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Health Care & Environment
04.24 Disney, the Gap and Pepsi urged to quit US Chamber of Commerce ["Its a small world after all..." – Disney]
04.22 Neil deGrasse Tyson on the Threat of Science Denial [4 videos]
04.22 Nearly 40 million people live in UK areas with illegal air pollution [rather than maximizing profit from fossil fuels, better policy embracing science could dramatically improve life on earth]
04.22 Bill Nye the Science Guy on Trump: 'We are in a dangerous place' [we need the opposite of Trump to advance the country and world]
04.22 Electric flying car that takes off vertically could be future of transport [videos; new solid-state lithium battery technolgy—led? by Dr. Goodenough—may double performance and recharge speed while eliminating risk of lithium battery fire]
04.20 How to Stop Drug Price Gouging [and why hasn't the U.S. Government done this?]
News Media Matters
US Politics, Policy & 'Culture'
04.22 Group of Mental Health Professionals Warn Trump's State 'Putting Country in Danger' [the Goldwater Rule is excessive courtesy if it shields Trump from suspect mental health evaluation]
04.22 Texas Keeps Failing to Convince Federal Courts Its Voting Laws Aren't Racist [it’s like immorality is their code of conduct]
Economics, Crony Capitalism
04.22 In Latest Populist Betrayal, Trump Executive Order Unchains Wall Street Greed [misfeasance, nonfeasance, and malfeasance]
04.24 Trump push for border wall threatens to cause government shutdown [since inexpensive electric flying cars are about to be sold, building any wall is just stupid]
04.24 How France Voted
Voting Systems Lawsuit Reaches U.S. Supreme Court
It's clear to me that without direct access to a physical ballot and meaningful transparency in the [voting] process, our elections have no integrity whatsoever," says plaintiff Lynn Landis.A little-noticed voting rights lawsuit has made its way to the U.S. Supreme Court (Docket No. 05-930). It constitutes the first legal challenge to the widespread use of nontransparent voting systems. Specifically, the lawsuit challenges the use of voting machines and absentee voting in elections for public office.
The lawsuit was originally filed by freelance journalist Lynn Landes in July of 2004 in Philadelphia federal court (U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania). The Third Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against Landes on November 2, 2005.
In her lawsuit Landes claims that, as a voter and a journalist, she has the right to direct access to a physical ballot and to observe the voting process unimpeded. Voting by machine or absentee, Landes claims, introduces obstacles and concealment to a process that must be accessible and transparent in a meaningful and effective manner.
Landes is representing herself in this action.
"I tried to get civil rights organizations interested in this case, but had no luck," said Landes in a prepared statement to the press. "Their disregard for this issue is incredible. It's clear to me that without direct access to a physical ballot and meaningful transparency in the process, our elections have no integrity whatsoever."
The defendants in the Landes lawsuit are Margaret Tartaglione, Chair of the City Commissioners of Philadelphia; Pedro A. Cortes, Secretary of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania; and Alberto Gonzales, Attorney General of the United States.
Attorneys for the defendants have successfully fought Landes, claiming that she did not prove an injury and therefore does not have standing. Landes counters that she has the right to challenge the constitutionality of acts of the legislative branch under federal statute and case law, most significantly under Marbury v. Madison, 5 U.S. 137 (1803).
It was only after the Civil War, as the elective franchise expanded to minorities and women, that three changes to state and federal election laws were adopted that eventually made the voting process a private and nontransparent enterprise.
Prior to the Civil War, voting was a public and transparent process. It was only after the war, as the elective franchise expanded to minorities and women, three changes to state and federal election laws were adopted that eventually made the voting process a private and nontransparent enterprise: absentee voting was allowed (1870's), the Australian secret ballot method was adopted (1880's), and voting machines were permitted by Congress (1899).
Today, 94.6% of all votes are processed by machines and approximately 30% of all voting is conducted early or by absentee.
The defendants' response is due at the Supreme Court no later than February 24, 2006.
The Landes lawsuit can be found here. (If a password is required to see the document, type in anything and you should get in anyway.)
The case docket no. can be viewed here.
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This story was published on February 6, 2006.