H.R.’ Microsoft 811’ Challenges
Our Voting Rights and Democracy Itself!
“So what I agreed to... I didn't do the negotiations but I understand what they were doing, so I shouldn't say I agreed to them... but I accept the outcome.” Rep Rush Holt
“Unfortunately, the committee that made this change heard from Microsoft… They heard that voice.” Rep Rush Holt
We present a “debate” with Rep. Rush Holt on “Microsoft 811” using the words of Congressman Rush Holt (NJ) captured on video at a Town Meeting in his district in July 2007. . Since Mr. Holt and major supporters of ‘Microsoft 811’ refuse to debate, then we must use Mr. Holt’s own comments to reply and question.
Holt: “The confidence in the working of our elections has been shaken badly. There are literally millions of Americans who don't believe the results of recent elections…in certain elections.”
Us: On this, we are in complete agreement. It is urgent to restore the integrity of our voting system, to restore the ability to prove the outcomes from the source ballots.
Holt: “They're saying at the end of the day, an electronic machine can print out the totals, and that's the verification. Well, no... If it's stored incorrectly in the electronic memory, I don't care how many times you print it out for recounts, it's still incorrect, and there's no way you can recover.”
Us: Quite correct. There is nothing there to count, nothing to show the original intent of voter. So we expect any legislation to ensure that the ballot of record be the original source ballot…the voter-marked paper ballot completed by each voter.
Holt: “My legislation since I've introduced it would require that every voter would have a paper ballot to verify in the privacy of the voting booth.”
Us: On the contrary, “paper ballot” — as the term is used in your bill — is a misnomer. H.R. 811 requires a paper print-out of the votes, and while it requires that the voter be allowed to verify it, the bill would NOT require all those “paper ballots” to be counted. 90% to 97% of the printouts won’t ever be counted and cannot be considered ballots at all.
What your bill requires is a paper printout from the electronic memory — the same electronic memory which you yourself said could be incorrect “and there’s no way you can recover.”
Mr. Holt, in a meeting in July, you said to us that you believed that our voting system should meet the same standards as our government….a system of separate and independent checks and balances. A DRE with a printer does NOT and can NEVER meet that vital requirement. Why are we allowing DREs to be used in our elections?
Holt: “You would be able to see that it's recorded the way you intended. That would be the vote of record; that would be your ballot.”
Us: You will not see what is recorded inside the machine, and it is the machine count that will be announced as results on election night. It is the machine record, which voters can’t see, that will determine our next President and Congress!
Holt: “The legislation says any software that is used to count the votes must be available for inspection. Now that probably would not include the operating system, but that's okay. What counts the votes would be open for inspection.”
Us: Mr. Holt perhaps you are confusing your current bill with your original bill, which DID open software to inspection. Your current bill has closed it to all but a chosen few, only if they promise to keep it secret. Your bill makes the corporations’ right to vote-counting secrecy the LAW.