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Tuesday, August 21st, 2007

Washington Post on HR 811

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.

Friday, August 17th, 2007

Election reform on TIME.com

On TIME’s Swampland blog, People For the American Way president Ralph Neas blogs in favor of HR811, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) and Representative Rush Holt’s (D-NJ) Voter Confidence and Increased Accessibility Act of 2007. Neas is a Swampland blogger from August 13th-17th. He writes:

Fortunately, [Hoyer and Holt] have crafted a good election reform bill – the Voter Confidence and Increased Accessibility Act of 2007 – that would address voting machine problems head-on. The legislation would, among other things, do the following:

• require a paper record for every vote cast in federal elections next year and beyond
• mandate random audits of voting machines
• require that the paper records, not the voting machines, be used in the event of a recount
• require that emergency paper ballots be provided should voting machines fail


The Hoyer-Holt bill is our best, and only, shot at changing the unacceptable status quo in time for the 2008 election.

Previously on WT?BLOG
New York Times advocates (partial) election reform
Study: North Carolina only state performing “essential” post-election audits of electronic voting machines

Tuesday, July 31st, 2007

New York Times advocates (partial) election reform

Saturday, the New York Times ran an article detailing a study by computer scientists from California universities which highlighted the susceptibility of electronic voting machines to hacking. Today, the Times editorializes in favor of a bill before congress that deals with this important part of our broken election system:

Before the House of Representatives takes its August recess, it owes it to the voters to pass a bill that would finally fix the problems with electronic voting. And there is a good bill ready, sponsored by Rush Holt, Democrat of New Jersey, that would go a long way toward making elections more secure.

Electronic voting machines in their current form simply cannot be trusted. Just last week, a team of computer scientists from California released a study of three different voting systems that once again showed how easy it is to hack into electronic systems and alter the count.

The most important protection against electronic voting fraud is the voter-verified paper trail, a paper record that the voter can check to make sure that it properly reflects his or her choices. There should then be mandatory audits of a significant number of these paper records to ensure that the results tallied on the voting machines match the votes recorded on paper.

Mr. Holt’s bill would require that every voting machine produce a paper record of every vote cast in a federal election, and it would mandate random audits. It would also prohibit the use of wireless and Internet technology, which are especially vulnerable to hackers.

Michael Waldman, head of of NYU’s Brennan Center for Justice, which has done some great work on the mechanical aspect of election reform, blogs about Rep. Holt’s bill here.

Several Democratic presidential candidates and their advisors spoke to the issue of how to best count every vote in our behind the scenes look at the Democrats’ CNN/YouTube presidential debate last week. But, as you hear me mention to candidate Dennis Kucinich in the video, there is much more work to be done than just counting every vote. Since 1945 only half of eligible Americans have made it to the polls, and we’re dedicated to exploring why that is and what our elected officials can do about it.

Next stop:
September 17, the CNN/YouTube Republican debate in St. Petersburg, Florida.

Saturday, October 28th, 2006

Senator Herb Kohl (D- WI): “It shouldn’t be on a day, Tuesday, when you are very very busy…”

GOTW Road Team, moving down the road. We caught up with Senator Herb Kohl in the Pfister Hotel coffee shop in downtown Milwaukee. An 18-year veteran of the Senate, Senator Kohl introduced the Weekend Voting Act in 2005, so this interview was a little different than the others. The Senator didn’t only know “Why Tuesday,” he had a lot of arguments for why Tuesday might not be the best way to serve all Americans. For the full scoop, peep the clip.

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Recent Comments

Patrick, France is a post-Christian secular country. Relatively few of them attend church, and voting on Sunday does not interfere with their religious practices, because most of the population is not religious...

Posted by John on blog post Why Do We Vote On Tuesday?

In France they last voted on a Sunday. France is despite the Bourbon legacy a largely Catholic country, yet they vote on Sunday...

Posted by Patrick on blog post Why Do We Vote On Tuesday?

I think weekend voting would make the most sense, as people wouldn't have tu run home after work or wake up early to hit the polling stations beforehand.

Posted by Zander on blog post Why Do We Vote On Tuesday?