This deconstruction of S-1487 is very well done and we are proud to feature it on VotersUnite.Org. Here is just a small part of what Robert Bancroft has to say about Sen. Feinstein’s gift to Corporate America:
>>snip<Votes are less safe, and less likely to be counted, in S.1487:
o S.1487 replaces most references to “paper ballot” with “paper record”, a stinging reminder that the two are not equal.
o S.1487 removes the test of “clear and convincing evidence” with regards to tampering, making the paper records easier to ignore.
o S.1487 allows the paper ballots of an entire precinct to be ignored, if there is any hint of “mischief”, while H.R.811 suggests that any tampering be considered on a machine-by-machine basis
o S.1487 deletes language in H.R.811 that requires prominent reminders for voters to double-check their paper records before casting the vote.
o S.1487 adds dangerously racist “residual benchmarks”, and deletes accuracy standards established by HAVA.
o S.1487 alters disclosure requirements, to offer improved protection for corporate “trade secrets”, at the expense of vote integrity.
o S.1487 permits some machines used in vote tabulation to be connected to the internet, while H.R.811 does not.
o S.1487 deletes language in H.R.811 that would require polling stations to offer real, paper ballots, as an alternative to electronic voting.
H.R.811 makes some minimal effort to constrain the role of the Commission, but S.1487 goes hog-wild:
o H.R.811 relies on the Director of the National Institute of Standards and Technology to develop best practices, but S.1487 hands that responsibility over to the Commission.
o H.R.811 would like States to play a role in the certification process. S.1487 hands control to the Commission. It even permits the Commission to break its own rules on a whim (“emergency
o H.R.811 requires disclosure between manufacturers, labs and state election officials, but S.1487 makes the Commission the central command.
o H.R.811 mandates that the Commission shall select labs at random “to the greatest extent practicable”, but S.1487 weakens the language.
o H.R.811 requires the Commission to inform the public if it has “credible evidence of significant security failure at an accredited laboratory”, but S.1487 deletes this, preferring such knowledge remain a secret between the lab and the Commission.
o H.R.811 allows the Director of the National Science Foundation to determine who is eligible to receive grants for research, but S.1487 gives this responsibility to the Commission.
H.R.811 has a lot more to say about audits:
o H.R.811 requires that States may not give any advance notice as to which precincts will be selected for audit. S.1487 has this line deleted.
o H.R.811 allows audits to be skipped if the winning candidate received 80% or more of the total votes, S.1487 does not.
o H.R.811 requires the entity conducting the audit to “meet the standards established by the Comptroller General to ensure the independence” of all parties, and requires that audits be performed “under generally accepted government accounting standards.” S.1487 deletes all of this.
o H.R.811 attempts to outline several additional requirements for the audit, including that at least 10% of all precincts be audited in the case of a particularly close race. S.1487 suggests 2%.
o H.R.811 provides States the opportunity to develop their own audit standards, so long as the National Institute of Standards and Technology verifies the proposed method is at least as accurate as the method that H.R.811 outlines. S.1487 deletes this; why consult NIST when one can simply defer all judgment to the Commission?
o H.R.811 requires random audits, but also insists that at least one precinct from each county be audited. S.1487 deletes this safeguard.
o H.R.811 insists that the Commission adopt model audit procedures before the next Presidential election. S.1487 is content to wait until 2010.
o H.R.811 appropriates $100,000,000 to assist states in paying the cost of a rigorous audit regime. S.1487 tells States to go lay an egg.
Other assorted differences:
o S.1487 deletes several legal protections for “aggrieved persons”, who have been disenfranchised, to seek remedy.
o S.1487 cuts the total research spending by $2,000,000.
o S.1487 cuts the total grants for purchase of equipment by $400,000,000.
o While H.R.811 bases funding allocation on voting age population, S.1487 bases it on the number of precincts.
o S.1487 expands and clarifies the protection of voters who speak certain languages other than English, referring to 1965 Voter Protection Act.
o S.1487 pushes back most deadlines, many not effective until after the next Presidential election.
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