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Tuesday, February 21, 2006Follow-up Letter and Telephone Campaign
Follow-up Letter and Telephone Campaign
We need to follow up with a letter writing and telephone campaign asking, “What are they doing by bringing in this junk voting equipment into ______County, don’t you know about what happened in New Mexico? Or what Maryland Gov just did about the Diebold TSX?” (See Washington post article just today; “Paper-Trail Politics”)
We are invoking the resolution adopted by the State Democratic Party last November that committed the party to vigorously oppose Brewer DREs. We are asking the Democratic Party to become a partner in this nonpartisan Coalition of other parties and groups led by courageous grassroots civic activists in counties across the state. Protecting the vote is a civic responsibility.
In regard to HAVA, Mimi Kennedy Chair, PDA Advisory Board stated, "we have learned that half a loaf can be worse than none."
Instead of helping Americans vote, there is abundant evidence that HAVA thwarts the ability of Americans to have their votes count. See, HAVA and the Rush-to-Poor- Judgment HAVA, not only sets up burdensome provisional ballot verification, it also requires states to meet unrealistic deadlines for purchasing machines, imposes penalties for missed deadlines, and fails to set guidelines or enforce standards of security, accuracy and reliability.
“Voter Action” documented that in New Mexico, undervotes for President were as high as 37% in some Hispanic and Native American precincts. There were also switched votes and lost votes due to DREs. The lawsuit led the state to get rid of all their DREs and go back to durable paper ballots with Optical-Scan. On Feb 15, a real Republican, the Governor of Maryland also did the same. It’s incredible that Arizona SoS Brewer seems determined to force us down the hideous road of DREs.
If we fail in this endeavor and these DREs come in, there is a good possibility the next Governor will be Len Munsil, former President of the Center for Arizona Policy, accomplished with the corrupt help of none other then Nathan Sproul, former Executive Director of both the Arizona Republican Party (1999-2002), and the Christian Coalition.
Voter registration and “consulting” work done by Sproul’s firm was the RNC’s 8th largest expense at $8.3 million in the 2004 election cycle. We can only theorize what $6 million were used for. “Team Bush Paid Millions to Nathan Sproul--and Tried to Hide It ...” AUDIT-AZ discovered that the RNC had delayed reporting expenses, then tried to scrub the evidence. We reported this to Professor Mark Crispin Miller author of Fooled Again whose team was able to uncover $3 million more in un-itemized receipts that had not been publicly reported. Please listen to Robert Kennedy Jr’s interview with Professor Miller, who talks about Arizona’s SoS Jan Brewer and Nathan Sproul. (To Listen to Show Segments), from Jan 28th Air America radio "Ring of Fire".
It’s our time to stand up, say "NO to Brewer’s and her vote stealing DREs machines, demand change and take back our democracy by protecting the base of it, the BALLOT BOX.
We all need to wake up other patriots and get on the right side of this issue fast. We in Arizona will play a critical role in the next few weeks that very well could assist California and New York in the nationwide battle to protect the vote, the base of our democracy.. Santa Cruz, Pima and Coconino, counties are critical to making this happen. Leadership to do this understandably must come from courageous grassroots organizations in counties all over the state, not from Central Ave in Phoenix.
I close with the remarks of a great man, Franklin D. Roosevelt who said wisely:
"When it comes to success, the only thing we have to fear is the common tendency to quit. It is always too soon to give up. It is never too late to hope. All it takes to breach the gap between hope and success is PERSISTENCY, PERSISTENCY and MORE PERSISTENCY.”
John R Brakey
To quote Thomas Paine; “The right of voting for representatives is the primary right by which all other rights are protected. To take away this right is reduce a man to slavery..”
ACTION ALERT- PROTECT YOUR VOTE PIMA
If unchallenged, Pima County will receive unreliable and insecure Diebold AccuVote-TSx (Touchscreen) DRE (Direct Recording Electronic) voting machines at least one per precinct, plus more for early voting stations to provide accessibility for disabled voters mandated by an Orwellian-named Help America Vote Act (HAVA). Here are just a few demonstrated serious reliability and security vulnerabilities:
Join other concerned county voters and demand action from our Pima County board of supervisors to block the purchase and receipt of Diebold AccuVote-TSX machines for Pima County. County citizens demand their vote be secure from fraud, manipulation, and unreliable hardware and software.
To quote Thomas Paine; “The right of voting for representatives is the primary right by which all other rights are protected. To take away this right is reduce a man to slavery…” For more information contact John at John@AUDITAZ.org
Monday, February 20, 2006LOBBYING YOUR LEGISLATOR: Preventing a brush off
LOBBYING YOUR LEGISLATOR: Preventing a brush off
1. "I don't have time for this right now."
You must be very busy but we would like an indication of where you stand. We will contact you later to set up a time for a more in depth discussion of this.
2. "I need more information."
I would be glad to get it for you. What in particular would you like to know more about? Here is our fact sheet/research report on the matter.
3. The non-commitment ploy, such as "Let me think about it."
*Great! I will call back on ______. I would be glad to answer any questions you have now or then.
*Of course. As you know the ____ and ____ have also endorsed this bill along with ____ and _____. It's important to all of us because ______.
4. The change the subject ploy, such as "I was thinking the other day about how the environment affects health care."
"Yes. That is important to us to. But I'm most concerned about passing the bill to establish an Office of the National Nurse. It is important for all of us to receive accurate information on ways to live healthy and prevent illness which will cost our lives and our economic future."
5. The who else likes this ploy, such as "Well who else have you gotten to support this?"
"Current supporters include ______. But I am a voter in your district. We have lots of voters in your district and we really want your support on this issue. We know we can't always get what we want, but we believe your support will help constituents in your district.
6. The labeling ploy, "This is part of the liberal agenda."
I am sorry that we can't talk about this issue as it pertains to helping your constituents. Let me remind you that supporting our position will aid ____ in your district.
7. The talk to my staff ploy.
I'd be happy to. Who exactly should I talk to and how can I reach them?
- Always try to get a clear commitment or stand. If need be say, "I am unclear as to your position. Are you supporting this legislation or not?"
- Always be conscious of time constraints. If you have two minutes, go immediately to getting a commitment. If you have 30 minutes, fully explain the issue.
- Take notes and write a thank you letter.
Sunday, February 19, 2006LOBBYING YOUR LEGISLATOR: Personal Visits, Phone Calls, Letters, Using the Media
LOBBYING YOUR LEGISLATOR: Personal Visits, Phone Calls, Letters, Using the Media
LOBBYING BY PERSONAL VISIT
One of the most effective ways to lobby legislators is in face-to-face visits with them. It's difficult to predict a legislator's availability when the Legislature is in session. But if legislators know that their constituents have traveled from a distance, they will generally try to see them. It is always best to call first and make an appointment. Contact both your Representative and Senator. Here are some suggestions for your visit.
1. Be on time for your appointment. But don't expect legislators to be on time; they often have hearings or meetings they cannot anticipate and cannot leave.
2. Before the appointment, practice a three-minute statement with the information you want to present. This will help you to be concise about what you want and why you want it.
3. It is usually best to visit your legislators in a small group, three people is optimum. Never plan on staying more than 10-15 minutes. Going alone may be unsatisfactory because legislators may try to out-talk you or you may reach an impasse too quickly.
4. If you are a constituent, begin by telling the legislator that. Let your legislator know if you are working with others on the issue, if you are active in the community, or if you are representing members of an organization.
5. Present the legislator with a Fact Sheet and a copy of the bill. Include amendments if any are being proposed. Remember that your issue is probably one of dozens she/he is having to deal with. The information you provide to the Legislator will go into a bill file and will be available for reference at a later time.
6. Talk to legislative staff, preferably, the Legislative Assistant, and present the same information and materials. Establishing a relationship with key staff is very important. They typically have the ear and the confidence of the legislator and are most likely going to be doing most of the leg work on the issue. They are also more accessible to you on an on-going basis.
7. Be clear about what your position is and what you would like your legislators to do. Identify your bill by name and number whenever possible. Give the legislators some key words: "This is about having a National Nurse teach Americans ways to live healthy."
8. Be firm but courteous as you express your position. Do not try to force your legislators into changing their minds or committing themselves when they don't want to, but it's fair to ask them how they stand on the issue.
9. Follow up your visit with a thank-you letter. Use it to restate your position.
LOBBYING BY TELEPHONE
You can find the telephone numbers of your elected US Representatives and US Senators by visiting here or by calling these toll free numbers: 1-877-762-8762, 1-888-723-5246, 1-800-426-8073
Here are recommendations for making calls to your legislators.
1. Identify yourself by name and address.
2. Identify the bill you want to talk about by name and number.
3. Briefly state your position and how you would like your legislator to vote.
4. Ask for your legislator's view on the bill or issue; then ask for a commitment to vote for your position. Don't argue if the legislator takes a position against you or is unwilling to take a stand.
5. Supply requested information as quickly as possible. The legislature moves rapidly during the session.
6. If you cannot speak to your legislator directly, talk to a secretary or legislative aide, identify yourself, the bill you want to talk about by name and number, and state how you would like your legislator to vote. Legislator's staff are very reliable and will tell the legislator that you called and what you said.
7. Follow up the call with a note thanking them for their time. Use the note as an opportunity to briefly restate your position.
LOBBYING BY LETTER
Letters are important, even critical to influence legislation. Letters to the writer's own Senator or Representative are especially important.
Here are some guidelines to follow in writing effective letters.
1. Address the letter correctly.
(Note: because of security related to 9/11, it is best to email your letters- you can find the email address of your U.S. Senator or Representative at http://www.visi.com/juan/congress/ )
Always put the Honorable Senator ____ or the Honorable Representative ____ in your introduction.
2. Clearly identify the issue about which you are writing and your position, in support or in opposition at the beginning of the letter. Be sure to include the bill number, if there is one.
3 .Write in your own words and include thoughts of your own. Tell how the problem and the proposed legislation affects you.
4. If you are a member of an organization which is pursuing the issue, include the organization's name. "I'm a member of the National Nursing Network Organization."
5. Show as mucyh knowledge as you can, but avoid sending a postcard or form letter. Handwritten letters are fine if they are legible. Include your name and return address so legislators can respond.
6. Write briefly, on only one subject at a time.
7. If you live in the legislator's district, be sure to say so.
8. Ask for a response and the legislator's position on the issue.
9. If you don't get a reply to your letter, follow it up with another letter asking for a response.
10. When a legislator votes as you asked, send a thank-you note. A thank-you is a refreshing change that is likely to be remembered.