Dedicate some time for democracy in the next two days and send your comments in.
Kathy Dopp has a list of the ten loopholes she finds significant.(Below) This is a good starting off place if anyone on this list wants to dedicate some time for democracy in the next two days-pick any one of her points, do some research on the web and send your comments in. She feels the most significant flaw in the bill is the lack of citizen oversight which means that none of its other provisions would be effective.
Sen Feinstein held public hearings on HR811 last Friday.
Public comment on HR 811 can be submitted by email by Wednesday, Feb 14 at 5 PM . The email must be in a Word document - Word or Word Perfect -- and can be sent to :
Adam_Ambrogi @Rules.Senate.gov or to the clerk:
Sue_Wright@Rules.Senate.gov (It's Sue_Wright)
They are not looking for many form letters or a couple of sentences that just say you want a certain system. They're looking for comments that go into some depth on the issue. Don't be inhibited. Send in your comments. For example, let them know if you or a family member or friend witnessed or had an experience with electronic voting machines flipping your vote or refusing to record your vote.
So we have 2 more days. There's a lot of new information & links about election reform in general on websites like VoteTrustUSA & VotersUnite since the Holt Bill was reintroduced.
A link to Holt's bill, so you can read it yourself, is here:
Teresa Hommel has extended comment on her website:
Subject: [election] Analysis of Holt's HR811 Flaws
Date: February 9, 2007 4:37:54 AM EST
Holt's New HR811 is a big improvement over his former HR550 because it
takes the audit away from the US EAC and goes about as far as possible
in federal legislation to eliminate DRE voting machines, but it still
has a few critical flaws that need to be fixed. Here is my personal
opinion after reading HR811 and then reading it again after reading
some of the comments of other election activists.
Critical changes are needed to Holt HR811
1. Section 327 is a LOOPHOLE ALLOWING MANUAL AUDITS TO BE BYPASSED.
HR811 permits states to avoid any manual audits when conducting state
"recounts". Many state "recounts" involve no manual counts of
voter-verified paper ballots, or involve fewer manual counts than
HR811 requires or, like Utah, involve limited manual counts but never
compare the manual counts with the electronic tallies used to count
votes on the central tabulator. This exemption permits states to
avoid independent audits altogether by redefining when they'll do
"recounts". Independent audits should "always" be required, no matter
whether election officials do "recounts" or not.
2. NO RECOGNITION OF CITIZEN RIGHT TO OVERSIGHT. HR811 provisions do
not require timely citizen or candidate access to election records
necessary to verify electoral integrity, voter roll accuracy, or
manual audits. Some states, like Utah, prohibit access to all
election records, even records that the National Voting Rights Act
requires to be publicly available; and other states only release
election records long after election results are made official.
Candidates have nothing to judge the integrity of their election
outcomes with, when access to election records is lacking.
3. EQUIPMENT REQUIREMENTS ARE UNDER-FUNDED: $300 million is not
enough to fund the purchase of precinct-based op-scan machines and
ballot printers for voters with disabilities and non-English-language
voters, for all precincts who currently have voting machines which
lack paper ballots. (although the amount may be enough to purchase new
machines for jurisdictions with paperless DREs like MD, GA, FL,..) If
there are approximately 185,000 U.S. polling places, and even if only
approximately one-third of them are defined as remedial and it costs
$10,000 per polling location for a ballot printer and op-scan device,
then it would cost approximately $650 million to replace all the
electronic ballot voting systems which currently do not cast votes on
archival quality paper ballots, are not fully auditable, and violate
voter anonymity. It also seems to require text conversion technology
in every polling place for voters with disabilities to independently
verify their ballots. At up to $7000 per machine for 185,000 polling
places, you do the math.
4. INSUFFICIENT AUDIT AMOUNTS: Fans of audit solutions recognize that
Holt's audit amounts (10% audits for races with margins under 1%, 5%
audits for races with margins between 1% and less than 2%, and 3%
audits for races with margins 2% or greater) are inadequate. These
numbers were pulled out of thin air, often giving under 50% chance for
detecting even one vote corrupt vote count (count with error) in cases
where just enough vote counts are corrupt to alter outcomes in U.S.
House races. (I would need to know the number of precincts in all US
House districts to do a thorough mathematical analysis of this.)
5. UNDER-QUALIFIED COMPOSITION OF STATE AUDIT BOARDS: HR811 proposes a
composition for state audit board members that does not allow
much-needed mathematicians, computer scientists, election activists,
and gaming experts to be on the election audit boards, and does not
allow smaller party members of the Green, Libertarian, Constitution,
or other small parties to be on the state audit boards. The
mathematics of election audits is quite different than in other
industries and can be quite complex due to the variations in the
margins between candidates, size variation in the numbers of ballots
in each vote count, and other factors.
6. EXCEPTION ALLOWS LOSS OF SECRET SECURE BALLOTS for the Military
voters, who are "allowed" to vote via email.
7. LOOPHOLE ALLOWS MACHINE COUNTS TO SUPERCEDE VOTER VERIFIED PAPER
when fuzzily described circumstances arise. Legislation should instead
say that: "In the event of any inconsistencies or irregularities
between any electronic records and the voter-verifiable paper records,
the paper records shall be the true and correct record of the votes
cast, except in the case where evidence exists that indicates that the
paper record has been tampered with or damaged, in which case, if an
outcome is in question, then a court will decide."
8. LOOPHOLE ALLOWS INTERNET CONNECTIONS for central tabulators and
ballot definition software. This is unnecessary since portable media
can be used to transfer vote counts from the central tabulator or to
the ballot programming devices.
9. NEGLECTS TO OUTLAW ELECTRONIC POLL BOOKS. Having paper ballots for
voters in case of power failure or electronic failure does little good
if there are electronic poll books. Voters can be disenfranchised, and
have been disenfranchised in both MD and CO due to the use of
electronic poll books.
10. LOOPHOLE ALLOWS MANUAL AUDITS TO BE GAMED: Vote miscounts could
be hidden and have a higher chance to escape detection in two or more
large-size counts of absentee, mail-in, overseas, or military ballots.
Must change "and" to "or" in Holt's language, or simply require that
all mail-in ballots are to be counted in batches of the same size as a
To read it for yourself, go to http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/thomas
and select "bill" and type in HR811
It has many good points too.
P.S. This letter to Congress is in its final form. Please send copies
to your own representatives by fax would be best.
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