"What I want is to get done what the People would have me do. The problem for me is to find out what that is exactly." - Abe Lincoln
No Problem! Voting by Phone makes "government of the people, by the people and for the people" practical!
"I don't see any problem with trying it. I think it's worth looking into." - Roy Saltman, National institute of Standards and Technology election systems expert.
"I think they're on the right track. One of these days we'll all be voting by telephone." - Donetta Davidson, State of Colorado elections officer
"On most major issues we've dealt with in the past 50 years, the public was more likely to be right - based on the judgment of history - than the legislatures or Congress." - George Gallup Sr., America's leading pollster
"The voters should have a direct say on some issues." - 76% of Americans in a 1987 Gallup Poll
It is exciting - and important - to contemplate how new technology might revitalize democracy by permitting convenient, fraud - proof voting by telephone." - Terry Considine, former Colorado State Senator (Republican)
"If we believe in Democracy, this [phone voting, used in Liberal Party primaries in '92 and '93] is the only way we can go." - Guy Brown, Nova Scotia Legislative Assemblyman (Liberal)
"It's embarrassing that one of the showcase democracies in the world has so little voter turnout...Phone voting would scare the hell out of politicians. - Tom Cronin, Colorado College political science professor and author
"I am for your effort." - Walter Orr Roberts, Founder, National Center for Atmospheric Research
"Voting by Phone is brilliant." - Jack Groverland, minister, Unity of Boulder
"I love this idea. With it we can finally have real democracy." - Judith Mohling, Psychotherapist and Colorado (Nuclear) Freeze Voter Lobby Coordinator.
"I proposed...voting by telephone on all prominent questions before Congress. That was back in 1940. It allows for continuous correction of the course...without political scapegoating. Today democracy is not working...Particularly among the young there is a feeling of absolute futility." - Buckminster Fuller, to the U.S. Senate, 1975
"What government is the best? That which teaches us to govern ourselves." - Goethe
"I know no safe depository for the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves: and if we think them not enlightened enough...the remedy is to inform [them]...We must put it out of the power of the few to riot on the labors of the many." - Thomas Jefferson
"Freedom exists only where people take care of the government." - George Bernard Shaw
"If there is a problem with democracy, the solution is more democracy." - Alexander Hamilton
Weakness corrupts American Citizens. Voting dropped to 50% in the '88 election - Bush was elected by 53% of that, or 26.5% of the citizenry. 36% voted in the '90 election, and an all - time low of 18.3% voted in the '89 Boulder City Council race.
The weakest majority in the world: the American party of non-voters.
24 states already allow Citizen Initiative. Here people petition to put their own propositions on the ballot. But the large number of signatures required keeps the average citizen or group from trying:
Only 3 of 20 who tried in Colorado in '90 made it to the ballot. All those that do resort to paying petitioners. Money talks, just like at the Capitol!
It's still half baked: In some states initiative has become another political business, costing hundreds of thousands to get one issue to the ballot. Voters faced forty issues in California in '90 and a 142-page booklet explaining them!
Let's reduce petition requirements to get citizen initiatives on the ballot and put these initiatives to monthly votes to make the process more timely. (This also solves California's problem.) Voting by Phone makes it easy and economic, even ecological:
These service bureaus are everywhere, having exploded from a handful 5 years ago to about 300 today. Some have enough lines for millions to vote in a day, perhaps enough total capacity for the 91.6 million voters of '88!
Counties can easily implement their own phone voting with 1 "486" personal computer for each 100,000 voters (200,000 population). We sell systems and service.
After all, most polls are taken by phone, and most votes (more than 55%) are now counted by computer. Let's put the two together.
Bill Kimberling, deputy director of the Federal Election Commission, said: "We looked into it and concluded that, even if it were technologically feasible, the cost of the technology would far exceed whatever benefit might accrue." We asked him how he determined that and he said he called a few County Clerks. We asked if any were trained in telecommunications or computers. No. Was he? No. What was he trained in? Political Science! The NSF's Televote trials and MT&T's Canadian primaries prove him wrong!
Congress rejected proposals for a National initiative or referendum in 1907, m???]1917, 1937 and 1977. The increasing times between attempts shows Americans are getting tired of begging their representatives to share the power. Politicians should remember the words of President Kennedy:
"Those who make peaceful revolution impossible, will make a violent revolution inevitable." Fortunately, in sates with initiative we can implement this ourselves. Other states and the nation will need constitutional amendments.
Votes are requested like: (full explanation): "for President and Vice-President, to vote for Bush and Quayle, Republicans, press 1, for Dukakis and Bensen, Democrats, press 2, for other 'write-in' candidates, press 3, to skip this race, press 0." (For write-ins, you are asked to speak and spell the names.)
(with prepared ballot): "Please enter your choices from the bottom of your ballot worksheet."
Votes are confirmed like: "you voted for [candidate names]. Press 1 if correct, 2 to change your vote."
When you are finished, the computer says, for example, "You were the 5,280th to vote. Please write 5,280 down and confirm your votes on line 5,280 in the morning newspaper."
There are other ways the system could work. This is the simplest.
QUESTIONS & ANSWERS
This will also prevent a devious government from 'voting' for those who don't vote, a scam made famous in Chicago. Reassigning the ID numbers of dead voters and publishing all phone votes (see Publishing Results, above) will make this less of a problem than now, even with present phones. Not perfect, but better than the current system.
Join us! Please use the membership form. Buy a T-shirt!
600 people tried our demonstration during the November '90 election. Using a Boulder voter registration database to identify callers, nobody voted twice.
Founder and Director: Evan Ravitz
Technical Advisor: Joseph Pelton, Director of Telecommunications, University of Colorado
Legal Advisor: Barry Satlow
And hundreds more!
Voting by Phone Foundation
1130 11th St. #3
Boulder CO 80302 tel/fax: (303)440-6838
Web adress: http://www.vote.org/v
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