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Andy Stephenson

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Andy STEPHENSON 1961-2005 Voter Verified Paper Ballots NOW! Andy Stephenson would have appreciated this rallying cry as a fitting tribute to his life and work. Surrounded by his life partner, Ted Edmondson, and mom, Dorothy, both of his sisters, and his dearest friends, Andy passed away on Thursday, July 7, at Seattle's Virginia Mason Medical Center. Andy was 43. Walter Andrew Stephenson was born on October 14, 1961, in El Paso, Texas. He had a loving and lively Texas childhood with his mom Dorothy, and his dad, Wesley, who passed away in 1974. Andy attended the University of Texas (UTEP), and later met his life partner, Ted Edmondson, in Dallas. Through their 18 years together, Andy and Ted renovated houses, built barns, managed properties, raised puppies, owned a restaurant, and loved life. Andy adored his adopted hometown of Seattle, while remaining a true Texan at heart. Andy also loved the Democratic Underground internet message board, where he became concerned about issues surrounding electronic voting and ballot security in 2002. He soon became a tireless advocate for transparent elections and voter verified paper ballots as the official record of an election. Paper Ballots, not Vapor Ballots! was his rallying cry. Andy ran as a Democratic candidate for Washington secretary of state, on a platform calling for a voter-verified paper ballot. If Andy loved his internet friends, he would learn that his internet friends truly loved him back. When Andy fell ill with what would be diagnosed as pancreatic cancer this past spring, he faced the cost of medical care without insurance. Andy's cyber- space friends, many of whom only knew him through e-mail, raised $50,000 in 11 days to pay for his cancer surgery. These generous spirits gave us more time with Andy, and we will be forever grateful. Andy didn't lose his fight with cancer, he's never lost a fight that we know of; he just simply was needed elsewhere to spread the word about open elections, and so he left us on July 7, to join hands with his sister, Janice Love, who passed away November 2004. Andy is survived by his partner, Ted, his mom, Dorothy, his sisters, Charlene Johns and George Anne Pye, five loving nephews and a niece he grew up with: Anthony Tolbert, Michael Stephenson-Pino, Jim & Jack Love, Wesley Pye, and Jeri Lynn Fulbright, his surrogate family: Mike, Gail, Evan, & Michelle Kolpack, and Julie Spencer, a close circle of local beloved friends, and a virtual army of friends in activism and on the internet who will carry on in his name. Officiated by Pastor Arthur Werzner of Pilgrim Lutheran Church, a Celebration of Andy's Life will be held at 2:00 p.m., on Saturday, July 16, at Town Hall, 1119 Eighth Ave, on First Hill in Seattle. We will never forget you, Andy. Get some rest now. You have earned it.
Published in The Seattle Times on July 16, 2005
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