Dr. David Dill, long time proponent of the concept of "verified voting" (voters get to proofread computer printouts of their voting intention), recently posted an oped in support of the Holt Bill (HR 811).
However, Dr. Dill's arguments in support of HR 811 fall apart from the moment he promotes an "it's this or nothing" position. Every argument he makes in support of the bill is easily deconstructed when we remember we are fighting for our American democracy and not the right for corporate technologists, computer expert elitists, and bureaucrats to run our elections.
A very bright voting rights activist in California stated to me the other night, "we did away with the literacy test as a right to vote a long time ago!"
And we will fight just as hard to do away with the computer literacy test embedded in our current technoelection nightmare, embraced and supported by HR 811.
When I attended last month's meeting of the Standards Board, the saddest story I heard was from the Secretary of State of a midwest state, who told me:
"We have a law on our books that says, if for some reason, none of the election officials show up on election day to the polls, the citizens who show up first are required to run our elections. (The show must go on!) The legislature is looking to eliminate that law because our elections have become so complex that ordinary citizens can't run them."
Think about this. What the heck is going on here? Is America a democracy, technocracy, or just a corporatacracy now? Let's focus, people. Let's remember what we are fighting for.
“There are two provisions in HR 811 that are especially vital for restoring trust in American elections: A nationwide requirement for voter-verified paper records, and stringent random manual counts of those records, to make sure they agree with the announced vote totals."
Dill is correct in that we need to have auditable paper in our elections. He is incorrect in stating we need to have paper "records" (as opposed to ballots), but at least he is honest enough to make the differentiation. The Holt Bill itself disingenuously refers to "paper ballots" throughout the bill, even while referring only to paper printouts generated by a computerized voting machine.
But I believe that if Holt had produced an ingenuous “paper trail” bill with only the two items Dill mentions above, it is highly unlikely the bill would be receiving such a wide swath of broad based opposition.
(And it should be noted here that the bill is opposed by a strange group of often oppositional bedfellows: the voting industry, the National Association of Secretaries of States, the National Conference of State Legislatures, the National Association of Counties, The Election Center, the American Association of Persons with Disabilities, and election integrity activist organizations and individuals nationwide.)
It is doubtful that, had the bill only contained the two items Dill points to, it would be receiving such strong opposition even from those citizens Dr. Dill claims have a “hidden agenda” for hand counting.
I will not belabor the particular issue of hand counting that he raises -- in somewhat of a sidelong manner -- in his piece, but it is worth rebutting his positioning of it.
Those patriotic Americans who support hand counted paper ballot elections, of which I include myself, support hand count elections because we have spent considerable time over the past several years analyzing requirements – not for TECHNOLOGOLICAL elections – but for DEMOCRATIC elections.
After several years of rigorous debate, dialog, dissent, and discussion, after years of this evolutionary thought by patriotic American citizens, we have arrived at the simple conclusion that democratic elections require citizen oversight of the entire voting process, and that this is impossible when computers – with their processes invisible to the human eye – are involved. In other words, we have come right back to what the founders of our nation and the framers of our early state constitutions understood full well, which is why both the Massachusetts and New Hampshire constitutions state that our votes must be "sorted and counted" in "open meeting".