International Ben Tells You How to Vote Day (with surprise endorsement)

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Most of all, vote! The multiple four-way debates were a glimpse of functioning politics. We owe ourselves a high turnout. Feel free to forward to anyone who has run out of reading material, including spam.

Last thing first: remember to flip the ballot over, where you will have the option (in Natick and a couple hundred other towns) to give your sense as a citizen that the U.S. should end the occupation of Iraq, which is causing the deaths of two or three times as many Iraqis *a day* as long-time CIA asset Saddam Huissein was just sentenced to death for killing.

Also, Jill Stein (Green-Rainbow) for Secretary of the Commonwealth (more below).

The other three questions:

I'd say no on wine in supermarkets, mostly for a reason I'm sure you haven't heard: liquor stores are more likely to be locally owned than supermarkets and convenience stores, and therefore more likely to keep money spent in them circulating in the local economy.

A big YES on fusion voting (more below).

And a yes to let child care workers negotiate with the state for overall better pay.

And I've seen enough of the other guy's attacks to want to stay with Linsky in Mass.' house of reps. (And I like to endorse one win.)

The SURPRISE ENDORSEMENT: Grace Ross. Deval Patrick has a huge lead, he will win, that's good. I urge you to vote for Green-Rainbow candidate Grace Ross. The Republicans have a point that a one-party state is a bad thing. However, they overlook the fact that it would be better if they weren't the other major party. If for no other reason, vote for Grace Ross as the only non-millionaire candidate, the only one not to bombard you with television and radio ads. With her excellent debates, 'intelligent-and-correct-but-she-has-no-chance-of-winning' Ross has a chance to change that perception with just a five percent or more showing.

Which leads us to fusion voting, which will let third parties cross-endorse for a main-party candidate-- so the Democrats can know, for instance, that 25% of their support comes from people who would rather be voting Green for health care, progressive taxation, etc.

And last, but most important for the future, oh-what-a-wonderful-dream if Jill Stein won the Secretary of Commonwealth election... even if only because computer vote-tabulating malfunctioned.

Natick's in-precinct optical scanners makes it as accurate and unstealable as voting gets in the U.S., but there is so much to take a public stand on in the way elections are conducted. Read the below forward from Black Box Voting, Greg Palast's article on the prior exclusion of people of color from voting, and the National Campaign for Fair Elections page on what to do about it. Galvin's commitment to democracy is so nonexistent he refuses to look into issues with touch-screen voting machines and, indeed, avoided debating his opponents in both the primary and the main election. I have developed a personal dislike of the man. Jill Stein for Secretary!

You may resume thinking for yourself Nov. 8. This has been a public service announcement of Melançon Enterprises, http://melanconent.com/

See:
http://www.gregpalast.com/how-they-stole-the-mid-term-election
http://www.nationalcampaignforfairelections.org/

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: VOTE! What to expect and look for on Election Day
Date: Mon, 6 Nov 2006 18:48:43 -0800
From: Black Box Voting
Organization: Black Box Voting

Permission to excerpt or reprint granted, with link to
http://www.blackboxvoting.org

The best defense is a good offense, so VOTE!

Now is not the time to retreat. Vote, and then find evidence to tell the
story of what's really happening in U.S. elections.

Things may look relatively smooth on election day, but the real fun
begins after the polls close. That's when we see a lot of strange
things. Look for:

- Missing memory cards -- and remember, a memory card is a BALLOT BOX.
This happens every election, to weird shrugs by election officials.
About 70 ballot boxes went missing in Cuyahoga County during the May
primary; a bunch went missing in Detroit last spring, and they've gone
missing in places like Dekalb County Georgia, and various other
locations. This is nothing to shrug about.

Remember when a single ballot box was missing in Florida in the 2000
election? Everyone was going crazy, but now, you have dozens and dozens
of these memory cards, cartridges, and "PEBs" -- all are small digital
ballots boxes -- they are going missing. Very troubling. Watch for it.
See if you can spot it. Report it!

- Phantom votes -- this is when you have more votes than voters. There
were about 100,000 more votes than voters in Tarrant County Texas during
the primary, and more votes than voters in Ohio locations in 2004.

What to look for: Do a quick check of the number of registered voters
and compare with the number of votes that show up. Bizarre anomalies
appear almost every election.

Stage 2 is comparing the number of sign-ins in the pollbook with the
number of votes that show up.

- Sometimes you see disappearing votes. The number of votes goes DOWN
while the number of precincts counted goes UP. This happened in Mohave
County Arizona in the 2004 primary, and in Memphis in the Aug. 2006
primary. Alert watchers of county Web results often spot this and
capture it in screen saves.

What to do: Assign someone to capture screen shots each time the totals
are updated and check for disappearing votes.

- Obstructed vote counting -- we often see obstructions to being able to
see the vote counting, even beyond the obstruction of counting inside a
black box. In San Diego in 2005, a member of the Black Box Voting board
of directors, Jim March, was arrested for trying to view the vote
counting. I myself was surrounded by six members of the Los Angeles
County Sheriff's department when I had the audacity to ask if I could
view the vote counting there, which was taking place in a room no one
could see. We expect to get many reports from citizens who are not
allowed to view vote counting.

If you are obstructed from viewing the central tally process, report it.

- In the 10 days following the election, you can expect to see many
unusual things pop up in the public records that are obtained by
candidates.

Of particular interest are the "event logs" that you get from Microsoft
Windows, which runs most of the tallying software. This can show extra
programs being run.

Also of great interest are the voting machine event logs, which can show
crazy voting dates -- like in Palm Beach County in 2004, where more than
4 dozen voting machines had votes time and date-stamped weeks before the
election, sometimes in the middle of the night, and Volusia County
Florida in the same election, where a machine had votes date-stamped
more than 10,000 years in the future. In San Diego in the June 2006
primary, the voting system event log shows that it dialed out to Diebold
at 9:31 pm during the middle of its counting.

- We also anticipate many peculiarities with provisional votes, extra
optional paper ballot votes, absentee votes and various obstructions to
voting around the country.

- Another thing we look for is strange statistical patterns, like voting
machines from one manufacturer giving results different from all the
others, or one type of machine giving discrepant results, as happened in
New Mexico in 2004. We saw three candidates in a row get 18,181 votes in
Comal County Texas and one district in Minnesota had all the minor party
candidates get the same vote percentage -- despite very big differences
in how well known the candidates were.

On election day itself, we'll see vote-flipping, where people vote for
one candidate and another one's name pops up. And we'll see many other
unusual things.

I expect surprising new problems, like the new electronic poll books
having problems finding themselves, and voting machines that don't match
themselves (for example, having different results on their paper tape
than they do on their screens).

Document. Think photos, videos, and most of all, cleverly constructed
requests for documents. You have the right to obtain a copy of just
about any document you can think of, as long as it exists. Go hunting.
See what you find.

When you find important information, propagate it. Don't just call it
into one place, but e-mail it, send it to bloggers, give it to
reporters, provide it to public officials.

We want to improve elections, but first we need to make a solid,
indisputable case. And to do that, we all need to get into action.

Use your own common sense. Document. Propagate. Then push solutions
through for true citizen oversight. Now is your chance to take back your
electoral process!

* * * * *

Be very clear about your job as a citizen right now: It is to reverse
the swing of the pendulum. It's been swinging away from citizen control
-- your job is to take back your government. Start at the local level.

You own your government -- not the other way around. It is time to get
out of your chair, step away from the Internet, and get involved in
citizen oversight.

We salute the extraordinary citizens who are taking back America.
Bev Harris
Founder
Black Box Voting

* * * * *

Black Box Voting is a nonprofit, nonpartisan 501c(3) elections watchdog
group supported entirely by citizen donations. We refuse funds from any
vendor or vested interest.

To support Black Box Voting: click to
http://www.blackboxvoting.org/donate.html or send to:
Black Box Voting
330 SW 43rd St Suite K
PMB 547
Renton WA 98055

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