BREAKING: Source of deceptive NC robo-calls exposed

Posted in '08 Primaries, Daily Kos, Robo Calls on May 3rd, 2008

Wed Apr 30, 2008 at 11:24:48 AM PDT

[Promoted by DHinMI: Robocalls in North Carolina are confusing voters and have the appearance of voter suppression.  It turns out the source of the calls is a Democratic-leaning non-profit.  The director of the organization apologizes for the “confusion” caused by her organization, but as this diary makes clear, the organization has had a series of problems prior to primaries.  And it should be pointed out that a non-profit group focusing efforts on registering unmarried women in presidential primaries has to know that their activities will almost certainly help Hillary Clinton, as unmarried white women is probably her strongest demographic.  Clearly we need to hear more of an explanation about this pattern of problems.]

Yesterday, I posted a recommended diary here about thousands of deceptive, anonymous and likely illegal robo-calls blanketing North Carolina shortly before the state’s primaries on May 6.

The follow-up below is the result of hours of investigative work over the last 24 hours, including helpful tips from DKos members. Thank you for your assistance in helping us tell this important story.

Please note: Women’s Voices Women Vote appears to be a legitimate organization; people we respect support their work. However, we believe that the tactics revealed in our story, as well as the effect they are having on confusing and potentially disenfranchising hundreds of thousands of voters — especially right before critical primaries — are cause for deep concern and raise critical questions about ethical election practices. — Chris

FACING SOUTH reveals D.C. nonprofit aimed at women voters behind deceptive N.C. robo-calls

By Chris Kromm
Facing South

Who’s behind the mysterious “robo-calls” that have spread misleading voter information and sown confusion and frustration among North Carolina residents over the last week?

Facing South has confirmed the source of the calls, and the mastermind is Women’s Voices Women Vote, a D.C.-based nonprofit which aims to boost voting among “unmarried women voters.”

What’s more, Facing South has learned that the firestorm Women’s Voices has ignited in North Carolina isn’t the group’s first brush with controversy. Women’s Voices’ questionable tactics have spawned thousands of voter complaints in at least 11 states and brought harsh condemnation from some election officials for their secrecy, misleading nature and likely violations of election law.

First, a quick recap: As we covered yesterday, N.C. residents have reported receiving peculiar automated calls from someone claiming to be “Lamont Williams.” The caller says that a “voter registration packet” is coming in the mail, and the recipient can sign it and mail it back to be registered to vote. No other information is provided.

The call is deceptive because the deadline has already passed for mail-in registrations for North Carolina’s May 6 primary. Also, many who have received the calls — like Kevin Farmer in Durham, who made a tape of the call that is available here — are already registered. The call’s suggestion that they’re not registered has caused widespread confusion and drawn hundreds of complaints, including many from African-American voters who received the calls.

The calls are also probably illegal. Farmer and others have told Facing South the calls use a blocked phone number and provided no contact information — a violation of North Carolina rules regulating “robo-calls” (N.C. General Statute 163-104(b)(1)c). N.C. Attorney General Roy Cooper further stated in a recent memo that the identifying information must be clear enough to allow the recipient to “complain or seek redress” — something not included in the calls.

It is also a Class I felony in North Carolina “to misrepresent the law to the public through mass mailing or any other means of communication where the intent and the effect is to intimidate or discourage potential voters from exercising their lawful right to vote.”

The calls have been denounced by the N.C. State Board of Elections, as well as by voter advocacy groups including Democracy North Carolina, which called them “another in a long line of deceptive practices used in North Carolina and elsewhere that particularly target African-American voters.”

Yesterday, I placed a call to the Virginia State Police, which had investigated similar suspicious robo-calls before that Virginia’s primaries last February. Their investigation concluded that the source of the calls was Women’s Voices Women Vote.

Facing South then contacted Women’s Voices, and staffer Sarah Johnson confirmed they were doing similar robo-calls in North Carolina; they later admitted that they were the ones behind the deceptive “Lamont Williams” calls.

So who is Women’s Voices Women Vote, and why are they making shadowy and legally-questionable calls that are causing North Carolina voters so many headaches?

The D.C.-based nonprofit, led by well-connected Washington operatives, claims in a press release they sent to Facing South [PDF] that the North Carolina calls are part of a 24-state effort targeted at a list of 3 million voters, especially unmarried women. The robo-calls, which never mention Women’s Voices, are followed by mailings that include information on how to register to vote. They plan to mail some 276,000 packets in North Carolina alone.

But since last November, in at least 11 states nationwide, Women’s Voices — sometimes working through its Voter Participation Center project — has developed a checkered reputation, drawing rebukes from leading election officials and complaints from thousands of would-be voters as a result of their secretive tactics, deceptive mailings and calls, and penchant for skirting or violating the law. For example:

* In Arizona last November, election officials were “inundated with complaints” after Women’s Voices sent a mailing erroneously claiming that recipients were “required” to mail back an enclosed voter registration form. Many who received the mailing were already registered; the mailing also gave the wrong registration date. Secretary of State Jan Brewer denounced the group’s tactics as “misleading and deceptive.” A similar mailing in Colorado that month “[drew] fire and caused confusion,” according to a state press release.

* In Wisconsin, state officials singled out Women’s Voices for misleading and possibly disenfranchising voters, stating in a press release [PDF]: “One group in particular — Women’s Voices. Women Vote, of Washington, D.C. — apparently ignored or disregarded state deadlines in seeking to register voters,” sending in registrations past the January 30 deadline and causing “hundreds of Wisconsin voters who think they registered in advance” to actually not be.

* Michigan officials ended up “fielding tons of calls from confused voters” after Women’s Voices did a February mailing to “380,000 unmarried women” — including numerous deceased voters and even more that were already registered. Sarah Johnson of Women’s Voices “seemed confused by the confusion,” the Lansing State Journal reported.

* A 1.5 million-piece Women’s Voices mailing in Florida falsely stated: “To comply with state voting requirements, please return the enclosed application.” Pasco County’s elections supervisor called it “disingenuous”; another said it created “a lot of unnecessary panic on behalf of the voters,” reported local newspapers. Sarah Johnson of Women’s Voice said, “I’m sorry to hear that.”

* By March, Women’s Voices was backing off the erroneous “registration is required” language, but there were still problems. For example, a mailing in Arkansas allowed that “registering to vote is voluntary,” but a clerk in Washington County reported that “the majority [of forms] sent back to the county come from registered voters, causing needless labor for office employees.”

Problems with the group’s tactics have also been documented in Louisiana, Kentucky and Ohio.

In each state, the Women’s Voices campaigns have brought the same news and the same themes, again and again: Deceptive claims and misrepresentations of the law — sometimes even breaking the law. Wildly inaccurate mailing lists, supposedly aimed at “unregistered single women,” but in reality reaching many registered voters as well as families, deceased persons and pets. Tactics that confuse voters and potentially disenfranchise them.

For such a sophisticated and well-funded operation, which counts among its ranks some of the country’s most seasoned political operatives, such missteps are peculiar, as is the surprise expressed by Women’s Voices staff after each controversy.

In at least two states, the timing of Women’s Voices’ activities have raised alarm that they are attempting to influence the outcome of a primary. As we reported earlier, in Virginia, news reports surfaced the first week in February that prospective voters were receiving anonymous robo-calls telling voters that they were about to receive a voter registration packet in the mail.

The timing of the calls was astoundingly off: As the Virginia State Police confirm, the calls were made the first week of February — about 10 days before the then-critical Virginia primary, but more than two weeks after the deadline for registering in the state had passed (Jan. 14). The Virginia State Board of Elections was deluged with calls by confused voters — many who were already registered. When they heard the calls from Women’s Voices, they feared that they really weren’t.

Because of the horrible timing and secretive nature, state officials assumed the calls and mailings were part of an identity theft scheme. When the Virginia State Police investigated, they found Women’s Voices was behind them. Women’s Voices was unapologetic after the controversy, merely issuing a boilerplate press release trumpeting the success of the program.

Now Women’s Voices is plunging North Carolina into the same confusion. State officials tell Facing South they are still receiving calls from frustrated and confused voters, wondering why “Lamont Williams” is offering to send them a “voter registration packet” after the deadline for mail-in registration for the primaries has passed.

In correspondence with North Carolina election officials, Women’s Voices founder and President Page Gardner merely said that the disruptive timing was an “unfortunate coincidence” — a strange alibi for a group with their level of resources and sophistication.

There are other questions about Women’s Voices’ outreach efforts. Although the group purports to be targeting “unmarried women,” their calls and mailings don’t fit the profile. Kevin Farmer in Durham, who first recorded the call, is a white male. Many of the recipients are African-American; Rev. Nelson Johnson, who is a married, male and African-American, reported that his house was called four times by the mysterious “Lamont Williams.”

And as Farmer asks, “Why are they using a guy for the calls if the target audience is single women?”

Some have also questioned the ties between Women’s Voices operatives and Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Hillary Clinton. Gardner, for example, contributed $2,500 to Clinton’s HILLPAC on May 4, 2006, and in March 2005 she donated a total of $4,200 to Clinton, according to The Center for Responsive Politics’ OpenSecrets.org. She has not contributed to the Obama campaign, according to the database.

Women’s Voices Executive Director Joe Goode worked for Bill Clinton’s election campaign in 1992 as a pollster; the group’s website says he was intimately involved in “development and implementation of all polling and focus groups done for the presidential primary and general election campaigns” for Clinton.

Women’s Voices board member John Podesta, former Chief of Staff for President Bill Clinton, donated $2,300 to Hillary Clinton on April 19, 2007, according to OpenSecrets.org. Podesta also donated $1,000 to Barack Obama in July 2004, but that was well before Obama announced his candidacy for president.

“The reports from other states are very disturbing, especially the pattern of mass confusion among targeted voters on the eve of a state’s primary,” Democracy North Carolina’s Bob Hall tells Facing South. “These are highly skilled political operatives — something doesn’t add up.  Maybe it’s all well-intended and explainable. At this moment, our first priority is to stop the robo-calls and prevent the chaos and potential disenfranchisement caused by this group sending 276,000 packets of registration forms into North Carolina a few days before a heated primary election. We need their immediate cooperation.”

While Hall says his group has “begged” the group to stop the mailings, but as if this writing, Women’s Voices has not done so — even though the mail-in voter registration deadline for the primaries passed April 11.

State election officials are likely bracing for the deluge of confused phone calls and complaints that are sure to follow.

— Sue Sturgis provided valuable research and reporting for this story

Tags: voting rights, voter suppression, robo-calls, north carolina, primaries, women’s voices women vote, hillary clinton, barack obama, chris kromm, facing south, institute for southern studies, Recommended, Front Paged (all tags) :: Previous Tag Versions

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Why Hillary Wins the Big States

Posted in '08 Election, '08 Primaries, Bob Fitrakis on May 3rd, 2008

by Bob Fitrakis

Many people have asked me my thoughts about the battle between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. Here’s my brief analysis of why Hillary appears to be “winning” many large states.

Obama actually won in Texas, he barely lost the primary but won the caucus later that night and got more delegates than Hillary.

As for Ohio and Pennsylvania — and the other “must-win” state, New Hampshire — these are more problematic. For example, Obama was predicted to win in the tracking polls in New Hampshire. and the exit polls showed him winning. Bizarre election irregularities involving touchscreen machines seem to have played a role in Hillary’s statistically improbable win.

Both the exit polls in Ohio, which were barely within the margin of error (see the Free Press article Did Republicans give Hillary her victory in Ohio? by Bob Fitrakis & Harvey Wasserman, http://www.freepress.org/departments/display/19/2008/3041) and Pennsylvania, where it looks like Obama should have lost by less than 4 points but Hillary won by 10 points — suggest problems with the electronic voting. The key factor in Ohio and Pennsylvania are the Republican crossover votes. Hillary is winning not because she’s winning Democratic primary voters, but because Republicans are deliberately crossing over to vote for her in order to prolong the Democratic primary process. As long as Obama and Hillary continue to fight each other, then McCain gets a free pass and the Republicans will urge the defeated candidate supporters to crossover to the Republican side in November.

The Republicans want to run against Hillary. Their playbook is ready. I suspect there have been some electronic irregularities in her favor in NH and PA by Republican vendors of voting machines. But mainly, it’s the Republican crossover vote.

As long as our election system remains nontransparent and in the hands of private for-profit voting machine companies, we’ll never know the real vote count in these states.

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Voter I.D. Supreme Court Ruling! WHO BENEFITS?

Posted in '08 Election, Main Stream Media, Voter Fraud, Voter ID on May 2nd, 2008

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Robert Kennedy, Greg Palast: The Final Investigation?

Posted in '08 Election, Disenfranchisement, Greg Palast, RFK Jr. on April 30th, 2008

One million Democrats attempting to vote in this year’s primaries found their names missing from voter rolls. WHERE THE HELL DID THEY GO?Palast and Kennedy

Law professor Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and journalist Greg Palast are launching an investigation. We want to know: where are these votes? Who swiped them? How? And how do we prevent it from happening in November?

The investigations team needs your help. RIGHT NOW. The not-for-profit Investigative Fund needs support to pay the cost of phones, airfare, microphones (hidden, when needed), detective agency fees, camera crew, researchers and all the infrastructure of inquest.

We need, right now, two dozen Producers to put up at least $1000 each to pay for the preliminary investigation and production. You’ll get a tax deduction, a box loaded with DVDs of the finished films now planned from broadcast internationally – and maybe, just maybe, an honest election.

Because it’s our plan to put out the information on the manipulation of the vote BEFORE November.

Can’t put up $1,000? Then donate $500 and get a package of all of my books and DVDs signed to you. Even a $100 gift will be put to good use – and we’ll send you my three latest DVD films, including “The Elections Files” (Watch the trailer) from our BBC TV investigations.

Bobby Kennedy, in his masterful article in Rolling Stone, exposed how Ohio votes vanished in 2004. The Palast team, for BBC Television, unmasked the vicious ‘scrub’ of Black voters in Florida in 2000.

Now Kennedy and Palast have joined together with an extraordinary team of investigators to hunt the missing votes of 2008 BEFORE we have a repeat of 2000 and 2004.

I haven’t sought funding from you all this year – but now I must. Neither I nor RFK take a dime of compensation from the Palast Investigative Fund. But the fund’s hit empty and we can’t ask a our brilliant crew to continue to survive on dog food – they’re beginning to bark at embarrassing moments!

Become a Producer and get personalized signed copies of the books RFK calls, “investigative masterpieces,” my books, The Best Democracy Money Can Buy and Armed Madhouse.

Or donate AT LEAST $100 – try to make it more – and get Armed Madhouse (hardbound) and the CD, “Live from the Armed Madhouse,” signed.

Our investigation is non-partisan. It’s not about saving Democrats, but saving DEMOCRACY.

But we know who’s playing games with the ballots.

FACT: On Super-Tuesday, the number of Democrats missing from voter rolls in New Mexico exceeded George Bush’s 2004 ‘victory’ total by 300%. No wonder McCain’s campaign says, New Mexico is “in play.” The question is who’s playing with it?

Join our effort. If you’ve got a tip, a document, a witness – CONTACT US. And add your name to the list of Producers and Supporters.

Some Americans have taken a bullet to protect the ballot. All we’re asking is that you take a tax deduction. Add your name in bold on screen as a producer of the film that will open eyes and stop lies.

Donate HERE – and PASS ON this request to friends and patriots. Let’s stop the attack on democracy NOW – so we can make this the final investigation of a stolen election.

I can’t tell you how much your support of our investigations has meant to us.

Yours,

Greg Palast

Original Article

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Election Fraud News

Posted in General on April 25th, 2008

For daily election news, visit The BRAD BLOG and our own “Daily Election Fraud News”.

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Election Integrity Expert Mark Crispin Miller Says ‘Fringe Movement’ Within Republican Party Is ‘Dismantling Democracy’

Posted in '04 Election, '08 Election, Brad Blog, General, Mark Crispin Miller, Video on January 20th, 2008

BLOGGED BY Alan Breslauer ON 1/18/2008 12:39PM  for The BRADBLOG

Says Movement ‘Has Been Destroying The Voting System On Every Conceivable Front’

Adds That Even A ‘Cursory Study’ Of The 2004 Election ‘Makes It Abundantly Clear That The Election Was Stolen’

Guest Blogged by Alan Breslauer

Election integrity expert and author of Fooled Again, Mark Crispin Miller, made some remarkable comments while speaking to the LA Election Protection Task Force last night. Robert Carillo Cohen, producer of Hacking Democracy, was also a featured speaker at the event.

After covering some preliminary matters, Miller retold the story of his post 2004 election encounter with John Kerry when the Democratic candidate admitted that he believed the presidential election was stolen. This shouldn’t surprise anyone since, as Miller states:

And believe me, a cursory study of the evidence makes it abundantly clear that the election was stolen and it wasn’t even that close.

Which ultimately leads Miller to conclude that Kerry is in denial:

Because if you really do accept what happened, you realize that it is a catastrophe, it’s an emergency. And it’s something that a guy like John Kerry or Al Gore is simply not built to deal with, right? Because if you come to terms with what went down, you realize that it is an attack on American democracy. Business as usual can’t simply continue. We gotta do something. We gotta hit the barricades.

But resistance to the idea that American democracy is under attack goes far beyond Kerry and Gore. Miller believes the way to break through this resistance is to:

keep publicizing, to keep spreading the word, to keep making clear that it is not just this little thing here or that little thing there, we’re talking about a fringe movement that has taken over the Republican party that has been dismantling democracy, that has been destroying the voting system on every conceivable front, not just the machines. They are even messing with the census. They are preventing another census from being taken because if you have census data you can track this stuff more easily.

Finally, Miller concludes by going over a 12-step approach to reforming our elections.


Please support The BRADBLOG by DONATING! 

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Kucinich asks for New Hampshire recount in the interest of election integrity

Posted in '08 Election, Dennis Kucinich, Optical Scan on January 10th, 2008

DETROIT, MI –  Democratic Presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich, the most outspoken advocate in the Presidential field and in Congress for election integrity, paper-ballot elections, and campaign finance reform, has sent a letter to the New Hampshire Secretary of State asking for a recount of Tuesday’s election because of “unexplained disparities between hand-counted ballots and machine-counted ballots.”

“I am not making this request in the expectation that a recount will significantly affect the number of votes that were cast on my behalf,” Kucinich stressed in a letter to Secretary of State William M. Gardner. But, “Serious and credible reports, allegations, and rumors have surfaced in the past few days…It is imperative that these questions be addressed in the interest of public confidence in the integrity of the election process and the election machinery – not just in New Hampshire, but in every other state that conducts a primary election.”

Also, the reports, allegations, and rumors regarding possible vote-count irregularities have been further fueled by the stunning disparities between various “independent” pre-election polls and the actual election results,” Kucinich wrote. “The integrity, credibility, and value of independent polling are separate issues, but they appear to be relevant in the context of New Hampshire’s votes.”

He added, “Ever since the 2000 election – and even before – the American people have been losing faith in the belief that their votes were actually counted. This recount isn’t about who won 39% of 36% or even 1%. It’s about establishing whether 100% of the voters had 100% of their votes counted exactly the way they cast them.”

Kucinich, who drew about 1.4% of the New Hampshire Democratic primary vote, wrote, “This is not about my candidacy or any other individual candidacy. It is about the integrity of the election process.” No other Democratic candidate, he noted, has stepped forward to question or pursue the claims being made.

“New Hampshire is in the unique position to address – and, if so determined, rectify – these issues before they escalate into a massive, nationwide suspicion of the process by which Americans elect their President. Based on the controversies surrounding the Presidential elections in 2004 and 2000, New Hampshire is in a prime position to investigate possible irregularities and to issue findings for the benefit of the entire nation,” Kucinich wrote in his letter.

“Without an official recount, the voters of New Hampshire and the rest of the nation will never know whether there are flaws in our electoral system that need to be identified and addressed at this relatively early point in the Presidential nominating process,” said Kucinich, who is campaigning in Michigan this week in advance of next Tuesday’s Presidential primary in that state.

from Dennis4President.com 

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Where Paper Prevailed, Different Results

Posted in '08 Election, Optical Scan on January 9th, 2008

By Lori Price, www.legitgov.org

2008 New Hampshire Democratic Primary Results –Total Democratic Votes: 286,139 – Machine vs Hand (RonRox.com) 09 Jan 2008

Hillary Clinton, Diebold Accuvote optical scan: 39.618%


Clinton, Hand Counted Paper Ballots: 34.908%


Barack Obama, Diebold Accuvote optical scan: 36.309%

Obama, Hand Counted Paper Ballots: 38.617%

Machine vs Hand:


Clinton: 4.709% (13,475 votes)


Obama: -2.308% (-6,604 votes)

2008 New Hampshire Republican Primary ResultsTotal Republican Votes: 236,378 Machine vs Hand (RonRox.com) 09 Jan 2008

Mitt Romney, Diebold Accuvote optical scan: 33.075%


Romney, Hand Counted Paper Ballots: 25.483%


Ron Paul, Diebold Accuvote optical scan: 7.109%

Paul, Hand Counted Paper Ballots: 9.221%

Machine vs Hand:

Romney: 7.592% (17,946 votes)

Paul: -2.112% (-4,991 votes)

NH: “First in the nation” (with corporate controlled secret vote counting) By Nancy Tobi 07 Jan 2008 81% of New Hampshire ballots are counted in secret by a private corporation named Diebold Election Systems (now known as “Premier”). The elections run on these machines are programmed by one company, LHS Associates, based in Methuen, MA. We know nothing about the people programming these machines, and we know even less about LHS Associates. We know even less about the secret vote counting software used to tabulate 81% of our ballots. [See also CLG‘s Coup 2004 and Yes, Gore DID win!.]

New Hampshire Primary – ALL Diebold, ALL the Time By Michael Collins 08 Jan 2008 It’s been nearly eight years since the debacle of Florida and nearly six since the miracle Chambliss win against Cleland. Surely we have reliable, verifiable voting systems in place? It’s been almost four years since the nationwide disaster of the 2004 election with irregularities still emerging. Hasn’t all this been fixed? You’d think so. But, the answer is definitely no. Votes are still taken by voting machines produced by vendors highly sympathetic to the Republican Party. The machines are still off limits to those who want to examine how they operate and observe real vote counting.

Click here!

Email this page to a friend.

Permanent URL for this page: http://www.legitgov.org/nh_machine_vs_paper.html

Digg!

 Complete breakdown of the numbers is here.

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Harvey Wasserman on New Ohio Voting Report: The 2004 Election Was Stolen – Finally We Have Irrefutable Confirmation

Posted in '04 Election, '08 Election, Democracy Now!, Harvey Wasserman, Video on December 19th, 2007

Read the transcript at Democracy Now!

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UNCOUNTED – The New Math of American Elections

Posted in '00 Election, '04 Election, '08 Election, Bob Fitrakis, Brad Blog, Disenfranchisement, Exit Polls, Video on November 7th, 2007

For more information or to order a DVD please visit UNCOUNTED – The New Math of American Elections. 


UNCOUNTED is an explosive new documentary that shows how the election fraud that changed the outcome of the 2004 election led to even greater fraud in 2006 – and now looms as an unbridled threat to the outcome of the 2008 election. This controversial feature length film by Emmy award-winning director David Earnhardt examines in factual, logical, and yet startling terms how easy it is to change election outcomes and undermine election integrity across the U.S. Noted computer programmers, statisticians, journalists, and experienced election officials provide the irrefutable proof.

UNCOUNTED shares well documented stories about the spine-chilling disregard for the right to vote in America. In Florida, computer programmer Clint Curtis is directed by his boss to create software that will “flip” votes from one candidate to another. In Utah, County Clerk Bruce Funk is locked out of his office for raising questions about security ebudy flaws in electronic voting machines. Californian Steve Heller gets convicted of a felony after he leaks secret documents detailing illegal activities committed by a major voting machine company. And Tennessee entrepreneur, Athan Gibbs, finds verifiable voting a hard sell in America and dies before his dream of honest elections can be realized. 

UNCOUNTED is a wakeup call to all Americans. Beyond increasing the public’s awareness, the film inspires greater citizen involvement in fixing a broken electoral system. As we approach the decisive election of 2008, UNCOUNTED will change how you feel about the way votes are counted in America.

 

For more information or to order a DVD please visit UNCOUNTED – The New Math of American Elections. 

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