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Tuesday, May 29, 2007

National Election Reform Bill Garners Strong Criticisms

Although HR 811, the Voter Confidence and Increased Accessibility Act of 2007 sponsored by Rep. Rush Holt (D-NJ), was initially created to address the rampant and well documented problems caused by electronic voting machines, most election reform activists are now fighting the bill. Critics say it's been amended and watered down in ways that make it part of the problem, not the solution. Mark Crispin Miller explains in the video above why we should say NO to HR 811, the Holt Bill, saying it's a poison pill, a billion-dollar-plus boondoggle and tyranny disguised as reform.

If you agree, please contact Tom Udall's office to express your deep concern with and adversity to the Holt Bill (HR811):

  • Santa Fe: 505-984-8950
  • DC fax: 202-226-1331
  • Washington: 202-225-6190

More resources and information about the Holt Bill and its problems:

Teresa Hommel's site: https://www.wheresthepaper.org
Zogby Poll: 92% of people don't want Secret Vote Counts
Voters Unite: Peering Through Chinks in the Armor of High-Tech Elections
Some of the election reform activists that are against the Holt Bill:
  • At #c1658364216473477457" target="_blank">10:26 PM, steve rosenfeld said…
  • Mark is completely correct with this analysis. This creates a new layer of problems in terms of accountability and transparency in US elections - on top of all other unsolved issues. The bottom line with these printout from elecronic machines is simple: they're not the same as a paper ballot marked by a voter, which shows voter intent in a recount or contested election. Just wait until the next contested election and you'll see how and why this differnce matters.
  • At #c7384018538652155195" target="_blank">2:17 AM, Mark E. Smith said…
  • Mark is right. Not only are voting machines little more than $5,000 pencils, they don't work. Aurora, Texas may have to hold a new election because their Diebold machines lost 38 votes. https://tinyurl.com/39nfvh
  • The dangers of secret vote counts that occur inside proprietary corporate voting machines cannot be exaggerated. The Holt bill is more than a billion-dollar boondoggle, it is tyranny disguised as reform. The only people who want voting machines are crooked politicians and corrupt corporations. We the People want hand-counted paper ballots that we can mark, read, count, and control ourselves, without any need for experts, technicians, or $7,000 ballot conversion devices that don't even exist.
  • At #c4340466468860131208" target="_blank">3:18 AM, Karen Renick said…
  • I think that Mark's video lays out very clearly why we should be extremely wary of the Holt bill, HR 811, and why we all should contact our representatives in Congress and tell them NOT to support this bill. (Go to www.congress.org for contact info.)There is, however, one part of his explanation about which I am compelled to present a different interpretation and clarification. It is regarding Mark's description of the bill's original provision for allowing public review of the voting machine software.
  • First, having access to review the software never provides a way for knowing how votes are being counted and if they are being counted accurately. It's not like opening the back of a watch and seeing the gears moving and the springs tightening. Actually, as it has been described to me by computer security experts, analysing software code is extremely tedious and time-consuming and would never provide a way to "see" how that code performs, i.e., how it casts and/or counts the voters' selections, either during an actual election or in one happening in the future.
  • Secondly, the magnanimous act of allowing the "public" to view the software that was in the original version of the bill was, in actuality, a "literacy test" for "reading" computer code that most voters fail and therefore, would never have been able to enjoy any benefit from this so-called "offer".
  • The raw truth about electronic voting is that computer-illiterate voters (like myself) must always rely on an expert for an explanation of the voting process and must always depend on an expert (or, most often, an election official) to know if everything about the election has proceeded smoothly or not. We the Voters are being forced to trust the "word" of the very same government of which we are supposed to be in charge.
  • Voting isn't about trusting. It's fundamentally about voters seeing,knowing and participating in how the votes are counted.
  • As Mark so aptly describes, the only voting method that meets the above criteria is hand-counted paper ballots, counted in full public view on election night in every precinct across our nation.
  • Tell your representatives to pass a bill for hand-counted paper ballots instead of the convoluted disaster that is HR 811.

May 29, 2007 at 10:48 AM in Election Reform & Voting | Permalink


I agree with Mark 100% for a number of reasons. First, I was once an application developer and as a result I know that software is no more than a tool that can be manipulated as the developer fits.

But my primary reason was also stated by Mark. The vote is way too important to be placed into the hands of private corporations. It is the foundation on which our nation is based.

There may come a day when computers will be the tool we use to cast our vote. That, I suggest, would be the day that the computers, and the software that drives them, rests in the hands of the government, and a ballot hard copy in the hands of the voter, and another hard copy in the hands of the election office for varification purposes. That day is not today.

HR811 must not become law.

Posted by: Ollie Morgan | May 30, 2007 3:38:15 PM

Ollie, you have it right. The Holt bill would do more harm than good and once its in place it would be hard to get it changed. Needs to be stopped. Too bad some people see it as some improvement when it really isn't that at all.

Posted by: I Vote | May 30, 2007 6:00:13 PM

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