Actually, I published Virginia’s Elections Are UNCONSTITUTIONAL?!?! on OpEdNews.com on February 12, 2008. However, voters in Virginia once again participated in an unconstitutional election, and not a single candidate or mainstream news outlet said anything about this issue for some reason. So, here it is again with updated links.
Yes, Virginia, your elections are unconstitutional, and frankly, no one in power gives a damn! So what? It must not be that important if no one in power thinks that Virginia’s elections should be conducted as required by its Constitution. That’s just some old G** damned piece of paper, right? The law doesn’t matter any more, does it? Those people that wrote that old fashioned Constitution didn’t know any thing, did they?
Well, those quaint old concerns about the dangers of counting votes in secret are shared by most Americans, just not the ones who hold on to power right now. A Zogby poll from August of 2006 shows that at that time, 61% had heard about problems with computers counting our votes and that 92% of Americans are intelligent enough to understand that counting votes in secret is dangerous. The other 8% must think that there is some benefit to them if they are thinking at all.
This extraordinary level of concern is why nearly 10,000 Floridians participated in exit polls conducted by Project Vote Count on January 29, 2008 at 30 precincts in 10 counties across Florida. Thousands more mailed in affidavits to make sure that their votes were counted accurately. These concerned citizens signed affidavits to show how they voted to make sure that the machines counted accurately.
If those in power in Virginia didn’t want to follow its Constitution when conducting elections, why didn’t they just tell the public that they were amending it to allow votes to be counted in secret. Oh, that’s right. Most people are smart enough to realize that whoever is in control of the secret vote count might just lie and subvert the will of the voters. Of course, that couldn’t happen right here in the good old USA at least not again like in 2000, 2004, 2006, and 2008. Oh, yeah, it might just happen every time that those in power want to abuse the public and stay in power anyway.
But wait, the news would tell us if someone was cheating and rigging elections, wouldn’t it? Well, did it tell you about the unbelievably big differences between the results in the hand counted precincts and those in the machine counted precincts in the New Hampshire primary or did it just tell you that the exit polls were wrong? Did the press tell you that computers count votes in secret? Did it tell you about the Zogby poll showing that everyone with half a brain knows that counting votes in secret is dangerous? Did it tell you that Virginia’s Constitution prohibits counting votes in secret and that those in power were just planning to ignore the Constitution when it came to elections in which you might just want to kick them out of office? No? I wonder why? Could it be that the mainstream news media is all owned by a small cartel that wants to keep you in the dark?
So, I say that Virginia’s elections are unconstitutional, but how could that be? No one else is saying anything about it. Well, Article II, Section 3 of the Constitution of Virginia states, “Voting shall be by ballot or by machines for receiving, recording, and counting votes cast.” But it also states, “Secrecy in casting votes shall be maintained, except as provision may be made for assistance to handicapped voters, but the ballot box or voting machine shall be kept in public view and shall not be opened, nor the ballots canvassed nor the votes counted, in secret.”
An “election reform advocate” has pointed out that the Virginia Constitution allows machines to count votes, and he says that as a result, the prohibition against counting votes in secret is meaningless. Of course, the members of Virginia’s Legislature and its State Board of Elections as well as its Governor also must believe that Virginia’s Constitutional prohibition against counting votes in secret is meaningless since they are allowing all of the votes cast in Virginia to be counted in secret.
Anyway, I pointed out to the self-anointed “election integrity advocate” who also claims to be an “election law expert” that the basic rule of statutory or constitutional construction is that the law should be followed in a way which gives all provisions full force and effect if possible. As a large percentage of the members of Virginia’s legislature are attorneys, you would think that they would know and follow basic legal principles, wouldn’t you? Maybe they were just too busy to bother reading Virginia’s Constitution even though they have sworn to protect and defend it, maybe they just didn’t think about how machines count, or maybe they didn’t want you to think about it.
In this instance, it seems difficult to give both Constitutional provisions full force and effect because machines are allowed to count the votes, machines count in secret, and counting votes in secret is prohibited. So, it would seem that either the Constitutional provision allowing machines to count votes should be ignored or the prohibition against counting votes in secret should be ignored.
However, both provisions can be given full force and effect if the votes are cast on paper ballots which are counted on optical scanners for convenience, and then those paper ballots are also counted by hand in public. Of course, this seems a little burdensome and inconvenient, but when the Virginia Constitution was revised to allow counting votes on machines, apparently no one understood that machines count in secret, or did they want to count the votes in secret without bothering to mention it to the voters?
Anyway, the principles of Constitutional interpretation which are expressed in thousands of cases and legal texts require both Constitutional provisions to be given effect if possible. Of course, the provision allowing ballots to be counted on machines is optional, not mandatory, while the prohibition against counting votes in secret is mandatory. Therefore, Virginia could fully comply with its Constitution by returning to casting votes on paper and counting them in public. This would save millions of taxpayer dollars and keep a hacker from fixing an election, but it would also save millions of taxpayer dollars, money which could be used for lobbying, junkets, fact finding missions, etc., and some people might just get voted out of office!
Of course, most votes cast in Virginia will be cast on touch screen voting machines which are also known as DRE machines. There is absolutely no ballot to ever count in public if a touch screen is used for voting. It’s just vapor without paper. You just must have faith in the machine. It wouldn’t lie, would it? It wouldn’t malfunction, would it? It couldn’t be hacked, could it? Just believe, have faith, and trust in the secret vote count printed out by the machine. The vote count that no one in government even bothers to check.
Well, the Federales wouldn’t just pass a law requiring touch screen voting without any Constitutional authority would they? Read Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution of the United States and think about the respect, or gross lack thereof, which has been shown for that Constitution lately. Also, you might want to read Article I, Section 4 which specifically provides that the States have the power to regulate the time, place, and manner of conducting elections.
So, how can the Federales require the States to conduct elections? Well, they can require the States to comply with the Fourteenth Amendment’s equal protection clause, but that doesn’t give them the power to mandate secret vote counting. So, why would they try to do it? They wouldn’t want to cheat to stay in power, would they? Oh, that’s right. The public is just a little unhappy with them too, aren’t we?
Another principle of construction in our system of government is that all state law must comply with the Constitution of the United States. The 10th Amendment to the United States Constitution states, “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”
Does the United States Constitution allow our votes to be counted in secret on machines or does it require something a little more trustworthy than just having faith that some machines counted accurately and weren’t hacked? Well, the United States Supreme Court has not yet heard a case in which this issue has been directly presented, but it has heard a few cases about the right to vote which have set precedent which should guide us on this issue.
The United States Supreme Court has ruled in favor of the fundamental right to have your vote counted stating, “We regard it as equally unquestionable that the right to have one’s vote counted is as open to protection by Congress as the right to put a ballot in a box.” U. S. v. Mosley, 238 U.S. 383, 386 (1915). Do you know how your vote was counted on a computer? Do you just have faith that it was counted correctly, or at all? Are you a true believer in secret vote counting just like so many who walk the halls of power right now?
Wait, a flack for those who want to keep counting our votes in secret might say, “that’s a case from so long ago, they could never have imagined computers and how “efficient” they are, we shouldn’t be bound by that quaint old case about counting votes.” Some people have no conscience and will do anything for a buck. People like that fill the halls of power right now.
Here’s what the United States Supreme Court said in another more recent case about the right to have your vote counted:
“A consistent line of decisions by this Court in cases involving attempts to deny or restrict the right of suffrage has made this indelibly clear. It has been repeatedly recognized that all qualified voters have a constitutionally protected right to vote, and to have their votes counted. In Mosley the Court stated that it is ‘as equally unquestionable that the right to have one’s vote counted is as open to protection … as the right to put a ballot in a box. The right to vote can neither be denied outright, nor destroyed by alteration of ballots, nor diluted by ballot-box stuffing. As the Court stated in Classic, ‘Obviously included within the right to choose, secured by the Constitution, is the right of qualified voters within a state to cast their ballots and have them counted….” Reynolds v. Sims, 377 U.S. 533, 555 (1964). (Citations omitted.)
Once again, how do we know that our votes are counted if they are only counted in secret on machines? Do you just have faith in the machines? Do you think that we should just trust that the machines counted our votes correctly?
So, have I cleared up any confusion out there over whether or not Virginia, and every other state by the way, should conduct its elections in a manner in which we can all make sure that our votes are counted which of course, does not allow votes to be counted solely on computers in secret? I hope so!
Boy, just imagine if one of those Presidential candidates knew about this. They could take legal action to get rid of the very unpopular secret vote counting machines and restore our Constitutional right to make sure that our vote was counted accurately in public. Certainly, if they only knew, at least one of them would stand up for our right to overthrow our government through peaceful means at the ballot box on election day, wouldn’t one?
Well, no!?!?! They have all been informed, and not one has taken action. See my letters to them.
That’s right. They know that counting votes in secret is unconstitutional. They know that the public is worried about elections being stolen. This is why they routinely say that they will make sure that our votes are counted. Yeah, right? I believed that line of BS and sent money to support one candidate, but guess what, his campaign chairman told me that they had decided not to talk about problems with the election machines and that as a result, he didn’t tell the candidate that counting votes in secret is specifically prohibited by Virginia’s Constitution, South Carolina’s Constitution, and some United States Supreme Court decisions.
That’s right every campaign knows about this, but not a single one will take action, or “tell” the candidate about the Constitutional prohibitions against counting votes in secret. They won’t “tell” the candidates that 92% of Americans are worried about the dangers of secret vote counting. Of course, I also handed the Zogby poll information directly to three of the Presidential candidates, and they all seemed very interested in it. However, they weren’t interested enough to take action. No one can see any opportunity to win here, right? It might scare voters away if someone stood up to make sure that our votes were actually counted as required by our Constitutions, right? Sure, if you believe that, I’ve got a bridge to sell you, cheap. Just send cash, and I’ll send the papers right away.
If you are one of that vast majority of Americans who do not want your votes to be “counted” in secret, step up, take action, don’t support any candidate who does not make ending the practice of “counting” votes in secret one of the main issues of his or her campaign.
Here’s the video of my discussion of this with the Virginia’s Board of Elections staff. They claim not to know that computers count in secret. It’s funny in a sad way.
If you want to see evidence showing that the secret vote counts are wrong or if you have wondered why the government passes laws that virtually everyone opposes, like the bank bailout, and why the government refuses to investigate and prosecute obvious crimes, like torture and murder, check out Why Does the Government Ignore Our Wishes? and don’t miss my 18 minute speech.
If you take a look, you’ll learn why they get away with horrible crimes. My article on torture includes a link to the U.S. Supreme Court case which explains how one of our stolen rights makes the difference between justice and injustice, between freedom and slavery.