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Regarding the Holt Bill (HR 2894): When will US Vote-counting be True and Non-partisan?

Message Brina-Rae Schuchman
From: Brina-Rae Schuchman
Chair, TrueVoteSanDiego

To: California Election Protection Network and others
Re: the Holt Bill, HR 2894.

A woman asked Ben Franklin, "Sir, what kind of government have you created, a monarchy or a republic?" He is said to have replied, "A republic, madam, if you can keep it."

I don't see "Election Integrity" on any political candidate's list of priorities. Election corruption is a silent disease, like ebola, that is eating away at the country's insides.

The GOP produced HAVA in 2002 and rather complete election corruption since 2000. Democratic Party leaders decided it should not be talked about. They have refused to demand it be stopped. CA legislators think CA elections are 'fine' because SOS Bowen campaigned on making that so. They don't know that all CA elections are still infected by Diebold GEMs et al. And so is the country.

Holt needs to amend HR 2894 to help save democracy.

I have read and pondered theHolt bill and the comments of EI supporters and critics a lot. Supporters say, "Well, the bill is a step in the right direction." or "That's the best we can get, now. Something is better than nothing. We can get more later."

Opponents say "We must protect our Constitutional Rights and the Voice of The People. We must stop all frauds and require transparency and accuracy and complete public ownership and management of election materials and systems. There must be legal action against any infringements -- and the nation can't afford to wait."

Holt calls for paper ballots in the future, small manual audits, chain of custody reports, non-disclosure agreements, design and production of expensive new computerized equipment for some disabled voters, over a billion taxpayer dollars for counties/states for changes, money for developing new non-proprietary election-dedicated software (such as open source software already created by Alan Dechert's group), prohibiting internet voting and paperless DREs by 2014 and wireless voting, etc. He puts the dysfunctional White House appointed Election Assistance Commission (EAC) in charge of America's elections instead of Congress and The People.

But the most damaging threat to elections is not even mentioned in the bill: that America is saddled with one-party, proprietary, Republican secretly-programmed computers that are counting nearly all of America's votes (Diebold et al).
Their numbers are reported and used as if true, though there is good reason not to believe them. Holt makes their presence and privatization more entrenched.

I looked at each HAVA change in the bill and I asked myself, "If we have that change in place, will it make elections true if the votes are still secretly counted by Diebold et al? The answer is always, "No."

Unions learned to ask for much more than they expected so they would end up with what they needed. That sounds like a lesson we need to learn.

It has taken 7 years to get a bill that tries to mend some of HAVA's faults into the Congress stream. BUT I think all election integrity activists and our allies need to insist that Rep. Holt make this bill cure ALL the election ills we know of, especially that it stop secret vote counting and partisan proprietary computers. We expect Congress to do more than pass non-remedy legislation.

Politics lives on compromise. Compromise is not the answer to everything. Sometimes a thing has to be 100% pure.

Why spend all the time and money it takes to hold elections if they are conducted by one party? That sounds like all those other countries around the world who pretend they are democracies and hold pretend elections and really steal them and really only represent a ruling party and rich people--as George Bush did.

Thousands of computer experts have signed petitions saying computers are not reliable tools for elections. They were not designed for elections. They are not used properly in elections. They need to be taken out of elections unless they are completely public with open source programming,and are used secondary to paper.

We need a prestigious non-partisan National Commission (like the one Lee Iococca led to save the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island) to come up with a solid program of federal standards, guidelines, requirements and recommendations for appropriate equipment and systems and rules for conducting America's elections; to recommend necessary legislation to put their conclusions into law; including punishment for wrongdoing-- such as interference, misleading information, intimidation, purposely miscounting, stealing ballot boxes or anything, -- so elections can be what they were meant to be, a tool of democracy.

Let's not let "Oh, that's good enough!" be the enemy of excellence. After all, we're talking about preserving democracy in our country. You don't shortchange your country.

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Brina-Rae Schuchman is the Chair-TrueVoteSanDiego.
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