Monday, December 17, 2012

Follow up to the Brevard Legislative Delegation

Rick Scott Watch at the Brevard Legislative Delegation 12/12/12

Dear Brevard Legislative County Delegation and Madam Supervisor

I wanted to answer some of the points that were made and bring up some points that were glossed over regarding elections in Viera on Wednesday Dec. 12. 2012

* Miami-Dade: Senator Gardiner seemed to imply that once the Miami-Dade situation is all worked out, everything will be fine with regard to early voting and long lines. Of course this isn't true, and I suspect the senator is well aware of his overstatement of the case. There were problems with early voting and long lines on election day reported all over the state. Three of the counties I mentioned in the information I provided you saw massive lines which were exacerbated -as I said - by Machiavellian power outages and scanner failures. In the case of Tampa Bay counties, as though the advent of rain and a tiny bit of thunder, were a novelty to the office of elections supervisor, and churches in African American polling precincts.

Keeping with the Miami-Dade problem here. MSNBC ran numerous stories leading up to the election relative to the lines we should expect in Florida owing to the ballot size. Rachel Maddow specifically mentioned Miami Dade was expecting an 11 page ballot because of  local amendments added to the bar exam we all took. How then is this a "surprise" in hindsight, now to be dealt with? Are we saying Rachel Maddow is more qualified to run our elections? She saw this coming and the State Division of Elections, the Secretary of State and the Legislature had no idea? Is not the division perfectly aware of where the bottle necks are likely to develop? If not, what need have we of this organization? Is every county "on it's own" when it comes to planning for such an election?

*Mr. Gardiner said "I suspect the legislature is being blamed for that" Yes. It is. And with good reason. As I said, the legislature counted on it, banked on it. Plotted for it behind closed doors, to hear former Republican Party Chairman Jim Greer in the newspapers. And the evidence that this is so, is in the very record of the legislature Mr Gardiner wishes to absolve with this blase summation. As I said, quoting Sen. Mike Bennett as HB 1355 was being discussed in May 2011, "I want them to work for it" he said, during a time purges and ballot amendments were being discussed. Losing track of space and time, whisking himself back to the Florida of the colored and white bathrooms in the 1950s,  Mr. Bennett went further and said "I want them to walk across town for it." There is very little doubt in the context (in that he specifically mentioned Africa) who his dog whistle was aimed at. African American voters. As a democrat when I see my fellow democrats having their opportunities their franchise removed, revoked on the basis of shady evidence, when I see the wheels of social engineering attempting, with great cynicism, to remove them from the lines, I get outraged, for there goes my vote as well.

Back to the Miami situation: Does the division not know how many early voting locations will be open? Does the legislature not know the ballot will be translated into Spanish for south Florida voters? Of course it does on both counts. In past elections, amendments often had an abstract of each bill, not the entire bill on the ballot. Not in 2012. Ms. Scott said it herself, it takes one quarter of an hour just to read the ballot let alone understand the amendments. Furthermore the ballot is written in such cumbersome legalese even attorneys from the ACLU had trouble decrypting it; before we hot-walk the tired excuse that "people didn't study it ahead of time". Here is a single sentence from amendment No. 5 (where the legislature thoughtull plotted, schemed, cannived, conspired and hoped we would put the judiciary beneath the power of a 2/3rds majority house and senate) it reads, in 9 point typeface:

"This proposed constitutional revision eliminates the requirement that a general law repealing a court rule pass by a two-thirds vote of each house of the Legislature that expresses the policy behind the repeal."

This amendment alone had 400+ words, densely packed, in tiny print. Ms. Scott was good to point out there was a six page ballot. She didn't mention how packed it was. No one on the board mentioned or questioned the need to ram all of these amendments on this test paper/ballot. If you let others do your voting for you, you lost rights to a third branch of government, or allowed people to take your tax money and put it toward religious schools.

You legislators all seemed resigned/mildly surprised by the ballot's size as well, as though you yourselves weren't the authors of it. How can this be? (We also must question the efficacy of reducing assessments on dwindling property values as we allegedly seek to "balance the budget" particularly when the starvation is always meted out to education and healthcare services.)

Never once are the failures of the voting machines which result in mystery rescannings, ever mentioned by yourselves or our SOE, Ms. Scott. I gave you several examples including a study, and even letters from the voting machine company "Dominion" that has screwed up elections in Volusia, Hillsborough and now St. Lucie county by failure to properly code the memory cards. There never seems to be a call to remove this brand from the state despite its poor record of service. Verily, as though officials depend on these errors for nefarious purposes of election rigging. The unspoken secret, elections officials never utter the name of the machines in public. (Taboo, children; it's taboo.)

Ms. Scott mentions she has 385,000 voters. Good statistic. It is great to have the luxury of having relatively few voters. Thus, the budget likely meets the needs of her office. Other counties aren't so fortunate. Voters shouldn't suffer for this. Nor, frankly, should Ms. Scott be given such high praise relative to other failures around the state when we are talking about a county that has mostly one party, republican. She doesn't have to worry about the obvious rigging, malfeasance and failures happening through other elections offices. It is also disingenuous to ask her if she feels 8 days are enough. Brevard with only 385k voters would not be a meaningful data point to make that case, "that eight is enough".

Nearly half of the states in the nation have early voting. We have 18 million people in Florida. We need early voting. We need to expand the number of days, not subtract from it.

Senator Altman's harping on this issue of "legal voting" is also like Tammany Hall petty-foggery of an earlier era. We don't HAVE a problem with this issue, when matched against the tens of thousands of votes that are tainted with the rescannings all over the state.

This is only a start on the myriad of issues which are of major concern to those of us who plainly see what will wash out to be a white wash of the problems in our election systems unless you officials actually start being honest with yourselves and the voters.

Thank you

David A. Kearns
Election Integrity Advocate

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