Chasing ballots is the order of the day today at the Pima County Democratic Party Headquarters.
In 2008, the HQ was hoppin' with people making phone calls, but I think today was even busier than that historic day. I'd estimate there were at least 50-60 people making phone calls + who knows how many out knocking on doors.
I made 88 phone calls for President Barack Obama today. Mostly, I left phone messages telling voters that they had until 7 p.m. to vote TODAY, that they could hand-deilver their mail-in ballots (if they're still laying on the kitchen table), and that if they want to vote in person and don't know where to go, they can call the Pima County Recorders Office (740-3440). Since you are reading this on the Internet, you can go here and then go vote (if it's before 7 p.m.) Whatever you don't go where the Jeff Flake campaign tells you to.
Several local politicians and other Dem regulars stopped by the HQ while I was there. Here are a few pictures. For Tweets and more pictures from the HQ today and the Democratic Party Party at the Marriott tonight, check out my Facebook page. (Watch for live blogging… if WiFi is cooperative.)
These days, there is a poll for every statistic you want to promote. Some polls have shown that undecided white men– unlike women, blacks, gays, Latinos, and those elite smart people– are leaning toward Mitt Romney for president.
Comedian Chris Rock has recorded a special message for those undecided white folks. See the video after the jump.
Republican Congressional candidate Col. Martha McSally says she has been “fighting for women’s rights and women’s equality [her] whole life.”
McSally is well known as the first woman combat pilot and the Air Force officer who fought against a government rule requiring US service women to wear Arab garb when they leave the base. Does this make her a champion for women’s rights?
Let’s look beyond these headlines to answer that question. More on McSally’s stances on choice, women’s health, equal pay, and the War on Women.
McSally’s website says she believes in “the sanctity of every human life”. This right-wing code for saying that she agrees with the Republican Party’s anti-abortion platform. Ironically, small-government McSally believes that the government should dictate when American women have children. Not supporting a woman’s right to make decisions governing her own body is a deal breaker for many women.
Since the 2006 Pima County election, which created the Regional Transportation Authority (RTA), there have been ongoing gquestions about election integrity, the ease in which local vote-scanning machines can be hacked, and accusations of slip-shod procedures in the county's election division.
Last Friday, a group of local citizens– Democrats, Republicans, Greens, Libertarians, and Independents– filed a lawsuit to force Pima County to comply with election laws in the way it handles ballots and ballot machines in this election. This action will be heard in Pima Superior Court tomorrow– Nov. 1– at 2 p.m.
In a Wake Up Tucson radio interview, Bill Beard (who is running against long-time Pima County Recorder F. Ann Rodriguez) and attorney Brad Roach said that the current court action alleges no past wrong doing by the county; it simply asks judge to order the county to comply with state law in handling the elections.
"Pima County has short-circuited some of the laws of the state of Arizona," Beard claims in the radio interview.
In the past, the Pima County Board of Supervisors has been less than cooperative with election integrity investigations– hence the move to encourge the courts to force the county's hand. The plaintiffs want the judge to instruct the county to:
1- Have poll workers include in every Official Return Envelope a copy of the signed "tally lists" or results tape. (This is a record of the total number of votes a machine has on board before it leaves the precinct polling place and is taken to the elections department. When the machine reaches the county, these totals can be rechecked.)
2- Separate the vote by mail ballots by precinct (thus simplifying random sample rechecks of votes).
3- Conduct sufficient randomly selected hand count audits of the vote by mail ballots– including county races.
4- Pay plaintiffs' attorneys' fees and the costs of expert witnesses and "reasonable" costs for any analysis and testing to verify results.
Why does a group of citizens have to file a lawsuit against the Pima County Board of Supervisors to force them to protect our votes? Videos and more informaiton after the jump.
In a nutshell, here are the facts:
1- The Diebold vote-scanning machines used in Pima County are easily hacked. The memory cards in these machines can be run through a separate machine called a Crop Scanner and reprogrammed to take votes away from one candidate and give them to another candidate– essentially flipping the votes. This changes the outcome of the election, while allowing the vote total to remain the same. (Not to sound paranoid, but the evidence is that votes always flip to Republicans– except when they flipped in favor of Mitt Romney in the recent Republican primaries.)
2- The Pima County Elections Department owns a Crop Scanner, and the technician who purchased it admitted that he played with it and knows that it can be used to easily change votes.
3- The Pima County Elections Department also has been shown to have sloppy procedures in the past.
Consequently, I know what search results you get when you Google her name different ways, since I used the following search strings multiple times: “martha mcsally,” “martha mcsally gay,” “martha mcsally husband,” “martha mcsally washington post” and “donald f henry.”
Before I posted the story debunking her feminist claims, debunking her denial of being a “cookie cutter” Republican candidate, revealing that she was afraid to meet with constitutents and answer questions, and calling for transparency related to accusations about a sham marriage while she was in the Air Force, one would get pages of Google results for any of the searches above. (Of course, in Google’s own quirky way, not all of the stories were relevant but many were. For the record, it looked as if Henry– her ex– had already been scrubbed from the Internet, except for a reference in an old Air Force magazine.)
Yesterday and today, when I Googled “martha mcsally,” it looked as if someone was trying to push my BfAZ story off of the first page of Google results. Now what you get — instead of news– is her campaign website (which always comes up first), but now it is followed by generic background like her Wikipedia entry, a link to her background, and a non-story based upon old comments related to burkas and the War on Women in the Middle East. Real news has been pushed down.
Yesterday, when I Googled “martha mcsally gay,” I got three entries– all old and referring to her anti-gay statements but not including the BfAZ story, which had been at the top of a string of links on Sunday and Monday.
Hmmm… Today– thanks to a new comment on that story– it’s on page one again.
McSally needs to stop playing games– like a “cookie cutter” Republican would do– and answer the questions raised in that story. Why did she get married in Pima County in 1997 and then travel to Santa Cruz County at the end of 1999 to have the marriage annulled? Her lawyer’s office is two miles from the Pima County court. Why drive 90 miles? Did it have something to do with that promotion she got to Senator Jon Kyl’s office in 1999?
What is she hiding? (For images of the court documents and more background, go here.) We need to put pressure on McSally for a statement on these issues. It’s a matter of truthfulness, transparency, and integrity– values she says she stands for as a “warrior.”
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