August 05, 2006
Guest post: Garnet Coleman

You may have noticed Houston's freeways looking a lot greener and a lot less menacing the past few years. The recently completed section of the Southwest Freeway from Shepherd to Downtown now has a lush landscaping along its walls. Keep driving towards downtown on 59 towards I-45 and you'll see the once empty plots of grass that divided the freeway now full of trees and shrubs. Along the Katy Freeway, you'll see five-point Texas stars in newly constructed columns trimmed with gold border.

These improvements didn't happen by accident; they were developed by the Green Ribbon Project, the only comprehensive and sustainable freeway beautification program in the United States, a program which I created in the mid 1990s. (Greg Wythe kindly gave me credit for the program when new landscaping premiered on 288, but I did more than just bring it to Houston; I brought it to Texas).

I got the idea for the Green Ribbon project driving in California and Georgia a few years ago. My wife's parents used to live in LA, and anyone who's ever taken the long drive west on I-10 knows what a pleasant shock it is to come out of hundreds of miles of Arizona desert landscape into Los Angeles' verdant freeways. I had the same experience driving through Atlanta, which has equally well landscaped freeways. As I was driving into LA one weekend to visit my wife's parents, I thought to myself, "If California and Georgia can build freeways which are integrated with the urban landscape rather than just big concrete blocks dropped on top of it, why not Texas?"

So I called some engineers I knew at the Texas Department of Transportation and asked them if Texas could start improving its freeways the way California and Georgia had. They said we could, and a committee was formed to develop specs for how TxDOT would build freeways from then on. That committee ended up becoming the Green Ribbon Project.

The Green Ribbon Project is more than just planting a few trees; it's a comprehensive and sustainable program for Texas that will grow proportionally with Texas' freeways. A few years after the Green Ribbon Project started, I strengthened the program by inserting a rider into the appropriations bill which required that one-half to one percent of all new state highway construction funds be spent on aesthetic, artistic and landscaping improvements. So if a new freeway costs a billion dollars, then at least five million has to spent on aesthetic improvements.

And those funds are transferable too; if there are more funds than necessary to install improvements, those funds can go to other freeways within the same TxDOT district. If there are significant maintenance costs for improvements, groups like Scenic Houston, Trees for Houston, and many of the management districts in Houston can maintain trees or shrubs after TxDOT has installed them. As I noted in a speech at TxDOT in 2001, the Green Ribbon project won accolades from the American Planning Association for both its comprehensive and sustainable nature in building more aesthetically pleasing freeways.

Protecting the environment should be a priority for our state government, and the Green Ribbon Project works to mitigate the effects of pollution in Texas' cities. Trees, of course, take in carbon dioxide, which is a good thing, and the self-sustaining nature of the program means that as our freeways grow, our beautification and landscaping efforts grow with it. Additionally, reducing planes of exposed concrete with more trees along our freeways can reduce the urban heat island effect as well.

Making our freeways and cities more aesthetically pleasing is a good thing in itself. At Westheimer and the West Loop, concrete forms in the freeways (which, incidentally, require minimal maintenance cost), or the new overpasses on the recently completed section of the Southwest freeway, match the "public mood" of the architecture in the area. That kind of work can instill a sense of civic pride; the reality is that people are just happier about their city when it looks better. Green Ribbon 2, which is currently in the works, plans to work on how TxDOT can install architectural improvements and public art (like this art along I-45) along our freeways. I'm proud of my work on the Green Ribbon Project, both as an environmentalist and as a citizen who thinks our public and urban landscape can be just as beautiful as the natural landscape of Texas.

Garnet Coleman
State Representative
House District 147

Posted by Charles Kuffner on August 05, 2006 to Planes, Trains, and Automobiles | TrackBack

And don't forget that all those trees and shrubs will eventually provide shade for people who have become homeless because they were evicted from their apartments because they had no electricity because they couldn't pay their electric bill. Including some of our teachers who can barely keep gas in the car to drive to school to teach our children as it is. And there are further electric rate hikes coming?

No doubt some of these "environmental" projects are being paid for by the revenue that used to go to help people pay their electric bills.

This really says a lot about your priorities and the priorities of the Texas Legislature.

Posted by: Baby Snooks on August 5, 2006 2:00 PM

You may have noticed Houston's freeways looking a lot greener and a lot less menacing the past few years.

I wish someone would allocate some resources for graffiti eradication. The freeways are starting to resemble the rest of the city in that regard.

Posted by: Kevin Whited on August 5, 2006 11:26 PM


Please Garnet Coleman pass along the following information to your team of tree experts and everyone who could be helpful (Al Gore and John Kerry) to see what may be done to reverse the eminent crisis next year which could accelerate global warming by 50%. Something fast and smart has to be done now which means Republicans get on board now or get out of the way.


5 August 2006 22:44

Amazon rainforest 'could become a desert'

And that could speed up global warming with 'incalculable consequences', says alarming new research

By Geoffrey Lean in Manaus and Fred Pearce

Published: 23 July 2006

The vast Amazon rainforest is on the brink of being turned into desert, with catastrophic consequences for the world's climate, alarming research suggests. And the process, which would be irreversible, could begin as early as next year.

Studies by the blue-chip Woods Hole Research Centre, carried out in Amazonia, have concluded that the forest cannot withstand more than two consecutive years of drought without breaking down.

Scientists say that this would spread drought into the northern hemisphere, including Britain, and could massively accelerate global warming with incalculable consequences, spinning out of control, a process that might end in the world becoming uninhabitable.


The research carried out by the Massachusetts-based Woods Hole centre in Santarem on the Amazon river has taken even the scientists conducting it by surprise. When Dr Dan Nepstead started the experiment in 2002 by covering a chunk of rainforest the size of a football pitch with plastic panels to see how it would cope without rain he surrounded it with sophisticated sensors, expecting to record only minor changes.


… the Amazon now appears to be entering its second successive year of drought, raising the possibility that it could start dying next year. The immense forest contains 90 billion tons of carbon, enough in itself to increase the rate of global warming by 50 per cent.

Dr Nepstead expects "mega-fires" rapidly to sweep across the drying jungle. With the trees gone, the soil will bake in the sun and the rainforest could become desert.



Texas better do something now about putting the brakes on Thelma Bush and his Louise GOP's Voluntary Pollution Laws which are causing global warming to accelerate faster and faster.

Why, even Pat Robertson, is now more rational (less suicidal?) as regards Global Warming than deadly stupid Texas Republican Senators, Governor, President and Vice President who may succeed sooner rather than later in taking us all down with their extinction level job performance.


Pat Robertson: I’m ‘A Convert’ On Global Warming, ‘It Is Getting Hotter’

Yesterday on the 700 Club, evangelical Pat Robertson declared himself “a convert” on global warming. Robertson said that he has “not been one who believed in global warming in the past.” But now, Robertson said, he believes “it is getting hotter and the ice caps are melting and there is a build up of carbon dioxide in the air.” Robertson implored, “we really need to do something on fossil fuels.”


And, the media has to do a better job now because everyone’s lives depend on it. Your counterproductive, timid work has gotten us to this awful, dangerous time. Please, you must become more afraid of Bush’s extinction level job performance with Global Warming than you are afraid of Bush. Media, you owe us all…big. The same goes for Exxon and other corporations who are paying old cigarette scientists (scientists in name only) to lie about global warming. How stupid of you.


Perhaps, we can look forward to new, rational, life sustaining leadership very, very soon.

Count John Kerry's paper ballots this August in the trial which saved the 2004 election evidence. We all need John Kerry because he will work to reverse global warming and so save all our families.

Ohio recount lawsuit set for trial; election workers indicted

by Blair Bobier
September 4, 2005

On Tuesday August 30, a federal district judge set a trial date for the Green Party’s Ohio Recount lawsuit and indictments were handed down against two Cuyahoga County elections officials for their roles in the bungled election audit. The timing was coincidental; the two actions are not related though they both stem from charges that the recount was conducted in violation of state and federal law.

Judge James Carr set the trial date for August 22, 2006. The lawsuit was initiated by Green Party presidential candidate David Cobb and his Libertarian counterpart, Michael Badnarik.

The Ohio election and recount has been the subject of a number of investigations and reports. A report by the U.S. House Judiciary Committee’s Democratic staff states that “there were massive and unprecedented voter irregularities and anomalies in Ohio. In many cases these irregularities were caused by intentional misconduct and illegal behavior, much of it involving Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell, the co-chair of the Bush-Cheney campaign in Ohio.” The August issue of Harper’s magazine featured an article by Mark Crispin Miller on the Ohio election fraud and the lack of “mainstream” media coverage devoted to it, entitled “None Dare Call it Stolen.”


If that is delayed, then by this November 2006 election, we must win AND assume office by returning EVIDENCE which is HAND COUNTED (No Scanning machines at all which Hide Evidence for as long as possible, such as was the case with Gore and Kerry).


Perhaps Patrick Fitzgerald will pull their plug.

Abramoff's Diebold + Ohio Ney's HAVA = Fitzgerald

The NO EVIDENCE E-Voting and HIDDEN EVIDENCE Scanning machines get tossed, then we win AND assume office AND work immediately to try to reverse global warming AND save everyone’s families, including all those very stupid republicans.



Bev Harris


"We're counting the votes. Get over it."


Will you volunteer to hand count votes if needed?

Sign up for everything here:

And more Bev Harris PLANS

The Citizen's Tool Kit contains 20 modules, listed below. The concept is to begin actively managing your government by choosing JUST ONE THING -- and doing it.

Choose one action – any action. This is YOUR tool kit to help you and your group take action and monitor upcoming elections, so contribute input as desired.

You own your government, it's not the other way around.

When you own something, it's up to you to manage it. The Citizen's Tool Kit was created through combined expertise with many of our nation's most effective and experienced citizens, to help you learn the management skills that work.

When you take any action in this Citizen's Tool Kit, you will master skills to enact truly meaningful oversight over your government.

Your children and grandchildren will inherit the government you give to them.

Citizen's Tool Kit Modules

Take Back Your Elections


Mobilization Modules

Module 1: House Parties
Module 2: Town Meetings
Module 3: Speeches


Module 4: Adopt Part of an Election: Check Out the System Testing
Module 5: Adopt Part of an Election: Check On Voter Registration Lists
Module 6: Adopt Part of an Election: Become a Poll Worker or Elections Judge
Module 7: Adopt Part of an Election: Monitor the Voting
Module 8: Adopt Part of an Election: Monitor the Counting
Module 9: Adopt Part of an Election: Watch the Chain of Custody
Module 10: Adopt Part of an Election: Audit for Accuracy
Module 11: Get Public Records and Freedom of Information Documents


Module 12: Be the Media
Module 13: Adopt a Public Official
Module 14: Follow the Money Trail: Who's Getting Paid?
Module 15: Accountability Check-up: Did the Election Follow Rules & Laws?
Module 16: Legal Actions


Module 17: Count the Votes Yourself


Module 18: Actions for Candidates

Additional modules are being added throughout the day, notified by new posts here each time. Enjoy!



Mark Crispin Miller

A call to arms on this Fourth of July!

Here, friends, is a clarion call from a great new group--the Election Defense Alliance (EDA). I'm proud to say that I am on the board of this endeavor, and can vouch for the integrity, intelligence and patriotic spirit of all those who put the EDA together.

Please send this email far and wide. This a group that really gets it.



Dear Election Integrity Activist,

Who would have thought that our 230th Day of Independence would see American Democracy hanging by a thread? Yet so it is, and a good part of that thread is our movement to restore honest elections. Our task is immense and we are all rising to it. But as so much vital work is being undertaken in election integrity groups around the country-and as we find ourselves yet again deep in the swamp of skullduggery the American election cycle has become-the necessity for coordinating our ideas, strategies, tactics and resources is becoming more apparent than ever.

At this critical juncture, when the need for working together can not be overestimated, we are happy to announce the formation of the Election Defense Alliance (EDA), a national coordinating body of election integrity activists, working throughout the country to defend our election systems against covert election fraud.

EDA's primary functions will be to provide coordination and focus; eliminate duplication of efforts; create a clearinghouse for the sharing of materials, know-how, and other resources; and facilitate cohesive decision-making about strategic priorities and tactical approaches.

It is clear that election integrity forces will be successful only if our efforts have a cumulative and mutually reinforcing effect. At the same time it is also evident that strategies and tactics must be tailored to the needs of individual venues, and that local groups generally have the most experience in identifying and meeting such needs. Therefore EDA is structured to draw energy and ideas from the grassroots level and provide the synergy necessary to meld these disparate efforts into a cohesive national force to be reckoned with.

Because November is bearing down on us, our initial emphasis is on the coordination of all efforts pertaining to election monitoring, data analysis, and rapid and effective response. Our goal is to permit affiliated groups to concentrate on their particular focus while Election Defense Alliance functions both to facilitate their efforts and to amplify the effect. To that end, we will share techniques for recruiting, training, and deploying the volunteer armies that will be needed in the field. We are also concentrating on establishing media connections, raising funds, and developing coalitions with non-election-related organizations to build the massive public awareness needed if election integrity is to be front-and-center in America.

In the longer run, our attention will be focused on all of the following strategies and supportive processes:

Election Monitoring
Data Analysis
Public Education
Coalition Building
Public Events
Election Day Rapid Response
Voting and Registration Systems
Volunteer Recruitment and Training
Media and PR

Each strategy component will have a working group of activists focused on that particular activity. Each group will select its own leader who will also serve as the group's representative to EDA's Coordinating Council, or leadership body. EDA's affiliated organizations, whether or not they participate directly in one or several of these groups, will be able to draw upon the work and contributions of fellow affiliates and EDA's collective expertise. In this way, EDA affiliates will be able to concentrate on their own specific missions (e.g., exit polling, HCPB, litigation, etc.), while drawing upon the collective for many of the nuts-and-bolts components (such as education, PR, volunteer recruitment) that are necessary for successful election integrity initiatives. At the same time, individual initiatives will have dramatically greater impact when linked through EDA with the many similar programs being undertaken nationwide. To look at specific examples of just how EDA will function to facilitate the work and strengthen the hand of election integrity activists, please click here.

In sum, affiliation with Election Defense Alliance will enable each member group to transcend its own resources without sacrificing its autonomy. The result of such synergy, we believe, will be the critical mass that we have all learned from experience is essential to our success.

EDA differs from existing national groups in several important respects. First, it is not primarily a discussion list. We are action-oriented. Our primary objective is to create and implement a more comprehensive strategy than would be possible for any individual group or small number of groups working together. Yet, in recognizing the importance of coordinated strategies, we nonetheless also perceive that the vast majority of the work must be done at the state and local levels, not on the national level. Furthermore, we view attempts at national legislative reform as highly unlikely to succeed, and indeed fraught with HAVAesque perils, given the current constellation of power in Congress.

At EDA we believe that success in responding to the electoral state-of-siege will require a vast expansion of public awareness and the channeling of that awareness into corrective action by citizens at every phase of the electoral process throughout the United States. And we believe that the public cannot be mobilized to the necessary scale and speed of action unless the prevailing reality, including the nexus between election-rigging and political dominance, is fully and frankly exposed. EDA will not shrink from publicly making those connections.

Election Defense Alliance is both aggressive and strategic, prepared for the long haul but aware that there is no more wiggle room for delay, confusion, or ineffectiveness. Recent developments-such as the RFK Rolling Stone article, the Brennan Center Report, the California 50th District Special "Election," and a dramatic uptick in media attention and public awareness-have set the stage for a very public battle over the future of our democracy. We know that the still out-manned forces of electoral integrity must bring their very best to this battle.

The more individuals and groups affiliated, the stronger will be the impact that all of us will make together.

The following activists have already endorsed and/or affiliated with EDA: Jerry Adams, Judy Alter, Ray Beckerman, Gary Beckwith, Tom Courbat, Marj Creech, Dorothy Fadiman, Brad Friedman, David Griscom, Sherry Healy, Kip Humphrey, Gail Jonas, Emily Levy, Victoria Lovegren, Sharona Merel, Lewis Miller, Mark Crispin Miller, Bruce O'Dell, Peter Phillips , Ginny Ross, Nancy Tobi, Bob Wilson. By joining with them and working with EDA you can continue the important work you are already doing AND be part of a critical collaborative effort, working together to make the enormous impact necessary for success.

Our website at, though under construction, already features lots of helpful information, including our Prospectus, principles of governance and organizational structure, a growing resource library, biographical information of affiliated individuals and groups, discussion forums, and a blog. We believe the site will be very helpful in answering any questions you may have about EDA that we have not addressed in this brief introduction.

We all know that our democracy is at stake and that time is short. This is the most important issue any of us has ever worked on. We must join together to be successful. Make this a momentous Independance Day for American Democracy. Please sign on at

We very much look forward to working with you.

In solidarity,

Dan Ashby
Sally Castleman
Jonathan Simon
Election Defense Alliance co-founders

posted by MCM



Lynn Landes


A very simple idea suggested by Lynn Landes is: Right after you vote on Election Day, send to the candidate(s) for whom you voted a postcard or letter with your name, address, and signature, and simply state that you voted for him/her. Candidates can use that information to challenge "official" election results. Candidates of any party should not concede until they have canvassed some or all precincts to check on official election results.

Lynn Landes update:

...candidates or activists need to conduct a Parallel Election, of sorts. They need to collect affidavits from voters or, at the very least, get signed statements that include the voter’s name, signature, address, and for whom they voted. These can be collected in three ways:

1) on Election Day as voters leave the polls,

2) door to door after the election, or

3) by asking voters, particularly absentee voters, to mail-in affidavits or signed statements immediately after they mail in their ballot.

If manpower is a problem, then target only a few polling places or precincts. Keep in mind that a list of those who voted is a matter of public record. Most precincts have about 500 voters and most voters don’t vote.

Lynn Landes on Parallel Elections: So, let's do something different. We'll go to Plan B. We'll organize our own Parallel Elections.

A Parallel Election would be held in tandem with the official election. It could be organized on a precinct, county, or statewide basis. And anyone could do it. It's simple. On Election Day, "parallel election pollworkers" (PEPs) would position themselves outside the polls. They would provide voters with parallel ballots to mark and a ballot box in which to cast them. At the end of the day, PEPs would compare their tallies with the official election returns. If the tallies don't match, the election can be challenged.

But, the really big deal is this... voters would be asked to print their names and addresses and sign their ballots. What's the point? To provide proof. Candidates need hard evidence in order to challenge election results. A signed ballot would act as a voter's affidavit - as direct evidence of the voter's intent.

Exit polls and audits provide circumstantial evidence, at best. We need much more.

During the 2004 election, tens of thousands of voting rights activists worked the polls. They documented tens of thousands of election irregularities. But, all that documentation didn't provide any direct evidence of how people actually voted. Even when recounts were conducted, as in Ohio, election officials managed to sabotage the process.

The original goal of the secret ballot was to minimize vote selling and voter intimidation. It seemed like a good idea at the time. But, that time has passed. The secret ballot has become the refuge of scoundrels and unscrupulous election officials. It provides perfect cover for vote fraud and system failure.

A signed ballot is not such a farfetched idea. In the 1700's and 1800's, "There was no right to a secret ballot; having sworn in as a voter, the voter may have simply called out his choices to the election clerks who sit... behind the judge tallying the vote," writes University of Iowa professor Douglas W. Jones.

In some parts of Switzerland, citizens still follow the ancient custom of electing their government by an open show of hands on the last Sunday morning of every April.

Think about it. The U.S. Congress, state assemblies, and even town councils, all vote in public. Why should our votes be kept secret? What are we afraid of? Are we afraid we'd lose our jobs if our employers knew how we voted? That ship has sailed - quite literally. Millions of jobs in America have already been outsourced to foreign countries. It's only going to get worse if we can't boot these lunatics out of office. Are we afraid that some voters will sell their votes? Oh, you mean like our legislators already do? Listen. I wouldn't make vote selling legal, but I wouldn't get my shorts in a twist over it, either. Or, are we afraid to disappoint our friends and family? It's more important not to disappoint yourself.

A Parallel Election serves three purposes. First, it introduces authentic voting to American citizens. Second, it asserts local control over the voting process. And third, it provides a platform from which to seriously challenge election results.

So, what do you think? Does a Parallel Election make sense? Does it stand a chance? Will people respond? I certainly hope so, because otherwise we're left with some pretty dismal choices, all framed in a negative context. I think this is a positive project that's worth a try. I'm game. (Update: I'm overwhelmed with e-mail. If you really need to reach me, please call (215) 629-3553)

Karen Renick
[email protected]
Let's show our machine-made politicians that we will stand up and be counted.


• Funding and structure: This is a grassroots effort, so there is no real funding or official structure for this project. Most precincts have between 500-1000 voters. That means that you would need to copy that many ballots and an equal number of pamphlets. Plus you need a ballot box, which can be a cardboard box. It all should run under $200.

• A secret ballot: Voter information on the ballot could remain concealed unless a challenge is made. The ballots could be on legal size paper. The bottom of the page would have the voter's information and could be folded over itself and "glue sticked" in order to keep the voter's identity secret.


THE DRILL -- 'PE' Pollworkers are to hand informational PE pamphlets to voters as they go into the polls, and then offer a PE ballot as the voters exit the polls. At the end of the day, count the votes and compare it to the official count. If the count is off, report it to the Board of Elections and issue a press release.

• Pick a precinct - it could be your own or a precinct that has experienced voting "irregularities" in past elections

• Determine the precinct boundaries if you're going to do a pre-Election Day pamphlet drop.

• Determine the number of registered voters (so you know how many copies of the ballot you need to make). Call your Board of Elections for this information. It may also be online.

• Design the ballot. Please label the ballot "PARALLEL ELECTION BALLOT". Do not copy the official ballot. Leave a place for people to print their name, address, signature, and date. To provide the voter some secrecy, fold the ballot over that info and use a glue stick to seal it shut. It would only be unsealed in the event of a challenge. Allow the voter to participate without signing the ballot, if that is their desire.

• Create or buy a tally sheet

• Make ballot box - a cardboard office storage box could work.

• After the election, retain ballots and tally sheet until next election.


• Call a meeting to organize public support - see SAMPLE PRESS RELEASE, below Keep the press and public informed. Do regular press releases to local news media - print, radio, TV (announce the effort, meetings, etc.)

• Contact area civil rights groups and religious organizations for support, including local colleges, etc.

• You can do pamphlet drops (SAMPLE PAMPHLET) or mail-outs before the election, but at the very least, be at your local poll on election day - that includes primaries. It's a great time to introduce voters to the concept. Although one person could handle the job, two or more is definitely better.

• Write letters to the editor / do talk radio & community TV / post info on internet (such as:

• Order bumper stickers and decals (although I have some that say that you can use, I'm probably going to order others that announce this project. You can also order your own. The following webpage has my supplier's contact information -

• Talk to people in your precinct as much as possible. One-on-one encounters are the most effective. Have voter registration forms available, as well. But, don't fill it out registration cards for voters. Advise voters to fill it out and mail it themselves.


The Parallel Election Project (PEP) is hosting an open meeting on (day), (date), (time) at the (place), (address). Citizens concerned about security risks posed by voting on machines, early, or absentee are invited to attend. For more information, contact: (name - optional / phone / e-mail - optional / website - if available)


Keep those trees alive.

And, keep Democracy alive.

Posted by: Support Science to Reverse Global Warming, if still possible on August 6, 2006 2:08 AM

August 22, 2006, the Ohio trial to count the ballots from the 2004 election did not occur. I was so hoping for the potential for fast change in order to get to work now on Global Warming...pardon me...I own all huge apologies. Here is what I should have found sooner:


The Ohio 2004 Recount

On Monday November 15, 2004 NVRI issued a joint statement with Common Cause, Demos, the Fannie Lou Hamer Project, and the People for the American Way Foundation, supporting the effort by Presidential Candidates David Cobb (Green Party) and Michael Badnarick (Libertarian) to have a full recount of all votes cast in Ohio. NVRI subsequently agreed to serve as counsel for Cobb and Badnarik in their efforts to have a full and meaningful recount. While the lawsuit brought attention to the serious flaws in the state's recount procedures, it was ultimately dismissed.

NVRI's Challenge to Ohio's Recount Procedures End

NVRI's challenge to Ohio's recount procedures for presidential elections has come to an unfortunate end, though not before exposing serious flaws in the recount system. In February, Judge James G. Carr dismissed NVRI's lawsuit , saying the principle of sovereign immunity bars the lawsuit, and ruling that the kind of errors found in the 2004 recount are not likely to occur again. On behalf of our clients, we asked the Judge to reconsider his opinion, but in early May he issued his opinion declining to revisit his ruling. After consultation with our clients - former presidential candidates David Cobb (Green Party) and Michael Badnarik (Libertarian Party) - we have decided against an appeal. The lawsuit brought to light serious flaws in Ohio's recount procedures, including violation of requirements for random selection of recount precincts and other threats to the reliability and timeliness of the recount. CLICK HERE to read Judge Carr's final decision. Thanks to all our partners and supporters who stood with us in this important effort.

(April 6, 2006): Indictments Handed Down in Ohio Recount Foul-ups

The evidence that Ohio's presidential recounts were not handled fairly keeps popping up. On Wednesday, three Cuyahoga County Election officials were indicted for disregarding rules that were designed to ensure a fair recount. Though the foul-ups leading to the indictment would not have changed the final results, it re-affirms NVRI's position that the recount system is woefully inconsistent. Though the indictment in this case does not claim intentional fraud, it does strengthen NVRI's claims. To read about the indictments, see this article. NVRI still awaits a decision on our effort to reinstate the case.
(February 17, 2006): Motion Filed Before Judge Carr Seeking a Reconsideration of His Ruling in the Recount Case
On behalf of our clients, NVRI asked Judge Carr to reconsider his decision to dismiss this case. In his decision, Judge Carr said the problem was not likely to recur. Quite to the contrary, we argue that it is extremely likely to recur, and the complaint should be reinstated, and trial should move forward.
Read the motion here and read some of the exhibits listed below. These exhibits show just how clear it is that recount foul-ups are likely to be a continuing problem.

Exhibits to Motion Seeking Reconsideration:

Exhibit A, Exhibit B, Exhibit C, Exhibit D

(February 7, 2006): NVRI Disappointed in Dismissal of Vote Recount Lawsuit

On Tuesday, February 7, Judge James G. Carr dismissed NVRI's lawsuit challenging the manner of Ohio's presidential recount system. Judge Carr said the principle of "sovereign immunity" bars this lawsuit, and found that the kind of errors found in the 2004 recount are not likely to occur again. NVRI is profoundly disappointed in the ruling and is consulting with cooperating counsel as well as clients David Cobb and Michael Badnarik about whether or not to appeal. The judge's ruling is attached.



RFK Jr. has brought a new law suit against Diebold.

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and his law firm, with backup from powerful lawyers from tobacco litigation, have filed lawsuits against the major vendors of electronic voting machines alleging fraudulent claims.

Where is this story in the Associated Press? On CNN? With potentially catastrophic financial consequences, why do stock boards for publicly owned Diebold Inc. contain a press release for a recent Diebold acquisition, yet not a word about a lawsuit that could cost the company a billion dollars, devastating stockholders?

Voting machine vendor fraud may be the biggest story since 1776. The second biggest story may be the silence of the press.


On July 13, the Pensacola, Fla.-based law firm of Robert F. Kennedy Jr. filed a qui tam lawsuit in U.S. District Court, alleging that Diebold and other electronic voting machine (EVM) companies fraudulently represented to state election boards and the federal government that their products were unhackable.

Kennedy claims to have witnesses centrally located, deep within the corporations, who will confirm that company officials withheld their knowledge of problems with accuracy, reliability and security of EVMs in order to procure government contracts. Since going into service, many of these machines have been linked to allegations of election fraud.

The financial consequences for all companies named could be catastrophic. Qui Tam suits can result in companies being required to pay treble damages. Unless settled quickly -- which, on a federal level and with the dollar amounts involved, seems unlikely -- they will lead to discovery and that will reveal secrets the companies have long tried to keep under wraps.

Qui Tam issues

Because a Qui Tam lawsuit usually requires secrecy, use of this remedy involves ethical dilemmas. The case is normally sealed, and even the existence of the case is often not revealed.

It can take years to lift the seal, and typically the plaintiffs are prohibited from talking about the evidence until the seal is lifted. In the case of evidence of fraudulent claims for voting machines, the impact of keeping evidence necessary for the conduct of fair and accurate elections under seal would be unacceptable. It would be an apalling decision by plaintiffs, for example, if evidence of tamper-friendly voting systems was withheld from the public during a presidential election. That would be exactly the wrong choice to make.

The first Qui Tam lawsuit filed against voting machine vendors (that we know about) was filed by Black Box Voting founder Bev Harris and Jim March, who was one of the founding board members of Black Box Voting. That Qui Tam alleged that Diebold made false claims when selling its system to Alameda County California. The existence of the suit was kept sealed until June, 2004, but March and Harris refused to keep the evidence under seal, and made all evidence public immediately. Diebold was ultimately forced to pay $2.6 million to the taxpayers of California on this suit.

Kennedy's firm appears to be taking an aggressive stance against secrecy

They did not keep the existence of the suit secret, and have apparently confirmed it in interviews with In These Times and

Sources close to the plaintiffs have informed Black Box Voting that if the Department of Justice refuses to unseal the case after 60 days, a significant public situation will result, again indicating that this particular litigation will put public interest first and set private agendas aside.

Citizen investigations and citizen reporters made the difference

Mike Papantonio, a senior partner at Levin Papantonio Thomas Mitchell Echsner & Proctor, P.A., the Pensacola lawfirm involved in the suit, excoriated the DNC. According to Bradblog, Papantonio cited "the indolent Democrats and the lazy media," for not participating in any of this, and decried the fact that he and RFK Jr. were essentially forced to take action on their own, given the Dems' failure to do anything.

He also spoke of the importance of election integrity groups and certain key blogs. "Unless you had these organizations out there like Black Box Voting or BRAD BLOG, people like that, paying attention to this, this wouldn't even be on the radar screen," he said.

You'll find stories on this here:

But not here, as of the posting time of this story:

Fox News
New York Times
Washington Post

(anything yet?)

* * * * *

"We're counting the votes. Get over it."

Be part of the solution: Please sign up for the NATIONAL HAND COUNT REGISTRY: Go to Home Page - Hand Count Registry is right above lead story

Make November elections the biggest evidence gathering action ever. EVIDENCE = videotape, audiotape and photos. Come prepared. This time, focus on the COUNTING not just the voting.


and this is good news and should yield results...

Zogby poll:


From Paul Lehto:

Here's a news preview on my brand new Zogby poll on election transparency that I believe is a very important development for the election protection and "election detection" movement:

This Zogby poll was commissioned by Paul Lehto with support from Democracy for New Hampshire, Michael Collins and and other election detection patriots.

Fully 92% of every single demographic group in American favors the public's right to observe vote counting and to obtain any information regarding vote counting, according an August 12-15 Zogby telephone poll of approximately 1200 likely voters nationwide.

In a democracy, 51% is winning. 92% is complete annihilation of the "opposition." When it's spread across all demographic groups from armed forces to very conservative to walmart shoppers to libertarians to progressives and liberals, the 92% means there really isn't even a debate to speak of!

May I recommend as the subject of what the 92% is for or against: "Citizen Oversight" or "Oppose Secret vote counting" or "favor Public's Right to KNow in Elections". "Verifiable" elections is simply "capable of verification" and could include a mere audit that may or may not work....

Maybe it's just me, but I like the distinction between 51% support in a democracy and 92% support in a democracy, as made in the above link, stressing how "over the top" these numbers are as the basis for confidence IN OURSELVES, and as the flip side of "no confidence IN SECRET ELECTIONS". As you know, and CA50 Action Committee have stressed "no confidence" as the theme of the election contest here in California, where I'm litigating the 50th Cong. District election contest.

Maybe the partial reason for our movement's "mixed" results is that election officials haven't felt the full persuasive frame or power of the frame, or else haven't realized just how out of touch they are if they are not in favor of radical transparency. Remember GOethe's old quote: Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. I think there are angels behind us on this issue when framed as opposition to secret vote counting and favoring election transparency and the public right to know, and we are way too timid when it comes to our own sense of confidence when it comes to transparency and anti-secret vote counting. Particularly strong is the opposition to secret vote counting because one really can not argue in favor of secret vote counting, but people might not fully "get" an abstract term like "transparency."

This is, in my opinion, a watershed moment. This is when people GET A SHOT IN THE ARM, and it doesn't matter if we've had some good and some not so good results **in the past**, with this poll in our pocket (or really, in our hearts and minds), the debate is transformed in our favor and in the favor of every decent election activist everywhere!

Look for a national press release to Zogby's 35,000 press contacts on Tuesday. We're looking for all activists to be blogging and talking up this on Tuesday with all press contacts and listservs, and doing local statewide press releases of their own highlighting anti-transparent local officials, to synergize the local and national angles at the same time.

Go get 'em, everyone!

Paul Lehto (aka Land Shark on )
Attorney at Law

Posted by: Support Science to Reverse Global Warming, if still possible on August 27, 2006 7:28 PM