Last Thursday, January 12, 2006, Governor Bill Richardson showed true leadership for his state 's citizens, in a move we applaud and look for you to emulate. By announcing his plan to introduce legislation next week to make New Mexico an all-verifiable-paper-ballot state, the governor demonstrated bold leadership and a willingness to advocate for a voting system that allows citizens to cast their votes with confidence. We are looking for no less than the same type of leadership from our Pennsylvania officials.
His action will accomplish something extremely important. By mandating the use of optical scan paper ballots in all their state elections, then the documented to be inaccurate, unreliable and insecure touchscreen voting machines that produce no voter-verifiable and auditable paper record will be a thing of the past. His proposal is a great victory for upholding our American democratic principle of voting integrity. The catalyst for his decision was their recent lawsuit filed to restrain officials from purchase of additional problematic touchscreen machines.
We are not alone in protesting machines that do not insure our votes are reliably counted. Our own federal government 's investigative Government Accountability Office (GAO), in its September 2005 report, found that "election officials, computer security experts .... and others have raised significant concerns about the security and reliability of electronic voting systems, citing instances of weak security controls, system design flaws, ...inadequate security testing, incorrect system configuration, poor security management, and vague or incomplete standards, among other issues ....The security and reliability concerns raised in recent reports merit the focused attention of federal, state, and local authorities responsible for election administration. "
Follow the lead of our own Senator Conti and Representative Frankel, who both have introduced legislation that would require auditable voter paper ballots (SB 977 and HB 2000). Actively push for those resolutions, and make it happen. We challenge you to do what 's best for the people who elected you. Follow Governor Richardson and other governors around the nation who have realized that, after their extremely expensive mistakes concerning initial uses of the electronic machines, they 've found the best voting systems to guarantee the integrity of our votes. There is a chance for Pennsylvania to avert the same expensive mistakes. Please stop the insane rush to meet an arbitrary deadline with unprovable voting and questionable machines. We should not be forced to vote on machines which have any doubt as to security and reliability. The only immediate answer until this issue of security can be addressed is a way to verify actual votes, not a facsimile or "byte " in a computer. We must have verified-voter-paper-ballots now!
Mary Ann Gould, Co-Founder,
Coalition for Voting Integrity