Download Senator Nelson's Bill
Senators Bill Nelson (F-FL) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) today introduced legislation that would eliminate the use of direct recording electronic voting machines beginning in 2012. The bill, a modified version of The Voter Confidence and Increased Accessibility Act of 2007, introduced by Rep. Rush Holt in the House (as HR 811) and Senator Nelson in the Senate (as S 559) in February, reflects many of the changes made in HR 811 as it was reported out of the Committee on House Administration last May.
The legislation was filed today by Sens. Bill Nelson and Sheldon Whitehouse, following a meeting Nelson had with Florida’s chief elections overseer Kurt Browning. Florida’s secretary of state, Browning, met with Nelson and other lawmakers in the nation’s capital Thursday. “The bottom line is we have to ensure every vote is counted – and, counted properly,” Nelson said. “Citizens must have confidence in the integrity of their elections.”
The bill was modeled in part on Florida’s recently enacted initiative to prohibit touch screen voting machines, reflects new concerns about the security, accessibility, and reliability of touch screen voting machines raised in studies undertaken by state officials in California, Kentucky, Florida and elsewhere. In particular, the California Secretary of State's "Top to Bottom" Review undertaken earlier this year demonstrated severe security vulnerabilities vulnerabilities in all the direct recording electronic voting machines studied.
In addition to mandating improvements in voting equipment, the bill would require random post-election audits to verify the accuracy of electronic vote totals and probit the use of wireless communication devices and undisclosed voting systems software and source code in voting machines. It also preserves and enhances the accessibility requirements of the Help America Vote Act, requiring that all voting machines provide voters with disabilities the opportunity to verify the accuracy of a permanent paper record of their vote.
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