Voter Lookup

There is a growing movement, comprised mainly of Millennials (the 20-somethings) who have become disenfranchised by voting manipulation and the corruption in Congress that has demolished our Democracy. The truth is, they’re right.

But to give up on voting right now, especially in this mid-term election, is the worst possible choice to make, IMHO, simply because it admits defeat, and adds another chain link to the yoke of oppression around our necks by the new Oligarchy –the 1%, the Corporatists… the Conservative Right Wingnuts who are hell-bent on bringing Fundamentalist -Ale Lay Loo Ya, Jayzus is Lord, Awl Mitey- Sharia style law down upon us. Given the chance, Corporations will have sovereignty over us all.

I refuse to bow before them. I will continue to fight them with every tool I still have. Voting is still viable. Weak, yes. Manipulated in many places, yes, but still powerful enough to keep our heads above water. USE IT, while we still can.

Then, continue taking the streets, Occupying parks, creating blockades around financial districts, and crowding our capital til the politicians can’t move without a social justice movement placard being waved in their faces. Inundate them with letters. (Hell, if it was possible, I’d do a  Citizens’ Arrests and charge ’em with Treason– because most of them have indeed committed Treason.)

If we can get a majority of Progressive candidates in, then we stand a chance of really weeding out the crooks.

And if you really want to restore our Democracy, then help empower our States to bypass Congress all together with an Article V Constitutional Convention of the States, to demand a 28th Amendment to the Constitution that states, unequivocally, that the Rights of “Personhood” belong ONLY to Human Beings…NOT Corporations. This will effectively overturn the disastrous SCOTUS ruling known as Citizens’ United, and other associated rulings that have given Corporations the power to control our lives and our Government.  More than 20 states are now in process of passing Resolutions demanding we do just that, and two have already done it!

Wanna know more? go to http://www.wolf-pac.com

And remember to VOTE in November. While we still can. Don’t let the Koch brothers own us.

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3 comments on “Voter Lookup

  1. VOTER SUPPRESSION and RESTRICTIONS ON ACTIVISM IN BRATTLEBORO

    Sky,
    I saw you in Brattleboro Vermont town meeting. Your tone is right. People have to recognize that voting is an important tool and they are foolish or pathetic to abandon it. On the other hand people who vote are foolish or pathetic to let this power be chopped away, and they are unaware that the erosion of voting powers is not a federal issue.

    A few years ago I started Brattleboro Common Sense. We are a very small group: One paid staff member, one you, one me, one donor, a few occasional helpers. We have gained a good mainstream reputation for turning back the Police-Fire project and are promoting voter participation and legislation to reverse local restrictions on free speech. Yes. There is a form of voter suppression in our little town, and there probably is in yours.

    At the budget meetings in May of this year discussion of the controversial and expensive Police-Fire project was procedurally forbidden. In 2010 Brattleboro town government was reprimanded by Vermont District Court for blocking a legally petitioned antinuclear resolution (EMDOVY) from the ballot. That same year a popular referendum reversed the town government’s vote on an unpopular trash-collection program. The apparent backlash: in 2011 the town representatives reviewed the powers of the people under the town charter and attempted to curtail the referendum power. They didn’t succeed, but they did virtually abolish the people’s traditional power to make laws (ordinances) and take votes showing public sentiment (resolutions). They gave themselves the authority to legally block from the ballot any ordinances started by the people, and they restricted voting on resolutions to one day a year, the first Tuesday in March. If voters had promoted a resolution concerning the town budget in March 2014, it couldn’t legally come to a vote until March 2015. If voters start an ordinance to establish a skate park, or a recycling system, or to address any local or national issue, town government can now block it from the ballot. The Pro-Democracy Amendments proposed here will restore self-governance and free speech, and enhance voter turnout. (We already have the ballot requirements for a Youth Vote amendment, lowering the voting age to 16 for local matters.) These amendments are designed to empower YOU. Whatever your cause or issue, when these amendments take effect, you can bring legislation directly to the people. We (BrattleboroCommonSense.org) ask people and organizations to endorse the amendments, to campaign with us, and we invite you to prepare a vigorous local agenda starting in November, 2016, when the amendments may take effect.

    Better background (Maybe you could make suggestions for my writing. I don’t CALL myself a writer, because . . . .). A summary of the amendments follows, and supporting documents are attached.

    Some forthright Brattleboro citizens have suggested, that in light of the NSA spying and also in light of the election reform amendments proposed by Brattleboro Common Sense, the people should consider this incident, that went mostly unreported and unnoticed two years ago. It concerns the National Incident Management System (NIMS) which is corollary to the Patriot Act, Homeland Security Act and related directives.

    Prior to the selectboard meeting of June 5, 2012, according to town manager Patrick Moreland, FEMA demanded that Brattleboro sign on to NIMS or be disqualified for FEMA grants. Ignoring the public’s right to know, the board wanted to approve a NIMS “resolution” at the June 5, 2012 meeting. It had only been listed in the agenda with no other information for the public. The “resolution” says only that the town will conform to NIMS standards, but does not say what the numerous and complicated standards are.

    Kurt Daims asked the board to allow the people to vote on it and cited Brattleboro charter (article IV section 6 paragraph AA) which says that public notice and two meetings were required to pass an ordinance. Selectman Chapman proposed to call it a protocol. The town manager confirmed the enforceable terms regarding grants, which make it by definition an ordinance, but either way, Daims argued, the board should not be re-labeling legislation in order to evade the law. Whatever kind of legislation they wish to call it, it must be first properly warned for the public.

    Under questioning from Spoon Agave and Howard Tissman, chairman DeGray was the first to admit he had not read the legislation. Actually, not one of the selectboard had read it. Selectmen Gartenstein and Chapman actually defended their right not to read the standards. Indeed, they didn’t even have a copy on hand for reference. Dora Bouboulis suggested that the resolution would violate the town Bill of Rights resolution (March 2003). No one on the board showed any interest in that resolution. Wat Stearns expressed urgent concern about the NIMS restricting free press and free speech and argued that it was unwise to bind the town to unspecified laws. The board finally agreed to postpone the matter for two days. At the next meeting (June 7, 2012) Chapman strongly defended his right to approve legislation after reading only parts of it. This was all plain as day and recorded on BCTV, June 5 and June 7 2012.

    The will of the people is disregarded in more than one way in this little incident. First it’s obvious that the board kept the details of the NIMS standards away from the public. And in a way that is a bit subtle, the board took no interest in the Bill of Rights Resolution of 2003. This resolution, overwhelmingly approved by a vote of 2116 to 559 in 2003, begins, “Whereas we believe that sections of the USA Patriot Act, the Homeland Security Act, and associated orders and rules of the executive branch violate: freedoms of speech, assembly and privacy; the rights to counsel and due process in judicial proceedings; and protection from unreasonable searches and seizures, as granted in the Bill of Rights . . .” . An official copy of this mandate can’t be found on the town web site or the town manager’s office. It can be found, along with other resolutions of the people, in a heavy tome in a vault in the basement of the municipal building. If the board were mindful of this expression of the people’s will, it should have compelled their vote against NIMS.

    Unfortunately this is not the only abuse of power in Brattleboro. Flash back to 2010. Former selectman Moss Kehler had led a referendum against the selectbaord and representative town meeting (RTM) to overturn the unpopular Pay As You Throw trash collection program. Later that year in an election-reform case brought by Kurt Daims the Vermont district court had rebuffed the selectboard for blocking a lawfully petitioned resolution from the ballot. The backlash: in 2011 the RTM amended the charter to restrict the peoples’ official free speech initiatives. There was an attempt to curtail referendums. By these amendments the RTM can now stop the people from bringing ordinances to the ballot, and resolutions can be on the ballot only at March town meeting. (Is that the day when you want free speech?)

    Flash forward to May 2014. At the budget meeting after the referendum Chris Chapman advised the selectboard to resubmit the same budget that the people had just rejected. Did anyone on the board say, “That would grossly violate the spirit of the law” or “Mr. Chapman, you can’t be serious!” ? No. Despite strong opposition to the budget and especially to the Police-Fire Project, the people could not petition for a resolution at that time. It would have been illegal because of the charter amendments that took effect in 2012.

    Whether it’s about Pay As You Throw or the Police-Fire Project or NIMS and the Patriot Act, in Brattleboro we have passed the point where town government disregards the people. Nowadays a prominent citizen can publicly advocate for disregarding the people’s will. Nowadays town government legally reduces the people’s rights to express their will, and past expressions of the people’s will are hidden in the basement. A free society – a free town – cannot tolerate these things. Brattleboro Common Sense will promote seven charter amendments to restore our rights (contact BrattleboroCommonSense@gmail.com). Think globally, act locally. In order for people to fight the Koches, or climate chaos, we must take back the powers that have been taken from us.

    BrattleboroCommonSense.org (under construction)

    Kurt Daims BrattleboroCommonSense@gmail.com

    http://brattleborotv.org/brattleboro-selectboard/brattleboro-sb-mtg-6512 (June 5, 2012)
    http://brattleborotv.org/brattleboro-selectboard/brattleboro-sb-special-mtg-6712 (June 7, 2012)
    (BrattleboroCommonSense.org under construction)

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    • Hi Kurt,
      We should definitely talk some more. I had no idea our own town was doing this kind of thing! I’d been wondering why the town was moving forward on building a new home, when I knew the townspeople had said NO to it! I questioned how it was possible to spend so many millions on a new office bldg when we are struggling to pay for things like trash pick up, and decent sidewalk clearing in the winter (let alone the roads!). As a person with mobility issues, I am virtually housebound in the winter because the sidewalks are far too dangerous and difficult, forcing me to use the road, regardless of whether I’m using my wheelchair. Considering that Brattleboro has the highest property taxes in the state, disregarding the voters–and tax payers–of this town is immoral as well as illegal.

      My suggestion to you: please join the Vermont Workers’ Center as well; we collaborate with many other Human Rights and Social Justice based organizations. Perhaps yours could become a part of what we do?(I don’t know how that happens yet, but as it is organized by members using a Democratic process, all things are possible! Let’s find out!) We not only support other groups in words, we support them in actions, such as joining marches, assisting legislative actions, etc. We’re having an Orientation mtg on 11/5. At least, in this way, I could incorporate your efforts into my involvement and activity.

      Somehow, the concept of By, Of and For the People has been lost, and those we have entrusted with speaking on OUR behalf, about OUR issues, and to respond to OUR demands, have forgotten! Now-a-days, politicians seem to operate from a belief that theirs is a position of power OVER the people, with rights to CONTROL what laws that THEY decide to impose. And, get paid for it.

      We gave them their jobs, we can take them away, too,. And we need to start using our ability to do this when our elected public SERVANTS forget the purpose for which they were entrusted with those jobs. We have to fire their asses.

      This rule they put in place to limit our ability to utilize our Democratic processes needs some serious action to overturn.

      Like

    • Hi Kurt,
      I just took the time to re-read your response to my article a few months ago, and was so moved by the documented evidence and detailed report you provided, that I would like to ask your permission to copy and paste it, in it’s entirety, onto a page to be listed under my Menu heading “by Other People”. I have not built much of a viewing audience, as my blog is still quite new, but at least it would be on the web in such as way that could link to it –yes, it would be beneficial for me as well, but I feel your efforts need to get noticed in any way possible. I see that your own site is still under construction, so until you have it going, I would be happy to keep this, and perhaps future reports from you, available on that particular page. Let me know what you think. peace, Sky

      Like

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