Several months ago I went to Hillsborough for a demonstration of the ESS voting equipment. I saw the tried and true, paper ballot optical scan code machine and the fancy, complex and, I think, easy-to-tamper-with, touch screen unit. Wisely, the Board of Elections recommended the optical scan over the touch screen.

My greatest concerns were the easy physical access afforded the internals of the machine, the temptation to network the units and the lack of software verification by independent citizen’s groups. Local Verified Voting member and Duke computer science grad, Justin Moore has covered some of the issues with NC’s voting equipment, including Orange County.

The BOE says the machines are doing well. Field reports indicate smooth operation. Upshot?

Don’t fear the optical vote reapers.

If the machines are working fine, what about the voters? Low turnout to-date, so it’s key to get out and vote for folk that, de facto, will be your representatives.


U.S. Congress, District 14

If you read OrangePolitics, my enthusiastic support for Kent Kanoy will come as no surprise.

Former Congressman David Price has, historically, brought home the Federal bacon. His supporters suggest that with a Democratically controlled Congress, Price’s position on the homeland security subcommittee of the powerful House Appropriations Committee will, somehow, benefit his constituents.

It’s great to get some of those tax dollars we send to Washington back in our district, working on our behalf, but the link from homeland security seems rather tenuous.

Further, money isn’t everything! Our country is in a mess and we need some principled leadership!

I’m voting for a representative capable of taking a principled stand against the Iraq war, domestic surveillance, the sneak-n-peek Patriot Act, special interest Bankruptcy Bills.

Kanoy has pledged to restore the rule of law and call for the impeachment of our lawless President (Bush, Sunday, has once again averred his belief that he doesn’t have to adhere to any of the 750+ federal laws passed during his tenure).

Kent will push for real healthcare reform, supporting universal healthcare and an equalization of congressional and citizen health benefits.

Orange County Commissioners

Fred Battle

Fred, for decades, has been on the forefront of many of the progressive changes beyond Chapel Hiil and into the wider Orange County community. Beyond being a former member of the Chapel Hill/Carrboro School board, Fred has had a strong influence on the development of our community’s social and environmental consciousness.

During this year’s election, Fred has demonstrated a consistent grasp of current issues, responding with effective proposals in a thoughtful and measured fashion.

Alice Gordon

We can expect Alice to continue leading on the environment, to take on the our county’s budget problems and expand citizen participation in local governance. I appreciate her efforts to re-think the district voting travesty.

Mike Nelson

Mike’s campaign is dealing with some late-breaking criticism because half his campaign contributions came from outside the county. I understand why GLBT PACs would want to support one of the few gay candidates in the state (and even nation), but I’m worried about the “what’s good for the goose, is good for the gander” problem.

I’m deeply troubled by these contributions, even if in a “good cause”,and by this precedent. I also expect that he’ll be responding to these citizen concerns.

And while I don’t agree with Mike on light rail, educational reform or a number of other issues, he has put forth great proposals I easily agree with covering energy, technology, business growth and transportation.

Should the contribution issue, the annexation fight or the potential for a school merger decision disqualify Mike? No. Mike will be a strong commissioner, slugging it out on the issues vital to our county – taxes, governmental efficiencies, technology outreach, social justice, the environment.

Superior Court Judge, district 15B

Allen Baddour

What more can I say (check my post on Judge Baddour) about Allen. I know him, first, as a parent and, second, as a judge.

Allen is a great choice for the next 8 years.

Chuck Anderson or Michael Patrick

Chuck had a good record as a District Judge, he’s demonstrated a commitment to our community, spent nearly a decade with Legal Service (serving the underserved) and has pledged “to bring greater efficiency and dignity to our District’s judicial process and to the work of each individual in our system”.

While Chuck has my vote, Michael has strong support among some local folk that are “in the know”.

NC Supreme Court

Robin Hudson

While Robin has been widely endorsed, been active on the bench, spent 25 years in legal practice, I’m voting for her because I’m against the death penalty.

Robin, as three former Supreme’s (Exum,Frye,Mitchell) put it “is a sound legal scholar who is fair and impartial.”

I hope that between her progressive credentials and sound legal scholarship, Robin will help steer our State away from its ill-conceived policy.

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