|Honest, reliable, transparent and voter verified elections are the bedrock of our democracy, yet there are those who, out of ignorance or greed, would have you accept something less. We ask you to join our fight to preserve this democracy for the generations to come. For their sake and ours, we must win, and win we shall!|
The Citizens’ Alliance for Secure Elections (C.A.S.E.) is a non-partisan organization of citizens from across Ohio who advocate for elections that are secure, reliable, and employ the nation’s best practices. We inform the public, the media, political leaders and government officials about problems in Ohio which we believe compromise our voting system, and about the best solutions to these problems.
We have focused on two major areas:
1. Electronic Voting machines (DREs). We research and point out dangerous shortcomings of DREs without a voter verifiable paper trail, because they are not secure, not reliable, and not subject to meaningful recount. We are working to implement Ohio House Bill 262, which requires that by Jan. 2006, all Ohio counties with DREs provide a voter verifiable paper trail capacity. We also advocate national Best Practices to minimize future malfunctions and malfeasance.
2. Serious failings in Ohio’s election process have effectively disenfranchised massive numbers of Ohioans. Current
processing of voter registration applications and changes of address;
polling place procedures including provisional ballot rules and
allocation of voting machines; and methods to avoid voter, poll worker,
and Board of Elections errors on election day must all
be vastly improved. Where there is inaction on the part of Boards of
Elections or the Ohio Secretary of State, we alert the public. We also
recommend practical solutions based on national research and
experience, and advocate their immediate implementation.
How we formed:
In March, 2004 we came as individual activists to the
hearings by the Joint Committee on Ballot Security. We came as
individuals or with one or two friends to witness 22 hours of testimony
held over several days time. On the second day of testimony, we
realized that many were there with the same concerns and met in the
cafeteria in the basement of the Ohio statehouse. Fourteen of us
decided then to form a group to stay informed on the election issues
and to do what we could to improve the process. Within a little more
than a week, we had a name, CASE, and a yahoo group: CASE_OH@.
CASE began when concerned citizens gathered to testify
before the Ohio Joint Committee on Ballot Security in March 2004. As
the committee heard 22 hours of testimony about the need for a VVPAT
(Voter Verified Paper Audit Trail), several individuals who were there
to witness and testify, saw others there who shared a common interest.
Fourteen met after the second session in the basement
cafeteria of the statehouse and formed the association of activists that has played an important role in keeping the issue of fair and open
elections before the public.
After the Joint Committee on Ballot Security voted 8 to 1 in favor of VVPAT the newborn CASE thought for a few days that their work was done. They quickly realized that many obstacles remained. Even after the Ohio Senate voted unanimously for VVPAT in HB262 and the House followed with a nearly unanimous vote, it was clear that there were many forces set against the election. The new legislation did not require VVPAT implementation until 2006 and many counties were set to purchase equipment in 2004 with no assurances that upgrades would even be available. Even more importantly, HB262 did not require that the VVPAT records be reviewed or audited with a hand count to ensure there were no systematic problems. CASE kept the issues of purchasing the machines too soon before the public and eventually Secretary of State Blackwell and the county boards backed down and decided to wait until they were needed for the 2006 election.
CASE organized their first rally, "Verify the Vote" for April 17, 2004. They then joined a national coalition of 18 rallys with one in Columbus on July 13, 2004 called "Computer Ate My Vote." They continued with rallys and protests, sent information packets to all the Boards of Elections, and wrote to and visited representatives and senators. Their relationship with Ohio lawmakers has been an important part of the success so far in working for better election systems in Ohio. Lawmakers would support CASE when they had a rally, and CASE would show up when lawmakers needed support. Never organized in any traditional sense, but relying on the internet and phone to network, they reached out to nearly 100 concerned citizens, and could form a crowd when necessary.
CASE was active again through the elections focusing on registration irregularities and working with several others (including Americans for Democracy) to document the extend of the problems and resolve the many unanswered questions.
Through all this, CASE remained a loose association of activists which fosters to a certain creative spontaneity that is the spirit of the activist. But this lack of structure also poses problems. So principles within CASE formed CASE_America, which is small and structured as a 501(c)3 organization. With the ability of raising funds, CASE_America will be able to provide grants and loans to CASE_OH as well as others for election work.