It happens daily: Letters and emails arrive unbidden, one after the
next, urgently seeking money for various Democratic causes, great and
small. Message after message warns me of what will happen if Democrats
fail to win in 2006.
Because I share these concerns, I have opened my wallet time and again.
Yet never do these appeals mention the one peril that most endangers
Democrats, as well democracy — corrupt elections.
Ever since Bush's alleged victories were challenged by countless
election watchers and analysts, I have doggedly sent dozens of messages
to Congress, urging an end to "black box voting." I have joined
protests and I have passed petitions. The response? Little but
thundering silence, especially from those who should be leading this
charge —the likes of John Kerry, Howard Dean, Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi,
Al Gore, Jimmy Carter and Hillary Clinton.
Finally, I have seen the light. It is time to send the ultimate message
— no more money for Democrats until they speak out united for serious
Yes, this is a risky strategy. But it is riskier still to allow
privatization of our votes and a gaping security hole in our election
process to destroy our hard-won democracy. Even so, I tremble a bit as
I invite other party faithfuls to join me in the unthinkable: to cut
off support to those who may be our only hope in dangerous times.
So from now on, when Democrats ask for money, this is what I will send.
This is what I will slip in their pre-paid envelope. This is what I
will paste into the email comments box.
Furthermore, I will spread the word — until Democratic leaders finally
get the word.
To the Honorable Governor Howard Dean
Chaur, Democratic National Committee
All state and county Democratic Party Chairs
Move On, Emily's List, DCCC, DSCC, www.democrats.org, all Democratic Party
Friends of John Kerry and all Democrats who do not
champion voting rights:
Dear Fellow Democrats,
Over my lifetime, I have been a loyal supporter and have donated a
considerable amount of time and money to the Democratic Party.
Sadly, however, I have reached a crossroads. From this day onward, I
will no longer offer my financial support to Democratic fund-raising
groups until the party's leaders seriously address the single most
important issue facing our country: electronic election fraud. For, in
the brave new world of electronic vote counting, it is apparently one
thing for candidates to win the people's vote —and another to win
Why should we Democrats continue to waste our time and money playing a
game stacked against us? It is entirely immoral, and should become
entirely illegal, that partisan Republicans control each of the three
private corporations now recording or tabulating the overwhelming
majority of America's votes.
The histories of such companies are tainted with criminal convictions
and bribes to election officials (www.ecotalk.org/Sequoia.htm). Some
say we can overcome this problem if we win by an unmistakable margin.
But even "big wins" can no longer save us; three recent election reform
referenda in Ohio were mysteriously "defeated" with unchallenged
discrepancies of as much as thirty percent from polls conducted just
one day prior to the elections
Concerns about electronic vote counting fraud have been expressed for
years. As far back as 1988, an article in the November 7th New Yorker
magazine warned that it was inevitable that a presidential election
would someday be stolen, given the security holes in electronic voting.
Since the debacle of the 2000 election, and the subsequent
counterproductive passage of HAVA in 2002, such concerns have grown
Perhaps many of our leaders fear to tread where mainstream media will
not go. Yet, can any reasonable person doubt that the media's silence
may reflect the fact that they are mostly no longer independent? That
their owners are also heavily invested in defense, energy, and other
industries favoring Republican policies?
Many citizens have tried repeatedly to call the Democratic Party's
attention to this issue, which we feel trumps all others. Yet we have
gotten extraordinarily little support from party leaders, including
John Kerry and Al Gore, whose likely victories were sabotaged by
corrupt election processes, including electronic vote recording and
counting based on secret source software and easily-hacked systems. Not
to mention voter suppression and "the usual dirty tricks."
Privately, Senator Kerry and Mr. Gore may share this view, but publicly
they ignore or even refute it. A recent Kerry aide disavowal to "Raw
Story" was my personal "last straw: on this issue
(www.commondreams.org/views05/1110-33.htm). Senator Kerry was not even
aware of the recent GAO report
-06621.pdf) which confirmed discrepancies in vote tabulation in Ohio in
the 2004 election.
I appreciate the brave few who challenged the 2004 election last
January in Congress and will continue to support such leaders. And I
appreciate that Howard Dean raised concerns about electronic voting
during his presidential campaign. But as DNC chair, his many messages
to party members have been oddly silent on this key issue.
All told, this sad state of affairs has left many of us confused and
discouraged. We are left only to speculate, our letters and concerns
unanswered. Are they being threatened, or bribed? Are they all "in it
together"? Are they asleep, or simply in denial? Do they just lack the
courage and leadership necessary to confront this national disgrace? Or
"all of the above"?
I am left with little recourse but to withdraw my financial support for
Democratic groups, and to encourage fellow Democrats do the same, until
the Democratic Party at every level publicly challenges this issue with
a united and unmistakable voice: NO MORE ELECTION FRAUD.
No more paperless voting. No more unchallenged exit poll discrepancies.
No more secret source partisan-controlled software counting the
majority of American votes. And, if need be, a return to paper ballots,
hand-counted, in public view, like in Europe.
Only at such a point, will I again pledge my full support to the
Democratic Party. Meanwhile, I WILL support individuals of any party
who fully support the rights of voters to have their votes counted.
Democracy first, Democrats second.
Susan H. Pitcairn (firstname.lastname@example.org) lives in Oregon.