www.VoteSafeTn.org

www.VoteSafeTn.org

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 Don’t Have the Money to Implement Safer Elections. Here’s the Truth”

For Tennessee voters to believe that the newer, safer voting systems will cost $11.7 million “extra” to implement, as Tre continues to say, we would also be forced to believe the following:

— It will cost $434,572 “extra” statewide to service and maintain 70% fewer voting machines.
— It will cost $211,640 “extra” statewide to deliver 70% fewer voting machines.
— It will cost $342,144 “extra” to conduct a single pre-election training session for poll workers.

Tre Hargett Says We Don’t Have The Time To Implement Safer Elections. Here’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 There’s No Equipment Available For Safer Elections. Here’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 “2005″ anywhere.

Tre Hargett Says Our Current Voting Equipment Is “Safe and Reliable”. Here’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 “safe and reliable”. Unfortunately, Tennessee is burdened by two of them – Tre Hargett and the source of the “safe and reliable” quote – Tre’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 – the responsibility to completely and accurately measure and transfer the power inherent in the “consent of the governed” to our elected leaders. We now know that these machines perform two vital functions very poorly: they record each voter’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, “Just what part of ‘Trust but Verify’ do you not understand?”

Tre Hargett Says He Doesn’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 Tennessee’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’s’anti-democratic intentions.)

Bernie can write. Read the rest here [pdf download].

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3 Responses to “Ellis vs. Hargett: This Time Bernie’s All Like, WTF?”

  1. [...] he carried the bill that would delay until 2012 the replacement of the unsecure and unverifiable electronic voting machines we use now in 93 out of [...]

  2. Mary Mancini says:

    “Those with decades of election experience are appalled at the prospect of returning to paper ballots.”

    Who? Where?

    “That is where fraud occurs, not with machines.”

    Actually, fraud can occur with both systems. That’s why when we do get paper ballots citizens need to be vigilant about monitoring the process itself as well as the chain of custody of the ballots. That’s why the counting is done at the precinct – in the view of citizens, press, poll workers, etc. – instead of moving the ballots back to a central location for counting.

    “Show me elections in Tennessee that have been “tainted” by the use of touch screen machines!”

    That’s the whole point. We can’t. We have no idea what goes on within the machines. The counting software is secret – we can’t see what it’s doing.

    “What is the justification to trash the millions of dollars of machines purchased in 2006 in order to purchase millions of dollars of counting machines in 2010?”

    We want to know that the intention of our vote is recorded accurately. We want secure and verifiable elections.

    “The optical scan machines are not voting machines, people will be marking paper ballots that are then put through an optical scan to be COUNTED. Those optical scan machines are software operated computers!”

    That’s right. But also written into the law is a mandatory audit process of hand-counting some of the paper ballots that will allow a random check of the counting machines. Also written into the law is that the paper ballots become the ballots of record in the case of a close election or a recount.

    “This is a foolish waste of taxpaper money in a very critical time in Tennessee.”

    The money we have to implement the TN Voter Confidence Act – 35 million – are federal dollars that was given to us to use for buying election equipment. It can be used for nothing else.

    How can you say that ensuring secure and verifiable elections a foolish waste of tax payer dollars? Does democracy mean that little to you?

  3. Deetenn says:

    Those with decades of election experience are appalled at the prospect of returning to paper ballots. That is where fraud occurs, not with machines. Show me elections in Tennessee that have been “tainted” by the use of touch screen machines! What is the justification to trash the millions of dollars of machines purchased in 2006 in order to purchase millions of dollars of counting machines in 2010? The optical scan machines are not voting machines, people will be marking paper ballots that are then put through an optical scan to be COUNTED. Those optical scan machines are software operated computers! This is a foolish waste of taxpaper money in a very critical time in Tennessee.

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