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October 28, 2008

I Voted Early, But Will My Vote Be Counted?

I was amazed and proud as I took my place in line to vote early in Texas. Privilege is not a word I think of when I think of the state of Texas, but this year and this time it was, and is, a privilege to reside in a state where one can vote two weeks prior to November 4th including weekends.

Prior to the 2000 election I believed my vote counted and would be counted. Who knew there were as many ways to marginalize and bastardize the voting process, as there are states? Standardized voting should be the rule and not the exception. A process that protects the right to vote, and encourages all eligible individuals to vote, must be established. The most important election in the past forty years is already rife with early voting woes. What in the hell have the election boards and officials been doing for the pass four year besides purchasing voting machines? Since early voting has begun there have been reports of voting machine irregularities, voter suppression, people standing in line to vote for up to five hours especially in Ohio, Florida and Virginia. Is it a co-incidence that these same battleground states plagued by voting problems in the 2000 and 2004 elections now exhibit the same problems this 2008 election? There are still no regulations in place or provisions made to insure that handicap or disabled persons and/or veterans be accommodated so they don't have to stand in long lines. Why not? Shouldn't voting be voter friendly? The expectation that the voting process run smoothly shouldn't be something that I as a voter (or any voter for that matter) should be concerned about. Observing the process in action up to this date in fact is cause for concern. On October 26th the NAACP initiated a lawsuit against the state of Virginia for not adequately preparing for massive voter turnout. Thank goodness they are being proactive instead of reacting to the same old political tricks that would hamper the voting process.

The tricks to change election results have become a business all to itself. Have you heard of the Man in the Middle? Basically it involves diverting election returns data through a separate computer located in a different place. It is supposedly something computer criminals or hackers do regularly within the banking business. The Man in the Middle is reported to be effective (and hard if not impossible) to detect as a way to change election results. In the past week I watched an evening news show that had a man who manufacturers voting machines demonstrate how to hack into one in less then eight minutes. I voted early but will my vote count? The fight to insure no voter is disenfranchised is a fight that must be won this time around. I believe my concern cannot be emphasized enough. Listen to or read the transcript of the October 22, 2008 cable news show Democracy Now. Amy Goodman interviews Mark Crispin Miller author of Loser Take All: Election Fraud and the Subversion of Democracy, 2000-2008. The conversation is chilling and reminds us that being a participant in the democratic process is a responsibility, and in these times imperative. Reports of voting machines that are switching votes and shortages of working voting machines in Democratic precincts, and misleading information about voting is only the tip of the iceberg as I question the outcome of this election. I voted early but will my vote count? I am but one of many voters concerned about the process. For the first time in Texas, poll watchers have been trained and are voluntarily policing the voting process. Apparently the lessons of the 2000 and 2004 election irregularities, missing ballots and disenfranchised voters was enough for many of us to realize the process must be policed by us the voter. Technology and time has changed the way we vote but it must not change why we vote. We vote for change so that the country we live in gives an equal playing field for all that seek the American dream. I voted early, and even if I am suspicious that it might be hijacked, it is not enough to squelch my dream of change. Vote early if you can, but by all means vote! Because YOU are the change you seek.

And in closing, with all the intensity of this election I sometimes forget to laugh. I hope this clip makes you laugh as much as I did.

Comments and thoughts ... Email PatriciaStatue of Liberty

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