ELECT THE PEOPLE'S LAWYER: David Van Os, Democrat for Texas Attorney General

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Voting Technology Violates Constitutional Rights

With the touch-screen electronic voting machines that the Republican political cabal is forcing on all Texas counties, the voter cannot see his own ballot being cast. The visible touch screen is not the ballot; it is only a purported replica of the ballot. The electronic ballot is within the innards of the machine, hidden from the voter's sight.

You would think as a matter of common sense that the machine would at least give the voter a receipt to confirm that the hidden ballot was cast as the voter intended, but it doesn't. The voter has no means to know whether or not his vote was recorded as he intended, other than by private corporations who sell the machines saying, "Trust us." And that is really all the public gets, since the computer programming codes that tell the machine's insides what to do are claimed as proprietary by the private corporations and kept secret from the public.

You sure wouldn't trust your money with any bank that wouldn't give you a receipt for your deposit. No politician in his right mind would ask you to, either. Why should you be expected to trust a private corporation that has no democratic accountability to you to take your deposit of your most precious possession of free citizenship, your vote, and not give you a receipt? Anybody who thinks this makes any sense, come talk to me quick because I have a bridge to sell you.

Now let's take a look at the Texas Constitution.

Article 6, Section 2 states:

"The privilege of free suffrage shall be protected by laws regulating elections and prohibiting under adequate penalties all undue influence in elections from power, bribery, tumult, or other improper practices."

Article 6, Section 4 states:

"In all elections by the people, the vote shall be by ballot, and the Legislature shall provide for the numbering of tickets and make such other regulations as may be necessary to detect and punish fraud and preserve the purity of the ballot box."

Now you tell me. How in the world can a system prohibit undue influence in elections from power, bribery, tumult, or other improper practices when there is no way to verify whether the things that are going on inside the machine are even recording the votes as the voters intend? How in the world can the purity of the ballot box be preserved when even the voter who cast the ballot has no way of knowing what actually got recorded on his ballot in the interior of the machine? Clearly, it can't, and it can't.

These machines clearly violate the Texas Constitution.

Federal law does not require that there be a voter-verifiable paper trail, nor does federal law require that there not be one. The federal laws are silent. In the federal law's silence, the Texas Constitution governs in all elections conducted within the jurisdiction of Texas.

This blatant disregard of the Constitutional rights of all the citizens of Texas is the plain result of partisan, power-loving, one-party Republican rule. The manufacturers of the electronic voting machines are big corporate powers that are headed by Republicans who love Republican rule for the way it protects the divine rights of big corporations to profit as much as possible off the backs of working people. The Governor is a Republican who depends on money from Republican corporate America to feed his campaign chests. The Secretary of State is a Republican who depends on the Republican Governor for appointment to his job. The Attorney General is a Republican who depends on the strength of the Republican corporate-political power machine to turn out his votes.

It is an outrage that these partisans of the power-loving, one-party, Republican power machine are conducting the public's business with such detestable disregard for your most precious act of citizenship in this great democracy, your vote in free democratic elections. This has to be brought to a halt.

When I become Attorney General of Texas, I am going to take immediate action to enforce the Texas Constitution against such outrageous excuses for voting technology. But it should not have to wait for my election.

This unconstitutional situation needs to be corrected immediately. I am calling on all the citizens of Texas to demand restoration of their Constitutional rights to cast a secure, free and pure, democratic ballot. I am calling on the Governor, the Secretary of State, and all the legislators to act promptly to conform voting technology to the Texas Constitution. I am calling on the Attorney General to take prompt action to enforce the Constitutional rights of the citizens of Texas to free suffrage and secure ballots. The patriots of history who lived and died to make our nation and our state beacons of democracy are sitting in judgment on you.

posted by snarko! at 1:03 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I attended a 'public meeting' where the voting technology person paid by Smith County gave a deminstration of an electronic voting machine. The presenter, in answer to questions, said that this electronic voting machine would, indeed, save all of its internal lnformation and would, if an inquiry was made, print out a a "paper trail" Is this true?

12:43 AM  

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