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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 3/29/09

2009 Holt Bill. E-Voting: Making a bad system worse

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Congressman Rush Holt (D-NJ) is getting ready to introduce his 2009 electronic voting bill. Interested readers can review the 65-page proposal here. Holt has been trying for several years to pass one version or another of this bill.

The federal Voting Rights Act requires observable vote counting. Many state constitutions demand a public voting system with public vote counts. The Holt Bill mandates computerized voting systems, and enforces concealed vote counting.

Concealed vote counting violates our voting rights.

The Holt Bill extends the federally sponsored 2002 e-voting Ponzi scheme, when Congress, through the Help America Vote Act (HAVA), invested $4 billion taxpayer dollars into a fraudulent e-voting promise, causing the states to scoop up computerized voting machines and voting registration systems that turned out to be as fraud-friendly as the firm of Madoff Investment Securities.

If you think the Madoff Ponzi scheme was extensive, consider this e-voting rip-off.

The e-voting scheme promised huge returns: High tech, efficient elections. Voting systems that can meet the needs of every voter with a disability, every voter speaking a language other than English, you name it, e-voting will do it. But there was nothing behind this promise.

The e-voting legislation invested taxpayer dollars into an industry producing fraud-friendly voting systems, with built-in double and triple sets of accounting books, audit reports and logs that drop data tracking of programmatic events like changed vote counts and the like.

This is the industry whose product gave a negative count of 16,022 votes for candidate Al Gore in the Florida 2000 election, delivering the wrong President to America.

The 2002 Congressional e-voting bill also established a White House agency (the Election Assistance Commission, or EAC), which perpetuates e-voting failures by drafting new e-voting standards and schedules for the states, which can never - in reality - be met. The EAC drafts standards for e-voting equipment that hasn’t been built, hasn’t been tested, and, which is so complex that no ordinary election official could possibly operate independently of private industry control.

The EAC e-voting scheme has the states investing in equipment that will require upgrades or replacements in each succeeding election. In this scenario, the e-voting industry gets richer while America's elections become pilot runs to test new technologies!

The $4 billion e-voting systems - and the multi-millions of continuing taxpayer e-voting "investments" since 2002 - have delivered truly catastrophic elections.

Machine breakdowns. Unprovable election results. Unlimited avenues for manipulation.

Once the states used up the first $4 billion federal dollars, they were left to their own devices to come up with the continuous cash flow required to service, repair, and replace the error-prone e-voting systems. Not to mention costs for storage, transportation, certification and recertification.

Now comes the Holt Bill with a new provision that will up the e-voting ante by requiring states to purchase entirely new technologies: high tech, high cost, highly complex, computerized assistive voting technologies that do not even exist yet.

Many citizen activists, myself included, have opposed previous versions of the Holt Bill.

We oppose this year's version of the legislation as well because it repeats all of the errors of past versions.

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