Monday, June 19, 2006

Humboldt Transparency Project Hits Legal Snag

I spoke to Humboldt County Clerk-Recorder/Registrar of Voters Carolyn Crnich this morning, inquiring when she would appear before the Board of Supervisors to request funding for the Humboldt Transparency Project (HTP). I had previously been told this would occur either last Tuesday or tomorrow but the published Supes' agendas said otherwise. The program has hit a snag, Crnich told me, and would have to be shelved, at least for now. She described herself as "heartbroken" and said she is "not going to give up." It seems the problem is section 17306D of the California election code:

Sealed ballot containers may be opened if the elections official determines it is necessary in a shredding or recycling process. Nothing in this section shall be construed to allow packages or containers to be opened except for purposes specified herein. The packages or containers shall otherwise remain unopened until the ballots are destroyed or recycled.
This would seem to undercut the very premise of the HTP, which was to be a groundbreaking experiment in verifying election results. Images of ballots would be put on CDs in .tif form and made available for any individual or community group wishing to verify the results. I previously mentioned HTP in my election day press conference remarks. It was also described in this VoteTrustUSA article by Warren Stewart. This is a popular idea with promise and I'm sure Crnich isn't the only one who won't want to let it go.

It seems to me that Eureka City Councilmember Jeff Leonard should get involved here. True, the Council has no bearing on implementation of elections, but to get re-elected this November, Leonard needs to rely upon a fair vote. He has now twice spoken out for the need to verify...opinion poll methodology. Way to demonstrate leadership, Leonard. You sure have a way of helping the community see what is important.

We have entered an era where the plausibility of any potential leader may be judged solely by their willingness to work for fair elections. Incumbents who may be good, decent people with progressive track records are going to now sink or swim by their commitment to verifiable democracy. It is the election integrity movement and the blogosphere at large that will see to this or it is not likely to happen.

In San Diego there is a new Congressman who was sworn into office even before all the votes were "counted." I've written hundreds of times that current election conditions ensure inconclusive outcomes, and as a result, the Consent of the Governed is assumed, not sought. Could this ever be more clear than in San Diego? We The People did not Consent to Bilbray assuming the powers of office. Bilbray has nakedly grabbed this power. This is only another, more brazen form of what has been going on since at least 2000. It will not stop unless We stop it. Peaceful revolution is necessary, NOW!

See the CEPN press release posted this morning, including the new Voters' Resolution of No Confidence (.pdf) that I wrote and the Velvet Revolution No Confidence petition.

Posted by Dave Berman - 7:26 PM | Permalink
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