Tuesday, 31 October 2006


    and it is still 7 days till election day.
This really sucks.  Read on
Glitches Cited in Early Voting
    By Charles Rabin and Darran Simon
    The Miami Herald
    Saturday 28 October 2006
Early voters are urged to cast their ballots with care following scattered reports of problems with heavily used machines.
    After a week of early voting, a handful of glitches with electronic voting machines have drawn the ire of voters, reassurances from elections supervisors - and a caution against the careless casting of ballots.
    Several South Florida voters say the choices they touched on the electronic screens were not the ones that appeared on the review screen - the final voting step.
    Election officials say they aren't aware of any serious voting issues. But in Broward County, for example, they don't know how widespread the machine problems are because there's no process for poll workers to quickly report minor issues and no central database of machine problems.
    In Miami-Dade, incidents are logged and reported daily and recorded in a central database. Problem machines are shut down.
    "In the past, Miami-Dade County would send someone to correct the machine on site," said Lester Sola, county supervisor of elections. Now, he said, "We close the machine down and put a seal on it."
    Debra A. Reed voted with her boss on Wednesday at African-American Research Library and Cultural Center near Fort Lauderdale. Her vote went smoothly, but boss Gary Rudolf called her over to look at what was happening on his machine. He touched the screen for gubernatorial candidate Jim Davis, a Democrat, but the review screen repeatedly registered the Republican, Charlie Crist.
    That's exactly the kind of problem that sends conspiracy theorists into high gear - especially in South Florida, where a history of problems at the polls have made voters particularly skittish.
    A poll worker then helped Rudolf, but it took three tries to get it right, Reed said.
    "I'm shocked because I really want ... to trust that the issues with irregularities with voting machines have been resolved," said Reed, a paralegal. "It worries me because the races are so close."
    Broward Supervisor of Elections spokeswoman Mary Cooney said it's not uncommon for screens on heavily used machines to slip out of sync, making votes register incorrectly. Poll workers are trained to recalibrate them on the spot - essentially, to realign the video screen with the electronics inside. The 15-step process is outlined in the poll-workers manual.
    "It is resolved right there at the early-voting site," Cooney said.
    Broward poll workers keep a log of all maintenance done on machines at each site. But the Supervisor of Elections office doesn't see that log until the early voting period ends. And a machine isn't taken out of service unless the poll clerk decides it's a chronic poor performer that can't be fixed.
    Cooney said no machines have been removed during early voting, and she is not aware of any serious problems.
    In Miami-Dade, two machines have been taken out of service during early voting. No votes were lost, Sola said.
    Joan Marek, 60, a Democrat from Hollywood, was also stunned to see Charlie Crist on her ballot review page after voting on Thursday. "Am I on the voting screen again?" she wondered. "Well, this is too weird."
    Marek corrected her ballot and alerted poll workers at the Hollywood satellite courthouse, who she said told her they'd had previous problems with the same machine.
    Poll workers did some work on her machine when she finished voting, Marek said. But no report was made to the Supervisor of Elections office and the machine was not removed, Cooney said.
    Workers at the Hollywood poll said there had been no voting problems on Friday.
    Mauricio Raponi wanted to vote for Democrats across the board at the Lemon City Library in Miami on Thursday. But each time he hit the button next to the candidate, the Republican choice showed up. Raponi, 53, persevered until the machine worked. Then he alerted a poll worker.

    Hampering the Vote
    By Robert Kuttner
    The Boston Globe
    Saturday 28 October 2006
    Polls show Democrats picking up between 20 and 30 House seats, enough to take control of the House. But brace yourself for a very long evening - that could go on for days.
    The Republicans' superior ground operation - they spend more on targeting voters and getting out the vote - has received some attention in the press. But far more ominous is the organized effort to suppress voter turnout, directed entirely against groups likely to vote for Democrats.
    An exhaustive report, "Voting in 2006: Have We Solved the Problems of 2004?" by the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, the Century Foundation, and Common Cause, catalogs new, sickening assaults on our democracy:
    Hurdles to voter registration. Several states, led predictably by Florida and Ohio, have added criminal penalties for voter-registration efforts that violate deliberately complicated rules . In Florida, the Legislature added fines for nonpartisan groups that turn in registration materials late. This put League of Women Voters volunteer efforts in many minority areas out of business.
    In Ohio, where the notorious secretary of state, Ken Blackwell, is also the Republican candidate for governor, technical violations of complex voter-registration laws are now felonies. Republicans even tried to disqualify Blackwell's opponent, Ted Strickland, from running, on the ground that he had voted in past years from two different Ohio addresses (where he lived).
    Excessive ID requirements. In states that require voter ID, common-sense documentation such as a utility bill or tax receipt has long been accepted. Other states have accepted a signed affidavit or signature match, and experienced no fraud problems. But in several Republican-controlled states, such as Florida, Georgia, and Missouri, photo-ID requirements have been added, disqualifying people - mostly poor, elderly, minority (and likely to vote for Democrats) - who lack driver's licenses or passports or special voter cards. In Florida, the requirement could disqualify 300,000 voters.
    Impediments to voting. In Arizona, an anti-immigrant ballot initiative passed in 2004 requires voters to bring proof of citizenship. In the first two months after the initiative passed, 70 percent of voter-registration applications in Maricopa County (Phoenix) were rejected for lack of adequate documentation. In Ohio, where voters in heavily Democratic and minority precincts waited for as long as 10 hours and countless gave up because of mysterious shortages of voting machines, the state belatedly required roughly equal allocation of voting machines. This remedy takes effect in 2013!
    Polls have Ohio Democratic Senate candidate Sherrod Brown leading Republican incumbent Mike DeWine by about eight points. But one Ohio activist told me, "We put the margin of theft at about seven points."
    Mechanical manipulation. Immense problems remain with voting machines, most notoriously "touch-screen" machines that leave no paper trail. If you want to be really terrified, check out a nine-minute video produced by three computer scientists at Princeton, which shows how to hack into a Diebold machine to change the recorded vote (See itpolicy.princeton.edu/voting).
    A recent report by The New York Times suggests that impediments to voting deter turnout in other ways. They contribute to a why-bother mindset, particularly among black and Hispanic voters.
    In GOP-controlled states like Florida, Ohio, Missouri, Arizona, and in hundreds of counties elsewhere in Red America, millions of citizens will show up on Election Day only to be turned away for lack of ID, or to find that their names are not listed on voter rolls. The Help America Vote Act allows these spurned voters to cast provisional ballots. But it will be days before election officials, and in many cases judges, determine which of these ballots count. In many close races, the number of contested ballots will be larger than the election-night margin.
    Republicans defend these vote-suppression measures as necessary to combat fraud. Once, big-city Democratic machines made sure people voted "early and often." But the right has been unable to produce evidence of deliberate ballot fraud today.
    In Washington State, where Democrat Christine Gregoire won the governorship in 2004 by 133 votes, Republican litigators spent millions seeking improperly cast ballots. All they found were exactly five former felons who had unintentionally neglected the paperwork necessary to restore their franchise.
    The real fraud is the theft of our democracy, by deliberate suppression of the right to vote and to have one's vote counted. The popular revulsion against the Bush administration is so powerful that even with these abuses, Democrats are likely to take back the House. Then the recovery of American democracy can begin.
    Robert Kuttner is co-editor of The American Prospect and a senior fellow at Demos. His column appears regularly in the Globe.

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Thank You John Kerry (From The Republican Side)

Ken Berwitz

Weeks ago I mentioned that my gut was telling me Republicans would retain control of both houses of congress.  No prediction - I don't do that - just a strong feeling.

Now, incredibly, we have John Kerry seeming to want the same thing.  Yeah, I know he hates Republicans and Bush etc., but when someone opens his mouth like this you have to at least consider the possibility he's crossed the Rubicon. 

Yesterday, here is what Senator Kerry said about "education".  It is NOT out of context; believe it or not he really said this:

 "You know, education, if you make the most of it, you study hard, you do your homework and you make an effort to be smart, you can do well. If you don't, you get stuck in Iraq."

That's right.  That's what he said.  Hard to believe, but true.   

In other words, he has told our troops, as they risk their lives in a war, that they are in Iraq because they are educational malingerers who didn't even try to be smart (whatever that means).

This is the same Kerry who accused our troops of terrorizing women and children in the middle of the night last year.

And then, instead of apologizing or at the very least trying (however impossible it could be under the circumstances) to convince people he meant something other than what he plainly said, Kerry gets out-of-control angry about the reaction his words created. 

When Tony Snow said Kerry owed the troops an apology, Kerry's answer was:

"This is the classic GOP playbook. I'm sick and tired of these despicable Republican attacks that always seem to come from those who never can be found to serve in war, but love to attack those who did. I'm not going to be lectured by a stuffed suit White House mouthpiece standing behind a podium."

I heard this, and it reminded me of the joke about a guy who lost $200 betting on a football game -- $100 for the game and another $100 on the replay.

Kerry makes a disgusting insulting remark about our troops, and then parlays that into an equally disgusting, insulting attack on someone who dares to suggest he shouldn't have done it.  This, from a man who has accomplished NOTHING in 22 years in the senate, except open that big, stupid mouth of his.

Will Kerry's advanced case of Archiebunkeritis affect people's votes?  Will they associate what Kerry said with how Democrats in general feel about the troops?  Will it turn the tide in favor of Republicans on election day?  See me next week.

We are not going to take this anymore from an incompetent Administration

How dare the administration and big Fat Rush criticize those who have never served their
country.   It is Classic GOP bull!
Kerry served his country and served it well. For those who never served to criticize him as not supporting the military is beyond and over the top.
We do not support this war!  We support the troops and we want them home. We don't want anymore to die for nothing.
In one week without the benefit of dirty dirty tricks we will reclaim the house and senate and then all we want to do is ask the questions and get the answers. Something that the GOP will not allow us to do.

Thank you John Kerry.... Statement of John Kerry Responding to Republican Distortions, Pathetic Tony Snow Diversions and Distractions Washington Senator John Kerry issued the following statement in response to White House Press Secretary Tony Snow, assorted right wing nut-jobs, and right wing talk show hosts desperately distorting Kerrys comments about President Bush to divert attention from their disastrous record: If anyone thinks a veteran would criticize the more than 140,000 heroes serving in Iraq and not the president who got us stuck there, they're crazy. This is the classic G.O.P. playbook. Im sick and tired of these despicable Republican attacks that always seem to come from those who never can be found to serve in war, but love to attack those who did. Im not going to be lectured by a stuffed suit White House mouthpiece standing behind a podium, or doughy Rush Limbaugh, who no doubt today will take a break from belittling Michael J. Foxs Parkinsons disease to start lying about me just as they have lied about Iraq. It disgusts me that these Republican hacks, who have never worn the uniform of our country lie and distort so blatantly and carelessly about those who have. The people who owe our troops an apology are George W. Bush and Dick Cheney who misled America into war and have given us a Katrina foreign policy that has betrayed our ideals, killed and maimed our soldiers, and widened the terrorist threat instead of defeating it. These Republicans are afraid to debate veterans who live and breathe the concerns of our troops, not the empty slogans of an Administration that sent our brave troops to war without body armor.

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