Taskforce Issues

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Blogging Taskforce

Contents

Electoral Reform

2000 should have been a warning. We had time to fix our broken elections process, but the job was only half done at best; it might have gotten worse. A number of steps need to be made to fix the problem, and they need to be done as soon as possible.

Ballot initiatives diary

Voting Machines

The touchscreen machines without a paper trail are unacceptable. They should not be used at all. At the very minimum, they should be retrofitted to print paper receipts. There is no legitimate excuse for not doing that; they did it sucessfully in Nevada. We don't know that they've been rigged, but without a paper trail, we can never be sure they weren't. Even with a paper trail, they're bad news. They're not accurate, they're difficult for many people to use, they're the most expensive, and they're the slowest.

The best machines are the optical scanning sort. They're quite a bit more expensive than punchcard machines, but they are far more accurate -- no chads! They process voters much faster because the machine isn't tied up while voters are filling out their choices. They take a very easy to use paper ballot off to a private stall, fill in the bubbles and run it through. If they made an error (overvoting or unreadable marks), it rejects the ballot and they are given a new one to fill out. Because it only takes a few seconds to feed the ballot, you only need one machine in a place that would require a dozen or more of the more expensive touchscreen machines. If you have worries about the machine being comprimised or unreliable, you can always go to a hand recount because you've got the original ballots.

Michigan should be the model. They were able to afford to standardize on these machines even though the state had some significant budget issues. Most precints have the optical machines, and they will be in 100% of the precints by 2006. There is no reason they can't be the standard nationwide; Ohio and Florida should be high-priority targets for this reform. It would be nice to have it on the ballot or in state legislatures in 2005, and there's no reason why it wouldn't have wide support.

The Open Voting Consortium is a 501(c)(6) set up to solve this problem. They can use our help.

BlackBoxVoting.org is filing requests right now for audit logs from voting machines accross the country. go there and give them a few bucks so they can get all this done ASAP. This data will be essential in any investigation over what happened in this election.

Long Lines

Some districts in Ohio were provide with less voting equipment for the sole purpose of slowing down the process and producing long lines. Obviously, voting equipment should be distributed in proportion to the number of registered voters. Doing otherwise is intentional voter disenfranchisement.

Registration

What can we do to fix this?

Early Voting

Early voting is great - gets more people to the polls. How can we get it in more places?

Gerrymandering

Just another way to disenfranchise voters. How can we slay this dragon?

Electoral College

This requires a constitutional amendment, which probably makes it intractable.

Term Limits

A double-edged sword - can we make it work for us?

Environment

Death Penalty

This is a big loser for us right now. Even most Democrats in this country support the death penalty; many want to see more of it. Killing is not a Christian value, but forgiveness is. Why is state sanctioned killing still our part of our values as a nation?

Abortion

Bill Clinton said it best -- "safe, legal and rare". Pro-choice groups need to reach out by doing more in part three, or at least doing so more visibly. Sex ed and contraceptive education are a big part of that. Financial support for those who choose adoption is something I think should be persued.

Civil Liberties

Patriot Act

Equal Rights

The Hate Amendments

Call it what it is - bigotry. Call supporters of hate amendments what they are - bigots. Hate is not a Christian value.

Fiscal Matters

Red State Welfare

Economy

Taxes

The Deficit

Financial Integrity

Foreign Policy

Terrorism

Iraq

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