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Wednesday, November 30, 2005

HR 550: Because if you believe in democracy, you support accurate vote counts
Posted by Jill | 10:22 AM

I've taken a fair amount of crap from our wingnut trolls over the past year and a half, and even more before then from Republicans who seem to think that unverifiable voting is A-OK by them -- especially when the machines are built and programmed by companies that support Republicans.

America's moral authority, or what little of it is left, is predicated on the idea that we elect our leaders in free elections in which the votes are counted as they are cast. The last three elections, in 2000, 2002, and 2004 cast doubt on this principle, as more and more districts using electronic voting reported machine glitches, votes being cast for the wrong candidate, and other "quirks", not all of them easily attributable to malfunction.

I'm hardly a power programmer, but I could write a web-based system in an afternoon that would take every "n"th vote for Candidate A and change it to Candidate B. I could also write a function that would watch for a certain vote percentage before kicking the count change into play.

Those of us with programming and system knowledge are appalled at the kind of loose controls placed on these machines -- the security holes, the insecure databases, the level of crappy code that most of us would be fired for producing.

Although Rep. Rush Holt is, alas, not my representative (my own representative, Scott Garrett, feels that rigged voting is just fine with him), I'm proud to be from the same state as the Congressman who introduced Bill HR 550: the The Voter Confidence and Increased Accessibility Act.

This bill, if passed, will:

  • Mandate a voter verified paper ballot for every vote cast in every federal election, nationwide; because the voter verified paper record is the only one verified by the voters themselves, rather than by the machines, it will serve as the vote of record in any case of inconsistency with electronic records;
  • Protect the accessibility requirements of the Help America Vote Act for voters with disabilities;
  • Require random, unannounced, hand-count audits of actual election results in every state, and in each county, for every Federal election;
  • Prohibit the use of undisclosed software and wireless and concealed communications devices and internet connections in voting machines;
  • Provide Federal funding to pay for implementation of voter verified paper balloting; and
  • Require full implementation by 2006

A petition to support this bill can be found here.
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