Monday, January 31, 2005
DNC Chair Developments
A hyped up story is all over the media describing how the executive committee of the Association of State Democratic Chairs (ASDC) endorsed Donnie Fowler for DNC Chair. In truth, Fowler's margin was only 8-6 over Dean. The executive committee's decision was merely a recommendation to the full membership of the organization. The really important news, however, is that the ASDC membership as a whole has endorsed Dean by a margin of almost 3-1, in opposition to their executive committee's suggestion.
The membership of the ASDC voted this morning by phone. Here are the results, as reported by Jerome Armstrong on MyDD:
Update: The Chairs and Vice Chairs rejected the recommendation of the Executive Committee to back Fowler. They then did a roll-call vote, which Dean won:
The ASDC ballot Endorsements (state chairs-vice chairs) (public DNC members) Dean 56 49 Fowler 21 9 Frost 5 15 Roemer 3 4 Rosenberg 3 4 Webb 3 10 Leyland 0 2 Abstain 5
That's 58% for Dean on the first ballot among the 96 ASDC Chairs and Vice Chairs that voted (Hotline); alongside Dean's continued backing within the DNC At-Large Members (and Labor is rumored to be next on board), Dean's in the homestrech and leading all alone.
The lastest progressive organization to join the Dean for DNC Chair effort is Ben (of Ben & Jerry's icecream) Cohen's True Majority. Go to their website to sign a petition backing Dean for the job. And pass on the link to others who support Howard Dean for DNC Chair.
Update: According to an article in the Denver Post, Former Denver Mayor Wellington Webb has just dropped out of the DNC Chair race and endorsed Dean.
Sound Off! Now Hear This. General Quarters! General Quarters! This is not a Drill!
Commentary by Eric & Sonja Elison:
In the Navy, the sounding of General Quarters is at once an alert to danger, and a command to prepare for action. As the 109th Congress opens, and the inauguration process is concluded, ours is a Nation in peril. We must roll out of our racks; hit the deck running, and man battle stations. This is not a drill!
Senator Robert Byrd, (D- West Virginia) rightly described the danger in his book Losing America (Norton Publishing, 2004) The nation is being led by an ill-equipped, reckless President; a President whose support was gained through appeals to fear, hate, greed, and piety; a President who like many before him, is grasping for more and more power.
The President is aided by a Congress ruthlessly ruled by his own party. A Republican Congress that can no longer be described by even the most deluded of observers as “conservative.” A radical Congress, willing to give up its power, and diminish the checks and balances that have served our Republic so well. A Congress that sits on its hands as young men and women die in Iraq. A Congress that allows the country to sink deeper in a quagmire in which the lives of our children, the fortune of our nation, the well being of our most vulnerable, and our reputation as a just Nation is lost.
Chief Justice William Rehnquist recently confirmed the warnings sounded by Sen. Byrd. In his year-end Annual Report on the state of the Federal Judiciary, the Chief Justice warned us of the danger associated with attempts by the Congress and Executive Branch to limit the power of the Courts. This warning is all the more noteworthy considering it may be the last report from an ailing Chief Justice appointed by Ronald Reagan. But these are not the only indicators of peril.
Emboldened by the electoral illusion of victory, Right Wing ideologues are pushing radical agendas; agendas that attack individual Freedoms, and erode Civil Rights. Disciples of political philosopher, Leo Strauss, seek to legislate mandatory adherence to Order, and Virtue as defined by hypocrites who would be kings. (http://www.alternet.org/story/15935)
Recently a warning came from James Dobson. Abandoning non-partisanship, he threatens to go after Democratic Senators if they don’t support Bush’s judicial nominees. In 2005, using his Focus on the Family organization, Dobson plans to raise $170 Million, much of which will be brought to bear against the Democrats in careful code words, that when deciphered will be understood as hate-laced, deceptive attacks against Democrats, and those that support individual liberties, and the exercise of free will.
Corporations and the wealthy paid over $400 million in the last election to continue to gain influence, and access to the Executive and Legislative Branches. The right-wing wealthy, who President Bush describes as his base, is deploying its forces from K Street offices. Unlike our Army in Iraq, the K Street forces have been significantly reinforced through a draft. Rep Billy Tauzin (R - LA), ever the patriot, entered the draft willingly. He drew a good draft number. No basic training will be required for Tauzin. He demonstrated his ability to deliver a windfall to the drug companies by inserting language that prevents the Federal Government from negotiating Medicare drug prices. Unconcerned about appearances, Tauzin will lead the Pharmaceutical forces and reportedly draw over $2 million a year from his paymasters.
Corporate-controlled media empires, such as Fox and Sinclair Broadcasting, are playing a key communication role in right-wing attacks. Led by Fox’s Rupert Murdoch, and Roger Ailes, and Sinclair’s David Smith, they are helping to coordinate the creation and dissemination of propaganda, emanating from Right-Wing Think Tanks, Corporate-funded PR initiatives, the Republican Party, and the Executive Branch itself.
The Government Accounting Office, recently cited violations of Federal Law by the Administration in the production of propaganda “News stories.” In one instance, propaganda extolled the wonderful benefits of the Administration’s sham of a Medicaid Drug Bill. In another production, the propaganda promoted drug enforcement policies against importation of drugs from Canada. Most recently it was revealed that in the run up to the election, the Administration paid nearly a quarter of a million dollars to conservative columnist, and TV Talk show host, Armstrong Williams, to promote the virtues, and benefits of the woefully under-funded “No Child Left Behind” Act. Other conservative personalities such a Michael Savage, Rush Limbaugh, and Bill O’Reilly make millions by appealing to base instincts in their listeners. The right wing media outlets are appealing to powerful emotions of hate, fear, and avarice in their listeners as they work constantly at creating division in the populace along the cultural fault lines of Guns, Gays, and God.
The organization and behavior of right wing radical forces can be variously described as corporatist, fascist, theocratic, and autocratic. Regardless of what label you place on the interaction and cooperation of these forces, there is no escaping the impact of their efforts on the United States. As we begin the 109th Congress, and the second term of President Bush, the citizens of this great country must heed the warnings that are sounding. Liberty and Freedom are under assault. Our Liberty, our Freedom is in peril. All citizens must stand against these threats. Citizens must call for the preservation of the Separation of Powers, the Independence of the Judiciary, and the Preservation of Civil Liberties. To remain inactive through either apathy or false patriotism will imperil our ship of State.
The authors are organizers of New Mexico Democratic Friends: a grassroots organization working to promote progressive policies that contribute to the Common Good. You can email them at NMDF@comcast.net. Their next meeting is scheduled for February 12th.
Sunday, January 30, 2005
Iraqi Election Hoopla
Amidst all the hyped hoopla from the mainstream U.S. media, as well as the Bush administration, I think it's a good idea to read what the always on-target Juan Cole has to say about the Iraqi election. As he points out, many Iraqis were no doubt voting in the hope U.S. troops would begin leaving after the election. And it was the Bush administration that was against a one-person, one-vote election of this kind, preferring the controlled installation of Chalabi until Sistani and his followers demanded an election. Read all about it.
I was surfing among the cable news networks last night, taking their almost hysterically positive coverage in small doses, until about four hours after the polls closed in Baghdad. The networks had cameras at voting places in a variety of communities and most of them were still empty or experiencing only a trickle of voters while I watched. Perhaps things picked up after I went to sleep. Or perhaps the Bush administration is exaggerating the turnout. One thing we know for sure: we'll never know whether what we are hearing about the election is truth or propaganda. Bush's America is frustrating that way.
Sunday Bird-(Dog) Blogging
Today we feature Bird-(Dog) Blogging from our favorite Democrat Abroad, Kathy Flake. Many of you will remember the always-in-motion Kathy from her hard work and creativity on behalf of the Howard Dean and Miles Nelson primary campaigns. She was nonstop. Now she's living in London for a few years with her family and has started her own blog, What Do I Know? (Hey, she knows alot!) Drop by and say hi and you can see more pictures of Bailey the Wonder Dog, as well as savor Kathy's daily musings. I get at least one laugh out of her blog every day. And we all need all we can get of that these days, don't we?
By the way, even though Bailey isn't a bird, he's surely acting like one in these photos, showing a real attraction for trees and perching. Peep peep. And with all that green, green moss on the tree, we know this is NOT the Land of Enchantment....
As promised, I'm sending you photos for Sunday Bird Blogging--doggy style!
I got some shots of Bailey demonstrating her Awesome Tree Climbing Ability--the first one's a little blurry, she was moving pretty fast there! I'd put peanuts out for squirrels (trying to entice them to the yard so she can be amused!) but she decided to eat the peanuts herself. The squirrels, having seen this display, no longer taunt her from the branches.
One of the things I love about Britain--everyone loves dogs. That British reserve melts when confronted with a warm nose and chocolate drop eyes!
(Click photos for larger images.)
Saturday, January 29, 2005
The DNC Caucuses and the Progressive Principles Project
From Driving Votes:
If we learned one thing at the DNC Western Regional Caucus in Sacramento last weekend, it is this: Bush's victory on November 2nd has only made the grassroots base of the Democratic Party stronger.
To borrow from Obi Wan Kenobi's famous last words to another Dark Imperial Lord, "You cannot win, George W. Bush. If you strike us down, we shall become more powerful than you can possibly imagine."
On Saturday, hundreds of rank-and-file Democrats from all over California descended on Sacramento for the DNC meeting, ready to take the movement we built during last year's election and focus it on fixing our party. Nearly everyone in attendance was behind Howard Dean's agenda for reform and renewal. Never before has a DNC Chair election seen so much active participation from the grassroots, and Dean is the candidate that can bring that energy into the party.
Driving Votes brought 35 activists to Sacramento, and will be bringing close to 100 to the Eastern Caucus this Saturday in New York City. Read about how things went in Sacramento for Driving Votes activists in their own words, and stay tuned for updates from our delegation to New York.
While Driving Votes volunteers attend the caucus to represent the grassroots, you can also help define the future of progressive politics by joining an online discussion with progressives all over America. Over the last twenty years, the Democratic Party has made so many compromises with Republicans that it has all but abandoned the progressive principles it claims to represent. Its message has become watered down, scattered and incoherent, while the Republican message has been honed to a lethal point.
It's up to us to change that. The Progressive Principles Project is an online discussion, aimed at drafting a concise statement of the values that bind us to one another as progressive Americans. Thirteen progressive organizations and counting are participating in the discussion, and we're inviting you to join the conversation.
The future of progressive social change is looking brighter already.
Leighton and Jesse, Driving Votes
Friday, January 28, 2005
BIG NEWS: Ex-Clinton Aide Ickes Backs Dean for DNC
Excerpts from an Associated Press article just released:
Harold Ickes, a leading Democratic activist and former aide to President Clinton, said Friday he is backing Howard Dean to be chairman of the Democratic National Committee -- giving a powerful boost to the front-runner.
"I think all the candidates who are running have strong attributes, but Dean has more of the attributes than the others," said Ickes, who considered running for chairman himself before dropping out in early January. "Many people say Howard Dean is a northeastern liberal, he is progressive, but his tenure as governor of Vermont was that of a real moderate."
Ickes, who is chairman of the political action committee of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., said the endorsement was his alone and "does not reflect Sen. Clinton's opinion."
While Ickes would not comment on the Clintons' preferences, he is a close ally and would not be endorsing Dean against their strong objections.
[. . .]
Ickes' endorsement comes at a critical time in the chairman's race and gives Dean almost 50 of the more than 215 votes he would need to win the post. The field could be narrowed in the next few days, as state party chairs and organized labor offer their views on the race.
(Click the link at the top of this post for the entire article.)
Here's a link to a summary of endorsements made so far supporting Dean for DNC Chair.
ACTION ALERT: NM Voting Integrity
Email from Holly Jacobson of New Mexico Voting Integrity passed along by Sonja Elison of NM Democratic Friends:
If you are receiving this email it is because you are part of a group of people within, over 1,000 strong, who have expressed interest in the accuracy and legitimacy of our voting system and ensuring that every vote counts as intended.
The purpose of this email is to clarify and update specific actions that are working towards that goal within New Mexico. These separate but related actions include the recount effort, election reform legislation, and a lawsuit recently filed by New Mexico voters.
It is easy for these actions to be confused with each other because there is much overlap in goals and activity surrounding them. In addition to this, inaccurate statements have been made regarding the status of the individual legal actions (recount and voters’ lawsuit). This email intends to spell out where each effort stands and what can be done to help us move towards our unified goal of more transparent, accurate, and fair elections. We will also use this as an opportunity to share a sample of some of the data analysis that has been done regarding the problems with the November 2004 vote count throughout the state.
1. Re: the Voters’ Lawsuit: A lawsuit was filed on behalf of 8 New Mexico voters on January 14, 2005. The focus and primary purpose of this action is to put in place a permanent injunction against use of the voting machines that have been linked to the most alarming problems in the 2004 general election. For specific examples of some of these problems, click here.
Named in the case as defendants are the Secretary of State Rebecca Vigil-Giron and a handful of county clerks. The plaintiffs are eight voters representing three political parties – 6 democrats, 1 green, and 1 libertarian - across multiple counties throughout the state. Since the filing many of these counties have cleared their machines while others have come up with alternatives for dealing with the upcoming school board elections such as utilizing paper ballots or reserving the machines from the most problematic precincts. Whether the machines have been cleared or not, the lawsuit has enough evidence to prove that there are major problems tied to machine type vs. voter type as well as other problems with the vote count and procedures that are detrimental to fair and accurate elections in New Mexico.
2. Re: Election Reform efforts being pursued in the state legislature: Currently many bills pertaining to election reform are being circulated throughout the state legislature. At this time, there is no single bill that would protect our vote count by requiring both a voter verified paper ballot AND robust automatic audit/recount measures. One bill currently being worked on shows promise. If at the point it is introduced, it looks viable and appropriately comprehensive, an email will follow with specific information.
3. Re: the Recount effort: Despite rumors to the contrary, the recount effort remains alive in the New Mexico Court of Appeals. The fact that the recount remains active continues to shed light on the problems surrounding the control of the voting process as well as the vote count itself. It is important to remember, that the value of the recount has always been about affecting change for future elections, not just finding out what happened to the last one. As there are a variety of vote count problems that include paper ballot issues, even if many of the counties do clear their paperless voting machines there is still much to discover. Again, for more information on what went wrong with the vote count, taken from public data available from the Secretary of State, click here. A small sample of this data also follows below (click to continuation page).
Easy Steps to Voice Your Opinion re; the Transparency and Accuracy of Future Elections in New Mexico:
Contact your state legislators- share data and make it known you care about this issue and expect them to take the lead on ensuring a) voter verified paper ballots. And b) robust automatic audit and recount procedures after every election.
Contact your county clerk – share data and make it known that you care about this issue and expect them to take the lead on these same reforms. To find out the name and contact info of your county clerk, click here.
Become involved. Sign up to become part of a group working towards these goals by joining this listserv. United Voters of New Mexico , Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Keep writing letters to the editor and share a copy the below email address if you can. Your letters have sent a clear message that New Mexico voters take their rights seriously. The Secretary of State was recently quoted in the ABQ journal that she had not received any written complaint surrounding the results of the last election. We know this not to be true. It would be good to let the ABQ journal know your opinion about this. And if you can, send a copy of your letter to the email below.
Contact us at email@example.com
(Click through to continuation page for selected data.)
Scroll down for sample county specific data
DID YOUR VOTE COUNT??
What if the answer depends on where you live or the kind of machine you voted on?
• If you voted on an electronic voting machine on Election Day, was your ballot among the one in twenty where a vote for President wasn’t recorded?
• If you live in San Miguel, Cibola, McKinley, Taos or Mora County were you among the nearly one in eleven voters on Election Day whose vote for President was not counted?
• In predominately Hispanic precincts statewide, 1 out of 16 ballots cast on Election Day did not have a vote for President counted.
• In predominately Hispanic precincts in Bernalillo County, 1 out of every 11 ballots cast on Election Day did not record a vote for President.
• Across the state, 1 in 12 ballots in predominately Native American precincts did not have a vote for President counted.
• Over 2,000 of the votes recorded for President were “phantom” votes that were not associated with anyone’s ballot.
Below are additional examples of vote count problems from three counties. The data material is directly from the office of the Secretary of State. Many counties have severe problems with vote data that seems to target Native American and Hispanic precincts but is specifically tied to machine type. This means, that the startling statistical anomalies only occur on specific types of machines in particular precincts.
UV = Undervote - no vote was recorded but a ballot was cast
PhV= Phantom Vote – There were more votes than ballots cast. The Secretary of State has said there were no phantom votes but the data taken directly from her office and individual counties shows that there were.
ED = Election Day
EV = Early voting
AB = Absentee ballot
SANTA FE COUNTY VOTE DATA
Prepared by Ellen Theisen from Voters Unite! www.votersunite.org
General election, November 2, 2004 including early and absentee voting
|Early Voting (EV)||0.65%||92||28%||71%||22,719|
|Election Day (ED)||4.62%||0||31%||63%||25,185|
Note that the high UV on election day is against all reason.
— Advantage is used on election day. It prevents overvotes and warns of undervotes, so its UV rate should be lowest.
— Optech Insight is used in early voting and warns of overvotes, but not undervotes, so its UV rate should be next lowest.
— Optech 4C is used for absentees and has no method of preventing overvotes or warning of undervotes so its UV rate should be highest. In many precincts it is lower than or just as low as the Insight.
Odd phenomena in some of the precincts on our list:
Early – 5 phantom votes
ElectionDay - 6.8% UV with 450 voters; Kerry percentage decreased 4.5%
Absentee – zero UV
Early – 4/13 phantom votes, phantom votes in many down ticket races as well.
ElectionDay – 14% UV
Absentee – zero UV in pres and every down-ticket race we examined. (14 ballots)
Early voting – 10 phantom votes
Early voting – 6 phantom votes
Early voting – 4 phantom votes;
Absentee – 26% UV
Absentee — 79 phantom votes
Absentee — 19 phantom votes
The pattern shown in the following precincts appears in the majority of the precincts to one extent or another, and appears also in the county totals:
1) Early and Absentee have very small UV percentages.
2) Election Day has a large UV percentage; Kerry's percentage has a significant decrease and Bush's has a significant increase.
Early Voting – 0.0% UV; Kerry 80%; Bush 20%
ElectionDay – 4.6% UV; Kerry 70.5%; Bush 24%
Absentee ——0.4% UV; Kerry 84.9%; Bush 14%
Early Voting – 0.6% UV; Kerry 81%; Bush 18%
ElectionDay – 6.4% UV; Kerry 63%; Bush 29%
Absentee ——0.0% UV; Kerry 83%; Bush 16%
Early Voting – 1.3% UV; Kerry 74%; Bush 25%
ElectionDay – 5.9% UV; Kerry 57%; Bush 36%
Absentee ——0.0% UV; Kerry 71%; Bush 28%
Early Voting – 0.0% UV; Kerry 83%; Bush 18%
ElectionDay – 4.3% UV; Kerry 74%; Bush 21%
Absentee ——0.0% UV; Kerry 84%; Bush 15%
Early Voting – 0.0% UV; Kerry 81%; Bush 18%
ElectionDay – 3.9% UV; Kerry 67%; Bush 27%
Absentee ——0.3% UV; Kerry 77%; Bush 21%
Early Voting – 0.0% UV; Kerry 79%; Bush 21%
ElectionDay – 2.8% UV; Kerry 66%; Bush 29%
Absentee ——0.7% UV; Kerry 89%; Bush 10%
Early Voting – 0.0% UV; Kerry 83%; Bush 18%
ElectionDay – 2.4% UV; Kerry 74%; Bush 21%
Absentee ——0.3% UV; Kerry 84%; Bush 15%
Early Voting – 1.7% UV; Kerry 81%; Bush 15%
ElectionDay – 10.1% UV; Kerry 67%; Bush 23%
Absentee ——3.7% UV; Kerry 88%; Bush 8%
Early Voting – 0.8% UV; Kerry 76%; Bush 22%
ElectionDay – 9.7% UV; Kerry 66%; Bush 24%
Absentee ——0.0% UV; Kerry 89%; Bush 11%
Early Voting – 0.0% UV; Kerry 86%; Bush 11%
ElectionDay – 6.2% UV; Kerry 66%; Bush 27%
Absentee ——1.0% UV; Kerry 87%; Bush 12%
Note that the UV percentage is paralleled in the down-ticket races, suggested that entire ballots are lost. If ballots are being lost by the Advantage, they are ballots with votes for Kerry -- no doubt about that, since Bush's share increases in EVERY case.
DONA ANA COUNTY VOTE DATA
Prepared by Warren Stewart
General election, November 2, 2004 including early and absentee voting
EV (Early voting) - Optech Insight
ED (Election Day) - Sequoia AVC Advantage (push button) (push button)
AB (Absentee) - Optech Insight
TV (Total Vote) - 2,075 undervotes (3.25%) 258 phantoms (.4%)
EV - 220 undervotes (1.10%) 28 phantoms (0.14%)
ED - 1,603 undervotes (4.48%)
AB - 252 undervotes (3.14%) 230 phantoms (2.86%)
Election Day undervote issues in most counties. 82 out of 106 were above the statewide undervote rate on Election Day. Unusual undervotes in some Early voting precincts (unusual because they were opscan.) Phantom votes in Absentee voting, especially Precinct 106.
Precinct 13 - 98% Hispanic - 67 ED undervotes (13.84%) 12 AB phantoms)
Precinct 28 - 75% Hispanic - 35 ED undervotes (11.15%)
Precinct 38 - 75% Hispanic - 43 ED undervotes (9.95%)
Precinct 59 - 60% Anglo - 95 EV undervotes (19.71%)
Precinct 60 - 85% Hispanic - 47 EV undervotes (49.47%), 15 ED undervotes (20.55%)
Precinct 65 (huge precinct) - 75% Hispanic 58 ED undervotes (8.83%)
Precinct 66 - 58% Hispanic - 26 ED undervotes (4.94%)
Precinct 69) Precinct 106 218 AB phantom votes
Precinct 999 (Overseas absentees) 207 ballots cast 0 presidential votes
SANDOVAL COUNTY VOTE DATA
Prepared by Warren Stewart
General election, November 2, 2004 including early and absentee voting
Sandoval uses Sequoia AVC Edge (Touchscreen DRE) for Early Voting Danaher Shouptronic (push button DRE) 1242 for Election Day. Optech 4C (opscan) machines for Early Voting and Absentee Ballots,
10 precincts have over 80% Native American populations - all had high Election Day undervote rates:
Precinct 24 - 277 ED Ballots Cast, 240 Pres Votes, 37 undervotes (13.36%)
Precinct 20 - 166 ED Ballots Cast, 145 Pres Votes, 21 undervotes (12.65%)
Precinct 26 - 190 ED Ballots Cast, 166 Pres Votes, 24 undervotes (12.63%)
Precinct 15 - 523 ED Ballots Cast, 468 Pres Votes, 55 undervotes (10.52%)
Precinct 25 - 632 ED Ballots Cast, 569 Pres Votes, 63 undervotes (9.97%)
Precinct 08 - 191 ED Ballots Cast, 172 Pres Votes, 19 undervotes (9.95%)
Precinct 14 - 141 ED Ballots Cast, 127 Pres Votes, 14 undervotes (9.93%)
Precinct 09 - 311 ED Ballots Cast, 281 Pres Votes, 30 undervotes (9.65%)
Precinct 29 - 216 ED Ballots Cast, 197 Pres Votes, 19 undervotes (8.80%)
Precinct 19 - 178 ED Ballots Cast, 168 Pres Votes, 10 undervotes (5.62%)
For a total of 2,825 ED Ballots Cast, 2533 Pres Votes, 292 undervotes (10.34%)
These same precincts in Early Vote and Absentee combined cast 1,024 Ballots, 1.022 of which recorded a vote for president (and undervote rate of 0.20%)
There's an excellent new website where you can check out your U.S. Senators and Representatives on how they voted on progressive issues. There's a scorecard, lots of interesting data and you can also search by issue. Check out Progessive Punch.
As an example, here's a comparison of my Congressional politicos on All Issues:
Rep. Heather Wilson 11.40
Sen. Jeff Bingaman 81.40
Sen. Pete Domenici 9.64
The higher the score, the more progressive the voting record. Then you can see the votes on issues that created the scorecard and you can do the same for any member of Congress. Imagine what Tom DeLay's scorecard looks like. Or not.
Thursday, January 27, 2005
Real Moral Values
Must see video: Jon Stewart's interview on The Daily Show with Jim Wallis, author of "God's Politics."
Boxer Gives Thanks
Read Senator Barbara Boxer's thank you to the blogosphere on Daily Kos. One of our most classy and effective Democrats, isn't she? A long-time member of the Democratic Wing of the Democratic Party. Oh, do we need more of those.
Here's an excellent piece on her by The Nation's John Nichols: Boxer Rebellion Spreads.
McSorley Introduces Bill to Create Office of Peace
From Stop the War Machine e-newsletter:
Office of Peace in New Mexico
NM Senate Bill SB 277: Senator Cisco McSorley wants to create the Office of Peace dedicated to peacemaking, justice and human rights as well as a Citizen Peace Advisory Council. There will be a director of peace appointed by the Governor with the consent of the senate. Duties are listed and $250,000 appropriation requested. 10 pages in length.
1. Manage the office and direct the resources and skills of the office to four areas - prevention, management and resolution of conflict; public education; policy; and public information.
2. Organize and participate in public dialogues throughout the state, providing a diplomatic method for addressing controversial issues and conflicts.
3. Analyze and build upon existing policies and program and develop new approaches for preventing, managing and resolving social conflict - including spouse abuse, child abuse and mistreatement of the elderly, school and gang violence, hate crimes, disputes between the police and community members, natural resource disputes within and between communities, disputes within and between government agencies.
4. Develop a peace education curriculum 5. Gather information on effective community peace-building activities and disseminate the information
The citizens peace advisory council will include the director and 10 appointed members for 4 year terms.
1. One member from a peace advocacy organization 2. One member from a religious or spiritual organization 3. One member from a local, county ot state law enforcement agency 4. One health professional with expertise in behavioral and public health issues 5. One member from an environmental and energy conservation organization with expertise in alternative energy use.
6. One veteran who has served in an armed conflict 7. One public school educator 8. One representative affiliated with the arts 9. One youth representative between the ages of 15 and 24 10. One member appointed by the secretary of Indian Affairs.
Questions? Contact Loralucero@aol.com
Editor's Note: You can track this bill and read it in its entirety at the linked page at the NM Legislature website. The Legislature's main webpage is located at:
I have a permanent link to the site in the right-hand sidebar on this page, near the top. Check it out. It has a wealth of information to help you find and track bills, find out to which committees they've been assigned, which NM House and Senate districts you're in, and how to contact your state representative and senator.
Wednesday, January 26, 2005
ACTION ALERT: NM Election Reform
According to an article in today's Albuquerque Journal, the first House Voters and Elections Committee meeting at the NM Legislature yesterday was packed with voters demanding a paper trail for electronic voting machines. NM Secretary of State Rebecca Vigil-Giron stated that NM has a kind of paper trail that provides cumulative totals at the end of the day, but admitted the machines lack a paper receipt for voters to check if their vote was recorded correctly.
Get this (#1): Vigil-Giron said the state's 33 counties can't use the $9 million in federal dollars left for voting machine purchases to buy machines that provide individual paper receipts because none of the companies that make them have applied to her office for testing and certification according to NM law.
Given the urgent need for machines with paper trails, you'd think it would enter Vigil-Giron's mind to contact the companies, wouldn't you? After all, she does seem to have a special relationship with ES&S machines, whose vice president was her 6th largest campaign contributor in 2002. (See previous DFNM post.) Just by chance, ES&S was showing off its machine with paper receipts at the Roundhouse rotunda yesterday. Perhaps she should have walked over and talked to them.
Vigil-Giron also answered questions from committee members about possible vote fraud in the last election. Get this (#2): She claimed she "has not seen a single complaint come to her in writing, nor has she heard from the U.S. Attorney's Office in New Mexico, which created a task force to look into such allegations." She said, "So far we have not seen anything written down."
I wonder if she considers the court actions and suits, or the reports submitted by the Green and Libertarian Parties that documented myriad problems with the election to be "anything written down." Guess not.
It should be noted that Vigil-Giron is president of the National Association of Secretaries of State and that Denise Lamb, NM's election bureau director, heads the National Association of State Election Directors. So they have alot of clout in how their counterparts around the country will deal with election reform issues. It's incredibly important that they understand how many of us are demanding that voters have access to machines with paper trails and receipts so that we can, once again, trust our election process.
Click to the continuation page for related contact information.
To contact Secretary of State Rebecca Vigil-Giron:
Office of the New Mexico Secretary of State
State Capitol North Annex, Suite 300
Santa Fe, New Mexico 87503
Phone: (505) 827-3600
FAX: (505) 827-3634
Toll Free 1-800-477-3632
To contact Election Bureau chief, Denise Lamb:
To contact your legislators about voting reform issues:
Membership, contact and meeting information about the House Voters and Elections committee:
The website of Verified Voting New Mexico is a good resource on this issue.