Thursday, April 28, 2005

Stephanie Tubbs Jones continues the fight for democracy

House Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones continues to fight the brave, noble (and too often lonely) fight for democracy and our voting rights. From The Free Press, we'll note Case Ohio's "Citizens' Alliance for Secure Elections teach-in:"

Congresswoman Stephanie Tubbs Jones (D-OH 11) will be fighting for democracy again on May 7th when she opens the CASE (Citizens' Alliance for Secure Elections) teach-in in Columbus, Ohio. CASE, along with many watchful Americans, is convinced the full story has not been told about the elections in Ohio in November of 2004. So they are working with other local groups (including Americans for Democracy) to bring concerned people together for this teach-in about Fighting for Election Justice and Integrity.
The people who have led the battle for discovery and reform will work closely with concerned individuals to tell their stories. They will explain why they are concerned, what they have done, and how they have done it. They will ask that people in the workshop groups stay networked, keep informed, and continue to work with the workshop leader to broaden the work already begun.
The plan is to build a more informed public core and enlarge the group of activists working on election issues. CASE began when concerned citizens gathered to testify before the Ohio Joint Committee on Ballot Security in March 2004. As the committee heard 22 hours of testimony about the need for a VVPAT (Voter Verified Paper Audit Trail), several individuals who were there to witness and testify, saw others there that shared a common interest. Fourteen met after the second session in the basement cafeteria of the statehouse and formed the association of activists that has been successful in keeping the issue of fair and open elections before the public for much of the past year.
After the Joint Committee on Ballot Security voted 8 to 1 in favor of VVPAT the newborn CASE thought for a few days that their work was done. They quickly realized that many obstacles remained. Even after the Ohio Senate voted unanimously for VVPAT in HB262 and the House followed with a nearly unanimous vote, it was clear that there were many forces set against the election. The new legislation did not require VVPAT implementation until 2006 and many counties were set to purchase equipment in 2004 that they could upgrade if upgrades were available.
CASE kept the issue before the public and Secretary of State Blackwell and the county boards backed down and decided to wait.

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