What Fresh Hell Is This?

November 14, 2005

Things to do today

Fair Appointments: Call Your City Council Member Today.

Be inspired: take action this week to contact your City Council representative to urge them to support passage of the Fair Appointments ordinance. Basically, it insists that the City make information about the many authorities, boards and commissions that govern its departments available online, and moreover make appointment procedures for those boards transparent & consistent. This bill needs to pass unanimously to be able to send a very clear message to the mayor-elect that this is important public information, and that the public has a constructive role to play in ensuring that council and the mayor have the best-qualified applicants to serve on the city's boards.

Your City Council representatives are:

District 1 - Luke Ravenstahl - 412-255-2135
District 2 - Dan Deasy - 412-255-8963
District 3 - Gene Ricciardi - 412-255-2130
District 4 - James Motznik - 412-255-2131
District 5 - Doug Shields - 412-255-8965
District 6 - Sala Udin - 412-255-2134
District 7 - Len Bodack - 412-255-2140
District 8 - Bill Peduto - 412-255-2133
District 9 - Twanda Carlisle - 412-255-2137

ALL of them need to hear from their constituents on this. Even those who're sponsoring the legislation -- they need to have plenty of reassurance that their voters really do care about this issue. Please call or email them TODAY -- the vote is Wednesday. Thanks.

(This bill will take effect January 1, 2006 and is co-sponsored by Council Members Twanda Carlisle, William Peduto, Gene Ricciardi, Doug Shields, and Sala Udin)


Attend A Press Conference: “B-PEP Calls for Voter Verified Paper Ballots for All Future Allegheny County Elections”

Monday, November 14, 2005
6:30 pm – the Hill House Association

1835 Center Avenue; Pittsburgh, PA

On November 8, 2005 Allegheny County voters used, for the very last time, voting machines which most, if not all of us, used during our entire history as registered voters! What now awaits us is a future of the unknown. Allegheny County is at a pivotal moment in its selection process for new voting machines which may very well be utilized for many years to come. With the infamous voting irregularities of the 2000 Presidential Election still rather fresh in the minds of voters throughout this nation, and with questions still remaining about the voting results in Ohio which helped determine the outcome of the 2004 Presidential Election, B-PEP, the Black Political Empowerment Project, strongly urges the Allegheny County Bureau of Elections and the Department of Administrative Services to choose carefully and wisely: Choose voting machines which will provide Allegheny County voters with accurate, reliable, secure, verifiable, audit able and accessible election results.

These new voting machines will be used for the very first time in Allegheny County in the May 2006 Spring Primary. It is the goal of the Black Political Empowerment Project that the new voting machines will be sensitive to the very special needs of those with visual and physical disabilities and user friendly for the elderly and first time voters.

The Black Political Empowerment Project asks the officials of Allegheny County to seriously consider and utilize the informed opinions and recommendations of national election reform authorities. To do otherwise would be foolish and would leave the Allegheny County electorate open to a future of questionable and “challenged” elections. The Government Accounting Office has stated that computer voting systems have serious security issues.* The Carter-Baker Commission recommends Voter-Verified Paper Records.** Many other national organizations advocate for voter verified paper records with routine audits.***

The Black Political Empowerment Project advocates for “Voter Verified Paper Records” (V-VPRs) used with Precinct Based Optical Scan (PBOS) voting machines. PBOS voting systems also provide the most cost effective election systems as documented in many other counties of similar size. The Black Political Empowerment Project also urges voters throughout Allegheny County and throughout Pennsylvania to call upon their Pennsylvania legislators to fully support, and indeed, co-sponsor House Bill 2000 and Senate Bill 977 which call for Voter Verified Paper Records with Routine Audits in Pennsylvania's elections. Twenty-six states have already enacted V-VPR laws similar to HB2000 and SB977.

The Black Political Empowerment Project calls for the passage of these bills as they would help guarantee Pennsylvania voters: accuracy in our elections; Safeguards for the integrity of our elections; verifiability through the use of V-VPRs; audit ability through the use of V-VPRs; robustness in our election day process, (for example, if there is an electrical failure citizens can still vote); a resilient ability for the recovery of voter intentions in the case of election day problems such as computer crashes and programming errors; accessibility and usability; election transparency, meaning voters can watch the recording and counting of their votes; and most importantly, voter confidence! It is important to note again that twenty-six other states have already passed laws for voter verified paper records. HB2000/SB977 have strong bipartisan support and will be passed in the next year. Lets buy our counties election machines wisely so that we wont have to expensively retrofit them with printers after HB2000/SB977 are passed.

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