Election Integrity Groups Protest
WHO: Representatives of VotersUnite.Org, TrueVote Maryland, True Majority, and Common Cause.
WHAT: Women in evening dress and men in tuxedos, carrying a 6-foot long check made out to "Election Officials" for "Parties, Cruises, Wining & Dining" and signed by "Diebold, ES&S and Sequoia," will call attention to the 4-day Election Center Conference for Election Officials, which is co-sponsored by voting machine vendors.
WHERE: Grand Hyatt Hotel at the corner of 11th and H Streets, N.W. in Washington, D.C.
WHEN: Thursday, August 26, 2004, from noon until 1:00 ET.
The Election Center, a non-profit organization identifying itself as "an international service association of election and voter registration officials," is a central source of information for United States election officials and related government agencies.
In March of 2004, it was discovered that the Election Center, which trains election officials and advises Congress and government agencies on election process issues, has taken large donations from manufacturers of electronic voting machines even as it has issued strong statements supporting the security of the machines. R. Doug Lewis, the center's executive director confirmed that the organization had received donations from Sequoia, ES&S, and Diebold.
August 24 through 27, 2004, the Election Center is holding its National Conference in Washington DC. Diebold is sponsoring the welcome reception. A dinner cruise on the Potomac and "Monuments by Night Tour" is co-sponsored by Sequoia. ES&S is sponsoring the graduation luncheon and awards ceremony.
Groups concerned about the apparent conflict of interest are staging a peaceful, entertaining protest.
"Election officials and voting machine vendors are one happy family," said Lynn Holbein, who organized the event. "It's hard to see how the officials can evaluate election equipment objectively after being wined, dined, and entertained by the people selling the machines."
"Louisiana's Secretary of State Fox McKeithen won't let his election officials take anything at all from vendors, not even a cup of coffee. He's got the right idea," she added.
See the Conference schedule here: (http://www.electioncenter.org/conferences/nationalconf/dc program 2004.doc).
For facts about electronic voting, see http://www.votersunite.org
See the flyer the protesters distributed here: (ECConferenceFlyer.pdf)