... from the Campaign Trail ...
La Pietra Still Looking for Joint Statewide Recount to Have SOS Race Lead the Way Towards "Auditing the Vote"
John Anthony La Pietra
386 Boyer Court * Marshall, MI 49068
John Anthony La Pietra
for Fairer, Better Elections Secretary of State * Green Party
News Release: October 24, 2010
Will Make Pledge Again at Candidate Forum Friday Night at Kendall College of Art and Design in Grand Rapids
Hopes to Invite Four Rivals for SOS Spot in Person to Join in Paying Fair Shares of $50,000 Recount Fee
Sampling Audits More Cost-Effective, But Not in State Law -- Yet
John Anthony La Pietra, the Green Party of Michigan’s candidate for Secretary of State, hasn't heard back from any of his four opponents saying they'll match his pledge and pay their fair shares of the $50,000 fee for a statewide recount.
So John will make yet another call Friday night for the five candidates to make their race to be Michigan's chief elections officer an example of the need for verification of voting results. And this time, he hopes, his rivals will hear him -- because they'll be sharing a stage in Grand Rapids.
John would actually prefer a sampling audit of the election, such as has been proposed by the Michigan Election Reform Alliance (MERA), to show the cost-effectiveness of that approach. MERA's auditing plan is discussed in detail, with the rest of its legislative agenda, on its Website at
a href="http://www.michiganelectionreformalliance.org/legis.html" target="_blank">http://www.michiganelectionreformalliance.org/legis.html
But state law makes no provision for audits yet, notes John. So a recount is the best way available to “restore people’s faith that it’s worth voting -- that their votes will count . . . and be counted.”
Under state law, the fee for a recount is $10 per precinct you ask to be recounted -- and there are over 5,000 precincts in Michigan. John's proposal is that each campaign ask for recounts in a share of precincts equal to the candidate's percentage of the vote, and pay a fair share of the $50,000+ total fee.
"This could be the biggest expense of my campaign if I do at all well, but I'll pay my fair share if the others will," John promises -- a promise in line with the Standing For Voters “Super Pledge” he has signed:
Media Coverage of Pledge Limited -- So Communicating It Friday Night May Be Key
But the others may not have heard much about the proposal -- even though John has mentioned his audit and recount proposals throughout his campaign, wherever and whenever he has had a chance to speak:
* In an open letter to the people September 3, in care of almost 200 newspapers across the state. To date, it has been published in three of them.
* In news releases August 22, September 17, and October 1 -- distributed to twice as many media outlets, and used only by a few blogs and alternative-party news compiler Websites.
* In answers to at least ten candidate questionnaires from various media.
* In public forums, as far away as Kingsford -- but so far, he's only met one of his four opponents.
* And in his "discussion paper" on protecting election rights, posted on the campaign Website at
So John hopes that his four rivals -- or at least their representatives -- will be present at the Secretary of State round of the Student Debate Series starting at 6:30pm on Friday, October 28 in the Lower Level Auditorium at Ferris State University's Kendall College of Art and Design (17 Fountain Street NW, Grand Rapids).
Restoring Trust in Election Results Where It's Needed Most -- in SOS Race
John also hopes to hear what the other four candidates have to say about some events that could threaten voters' faith in the "fairness and evenhandedness" required by the Purity of Elections clause in the state Constitution:
* The undercounts of votes for Presidential candidates of the Green Party and other alternative parties in 2008, as documented by MERA and reported by GPMI 6th District Congressional candidate Pat Foster's West Michigan News Company:
* The omission of all alternative-party candidates but one from the candidate list posted this past Friday on the Saginaw County Clerk's Office Website:
* And the need for Wayne County to reprint thousands of ballots for two County Commission districts when the Green candidates for those seats discovered and pointed out that they had been left off the ballots:
a href="http://www.detroitgreens.org/node/335" target="_blank">http://www.detroitgreens.org/node/335
"These are just some examples of the reasons why we need to reassure the people that election results are trustworthy," John says. "And where that trust is most needed is in the office that administers elections.”
John and fellow candidate Foster have already helped build trust on a smaller scale in last fall's contentious Benton Harbor City Commission elections. They persuaded the state to let them oversee *and videorecord* the processing of absentee ballots, while protecting each voter’s privacy and making sure the election inspectors did the same.
"Our work helped boost public confidence in the results," John points out proudly, "despite the fact that some of the winning margins were in single digits."
# # #