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Message Allegra Dengler
On Election Night, DFA-endorsed candidate Barbara McIlvaine Smith was down
by 19 votes in her race for the Pennsylvania state house. She refused to
concede, saying, "It is not about winning or losing... It's about making sure
democracy is intact."
Earlier this week the count of absentee and military paper ballots
concluded, and Barbara won by 23 votes -- switching the Pennsylvania House from
Republican to Democratic for the first time in 12 years.
This powerful victory happened because every paper ballot was counted. But
across America votes are increasingly being cast electronically with no paper
record. Had the election in Pennsylvania been conducted electronically
there is no saying how the race might have been decided.
You helped elect a new Democratic House and Senate in Washington, D.C. It's
time to put our majority into action. Ask Speaker Nancy Pelosi to put paper
ballots on the agenda in the new Congress's first 100 hours:
The danger of paperless elections is clear. Look at Sarasota County,
Florida. They use paperless touch screen voting machines. In the hotly
Congressional race there, Election Night ended with Republican Vern Buchanan
ahead of Democrat Christine Jennings by less than one-quarter of one percent.
This triggered an automatic recount.
On November 20, state election officials certified Buchanan as the winner by
369 votes, despite the fact that there were 18,000 "under-votes" in the
county. An under-vote is when a machine reports a vote cast for another
but not for the Congressional seat. The percentage of under-votes in
Democratic leaning Sarasota County was far higher than in surrounding counties.
And many voters reported that their votes were not recorded on their electronic
ballot. Some said the machine skipped the race while others couldn't find
the race listed at all.
Currently this contest is being litigated in the courts. But the results of
this election will be forever in doubt because there are no paper ballots to
This is unacceptable. Congress has the power to mandate that all elections
take place using paper ballots. Ask the new Democratic majority to make it a
The Democrats are committed to an impressive agenda in the first 100 hours
of the Congress. They will raise the minimum wage, require Medicare to
negotiate for lower drug prices, implement the 9/11 Commission security
recommendations, cut the interests rates on student loans, and broaden the
types of stem
cell research allowed with federal funds. But Democrats can't stop there.
Let's restore America's faith in Democracy too. Let's make sure that in the
first 100 hours the Democratic majority makes paper ballots mandatory:
Thank you for doing your part,
Jim Dean

Your Message: Allegra Dengler

Please put paper ballots on the agenda as one of your top priorities. No
more electronic voting machines, with or without a paper trail. The new NIST
report plans to decertify DREs with no paper trail starting in 2007. Don't
wait, outlaw them now. If you need to, give states funds to replace them.
It's a small price to pay for democracy.

While you're at it, also outlaw DREs with a paper trail. The paper trail
produced by DREs is not any more reliable than the computers that produce it:

*It is not checked by all voters
*If the voters do check, they overlook mistakes
*The paper trail has never been audited in an actual election
* In many states the machine count is the official count even if the paper
trail says something else
* The printers jam
* The paper runs out,
* The ink runs out

Not acceptable. No more DREs, with or without a paper trail.

Thank you,

Allegra Dengler

Allegra Dengler
60 Judson Avenue
Dobbs Ferry, NY 10522
( /
_http://www.nyvv.org_ ( /

"... touch-screen machines are highly vulnerable to being hacked or
maliciously programmed to change votes. And they cost far more than voting
should." New York Times editorial, March 9, 2005
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Allegra Dengler is a voting activist in New York State.

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