Seeking Just One Democracy-Serving Reason to Keep DREs Allowable Under the Holt Bill
Any takers?...
By Ellen Theisen on 3/19/2007, 6:05am PT  

Guest Blogged by Ellen Theisen of VotersUnite.Org

I challenge anyone to put forward an actual disadvantage of amending Representative Rush Holt's bill (HR 811, "The Voter Confidence and Increased Accessibility Act of 2007") to ban electronic ballots. With a few moments' thought, I can list five bad things (which opponents might anticipate) that such an amendment would NOT do and fifteen good — actually, critical — things it WILL do.

Is there even one way in which electronic ballots serve our democracy better than true paper ballots?

I claim that an amendment banning electronic ballots has LOTS of advantages and NO disadvantages — for our country and its democracy, anyway. And I challenge anyone to think of a democracy-serving reason why NOT to amend it. "The bill won't pass with the amendment" doesn't count. I'm looking for a genuine disadvantage of the amendment.

Here's what I see. Tell me if I've missed something….

The amendment WILL NOT:

  1. increase the number of jurisdictions that have to update their equipment under HR 811,
  2. nor diminish HR 811’s accessibility requirements for people with disabilities or language needs,
  3. nor increase the appropriations required for HR 811 or the costs incurred by the states,
  4. nor delay elections results,
  5. nor increase the work of election directors. On the contrary, some New Mexico clerks even said that after they eliminated electronic ballots, they had the smoothest election ever.

The amendment WILL:

  1. simplify poll worker training and enable people who aren’t computer experts to work effectively at the polls. With over half a million poll workers in the field on election day, we can’t require all of them to be computer experts.
  2. prevent ethnic profiling from being accomplished INSIDE the voting booth by machines that require a voter to choose their language.
  3. prevent long lines at polling places.
  4. prevent another Sarasota. If something goes wrong in an election — and it will — we will be able to find out the cause of the problem.
  5. eliminate vote-flipping, where a voter’s selection changes on the screen before their very eyes.
  6. allow elderly voters and others who are not computer-savvy to vote in a way that makes sense to them and doesn’t cause anxiety or embarrassment.
  7. reduce the need for vendor technicians to solve problems in the field on election day.
  8. (The list has gotten long, so this is just a reminder that I'm listing what an amendment requiring a ban on electronic ballots WILL do.)

  9. simplify the testing and certification process managed by the EAC.
  10. reduce the operating costs of election offices across the country.
  11. allow implementation of HR 811 by 2008 because the technology is already available, rather than not yet invented.
  12. .....and the most important ones....

  13. allow every voter to verify the ballot that is counted, rather than merely verifying a screen or paper representation of their ballot, which may or may not match the one that counts.
  14. enable voters to know that their votes were recorded as they intended.
  15. increase voter confidence in election results by enabling meaningful observation of ballot handling and counting.
  16. allow audits on questionable elections to be conducted by ordinary citizens, rather than requiring formal studies by teams of computer technology experts.
  17. restore simplicity to our elections.

So, what's a reason — even ONE reason — NOT to amend the Holt bill to ban electronic ballots?

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Take action to amend the Holt Election Reform Bill!
- Email Congress!
- Call you members!
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