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Counting our votes must be as open, secure, and accurate as counting our money: Tell Congress "NO" to the "Holt Bill"

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Tell Congress "NO" to HR2894 (the "Holt Bill"): Counting our votes should at least meet the standards used for open, secure, and accurate counting of our money!

BY Nancy Tobi and Paul Lehto, Juris Doctor

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ACTION ALERT! We know it's time for action when Congress wants to handle our ballots in ways we wouldn't handle our cash, even for a modest bank account. We need to count our votes on election night, just like we count our cash at the teller's window.

Tell your congressional reps you oppose HR 2894 (1), the "Voter Confidence and Increased Accessibility Act of 2009" (aka "The Holt Bill"). Then call or email every member on the House Science and Technology Committee (2) and tell them the same thing. Contact information listed at bottom of article.

Today more than 90% of American votes are counted by private corporations using concealed vote counting technology. Many, if not all, of these private corporations are embroiled in controversies regarding the transparency, accuracy, and security of the election results delivered by their products. Some of these e-voting industrialists have been openly partisan.

It is a national security threat of the highest level to have our elections conducted by private corporate interests counting our votes in secret.

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The only thing Congress and the media (in its supporting role) have to say about election reform is HR 2894 (the Holt Bill).

But the Holt Bill does not help eliminate this fundamental threat; it makes things much worse.

"Free, fair, and open elections" means public oversight and open vote counting. These are the checks and balances that counter the natural temptation to defraud elections delivering power, wealth, and control to the victors.

The voting system dictates the methods of election fraud, and how easy it is to accomplish.

Computerized voting machines provide the easiest possible means for committing election fraud found in any voting system devised by humankind to date. Private software means corporate ownership claims for the heart of democracy; this is an illegitimate claim that you and I and "We the People" aren't in charge of our own country.

Recently the German Supreme Court (3) ruled that computerized voting machines are unconstitutional because they require expert knowledge and remove public observation from one or more essential steps in the voting system. The German court implicitly recognized that any hole in transparency is precisely where fraud and/or undetected errors will occur, and that any voting system that includes secrecy and excludes public oversight is fatal to democracy.

Here in the U.S., virtually all of our state legislatures, until recently, had statutes recognizing that a transparent hand count is the most accurate and fraud-deterrent vote counting system. The Holt Bill would be the first open congressional attempt to approve non-public vote counts using privately owned trade secret software. We would not tolerate this in a simple bank transaction, nevermind in our elections.

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Consider the public and open count that we see every day at bank tellers' windows.

Withdraw your money, and watch, with as many witnesses as you like, the teller hand count your dollars before giving them to you. Banks have not found a more accurate way to count cash; and even if they did find some kind of ATM "proven" by a dozen studies to be 100% accurate, we'd all still want to hand count our cash. How else would we know, later on, if our cash was lost, stolen, spent or defrauded from us?

Seeing is believing.

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