April 5th, 2007




Dear VR Members:

HR 811, Congressman Rush Holt’s Voter Confidence and Increased Accessibility Act of 2007, must be amended to ban the Direct Record Electronic (DRE) voting machine. DRE victories are electronic and faith based. Even with a paper trail, DRE results are impossible to verify for accuracy and transparency.

DRE ballots are electronic, not paper. Their electronic tally of electronic ballots is official, without check or balance, in 90% of DRE elections – even with a paper trail. Without amendment, HR 811 perpetuates this situation for years to come.

Many well-meaning legislators support HR 811 because they believe its “voter-verified permanent paper ballot” means that from now on, Americans will be voting on paper for security and accuracy. They are mistaken.

In HR 811, the DRE “voter-verified permanent paper ballot” is a paper audit trail. It will be used to check less than 10% of the vote. And studies show that many DRE voters forget or neglect to verify the paper trail.

An election in Orange County, CA was recently overturned in a recount. Absentee ballots were scrutinized for voter intent. Marks on those paper ballots convinced the Registrar in ten cases that the votes had been counted wrong, and the outcome flipped. The DRE paper trail was never used; the DRE votes were recounted electronically.

Despite California’s paper-trail law for DRE audits, a manual recount of the paper trail was deemed too expensive and difficult, so the judge approved the electronic recount. Congressman Holt maintains that his bill would not have allowed this, but Californians thought the same thing when they passed its paper-trail law. Americans must eliminate this situation altogether by banning electric ballots.

DREs can target neighborhoods and minorities for electronic disenfranchisement. Civil rights leader Dolores Huerta recently brought that message recently to Capitol Hill, bearing a study from New Mexico that showed undervote rates soaring when Native Americans and Spanish language voters used DREs. Rates were similar to that in Anglo communities when New Mexicans went to all opti-scanned paper ballots.

DREs, touted as necessary for special-needs voters, are as insecure for those voters’ intent as for others. Touch-screen computers that do not tabulate but assist voters with disabilities and language needs to mark their ballots can restore security to those voters as they improve acessibility.


Members of Congress are home on recess now; call their district offices so they’ll know they can’t leave this problem inside the DC bubble. The list of phone numbers for each office here:

All the best,

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