’s Magazine cover story, “Can You Count on Voting Machines?,” offers valuable and in depth coverage of electronic voting machines and the threat they pose to the foundation of our democratic process – our right to vote in free and fair elections.
In Tennessee, 93 out of 95 counties use electronic voting machines with no voter verifiable paper trail. That means there is no way to be completely sure of an accurate tally or recount in the event one is needed.
This Thursday, January 10, the legislature’s Voter Confidence Act Legislative Study Committee will meet to discuss the findings of the Tennessee Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations (TACIR) report, “Trust But Verify,” which recommends that to improve election integrity in Tennessee we move away from electronic voting machines and replace them with paper-based optical scan machines.
SB1363 (sponsored by Senator Haynes) /HB 1256 (sponsored by Representative Moore), legislation that will mandate that all voting equipment in Tennessee use or produce a voter-verified paper ballot and that statewide random post-election manual audits be conducted to verify the vote count. Information on contacting legislators and getting the tools for an accurate count must be done before the November presidential election. Contact information is available at http://www.votesafetn.org.
There is still time to implement these changes before November and we do have the money. Thirty-five million federal dollars allocated through the Help America Vote Act are available and waiting for a rainy day just like this one. It is estimated that cost of replacing the machines in all 93 counties is $12 million, with another $12 million to be spent to help those voting who special needs.
If Tennessee legislator Jason Mumpower wants the balls back because he doesn’t trust computers to pick our lottery numbers, how can he possibly trust them to accurately count our votes?
UnCounted producer Patricia Earnhardt , wife of Director David Earnhardt, speaks to concerned voters at the UnitarianUniversalist screenming of this film in Dec. 2007.
Also, Nashville’s own, filmmaker David Earnhardt, has produced a marvelous and timely documentary on the subject that tells the story of how the issue of election integrity and electronic voting traveled from the fringes to the mainstream due to the hard work of some local activists as well as the bravery of whistleblowers throughout the country. These are the stories of citizens who recognized the threat to our franchise and chose to do the right thing. David’s film, Uncounted: The New Math of American Elections, will be have two screenings at the Belcourt Theatre on the Monday, February 4, 6:30 and 9:30, the night before Super Duper Tuesday.About the Author: Mary Mancini’s letter appeared in a communication from the Tennessee Alliance For Progress via a communique from Nell Levin. www.tennesseeallianceforprogress.org