Entry for April 23, 2007

Another poster, the one that started the Diebold Variations c. 2004 by Rand Careaga/Salamander.epa.

He explains,

I came into possession of the image of Stalin casting a vote, and wondered what the ghastly old fellow might have made of the new touchscreen voting technology. A magazine ad suggested itself, and then another, and another…

On April 23, Richard Wolf of USA Today writes in Paper-trail voting gets organized opposition” that last week about two dozen secretaries of state, state legislators and county executives met in Washington to plot about letters, phone calls and meetings with lawmakers to stop Rush Holt’s (D-NJ) H.R. 811 which requires more accountability regarding electronic voting and now has 209 co-sponsors (UPDATE: 210 as of 4/24, with Sonny Bono’s widow Mary (R-CA) joining up.)

Mississippi Secretary of State Eric Clark (D) objected to Holt’s measure,

We’re talking about 10 months from now — that’s nuts…[it] would absolutely assure a meltdown in the elections next year.

Says Holt,

We can’t go through another federal election with people not believing the results.

Problems with touchscreen machines already prompted New Mexico to adopt optical-scan paper ballots. Maryland’s legislature is moving toward a similar change after problems arose in last September’s primary. The disputed Florida congressional election in November prompted Republican Gov. Charlie Crist to push for optical-scan machines, now pending in the state Legislature.

Vermont Secretary of State Deborah Markowitz and Kansas Election Director Brad Bryant, the heads of national associations for officials in their respective positions, say the new standards I wrote about yesterday will not be as much of a problem.

Kimball Brace, president of of Election Data Services, a Washington consulting firm disagrees.

It’s the other train wreck waiting to happen.


Meanwhile, Bev Harris of BlackboxVoting is also on the rampage against Holt, calling it the “Patriot Act” of voting because it permanently establishes the EAC. : A draft letter states:

I write in opposition to the Holt Bill, H.R. 811, which promises “increased voter confidence” but actually perpetuates secret vote-counting by computers while handing centralized control of federal elections to four White House appointees.

Because it requires a computerized text conversion device in every polling place, H.R. 811 would actually require electronic voting machines, effectively ruling out noncomputerized voting methods such as handcounted paper ballots.

For the same reason H.R. 811 would also rule out noncomputerized voter assistive devices that provide better accessiblity features at far less cost, while avoiding the unacceptable risks of secret, computerized vote-counting.

This unnecessary, unproven, as-yet nonexistent text converter device that H.R. 811 requires is a gift to the E-voting industry and an under-funded federal mandate that will impose huge cost burdens on the states.

H.R. 811 provides no means to enforce election laws that are being routinely violated. This hardly inspires “increased voter confidence” in elections.

Election auditing procedures in H.R. 811–which apply to post-election results rather than to the first count–are poorly conceived and inadequate to reliably detect electronic fraud or mistabulation. This inspires alarm, not confidence.

The EAC, created as a temporary advisory commission to implement HAVA, is in fact a federal executive commission that can at any time be converted into a federal regulatory agency by the insertion of a single line of text in any act of Congress.

Regulatory powers would enable the EAC to effectively bypass Congress and create law that preempts Constitutional state sovereignty in election administration. This would allow four White House appointees to determine:

* Which voting systems are approved for use in our elections
* Who counts the votes, and how votes are counted
* How recounts are conducted and outcomes decided

What I don’t understand is why Harris, who wants paper ballots, has not worked with Holt, who seems like a good guy, to change the provisions, rather than work against him.


A computer specialist in Italy, Emanuele Lombardi, suggests electronic-aided paper ballots, with no connection to the internet, to avoid hacking.



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