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Join Us in Demanding Legislation Requiring Paper Ballots

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Message Velvet Revolution
Please join more than 40 non-partisan Election Integrity organizations who
have signed the following letter demanding that Congress enact legislation
requiring a paper ballot for every vote cast. Problems throughout the 2006
primary and general elections have made it clear that only a paper ballot
-- not a "paper trail", nor a "paper record" -- will begin to help
re-establish confidence in our tattered electoral system.
We've made it simple for you to do. Just fill out the form via...

(Copy and paste into your browser's address window) let your Congress Members know that Election Reform begins with a
paper ballot. It's time for American Citizens to rise up and take our
democracy back.

This is an important first step as the new Congress convenes and considers
new Election Reform legislation.



December 13, 2006

To All Members of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives:

We, the undersigned election integrity organizations, strongly urge you,
as a first order of business in the 110th Congress, to enact new federal
legislation to protect the integrity of our elections. While there are
many areas of concern for any such legislation, none is more essential to
the accuracy of our elections and the confidence among our electorate than
for there to be a paper ballot for every vote cast. Not a paper "trail" or
a paper "record," but a paper ballot.

In light of lessons learned during the 2006 primary and general elections
-- with myriad contests resulting in uncertainty and thousands of voters
in state after state turned away from the polls unable to cast a vote on
DRE systems which failed throughout the day -- we now hold that a paper
ballot, whether counted by optical-scan system or hand, is the minimum
requirement for any Election Reform legislation in which voters may have
confidence. Such a requirement is needed to help ensure Americans that
every legally registered voter can vote, that every vote is recorded
precisely as the voter intends, and that every vote is counted and, if
necessary, re-counted accurately.

This year's elections have made crystal clear that electronic voting
machines -- both those without paper ballots, such as Direct Recording
Electronic (DRE) touch-screen systems, and even those with so-called
"Voter Verified Paper Audit Trails" -- caused massive disruptions,
undermined the results of crucial elections, and forced thousands of
voters to leave the polls without being able to exercise their franchise.

Paper trails and paper records are not sufficient to safeguard elections
and restore confidence among the electorate. Unless there is a paper
ballot for every vote cast, three fundamental principles of democratic
elections are violated:

1) Observable tallies. It is impossible for citizens to observe the
counting of electronic ballots and audit the results.

2) Equal access. Requiring voters to cast votes on computers discriminates
against those who are not familiar with the technology.

3) Accurate results. It is impossible to ensure that the reported results
are accurate. In fact, a voter-verifiable paper audit trail cannot be
depended on to provide the certainty lacking in electronic tallies. Clear
evidence from several recent elections reveals instances in which:

• The electronic screen record did not reflect the voter's intent.
• The electronic count did not match the paper trail produced by the
e-voting machine.
• The summary review screen did not match the paper trail produced by the
e-voting machine.
• Voters did not know to verify the paper trail or were prevented from
doing so by improper design, incorrect setup, or malfunction of the
• Computer systems introduced unnecessary complexity into the entire
election process and therefore increased the likelihood of errors by
voters, poll workers, and election officials.
• Computerized voting relinquished control of the final outcome to the
technical skills of those who programmed the software.

While it is not easy to reconcile the money already spent on new DRE
systems, it would be worse to continue using election equipment that is
not accomplishing its critical task. If this were a public safety matter,
no one would question the ban on the continued use of a dangerous product,
even if it had been funded by billions of public dollars. Why should we
act any differently when it comes to the integrity of our electoral

Ultimately, the true price of free, fair, reliable, accurate, and
transparent elections in America cannot be judged by dollars alone.

We therefore urge you to immediately enact legislation which requires a
paper ballot for every vote cast. Now is the moment for action, in time to
take effect for the 2008 primaries and general election.

Respectfully yours,

The Undersigned
National Voting Rights Institute

Audit AZ
Broward Election Reform Coalition
California Election Protection Network
CASE America
Citizens Alliance for Secure Elections
Citizens for Accurate Mall Ballot Elec Results
Citizens for Election Integrity Minnesota
Coalition for Voting Integrity - Pennsylvania
Coloradoans For Voting Integrity
Colorado Voter
Commonweal Institute
Defenders of Democracy
Democracy Cell Project
Election Reform Network
Election Defense Alliance
Florida Fair Elections Coalition
Friends of the Earth
Gathering To Save Our Democracy - Tennessee
Georgians for Verified Voting
Hip Hop Caucus
Iowans for Voting Integrity
Mainstreet Moms (
Missourians for Honest Elections
N.C. Coalition for Verified Voting
Network of Citizens
New Yorkers for Verified Voting
Oregon Voter Rights Coalition
Palm Beach Coalition for Election Reform
Sarasota Alliance for Fair Elections - Florida - Maryland
Texas Safe Voting
Verifiable Voting Coalition of Virginia
Verify The Vote Indiana
Virginia Verified Voting
VoteRescue of Texas
Voting Integrity Alliance of Tampa Bay
The American Voter


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And please spread the word. It's your democracy. Use it or lose it!
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Join Us in Demanding Legislation Requiring Paper Ballots

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