Protect Our Democracy

The 2000 presidential election caused a crisis of confidence in our voting system. The 2004 election saw eligible voters unable to vote and hours-long lines in the rain, which deepened people's skepticism about fair elections.

Properly run elections are the foundation of our democracy, and there is no reason why states like Ohio and Florida should continue to have problems. But too many of us take for granted that these problems will take care of themselves.

They won't. That's why it's so important to have a clear set of principles for conducting elections and for supporting secretary of state candidates who will uphold these principles.

It's up to those of us who care about our democracy to take up this fight. That is why I am asking you to join me by supporting this simple declaration of principles and advocating them to the secretary of state or election official in your state. Read the principles and sign on here:

//www.heartlandpac.org/VOTES

The core principles every election official should adopt can be summed up with a simple acronym: VOTES. The VOTES declaration outlines the steps needed to protect our right to vote and to restore confidence that all eligible citizens can vote and be assured their vote will be counted. Here's the text of the declaration:

To restore public confidence that voting is a right not a privilege I believe:

VERIFIABLE: Every vote cast must be counted by a system that is auditable with a verifiable paper trail.

OBJECTIVE: Every election official must conduct their responsibilities openly and objectively to restore public confidence.

TOUGH: Every law to prevent voter intimidation and fraud must be vigorously enforced.

EQUAL: Every citizen must have equal access to locations, adequate machines and well-trained election judges.

SECURE: Every voting machine must be secured during all aspects of voting to protect the integrity of the count.

Will you sign this declaration? By signing you will join a nationwide campaign to demand that these core principles be implemented and upheld in your state and across the country.

Sign the declaration now and add your feedback:

//www.heartlandpac.org/VOTES

In 2006, twenty-one states will elect a secretary of state who has responsibility for the voting process. It's time we elect candidates who will restore confidence and integrity to the electoral process. The declaration demands a system that is verifiable, objective, tough on intimidation and fraud, equal and secure.

This election season will decide the future of our elections for years to come. There are crucial elections for secretary of state in places like Ohio, Iowa, Nevada, Colorado and 17 other states.

We need to make our voice heard in every state -- to the incumbents who will run this year's election and to the candidates vying to be entrusted with future elections.

Take the first step by signing on to the Declaration:

//www.heartlandpac.org/VOTES

Over the coming weeks you will be hearing more about the best and the worst of practices in various states, and learning about how you personally can improve and protect our democracy by advocating on these issues and educating others.

All the values we hold dear mean very little if ordinary Americans can't express their will clearly and accurately at the polls. I hope you'll join me as we take on the fight to address this fundamental aspect of our democracy.

Best,

Tom Vilsack
//www.pbs.org/whatson/index.html


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