A short-term tax-exempt securities primer–Part II

A short-term tax-exempt securities primer–Part II

By By Joe Baker

Canada’s vote reflects honesty

By Joe Baker

Senior Editor

When it comes to running an election and tabulating votes we could take some pointers from our northern neighbors, the Canadians.

They just conducted a national election up there and they put us to shame. Several million paper ballots were cast. They were all counted in four hours time with hardly any snafus. No recounts, no court cases, no baloney.

Of course the Canadians expect, and they have, open and honest elections. There is no secrecy whatsoever. Votes are counted at each precinct while citizen observers watch. Totals are posted. Each precinct counts about 500 ballots.

Canada also has a law that states if ballots are out of sight and control of polling place judges at any time they are disqualified and not counted.

Contrast that with the monkeyshines we are seeing in this country. Winnebago County is typical of what’s happening. Secrecy is the order of the day in our elections. The public is frozen out of the balloting and tabulating process. You mark your ballot and go home. Nobody in the general public knows what happens to those ballots or how they are counted. There’s no admittance to the counting center.

No ordinary residents are permitted to count votes. It is done by a private company which does everything in secret and answers to no one.

What can be done to correct the situation and insure that our elections are fair, accurate and honest? We can put pressure on our legislators to adopt model legislation for every county in this state.

Such model legislation has been spelled out by Jim Condit Jr. of Cincinnati and his organization Citizens for a Fair Vote Count.

These are the main provisions of such legislation: 1. use paper ballots marked by the voter in indelible ink; 2. ballots are kept in full view at the polling place in a clear, plastic box in a part of the poll where the voter casts his or her ballot under the eyes of designated poll watchers; 3. when polls close the ballot box is opened before all who wish to observe and in the presence of the election judges; 4. each precinct would require about eight workers, based on 200-250 ballots per precinct. Indelible markers would be barred from the counting area and only pencils and paper supplied by the county would be used. Tally sheets would match the ballots and would be signed by each official counter using them.

Additional provisions: 5. ballot counters would be chosen from among eligible voters one week before the election. Election officials would notify by mail each eligible voter in the county. Counters would be drawn by lot at the appointed time and place; 6. vote counters would be paid $50 an hour to insure that ordinary people, not government workers, would be counting the votes; 7. when votes are counted at each polling place any citizen would be able to observe and video tape the process. A deputy sheriff or National Guardsman would be present strictly to maintain order; 8. tally sheets would be signed by the official counters and then added up by precinct leaders designated by election officials and in the presence of the counters. Precinct captains and the counters all would sign the master tally sheet which would give results for the entire precinct. Copies of that sheet would go to the precinct captains and all counters; 9. this would establish a paper trail and provide a legal basis to certify the election; 10. all results would be posted at each precinct before the ballots are taken to the central counting station. The results must be posted 24 hours and reported by each team of precinct captains.

Beyond these steps: 11. two precinct residents would accompany the ballot box to central counting. These persons would be chosen at the pre-election drawing and would be paid $50 each for this service; 12. ballots would be kept for one year after the election; 13. all voters must be registered at least 30 days in advance of the election; 14. mail and absentee ballots would be outlawed; 15. computerized voting machines would be banned, especially those containing modems, and all mechanical voting machines would be prohibited as well; 16. any candidate would be allowed a designated witness to observe vote tabulation.

Beyond the county level these measures would be needed: 17. the military would have its own provisions for its personnel to vote. Each military unit would be its own precinct and would tabulate the votes the same as a civilian precinct; 18. election day would be a national holiday; 19. each state’s secretary of state would be mandated to count the vote. Three or more candidates could band together and designate a witness to observe the tabulation at state level; 20. the U.S. Senate would be charged with tabulating the vote for president, vice-president and the U.S. House and Senate, as the Constitution now provides.

This would effectively end the secret, illegal manipulation of the American vote that now prevails. Just to make certain Condit proposes that anyone convicted of election fraud at whatever level would lose their citizenship, plus serve a prison term: 10 years for an offense at the county or state level; 20 years for an offense in a federal election.

If we remain apathetic and asleep as in the past we will have no hope of being free.

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