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Member since: Mon Dec 7, 2009, 12:10 PM
Number of posts: 1,104

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Electronic Voting Machines Failed to Record all my Votes

Pennsylvania held its primary on May 20th. At the polls, I ran into a bunch of friends and we decided, as a joke, to write my name in for Representative for the 137th district. (No democrat had gotten on the ticket to oppose Republican Joe Emrick). Laughing, we all got instructions for how to do a write in vote on the Sequoia AVC Advantage machines and took our place in line.

That night a friend called me with the results. “You got 2 write in votes.”

“But 5 people voted for me,” I told her. “You were there when we all voted.”

“Yeah, I don’t get it either.”

A call to voting machine technician yielded nothing but frustration. After explaining what happened, I was informed that my friends were idiots who didn’t know how to follow instructions. After I icily pointed out that there were 2 PhDs, a master’s degree and a BA among the 5 voters and everyone knew how to use a computer, he switched to a new explanation. “Your friends must have lied about voting for you.” Once he got picked that line of reasoning he stuck to it. My friends were only humoring me when they said they’d written my name in. No, it didn’t matter that I had witnessed 2 of them quizzing the poll workers on the instructions.

So I got 5 signatures on 5 depositions, all attesting that, to the best of the signee’s knowledge, they had written my name in for Representative of the 137th district. In response I received a letter from the County of Northampton Board of Elections stating that the machines are tested and inspected before every election. The fact that they failed during a real life experiment didn’t seem to bother them.

I’ve heard rumors that I’m not the only one who had this problem. People in other districts wrote in someone’s name as a lark, but it didn’t register on the final tally.

It appears all that paranoia about electronic voting machines may have not been so paranoid after all. And, if you’re thinking about running a write-in campaign in Pennsylvania, be advised that the machines will not make it easy for you.

Very Ugly Anti-Immigrant Protest today in Bethlehem, PA

The haters were out in force this morning, protesting against Central American children receiving services at Kids Peace - a not-for-profit organization which provides help to children in crisis.

People who support caring for children were outnumbered but we did our best to dilute the hate, and the hate was on full display. One woman had a sign urging motorists to not support upcoming Kids Peace fundraisers. At one point, they people waving confederate flags led a prayer through a bullhorn. Too bad Jesus didn't weigh in with His opinion of their antics.

When we left I had to walk my kid up the side of the road with no sidewalks and across four lanes of traffic. We couldn't use the crosswalk to get back to Kids Peace because at least one of the anti-immigrant haters was carrying a gun.

The Bible supports abortion

It's true. The topic of abortion appears exactly once in the Bible, in Numbers, chapter 5, verses 19-28.

A man thinks his wife committed adultery so he brings her to a priest. The priest makes her swallow 'the water of bitterness' (in some versions it's 'the bitter water that brings the curse' i.e. menstrual cycle) and says a prayer over her. If she's guilty of adultery, she'll have 'untimely birth and miscarriage'.

The water of bitterness is clearly an abortifacient --so how can 'religious' companies claim that god is against abortifacients?

My state representative reveals his true nature

This past week, I met with my state representative, Joe Emrick (PA District 137). Local OFA members have been calling him for weeks about pending legislation on gun sales. After nearly a month of runaround, we were told we could meet Rep. Emrick in person, if we could get to his office in the next two hours.

Three of us arrived on time, if a little breathless, to have a chat about guns.

Despite our phone calls and emails, Emrick claimed to know nothing about HB 1010 (expansion of background checks to include long guns) or HB 1243 (prohibiting the private sales or transfer of guns) then proceeded to spew out a number of pro-gun talking points, informing us that background checks wouldn’t have stopped the massacre at Sandy Hooke and that laws are useless when a maniac decides to go on a rampage.

“If that’s true, why bother passing laws at all?” I asked, thinking he had chosen a strange profession if he thought laws were useless.

Emrick conceded I had a point by changing the subject.

In the wrap up, I made a simple observation. “I consider this to be a public health issue. Thirty thousand Americans die from gun violence every year and thirty thousand die of the flu. If we’re going to try and do something about flu, we should also try and do something about gun violence.”

Emrick looked at me and demanded, “How many of those deaths are due to gangbangers and inner city crime?”

“Are you asking me how many of those people were American citizens? Because I think it’s most of them and one person’s death shouldn’t matter less than another’s.”

Cue meltdown of Joe Emrick accusing me of calling him a bigot.

I’ve bumped into this NRA talking point before, what surprised me is that an elected official had no idea how offensive it is. Why should the death of someone in a poor neighborhood matter less than the death of a child at Sandy Hooke? The Coast Guard doesn’t discriminate when someone’s drowning. The fire department doesn’t do a house appraisal before rushing in to save a kid.

But this week, I found out that Joe Emrick does think about what kind of child he’s going to protect before he steps up to take a vote.
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