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What's wrong with S 1487? Let us count the ways...

By       Message Teresa Hommel     Permalink
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The US Senate Rules Committee will apparently conduct a hearing on July 25 on S1487.

Here is an analysis of problems with S1487. There are 25 areas of function, and many of them have severe problems.

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I hope that all activists can agree that this bill is the wrong way to election reform.

I hope we can have a strong showing at the hearing next week, to demand a better bill and to make sure that our Senators understand why each of these flaws is wrong, and how to improve it.

Please contact both US Senators from your state (link provided below), and ask them to read this analysis of S1487, and to work to improve it -- or to refuse to sponsor or vote for it.

Teresa Hommel

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What does it do? Why is it wrong? Suggested solutions!

Overview -- Control of election administration is shifted from local and state governments to the federal level

S1487 takes control of elections out of local and state hands and gives it to the federal government. Is this wise?

There has been no national or Congressional debate, and no Congressional hearings at which citizens can speak. There has been no request for such a shift of control from citizens or local or state governments. Our federal system should not be so profoundly altered in this casual way.

S1487 would accomplish the shift in two ways. First, it imposes dozens of new requirements on states, and second, it converts the Election Assistance Commission (EAC) from a temporary commission with minimum responsibilities that have not been successfully accomplished into a permanent regulatory agency with control over dozens of functions currently controlled by local and state governments. Here are links detailing the EAC's past dysfunction:

a. EAC, past dysfunction:
b. GAO Report: All Levels of Government Need to Address E-Voting Challenges
c. EAC has failed its mission, Testimony of Ellen Theisen, March 13, 2007
d. EAC: political, secretive, unresponsive to citizen concerns, protective of vendor and
ITA interests.

Many of S1487's requirements carry minimal benefit--the bill touches on important topics but in a trivial way. For example, it mandates "election observers" access to poll sites, along with enormous administrative overhead to states, but the observers are mandated permission only to watch three procedures that commonly are not performed in poll sites.

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S1487's 25 major requirements

In the material below, numbers in brackets [ ] refer to comments embedded in the text of the bill at

1. Moratorium on Paperless DREs

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Teresa Hommel is a voting activist in NY and chair of the Task Force On Voting Integrity, Community Church of New York.

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