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Securing Your Vote Jan BenDor, LMSW, Accredited Election Administrator, State Co-coordinator Michigan Election Reform Alliance.org.

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Presentation on theme: "Securing Your Vote Jan BenDor, LMSW, Accredited Election Administrator, State Co-coordinator Michigan Election Reform Alliance.org."— Presentation transcript:

1 Securing Your Vote Jan BenDor, LMSW, Accredited Election Administrator, State Co-coordinator Michigan Election Reform Alliance.org

2 “Without the Right to Vote, there are no other rights.” Thomas Paine, American Revolutionary A right to vote is not defined in either the U.S. or Michigan Constitution Election laws are complex, vary from state to state, so citizens are mystified

3 Voting rights are procedural— based in detailed rules The media ignore voting problems-- inside baseball, not sensational Few voters understand the election system; administrators don’t understand the technology they use Middle class voters trust the system and don’t question it enough Low income voters distrust, don’t vote

4 State and Federal Election Law: Complex Patchwork Read MICHIGAN ELECTION LAW Act 116 of 1954 for a cheap sleep enhancer at Local election administrators are poorly trained, overloaded by unfunded federal and state mandates, many choosing to retire Election workers make minimum wage; most are elderly but must work hours on election day

5 Our Challenge: Secure the Right to Vote & be Counted Identify election system pitfalls and help voters avoid them Hold elections officials accountable to standards and public control Stop partisan manipulation of the election system’s weaknesses & work for comprehensive reform

6 Election Pitfalls for MI Voters 1) What is the best way to register to vote? (Deadline: 30 days before E-day) Driver’s license branch office? Mail-in registration form? Local clerk’s office? Voter registration drive by volunteers? NOTE: there is NO “online” reg in MI!

7 Avoiding Pitfalls, Cont. 2) You haven’t voted in some time, and wonder if you are still registered. How do you check? SOS branch? Local clerk? County clerk?

8 Avoiding Pitfalls, Cont. 3) You can’t get to the precinct on election day due to job, kids, no ride Call local clerk and ask to be on permanent AV application list Month before the election, and Saturday before, 9 a-2p, vote AV in person at Clerk Monday before Election day until 4 p.m., request and vote an absentee ballot

9 Avoiding Pitfalls, Cont. 4) You are living temporarily away from home (student, trucker, pilot, expatriot) Register in person at local clerk’s office You decide your address of residence Register as “nontraditional” voter with no home address and PO Box mailing address Month before the election, and Saturday before, 9 a-2p, vote AV in person at Clerk

10 Pitfalls, Cont. 5) You just served time in jail or prison Register in person or verify your continuing registration at local clerk’s office If just released and homeless, register as “nontraditional” voter with no home address and PO Box mailing address No ID is needed to register to vote!

11 Citizens Hold Officials Accountable Credentialed election “Challengers” and MERA Monitors receive training and may circulate in the polling place, view and record information Any member of the public can be a poll watcher, observing from the designated public area Exit pollsters may stand 20 feet from the entrance to a polling place

12 Polling Place Management 10 stations for 2,999 voters? Need 1 voting station for every 50 registered voters, not 300. (2,999 voters X 15 min. per voter=750 voter hours/13 hour voting day=58 stations in the maximum size precinct Use inexpensive cardboard or plastic privacy screens on tables with chairs

13 At issue right now: Use of the US Mail and out of state driver licenses by SOS Land to purge voters without legal steps required by the NVRA (federal judge said stop) Caging voters by partisan groups—mail, misleading robo calls and fliers Voter intimidation at the polls Tampering with the vote count

14 Stop partisan manipulation of election system weaknesses Centralization of power in the partisan SOS Bureau of Elections which refuses to comply with Admin Proc Act, issuing arbitrary rules Total lack of checks and balances: citizens forbidden to use cameras or video Partisan enforcement of election laws Open field for partisan vote caging, petition fraud, insider vote count tampering

15 Election Reform Plan Michigan Election Reform Alliance (MERA)

16 Major Goals Guarantee the right to vote Protect equal access to voting Fairness for all candidates & issues Accurate and transparent vote counting Restore public confidence in Michigan Elections Clean up and modernize state laws Nonpartisan, reliable law enforcement

17 Why fix Michigan’s elections? Strength of Michigan elections used to reside in local control, diversity, nonpartisan ethic In 1998, the partisan State Bureau of Elections increased control through central registration database (Qualified Voter File) Bureau used the 2002 Help America Vote Act ($80 million) to centralize authority over equipment, data and interpretation of law

18 HAVA fixed what was not “broke” in Michigan Every jurisdiction forced to accept one of three brands of insecure optical scan tabulators that can be easily hacked Citizens can no longer see the vote actually counted Government responsibility has been outsourced to private corporations No external audits, checks, or balances

19 Seals don’t stop e-fraud Optical scan memory card sized like a credit card 128K No serial number- cards look the same Changes leave no tracks

20 Wire seal on the memory card The lid on the case can be removed with a screwdriver, leaving no impact on this wire seal.

21 Just remove the bolt Memory card easily removed and replaced Wire seal stays intact, attached to removed bolt

22 Or use the ports U. of Connecticut & U of Penn studies showed that the entire memory can be downloaded to a laptop, the program changed, and reloaded in seconds

23 Recounts Don’t Remedy Fraud Only the losing candidates can petition Fear of sour grapes- sore loser stigma Counties do not have to hand count; Oakland—5 votes per pct. threshold “Unrecountable” if seals broken, poll book unbalanced— dishonest result STANDS! State Board of Canvassers certifies despite evidence; refuses duty to investigate

24 MERA Plan for Election Audits Establish authority under the Audit Division of the State Treasurer Follows national guidelines of the State Audits Working Group (Electionaudits.org) Election night audit of one race in every precinct to detect malfunctions Post election audits of statistically based sample of precincts Escalation to full recount if warranted

25 Map Legend VVPR + manual audits required (18) VVPR required; No audit requirement (13) VVPR not required but in use statewide; No audit requirement (8) No VVPR requirement; No audit requirement (11)

26 We need your help! Bill sponsors and constituent pressure to implement reforms Personal statements at public hearings Citizen involvement in MERA Monitors Tell people about the MERA Plan Publicize

27 Thank you! Please contact us with questions, ideas, and comments MichiganElectionReformAlliance.org Jan BenDor 734/ or


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