They point to people like Buster Soaries. They love him. Great guy. They forget that the first thing he wanted when appointed Chair of the EAC was the power to cancel U.S. elections in case of "terrorist threats". They point to ex-Commissioner Ray Martinez. Another great guy. Recently purportedly caught on video in an interview attesting to the fact that he doesn't think paper ballots are all that necessary.
Ray's comments are not surprising to those of us who have studied the EAC beast, attended its meetings, delved into its evil belly.
The EAC's self-declared goal as of its Standards Board meeting of February 2007 is to create "completely paperless verifiable voting systems."
The common meme among mainstream journalists and many election activists is that the EAC is a bumbling government agency, controlled by partisan cronies, which, if only the right people were in charge, could really do some good.
The real power of the EAC is in their "Voluntary Voting Systems Guidelines" (VVSG) program.
This is a nice benign name for a program which in fact has the White House agency designing the nation's voting systems.
With the VVSG, the EAC designs the software and hardware specifications, hands them off to the industry, and then the industry builds these products to the EAC specifications.
The EAC also hands their voting system designs to Congress and the Senate, who then try to encode them into Federal law, effectively removing the "voluntary" nature of their "guidelines". Even if, by some miracle, we manage to effectively kill HR811 and SB1487 this year, these will not be the last attempts to buoy the power of the EAC this way. It's so easy to do, after all.
Because nobody knows what is really going on.
The outcome of the little arrangement described above is this: the voting systems available for use in the nation will soon all be EAC-designed. Or, put another way, designed by the White House.
The pure market reality is that this takes the "voluntary" out of the guidelines. It's kind of like if a bunch of bureaucrats on the FDA sat around designing aspirin and said, this is the only FDA-approved aspirin now. What would American drug stores stock and sell? Federally-designed drugs. Nothing more, nothing less.
This is the same thing, only we are talking about the machinery of our elections.
Think about that for a moment.
When that has settled in, consider this last little caveat: The EAC is now in the business of designing all voting systems, not just computerized. Paper ballots too. They want all paper ballot systems to be "machine-readable" and they've put the specifications for this into their latest round of "voluntary" guidelines. You can read about that here: