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The Cult of Holt and More from Nancy Tobi

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So, back to your original question about why everyone can't get behind Holt's bill now. Well, there is a division in the citizens' movement that starts with the Holt Halo effect but then runs much deeper into a real division regarding our goals.

Some people say that "something is better than nothing" and they latch onto the paper record component of Holt's bill, which calls for paper records for touchscreen machines (similar to his original idea) and then also calls for the phasing out of these touchscreens after the next presidential election.

Lots of patriot activists living in states like Maryland, Georgia, Pennsylvania, and elsewhere, would give their eyeteeth to get rid of those machines. So they are lobbying for Holt bill passage.

The problem is that this little paper record teaser in the bill pales in significance when you consider the provisions in the legislation that are so dangerous to the American Republic. Provisions like handing control of our elections to the White House and making concealed vote counting the law of the land.

So my answer is "No. Something is not better than nothing." I mean, if I cut my knee I can certainly ask to have it amputated to eliminate the wound. But is that what I really want in the end?

Didn't we learn anything from the Patriot Act?

Can you elaborate a bit on what you think is so dangerous about this legislation?

There are so many troubling aspects to this bill that I do think of it as the Patriot Act for elections. We are being promised election security at the cost of our democratic freedoms.

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I can give you a quick and dirty list of the really damaging and dangerous aspects of the bill:

First of all, in complete opposition to his original bill, this new version requires NON-disclosure of election software. It provides trade secret protection to the private corporations and their anonymous employees who are programming the software counting our votes. It completely and historically removes public access to an open vote count.

I hesitate to go on with my list because this #1 issue is so dangerous in and of itself; I want people to really think about what it means. It means government-sanctioned concealed vote counting controlled by private corporations and government insiders to the exclusion of public oversight.

It's a pretty simple concept after all. We've heard the media and politicians complain about this in the Ukraine, in Venezuela, and, lately, in Iran.

I think the main point to remember is that this bill is just an expansion of HAVA, which was already a terrible blow to our democratic elections. It has nothing to do with voting rights, civil rights, or open government.

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No legislation is better than bad legislation. And Holt's bill is not just bad legislation; it is downright dangerous to the American Republic. I urge all Americans to oppose it.

Thank you for walking us through the Holt Bill, Nancy. Now our readers will understand the clear and present danger the bill presents to our increasingly fragile democracy.

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Joan Brunwasser is a co-founder of Citizens for Election Reform (CER) which since 2005 existed for the sole purpose of raising the public awareness of the critical need for election reform. Our goal: to restore fair, accurate, transparent, secure elections where votes are cast in private and counted in public. Because the problems with electronic (computerized) voting systems include a lack of (more...)
 

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Joan, Your final installment of your interview wit... by Jerry Lobdill on Sunday, Jul 19, 2009 at 8:13:30 AM
... by SCorrick on Monday, Jul 20, 2009 at 2:10:54 PM
  Russ Holt is the best hope on the hill for elec... by SCorrick on Tuesday, Jul 21, 2009 at 12:50:55 AM
"First of all, in complete opposition to his origi... by Hillbilly on Tuesday, Jul 21, 2009 at 10:58:56 AM