The #Resistance is unlike anything seen in recent politics, say congressional staffers and political observers. Activism is at an all-time high, and there is talk of this energy resulting in a progressive sweep of both houses of Congress in 2018. This would hamstring Trump and make possible his impeachment, if it hasn't happened by then.
The energy is there. But this talk is a fantasy as long as the election system which allowed Hillary Clinton to cheat her way to the nomination is still in place. The fact is, if the election system were honest, Bernie Sanders would now be president. Every poll showed Bernie beating Trump by over ten points, in contrast to Hillary's neck-and-neck race with Trump.
If we want to take back Congress, we need to take back the election system first. In Florida, the Democratic primary contest between progressive challenger Tim Canova and incumbent Debbie Wassernan-Schultz, the former chair of the DNC, showed strong signs of being hacked for the incumbent. It is pointless to spend energy trying to put better people in Congress if the vote-counting system is hacked, and those with the keys to the corporate, proprietary vote-counting software can steal all that hard work with a few key strokes.
So how do we do this? Fortunately, we have years of work by dedicated activists to build on. We know how to have fair and honest vote-counting. Most advanced countries in past years have returned to hand-counted paper ballots.
After much experimentation with the kind of machine-counted paper ballots in use in most of the US today, it has been discovered that vote-counting machines are easy to hack. Therefore counting ballots by hand, in full view of the public, not in secret, is now deemed the "gold standard" in election integrity. Organizations such as Black Box Voting, Election Justice USA, and Election Defense Alliance have all studied the problem thoroughly and come to this conclusion. Worldwide, Germany, Canada, France, Ireland, Italy, Denmark, Finland, and 53 other countries all have 100% hand-counted ballots, even in major cities such as Berlin, Rome, and Paris. This year the Netherlands began hand-counting ballots in response to concerns over machine hacking in the US presidential election.
The following is a list of the core elements which state legislators must incorporate into a best-practices hand-counted paper ballot system. These points are largely taken from Election Defense Alliance.
(1) Electronic voting machines are not involved in this process in any way whatsoever.
(2) Each voter hand marks a sturdy paper ballot with a black felt pen provided at the precinct.
(3) The counting process happens at each precinct immediately after the polls close.
(4) Each ballot is hand-counted by registered voters from that precinct in full view of other registered voters from that precinct.
(5) The counting process is filmed.
(6) Results are posted at each precinct, immediately after the counting.
(7) A chain of custody of the ballots and ballot boxes is specified.
(8) Ballot boxes are observed and filmed as they are opened and closed and move from place to place.
(9) Digital ballot images, where available, must be preserved and posted or available in a digital format.
(10) Mail-in ballots or early voting only allowed under stringent circumstances, such as military deployment or physical handicap affecting mobility.
For a newspaper article describing hand-counted paper ballots in action, go to "County becoming known for hand-counting votes," (Hudson Register -Star, July 7, 2015)
For an activist's roadmap on how to pass legislation at your state house, go to this page at Hand Count the Ballots.
Hacking Scene from HBO Documentary "Hacking Democracy"
Wry Grin on March 31, 2017: