Friends, because HR 811 may come up for a vote within the next two weeks, it's most important that you read the following, right through to the shocker at the end.
On Monday some good friends of mine--Rush Holt's constituents--met with him primarily to talk about impeachment. As they make clear below, he doesn't get it, and doesn't seem to want to get it; and he also seems to think that We the People are too dim to understand what's going on. Moreover, he doesn't seem to think that it's his civic obligation as a congressman to help the people get it. All he seems inclined to do is sit there and shrug off whatever evidence or arguments might move him to some useful public statement(s).
This is how he has responded not just to impeachment but, as we all know by now, to his defective "election reform" bill, HR 811, which (thank God) more and more of his colleagues are now abandoning, and yet he is impervious to every argument against it.
Now, Rush Holt is certainly a savvy guy, and not. of course, by any means right-wing. Why, then, has he stubbornly refused to fix his bill so that the Busheviks can't any longer rig the vote by fiddling with the DRE machines?
His various reforms would not prevent such further theft. If they did, you can be sure the Busheviks themselves would be attacking him and HR 811 with their usual ferocity. That they aren't doing so should make quite clear that they don't fear his bill, because it poses no real threat to their ongoing efforts to subvert American democracy.
I suggest that Holt has thus refused to change his bill for two reasons. First of all, he has no fear that Bush & Co. will steal more elections in the future because he has convinced himself they have stolen no elections in the past.
I've seen no evidence that he believes that Bush and Cheney stole their "re-election" or that there was fraud involved in any of the GOP's surprising House or Senate "victories" in the last seven years. If he knew about the vast extent of BushCo's fraud, he wouldn't have come up with such a porous bill; and the same goes for most, if not all, of HR 811's remaining supporters. If they had studied all the evidence of fraud since BushCo came to power, they would be far less certain that this bill could make much difference.
As for Holt himself, there may well be a second reason for his long refusal to rethink his faith in e-boting machines. As Paul Lehto has informed me, it just so happens that a company called Avante International appears to be headquartered in Holt's district, and that Avante is positioned to make money if Holt's bill should pass and the machines should all be fitted out with "paper trails." Here's what we find posted on the home page of Avante's Web site.
ELECTION & VOTING SYSTEMS
Full-face and paging electronic touch screen voting systems (DRE VOTE-TRAKKER(r)) with proven voter verifiable paper ballot record and audit trail (VVPR, VVPB, VVPAT). The first election system with proven 0% residual votes (unintentional undervotes). The first optical scan paper ballot solution (OPTICAL VOTE-TRAKKER(r)) to use digital imaging to achieve zero errors in 1.5 million marks. The first, patented optical paper voting system to provide irrefutable electronic auditability.
Now, it's surely possible that this is sheer coincidence--i.e. that Rush Holt's bill could throw some business to a firm that is headquartered in Rush Holt's home district,and that specializes in the very sort of technical enhancement that Rush Holt is stubbornly proposing in his bill.
If it is a coincidence, however, it's a whopper, and it means that Holt is oddly uninformed as to the business interests in his own backyard.
(For a good piece on Avante's ongoing attempts to influence the election laws here in New York, see Bo Lipari's article
There is no doubt that Rush Holt has, in working on his bill, unduly heeded the concerns of interested corporations. This is not a speculation but a fact, which was revealed to me straightforwardly by Holt's own counsel, Michelle Mulder, who is, of course, a fervent advocate for HR 811. Recently Michelle tried, via email, to respond to some of the concerns expressed by me and several other activists, at one point asserting that the bill will not legitimize the use of secret vote-counts.
In response, I pointed out that the continued use of DRE machines, which HR 811 would permit, makes secret vote-counting inevitable, since there's no way to watch computers add up votes, or send them on to tabulators, or manage any other data.
And then I made this second point about the actual secretiveness enabled by Holt's bill: