Friday, November 03, 2006

Don't let anyone kick sand on your right to participate in the democratic process.

The election will soon be in our hands and there are plenty of reasons to worry. Christine Barry tells us Republican Vote Fraud Has Already Started and Michigan’s Voting Equipment Can Be Hacked in Minutes, but please, don't let that prevent you from exercising your right to vote.

Here's what you need to know according to UAW President Ron Gettelfinger:
[...] there's no reason to let anyone deny you your right to vote. There are many ways to ensure that you exercise your fundamental right to cast a ballot for the candidates of your choice on Election Day.

A new federal law, the Help America Vote Act of 2004, guarantees a provisional ballot to voters whose names do not appear on the registration rolls. So even if an election worker claims that you are not eligible to vote, you have the right to cast a ballot. If it is later determined that you are eligible, your vote will be counted.

In Michigan, you are not required to provide identification to vote, unless you are a first-time voter who registered by mail and did not provide verification of your identity when you registered. In that case, numerous forms of photo or non-photo ID are acceptable, including a driver's license, a student ID or even a recent utility bill.

Your voting rights include:

# The right to vote free from harassment. No one can harass or intimidate you while you are voting. For example, there is no reason for anyone to ask you about child support, debts or any other matter in a polling place.

The election officials at your polling station are obligated to protect you from harassment. If there's a problem, voters can call a nationwide Election Protection Lawyer Hotline, (866) OUR-VOTE (866-687-8683), to report harassment and other election abuses.

# Sample ballot or endorsement card. You have the right to carry voting materials into the polling booth.

# Right to vote when polls close. If you are in line when the polls officially close, you have the right to vote.

# Right to take your time. Don't be rushed by others in line or poll workers.

# Right to correct mistakes. If you think you've made a mistake before casting a ballot on paper or on an electronic touch-screen machine, you can ask for help and a new ballot.

# Right to assistance. A disability or the inability to read or write does not prevent an American from voting. You may have a person of your choosing -- in Michigan, not an employer or union agent -- help you cast a ballot. You also have the right to see a sample ballot and be instructed on the voting process.
We have to be especially vigilant in dense urban areas according to blogger Blognonmous, and we need to be proactive:
And where will these shenanigans hit the hardest? In dense urban areas where higher voter volumes are handled at each precinct. Unfortunately for us, these are also the districts where Democrats are strongest and where the GOP can benefit most from dampening turnout.

So what do we have to do? Remain vigilant and document, Document, DOCUMENT!!! It's not enough to provide anecdotal evidence of election fraud. We need the proof! So carry a camera with you to the polls and photograph your ballot, the screen, whatever. And, if you experience a screwup, DOCUMENT IT!!! Write down what happened, get photographs. Don't let election workers intimidate you.
Take this advice and information and share it with everyone you know, because, as Ron Gettelfinger says:
Rights, it has been said, are like muscles: They work best when exercised. Don't let anyone kick sand on your right to participate in the democratic process.

1 comment:

Kvatch said...

Kathy...many thanks for the mention. I wish I could do more, but I live in a fairly safe district. So the chances that I'll actually catch an instance of election fraud are slim. Hopefully Floridians, Ohioans (sp?), and citizens in other battleground states are documenting what's going on.