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VOTERS' RIGHTS

On Saturday, May 19th, 2001 on the west steps of the Capitol in Washington, D.C., Voter March held a 5 hour rally of speakers and entertainment in the name of Voter Reform. Speakers from all over the country presented their views on what needs to be done to ensure fair elections in the years to come. Starting Tuesday, Bush Watch will cover the rally and the ideas that were discussed.

line Stories and Photos

Politex's Voter March Speech
...below
Is Activism Passe?
CNN: Voters Rally
Slide Show
Voter March Photos
Lafayette Park
The Voter March
At The Capitol


Photo: Politex talks Vote Reform at Voter March's first rally in Washington, D.C., May 19, 2001

POLITEX'S VOTER MARCH SPEECH: THE THEFT OF OUR VOTES MUST STOP!

My name is Jerry Politex, and I'm from Bush Watch. I'm here to tell you that, George W. Bush to the contrary, you can be from Texas and not be a lying hypocrite!

The question I'd like to pose today is...How can we change our Corporate Republic into a Democracy? One way is to change our methods of campaigning and voting.

What can we do to reforming voting? As individuals, we can't do everything. But each of us can do something. Each of us needs to pick the activity we're best at. And do it! But everyone...everyone...needs to be actively involved in voting activities in their own voting district. Here's how Bob, a Bush Watcher, put it:

"People need to register and then check to make sure the registration has not been thrown out on a technicality. It's important to make sure the county registrars and state election officials know they are being watched and checked up on. They can't get away with pretending that they "lost" the records, or "somehow" information was not forwarded to the correct office..."

Let them know you're there and you're watching. Let them know that you're right over their shoulder.

At Bush Watch we ran an e-mail poll of over 10,000 readers, and this is what we found --folks supported all five of the Voter March reform proposals, and each will be discussed at Bush Watch (www.bushwatch.com) this coming week. But many strongly urged an additional platform proposal...The duration of the voting, at least for presidential elections, should be changed.

First, the voting should take place over a period of 48 hours, and the real time should be the same throughout the country.

Second, one or both of those days should be on the weekend, and at least one of those days should be a federal holiday.

This plan would resolve a number of the problems that came up during the last presidential election, such as folks in long lines being turned away from closing polling sites, and people in western time zones being fed election returns from eastern time zones prior to the closing of their polls.

Another concern of many Bush Watchers polled was voter apathy, since only half of all eligible voters bother to vote. Clearly, the Right wants to discourage voting, so how do we get apathetic voters to the polls? One way is to re-establish faith in our system of voting through voter reforms. As Susan wrote, "You can't fight apathy if the people who already care and already vote are not counted."

We need to keep such common sense understandings in mind. "People need to stop thinking of vast solutions and spend some energy on immediate problems," writes Annie. "No system will work if it isn't run properly, and at least half of the problems with the 2000 vote that I have heard of could be solved simply by maintaining voting equipment properly, having more polling places with more and better-trained staff, making the same equipment available to all voters, and being accurate when you administer the laws."

As for me, I'd like to add two suggestions. First, let's have voting for any federal office be placed under the control of federal, not state, authority. If there's an election in Florida for U.S. Senator and the vote of that Senator in this building behind me affects my future, I want to be sure that there are folks in Florida who will be protecting my interest in the fairness of the voting and accuracy of the count.

Secondly, it's abundantly clear that the mainstream media is too often in the pocket of the corporate interests, so alternate sources of news should be supported. On the Internet, such information sources as Bush Watch, Online Journal, Dems.com, BuzzFlash, and Bartcop come to mind, to name a few, and I'd like to conclude my remarks with a quote by Bev Conover from one of them, Online Journal:

" When is it going to sink in that if we don't stop the theft of our votes and the disenfranchisement of voters, that it won't matter whom we vote for in 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, because the powers that be will have predetermined the outcome? This is not a Republican or a Democrat or a Green or any other party thing. It is theft pure and simple, and it is systematic and has been going on for a long time—whether it's engaged in at the local, county or state levels or by greasing the palms of the faceless people who control the computer codes or diddle with the old mechanical machines."

The theft of our votes has got to stop. It's up to us to make it stop. Thank you.

--Politex's Remarks at Voter March, May 19, 2001, Washington, D.C.


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