Essential Revisions to HR 811

By John Gideon, Voters Unite

February 27, 2007

The groups and individuals endorsing this statement commend Rep. Rush Holt for all that is excellent in HR 811, the “Voter Confidence and Increased Accessibility Act of 2007.” However, before we give our endorsement, we want to note the bill’s shortcomings and call for some needed changes:

1. We caution against redefining the term “paper ballots” to include printouts from direct recording electronic (DRE) voting machines. “Paper ballot” should retain its historical definition as a ballot marked by the voter’s hand or by a non-tabulating ballot-marking device.

2. We support continued innovation, and we believe better alternatives will emerge more quickly when DREs cease to distract innovation. To foster this process, the bill must be amended to also allow the development of low-tech innovations to provide accessibility and verifiability to people with disabilities.

3. All recounts must be conducted by hand counting the paper ballots.

4. There must be no undisclosed voting system software.

5. The bill must be amended to ban all Internet connections for all components of a voting system.

6. We believe that the Election Assistance Commission has failed every part of its mission statement. The bill must be amended to extend the authorization through 2008 only, with oversight of the EAC by Congress and the public.

7. The selection of the audit board should be restructured to avoid conflicts with the authority of existing independent election oversight bodies in many states.

We urge the appropriate congressional committees to incorporate these changes into HR 811 and any companion bill introduced into the Senate.

We, the following election integrity organizations and individuals, endorse the above revisions as vital to ensuring accurate, auditable, accessible, and transparent elections in the United States.

In alphabetical order:

Black Box Voting
Broward Election Reform Coalition
Coalition for Voting Integrity (PA)
Las Vegas (NM) Peace & Justice Center
MidHudson Verified Voting
New Yorkers for Verified Voting (NYVV)
Progressive Democrats of America (PDA)
Voter Action
Voting Integrity Alliance of Tampa Bay (VIA Tampa Bay)

If you want to endorse this statement, please email John Gideon.

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