About the National Voting Rights Task Force
The NVRTF has been active in the SF Bay Area working to ensure that our elections are verified. We are having an impact on the local, state, federal, and even international level.
Political conditions change from one time to the next. There is also a different mix of talent and interests at various times. So our actions changed over time. We are quite nimble, and at the same time, strategic. We ask: what are the most important things that need to be done, that can be achieved, given current conditions, and in order of priority. For us, stopping the scourge of Internet voting is the #1 top challenge. If we lose that battle in California, then election transparency will be lost across the US. In 2014, we spent a fair amount of effort trying to ensure that the next Secretary of State is good. Alex Padilla has learned well, and is doing an OK job. Finally, we try to get one or two laws introduced and passed every year. We usually don’t succeed. It takes a LOT of work, and some luck. The payoff, is that the laws and regulations get better. We try to make sure that the ones that get introduced are important, not just for California, but for the country. This means that we need to:
- do our homework
- check it again
- learn how to play the legislative game
- submit clear, well-written proposals
- craft our messaging to be concise and effective
- use visuals as much as possible
- focus on decision makers and influencers in Sacramento
- this includes many visits with legislators and staffers
- arrive in suits, be polite and well informed
- try to find the way to solve problems instead of pointing fingers at who’s fault it is.
- We are delighted with what we have accomplished.
The single, by far, most important thing we should achieve in the next few years is to get states, and especially Congress, to pass a law banning the use of the Internet for the casting of ballots in official government elections. This should be easier than it sounds, as, at least what we’ve seen in Sacramento, republicans are our best allies on this issue. The House of Representatives and the US Senate are controlled by republicans. This is the time to get a ban passed. Please, contact your congressman and/or senator, and urge them to protect our elections from the threats of Internet attacks.
June 29, we testified before the Assembly Elections Committee concerning SB 450, recommending several amendments listed here: https://countedascast.org/sb-450-2016/sb-450-amendments/
June, members observed the election counts in several counties, as well as provided guidance.
June 7, Richard Tamm and others assisted in organizing exit polls for the primary. That evening, others recorded the results as they were being announced by selected counties on election night.
In May, we learned that AB 2824 stalled the Assembly Appropriations Committee. It was not voted down, but we ran out of time to amend it.
March 6, Jim learns that his website, CountedAsCast.org, has been getting visits since mid-December from: US, Canada (E2E-VIV), Brazil (IV), Slovakia, Bulgaria, Russia, UK, Germany, France, Spain, Nigeria, Ecuador, Algeria, Italy, Indonesia, Peru, Barbados, Macedonia, Latvia, Mexico & Costa Rica.
March, Jim testified at a meeting about the dangers of internet voting before the San Francisco Elections Commission.
March 7, VRTF sends a letter of support for the SF open source voting system initiative.
February 27, the VRTF fires the opening salvo in the campaign against the 3 Internet voting initiatives. We prepare and distribute 1,000 fliers at the state democratic convention in San Jose.
February 22, new member Adrian notes that he belongs to several groups, and is astounded at how much we actually do.
February 19, we learned that Asm. Thurmond has submitted a bill AB 2824 (Thurmond/VRTF)! If passed, counties that are able to do so, must post detailed precinct reports on election night. This is groundbreaking legislation following the lead of AB 813 (Melendez/Courbat) in 2013.
Chandra, Richard, Adrian and Jim had several meetings to work on a proposal containing a series of amendments to VbM bills. March will be busy for this.
Jim prepared a Resolution on Internet Voting, and submitted it to the San Francisco Elections Commission, February 17.
We made several trips in January and February to Sacramento to urge legislators to submit two of our proposals as election bills.
January 13, 2016, three VRTF members were the only members of the public to testify in person against AB 887 (Ting), before the Assembly Elections Committee. The bill would have introduced Internet voting into California. We were joined by James Schwab from Secretary Padilla’s office. We won! With help from Mimi in LA. The bill died in committee – 3 yes, 3 no, 1 abstained. The VRTF’s record against IV bills is now 4 wins, no losses.
That afternoon, Jim was interviewed by Brad Friedman about the deceptive IV initiatives working thru the AG’s office. We started to prepare a major campaign to stop them.
Jim Soper assembled a 75 minute long presentation on Elections Systems 2016, and presented it to two democratic clubs in January and February. He is looking forward to talking with more groups.
The VRTF launches a campaign against three Internet voting initiatives. In the opening salvo, Richard and Jim write and distribute over 1000 fliers at the democratic convention in San Jose. (Winter, 2016)
The VRTF’s proposal for posting detailed precinct reports on election night is introduced as AB 2824 (Thurmond) This is the result of 7 years of lobbying, including nearly 100 office visits in the Capitol. (2/16)
Jim Soper prepares and gives hour-long presentations on Election Systems 2016 in the SF Bay Area (2016)
VRTF joined with SoS Alex Padilla and democracy advocates across the state to block AB 887 (Ting), which would have introduced Internet and email voting. (1/16)
We testified in favor of AB (Mullin) that will finally require automatic recounts in very tight statewide races. It also requires the Secretary of State to develop guidelines for how much a county can charge for recounts. (Spring, 2015)
Jim Soper testified before the California Senate Select Committee on Science, Innovation and Public Policy on Security and Technology: Lessons Learned since HAVA (3/2014)
Interviewed all three democratic candidates for Secretary of State. We endorsed Derek Cressman, and campaigned for him. Alex Padilla won the primary election, and has been performing well as Secretary of State. (2013-14)
Supported and testified on behalf of AB 813 (Melendez/Courbat), which requires counties that are able to post detailed precinct reports on their websites, 30 days after the election. It passed the legislature unanimously and was signed into law! (8/2013)
Worked with Debra Bowen, and scores of democracy advocates to block AB 19 (Ting), a bill to introduce Internet voting pilots. (2013)
Created the Watch The Count(ies) project to track the reporting of votes in almost all of Ohio’s counties during the election of November, 2012.
Helped Debra Bowen to block passage of SB 1929, a bill to introduce cloud-based ballot marking. (2012)
Jim Soper aided in the organizing and publicizing of the Tunisian voting centers in San Francisco and Los Angeles (10/2011)
(Tunisia’s Election Brings the Arab Spring to San Francisco
L.A.-area Tunisians vote in their country’s elections)
Eva Waskell was coorganizer of the national conference
“Election Integrity – Past, Present & Future” held at MIT (10/2011)
Working with Debra Bowen’s office and Verified Voting, the VRTF was instrumental in blocking SB908, a bill to introduce email voting into California (7/2011)
Election Integrity Advocates Take On Internet Voting In California
Jackie Riskin sent thousands of emails to media outlets about election integrity issues (2007-10)
Michelle Gabriel publishes “Monitoring Electronic Voting Systems in California”, a groundbreaking document that describes what to look for when monitoring electronic voting machines and processes involved in the counting of the voting. (9/2006 – 10/2008)
Jim Soper was instrumental in convincing the German Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs to cancel an official Internet voting pilot project (summer, 2008). This lead to a subsidiary of Deutsche Telekom to drop out of the Internet voting software business (Fall/08). Note : the German Constitutional Court would later rule that elections systems that cannot be retraced were unconstitutional (3/2009)
VRTF spearheaded a campaign to defend Debra Bowen’s new election regulations from attack during the primary elections (2/08). On Election Day, media editors received over 500 letters and emails supporting her regulations (2/2008)
Presentation to Melanie Nutter, Deputy District Director for Speaker Pelosi, June 26, 2007
Presentation to Adrienne Bousian, Deputy State Director for Senator Boxer, April 20, 2007
Presentation to Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren, April 5, 2007
Presentation to Jim Molinari, State Director for Senator Feinstein, March 15, 2007
Dan Ashby and Jim Soper organize a symposium
“Are We a Democracy? Vote Counting in the United States” in coordination with the Election Defense Alliance (2/2007)
VRTF made major contributions to the election of Debra Bowen as Secretary of State (2006)
VRTF lead the public protest against the purchase of new Diebold systems in Alameda County (2005-06)
- Diebold was thrown out of Alameda County
- for the first time ever in California, all votes cast on a DRE using VVPATs were hand checked; this later would become standard procedure in all of California, leading to the use of paper ballots instead of voting machines by over 90% of Californians. (11/2006)
- The county conducted a security assessment that was a whitewash.(2006)
VRTF members co-found the California Election Protection Network (spring, 2005)
VRTF hosted the first national symposium on election integrity (2/2005)
VRTF sparked the campaign to have Senator Boxer support Ohio representatives in demanding a review of the results of the 2004 presidential election, which she did (1/2005)
VRTF created (11/2004)