Let every American, every lover of liberty, every well wisher to his posterity, swear by the blood of the Revolution, never to violate in the least particular, the laws of the country; and never to tolerate their violation by others.

As the patriots of seventy-six did to the support of the Declaration of Independence, so to the support of the Constitution and Laws, let every American pledge his life, his property, and his sacred honor; let every man remember that to violate the law, is to trample on the blood of his father, and to tear the charter of his own, and his children's liberty.

Let reverence for the laws, be breathed by every American mother, to the lisping babe, that prattles on her lap; let it be taught in schools, in seminaries, and in colleges; let it be written in Primers, spelling books, and in Almanacs; let it be preached from the pulpit, proclaimed in legislative halls, and enforced in courts of justice. And, in short, let it become the political religion of the nation; and Let the old and the young, the rich and the poor, the grave and the gay, of all sexes and tongues, and colors and conditions, sacrifice unceasingly upon its altars.

While ever a state of feeling, such as this, shall universally, or even, very generally prevail throughout the nation, vain will be every effort, and fruitless every attempt, to subvert our national freedom.

- Abraham Lincoln, January 27, 1838
  Address Before the Young Men's Lyceum of Springfield, Illinois

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Here we go again

Are you voting on a touch screen? If you are, you had best make sure the vote that you think you are casting... is actually the vote on the screen before you walk away.

From the Charleston Gazette, in battleground state West Virginia:

At least three early voters in Jackson County had a hard time voting for candidates they want to win.

Virginia Matheney and Calvin Thomas said touch-screen machines in the county clerk's office in Ripley kept switching their votes from Democratic to Republican candidates.

"When I touched the screen for Barack Obama, the check mark moved from his box to the box indicating a vote for John McCain," said Matheney, who lives in Kenna.

When she reported the problem, she said, the poll worker in charge "responded that everything was all right. It was just that the screen was sensitive and I was touching the screen too hard. She instructed me to use only my fingernail."

Even after she began using her fingernail, Matheney said, the problem persisted.

When she tried to vote for candidates running for two open seats on the Supreme Court, the electronic machine canceled her second vote twice.

On her third try, Matheney managed to cast votes for both Menis Ketchum and Margaret Workman, Democratic candidates for the two open seats.

Calvin Thomas, 81, who retired from Kaiser Aluminum in Ravenswood in 1983 and now lives in Ripley, experienced the same problem.

"When I pushed Obama, it jumped to McCain. When I went down to governor's office and punched [Gov. Joe] Manchin, it went to the other dude. When I went to Karen Facemyer [the incumbent Republican state senator], I pushed the Democrat, but it jumped again.

"The rest of them were OK, but the machine sent my votes for those top three offices from the Democrat to the Republican," Thomas said.

Yo Lou (Dobbs)... care to cover this?

Readers and diarists from Daily Kos also said they had experienced these 'glitches' in West Virginia:

THE PROBLEM was that my touch-screen voting machine inaccurately put a green check mark in the McCain/Palin box when I touched my guy's name. I followed the instructions and touched the incorrect check mark to "de-select" it and then used my pinky instead of my index finger to select Obama/Biden. That wasn't the end of my frustration, though.

In my state of WV there is the option of selecting a "Straight Party Ticket." I intended to vote a straight party ticket, but as my wife and I spoke on the way to the municipal building, we wanted the satisfaction of selecting EACH and every Dem. on the ticket. We also wanted to be assured that our vote was correctly recorded for each race. And we especially wanted the final satisfaction of having voted for Barack Obama (see a recent diary here that explains some of our "safety" concerns).

Three times the touch screen mistakenly assigned my preference to the wrong candidate. Now I'm a technologically savvy individual, so it didn't fluster me too much, having read the directions, knowing that I could immediately "un-check" one and select the other, and further knowing that there would be a screen at the end with a summary of my selections, and an opportunity to "Return to the Ballot," before actually casting the "VOTE." Not all voters are as tech savvy as me--in fact few of them are. There was an alert tone that sounded when I touched Obama/Biden, and a bright green check mark appeared in the box (the wrong one, of course, but I could have missed it), and the paper tape that keeps record was printed on and moved. I would imagine that MANY people would move on at that point...I mean, it sounded and "looked" like the right thing happened.

I am also hearing that it is a very bad idea to vote straight Democrat - that is, if you want your vote to actually be counted:

You may have read about this, and Black Box Voting has sent an ELECTION ALERT about this. Here are the details and what to do about it:

THE PROBLEM: "Straight party voting" on voting machines is revealing a bad pattern of miscounting and omitting your vote, especially if you are a Democrat.

Most recently (Oct. 2008), a firm called Automated Election Services was found to have mis-coded the system in heavily Democratic Santa Fe County, New Mexico such that straight party voters would not have the presidential vote counted.

Straight party voting is allowed in 15 states. Basically, it means that you can take a shortcut to actually looking at who you are voting for and instead just select a party preference. Then the voting machine makes your candidate choices, supposedly for the party you requested.

Additional details follow, but first: PROTECT THE COUNT

1) NEVER CHOOSE THE STRAIGHT PARTY VOTE OPTION, because it alerts the computer as to your party preference and allows software code to trigger whatever function the programmer has designed.

2) SEND THIS INFORMATION OUT TO AS MANY PEOPLE AS YOU CAN, blog it, root n' toot it out there to get the word out.

3) ESPECIALLY GET THE WORD OUT TO PEOPLE IN THE FOLLOWING STATES, which have straight party voting options:

- Alabama
- Indiana
- Iowa
- Kentucky
- Michigan
- New Mexico
- North Carolina
- Oklahoma
- Pennsylvania
- Rhode Island
- South Carolina
- Texas
- Utah
- West Virginia
- Wisconsin

Terrific. Sounds like we haven't fixed a damn thing in eight years.

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