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An Open Letter to Senator John Edwards: The Constitution Prohibits Secret Vote Counting!

January 18, 2008

Mark A. Adams, JD/MBA (via Election Integrity Google Group)

Senator Edwards:

I heard your call for eliminating touch screen voting machines. Of course, being from South Carolina you are certainly aware of its use of the notoriously unreliable iVotronic touch screen voting machines. Last Friday afternoon, I looked into South Carolina’s use of these infamous voting machines, and I discovered that it’s PROHIBITED by South Carolina’s Constitution.

Some of the key information from my article “South Carolina Elections Are UNCONSTITUTIONAL!?!” published on Monday January 14, 2008 on OpEdNews.com follows.

Article II, § 1 of the Constitution of South Carolina states, “the ballots shall not be counted in secret.” Although there is case law which supports the right to have votes counted in public, this is the election integrity jackpot, a Constitutional provision prohibiting counting votes in secret! No more need to refer to case law, evidence, or logic to argue against secret vote counting, at least in South Carolina.

You have courageously spoken out against touch screen voting. But, in case this is the first time someone else reading this has thought about how votes are counted on computers, they don’t understand that computers count in secret, or if they think that fears about votes being counted on computers are unfounded, take a minute and think about three things: (1) How does a computer count votes? (2) Do computers sometimes malfunction? and (3) Do you have any security measures on your computer to protect against hackers?

The last two questions are really easy, but for those of you who haven’t yet thought of how computers count, it’s really simple. Computers count inside their case, with no oversight, just like they are told to do, unless of course, they malfunction or are hacked.

Unfortunately, there is abundant evidence of problems with counting votes on computers from across our country in the last several elections. The corporate media and the government media don’t mention these problems very often, but if you haven’t heard of them or you’re not concerned about allowing votes to be counted in secret, then you’re in the minority, a minority which is either hopelessly clueless or completely power hungry and corrupt.

This is why the vast majority of Americans are worried about election integrity. In fact, a Zogby poll from August of 2006 indicates that 92% of Americans are worried about our votes being counted in secret. See, http://www.zogby.com/templates/printnews.cfm?id=1163

The cat is out of the bag. The people know about these problems, and they are becoming more and more aware of the damage that has resulted from them.

Those few of you who still think that we can trust having our votes counted in secret will be happy to know that your view is shared by many powerful and influential people. For example, Joseph Stalin said, “Those who cast the votes decide nothing. Those who count the votes decide everything.” If you want to roll back the evolution of civilization from citizen influence over government to a form of feudalism, then you might as well quit reading now.

South Carolina is the best opportunity to make a case against allowing computers to count the votes in secret. I’ve discussed this with two leading election law advocates who have also brought election contests, Paul Lehto and Andi Novick. They both think that this is the best opportunity to act that they have seen. The South Carolina Constitution prohibits secret vote counting! The election reform community EXPECTS one of the Presidential candidates to take action.

I’ve already heard from four, now five, radio shows that want me to come on as a guest speaker this week to discuss this issue. I’ll be on two shows tonight. This was discussed on Voice of the Voters last night.

Congressman Kucinich has a lot of support in the election reform movement, and he might take action on this. He came out against the Holt bill after meeting with me last summer. Now, we have a new Holt bill which is better, but it still has some shortcomings.

Congressman Ron Paul has been a consistent defender of Constitutional rights. It would seem like he would jump on this case. Maybe he is working on it, but he didn’t ask for a recount in New Hampshire. Also, he’s running out of time, and he doesn’t have your legendary trial skills and legal team.

You could sit back and wait to see whether someone else takes legal action, then join in or sit by and just speak in support of another’s effort. If so, you lose the opportunity to take the lead and grab the spotlight in the effort to stand up for the rule of law and the right to have our votes counted accurately.

Most importantly, if you act before the Republican primary, you can make it a non-partisan issue. You would be working to help make sure that even Republicans’ constitutional rights are respected. Certainly, that would make the Daily Show as well as all of the late night shows.

I can see it now, John Stewart saying, “John Edwards has taken legal action to protect the Constitutional rights of Republicans. You know, those guys whose leaders don’t care about Constitutional rights!” It would explode across America!

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