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HR 550

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Message Barbara Simons
In recent weeks I have seen various posts criticizing H.R. 550, some of
which I think are silly and a few that I think have merit, at least
conceptually. But, I have always asked anyone who has challenged HR
550, the only measure currently on the table that (1) would make all
voting in the country independently auditable immediately and (2) has
any chance whatsoever of passing, to show me a specific draft piece of
legislation, written out in detail, that the critic would be happy
with. At that point the discussion inevitably goes silent.

One of the principle complaints I have heard involves giving the EAC
oversight over the responsibility for conducting H.R. 550's
audits. Would those who are complaining prefer it if folks like
Florida's Secretaries of State -- Katherine Harris, Glenda Hood (who
said that voting machines are not computers), or the current SoS Sue
Cobb -- or Ohio's Kenneth Blackwell were to continue being entrusted
with this responsibility? H.R. 550 removes the exemption from public
bidding requirements that HAVA gave the EAC. Under H.R. 550, in
contracting for auditors the EAC will have to accept bids from any
established group that is prepared to conduct them. Are the folks who
are complaining about EAC oversight organizing themselves to submit
bids so that they will be the ones who win the bids and conduct the
audits? I've seen absolutely no evidence of it.

It's time for the critics to put their money where their mouths are, or
stop wasting everyone else's time. They should draft a bill that does
what they want, prevail upon a member of Congress to introduce it, and
then lobby for it and get it passed. If they cannot do that, they
should leave those who have already put forth this effort (those of us
who helped draft H.R. 550 and prefer it to every other alternative, as
well as to NO alternative) to work for passage of the only viable
measure we've got.

Barbara Simons, Palo Alto
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Dr. Simons earned her Ph.D. in computer science from the University of California, Berkeley. She holds several patents and has authored or co-authored a book and numerous technical papers. Dr. Simons has taught technology policy at Stanford (more...)
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HR 550

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