Wednesday, March 10, 2004

Black Box Backlash
Seattle Weekly: News: by George Howland Jr.

Bev Harris of Renton created a firestorm with her national Internet campaign against electronic voting. Now she's trying to persuade people in the real world that their democracy is on the line.

America's leading critic of electronic voting lives on a cul-de-sac in the blue-collar suburb of Renton. Bev Harris drives a gray Dodge Caravan with a bumper sticker that says, "Keep honking, I'm reloading." Last year, several things broke in her home— the furnace, a sink, and a toilet—and she didn't have the money to get them fixed right away. In fact, the sink and toilet are still broken.
At 53, Harris worries about being overweight, and she can't find a hairdresser she's happy with. In recent years she's made her living as a literary publicist, hawking such books as Odyssey of the Soul by Hugh Harmon and Pamela Chilton, which is about channeling spirits, and Two Codes for Murder, a true-crime story by Dorothea Fuller Smith. A year and half ago, she admits, "I thought voting was boring."

Clearly, Harris' feelings about voting have changed a lot in the past 18 months. Voting has become Harris' passion and vocation. Voting issues consume her life, even pushing her to work around the clock at times.

Since September 2002, Harris has battled a U.S. senator, large corporations, and election officials across the country in her effort to ensure our votes are counted fairly and accurately. At first, she focused on the problems with computer voting. Since then, the name of her Web site ( and her book devoted to the subject—Black Box Voting—have become shorthand for concerns about computers and elections. Moreover, her astounding discoveries on the subject have resulted in damning research by distinguished computer-science professors and numerous articles in major newspapers across the country. Secretaries of state, including Republican Sam Reed of Washington and Democrat Kevin Shelley of California, have responded by proposing key changes in how we will cast our ballots in the future.


All Hail Bev Harris..... a modern day American hero, a true patriot, and a tireless fighter for our rights and democracy. If only we fought along side here with anything resembling the same level of dedication and vigor.


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