Tuesday, August 21st, 2007
The Washington Post isn’t into Steny Hoyer (D-MD) and Rush Holt’s (D-NJ) election reform bill. A Washington Post editoral today says that “paper trals, external audits and stronger accessibility requirements for federal elections” are “important goals,” but that HR811 is too strict on deadlines and audits the bill calls for.
The bill requires all states by November 2008 to have some type of paper trail on votes cast.
Even if states meet the 2008 deadline, the requisite haste and corner-cutting could produce their own missteps; the bill might inadvertently cause more disenfranchisement than it would solve. If Congress is going to order a complete overhaul of elections nationwide, it should give states enough time to do it right. The bill also requires states to purchase by 2012 voting technology that is not yet on the market; pushing back the 2008 deadline might thus keep states from having to buy new equipment twice.
Changing the 2008 deadlines — or at least providing waivers for states that are really in trouble — and loosening the audit requirements would be good fixes to the House bill. A similar but less publicized bill, introduced by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), embraces the same principles as the House bill but with more flexibility.
The rules for conducting post-election audits in Holt’s bill are on Thomas. So is info on Feinstein’s bill, S 1487. After the jump, the part from HR 811 which explains how many ballots will be counted in a post-election audit.