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Gordon Glantz is the managing editor of the Times Herald and an award winning columnist.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Count On Me

We in the newspaper business like to see ourselves as civic-minded souls.

We almost play the role of Don Quixote as we use our place in the communities we serve to exhort our readers to exercise their constitutional right to vote.

It is a sacred right, one that has evolved from allowing only property-owning white males to cast a ballot.

Some black males, followed by women, received the right to vote in the 19th and 20th centuries. The National Voting Rights Act of 1965 sealed the deal.

If you are a citizen - of any gender, creed or color - you are guaranteed the right for which history books tell us Americans fought and died.

Evidence is mounting, however, that those who sacrificed their lives for our freedoms may be spinning in their graves.

This horrifying notion has been put forth with such aplomb by David Earnhardt in his documentary "Uncounted: The Math of American Elections" that you may never take the holy voting process seriously again.

And it makes one wonder if the real role of the mainstream media, one that has virtually turned away from these seemingly founded and well-researched accusations or egregious acts against the common citizen, should be to encourage a voter boycott.

What if they throw an election and nobody came?

It would be almost as compelling to watch at the 80-minute effort produced, directed and written by Earnhardt, who will be on hand April 16 for a Q & A session following a screening of his project at the Hiway Theatre in Jenkintown.

"Uncounted" is made in the spirit of Michael Moore's veracity to awaken the American public from its slumber on core issues. Although lacking some of the comic relief of Moore's narration ("Uncounted" has none, whatsoever, adding to its impact), this project could go down as the political documentary that Michael Moore should have made after it became clear that the irregularities - seemingly centering on the rich (whites from the right) winning national elections by disenfranchising the poor (minorities who lean left come Election Day) - of 2000 in Florida were not anomalies.

If this were a relay, Earnhardt picks up the baton and continues the race for justice by exposing almost laughable and obvious discrepancies and miscarriages of justice in the 2004 presidential elections and again in the 2006 elections.

Among these discrepancies are eye-opening exit poll numbers that don't add up, voter suppression that evokes the name "Jim Crow" without stretching it, the insidious evil of under voting (less votes reported than ballots cast in key districts in key states), electronic voting and the inability to confirm its accuracy, privatization of the election process that rivals that of the the privatization for profit of the war in Iraq and so on and so on.

There is so much here that more than one viewing is suggested. Even if you are unable to make it to Jenkintown for a one-time, mid-week viewing, I suggest you go to the Web site and order a copy for yourself.

It could be the most patriotic act of your life.


Blogger Lisa said...

I'm waiting for the screams of "Gordon Glantz is a Democratic Shill"

....oh right, I forgot where I am. In this world a film promoted by "Progressive Democrats of America" to be completely bi-partisan.

That being said, I think people should be aware of who "The Election Reform Network" is, and you did not go into that in your column or your blog post. "The Election Reform Network" is concerned that "that high turnout on April 22 could result in long lines and machines being out of service." They are demanding that paper ballots be given to anyone who has to wait longer than 15 minutes in line.

First of all, Montco's machines are pretty reliable--if they are going to go down, like any computer, they are going down NOT due to "overuse". Secondly requiring paper ballots as an alternative to long lines is a recipe for chaos and MORE voting irregularities, not less.

The reason I signed up for working the polls 8 years ago was because I was concerned about election integrity. For those of you who are also concerned, I say volunteer for your local election board--see for yourself what is involved.

The Election Reform Network assumes the worst of poll workers and seeks to make elections MORE, not LESS, susceptible to irregularities with their suggestions. They are NOT a be all, end all authority on elections. Read up on them for yourself:

April 13, 2008 2:05 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lisa Mossie is a Republican shill!!!
I can't believe she can sit there and try to justify snubbing her nose at a movement to make every vote count. Then again, maybe I can believe it.

April 13, 2008 4:01 PM 
Blogger Lisa said...

If this film also investigated the reports of "100% turnout" (as if!) in several Philadelphia voting districts, I'll retract my statement.

My bet is that allegations of voting irregularities will disappear if the Dems win the White House.

But I'm the shill.

April 14, 2008 3:30 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You're still the shill!

April 14, 2008 5:29 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm happy to see everybody -- including Lisa -- adopting my "Lisa Mossie is Republican Shill" line. Does have a ring to it, doesn't it?

Lisa, it's not that this voting problem is being pushed by one party or the other, it's that Democrats are apparently the only party that cares. Probably because we've been shafted by crooked outcomes in the last two Presidential elections.

By the way -- are you sitting down? -- I actually agree in large part with your first post. Getting involved in the process is the single most important thing any citizen can do.

That said, however, and no matter how diligent our poll workers are (and every one I've seen has been extremely hardworking and careful), we have no protection against somebody preprogramming these machines to shift the outcome. We know that there are many, many undervotes in most elections and there is simply no way to determine whether the printout that comes from the voting machine is an accurate tally of that machine's votes.

I don't know what the solution is, but I agree that paper ballots would be an even worse mess. The single most time-consuming, error-prone activity at a polling place is totalling up the absentee ballots at the end of the night. I can't imagine what it would be like if every vote had to be hand-counted that way.

Lisa, you're still a shill, but keep up the good work.

April 14, 2008 6:15 AM 
Anonymous Kevin Shaw said...


I really can't believe you that you can sincerely disparage a group like the Election Reform Network. The Election Reform Network has NEVER disparaged poll workers or even the county officials that are responsible for administering elections and is strictly non-partisan. The association with PDA is with the distributors of the movie, not ERN who simply wants auditable, reviewable, verifiable voting systems used that assure us that our votes are being correctly counted.

I would think that as a poll worker you would be interested in every vote being correctly recorded and tabulated. I could be wrong, however. The primary election official in Ohio during the 2004 election, the Ohio Secretary of State, is facing numerous charges over fixing that election.

Using our Sequoia Advantage DRE's is akin to walking into the booth and announcing your intended vote to a guy with a clipboard behind a curtain and trusting him to correctly record your vote. There is absolutely NO WAY to verify that your vote was accurately recorded and tabulated.

There are much better methods of recording votes out there including various forms of human-marked paper ballots. In NH, they hand count all the old-fashioned, check box ballots, have an excellent system for doing so and are typically done by 11:00 pm with 99% accuracy. It's labor intensive, but they hire high school students and senior citizens to serve on the counting teams, count all the ballots three times before announcing the results and, again, are usually done by 11:00 pm.

Ohio and California have gone to an optical scan ballot reading system which is a lot like taking the SAT's where you mark the form and it is fed into a machine that reads it. The system is fast, and accurate. See

Both of the above systems provide a piece of paper that the voter can verify, that can be audited, and can be recounted if necessary, three things that are impossible with our Sequoia Advantage DRE's.

April 14, 2008 9:08 AM 
Blogger Lisa said...

1. For the record, I will publicly retract every disparaging thing I said about the Election Reform Network if the Democrats win and the Election Reform network finds and/or pursues voting irregularities in favor of the Republicans.

2. From what I've read about the ERN's agenda, they seem more concerned with voters having to wait in line longer than 15 minutes than making sure every vote counts.

3. Adding paper ballots only adds to the chance of error in tabulating the votes. As was mentioned earlier, fraud is most easily perpetrated by a.) absentee ballots and b.)provisional ballots. Coincidentally, both paper

4. Counting by high school kids and senior citizens is more accurate than machine? This is a joke, right?

5. Don't kid yourself; ERN is indeed questioning the integrity of the poll workers, whether the "volunteers" at the polls themselves or the county workers whose job it is to secure the machines. They are assuming that fraud has been perpetuated by someone. Before the machine is shut down, three audit tickets are printed out showing the total tabulation of votes; one of these tapes goes with the disks, one goes with the minority clerk and the third is posted outside the polling place. Once a machine is closed down for the night, the disk on which the votes are stored is removed from the machine, sealed in an envelope and delivered directly to the warehouse in Norristown by the Judge of Elections. I'm not saying fraud is impossible, but it's pretty darn difficult.

6. We have never required paper receipts to verify voting in the past and somehow we've made it through.

I'm not denying that fraud happens; it happens on both sides of the aisle and it's happened for years. What I am saying is that it is not nearly as prevalent as people have been led to believe and certainly harder to perpetuate due to the machines.

Finally, my guess is that if this film had been promoted by the "Conservative Republican Action Committee" or some other such nonsensincal group, it would be thoroughly trashed by you liberals.

This will only be an issue if the Dems lose.

April 14, 2008 4:09 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh come on...Election Personnel here in Montgomery County have always tried to make sure all who want to vote and are qualified can & do vote. We had long lines for many contests and people that decide to vote before they went into work usually made sure they allow enough time, just in case. Sometimes machines do go down, but a call to county is all that is needed. If you have a computer,and knowledge of how a computer is programed you will understand down time and also how the results from the printouts are tabulated. Not one person can damage the results - the whole Board would have to be in on it. I know, I worked the Polls for many years and it is just silly garbage statements by the Dem. now that they have the majority of voters registered. If they all show up at one time then maybe the machines will be smoking because of "overuse"...Get Real!

April 14, 2008 4:36 PM 
Anonymous Tim Haczluk said...

I think we should all see the film and make up our own minds.

April 15, 2008 7:10 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just read the story regarding the IRS Collection Agency's problem in collecting unpaid taxesand the subcontractors hired to catch up with you-all that do not believe in paying taxes, but reap all the benefits...It's Not Working!
So, why not try another form of taxation... NO SHOWS ON ELECTION DAY...We have the National Voting Rights Act in place, as you stated, all children, secure a Social Security # at birth...So, who will write the program to bring all this together??? I Believe in Australia you are fined if you are a NO SHOW on Election Day... Oh, yes VOTING/NOT VOTING is your choice...only in America would we say that...

April 15, 2008 12:05 PM 
Anonymous Tom McHugh said...

I am a son of the American Revolution on my Mother's side, the proud grandson of a Silver Star and two Purple Heart recipient from WWI on my Father's side, and the proud son of a front line member of Patton's Third Army who liberated the NAZI concentration camps. Oh yes, and a very proud supporter of The Election Reform Network. How dare Lisa or anyone assume that ERN is only interested in making sure that Democrats don't get cheated. A "pretty reliable" voting machine is not good enough for me or the members of my family that have fought in every major war since the American Revolution, and it shouldn't be good enough for Lisa. We can do much better. Anything less (like "pretty reliable") is unacceptable for Democrats and Republicans alike. At least the ERN is trying to do something about it. After being a poll watcher and reading about the concerns and solutions on this issue, it seems that Kevin Shaw has it right. The optical scan method is fast and proven, allows a voter to verify their vote, is auditable, and allows for a recount in the unlikely event that one is needed.

April 15, 2008 10:29 PM 
Blogger Lisa said...


My meaning, which you seem determined to misconstrue, is that the machines are not merely "pretty reliable"; they are WAY MORE reliable than any other system in place anywhere- especially paper ballots with hand counting/optical scanning which counts have been proven to be fraught with fraud. According to their own website, the ERN seems more concerned with how long people are waiting in line than if every vote counts.

And please enlighten me as to why you felt it was necessary to post your family history? I see a whole list of accomplishments from your ancestors but what have you done aside from a lot of huffing and puffing over my opinion? Do you think listing your ancestor's accomplishments somehow makes your opinion more important than everyone else's? That it gives you some sort of moral authority that we mere mortals can only aspire to?

I reitierate: This issue goes away if the Dems win. This is not a non-partian event.

April 16, 2008 6:31 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gordon...Two Days to Clean & Sober - your remark was while Barack seeks applause and Hillary seeks solutions made me laugh, because on the news all I saw was Hillary/Rendell & Bill clapping in response to something Hillary said or thought she said. Barack has said over and over again he is seeking the solution to our problems...I believe him, SORRY!

April 20, 2008 3:30 PM 
Anonymous Andi said...

You are an idol worshiper living in our American Idol Culture. And like gordon says, Obama is Sanjaya.

April 20, 2008 8:05 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Idol worshiper?? Hardly.
Living in an American Idol Culture?? Hardly
Telling you what we see & if it is believeable - that is true.

Now, I did see something on a dashboard - it was Hillary & Bill - with their heads moving back and forward as in a "YES" motion - now if the same boggle heads could clap their hands as the Clintons always do on the campaign trail - that would be more of an "Idol Worshiper" ... Vote tomorrow for the person you feel will best serve our Nation.

April 21, 2008 4:01 PM 

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