10/03/2005

Daily Kos: Your Vote in 2006 Won't Matter (With Poll)

Your Vote in 2006 Won't Matter (With Poll)
by Jennifer Clare [Subscribe]
Sun Oct 2nd, 2005 at 12:41:31 CDT

If you do not ACT NOW to ensure that protections are in place to protect the integrity of the vote count. I have posted on this topic previously, but am compelled to do so again in the hope that more of us will become aware of this critical issue.

Please recommend this diary! We can argue and strategize and congratulate and complain all we want, but the fact is, we have a very small window of opportunity, about a week to 10 days, to pressure our Representatives to support legislation being scheduled for markup in mid-October that may mean the difference between whether or not your vote is counted for the candidate you cast it for.

You can push for this in under 10 minutes. Please read on, please recommend, and thanks.

* Jennifer Clare's diary :: ::
*

I received an email from Warren Stewart of VoteTrust USA with an important update and want all in this community and elsewhere to be aware of an opportunity we have to move toward a VOTER VERIFIED and SECURE VOTE. Warren's email and what you can do are below.

Last June, I joined several voter's rights groups in lobbying our Representatives in DC to encourage them to co-sponsor HR 550, the Voter Confidence and Increased Accessibility Act (HR 550). My Rep., Judy Biggert, has unfortunately not signed on as a co-sponsor but I lobbied her again in person at our 4th of July parade and just now sent her and the legislative aide I met with in DC urging passage of this amendment AS WRITTEN. This is key since the Carter-Baker report. Time is running short; the Kos community can help here in a big way!

HR 550 amends the Help America Vote Act of 2002 (HAVA) to require:

* a voter-verified paper ballot
* directs the Election Assistance Commission to conduct an unannounced, hand-recount of at least two percent of the precincts in every state
* requires that voting machines are not accessible by any type of wireless device
* prohibits the use of undisclosed software.

The amendment also requires any recount to be a count of the VOTER-VERIFIED PAPER ballot that you or I inspected and approved of to be considered the official election result.

HAVA has money available to states to make these changes but the amendment has to pass in time for states to apply for the money by January 1.

Text of the amendment here: linked text

Other measures are needed as well but this bill is a good place to start and most important the requirements would be NATION WIDE. Less room for tomfoolery at the state level by state chairpersons of a given candidate's campaign (I know, ROFL, like THAT would ever happen!).

Warren's message (I know this is long, but it is extremely important, so I greatly appreciate your patience):

Earler this year you signed up to make your voice heard through lobbying for Rush Holt's voter Confidence and Increased Accessibility Act (HR 550) organized by VoteTrustUSA, Verified Voting, Common Cause, Electronic Frontier Foundation, Working Assets, and Voters Unite (The HR 550 - I Count Coalition). Since June, the bill has added over 20 co-sponsors, most recently Mary Bono (R-CA) and the bill now has 157 co-sponsors.

With some indication that the bill may actually be marked up in October, there is concern that the House Administration Committee may use the recommendations of the Carter-Baker Report to weaken Holt's language. VoteTrustUSA has set up a legislative action page where concerned citizens can sign up and automatically send an email to their Representative and to the majority and minority offices of the House Administration Committee urging them to pass HR 550 as written.

You can help us in this effort by sending an email to your Representative and signing a petition that will be delivered to members of the House Administration Committee. Just go here: linked text where you can let Congress know that you are still paying attention.

We would also appreciate your help in publisizing this action alert. Have a look at the form email on the sign-up page and feel free to use any of the copy below in contacting other concerned citizens. Feel free to contact me directly if you have any questions about this action alert. Thanks for helping out!

Warren Stewart

Director of Legislative Issues and Policy

VoteTrustUSA

Sample Copy

Send an email to your Representative and to the House Administration Committee urging them to pass HR 550 as written!

The recently-released report of the Commission on Federal Election Reform called on congress to establish a requirement for a voter verified paper record of every vote and mandatory audits. VoteTrustUSA hopes you will join us in using the Commission's recommendations as a catalyst for speedy enactment of Rep. Rush Holt's Voter Confidence and Increased Accessibility Act (HR 550) which organizations like VerifiedVoting, Common Cause, Working Assets, Electronic Frontier Foundation, Velvet Revolution, and many other national and state election integrity groups have been advocating for more than two years. In so doing, the forces of democracy can score an early and important win moving into the battle to prevent massive voter disenfranchisement.

The Commission recommended that Congress require a voter verified paper ballot for every vote and routine random audits to check the accuracy of vote counts in federal elections. However the report went on to recommend that the status of the voter verified paper ballot should be determined by states rather than mandated as the ballot of record nationwide. This means that any state can decide to disregard the only record that the voter has confirmed in favor of the "vapor trail" record inside the voting machine and make the voter verified paper ballot a meaningless and expensive placebo.

The report also recommends audits to verify the accuracy of voting systems but it is unclear about the mechanism through which such audits shall be conducted. Meaningful audits require hand counts - it is not possible to confirm the accuracy of machine counts with more machine counts. Publicly observed hand counts are the only means to achieve complete certainty of the vote totals and should be required in all audits and recounts.

Many states have spoken already on this issue: the voter-verified paper record must be the document used for audits and recounts and must govern in case of discrepancy. The Holt bill would ensure this requirement protects the vote in all states.

We believe there is a window of a week to ten days to apply grassroots pressure on Congress, particularly the members of the House Administration Committee to send HR 550 to the floor as written. VoteTrustUSA has set up an email web tool to facilitate this action alert. Please send a message to Congress to pass HR 550 now as written! Click here: linked text .

Emails sent from this web tool will be directed to the signers' individual representatives as well as the members of the Committee. The signers' names will also be compiled into a physical petition, which will be delivered to the Committee.

Thanks, friends. Let's take our democracy back. I know that phrase is over-used, but seriously, isn't the integrity of our vote essential to every other issue?

Daily Kos: Your Vote in 2006 Won't Matter (With Poll)

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