Greetings Charles, I picked this post because I did not see any category that really fit and so wondered if occasionally here and there you might set up a heading of ETC. or something that could be on other topics?
This is important: we need to call our best progressives and others on Holt's new bill HR 811 (formerly HR 550) as they obviously have had no time to read before signing on. Let us please help them to take their respected names off this terrible bill.
2-8-07: Beware of the Bandwagon -- A concise list of problems with Holt Bill HR 811
- Black Box Voting has publicly come out against the Bill
- Open Voting Consortium has publicly come out against the Bill
- Brad Friedman (BradBlog) has publicly come out against the Bill
- Jon Bonifaz (VoterAction.org / Demos) has publicly come out against the Bill
- Paul Lehto has publicly come out against the Bill
- Democracy for New Hampshire has publicly come out against the Bill
- John Gideon (VotersUnite, VoteTrustUSA) has publicly refused to support the bill
and there will be more.
PROBLEMS WITH THE BILL
1. Deceptive language. Calls a paper TRAIL a paper BALLOT.
2. Billion-dollar unfunded mandate: Requires text conversion technology in every polling place. At $7000 per machine for 185,000 polling places, you do the math. See this article for documentation on the billion-dollar boondoggle:
The bill is not talking about scanner wands, folks. Or if it is, they'd better specify that, and soon! Except that apparently, it's too late to make changes.
Note that only two vendors currently manufacture the needed technology, and one (Populex) has as head of its advisory board Frank Carlucci, the former chairman of the Carlyle Group, former CIA director, who was Donald Rumsfeld's roommate in college. Every polling place in America. Is this really what you want? Isn't it time to read the fine print on this???
3. Makes the scandal-ridden EAC a permanent fixture and increases its power. Alan Dechert, from the Open Voting Consortium says it best: "Holt contemplates the invasion of these United States by the Federal government. If passed, it would BREAK the voting system in the states while establishing a dictatorship to handle things: the Election Assistance Commission ("EAC" or just "the Commission") with its four commissioners appointed by the president of the United States."
4. Allows loss of secret ballots for the Military
5. No recognition of citizen right to oversight. Audit provisions do not allow either citizens or candidates access to any records for meaningful audits.
6. Conflicting requirements -- ie, must have text converters by 2008 and must study how to best do the conversions by 2010.
7. Language on disclosed source contains an error in that it doesn't deal with COTS - meaning, any electronics component with a chip on it would be required to disclose source code. There are literally hundreds of commercial off the shelf components in the system -- printers, video drivers, motherboard components -- that contain firmware, and these are manufactured all over the world. The bill would require Hitachi, Seagate, Fuji, Western Digital to open up their code for their commercial products if used in voting machines. Effectively eliminates the use of electronics while at the same time mandating electronics.
8. Mush language. (Example: "The manufacturer shall provide the appropriate election official with the information necessary for the official to provide the information...")
9. Unreadable: People complain about their legislators not reading the bills -- well the way this is written, it guarantees they won't read it. No Appendix, so sections of the bill require the reader to actually go find a different bill and look up sections in it in order to make sense of the current bill. (example: "Section 301(a)(1) of such Act (42 U.S.C. 15481(a)(1)) is amended (A) in subparagraph (A)(i), by striking "counted" and inserting "counted, in accordance with paragraphs (2) and (3)");
10. Audit protocols that no one agrees with, even fans of audit solutions
11. Loophole allowing Internet connections for central tabulators and ballot definition software
12. Loophole allowing manual audits to be bypassed by states with computer-only recount protocols
13. Loophole allowing machine count to supercede voter verified paper when fuzzily described circumstances arise. Los Angeles Registrar Conny McCormack already has tried to co-opt this (Feinstein senate hearing yesterday) into meaning when there is a printer jam damaging the paper, the machine count will trump.
14. Supports DREs
So many people worked so very hard on this bill, but in the end it isn't about who worked hard. It's about getting it right. We can't afford another set of HAVA problems.
And if it's got this many problems now, just wait until the lobbyists carve it up.
Founder - Black Box Voting
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PERMISSION TO REPRINT OR EXCERPT GRANTED, WITH LINK TO http://www.blackboxvoting.org
The following is how Bush and any future President can be given full control of all of our elections. This was written for the previous Holt Bill HR550 but also applies to the current Bill HR811:
What's wrong with the Holt Bill in three easy bullets
(Previously) Common Cause, MoveOn.org, TrueMajority, VerifiedVoting.org (Currently PFAW, People for the American Way and Common Cause, among others), and many other large election reform groups are pushing - and pushing hard - for passage of HR550 (the Holt Bill, now HR811), national legislation aimed to amend the Help America Vote Act. The bill is being sold as a way to put "auditable paper trails" into national law. Sounds like a great idea. But many activists disagree with the approach to support "paper trails" that might be audited when what we want are real paper ballots that are - not might be - counted.
The other problem with HR550 (now H.R.811) is that it is about much more than paper trails. Read below the dangerous details that the groups pushing for passage of HR550 (HR811) "as written" aren't talking about.
The democratic processes of the American Republic are based on decentralized power. Centralized power led to the American Revolution. Centralized power is the antithesis of a government of the people, by the people, and for the people.
1. Centralization of Executive Power--White House Control over Counting the Votes: HR550 (HR811) extends beyond the existing expiry date the power and authority of the Election Assistance Commission (EAC), establishing a Presidential Commission authorized to control the counting of votes in every election--federal, state,and local--in the nation.
2. Centralization of Executive Power--Crony Appointments: The potential for stacking of the EAC is evident in the scenario already played out under the current Administration. In early 2006, the Bush White House made numerous recess appointments, putting political cronies into positions of power and authority without any Congressional oversight or checks and balances. Of the eight recess appointments made on January 4, 2006, three were Commissioners to the Federal Election Commission. Two of those appointed Commissioners are known for their opposition to voting rights and clean elections. The third is a political crony of Senate Minority Leader Reid of Nevada. (Nevada is now positioned to take a lead role in the Democratic presidential nomination process. For this privilege, Nevada has promised to play the nomination process by Party rules, financed by the Casino industry.)
3. Centralization of Executive Power--Regulatory Authority: Federal regulatory authority means the federal entity preempts state and local authorities. The EAC was created as an advisory commission with one exception: it was granted regulatory authority over the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA). The EAC has been steadily positioning and even suing to assert its regulatory authority in other areas under its domain. Even if it does not succeed through litigation, the EAC could, with the insertion of a single line of text in ANY congressional act, become regulatory. This is how the FEC gained regulatory powers. A regulatory EAC means that a Presidential Commission potentially stacked with political cronies would have legal decision making and enforcement power over the following areas, for every state in the nation:
-- Which voting systems are approved for use in our elections
-- Who counts the votes in every election
-- How votes are counted in every election
-- How recounts are administered and how their outcomes are determined
A recent editorial in the New York Times, entitled "Strong Arming the Vote" (August 3, 2006) describes how the Department of Justice under the Bush Administration has been heavily involved in partisan ploys to negate necessary checks and balances in election practices. HR 550 (now HR 811), if passed as written, will establish a whole new arm of Executive power with dangerous authority to subvert the entire democratic process of elections that supports our system of government. It would result, in effect, in a bloodless coup.
People often ask, so what DO you support?
Here's an amended bill that might gain grassroots support:
We, the grassroots, can support the Holt Bill when it is amended to remove those dangerous provisions that centralize Executive power and expand Judicial election decision making authority. A Holt Bill that amends HAVA and provides real solutions to the problems in our election system need only include three items:
-- The incontrovertible and legally defensible system of verifiable elections through the use of real, voter-marked and verifiable paper ballots (as distinguished from paper trails)
-- The elimination of secret vote counting through the use of black box voting products.
-- An extension of all HAVA mandated deadlines pending a complete independent investigation, analysis, and audit of HAVA monies distributed and spent on electronic voting systems, the outcomes thereof, with said investigation including information on the most advanced system of checks and balances for elections: hand counted paper ballots.
What can you do?
Contact your Congressional representatives and tell them to amend or end HR550 (now HR811).
LIST OF COSPONSORS
You can find your local representative by going to http://www.congress.org and entering your zip code. All members of congress should be informed before this comes up for a vote, but here are those that probably didn't read the bill very carefully and signed on as co-sponsors:
According to page H1209 of the Congressional Record for the U.S. House of Representatives, on February 5, 2007, Rep. Rush Holt of New Jersey, along with the following original cosponsors, introduced H.R. 811, the Voter Confidence and Increased Accessibility Act of 2007.
This bill is now posted to the Library of Congress website.
(I have highlighted a few of our Texas Representatives, and may need help identifying them all.)
By Mr. HOLT (for himself,
Mr. TOM DAVIS of Virginia
Mr. WEXLER, Mr. EMANUEL
Mr. PETRI, Mr. WOLF
Mr. LEWIS of Georgia
Mrs. JONES of Ohio
Mr. ENGLISH of Pennsylvania
Mr. HASTINGS of Florida
Mr. MEEK of Florida
Mr. KUHL of New York
Ms. CORRINE BROWN of Florida
Mr. MACK, Mr. SCOTT of Virginia
Mr. BISHOP of Georgia
Mr. BOYD of Florida
Mr. BRADY of Pennsylvania
Mr. BRALEY of Iowa
Mr. DAVIS of Illinois
Mr. LINCOLN DAVIS of Tennessee
Mrs. DAVIS of California
Mr. FRANK of Massachusetts
Mr. GENE GREEN of Texas
Mr. HALL of New York
Ms. JACKSON-LEE of Texas
Ms. EDDIE BERNICE JOHNSON of Texas
Mr. JOHNSON of Georgia
Mr. KLEIN of Florida
Mr. LARSEN of Washington
Mrs. MCCARTHY of New York
Ms. MCCOLLUM of Minnesota
Mr. MCINTYRE, Mr. MCNULTY
Mrs. MALONEY of New York
Mr. MILLER of North Carolina
Mr. GEORGE MILLER of California
Mr. MOORE of Kansas
Mr. MORAN of Virginia
Mr. PATRICK MURPHY of Pennsylvania
Mr. PETERSON of Minnesota
Mr. PRICE of North Carolina
Mr. REYES, Mr. ROTHMAN
Ms. LINDA T. SANCHEZ of California
Ms. LORETTA SANCHEZ of California
Mr. SCOTT of Georgia
Mr. SMITH of Washington
Mr. UDALL of Colorado
Mr. VAN HOLLEN
Mr. WALZ of Minnesota
Ms. WASSERMAN SCHULTZ
and Mr. ALTMIRE
Thank you so much for your efforts to help out our Democracy.