As a New Effort is Mounted by Election Integrity Advocates to Contact Congress Members Concerning the Drive to Ban DRE Touch-Screen Voting Systems Once and For All...
By Brad Friedman on 7/9/2007, 10:22am PT  

Blogged by Brad Friedman from St. Louis...

Charging that Congressman Rush Holt's (D-NJ) Election Reform bill (HR 811) "does not address the concerns that Americans have, to do something about electronic voting," Ohio's Rep. Dennis Kucinich reiterated his withdrawal of support for the controversial legislation last Friday.

In an interview on the Peter B. Collins show, the Democratic presidential candidate confirmed earlier reports that he intended to drop his co-sponsorship of the bill in favor of requiring paper ballots for American elections. HR 811, as currently written, fails to ban dangerous electronic touch-screen (DRE) voting systems.

Last week, Election Integrity advocates announced a new effort to contact Congress members in order to learn their position on the Holt bill, and whether or not they would support such a ban. They are asking for help from the public in contacting all members of the U.S. House. (More details on the effort, and how you can help, below.)

"I'm hopeful that Congressman Holt will modify his bill before he pushes for passage of it," Kucinich told host Peter B. Collins during a short interview late Friday.

Here's the short audio of the exchange concerning the Holt Bill [less than 2 mins]:

Here's the transcript of the exchange:

PETER B. COLLINS: You have recently removed yourself as a co-sponsor of 811, am I correct?

KUCINICH: I have. Rush Holt's a fine person and I really enjoy serving with him. But I have to say, the bill does not address the concerns that Americans have, to do something about electronic voting, and to make sure that we protect ourselves from the kind of manipulation of an election that can occur with the insufficient controls on software and hardware in this era of electronic voting.

That's why I've advocated paper ballots in all federal elections. That's the paper trail. That's that old time religion in politics where at least you had a chance for a fair count. Every American deserves to know that his or her vote counts and is going to be counted.

And you may remember that in the last election, when it came to the Electoral College, I was one of the few members who challenged the election in the Electoral College and voted against certification of the election based on what happened in Ohio. As did, by the way, Senator [Barbara] Boxer [D-CA], she was one of the leaders on that.

PBC: Indeed, yes...

KUCINICH: And so, we have to stand up and be counted. I'm hopeful that Congressman Holt will modify his bill before he pushes for passage of it.

Kucinich had originally announced his intention to drop his co-sponsorship of the bill last month when asked about it by Election Integrity advocates during a phone appearance at DemocracyFest in New Hampshire. The Ohio Congressman's name is still listed as a co-sponsor, along with 215 others, on the Library of Congress website, but The BRAD BLOG has been told by a source familiar with the LOC's Thomas database that co-sponsorship lists on that site are no longer updated after bills have been introduced and then voted out of committee...

Holt's bill was successfully voted out of committee in May, after undergoing a number of changes that removed additional safeguards written into the original bill, such as full disclosure of all source code for voting systems. The amended version now allows only for review of source code by so-called "experts" under restrictive non-disclosure agreements. The bill has been pending a vote on the floor of the U.S. House ever since. Last week, Holt said in a radio interview that he was hopeful the bill would be scheduled for a vote during the first two weeks of July.

In the last Congress, Kucinich had introduced a bill to require all hand-counted paper ballots in presidential elections. He has said he intends to re-introduce the measure in the current Congress.

Election Integrity advocates have decried the bill on a number of counts, charging that it does not go far enough towards ensuring accuracy and security of voting systems. Many Election Officials around the country have also expressed their concerns about the bill, but for different reasons. They fear the bill's requirements are too onerous and may force them to change recently purchased voting systems, despite the many problems revealed in those very systems.

Supporters of the bill have claimed that legislation requiring a ban on touch-screen DRE systems could not pass in the Democratically-controlled Congress, even though a similar ban on such voting systems was recently passed by the Republican-controlled House and Senate in the state of Florida. Supporters making the claim have failed to present evidence to back it up and have, as of yet, failed to offer the name of a single Congressional member who supports the bill now, but who would withdraw his or her support if the bill were amended to include a ban on DRE voting systems.

An effort is now being mounted by Philadelphia Election Integrity advocate and radio host of Voice of the Voters Mary Ann Gould, along with Joan Brunwasser of to contact Congress members in order to get them on record concerning their position on a DRE ban and the Holt bill in general. They are asking for your help in contacting Congress members. More information on that campaign is available here.

Take action to amend the Holt Election Reform Bill!
- Email Congress!
- Call your members!
See for more details, coverage, talking points & information on all of the above!
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