sacramento days, part 1…

So. Sacramento. Interesting.

I’d never been there before, and certainly never to attend a state hearing regarding something that will change how all of California will vote.

But let’s go back to the beginning…

The week before I recieved an e-mail from MusicianMan, letting me know that a group of people were headed up to Sacramento on Wednesday to attend a hearing on Thursday regarding the certification of electronic voting machines for use in California and would I want to join them?

Since amongst the machines in question were the same Diebold machines that caused so many problems in Ohio and I’m adamantly against voting machines that 1) are easily hackable, 2) contain proprietary software, 3) are manufactured by a corporation whose CEO declared that he was “committed to helping Ohio deliver its electoral votes to the president,” and 4) have no auditable paper trail – well, y’all can imagine I was very interested in going.

So way too early Wednesday morning (6:30am – urgh) I met Mimi Kennedy and MusicianMan near his place and up we drove. I admit, I was a little nervous about meeting Mimi at first because, well, I’m just a nervous sort. But, as I suspected she would, she instantly made me feel comfortable. By the end of the six hour drive I was very impressed by her. A feeling which multiplied once we got to the state capitol and I watched her meet with various assemblymembers, lobbying them regarding our group’s position on certifying electonic machines. She was terrific. And for the first time I thought to myself, “Hey, I could totally do what she’s doing. And I think some part of me would really enjoy it. Huh.”

So we ended up meeting with additional members of our group (California Election Protection Network [CEPN]) from all over the state both before and after the lobbying – some more great folks with whom I may very well keep in contact – and shared information and strategy. Then off to a presentation by Open Voting Consortium re: a machine they’ve developed with open source coding that would address the concerns of CEPN and other informed voters. Unfortunately, the long day had started to catch up to me by then (and I hadn’t slept at all the night before). Once the lights in the room went down for the PowerPoint presentation so did my eyelids. I tried to hang in there, but twenty minutes later I ended up curling up in Mimi’s Prius for a fitful little nap that lasted the entire two hour presentation. MusicianMan tapped on the window to waken me, I hopped in the back seat and listened to Mimi’s excitement about what she had just seen. MusicianMan, though a bit more reserved – as his nature – also liked what he had seen.

We spent the night in the home of a lovely couple who are very politically active, with me sleeping on a sofa in the upstairs office, Mimi crashing on the living room sofa and MusicianMan taking the twin bed in the guest room due to a bad back. I slept fairly well. And woke up refreshed enough for another full, exciting day ahead…

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