Monday, February 28, 2005

Rebuilding The Foundation

In the last week or so there has been an ongoing conversation between the ASZ'ers and Public Org Theory about the direction of left blogistan and how to best use the resources, talents and energy to facilitate real change in this country and the Democratic party.

This morning, while visiting one of my favorite stops in left blogistan, I came across something called Blog Call.

BlogCall is a regular conference call hosted by progressive and Democratic "bloggers" do discuss exposes of Republican and rightwing crimes and scandals that deserve national media attention. We invite mainstream journalists to participate fully in each BlogCall.

Each BlogCall features a progressive or Democratic "blogger" who has broken a major expose. The format is a virtual press conference, in which the featured "blogger" will present his/her story for 15 minutes, followed by 20 minutes of Q&A about the story.

Brad Friedman of The BradBlog will be talking about the Curtis/Feeney/Yang vote-rigging scandal on March 8 at the next BlogCall. The first BlogCall featured John Aravosis of and the Gannon/Guckert White House 'Ho scandal.

While a vigilant, free and open media plays one part in a healthy democracy, the right to vote and have that vote counted is the cornerstone. With the corporatization of our country the right to a fair and transparent vote has been traded away in exchange for immediacy. Having a secret ballot no longer means being able to cast your ballot without fear of recriminations. A secret ballot has morphed into casting your ballot and not being sure if it is counted or if it is counted as you cast it. Technology and the corporations that have brought it have turned your secret ballot into their secret by claiming "trade secrets" and "proprietary information" when asked to open up the voting machine source code for examination and verification by outside, impartial experts.

Velvet Revolution's "Divestiture for Democracy" is challenging the e-voting companies to do the patriotic thing.

On February 21, 2005 (President's Day), Velvet Revolution sent a letter to each of the nine major American Voting Machine companies -- (Advanced Voting Solutions, Diebold, Danaher-Guardian, Election Systems & Software [ES&S], HartInterCivic, MicroVote, Sequoia Voting Systems, Triad GSI and UniLect Corp) -- asking them to do the right thing for our country!

In short, our letter gives the companies 60 days to take the following patriotic actions: (See the letter we sent them in full and our official statement for more details!)
  • Voluntarily open their hardware and software for independent public inspection and analysis.
  • Provide auditable, voter-verified paper ballots for all votes cast.
  • Assure that there can be no form of networking on their machines.
  • Allow for non-partisan, independent monitors of the vote tabulation process.
  • Institute a corporate policy prohibiting the company and all of its executives from supporting candidates for public office or political action groups.
  • Disclose all data, codes and records from the last three national elections, if requested.
  • Adopt all feasible best practices suggested by a national committee of experts.
  • Do all of the above at no extra cost to their governmental clients with which they work.

If there is any hope in reclaiming/rebuilding a democracy in this country liberating the media and our votes from corporate and party control are battles we can't afford to lose and can't afford to sit out.