Wednesday, June 2, 2010

It's now official: Rob Richie and FairVote have no shame!

On his astro-turf IRV Factcheck blog, FairVote's Rob Richie attacked NC Verified Voting advocate Joyce McCloy, claiming she was behind the wave of anger directed at Richie after Richie published a tribute to election integrity advocate John Gideon claiming that Gideon supported IRV.

Richie is getting to be a one-trick pony: he can't help but work something about IRV into everything he writes! But his half-assed denial of dragging Gideon's name into the whole IRV debate was also an attack on an election integrity advocate who not only does the Daily Voting News but also got an election integrity award named after John Gideon himself!

To say that some people were pissed is an understatement. You all know how I feel. Brad Friedman of BradBlog wrote to Richie and demanded an apology:

Subject: Shame on you, Rob. You owe Joyce a BIG apology
From: Brad Friedman
Date: 5/29/2010 5:46 PM

Rob Richie -

I have done my best, publicly, to stay out of the public and well-funded Internet and lobbyist-whisper-campaign jihad that you and Fair Vote have waged on those who have an honest, and very reasonable, opposition to IRV and the serious dangers it poses to transparent, citizen-overseeable democracy. Vigorous, fair minded, public debate of differing opinions is, after all, at the heart of democracy.

But now you've simply, and outrageously, gone too far. You owe an immediate and sincere apology to Joyce McCloy for the insinuations in this article and in its inappropriate headline.

You compare McCloy's advocacy for transparent, citizen-overseeable elections to "McCarthyism", which is obnoxious enough, but then you go on to write (seemingly without any self-awareness or irony whatsoever):

I suspect it was her effort in the wake of verified voting champion John Gideon's death last year to spread the allegation among his friends that I was seeking to use his death to promote instant runoff voting.

You "suspect" that, do you? Do you have any such evidence of same? Or are you just hoping to use *McCarthyite* tactics to defame her, in hopes of supporting your own cause, in a public space?

For the record, there were MANY within the Election Integrity Movement (no, not the "election security movement" as FairVote's chair recently, embarrassingly, described it -- revealing an extraordinary lack of understanding and/or concern for EI), who decried what seemed to be your opportunistic invocation of John Gideon's name after his death.

For the record, no, he did NOT support IRV, nor was he 'neutral' on the subject, contrary to your blog post above. He opposed it, at least as made clear to me during many of my daily conversations with him. If he did not express that publicly, (don't know if he put his position on public record or not), he certainly expressed many times to me his concerns about it, and the idea that it was an insane notion, given our current electoral system mess.

Nonetheless, I am unaware of evidence to suggest, as you do, that it was McCloy's "effort in the wake of verified voting champion John Gideon's death last year to spread the allegation among his friends that I was seeking to use his death to promote instant runoff voting." But yet you use to suggest as much.

That is appalling, Rob. Simply appalling.

Your shameless attack(s) against McCloy -- and the similar, recent, embarrassing attack against the EI movement as a whole by your chairman -- would suggest that the positive values of IRV in elections, whatever they may be, are not enough to support your advocacy for them. Instead, you feel it necessary to attack a fellow (if unpaid, unlike yourself) democracy advocate -- one who recently won an award in John Gideon's name, btw(!) -- simply because she has the temerity to public disagree with your position, and proffer a case to support her reasons for doing so.

Shame on you, Rob. Or, as Joseph Welch famously said, since you were kind enough to (ironically enough) quote it: "I think I have never really gauged your cruelty or your recklessness. ... You've done enough. Have you no sense of decency, sir? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?"

Please retract, correct, apologize for what you've done here, and then reign in FairVote's reckless, embarrassing chair person for the obnoxious, disrespectful and ill-informed blog comments recently posted as well.

And, after you do the above, I hope you will inform yourself and your chair person, about what the Election Integrity Movement is, and what "transparency" and citizen oversight actually mean. No, contrary to your post above, it has nothing -- nothing -- to do with your well-funded group's praise-worthy support of a "right to voice in the Constitution".

Once again: Shame on you, Rob. I hope you show the sense of decency to set things right this time.

Brad Friedman

Creator/Publisher The BRAD BLOG,
How did Rob Richie respond to Brad's message to him? Well, he changed the original attack posting against Joyce McCloy which was sort of an apology to Joyce. Here is the archived original attack post on Joyce, and here is the edited version which is at the original link.

It wasn't much of an apology. For Brad, that was the last straw. Here is Brad's next note to Rob:


Subject: That's it? Seriously?
From: Brad Friedman
Date: 6/01/2010 3:53 PM

That's it? That your
transparent correction and retraction and apology for comparing a fellow democracy advocate to McCarthy? You simply made your post disappear?

It's apparent that not only does FairVote not give a damn about transparent, citizen-overseeable elections, it also doesn't give a damn about transparency advocacy for so-called Instant Runoff Voting!

Little surprise then that real Election Integrity heroes like Joyce McCloy and so many others are fighting so hard against IRV as well as the deceptive propagandizing that FairVote has been doing in favor of it.

And while you delete the post and offer an "apology" for an "inaccuracy" of one aspect of your item, you didn't see fit to have the decency to apology for comparing her to Joseph McCarthy even as you, yourself, used nothing less than a McCarthy-esque tactic to disparage her and her efforts in the very same breath.

Since you determined to delete your original offensive post, refuse to allow comments at your so-called "IRV Fact Check" blog, and refused as well to post my reply to it, as requested, I'm CC'ing Joyce here and asking her to post my comment in full at any of her blogs, to any of her mailing lists with or without your original offensive post as she she's fit. (Joyce, please feel free to include the above text as well).

Repeated dishonest and deceptive tactics that I have witnessed over the years by both you and FairVote have now officially equaled the dishonesty and deceptive tactics I've seen by voting machine companies such as Diebold, ES&S and Sequoia. For that, you and your group have officially earned a spot in the Democracy Hall of Shame. While I have endeavored to work with you over the years, even where you and I did not always see eye-to-eye, you have finally crossed the line. If you and FairVote were looking for a war with the Election Integrity community, don't be surprised if you've finally brought one on. Folks like Joyce do not give up in their fight for transparent, overseeable democracy, and neither do I…


Brad Friedman
Publisher/Editor, The BRAD BLOG


Brad Friedman is the publisher of , The Green News Report, a 2010 Project Censored Award Recipient. a winner of Politics Site of the Day, winner of 2004 and 2005 Kofax awards, a 2008 weblog awards finalist, a March 2010 Buzzflash Wings of Justice honoree, and a member of the Velvet Revolution Election Protection Strike Force.
Welcome to the fight! I've been at war with FairVote and other groups for years over how IRV threatens election integrity. I've had FairVote employees and fellow travelers call me a "liar" for years. I've had election officials in my own party who get flown around the country by FairVote to promote IRV call me a "Republican" when I took on 4 of them and defeated IRV in Raleigh back in 2007. For the record, I am a very partisan Democrat when not dealing with verified voting matters.

I had the husband of the leader of the local League of Women Voters get in my face and almost punch me out for the work I've done to defeat IRV in my own state. The original IRV pilot bill calls for up to 10 municipalities and counties to try it between 2007 and 2009 (inclusive). In 2007, 7 communities considered it but only 2 used it, and only one contest needed IRV to determine a winner beyond the 1st column. That IRV tabulation was botched by the state's best county Board of Election because they were too vested in making IRV look " easy as 1-2-3!"

In 2008 - no communities used it because it was too risky to use - a violation of state and federal election laws and regulations. But IRV advocates took advantage of a low-turnout statewide primary runoff to call for and get an 2 years of the original IRV extension pilot. But that allowed election integrity advocates to include requirements that the IRV pilot follow election laws and regulations - something not included in the original pilot program legislation.

In 2009, IRV advocates really pushed Cary NC to participate in the pilot again, but Cary turned them down cold. It was then that election integrity advocates learned, while there were legal requirements for hearings if communities were going to consider switching legal and tested election methods, there was no such requirement for communities considering election pilots.

In the 2009 legislative session, election integrity advocates were able to amend the IRV pilot program to include a requirement for a public hearing before a community could participate in the pilot - a big win for election integrity advocates, because so far IRV has been a less than transparent program. And in 2009 - only one community used IRV needlessly because they had first-round winners in every contest.

I am used to it now, but it still amazes me that Rob Richie and the "Knights of the IRV Table" still feel the need to attack election integrity activists like Joyce McCloy - it must mean we are turning the tables on them! Although they are getting a few more communities to consider using IRV, they aren't going down the referendum route and going directly to municipal boards, in some cases traveling with elected officials and hanging out in their motel rooms to better indoctrinate them on the many virtues of IRV. This helps keep them from doing research that might show them that IRV isn't as popular as they claim it is or does all they say it will do.

But some municipal officials are taking note of the work of election integrity advocates when they speak out against IRV at public hearings. The fact is that the more IRV is talked about at public hearings, and the more a community has a chance to find out about it from BOTH sides, the less likely a community will use it.

No comments: