On the NY Times' coverage of HR 811

You may have seen today’s front-page Times article, by Christopher Drew, on the status of the Holt and Feinstein bills.
That article was so completely and profoundly wrong that a rebuttal wouldtake several thousand words, and, therefore, way more time than I now have.
(I’m going on vacation tomorrow morning, and won’t be back until Aug. 12.)
Here, then, are two takes well worth your perusal. First, an email from Paul Lehto:

[See this from Democratic Underground]

But this still doesn’t mean a VOTE will be delayed, since they could proceed with a delayed-implementation bill. It is simply misleading to try to pass off (as the NY Times does) all opposition to Holt as being from election officials and some disability activists, and that the election officials main concern is simply that of time before 2008 to implement changes.

“We don’t have the time to implement needed changes to elections in time for November 2008, 16 months away” (give the primary an exemption if need be) is not a very persuasive argument. No reasons are given for why this is the cas, and no justification given for why it might NOT be the case. Thus, the NY Times leaves the reader with no choice but to accept, even if grudgingly, the story line that is being fed for why a 216 sponsor bill is falling apart. The NY Times just pretends that there is no public interest worth reporting on, either in the form of arguments that elections officials could do the job if they got off their butts, or in public interest arguments against the Holt bill. Message: Don’t worry folks, it’s just details of administrative implementation, no serious problems here. And that’s highly misleading reporting, but it is probably what the NYT got fed by someone.

Federal elections are two years apart so we are never more than 23 months away from another federal election. So this can always be used as an excuse and as a way to panic people into making bad compromised decisions: the upcoming critical federal elections…


Second, Brad Friedman’s response:
On the Last Throes and/or Last-Minute Compromise of the Holt Election Reform Bill
I had some thoughts while reading the New York Times piece that John Gideon posted here late last night on the last minute compromises being attempted to keep the Holt Election Reform Bill from its rumored death throes.
The subject of accessible voting systems for the disabled comes up throughout the piece with Holt reportedly “express[ing] a preference for optically scanned ballots marked by voters, but…House leaders…siding with advocates for the handicapped, who fear that they cannot use optical ballots without help.”

But it’s what is not said by either Holt, or the Times reporter Christopher Drew, that illustrates one of the big places that — if the bill finally dies — Holt could have, and should have, made a difference long ago…


Anyway, I will be blogging daily once again from Aug. 12.
Here’s hoping that, between now and then, there is no sudden “national emergency.”

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