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Dear Commissioners,
It's now time the Election Assistance Commission assist. Not later this year or sometime next year. Right now.

By John Gideon, VotersUnite.Org and VoteTrustUSA.Org
June 6, 2006

Here I am again asking that you do your jobs. When are you going to actually "assist" counties and states in their elections? Are you going to simply sit by and watch the election disasters in this year's elections and pretend that everything is fine? Counties are being told by their Secretary's of State to break state law in order to make up for the incompetence of their vendors. HAVA has forced jurisdictions to be dependent upon the voting machine vendors to administer their elections and the vendors are failing. What are you going to do about this democracy threatening situation? It's not enough to push all of your responsibility onto the states as was alluded to today in an appearance by Commissioner DeGregorio on CNBC. You have been given the responsibility to assist; do it.

The following article talks about a state, Arkansas, and a county, White County, that is screaming out for your help. But, they are no different than counties in Indiana, Illinois, Texas, Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and other states that have already held their primaries and had failure after failure after failure. The article is in The Daily Citizen from Searcy, Arkansas (http://www.thedailycitizen.com/articles/2006/06/06/news/top_stories/top01.txt) and it clearly shows the frustration of county and state elections officials with their voting vendor, Election Systems and Software.

To make it easier on you I will quote a few statements from the article that show the frustration and anger on the part of these officials.

“The situation has been a royal mess,” Tanya Burleson, White County Clerk, said. “Our PEB's that were received were wrong. We have no absentee ballots. We can send ballots like we are using for early voting, but ES&S was supposed to have paper ballots to us by Friday and no ballots have been received. It is definitely a mess.”

“If this is the best we can do now, we’re in big trouble this fall,” [White County Election Commissioner Norm] Southerland wrote.

“ES&S has now proven in four states that they are unable to meet deadlines for the delivery of programming, regardless of the time period they have to do the work,” [White County Election Commissioner John] Nunnally wrote to Janet Harris in the Secretary of State’s office.

“ES&S even had the gall to show up Friday and tell me they had already done all the testing on my PEB’s ‘to save me time,’” Nunnally wrote. “That’s a violation of the law, and besides that, on what grounds would I trust their testing?”

“ES&S is set up to box us into [sic] using their proprietary services for election preparation,” Nunnally wrote. “They are doing this in every state they sell. They don’t have the resources to meet the needs for these services and that is verifiable fact at this point. This cannot continue.”

“November is going to be a massive train wreck,” Nunnally wrote “Getting a bunch of lawyers together to come up with financial ‘damages’ settlement won’t fix anything.”

“Do you think ES&S keeps enough well trained people on their staff to program nationwide, general elections every month? Of course not!” Nunnally wrote. “So who is going to be doing the programming in October for the general elections? Either there are going to be far too few trained people to get the job done, or we are going to have our most critical election programmed by StaffMark, Kelly Girl, and illegal aliens.”

“Would someone please find out the password to the ES&S software that keeps me from producing my own ballots and send that to me?” Nunnally wrote. “I can't do any harm trying to produce my own, right or wrong. Wrong is all I've gotten from ES&S so far, so there's a chance I just might do better. It was pretty infuriating to spend two hours learning how to build a database only to find out that I had been password locked out of any attempt to produce a ballot. That just poured fuel on my fire.”

Do you get the idea? Do you feel the frustration of election officials who are trying to do the right thing but who are facing a vendor that is forcing them into failure? It's now time the Election Assistance Commission assist. Not later this year or sometime next year. Right now.

Democracy is not something you believe in
or a place to hang your hat,
but it's something you do.
You participate.
If you stop doing it, democracy crumbles.
~ Abbie Hoffman

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