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New Version of Holt Bill: A Giant Step Backwards

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New Version of Holt Bill: A Giant Step Backwards.

Article by Nancy Tobi, Chair, Democracy for New Hampshire and co-author of "Request by Voters" letter, a plea to Holt and the co-sponsors of his HR 550 bill to consider democratic modifications and accountability features in the modifications to this bill. "Request by Voters" was signed by 1500 individuals and organizations. Our voices were ignored.

Tobi's analysis of the new version of Holt's bill follows:

You can keep arguing the merits of this audit method or that, this paper trail or that, but the Holt Bill has two poison pills in it that can not be argued away:

1) huge unfunded mandate for text-to-audio conversion technology

2) consolidation of Executive power and control over Federal elections.

We must fight this treasonous bill--and if giving the President control over elections that elect the President is not treasonous to American representational democracy, what is?-- and call it for what it is: ANTI-DEMOCRATIC.

It is bad enough that the authors of this bill, two years following the NASS resolution to sunset the Election Assistance Commission (EAC), and after more than a years' worth of activist pleadings to get rid of this growing little monster, the EAC, cement it as a permanent Executive agency in his new bill.

Bad enough that the authors of this bill are comfortable handing over control of federal elections to the White House. This is treasonous in and of itself.

But on top of this unseemly and anti democratic motion, the new Holt bill insinuates a whole new technoelection industrial toy into every polling place in the nation.

In the language of this bill, the new accessible voting system

"'(I) allows the voter to privately and independently verify the content of the permanent paper ballot through the conversion of the printed content into accessible media"

Do you want to know what this intentionally benign and vague language means, and the events that led to it being inserted into the Holt Bill? If you ask Holt's office why this mysterious new requirement is in their bill, they're liable to say, "why, it's in the EAC 2005 Voluntary Voting System Guidelines (VVSG)." So let's take a look at what all of this means, and where it comes from.

First, to understand exactly what Holt's vague and, dare I say it, opaque, language is talking about, just look at Tubbs Jones"Count Every Vote" Bill (HR939). This bill was originally endorsed and heavily promoted by PFAW, and had been viewed by Holt's office as competition to their own piece of legislation.

Keep in mind that there is the chance that proponents of this crap, such as Holt, Hoyer, and PFAW, may actually believe that in order to get votes from voters who are illiterate, non-English speaking, or whatnot, they have to create a multimedia voting booth - complete with picture, sound, multiple languages. In other words, at best, this is another road to boondoggle paved with good intentions. At worst it is a cynical ploy to further enrich the evoting industry and destroy our democracy.

Anyway, the Tubbs Jones bill spelled out the meaning of "conversion of printed content into accessible media" very clearly, making it possible for the average citizen to grasp exactly how much of a high tech boondoggle this text-to-audio conversion concept is. HR 939 details the multimedia extravaganza that the 2007 Holt Bill is referring to as "accessible media" is and puts it like this:

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