Bernie Ellis, best known as one of the organizers of Gathering to Save Our Democracy but more recently known to have been singled out by the Tennessee Secretary of State Tre Hargett as a “terrorist threat,” responds to the “two legislative leaders, Representative Gary Odom and Senator Roy Herron” who on Thursday called a press conference “to outline the false and baseless arguments that Secretary of State Tre Hargett continues to cling to doggedly to keep our elections unsafe.” [podcast of full press conference coming soon]
In his press release, Ellis, who correctly characterized Leader Odom’s and Chairman Herron’s press conference as an “open meeting” where they “took questions openly from anyone in attendance” and Mr. Hargett’s response as “another press release issued in haste and without an opportunity for questioning by the same press and the same Tennessee voters, by an increasingly isolated and insulated Secretary of State,” responds point by point to Mr. Hargett’s rebuttal:
“Tre [Hargett] Says We Donâ€™t Have the Money to Implement Safer Elections. Hereâ€™s the Truth”
For Tennessee voters to believe that the newer, safer voting systems will cost $11.7 million â€œextraâ€ to implement, as Tre continues to say, we would also be forced to believe the following:
â€” It will cost $434,572 â€œextraâ€ statewide to service and maintain 70% fewer voting machines.
â€” It will cost $211,640 â€œextraâ€ statewide to deliver 70% fewer voting machines.
â€” It will cost $342,144 â€œextraâ€ to conduct a single pre-election training session for poll workers.
Tre Hargett Says We Donâ€™t Have The Time To Implement Safer Elections. Hereâ€™s The Truth
Right now, we have almost seventeen months left before the November, 2010 elections. Every other state that has made the switch from unverifiable touch-screen machines to paper ballots and optical scan machines has done so statewide in seven months or less. The way Tennessee voters who live in the reality-based world count time, seventeen months is more than seven months.
Tre Hargett Says Thereâ€™s No Equipment Available For Safer Elections. Hereâ€™s the Truth
Tre wants Tennessee voters to believe that the Voter Confidence Act requires that our new voting machines must meet 2005 federal certification standards, something that no equipment now meets. In truth (and in the reality-based world), Tennessee voters who take the time to read the TVCA from beginning to end will not find the number â€œ2005″ anywhere.
Tre Hargett Says Our Current Voting Equipment Is â€œSafe and Reliableâ€. Hereâ€™s the Truth.
In 2009, there are only a handful of election officials remaining anywhere in this country (or on this earth) who believe that slow, expensive and unverifiable touch-screen voting equipment is â€œsafe and reliableâ€. Unfortunately, Tennessee is burdened by two of them â€“ Tre Hargett and the source of the â€œsafe and reliableâ€ quote â€“ Treâ€™s State Election Coordinator, Mark Goins.
Paperless touch-screen voting machines have now been proven conclusively to be inefficient, expensive, insecure, inaccurate and incapable of being audited. By using them, we have effectively privatized one of the most sacred public duties in our country â€“ the responsibility to completely and accurately measure and transfer the power inherent in the â€œconsent of the governedâ€ to our elected leaders. We now know that these machines perform two vital functions very poorly: they record each voterâ€™s choices, functioning much like $3,000 pens that use disappearing ink, and they total those votes, as if they were $5,000 abacuses that use invisible beads. If Ronald Reagan were here today, he would laugh out loud and ask us, â€œJust what part of â€˜Trust but Verifyâ€™ do you not understand?”
Tre Hargett Says He Doesnâ€™t Have to Respect the Law. Here is What the Truth Should Be.
Tre Hargett has demonstrated that his only commitment right now is to keep our elections unsafe and unverifiable in Tennessee and that he will do and say anything to accomplish that goal….
What kind of person would stoop to lies, half-truths, false information and pig-headed refusal to face the facts in order to keep our elections unsafe at any cost?…
Perhaps it is the kind of person who would dispatch his State Election Coordinator, Mark Goins, to Memphis two weeks ago to instruct Tennesseeâ€™s county election officials to openly and aggressively defy the Voter Confidence Act and to do anything they could to drag their feet another six months in hopes that, when the General Assembly reconvenes, they will provide cover for this un-American stance to keep our elections unsafe that the assembly has demonstrated not once but twice they are unwilling to do. (For the sake of democracy, we cannot afford the third go-round with the General Assembly to be the fatal charm for Tre Hargett’sâ€™anti-democratic intentions.)
Bernie can write. Read the rest here [pdf download].