I pass this piece along out of my great respect for Steve Rosenfeld, a seasoned champion of election reform, who has done great work not just as part of Bob Fitrakis’s team but in various progressive roles. I’ve learned a lot from him. Because of that, and as the issue here is vital, I
urge you to consider carefully his argument in favor of Rush Holt’s bill.
I’d like you to consider it, as well as the full range of counter-arguments against the bill–
which, like those other “purists” mentioned in Steve’s piece, I don’t support. While I respect Steve’s point about the frequent need, in politics, for incremental measures, I think that HR 811
could easily do more harm than good. I oppose it only for that reason, and not because it isn’t
I do believe that halfway measures are a bad idea in certain instances. You wouldn’t ask a serial rapist merely to cut back on his offenses, or urge a crack addict to restrict his drug abuse to certain evenings of the week. (For a less fanciful analogy, there was chattel slavery, and the Holocaust; and now there’s the war in Iraq, as well as most of BushCo’s other policies, both foreign and domestic.) In short, it’s sometimes wrong to act as an “impurist.” The problem with this bill, however, is the fact that it will leave the process highly vulnerable to fraud in the next election, while also giving people a false sense of security.
My view, as you no doubt know, is that we ought to be primarily engaged in getting out the word–as far and wide as possible– about the vast election fraud committed by the Busheviks in 2002, 2004 and 2006. Once that’s been done, not just by us but by the Democrats, the media and honest members of the GOP, it will no longer seem “unrealistic” to demand that DRE machines be banned, and that a range of other tough reforms be put in place. As one of those who’s toured the nation speaking on the subject, I have no doubt that most Americans (by far) would not just acquiesce in revolutionary change, but would in fact demand it, especially once they know what’s really happened to (what they believe is) their democracy.
In order to promote the necessary debate, I’ll gladly follow this with other pieces on the subject of HR 811.
Are Voting Machine Purists
Standing in the Way of Reform?
By Steven Rosenfeld, AlterNet
Posted on March 19, 2007, Printed on March 19, 2007
Are Internet election integrity activists going to derail an attempt in Congress to regulate some of the biggest problems with touch-screen electronic voting machines? Will they scare off federal legislators who are going out on a limb to make it very hard for local, county and state election officials to keep using these problem-plagued machines?

There’s the old political expression: Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good. But some election integrity activists are letting their vision of a perfectly justifiable solution — purging all touch-screen voting machines — get in the way of backing a very good election reform bill now moving through Congress that will bring significant oversight, transparency and accountability to electronic voting systems.

The bill, HR 811, “The Increased Accessibility and Voter Confidence Act,” introduced by Rep. Rush Holt, D-N.J., regulates electronic voting machines for the first time. After many well-publicized problems in recent congressional and presidential elections, from 18,000 missing congressional votes in Sarasota, Fla., to thousands of disenfranchised voters in Cleveland, the bill fills a gaping hole in federal election law: the current lack of any regulation on the newest generation of voting technologies.

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