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Upcoming Events

Sunday, December 17, 2023 at 4:00 PM ET

10th Anniversary of A Time to Break Silence: Election Transparency, Voting Rights & Music to the Messages of MLK & Langston Hughes

Ahead of the 2024 U.S. Presidential election next year, the themes at this year’s event include voter suppression, the connection between voter suppression and systemic racism, how to improve election transparency through the retention of ballot images and poll tapes, and how to make vote counting a more public process.


Please note: Ray Lutz, Jason Flatley, and John Brakey will speak live and we will play clips from talks given by Lynn Bernstein, Bennie Smith, Emily Levy, Paul Smith, and Jawharrah Bahar at our event last year.


Ray Lutz - Executive Director at Citizens Oversight, a non-partisan organization which has been involved in election oversight, including audits and procedural review, since 2005. In 2019, announced an important project to create Ballot Image Audit service Audit Engine, which can be used by election officials, campaigns, candidates, and oversight groups, to audit any election that uses hand-marked paper ballots and scanners that create ballot images. They are now working to deploy this solution nationally.


Ray Lutz founded "Citizens' Oversight Projects" (COPs) to empower citizens to provide oversight over our democracy. With Masters of Science degree in electronics engineering from SDSU, he specialized in the office equipment industry, founding the Multifunction Products Association (MFPA) and drafting national and international standards, including a role as technical liaison to the United Nations sponsored International Telecommunications Union (ITU). Most recently (2008-present) Ray has been involved in election integrity issues, including a recent successful election audit fraud lawsuit against San Diego County. Also, Ray has been an intervenor at the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) regarding the shutdown of the San Onofre Nuclear Generation Station (SONGS), how the $3.3 billion plant shut-down costs would be distributed, and to stop the proposed nuclear waste dump in the area. As of 2019, Lutz directed COPS to focus on the development of Audit Engine, a ballot image auditing platform that runs in the cloud, harnessing the power of up to 10,000 virtual machines running in parallel to fully retabulate election results based on the official ballot images, including OCR (optical character recognition) of voter-verifiable text on summary cards printed by Ballot Marking Devices (BMDs) and therefore avoiding unverifiable barcodes.

Jason Flatley - Head of Design and Product Development at America Counts, the flagship initiative of Democracy Counts, Inc., a nonprofit, non-partisan election integrity organization. Their open and easy-to-use nonpartisan election audit tools crowdsource the collection of data about vote counting and reporting. When the data is consistent with the official results it increases our trust in an election’s accuracy. When there are discrepancies between the data and the official results, the results can be challenged and the underlying issues rectified. Accuracy and trustworthiness are both improved.  The spread of independent people-powered election audits will increase the accountability of election officials and electoral systems, enhance the legitimacy of winners, improve the representativeness of government, and strengthen our social fabric. This is a big win for representative democracy.


Jason brings ten years of experience leading big analytics projects in the insurance space, as well as graphic design and video production skills. He is responsible for building America Counts’ brand and for leading the development of its apps.

John BrakeyDirector and Co-founder of AUDIT Elections USA a non-partisan organization advocating for hand-marked paper ballots and making ballot images a public record

Lynn Bernstein - Founder of Transparent Elections NC, trained international election observer, National Voting Rights Task Force member

Bennie Smith - Tennessee State Election Commissioner and software developer known nationally for his research uncovering an extraordinarily high-risk tampering mechanism and examination of election system vulnerabilities covered by Bloomberg's Cyber Security Segment


Emily Levy - Founder and Director of Scrutineers, a non-partisan election protection group training volunteers to observe the processing and counting of votes and the place where volunteers, activists, and seasoned election experts come together to protect the US elections from interference, discrimination, and errors.


Paul Smith - Castleton Festival Board Chair, Senior Vice President of Campaign Legal Center, works directly with Campaign Legal Center's talented team of litigators to protect and advance American democracy through innovative litigation strategies, and has argued several voting rights cases at the Supreme Court, including Vieth v. Jubelirer and Gill v. Whitford, involving partisan gerrymandering and LULAC v. Perry, involving the legality of Texas’s mid-decade redrawing of congressional districts

Jawharrah Bahar - As Director of Outreach at Free Hearts, an organization that educates, advocates, and supports families impacted by incarceration, Jawharrah has contributed to legislation, spoken at community events, participated in local advocacy campaigns, and raised community awareness through social media videos. Jawharrah will tell her story of disenfranchisement, her long and costly struggle to get her voting rights back, and what could be done to help others who have been deprived of their right to vote.


John Wubbenhorst - John is a unique musician having grown up playing the western flute along with many other instruments and found his ultimate instrument in the haunting and beautiful bansuri bamboo flute from North India. After decades of study with maestro Hariprasad Chaurasia, John has developed an approach that features the bansuri with its roots in Indian music but also reflects John's lifetime of musical experiences in jazz, western classical and ecstatic forms of music in many genres.


Tom Teasley - World Percussionist and Composer, Artist-in-residence at Castleton Festival, DRUM! Magazine Drummie Award World Percussionist of the Year, Young Audiences of Virginia Artist of The Year, Five Fulbright-Hays Awards for collaborating with indigenous master musicians.  The Washington Post stated, in a recent CD review, that Tom is ..."a multi-instrumental genius" for his compelling performance on over fifteen different instruments!

Charles Williams - Internationally acclaimed opera singer, performed at the Metropolitan Opera, Carnegie Hall, The Barns at Wolf Trap, The Smithsonian, and the Kennedy Center, performed in theaters and opera houses and for radio and television in Munich, Berlin, Hamburg, Zurich and Vienna, spoken word artist specializing in the poetry of Langston Hughes and other writers of the Harlem Renaissance, sings and teaches multiple music genres, vocal consultant for the Grammy award-winning group Sweet Honey in the Rock. "It's the voice of history, ageless yet strong -- and utterly convincing." - The Los Angeles Times

Enjoy the music and we welcome your questions for the speakers during the Q&A!

Ticket sales and donations will benefit election transparency projects conducted by non-partisan, non-profit organizations AUDIT USA, America Counts, and Citizens Oversight. To celebrate our 10th anniversary, our goal is to raise $10,000 through $10 ticket sales to take action for democracy at this critical time.

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